I'm completely rewriting this question to hopefully make it more clear.

First claim (this is from guardianlv.com):

Now that it has been officially announced that Nelson Mandela has passed away, our position on the matter has not changed in any way. Inevitably, his passing had to be revealed. Many of our South African readers have believed us from the start; those that have criticized us have presented not one shred of evidence that we were wrong. The idea that we are proven wrong because the official announcement comes only now is absurd.

And later:

Nelson Mandela is now officially dead – but he was already dead. Nothing has transpired between our initial June 26 reports and the present time to prove otherwise.

Note: present time refers to December 6, 2013.

So the first claim is the two bolded quotes. Is there any evidence that Nelson Mandela was alive between June 26 and December 5?

The second claim is in the next quote from the same article:

During a Mandela family legal battle, documents emerged which stated that doctors had advised the family to turn off Mandela’s life support as he was brain-dead. At a later point, Zuma made a statement denying this, but we noted carefully that, while other news organizations were reporting that the doctors themselves had retracted their claims that Mandela was brain-dead, no such retraction had been made; Zuma himself claimed that the doctors had retracted this assertion.

So the second claim is that Mandela's doctors said he was brain dead, and the doctors did not retcact that. Did the doctors say that, and did they retract it?

  • 4
    The claim is carefully making a distinction between two concepts. 1. "For all practical purposes/reasons, dead, yet kept alive by machines", and 2. Something different, which they consider "officially dead".
    – user5582
    Dec 12, 2013 at 21:38
  • @Ike: Newspaper reports suggest he was receiving intensive medical care for months. Anyone knowing a 95-year-old was receiving intensive care at home might reasonably predict their death would be officially announced soon. This question doesn't seem to be off-topic, per se, but I am not sure what the point of it is.
    – Oddthinking
    Dec 12, 2013 at 22:52
  • First I think you'd have to define what "for all practical reasons he became brain dead" means. Determining "brain-death" is not without controversy
    – Johnny
    Dec 13, 2013 at 0:15
  • 2
    I have VtCed as "not a notable claim" because, while I believe the quote is notable, it's not making a claim. It's a carefully crafted statement to say nothing while sounding interesting--much like a horoscope.
    – Flimzy
    Dec 13, 2013 at 9:33
  • 1
    I think the new source includes a concrete claim, but that claim is still separate from this question. The new claim is "This video says XYZ", and it seems that the video doesn't actually say XYZ. So there still isn't actually a claim that Mandela died prior to Dec 5.
    – Flimzy
    Dec 13, 2013 at 19:39

1 Answer 1


I will analyze this claim that you have presented:

According to this video just released by Courageous Nerdz, Nelson Mandela really died on June 26th, 2013, and he shares that proof here in a way that will make even the biggest skeptics wonder what is really going on in South Africa.

  1. "According to this video just released by Courageous Nerdz, Nelson Mandela really died on June 26th, 2013"

    No, the video doesn't claim this. The closest it comes to making this claim is at 11:41, it says, "Nelson Mandela's life support was shut down". Everything else it says regarding this is of the form "others have said that...", avoiding making a claim itself.

  2. "and he shares that proof here"

    No. His proof is screenshots of an article (at 12:21) by Michael Smith at guardianlv.com. The article in the video shows a headline "Nelson Mandela Life Support Shut Down as Respected Humanitarian Dies Age 94", however, that headline was later corrected to include a question mark at the end. The article doesn't claim that Nelson Mandela died on June 26, as asserted by the video. It only says things like "[we] have provided the following information that has been supplied to us by our local South African sources", and "according to our sources", and "sources have said". That is not proof. The article doesn't say that its author or editors believe that Nelson Mandela died on June 26. They don't use language like "we can confirm that". The article simply asks the question, and then relays what anonymous sources said.

    As per the Breaking News Consumer's Handbook, there is a difference between news that only reports that sources have said X and news that confirms X. Only the latter means that the news outlet feels confident that it can claim something as an actual fact.

  3. "that will make even the biggest skeptics wonder what is really going on in South Africa"

    This is a claim about the effect that the video will have on people like us. I can only speak anecdotally, but it didn't have the claimed effect on me.

  • I'm confused about that too...
    – user5582
    Dec 13, 2013 at 19:07
  • @Transmissionfrom The about page seems to be down, but here is an archived copy.
    – ike
    Dec 13, 2013 at 19:11
  • Wow. "Our hard news stories are reviewed by a team of senior editors to ensure an unbiased approach. Our opinion writers are required to back up their statements with verified and respected research: peer reviewed studies, expert testimony, published quotations and statistics provided by reputable sources."
    – user5582
    Dec 13, 2013 at 19:17
  • The "Las Vegas Guardian Express" had a sister site called the newyorkertimes.com but for legal reasons had to change its name. I don't know whether it was the New York Times newspaper or the New Yorker magazine that complained.
    – Henry
    Dec 13, 2013 at 21:14
  • I've rewritten the question, using only the Guardianlv article.
    – ike
    Dec 16, 2013 at 1:37

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