Now that we've exhausted all our (misplaced) outrage on the Brian Williams scandal, America was barely able to muster a gasp at the revelation of Bill O'Reilly's similar lying fiasco. It might sound like hypocrisy, but the depressing reality was that we simply weren't that surprised to find out a sensationalist news mouth like O'Reilly was, in fact, sensationalizing his personal stories. The age where you could trust the man in your TV simply because he was wearing a nice suit and sitting behind a desk is long dead.
It's in uncertain times such as these that we at Cracked must renew our sacred vow to expose the inaccuracies, exaggerations, and flat-out inventions currently filling your news feed. Here are five more viral stories that make modern journalism the integrity equivalent of bumper bowling ...
5 A Priest Didn't Die, Come Back, and Claim God Is a Woman
Yeah, we're just gonna cut to the chase: This one is 100 percent bullshit. Not even a little bit true. To be clear, we're not saying the priest in this story made everything up, probably hoping to score a book deal like that zombie kid -- we're saying he doesn't exist, and 10 seconds of fact-checking could have prevented headlines like these:
Honestly, we're more offended by the clickbait than the lies.
As seen on your aunt's Facebook wall and sites like CBS Local, Inquisitr, India Today, and a famous, century-old Russian newspaper whose name ironically means "truth," a Catholic priest was declared dead for 48 whole minutes before being inexplicably revived from the afterlife, where he had the jaw-dropping revelation that God has a vagina. And while that's absolutely the story as told by The Daily Monitor, one of the first sites to pick up the story, that site credits something called the World News Daily Report for originally "cracking" this spiritual tale. If you're wondering, here's a few other stories this intrepid hub of journalism managed to break ...
Ringo Starr a "celebrity"? Get this spurious shit off our monitors.
But what about the picture of the bed-ridden old priest decorating the original article and many of the reposts? A stock photo from Getty Images, as Snopes points out. So the next time someone claims that the Internet has revolutionized the spread of truth, feel free to point them to the time that fucking CBS reported on a story about God's gender based entirely on the word of a site that claims Russia helped fake the moon landing.
4 We're Not Getting Human Head Transplants by 2017
The year 2015 is finally here, which means it's time to bring back all the future predictions that everyone's favorite film made about this year. We're talking, of course, about the mid-'90s Karen Duffy sci-fi epic Memory Run, which predicted a 2015 where doctors could transfer brains into younger bodies to achieve immortality. And now it appears like we're one step closer to this iconic pop culture trope:
At the very least, we've got a kick-ass sequel to Face/Off coming.
Apparently, we're only two WrestleManias away from the point when entire human bodies will become just another fashion accessory. With any luck, by 2020 we won't even need to buy clothes anymore -- we'll simply switch head receptacles when we get sick of the color. News of this Cronenbergian miracle is brought to you by CBS, Discovery, CNET, Telegraph, Fox, and Mashable, all debating the morality brought on by a single neuroscientist's prediction -- one he also made back in 2013, only with a slightly more conservative date estimate:
"Definitely before the Earth is swallowed by a supernova." -the same guy in 2011, probably.
Newsweek even speculated that this could revolutionize gender reassignment surgery. All of this despite the fact that pretty much everyone else in the medical community has called out this claim for being about as realistic as a Futurama episode (this one), considering every head transplant attempted so far has ended with a depressing menagerie of paralyzed animals. Not to mention the little complicated details like how the procedure would require an induced four-week coma that could result in "blood clots, infection, and reduced brain activity." So, sure ... head transplants could technically be a thing in 2017, the same way Re-Animator could become official school curriculum.