The 6 Most Hilarious Ways Mainstream Media Failed at Google

Let's face it: People love to take shortcuts. Can you blame them? The time saved by avoiding mundane tasks can be used for more important things, like deciding what Instagram filter will most accurately convey the gravity of your lunch decisions to your social networking circle.

Sloppiness and inattention to detail can't carry us all through the day, though. Sometimes, the work we do is seen by others. When that's the case, it's important to be as thorough as possible when checking facts. The people on this list learned that the hard way.

#6. At the BBC, The Future Is Now


Does the United Nations Security Council have a logo? That's the riddle some unidentified graphics jockey at the BBC had to solve while putting together a news story about Syria. It takes just a cursory amount of Googling to reveal that the answer to that question is a resounding "maybe."

Give the phrase "United Nations Security Council logo" a search yourself and you'll undoubtedly see this:

United Nations

The problem is, if you just search for "United Nations logo," you'll find the exact same thing. But your boss at the Beebs told you to round up a United Nations Security Council logo. If you run that phrase through your Google machine, you'll find that the options aren't so narrow. In addition to the tranquil logo above, you also get this:


How do you decide which one to go with? The correct answer would be "Ask someone who knows more about United Nations logos than you do for advice." Unfortunately, the answer the nameless BBC employee in question landed on that day was something more along the lines of "Fuck it, flexing eagle it is."

While that's a fine answer to a whole host of questions, in this case it definitely was not, because that black-and-gold shield of badassery is the logo for the United Nations Space Command, which people with unlimited free time and the stomach to handle gallons of Mountain Dew Code Red in one sitting will immediately recognize as an entity that only exists within the Halo video game universe.

So, while the BBC anchor spoke solemnly about the U.N.'s handling of the carnage in Syria, the scene behind her looked like this:


A network spokesperson had this to say about the gaffe:

"BBC News makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all images broadcast, however very occasionally mistakes do happen. Unfortunately an incorrect logo was used during a segment on last week's News at One bulletin and we apologize to viewers for the mistake."

For those not familiar, the Halo-verse, as probably no one calls it, revolves around an interstellar war between humans and a group of aliens known as the Covenant who worship an ancient civilization known as the Forerunners who were wiped out during something called the parasitic flood.

If there's anything the BBC can take comfort in regarding this debacle, it's that the above paragraph could just as easily be describing the situation in Syria as far as most of the willfully ignorant masses are concerned.

#5. Sarah Palin Goes Really, Really Rogue

Pete Marovich/Getty Images News/Getty Images

From a Planned Parenthood Abortionplex to the Department of Defense announcing support for "military bronies," the Internet is rife with farcical news stories. While many people have no problem identifying and enjoying this type of humor, Facebook is chock-full of dullards who post and rage against these obviously bogus reports. But unlike your annoying aunt or that "friend" you haven't seen since high school clogging your social media streams with unfunny memes and illogical rants, some people should actually know better.

People like Suzi Parker, for instance. According to her bio, Parker is a political and cultural journalist and author of Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt. What's not mentioned is that she also appears to be devoid of the ability to detect satire.

Justin, Charles & Co.

In a column she wrote for the Washington Post about former VP candidate and Tea Party prom queen Sarah Palin's plans to join the Al-Jazeera news network, Parker warned that the "news" of the pairing was "a cautionary tale about what can happen when politics and celebrity meet."

Here's hoping that's just journalist-speak for "fake news," because that's exactly (and quite obviously) the best way to describe this "story." It's definitely not outside the Palin wheelhouse to do dumb things, but her joining Al-Jazeera seems like the kind of news even non-journalistic types like us would find hard to believe.

Nevertheless, Parker posted the piece based solely on a single report. Her source? The Daily Currant, a site that describes itself as the "global satirical newspaper of record." Even if that description was too subtle of a clue that this story was nonsense, the Daily Currant story also contains the following purported Palin quote:

"I met with the folks at Al-JaJizzraa [sic] and they told me they reach millions of devoutly religious people who don't watch CBS or CNN. That tells me they don't have a liberal bias."

So Suzi Parker is not only bad at sniffing out a fake news story, but wouldn't recognize a jizz joke if it hit her in the face.

#4. A Fox Affiliate Releases the (Insanely Racist and Fake) Names of Asiana Flight 214 Pilots


Reporting on the aftermath of a tragedy is a delicate affair, so when a Fox News anchor told viewers that her station had just learned the names of the four pilots on the Asiana Airlines flight that had recently crashed in San Francisco, there was a palpable sense of sadness in her voice.

And then she read the names: Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo, Ho Lee Fuk, and Bang Ding Ow.

Even one of those names should set off an alarm in the head of anyone who's ever placed a prank call to Mike Hunt or Connie Lyn Gust. Those names are obviously about as legit as an email from a Nigerian prince, but this story somehow sailed through every fact checking mechanism your local Fox affiliate has in place (probably none).

And the blame can't fall solely on Fox News. The National Transportation Safety Board actually confirmed the names before the station aired them.

Fox News KTVU issued an on-air apology admitting to several mistakes, including the failure to phonetically sound the names out, an excuse that's "Sofa King re-Todd it" I feel dumber just having had to retype it.

The NTSB issued their own version of an apology, placing the blame squarely on a summer intern who "acted outside the scope of his authority."

So, the next time you see a fiasco like this unfold live before your eyes and ask that inevitable "Don't they have anyone checking this stuff?" question, just remember that the answer is "Yes, and they pay that person nothing."

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Diana Cook

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