As we recently discussed, the media have a troubling habit of scooping up tin jars of magic powder from Internet snake oil salesmen and selling it to the rest of the world as irrefutable fact without bothering to do a quick check on Google search to see if the story they're reprinting is a thunderous chunk of total bullshit. Here are four more gems of completely unsubstantiated "news" items getting blindly reprinted by normally reputable news sources.
#4. There Isn't an Epidemic of Fake Pregnancy Tests (At Least There Wasn't)
According to countless major news sources of varying esteem, ladies across America have begun selling positive used pregnancy tests on Craigslist for $25 to $30 a pop to fellow jezebels looking to trick people into thinking they are pregnant for a few weeks. Each source simply reprinted the story with incredulous outrage rather than trying to determine whether it was actually true, because we apparently don't need things like "data" and "evidence" to tell us that women are ridiculous and will do anything for attention.
Unsurprisingly, a quick Craigslist search in three of the biggest cities in America revealed that the sale of used pregnancy tests is in no way a blazing new trend by any stretch of the imagination:
Not even in weirder parts of "Casual Encounters."
Virtually every site that ran the "used pregnancy test" story linked back to the same Daily Dot article that had found a handful of occurrences and interpreted them as evidence of some kind of apocalyptic epidemic of fertile urine sticks. They mention a "heightened demand," despite the fact that there is literally no information currently in existence to back up that claim. In fact, the only evidence we did find were listings in New York City, all of which were dated long after the story broke:
"Get 25 percent off when you get our Used Condom Combo."
Gee, it's almost as if these women had read about a huge market for positive pregnancy tests on the Internet.
#3. That Skyscraper in Spain Totally Has Elevators
A story about a skyscraper in Spain has been making the Internet rounds because the building was constructed with a glaringly major flaw -- it doesn't have any elevators.
Apparently, the In Tempo skyscraper -- in a "perfect example of the country's disgraceful lack of planning" -- didn't have any way for people to reach the upper levels of its two-towered structure without climbing out a window and scaling the fucking building (or taking the stairs, but who wants to do that?). Haha, total face-palm! Those daffy Spaniards can't get anything right!
Now take a look at this photo from the In Tempo website:
"My word, it's some sort of escalation device!"
If that picture looks like a pair of goddamned elevators, it's because that's exactly what it is. As it turns out, the story about the In Tempo's embarrassing lack of elevators wasn't even remotely accurate -- the building has 11 elevators, and as best we can tell, they all go up as well as down. The whole story came from a horrible Google translation of an article on Spanish news site El Pais, and the international media took it and ran because journalism history is made by bold heroes.
#2. The Story About Canadian Soccer Teams Playing Without Soccer Balls Was a Joke on a Radio Show
According to a news story that was first reported on Canada's CBC Radio and then picked up by Opposing Views and the Washington Times, an Ontario youth soccer team has begun playing all of their games without a soccer ball, effectively reducing the "sport" to a bunch of kids running around in uniforms and kicking at phantoms. The decision was inspired by a recent ruling that all youth teams in Ontario would stop keeping score in order to spare children from the negative effects of competition, which include but are not limited to "strengthening character" and "learning humility." The controversy even made it into an Australian newspaper, and it isn't even remotely true.
"I don't understand. I cross-referenced this with my sources at the Onion Sports Network."
See, the original CBC radio story was completely satirical, which would have been obvious to anyone who actually bothered to listen to it. Both the Washington Times and Opposing Views were forced to hastily add "Note: This story is utter screaming bullshit" to their articles. Opposing Views even went so far as to say "We got Punk'd," which, along with the 100 percent fabricated story they printed as truth, paints a pretty fair picture of their level of cultural awareness.
#1. Relax Everybody, Jack Nicholson Is Fine
According to the Guardian, Jack Nicholson officially has Alzheimer's and is retiring forever to go die. They even began posting tributes to the actor, as if he was already entombed in one of those creepy Hollywood corpse vaults like Marilyn Monroe, despite the fact that their only source for this information was an exclusive from Star Magazine (which is a tabloid) that cited anonymous "insider sources" for their airtight information. Bafflingly, Business Insider also decided to run the story, and the ball just kept rolling until virtually everyone in the country was convinced that Jack Nicholson was lying on a blanket on his old crazy deathbed.
It took Maria Shriver, of all people, to come out and confirm that there's no need to worry, guys -- Jack Nicholson is totally fine.
Michael Buckner/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
... yeah, he's all good.
He's not losing his memory and he isn't quitting acting, which may or may not be good news to anyone who saw The Bucket List. We hasten to point out that this could have been cleared up with a simple phone call to his agent, but hey, who are we to criticize?