Thanks to the public's insatiable appetite for constant news, a random dude can literally find an old hamburger in his pocket and Time and CNN will be all over that discovery. The problem is that -- in our quest to fill every minute with new information -- old prejudices and terrible stereotypes fill in the gaps, especially when the media don't double-check their sources. Don't believe us? Take a look ...
#4. Japanese Eye-Licking Must Be Real (Because It's Japan)
Everybody knows that Japan is crazy. That's why it came as no surprise to hear that teenagers over there were really into this thing called worming -- that is, licking eyeballs for sexual gratification. In the past few months, the Telegraph, the Guardian, ABC, Fox, CBS, and Time all covered the freaky Japanese fad, and they all consulted experts who warned about everything from pinkeye to blindness.
And while the Western World slapped their foreheads in disbelief, only one person actually bothered to check where the story had originated -- something that Andy Campbell at the Huffington Post probably should have done before he tried it himself and reported on it. Turns out the whole thing went back to a Japanese tabloid with zero sources. NO ONE IN JAPAN HAD HEARD OF WORMING. No eye doctors, no hospitals, no tongue experts, no one. The whole thing was made up but went viral because, hey, we all feel better about ourselves knowing that Japanese kids are licking each other's eyeballs.
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Just in case this fetish IS out there somewhere, here's some filthy porn.
#3. A Single Mistranslation from Turkey Creates a Telepathy Scare
Between 2006 and 2007, something terrible happened at a Turkish defense company. Four engineers committed suicide, which is an extraordinarily dark way to start an entry in a comedy article. Obviously, the four consecutive suicides raised some eyebrows, so investigators looked into the deaths.
Eventually, respected neuropsychologist Nevzat Tarhan came up with a theory: Maybe the four engineers were prompted to kill themselves by a "telepathic attack." Yes, the Professor X kind of telepathy, aka the kind we all know doesn't actually exist. Still, the story spread -- and soon it turned from "dude says telepathy killed people" to "DID telepathy kill these people?"
But the question that everyone really should have been asking was "Did this respected doctor actually say something completely insane?" Had they asked it, the answer would have been no, because the original translation actually said "electromagnetic" instead of "telepathic." Which is a whole other story for a whole other day, but at least psychic warfare isn't something we're still falling for.
#2. The U.S. Just Assumes That England Has an Official Town Crier
When Kate Middleton and Prince William farted out a child, CNN, Fox, and MSNBC were right there reporting the story. (Thank God!) The press even got footage of the official announcement for the commoners to enjoy.
That would be, according to both Rachel Maddow and Anderson Cooper, the official royal crier delivering the news of the new baby child in the British tradition -- because had it just been some random guy who walked in from the street, that would be pretty crazy right?
"I also decree that the man with the most ridiculous outfit shall be made emperor of Britain. Oh hey ..."
Actually yeah -- that's exactly what it was. Tony Appleton -- a "professional crier" for hire -- simply stood in front of Buckingham Palace and delivered the news for kicks -- which in turn made everyone assume he was an official of some kind, because it's England and everyone there likes to dress as pirate clowns.
#1. China Posts Shocking American Execution Photos That Are Clearly Just Fetish Porn
Like Japan's obsession with weird sex and England's Mary Poppins gallantry, America is of course the land of grocery-store-bought firearms and pentobarbital by the barrel. So it's no surprise when a Chinese news site accidentally posts false pictures claiming to be of an authentic, "shocking" American execution. What is a surprise, however, is when those photos come from a cheesy bondage website only an idiot would assume was real.
This justice system doesn't need reform.
The "execution," performed in what appears to be a mall employee break room, features a woman inexplicably wearing a revealing dress being strapped to a gurney and "lethally injected" by what appears to be a hot cop and that creepy guy from Alien: Resurrection.
While we don't really have to tell you how incredibly not real these photos are, apparently someone needed to be told, as they were somehow "discovered" from a rapey porn fetish site, assumed to be true, and posted on not one, but two Chinese news pages. While it's probably discomforting that fetish porn can be confused with our capital punishment system, at least it's not our own media screwing up this time.