Recently, online news sites like Mediaite, Russia Today, Metro, and HuffPost shared a hearty point-and-laugh when CNN accidentally posted a troll-made story about an asteroid hitting the Earth in 2041 -- because, you know, it's not like Mediaite, Russia Today, Metro, and HuffPost routinely feed you the made up stories they (and many, many others) fall for on a daily basis. Here are the latest examples, but definitely not the last ones:
#5. The Kid-Scribbled Chinese Passport Is Clearly Not Real
This month, the Internet officially collapsed under the weight of its own "LOLZ CHINA" thanks to this totally legitimate photograph of a man whose passport was defaced by his 4-year-old, causing him to be detained in South Korea:
The kid scrawled on everything except the face (that's a skin condition).
Good thing he didn't get stuck in North Korea, or the media would be saying he was fed to 120 dogs. Also, good thing MS Paint has an undo button -- because, yes, as Kotaku immediately pointed out, that photo is obviously a fake, for a number of reasons ... starting with the fact that the digitally created lines stray off the passport on the right side:
"We just assumed Asian doodle technology was that much more advanced than our own."
Or the fact that this barely cognizant problem child had the presence of mind to perfectly cover all the identifying information on his father's passport. Clearly, no idiot in the world would-
EVERYONE REPORTED ON THIS. That includes the Daily Mail, Gizmodo, Fox, Jezebel, the NY Daily News, the Telegraph, and Gawker, all of which included the photo right under their headlines and somehow still missed the part where the lines magically continue into the air. Apparently none of them researched the story long enough to realize that it originally broke on some random YouTube news page or, you know, just used their eyes to see that it was fake before making it international news.
In the end, the story spread so far that a Chinese Embassy official had to publicly state what most 10-year-old junior detectives could have deduced with a magnifying glass. You know you messed up bad when communist China has to give you a reality check.
#4. Boston Isn't Being Plagued by a "Serial Tickler"
If Quentin Tarantino has taught the world anything, it's that all foot fetishists are dangerous, bug-eyed squish-faces that should be avoided at all costs. Boston knows this better than most, though:
OK, Batman writers are officially out of ideas.
On the one hand, it's not the worst serial activity that has been associated with Boston in the past, but it's still kind of disturbing that the infamous "Boston Tickler" has broken into 10 homes in the Boston College area and tickled people's feet in their sleep, according to the NY Post, Huffington Post, Fox News, Gawker, Washington Post, and Cosmopolitan. All the victims are college-age dudes, by the way -- otherwise known as the most-trustworthy, least-likely-to-pull-off-a-hoax-just-for-the-heck-of-it people on the planet.
And what do you know, the original article that all the above news sites took at face value was also written by students. According to the Boston.com piece, a police spokesman said, "This is no myth."
"Mr. Tarantino has since been banned from the state of Massachusetts."
Or, you know, totally a myth. After the story went viral, the Boston PD put out an announcement saying that they have no idea where the student reporters got the "serial tickler" information: They've only had one reported foot-touching incident in the past two years. As for the "no myth" quote, they said the officer was replying to an unrelated question and the article took it out of context. So, pretty much the opposite of journalism.
Looks like we're going to have to settle for an America with only one actual police-dodging serial foot tickler, who terrorized Florida (where else?) from 2001 to 2006.
Maybe it's an epidemic of people mass-fantasizing about serial foot ticklers, which is just as weird.
#3. The U.S. Isn't Getting "Kicked Out" of the International Space Station by Russia
From Bond to Bullwinkle, there's simply no higher caliber of villain than the Russians. When tensions rose concerning Ukraine, the media naturally scrambled for the most nefarious angles they could sink their teeth into -- the most popcorn-worthy being Red Dawn in space:
"Avenge me! AVENGE ME!" -NASA
So are we talking Call of Duty: Ghosts style 'splosion-fighting, or are they just going to push really hard and let momentum do the rest? There's so many questions to be had, none of which appear to be answered by the many sites covering this, like the Verge, the Telegraph, and NBC News -- which has a headline flat-out saying that the Russians plan to "Kill [the] Space Station," as if it were HAL or something.
"Rocky to box Putin on Christmas 2019 in last-ditch effort to save future space programs."
But wait, since when does Russia own the International Space Station? Since never: No one single country does, on account of it being, you know, international. What the deputy prime minister actually said was that the Russians are voluntarily pulling out of the ISS in 2020 (which was the original end date for the project anyway), meaning that the U.S. won't be able to use a Russian spacecraft to get there anymore. However, as most of the articles briefly mention under the alarmist headlines, the U.S. will have its own transport by 2017. Which is before 2020, in case you're not a NASA engineer and can't do the math.
In the meantime, the Russian and American astronauts will not only continue to cooperate, but intensify their work, since they know they have precious little time together. Sorry, news sites: You'll have to find some other example of Russia being terrible, somehow.