Welcome back to our weekly (or thereabouts) report on the bullshit headlines your friends probably shared on Facebook over the last week. We are able to successfully fact check these stories that slipped past major news outlets thanks to our crack team of reporters (that is, one guy spending five minutes on Google).
#5. Everything About the "George Zimmerman vs. DMX" Boxing Match Was Bullshit
Anyone who isn't living under a rock has probably seen this next headline:
And anyone who had been living under a rock probably just killed themselves with it.
It's a story that manages to trigger every horrible part of the human brain at once. A famous rapper in a "celebrity boxing match" versus a man famous for shooting an unarmed black kid. If Zimmerman wins, racists cheer. If Zimmerman loses, racists say, "See? Them blacks are dangerous thugs!"
Then, quietly over the weekend, they announced that it was cancelled. Guess what, Internet: It was a hoax from the start.
First, DMX hadn't actually legally agreed to the match, and they never had a venue (or any other details) worked out, even though it was supposedly happening next month. Second, as ThinkProgress pointed out, the promoter, Damon Felton, wouldn't be allowed to hold such a match due to his shady legal history.
A history, that is, of faking boxing matches.
Al Bello/Getty Images Sport/Getty Image
When you're considered shady and fraudulent by fight promoter standards, you may need to start reevaluating your life choices.
Yeah, even if the fight had happened, it would have been staged -- Felton's "celebrity boxing matches" are scripted, like pro wrestling. That's why he got nailed last time -- you can't promote a fixed fight as real, and he'd never get his non-boxer celebrities into the ring without the guarantee that nobody is actually going to get hit.
Move along, folks. There was never anything to see here.
#4. No, They Can't Deport Justin Bieber
Sorry, everyone, but despite a drunk driving arrest, a White House petition, and an actual senator getting on board with the idea, the scrawny clown of Canada can't actually be booted from the United States, no matter how many times the question is posed by a major network like CNN or ABC:
"He plans on avoiding INS agents by pretending to be Ellen Page."
Again, we're sorry, Christian Science Monitor, because it's not that the U.S. will or won't deport a 19-year-old for general 19-year-old dickery, but rather that they can't deport him. Thanks to a special O-1 visa reserved for celebrities, it takes either a violent crime conviction or a sentence longer than one year to sucker-punt Biebs back into the forsaken maple leaves from which he was birthed. According to Florida law, a DUI would leave him six months short of that.
And no, if you're wondering -- the separate assault charge you've heard about was in Toronto. So maybe next time.
#3. Enough With the Supposed Twin Toilets at the Olympics
Forget about all that gay jailing and worker exploitation -- the hot topic about the Sochi Winter Olympics is the fact that the Ruskies are expecting everyone to drop trou, lock legs, and sit a double-deuce:
The image of those twin toilets -- made by a Moscow correspondent for the BBC -- has resonated far and wide with the other outlets reporting on the Olympics. Yahoo Sports even declared it the "symbol of Russia's government waste." After all, if you can't trust a BBC reporter's Twitter picture, what can you trust?
Oh hey, look! It's a picture of the exact same bathroom days later, the symbol of Russia's downfall actually having been summed up by an image of a storage closet in progress (that explains the big freaking white line indicating where there had once been a partition between the two toilets). In other words, a single reporter posted an out of context photo on Twitter and that became news. But even stupider than that:
Be sure to bookmark this article for when your grandma forwards you that pic in six months.
That there is clearly a novelty sign you can find anywhere on the Internet depicting wacky things you're not allowed to do with a toilet. Yet the media, fully in "believe absolutely anything that makes Russia look ridiculous" mode, has chosen to report the sign as some kind of serious failing on Russia's part:
#2. No, Anne Hathaway Didn't Almost Drown in Hawaii
Anyone hoping to see a new gritty Catwoman film probably pooped a little when they saw this headline not too long ago:
Holy shit! And we know our hypothetical Catwoman fans saw it, because it was covered on pretty much every goddamn news site, including MTV and USA Today. The story is that the actress got caught in a riptide and was almost sucked under, until a quick-thinking surfer was able to pull her to safety. The whole thing originated with an article in the New York Post, and if you're familiar with that publication, you already know what we're going to say next: According to a source known as "Anne Hathaway," the whole story is bullshit.
"I'm fine," she said. "I really do appreciate everybody's concern, but that was a picture that had a false story attached to it."
So how does that happen? Well, go click those news links up there -- notice how they never quote the people who gave them the details of the story? That's because, as far as we can tell, no one did. All that happened was some paparazzo with a telephoto lens snapped pics of Hathaway swimming, saw that some of them looked like she was sort of struggling to stay afloat, and just ... made up a story.
And then absolutely everyone repeated it.
#1. Rutgers Isn't Offering a "New" Class on Beyonce
Hey, old people -- check out this "sign of the times":
"Enrollment line forms to the left, to the left."
Outrageous! This story about the brand new class has since been broken by Time, MSN, BuzzFeed, CBS, and the New York Post as some kind of newfangled proof that college standards are lowering or something. And while the class totally exists, every single news site covering it has missed one really important detail: It existed two years ago.
"We also offer journalism classes in case any of you need to brush up. Just sayin'."
See that date down there? Good job! You're a better journalist than all the websites covering this "new" college course. In fact, anyone who has ever spent more than a day at a college could probably attest to the fact that such classes have existed since at least the '90s. Last time we checked, Time didn't devote 1,000 words to every professor who decided to wedge Bruce Springsteen into their curriculum.
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