News travels fast in the information age, leaving breathless news agencies no choice but to employ their own brand of quick-draw reporting, otherwise known as "horrible exaggerations" and "just plain old making shit up." Here's yet another batch of viral news stories that were either wildly misrepresented or completely fabricated.
#5. Disney Isn't Taking Away Christmas Movies People Already Purchased on Amazon
According to several tech sites, including Torrent Freak and Digital Journal, Disney has pulled several purchased Christmas movies from Amazon customers' digital accounts in order to force them to watch the movies on television instead, because that headline was written by someone with a tenuous grasp of how the entertainment industry works.
Because Disney totally pulls The Avengers off of Amazon every time they show it on TV.
We totally understand that "Disney is taking things that you paid for so they can force you to watch them on television is an attractive headline for anyone wary of the current push toward all-digital content versus physical media. But the fact is, only one title was actually removed from any customers' personal libraries (a Christmas special from 2009 called Prep & Landing), and that was because Amazon accidentally removed it, an error that was quickly corrected.
"But if you say it that way, it sounds like something that nobody has any reason to care about!" -the news
Disney was planning to re-air the special and asked Amazon to temporarily remove it from their online stock, and Amazon mistakenly deleted it carte blanche. The most amazing aspect of this story is how many people apparently owned that Christmas special. But because professional journalists can only be bothered to read three or four words of a source before unleashing an outrage story on the Internet, we were assaulted by this headline:
"I should never have brought a child into a world capable of such mild inconveniences. What God would allow this?"
(Disney won an Oscar for the 1958 equivalent of bullshit viral news. Check out The De-Textbook to un-learn the lies an old documentary fed you about lemmings.)
#4. Those Students Suspended for Sexual Harassment Were Sexually Harassing People
He's been approved for future fraternity membership at any SEC school.
That's an irresistible headline, but since we all know that little kids are shitheads who have no idea how to behave themselves in a socially acceptable manner, we were skeptical and looked a little deeper (a phrase here meaning "we took three minutes to actually read the story"). The headline is technically correct, in that a 6-year-old boy was suspended for kissing his female classmate, but it ignores the fact that the little boy has been suspended for kissing her before (and also for "roughhousing" and "other disciplinary problems"). Despite what the boy's mother claims, that attention was clearly unwanted. Incidentally, the little girl's mother completely supports the suspension and wants that boy to keep his damn hands off of her daughter.
All part of CNN's Kelly Wallace's month-long special coverage of school newspapers.
It sounds crazy until you learn that the student is 17, the teacher has repeatedly told him not to hug her, and he probably kissed her on her neck when he did it. So, the media has overlooked two important things: A) these kids actually need to learn about the consequences of putting your hands on another human being when they do not want you to, and B) there are, shockingly, people being harassed in these outrageous harassment cases.
#3. Angelina Jolie Isn't Buying Brad Pitt a Heart-Shaped Island
Look at this obvious nonsense:
Thanks to the New York Daily News and the Mirror, we have to explain that, of the things Angelina Jolie does with the millions of dollars all of us gave to her by seeing her movies, buying an island for Brad Pitt was not one of them.
"No, it's cool. We added 'rumor has it' to the beginning, so it doesn't matter if it's not true."
Just to recap, the rumor appeared on two tabloid sites and could have been easily refuted by bothering to speak with the family that is actually selling the island. To their knowledge, nobody (not even the breakout star of Hackers) has made them any offers.
#2. The Guy Who Got Pulled Over With a Cookie iPhone Is Known for Twitter Pranks
Twitter tends to be a worse news source than tea leaves. And yet when comedian Randy Liedtke claimed that he made iPhone-shaped cookies to eat while driving and trick police into pulling him over, then wound up getting a ticket for outstanding parking violations, this happened:
After all, it's not like you can just stand in front of a police station with a random piece of paper.
Ignoring the fact that he is a comedian who recently pulled an entirely different Twitter hoax, the photos he posted don't actually confirm any part of his story except for the fact that he made cookies that vaguely looked like iPhones.
#1. Every Picture of the Sphinx and Pyramids Covered in Snow Is a Lie
This month, snow fell in Cairo for the first time in over 100 years, prompting Twitter to post an onslaught of snow-dusted pyramid pictures:
Or Egypt's coke problem has gotten ridiculously out of hand.
The most retweeted photo came from something called Mind Blowing, which posted the "first picture ever" of the Sphinx covered in snow:
On the plus side, he doesn't have to worry about a runny nose.
The pictures are undeniably mind-blowing, though perhaps not for the reasons intended:
Golly, the pyramids, the Sphinx, and even the Eiffel Tower were hit! Why is the Eiffel Tower there, you ask? Because this is a fucking miniature:
The picture is from Japan's Tobu World Square Park, which, unlike the Sphinx, actually does get snow from time to time. The only part of Egypt that actually got snow was Cairo's suburbs, but that didn't stop the Internet from Photoshopping snow onto the pyramids anyway.
"Lying with Photoshop? How are we supposed to keep up with these new Internet trends?"
One bold trickster even went so far as to post this dramatic piece of photographic proof:
That snow-capped pyramid is covered in glass, surrounded by palm trees, and in Las Vegas.