We get it, Internet: People are busy. Between sharing whatever George Takei('s social media manager) just found on Reddit and torrenting terabytes of fan-made Hanna-Barbera porn, there's just not enough hours in the day to fact check every little thing we get ridiculously up in arms about online. That's why we've created this handy forever-part series devoted to sifting out the bullshit for you -- all we ask in return is the right to emanate the smug satisfaction that comes with it. You dopes.
#6. The "Hero" Who Bought Every Pie at Burger King Probably Saw It on 30 Rock
Everyone loves a good karmic revenge story, even if the karma involved is actually just a person being a dick. For example, you probably got this one proudly splayed across your Facebook page several times over last weekend, along with the front pages of E!, Digital Times, Gawker, NY Daily News, Uproxx, MSN, and Gothamist, among others:
Usually, if you buy 23 of anything at Burger King, you just spite yourself.
This already legendary Internet tale involves a man waiting in line at Burger King in front of a screaming, pie-demanding child -- inspiring our cleft-chinned, possibly Neo-like protagonist to buy out all the pies in the store to teach the kid a lesson. He then slowly ate one of the delicious treats while looking at the brat's mother, who tried to charge at him but was too late to stop his cool and relaxed exit. Classic! It's like something out of a sitcom! More specifically, NBC's 30 Rock, where Tina Fey does something similar at a hot dog stand:
Clearly, our hero was inspired by that episode (or one of the other variations of this story that have been posted online over the years, as Snopes points out) when he pulled his totally-real feat. So what's the name we get to etch onto this guy's medal? Well, that's the other thing: No one knows, because -- like all news now, apparently -- this story came off of an anonymous Reddit post with not a single shred of evidence it happened. As commenters started asking for further details, the post was deleted and the guy went quiet. We would say that he had it coming for making it all up, but when the "it" in this case is unanimous media attention, then it feels like the real joke is on society.
#5. A 4chan Screenshot Wasn't Sold for $90,000 on eBay
If this past month's news headlines haven't completely shattered your faith in humanity yet, this one might just deliver the final blow:
"He only pocketed $15,000 after having to buy a new printer cartridge."
The screenshot? Considering the source, it could be anything from graphic gore to a badly drawn Sonic the Hedgehog, but it's actually a simple shot of an anonymous poster jokingly reflecting about the nature of art. Is that more or less depressing? We can't tell anymore.
"Original. Inspired." -Andy Warhol
But not all hope is lost, people. According to HuffPost, Business Insider, the Vine, and CNET, the screenshot was bought on eBay for the price of a Tesla Model S -- but they fail to mention that eBay lets the winning bidder totally not buy the item if they choose to, or that the bidding suspiciously skyrocketed in the first 36 hours after the item was posted. Jeez, it's almost like there's a forum somewhere on the Internet where people orchestrate elaborately dumb pranks for attention.
So what would a printout of a 4chan post really sell for if the bidding wasn't being obviously manipulated by trolls? Judging by all the copycat auctions, about $0.
#4. A Dude Wasn't Rescued From a Bear Via Justin Bieber Ringtone
As we established in our last dispatch from the BS news frontlines, people are willing to believe just about anything if it portrays Justin Bieber as a colossal taint. Well, we should all feel like jerks now for hating on the kid, because it turns out his music does contribute something valuable to society: an easy way to ward off angry wildlife.
"It was that or the glitter from my Hannah Montana iPhone case."
What a story! It sounds like something the Daily Mail would pull out of their asses. So where did it come from?
Yep, this is our periodic reminder that the most popular newspaper website in the world just makes shit up. Despite a countless number of pleas and examples from both this site and our celebrity doppelganger, George Clooney, all roads here lead to the same horseshit Daily Mail story that Elite Daily, ABC, Jezebel, Mediaite, Gawker, Express, and NY Post have inexplicably chosen to trust ... despite a Google image search of the alleged Bieber damsel revealing older versions of the same story that don't mention the pop star at all.
Instead, the pre-Daily Mail version of the story recounts the bear biting into the man's cellphone and causing an electronic voice to announce the time -- it was the phrase "it's 8:30" what scared ol' Smokey away, not "Baby, Baby, Baby, Baby." On the one hand, it's pretty depressing that we're still forced to debunk an obvious Daily Mail concoction. But then again, it's nice to know we can go on declaring Justin Bieber a useless little turd.