Journalism is hard -- or rather, journalism was hard back when you had to actually go outside and talk to people in order to find out what's happening. The Internet has changed all that, thanks to the fact that, as we keep pointing out, every major news site has boiled down reporting to the same standards as your email-forwarding aunt. So let's quickly review the bullshit headlines you probably saw this week ...
#6. Sorry, Pixar Isn't Making a Star Wars Movie
Ever since Disney ate up Lucasfilm, the whole Internet (including us) has been busy speculating about possible Star Wars spinoffs -- and then they went and announced the one project we never saw coming:
John Ratzenberger CONFIRMED for Boba Fett.
And by "they," we mean "someone who has nothing to do with Disney/Pixar." While being covered by pretty much every entertainment site out there, the story itself comes from a single unnamed source by Latino Review, a site also famous for getting the scoop on Christian Bale playing the role of Batman ... in the upcoming Superman vs. Batman film.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
In other words, don't get your hopes up for anthropomorphic Death Stars and adorable protocol droid love stories just yet, because it's all coming from what's basically the Daily Mail equivalent of a movie news site.
#5. Any Shocking News About Marijuana Use Is Probably a Lie
After January 1 came and went and the entire marijuana-legalizing state of Colorado failed to explode, news agencies have been struggling to get their fix of shocking pot stories. Have you seen those headlines about animal marijuana poisoning being "on the rise"?
Not a single "gets high" pun? For shame.
Yeah, they're talking about 320 reported instances ... out of 180,000 total animal poisoning cases in the U.S. In fact, you're still far, far more likely to kill Mr. Noodles with a piece of chocolate or a cookie than a discarded blunt.
It's also still impossible to OD on the stuff yourself, despite the fake claim that 37 people already have. As for Fox News' assurance that you can buy your new animal murdering plant on the state's dime ...
"Munchies lead to surge in food stamp applications."
... that's also a totally made up story. But don't worry: A senator already introduced a bill stopping the fictional problem.
#4. There's No Smarties-Caused Nose-Maggot Epidemic
According to the Daily News, ABC, and Huffington Post, the admittedly pretty stupid act of snorting up crushed Smarties is more dangerous than kids think. How dangerous? Fucking snout maggots-causing dangerous.
"A local dealer was also shot after he scammed buyers with Sweet Tarts."
Clearly, like the cotton-eating and stranger-punching trends before it, nose maggots is a serious issue and in no way another banal attempt at undeserved panic porn/click bait for neurotic parents. The evidence? An email from a single doctor who admitted he has never actually seen it happen, but hopes the prospect of nose worms will stop this blatant misuse of sugary treats.
Are these kids dumb as shit for putting candy up their noses? Definitely. But they've been doing it since the dawn of time, and so far no one's found a worm in their tissue.
#3. China's Entire Internet Wasn't Suddenly Rerouted to a Single House in Wyoming
Pictured: One of Wyoming's five houses.
It's like The Royal Tenenbaums meets Hackers, in that neither of those films represents reality in even the slightest possible way.
What actually happened was that the traffic had been redirected to the servers of a cybersecurity company whose business address was legally listed as a Wyoming house used by numerous shell companies. And while this was all completely available in the original sources covering this, "China crashes some company's servers, somewhere" sounds way less clickable than this:
"Reports are that the house craved more Internet 30 minutes later."
#2. "Hackers" Didn't Steal 70,000 Records from the Obamacare Site
The Healthcare.gov site has done a pretty good job of eating dick and shutting down faster than your average fraternity pledge -- and it appears that it's not done sucking quite yet:
"UPDATED: We got it wrong, but we don't want to take off this nice graphic. The interns worked really hard on it."
Apparently a hacker went and stole 70,000 records from the Obamacare site, so you better tell your wife about that "genital enhancement operation" soon, before she finds out about it from 4chan.
The only catch is that the "hacker" -- or security researcher, whatever -- didn't so much "steal 70,000 records" as he "Googled 70,000 ... somethings" indirectly off the Obamacare site. Medical records can't be stolen from Healthcare.gov, because they're not there. (You should still tell the wife about the fake dong, though.)
#1. There's No Ghost Ship Full of Cannibal Rats Heading to England
Out of all the problems your average coastal town might encounter, you never hear about this one:
These new Sherlock plots leave a lot to be desired.
That's People magazine's webpage informing its readers to be on the lookout for a ship of rats acting out their own adorable tiny version of Cannibal Holocaust, according to an expert. Not to mention the numerous other websites with the same information. So how does the expert (a Belgian salvage hunter talking to the Sun) know the ship is full of meat-hungry rats? He doesn't, because he's never been there, because no one's seen or detected it since April of last year when it was believed to have sunk. That's it. A shaky report by one of Britain's most notoriously bullshitty tabloids is now apparently an acceptable source that we're all going to have to deal with.
On the bright side, we'll see you next week.