1 in 3 Men Love Rape: 6 Viral Stories That Were Total BS
Seeing as how that kid was faking his vacation to Heaven, it looks like "Hey, let's stop reporting made-up stuff as news" clearly wasn't among the media's resolutions this year. That's OK, though, because just like in 2014 we'll be here standing between you and the bullshit of the world like some kind of incredulous Batman (but, you know, real). It's time to continue our forever-part series calling out the various twaddle the media wants you to sop, starting with the fact that ...
The "1 in 3 College Men Said They'd Rape" Study Was Based on a Survey of 73 People
You probably saw this highly clickable headline just above a heated, 237-comment debate between your friend from high school and a distant uncle on Facebook:
By comment 150, it devolved into a series of female pop-star eye-roll GIFs.
Yes, if we're going by the headlines posted by MTV, Cosmopolitan, HuffPo, and Jezebel, a third of all college men would rape on a dime -- that's over 2 million people, by the way, or a bigger army of raging dongs than Genghis Khan's. The conclusion comes from a study done by the counseling department of the University of North Dakota, conducted to explore the fact that men often don't understand what legally constitutes rape and that they are more willing to commit rape when it's simply called something catchier, like "intercourse by use of force." It's a pretty terrifying observation about male attitudes toward sexual assault ... that's being completely overshadowed by the headlines above, which fail to mention that the survey in question involved a total of 86 men. Only 73 of which gave answers the study could use.
The rest left strange holes in the survey paper.
We're not saying the results of the survey aren't worth reporting, but here's an idea: maybe don't make this world a worse place by doing it in the most alarmist way possible? Everyone can agree that sexual assault is a big problem that needs to be addressed, but saying "almost a third of college men will rape you" because of a few assholes in North Dakota does a heck of a job of distracting everyone from actually talking about it.
The Pope Didn't Say That All Dogs Go to Heaven
When your predecessor is a former Hitler Youth member accused of harboring sexual predators, it's not terribly hard to be "progressive" as a religious leader. Even then, Pope Francis might be starting to overdo it:
"'PREACH, homies!' said the Pope as he reversed his cap and skateboarded away."
It's no surprise that New York Daily News, USA Today, io9, and Time all jumped on this irresistibly adorable statement about our pets joining us in the afterlife -- especially when it gave them an opportunity to reference beloved Burt Reynolds movies. There's only one snag: the pope totally didn't say this.
As the Vatican's deputy spokesman smote, "There is a fundamental rule in journalism. That is double-checking, and in this case it was not done." It all came from an Italian newspaper recapping past statements made about pets by popes, citing a comment by Pope Paul VI to a child mourning his pet, as well as recent and much more vague statements by Pope Francis about "transformation of all creation into a new heaven." From there it took The New York Times sorta skimming the article, presumably, just assuming that they were talking about the current pope, and then calling it a day.
"We think, anyway. It's all in Spanish or something."
When eventually realizing their mistake (but only after reporting on it twice), NYT stuck a correction at the very end, basically saying, "Everything you just read was wrong." Unfortunately, it was too late, and in the standard journalist fashion of today, the rest of the media was helpless to blindly pass on the story without bothering to check the original source or questioning it in any way. Nice work, guys! You just got a bunch of dogs' hopes up for nothing.
Kim Jong Un Isn't Opening a Scottish Dog Restaurant
Remember back in swingin' 2014, when everyone fell for fake stories about Kim Jong Un making silly haircuts mandatory, tricking his country into thinking they were in the World Cup, and breaking his ankles from eating too much cheese? It was a different, more innocent time. So, what's been in the news lately?
According to Daily Record, CNBC, and Metro, Kim Jong Un is quite the culinary entrepreneur. After opening (then closing, then reopening with a different name) a restaurant in Amsterdam, the North Korean government is apparently all set to invade Scotland with delicious dishes such as dog meat soup. It's just wacky, inhuman, and mildly racist enough to be true! Or to be reported in the international media, anyway.
It took the usually not-terribly-skeptical folks at the Huffington Post to point out that the origin of this story was one blogger literally just saying, "It would not surprise me if they opted to open a restaurant in Scotland," on a site called North Korea Leadership Watch (dot Wordpress dot com). This expert source clarified that he has no inside knowledge, and his logic for the "prediction" was that Scotland leans to the left. Welp, start making space for a new joint in the restaurant district, Portland!
A Commercial Airliner Didn't Almost Break the Sound Barrier
In science news: the news doesn't understand science. Either that, or Virgin Atlantic is getting a little too chummy with their Galactic division ...
"It was only one Chaos Emerald short, but then its brother unplugged the Sega."
Holy balls to the wall, that's unbelievable -- especially because a commercial plane passing Mach 1 would probably shatter into little tragic pieces. What Time, CNN, The Independent, and Inquisitr did here was take the ground speed at which the plane was moving (about 745 mph) and comparing that to the 760 mph it takes to break the sound barrier, which sure sounds like doing science ... if it weren't for the fact that the ground speed of a plane has nothing to do with how fast the plane is actually going. In the air there's something fittingly called "airspeed," which measures how fast the plane moves relative to the air around it. By being caught in a jet stream, the plane in question was able to move "faster" (in the way you move faster on an escalator) while not actually getting anywhere near doing even a tiny bit of damage to the sound barrier.
This is the airplane equivalent of running on top of the moving walkway at the airport.
It's a little detail the people writing these articles could have picked up on with some research and, you know, reporting. But, on the other hand, "Passenger Jet Crosses the Atlantic in Only Five Hours" (which, holy shit, is what really happened) just isn't as exciting.
The Charlie Hebdo Massacre Site Isn't a Tourist Attraction
Considering that their response to previous tragedy and threats of violence was basically "I fart in your general direction," the one solace we can take from the Charlie Hebdo attack is that the victims would probably find it hilarious that their lowbrow satirical magazine has become a symbol of martyrdom for freedom of expression. If not that, then perhaps this new media outrage would warrant a posthumous chuckle:
Guess how many photos of the place are in the article. If you said "less than 10," better luck next time.
Naturally, this is the kind of cognitive dissonance that can be turned into "news" only by the folks over at the Daily Mail, who paint the scene of the terrorists' final stand as a tourist attraction filled with selfie-taking sociopaths. Their evidence? A single instance of a bystander asking a stranger to take a picture ...
"This was the site of Daily Mail's millionth bullshit story." -tour guide in the year 2150
... which, and we wish it was the Daily Mail telling us this instead of the other way around, isn't even what a "selfie" is. At least Business Insider is simply covering all the mourners while bafflingly going with this headline to do it:
Stupid tourists with their fanny packs and sympathy bouquets ...
The President of Argentina Didn't Adopt a Kid to Prevent Him From Becoming a Werewolf
Usually, we can tell how a fake news story came to be -- sometimes it's honest mistakes, sometimes it's a lazy misunderstanding, and sometimes it's just "Haha, look at the foreigners." But this ... we could take 10 years to look into it and still not fully understand how the hell this happened:
"OK, so our 'Weekly World News Tribute Week' has been a bit confusing to some readers ..."
The story being covered by The Independent, Telegraph, NY Daily News, People, CNBC, and fucking Smithsonian Magazine is that the president of Argentina recently adopted a Jewish boy as part of a ceremony to keep him from becoming a werewolf. No, seriously. As in "they really said that," not "it actually happened," because of course it fucking didn't.
As it turns out, the explanation might be a combination of all the elements we mentioned above: someone heard about the real tradition where the president takes the seventh kid of an Argentine family as a godchild and mixed it up with a not-at-all-related werewolf legend. The "haha foreigners" factor ensured no one double-checked, and the rest is fake-news history.
How does the boy's Jewishness factor into it, you're probably asking yourselves? So are we, friends. So are we.
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And while you're here, be sure to check out the previous installments of our B.S. news series.