Did you hear? The pope has officially declared evolution and the big bang theory to be real! It's a huge, world-changing news story about something no pope has ever done before ... except for Pope Benedict XVI, Pope John Paul II, and even Pope Pius XII back in the goddamn '50s. Yeah. Turns out that's just a thing the Vatican has been down with for a long time, so why all the hubbub?

If we had to guess, the hype probably has something to do with our forever-part series about the media eating its own dick when it comes to minutiae like "fact-checking" and "being the news." Strap in everyone, because the bullshit merry-go-round has begun ...

6
Listening to Beyonce Doesn't Make You Stupid

The beauty of any dubious Facebook-prone pop culture "study" is that they are satisfying enough to validate people's already-established opinions while inconsequential enough for nobody to actually fact-check. For example, you might have seen the following headline shared across the social media profiles of your brightest, most mature, least annoying friends:

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Caruproxx.com

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carradio.com
"It's cool. I- uh, actually have Beyonce friends."

[inject-module]

Various music sites picked up the news that listening to certain music makes you dumb, which the AV Club and Uproxx cynically passed along as well. So how did this 2009 study determine that? Fittingly, it all started on Facebook: the researcher, a student at Cal Tech, compared the SAT scores of major colleges with the students' most frequently liked artists on Facebook -- because there's no way that anyone would pretend to like Beethoven just to look smart, or that there are more complex socioeconomic reasons for why people in less privileged areas like hip hop than "they're dumb." This is framed perfectly by the following hilarious disclaimer smack dab in the middle of the "study":

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carmusicthatmakesyoudumb.virgil.gr
And what is science if not the search for "the lolz"?

See, we would joke that a more accurate way to measure intelligence would be checking how many people shared that headline without even looking at the study, but we don't wanna see that on HuffPost's front page tomorrow.

5
Relax, a Spider Did Not Burrow Inside a Dude's Chest

Being a spider is basically a constant swivel from hoping to not be squished and having a powerful lust for eating the blood of the weak. Also, knitting. It's a confusing, kind of shitty life that humans famously make worse every day. Now, according to Telegraph, Fox, The Guardian, and NY Daily News it appears payback is finally upon us:

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carkdvr.com

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carnewsday.com
The phrase "does whatever a spider can" just got considerably creepier.

By Stan Lee's wrinkly scrotum, that's creepy as fuck. Do you realize the implications of this story? The next time you try to wake your grandma, she just might explode with spiders. Children, dogs, cars, telephones, and even books will be full of spiders in the upcoming arachnapocalypse, with this hapless Australian vacationer at ground zero. According to the story, the little fucker crawled in through an appendectomy scar and burrowed around for three godforsaken days before the doctors pulled it out.

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carnydailynews.com
The scar is actually from them transplanting extra bullshit into him so he could tell this story.

That is, if you believe the random dude claiming it happened -- because there's zero firsthand account of this event from doctors or friends, nor are there any pictures of the spider in question. In fact, according to an actual spider expert, this is totally not a thing spiders do ... meaning that this entire story boils down to a guy claiming that his doctors claimed he got a spider pulled out of him (as opposed to some other, tick-like insect) with zero evidence to back it up.

So tune in next week for when The Telegraph reports a surge of rib-cage-dwelling wasps as reported by the hobo across from their office.

4
A Girl in China Didn't Fund Her Vacation With Stranger Sex

News flash: Lady vaginas are now the Disney FastPass of the backpacking world. Just ask Huffington Post, NY Daily News, IB Times, The Telegraph, Yahoo, Elite Daily, or The Daily Dot:

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carnews.com.au

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Caruk.news.yahoo.com

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Cartelegraph.co.uk
Her story will be chronicled in her novel: Around the World in 69 Days.

That's the full story up there -- a nice-looking 19-year-old Chinese girl apparently slept her way across the most populous country in the world just by posting an online advert looking for suitors in each city. So, first question: why is this news? Other than the fact that it involves an attractive woman that can be stamped on everyone's news feed along with the word "sex," we mean. Second: is this news? Really?

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Cartelegraph.co.uk
Nope.

A hoax? Ah, shit. Who was it, Jimmy Kimmel? Ashton Kutcher? Is Ed McMahon at it again, that rascal? What elaborate ruse was enacted in order to make so many media outlets believe such a bold-faced lie? Surely it wasn't something as simple as-

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Cartelegraph.co.uk
Oh.

Turns out this controversy-sparking backpacking sex party was actually some random woman on social media (the most trustworthy kind of new source, obviously) who turned out to just be a male employee for an app company smart enough to know how stupid guys get when it comes to sex: which is approximately half as dimwitted as the media, it seems. Too bad the Chinese government said it would shut down the company for this hoax, so we're assuming they all got executed.

3
A Man Didn't Divorce His Wife Because She Was a Genie

Speaking of crazy news from other countries that no one bothers to fact-check, didja hear about this crazy dude from that country with all the sand that divorced a woman because she was possessed by a genie? If you didn't, then you probably don't get your news from UPI, BBC, Metro, Elite Daily, or Breitbart:

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carbbc.com

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carelitedaily.com
"One minute she was fine, the next she'd go on an hour-long celebrity impressions tirade."

No, this isn't viral marketing for a gritty I Dream of Jeannie reboot by Frank Miller -- it all comes from a now deleted story from Gulf News about an unfortunate husband untying the knot because his lady for life turned out to be withholding the small fact that she was possessed by a demon genie. Relevant: she was also withholding access to her privates.

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 CarWiki Commons
"It was mainly the second thing."

The problem with this shocking news story? It's not shocking, or news. It turns out that "jinn (genie) possession" is a common myth among Muslim women. Basically, the real story probably had something to do with some asshole divorcing a woman because she didn't tell him she had mental health issues. On the upside, there's probably an Arabian newspaper somewhere with the headline "Silly American Thinks Ex-Wife Is a Literal Harpy From Hell, Plus a Mutant She-Dog."

2
That Penis Drawn on a $2.5 Million Car Was a Prank

Since we first grunted our way into line art drawn with fire embers, mankind has been drawing penises like it was the reason we were put on this Earth. From there we built towering monuments to them, designed our snacks to be phallic, and drove fast and slick vehicles to compensate for the saddest-looking ones. Now it appears that we've come full circle.

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carhuffingtonpost.co.uk

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carentertainmentwise.com
Must be a typo; it looks like a fairly average-sized penis to us.

As HuffPoop, Metro, EntertainmentWise, The Mirror, and many others are reporting, a people wagon worth $2.5 million accidentally parked on the dick-painting side of the tracks and got itself cockandballsified to high Heaven. Naturally, car lovers around the world were appalled, since it's not like you can just easily peel that paint off, right?

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Caryoutube.com

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carinstagram.com

Yep, in this case you absolutely can, because this was actually a prank made for a YouTube channel that got spoiled when a random person snapped a photo, put it on Twitter, and then the entire world reported on it. You might be saying, "How could the journalists know this was a prank, Cracked? All they had was a photo!" Yeah, and that's why you don't turn random Twitter photos into news stories, guys.

It's worth noting that the pranksters' biggest claim to fame before this was spraying shit on people in bathrooms. If we're lucky, they'll go into journalism and raise the bar a little bit.

1
Russell Brand Didn't Say He's Open to 9/11 Conspiracies

As far as crazy tabloid celebrity targets go, Russell Brand is top-shelf. He's verbally incomprehensible and perpetually looks like someone just quantum-leaped into his body. This might be pushing the persona a little too far, though:

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Cartheguardian.com

6 BS Stories That Went Viral: Penis Drawn On $2,000,000 Carindependent.co.uk
And yet he still won't comment on who was really behind the Arthur remake.

See, there's quirky and then there's that. What could be sillier than claiming credence to a wacky, utterly unfeasible conspiracy? Probably it would be reporting that someone is claiming credence to a wacky, utterly unfeasible conspiracy when they aren't, because actually watching the interview will reveal that Brand never claims that he's down with the truthers. Relevant bit at 11:25:

When asked point blank if he thinks it was an inside job he says, and we are quoting (unlike E Online, The Times, Independent, and NY Daily News), that he doesn't "want to talk about daft conspiracy theories" and moves on. It's something he's even backed up in his book, which took B.S. News regular Gawker to actually point out. So where did the "open-minded" bullshit come from? Well, here's the exact quote:

"Ordinary people have so little trust in our media that we have to remain open-minded to any kind of possibility."

Here's the thing: the guy does spout a fair amount of stupidity on account of, well, being a celebrity with a microphone in front of his face. However, you'd think that the moment he said, "I don't want to talk about daft conspiracy theories," the news editors of the world would go, "Aw, now we can't go with that angle." Instead, the opposite happened. Gee, why is it that we have so little trust in our media?


For more hogwash, check out the last installment of B.S. Viral Stories the Internet Fell For.

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