Jon Stewart recently compared sites like BuzzFeed to carnival barkers drawing a crowd -- "You Won't Believe What Happened Next" is the hairless cat passed off as a chupacabra of the 21st century, basically. BuzzFeed adamantly denied this, saying that clickbait doesn't work when the thing you're being baited for is a lie. We have to agree, because as demonstrated when BuzzFeed and others "reported" non-stories like a killer asking Siri where to hide a body, a dirty brothel menu, and the upcoming Space Jam 2 ... clickbait doesn't matter when everyone is reporting bullshit to begin with.

To help, here's yet another part in our long-standing B.S. series for your incredulous enjoyment.

6
A Study Didn't Prove That Smoking Weed Shrinks Your Brain

Now that we've successfully lured all the pot smokers to the northwest where they belong, it appears the war on marijuana can finally end. Or, failing that, at least the war on really stupid news stories about the effects of weed. Right?

newsmaxhealth.com

dailymail.co.uk

telegraph.co.uk
That's just, like, your opinion lies, man.

Nope! Those are still alive and well. As the country begins to push and pull over this issue, you best believe sites like Seattle Times, CNN, and The Telegraph need to pace themselves over how many misleading "pot will kill you (maybe)" studies they choose to report. In this case, they're saying that if you're a frequent toker, you might end up looking like Geena Davis' waiting room companion in Beetlejuice.

However, by doing that new crazy thing called "reading," we found out that the study in question was unable to find any definite causality of the changes in chronic pot-smokers' brains, as they tested them only once. For all we know, the real discovery here is that people with smaller brain parts are more likely to abuse drugs ... a theory that is totally backed up by a 2012 study that found that people with a similar brain condition at the age of 12 were more likely to end up getting high on funny plant farts.

automan25/iStock/Getty Images
This is your brain on drugs ... maybe ... probably not ... no.

So to say that the study even "suggests" that some wacky toke monster is shriveling brains is either outright scare-tactic bullshit or the result of these reporters skipping basic second-grade reading and comprehension skills.

5
That Feminist T-Shirt Wasn't Made in a Sweatshop

Being the edgy social commentators that they are, the frequent B.S. news guest stars at Time.com recently put out a poll asking readers to vote for what word should be banned in 2015, providing comical examples like "bae," "I can't even," "om nom nom nom," and ... uh, "feminism." We guess that would certainly prevent bullshit like this:

huffingtonpost.com

gulfnews.com
It's about ethics in textile journalism.

[inject-module]

In a turn of events that would blow Alanis Morissette's mind for a couple of reasons, it apparently turned out that those "This Is What a Feminist Looks Like" shirts proudly sported by British celebrities and politicians were made by exploited women in third-world-country sweatshops. Obviously, this story that Huffington Post, Telegraph, The Guardian, Gulf News, Toronto Sun, and a whole bunch of "just sayin'" dudes are passing on is a very big and potentially reputation-murdering allegation, so it's pretty important to know which news outlet originally made it. The answer is: not a news outlet, the Daily Mail.

dailymail.co.uk
Legally, this is classified as an "untruth dispensary."

You know, the same site that recently ran a spread judging female politicians on their outfits and aggressively ran 54 headlines in a year about women who falsely reported rapes. Surely that website would be completely objective about a pro-feminist shirt that was picking up steam for a women's equality and rights charity. A charity which, by the way, commissioned an outside investigation of the T-shirt factories and concluded that nothing remotely sweatshop-like was happening. But we don't even blame The Daily Mail, not any more than we would blame a dog for pooping on a rug. It's the people inexplicably rewarding that dog for its actions that deserve to have their faces stuck in shit.

4
The KKK Isn't Accepting All Races and Sexualities

We've come a long way. After over 50 years of civil rights struggles and abuse, it looks like Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream has finally been realized. Only it happens to be a weirder, food poisoning-induced type of fever dream ...

sports.yahoo.com

ibtimes.co.uk
"Hop on the bandwagon ... but sit in the back."

Nope, that's not The Onion or a transcript of an old Chappelle's Show sketch -- according to Yahoo, IB Times, Metro, and Huffington Post, it looks like the Hispanic, African American, Jewish, and LGBT people of America who find white robes to be flattering are in luck. The KKK is now officially more accepting than some golf clubs, apparently.

But wait, aren't there literally hundreds of Ku Klux Klan factions in the U.S.? Who got them all to agree to this total rebrand? No one, because as only a few of the articles later point out, this sweeping change actually applies only to a single group up in Montana that was just recently created by a reformed KKK member. Someone who has been condemned by his former buddies.

sports.yahoo.com
"It was 50 percent his non-racism, 50 percent his facial hair."

In other words, this is neither the KKK nor a "rebrand" of an existing faction, and all those headlines are complete poop. But hey, it's not like it's dangerous to announce that a potentially violent organization will now welcome you with open arms or anything like that.

3
A Reality Star Didn't Get Caught Having Sex in a Church

In "Why is this news?" news: apparently it's been so long since America had a good sex scandal that we'll even try to invent some, perhaps between married couples, or fundamentalist Christians, or, worse, reality TV stars. Or, even worse, all three at the same time:

latinpost.com

gawker.com
Actually, this sounds way better than what "19 Kids and Counting Sex Scandal" implies.

Look, we get it. The big ornamental pillars, the stained glass pictures of Jesus -- churches are deeply erotic places. But on your wedding day? That's just tacky. So what, exactly, happened here? Did a big curtain fall down to reveal the TLC star and her groom hammering away over the baptismal pool? Please, Gawker, Latin Post, Cosmo, or Inquisitr, give us the sexy details of this jaw-dropping scand-

radaronline.com
The real scandal here is the name "Jinger."

Wait, so this whole thing comes from a semi-anonymous comment left on a (possibly satirical) blog by someone who claimed to be in the wedding and claimed she was told about the scandal by someone else ... who didn't see it first-hand either? We've lost count of how many layers of shakiness there are to this story, which didn't stop this from making it all the way to freaking Fox News. Alas, you can tell the DVR to skip the wedding episode, people: there's probably not gonna be any boobage there.

2
"There's a Stupid Virus!" Declares Stupid Media

Good news: there's now a scientific explanation for why people keep falling for bullshit news stories! Science has found the "stupidity virus"!

abcnews.go.com
"All reporters declared patient zero."

Bad news: it's just another bullshit story. Gizmodo, ABC News, USA Today, and CNET all reported on this news with cute introductory paragraphs saying stuff like, "The next time you lose your keys or bomb a test, try blaming it on a virus." In fact, the virus in question has absolutely no impact on intellect in people. If you happen to read the wording of the study itself, you'll find that the algae virus causes a "modest but statistically significant decrease" in "cognitive assessments of visual processing and motor speed" -- or rather that it fucks with your motor skills. If anything, the virus would make you physically clumsier, but it wouldn't make you forget the answer to two plus two or force you to suddenly start liking Carrot Top.

The researchers did see a negative effect on learning and memory formation ... in mice. Not humans.

Vit Kovalcik/iStock/Getty Images
"Chairman of the Board is a masterpiece."

Huh, it's almost as if these studies are more complicated than any black-and-white conclusions and the media simply can't compute that possibility. But if you're trying to discover a stupidity virus, you know where to start looking, science.

1
Everyone Needs to Stop Saying "Polar Vortex"

Hey, remember last year when that sweeping "polar vortex" sucked the air from your icy lungs whilst freezing squirrels to their perch in a matter of seconds? No? Well, that's too bad, because we're all gonna die again ...

freep.com

thedailybeast.com

app.com
"Temperatures expected to plunge to absolute bullshit."

To paraphrase Discover, Yahoo, Fox, The Daily Beast, Inquisitr, and CBS News: RUN TO SAFETY! Burn books to stay warm! Whatever you do ... don't go outside, lest you be blasted by the giant polar vortex that peaks its menacing head once a year like the specter lovechild of Mr. Freeze and Punxsutawney Phil. In fact, check it out, here they are on a map -- yes, there are two:

blogs.agu.org

Don't recognize those parts of the U.S.? That's because we haven't annexed Greenland and North Siberia (yet). Yep, that's where the actual polar vortices are right now, and they aren't moving. They are still up there, being all vortex-like in our upper atmosphere, which is where they always are. All the time. Doing vortex things. So they are not descending on us like Galactus.

At some point, all the news sites got together and decided to start using "polar vortex" as a phrase for saying that it's getting really cold ... you know, the way it tends to do around this time of year since the beginning of recorded history. The news likes to use it because it sounds neat and gets clicks -- only, as we just pointed out, a polar vortex is an actual, different thing happening in the world. Of course, this just means that if a polar vortex does come to this side of the world, the news is gonna have to come up with something even more dramatic. Thousand-year ice age, here we come!

post-gazette.com
"ALSO BREAKING: HOLY SHIT, THIS GRAVITY THING!"


Hey turkeys, see any bullshit in the news? Tell Dave about it on his Twitter!

And while you're here, you might as well check out Cracked's previous installment of B.S. News Stories That Went Viral.

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