7 B.S. News Stories That Fooled Your Facebook Friends
Mark Twain once famously said that "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes." In that spirit, here's another attempt to give the truth a head start by violently tackling the sprinting bullshit smearing your news feed ... starting with the fact that Mark Twain never said that quote.
And because easily avoidable fake articles never rest (and neither do we), we've opted to supersize your dubious news intake. Enjoy! (Or maybe despair for the state of the media for a while, and then enjoy.)
Relax, Taking Naps Is Not Going to Kill You
It's time to set your coffee makers to "pod people prevention," because it turns out that your next nap ... might be your last!
"Hmm, maybe we should have tested more than just one street."
Holy fuck on toast! According to CBS, Gawker, the Wire, Gothamist, the Independent, and the rest of the Internet, a new study of over 16,000 people found that those who took naps would die sooner than those who didn't, because they "can cause an inflammation in the body." All those pro-nap studies were actually lies by the corporate pro-sleep mask media machine.
But buried in all those articles, usually at the bottom, is a mention that maybe the naps aren't the silent killer here, but a symptom of some disease -- otherwise known as the real point of the study. If you look at the actual words of the researchers (and not the Daily Mail-ized version everyone copied), they specifically say, "We are unaware of any evidence to show an association between daytime napping and inflammation," which explains why Spain doesn't turn into a pile of corpses at 2:00 p.m.
China Isn't Selling Canned Air Due to Rising Smog Levels
Thanks to smog, China is basically a big sauna of farts. And not unlike a putrid hotbox, some outlets have chosen to contain their coverage of it in a ridiculously obtuse shroud:
Clearly dick lightsabers can't be far behind.
That would be the Daily Mail using their precious Internet space to tell us about China's idea to sell bottled fresh air in order to "address its dangerous smog levels." In fact, such is the demand for that sweet, sweet O2 in China that one businessman already "sold 10 million cans in just 10 days" last year. As the depressingly popular Alex Jones remarked when spreading this story, "You really cannot make this stuff up." Well, yes, you can, because it's mostly crap.
The article makes it sound like China's president personally commissioned the bottled air to fight smog. In reality, he was just joking, because of course he was, and he never mentioned China's smog problem; he was talking about ways to promote the clean-aired Guizhou Province, the same way New York City once promoted its tap water with the exact same stunt. Guizhou tourism officials did take the joke seriously and announced plans to sell canned air ... as novelty souvenirs, not a solution to an environmental crisis.
As for the businessman who sold millions of cans of fresh air in 2013, yes, that's accurate -- if you replace "sold" with "produced," "millions" with "thousands," and "fresh air" with "the fetid air from his soda factory." Basically, it was the equivalent of Mars shipping off a bunch of empty M&M packets as a publicity stunt.
"All cans are just harmless old Chinese lead."
No, Ukraine Isn't Ordering Jews to Register
Most of what America knows about Ukrainian culture ranges somewhere between a Facebook meme post and that Nicolas Cage film where he snorts gunpowder. That said, we surely know a call to arms when we see one:
"Everyone gets a nice gold star sticker for participating!"
Fuuuuck that. As reported by the Washington Post, the Daily News, and USA Today, Ukraine has gone so darkly retro that it's akin to a "chilling echo of the Holocaust" -- did we learn nothing from Holocaust movies like Schindler's List and Toy Story 3? You know how it goes: First they tell Jewish people to register, then they start rounding them up in camps, and the next thing you know, we're knee-deep in World War II 2: Putin the Habit.
But wait, don't oil up your Anti-Mecha-Hitler chain guns just yet. What the news so tactfully declares is a forced registration is actually a bunch of leaflets anonymously passed around in eastern Ukraine that have since been declared a hoax -- a fact that probably should have been caught before, since the "governor's order" was full of errors like using the wrong title for the supposed governor and not including his freaking signature.
Pretty sure they got that logo from Pink Floyd's The Wall.
It turns out that you just can't trust random pieces of paper handed to you on the street anymore.
Pretty Much Every Random Photo the News Reports On Is Fake
We're not sure why, but at some point in 2013 society collectively succumbed to the idea that an unsourced Imgur photograph caption was not only newsworthy, but undoubtedly so at that. The fact that some sites are giving a play-by-play recap of a Reddit post about a fence and marking it as "news" is alarming enough, but it gets worse -- recently the Independent covered the story of a Reddit user discovering an underground safe in his home and cracking it open to find "someone's ashes" and a dog leash.
He was unable to open the Ziploc bag, though.
While the Independent was happy to leave this as an open-ended mystery, a more serious journalistic institution called "some random dude on the Internet" pointed out that the leash looked suspiciously similar to the one found in an earlier, unrelated photo by the original poster ...
"Holy shit! He turned his dog into a box!"
... meaning the whole thing was a hoax, because that's what happens when your news source is listed as "CraigNoList."
This is all stupid and harmless until we enter the egregious genre of service workers faking the prejudice of strangers for money and easy media attention -- the most notorious being the waitress who forged an anti-gay note on a customer's receipt, and more recently a college student who reported racist slurs on her dorm door ...
"No, that's supposed to be Michael Ian Black."
... only to be immediately exposed as the one who wrote it. Apparently there aren't enough actual racists mouthing off right now, so we have to report on completely made-up ones.
It's gotten to the point that when a pilot supposedly received a sexist note from one of her passengers, the two "related stories" that came posted with the Jezebel article were a meta-flaunting of the blatant gullibility that pre-emptively discredits any and all hate crime victims from now on. Nice work.
The site has become sentient and is begging you not to share this.
France Didn't Make Late-Night Work Emails Illegal
Despite having a higher work output than Germany, we like to picture the French as a mime-faced pile of layabouts lazily fucking while kissing the end of a long-tipped cigarette and playing the accordion at the same time. That's probably why everyone from the Guardian to the BBC to the various popular blogs in between are passing this fascist little puppy around:
"Only sexts are allowed past 9, even in emergencies."
If you're wondering how France can dictate work and social life without everyone dusting off the guillotine, the answer is that they can't. Or rather, they aren't. In fact, the only accurate part of those headlines is the "France" one: This isn't a law, but a union agreement, and it doesn't forbid anyone from sending work emails past a certain time, but simply gives workers the right to not respond to them during their off hours -- whenever that may be. Which isn't that crazy, considering a few German companies did this years ago, and the United States is slowly getting there, one "stop spamming my BlackBerry with late-night work emails" lawsuit at a time.
But for some reason those 250,000 French union employees became "millions of people," and "whenever" became the oddly specific "exactly at 6 p.m." But hey, that's what being a reporter is all about, right? Getting it slightly right and then just mindlessly copying and pasting it over and over?
AC/DC Isn't Retiring (Not All of Them, Anyway)
Despite having a lead singer that sounds like a Muppet, AC/DC has jockeyed the rock-and-roll train for nearly 40 years, which also makes it no surprise to anyone to hear that their mighty reign has come to a close:
"Tony Stark devastated."
Well, it's no surprise to anyone except AC/DC, who have no intention of throwing in the towel, despite everyone, including the Daily Mail, USA Today, Yahoo, and all of the many metal-devoted sites out there, saying otherwise. It turns out that the "report" was actually a single Australian radio DJ saying the words "We may not hear them perform or record ever again" after getting an anonymous email saying as much. While it's true that founder Malcolm Young (aka "the guitarist who doesn't dress like a 10-year-old") is stepping down due to health issues, believe it or not, rock bands have been known to continue after one important member quits.
Or all important members, even.
Everyone Needs to Stop Reporting That Bigfoot Was Shot
Hey, remember when we told you about all those dumb "the Loch Ness Monster died" headlines that were popping up last year? Surely the media has learned its lesson by now and this won't happen ag-
We're not sure what's worse: the fact that this story was in Fox's "Science/Wild Nature" section or that you can totally debunk it just by looking at the photographic proof that came with it:
Didn't the Power Rangers kill this guy in Season 1?
Despite looking like the lovechild of Yukon Cornelius and Bumble, this thing made it not only to the local news, but also to the New York Daily News, International Business Times, and TIME. Each time the headline credited "Bigfoot hunter" Rick Dyer for the kill ... which is funny, considering Dyer's previous job as a Bigfoot hoaxer.
"From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subj: Re:Re:Re:Re: Bigfoot is real guys seriously."
That would be a 2008 article involving a store-bought Sasquatch costume, possum road kill, and Rick Dyer pulling the exact same fucking hoax on the news. Along with calling his guts-filled forgery a "big joke" in the interview, Dyer also flat-out says the words "Bigfoot doesn't exist."
Special thanks to Chris Rio for providing the AC/DC story.