Swine Flu Panic: Bullshit

Hamilton Nolan · 04/27/09 10:12AM

Quickly, don your paper masks! Stay indoors! The dirty Mexican pig influenza is here, to sicken you! Wocka wocka. Did you know that America had another swine flu panic, in 1976? Let's reminisce, and laugh:

New Media Landscape Is Political Hack Wonderland

Pareene · 03/20/09 03:34PM

So the fact that nothing is ever "edited" or "fact-checked" anymore because of "the internet" is so great because of citizen journalism and no gatekeepers etc! But the down side is all the bullshit.

How 'Pansexual' Neal Boulton Pranked His Way To Celebrity

Ryan Tate · 12/05/08 06:18AM

Neal Boulton is reportedly orgasmic. The editor of a magazine for gays and a website for bis signed a book deal (with an agent) and claims to be drowning in reality show offers following a profile in Page Six Magazine. Everyone wants to screw and/or sign the sexual libtertine, supposedly, because of his oh-so-exciting and freewheeling life. But all indications are that his most famous antics were manufactured in the press. Take his alleged macking with Rolling Stone Jann Wenner, for example, Boulton's claim to "pansexual" fame.

Calling Bullshit On The Obama Ring Story

Hamilton Nolan · 12/02/08 10:10AM

President-elect Obama—allegedly a 'man of the people'—is allegedly buying a fancy $30,000 ring for his fancy wife, allegedly! It was in the trusty Daily Mail, and now it's the top story on Drudge, meaning it is the single most important news story in all the world. Elitist Obama drops 30K on bling for his wife during a recession—and this bling will be made out of rhodium, the world's most expensive metal! This story is almost certainly bullshit, and we will tell you exactly why. [Updates below—we were right]:

David Shuster Ignores Our 'Martin Eisenstadt' Hoax Warnings

Ryan Tate · 11/13/08 07:13AM

David Shuster, we tried to warn you. "Martin Eisenstadt" is no adviser to John McCain, our own Alex Pareene reported Nov. 4, but rather a talented comedian. Mother Jones did likewise. And yet! On Monday, nearly six days after that warning, you had to go and identify Eisenstadt on MSNBC as a "McCain policy adviser" who spread word that McCain running mate Sarah Palin didn't know Africa was a continent. The Times did a big expose, revealing that Eisenstadt is really Eitan Gorlin, who perpetuated the hoax with fellow filmmaker Dan Mirvish. MSNBC retracted the story, and we're left to examine your track record:

Joe the Plumber Didn't Hook Up With Kristen Wiig

Pareene · 11/04/08 02:14PM

Back in September of 2007, a series of amusing "Rudy Giliani ads" were released to YouTube by a mysterious user named "abrad2345." One of them is attached. A year later, we were pointed to a blog and video series called "The Last Republican" by a "McCain advisor" named Martin Eisenstadt. Martin Eisenstadt is a gifted, funny satirist. Sorry for messing up your game, Martin, 'cause we like you, but the election's done, you've had your fun. And hey everyone else on the internet—the story of Joe the Plumber attending the SNL afterparty and hooking up with Kristen Wiig? It is bullshit. Or "a joke." You're welcome. Now go watch his videos, they're pretty funny.

How to Plant Bullshit

Pareene · 09/05/08 12:41PM

The Oprah story on Drudge was maybe a bit of a stretch! Does it matter? No! The "damage" is done. It's proof that we've finally reached the most maddening 2004-throwback part of the campaign: the bit where they (let us just say "campaign operatives") throw out absolute bullshit to the friendliest of sources and wait for it to bubble up. We didn't think this would work anymore, in this brave new bloggy future—but it does! RedState heard Palin's teleprompter broke and she soldiered on like a pro! A guy who watched the speech in view of her teleprompter says that is not true, at all, wtf. Too late! The story's already being repeated as gospel! Drudge says Oprah refuses to have Sarah Palin on her show! Oprah says there hasn't been any discussion, we only just heard of this woman a week ago, wtf, I'll have her on later. Who cares? Hell, on a macro level various people call Sarah Palin a "maverick" and "reformer" and then she is one. Democrats can't replicate this strategy because there is not a legitimate news organization in the world that would unquestioningly use Kos (or even HuffPo??) as a source. But if they want to try we'll happily post an item on that one time Martin Balsam and Robert Shaw hijacked Joe Biden's Acela and killed the engineer and he outwitted all of them and drove the train to safety. Now we wait for Chris Matthews to take the bait!

Fox News Is Not Actually This Stupid

Pareene · 08/26/08 01:43PM

We are pretty sure this is a photoshop. But who knows because it just appeared out of the blue on a Tumblog today, without attribution or sourcing. Maybe crazy Rex is right about this [via] business! It's been tracked back to this demotivational poster, making it already an altered image, though it was presented without that crucial bit of information when it first set down on a the microblogging corner of the internet today, whereupon it was emailed and IM'd to your editors like three times in ten minutes. Now it's been reblogged on god knows how many other Tumbling Logs! So let's play Snopes: find us a clip, guys, because this looks like bullshit. If it's not on MediaMatters it didn't happen. We did crack up last night when the Fox graphics said "ALERT: MRS OBAMA: I LOVE AMERICA" though, among other statements that look hilarious when preceded by "ALERT."

Happy Happiest Day of the Year Day!

Pareene · 06/20/08 01:12PM

Hey everyone it's the happiest goddamn day of the year! You probably read as much in your local paper? According to a scientist—a scientist!—June 20 is the happiest day of 2008. He uses a mathematical formula to prove it! With science! Look, here is the equation: O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He. The scientician who developed this formula is named Cliff Arnall. If that name is familiar, it may be because you read him calling January 22 the saddest day of the year. In 2007. And 2006, and 2005. The story runs, twice a year, like clockwork, in newspapers across the US and the UK. All because a quack psychologist is more than happy to sign a check from some corporation and then attach his name to a press release. It's the happiest day of the year for newspaper editors desperate to fill a news hole on a summer Friday! [Mind Hacks]

Those Amazonian Tribespeople: Bullshit?

Pareene · 05/30/08 02:34PM

A rare, isolated, never-before-seen tribe photographed from a plane high above the Amazon! Dressed in red warpaint and shooting arrows at the camera! What a story! Well... you know us, we love to call bullshit on things. Just last weekend we were ready to call bullshit on the guy who made the "self-portrait" with DHL and a GPS device-equipped suitcase (honestly, people!) but then the dude called himself on it before we got the chance. (Stupid holiday weekend!) Anyway. Is this tribe shit for real?

5 Bullshit Stories the Whole Internet Fell For

Pareene · 05/22/08 03:35PM

The internet loves bullshit. While many of its denizens will brag of their skepticism, claim thousands of readers make the best fact-checkers, and say the web holds the mainstream media accountable, the fact remains that made-up bullshit still drives huge traffic, if it's marketed right. Hence, "13-year-old Steals Dad's Credit Car to Buy Hookers," a realistic-looking "news story" posted on some financial site no one had ever heard of before called The fact that there were no sources other than this dodgy domain didn't stop the story from making the front page of Digg and Fark and racking up probably hundreds of thousands of views. Then "real" news sites began picking it up. It made the UK Sun's print edition. This tale was invented by an online marketer to boost a client's SEO ranking. And no one on Digg or anywhere else BUSTED the hoax. Nor do they bother to debunk any of the rest of the snappily headlined bullshit that makes the rounds every day. Four more examples, below.

How To Create An "Odd News" Hit In One Easy Step

Pareene · 01/11/08 02:27PM

So the story about the twins, separated at birth, who accidentally married each other years later? The sole source is a speech by a nutty pro-life former MP on the floor of the irrelevant House of Lords in the UK. And there are no names nor identifying details. There is so little to this story that could not actually squeeze three separate, distinct "STORY HIGHLIGHT" bullet points to summarize up top. Happy Friday! If it's not a slow news day, your newsmedia shall create one. [CNN]