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Artistic License – Paleontology kicks in each and every time that the mainstream media publishes anything remotely related to paleontology or biological evolution. There are paleo-geek blogs almost entirely built around this. Some of the most frequently published examples include such claims as:
"...the ancestor of X..." It's practically impossible to say that any given fossil is a direct and factual ancestor of any other organism, living or extinct. Evolution is complexly branched, and you are millions-to-one more likely to find an ancient relative (like a distant uncle or cousin which left no descendants, but still bears some similarities) than a direct ancestor (like a father or grandfather, that has roughly the same similarities but did leave descendants).
"The oldest relative of X has been discovered" (not only wrong because of what stated above, but the oldest relatives of any living being ever are the same original protein (or whatever it actually was) from which all life comes from. Your oldest relative is the same as your dog's and the baker's yeast you put in pizza doughs).
More generally, "New study shows Y could be related to X", when what's relevant here is close relatedness. (To be fair, that's usually what people mean when discussing human relatedness, eg, if someone says "I'm related to Charles Darwin" they don't just mean "I'm a human being and therefore share a common ancestor with Darwin.")
"Found the missing link between X and Y!" (the concept of a "missing link" is completely unscientific and misleading, transitional fossils are the closest thing, with a quite different meaning).
Another sad common mistake is adding random zeros. It's not like people are going to count them all, right? Dinosaurs went extinct 65.000.000.000 years ago? Ugh, sure, it's not like that's several times the age of the universe.
Saying stuff like: "Humans and Neanderthals" when Neanderthals were a species (if not subspecies of Homo sapiens) of Humans (the genus Homo).note The name Neanderthals comes from the modern spelling of the location in Germany where the species was first discovered. So, saying Neanderthals as if it's a separate species is incorrect. Also most people of European descent have some Neanderthal DNA, suggesting that the species interbred at some point.
One that is almost as much a favourite of paleontologists publishing as it is of columnists reporting them; "The discovery of the oldest/largest dinosaur/whatever" (when there's clear evidence that it is not) Saying you found "the largest carnivore dinosaur" makes a much more interesting headline than "a considerably large carnivore dinosaur". This can be just the paleontologists wanting really bad to have had encountered the largest/oldest/coolest X and saying his or her latest find is just that. The paleontologist highlighting to the media the fact that the discovery is remarkably large/old/cool and the media just extrapolating that. And sometimes the media just making that part up completely.
Referring to "Brontosaurus". It was recognised back in the 1930s that "Brontosaurus" was misnamed; what people thought was Brontosaurus was actually just Apatosaurus that someone had misidentified as a new species. Nevertheless, the mistake sticks around; it doesn't help that so many textbooks and articles in palaeontology refer to "Brontosaurus" and so many people are familiar with it palaeontologists have debated keeping "Brontosaurus" around as an acceptable alternative name for Apatosaurus.
Not to mention pretty much any description of evolution that includes "human" and "monkey" in the same sentence. This includes, "evolution says humans came from monkeys!" (no, humans and monkeys are separate branches of primate; humans are a type of ape) and "how can there still be monkeys?" (see above)
Any statement that evolution takes place in individuals, Pokémon-style.
The "infamous" CSI episode did have a member of the fandom as a consultant, though apparently many of his suggestions were thrown out. The CSI fandom calmly responded to this kerfluffle by pointing out that CSI treats everybody like that. Of course, it wasn't just the sexuality part of the fandom that CSI got wrong, but also depictions of "fursuits", animal costumes worn by a small minority of furs. It failed in scope of the phenomenon, depiction of the suits (latex-lined fursuits which would in real life, suffocate you), and Fridge Logic in the episode itself (if a fursuit was built for sex, how does the suit prevent the victim's blood from spilling out?)
Exception:  had its writer sneak into a real furry convention, see nothing that she expected to see, and reported honestly on what she did see (hint: it wasn't rampant sex).
There is, however, an error in the second paragraph where Ms. Abel confuses transvestites and transsexuals... especially since she brought the "trapped in an X's body" bit into it.
On the subject of furries, there was a news article who followed this trope: They reported the name of the convention Anthrocon (Anthropomorphic Convention) as "Arthrocon", effectively ruining the name's meaning since "Arthro" refers to joints (as in arthritis, inflammation of the joints).
Have you ever seen the media ever portray the fandom as anything but "people in mascot costumes"? It's sad, especially since at Anthrocon '09, barely more than 1/6th of the attendants wore fursuits.
One episode of the Canadian series Being Erica had this wonderful bit of dialogue:
"Did you know there's a group of people who like to have sex in animal costumes? They're called plushies."
And to make things worse, they're talking about a mascot suit... shaped like a shark.
The confusion between yankii, bosozoku/hashiriya, other assorted Japanese Delinquents, and actual Yakuza is a big one. Often, they are all piled in as organized and dangerous criminals, when high-ranking yakuza and "the unaffiliated gangs," are the only truly organized criminals of the bunch, and the only ones devoted to major crimes such as human trafficking, large scale drug smuggling, planned murder for hire, major financial fraud, and the like. There are some low-level Yakuza that interact with and mingle amongst the other groups mentioned here, which are generally called the insulting term "chinpira," and whose business generally consists of being middlemen for smaller-time drug dealers and trying to find actually "promising" criminal talent among younger delinquents.
Yankii are best compared to your country's variant of the Lower-Class Lout. Most aren't yakuza (though some chinpira are yankii or ex-yankii, and far more yankii, just as any other Lower-Class Lout, ape yakuza because Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster ). They're petty delinquent types, troublemakers, but their fighting and violence tends to be impulsive such as the Bar Brawl or lashing out at someone who just "dissed" them as opposed to organized hits (unless you've managed to piss off an entire group, or they have a chinpira friend and you really pissed them off), it tends to be less lethal than yakuza violence (because they don't have guns generally), and most nonviolent crime they get involved in tends to be of the petty sort - drug use and low-level dealing on occasion, disturbing the peace, shoplifting, occasional petty scams aimed at individuals or business or the benefits system, and other similarly impulsive petty (and often stupid) crime.
Bosozoku and hashiriya are same as above, except their cultures are around motorcycles and car racing respectively. Again, some low-level yakuza may intermingle, but most bosozoku and hashiriya are not hardcore yakuza any more than every biker is a Hell's Angel or every street racer in the is someone in The Mafia. Most of the same impulsive, petty crime as for yankii, except with the occasional addition of offenses connected to driving such as DUI, illegal street racing, or motorcycle noise violations.
The "unaffiliated gangs" are Japanese Gang Bangers. They may include bosozoku or yankii or whatnot (because they are more open to anyone joining up than the Yakuza is, hence they are also more racially diverse) and they tend to be more dangerous and violent than most Yakuza, and inclined toward yakuza-style crime (e.g. more planned felonies, less petty stupid crime), and occasionally armed as well as or better than yakuza.
The fanfic Garfield in: "Along Came a Splut" has Garfield playing Metroid in the opening, which is apparently about a guy named Metroid who fights the Mama Bran to save the whales. Either he's just started playing or has a bootleg, but Metroid is about a womannamedSamus, and Metroids are one of many things she hunts, and the villain is Mother Brain, and there are no whales to be found in the series.
There's actually a handbook for people who want to do this, called How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Pierre Bayard. It's surprisingly informative.
There's also How to Really Talk About Books You Haven't Read by Henry Hitchings.
The Something Awful column "Truth Media" is a parody of this, deliberately making error filled reviews hoping to attract flame wars and posting everything on the site.
In the early days of the Internet, many mainstream journalists wrote screeds against websites like Bonsai Kitten and Penguin Warehouse, believing them to be real. Here's a great example.
According to a local Russian newspaper, cosplay is a Japanese fashion style defined by padded shoulders and tight sleeves...
There were a number of news stories on Vladimir Putin's first web chat with the general public. Keep in mind that "the general public" includes "the Internet." Seeing the mainstream media have to find ways to describe questions about Humongous Mecha and Cthulhu was quite something.
Whenever the mainstream media report on Mixed Martial Arts, there is a very high possibility of them getting the details completely wrong.
The sport is often referred to as "ultimate fighting" based on the popularity of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This is perhaps due to a misunderstanding of the name's connotations, assuming that the UFC is the championship of "ultimate fighting" rather than the ultimate championship of fighting. Mixed martial artists are also sometimes called "ultimate fighters" for similar reasons, even if they don't fight in the UFC. Zuffa, promoters of the UFC, even puts on a reality show called The Ultimate Fighter. Overall, Zuffa probably doesn't want to discourage their brand name being so strongly associated with the sport.
It's common to refer to MMA as "human cockfighting." When that term was originally coined, it was in reference to MMA's illegitimacy, not its supposed brutality. Since MMA is now a legitimate, sanctioned sport in many areas, the term no longer applies.
It's also commonly referred to as "cage fighting" to associate it with dogfighting, implying that the athletes are locked inside the arena and cannot escape from the fight. Of course, this is not true, and many MMA promotions actually take place in modified boxing rings. Some promotions embrace the word, such as World Extreme Cagefighting, to make themselves sound more Bad Ass.
Many reports are apparently ignorant of MMA's ruleset, often claiming that MMA matches are no-holds-barred and generally emphasizing the violence rather than the numerous restrictions and safety measures. In fact, even the first UFC event, which was billed as having "no rules," did in fact have several rules.
Mainstream media loves to use the term "bloodsport" in reference to MMA to imply a heightened level of violence, in spite of the fact that boxing, kickboxing, and any traditional martial arts competition would also qualify as a bloodsport.
Zuffa is often miscredited with instituting rules and weight classes to the modern version of the sport, when in fact both existed when they bought the UFC. Zuffa's major early achievement was helping get the Nevada State Athletic Commission to sanction MMA.
Most of these, at least, seem to be going away, at least in the US media. With the saturation of UFC on Fox and it's affiliates, Bellator on Spike, and the World Series of Fighting on NBC, most mainstream news and sports outlets have started using the sports proper terms and concentrate on the actual upcoming matches and human interest stories involved, instead of stories focusing on the spectacle of "cage fighting." These will still pop up overseas in countries where MMA is just starting to catch on, usually from lazy journalists (often traditional boxing fans) who generally don't even bother doing any research whatsoever, other than skimming the most negative things they can find. This was especially prevalent in the last few years in Australia as the UFC exploded in popularity.
An NPR broadcast a few years back about the history of many Christmas traditions. It's shocking to hear their description of the Yule log having originated with child sacrifice, and that "Yule Log" developed from a Norse phrase meaning "Child Log." This is especially entertaining since the tradition is primarily Celtic in origin, while the word "yule", as demonstrated by 5 minutes with Google and That Other Wiki, comes from a Norse feast (or so we think).
An Olympic Games commentator referred to London mayor Boris Johnson as dead Russian ex-President Boris Yeltsin a couple of times, without correction. He fixed it pretty quickly the next time he talked about him...
This article◊ in a Swedish newspaper has become a sort of local meme among Swedish computer geeks. The caption can be translated as: "Andreas Hedlund has looked over all imaginable software problems. He has started checking the hardware and come to the conclusion that the Mother Modem, the heart of the hard drive, isn't working."
This article on Yahoo! Tech blog states that only 1.5% of computer users have DVD-ripping software installed, and only 1% of users actually use it, therefore DVD piracy isn't as big a problem as it's made out out be. Thereby revealing a) the blogger has no idea how piracy works, and b) has no idea how many people have computers. The really sad part is the comments agreeing with him.
Referring to the internet as "the internets" and similar. Ian Hislop (probably) parodied this with "The YouTube" on Have I Got News for You.
Derived from this is referring to any website as "the [name of site]", such as "the Twitter". Bonus points for needlessly pluralizing it.
Parodied in Top Gear, with quotes like: "If you are lucky enough to live near an internet, why not visit our website, which you can find at...a computer, probably."
Toby Keith's song "American Ride" also refers to "the YouTube".
Also, confusing "the Internet" and "the World Wide Web." is this CNN article from 2009. The Internet is the much older, more versatile network; the Web is only the most visible use of the network. Email, for one thing, is an example of something on the Internet that is not (necessarily) part of the Web.
When German radio channel WDR 2 reported on the Bielefeld Conspiracy they claimed Usenet was the predecessor to the Internet, apparently confusing it with the Arpanet. Usenet is actually a term for newsgroups, which, like e-mail, continue to be used over the Internet. The report also failed to point out that the Bielefeld Conspiracy parodied Conspiracy Theories (they called it a satire but did not elaborate), fueling the misconception that the denial of the existence of Bielefeld, rather than the city itself, was the conspiracy.
Given the userbase's notorious Jerkass antics and extensive Me Too-ism, the "harassment" part may have a very tiny bit of truth to it.
The instigator of this claim, Dan Lirette, is a "open-air preacher" (someone who yells religious statements in the parking lot of a Walmart), who cheated on his wife with one of his followers, who he abandoned when she became pregnant. When the baby was born with no brain, the mother snapped and went insane, which is where Something Awful joined the story as someone noticed her blog. There was just as much pity as mockery, since she obviously wasn't well mentally, and when Lirette's involvement, which included such tactful statements as "The baby's not dead until I kick it in the head", was discovered, all the attention and much deserved mockery turned to him. Lowtax wasn't even involved, having moved to a much more hands-off role, until Lirette sent threatening emails to him.
An article that defined "slash fiction" as stories where fans put other authors' characters into new, imagined situations. Um... well... they certainly are new most of the time. And imagined...
A more general entry on all of Fan Fiction would be the volume of media comments purporting to explain it but confused about what it is (assuming that 'slash' means any kind of fanfiction, or that all fanfiction is porn, all fanfiction is slash, and- most inevitably- all fanfiction is like My Immortal, or not far from it).
At least in Denmark, the media tends to assume that all fanfiction is RPF.
Dublin University student Shane Fitzgerald planted a fake quote about death on famous, then-recently deceased composer Maurice Jarre's Wikipedia page. For over a month, newspapers were using it as fact before he finally came forward and confessed.
Similarly, when the previously-almost-unknown Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg became the new German economics minister, someone gave him an additional middle name on the German Wikipedia. Cue almost every newspaper quoting it.
And when composer Ronnie Hazlehurst died, many media outlets (including the BBC) reported the "fact" that he was the joint composer of S Club 7's hit "Reach" — which turned out to have been planted on his Wikipedia page by some joker a few days before his death.
In the BBC's nostalgia documentary "I Love 1984", one segment focuses on the Transformers, which debuted in that year. A few seconds features various celebrities talking about Soundwave (the Decepticon communications officer who transforms into a cassette player), while cartoon footage illustrates. Unfortunately, all the footage shown during this piece of commentary instead shows his Autobot counterpart, Blaster (who, unlike several characters who transform into the same thing, wasn't just a Palette Swap).
Can happen for important issues, too. The National Post, a Canadian newspaper, ran an article titled "Iran Eyes Badges for Jews" complete with a picture of Jews being persecuted in Nazi Germany. This had many unfortunate consequences as the Prime Minister mistook the story as factual. The Other Wiki has the relevant info here.
Possibly one of the biggest and most history making examples of this trope is when Alfred Nobel's brother died, but not Nobel. Some journalist thought it was Alfred, who at that time was mainly famous for inventing dynamite, and wrote a SCATHING obituary. Seeing the horror of how he would be remembered after his real death, Alfred founded the Nobel Prize.
In real life, there's at least a few preachers out there bebopping at their computers for the Lord to fight the worshippers of Buddha and Hindu, who lie on beds of nails and light themselves on fire for their pagan gods. Seriously.
The media at large seems pretty widely ignorant of what "Goth" actually is and means. The truth of the matter is that goth is a subculture with very vague boundaries, with no consensus beliefs on politics or religion, but instead, overlapping areas of interest in music, fashion, and general aesthetic. In other words, it's just a bunch of people who like similar music and looks. The media typically presents goth as being some sort of underground cult of black-metal loving, death-obsessed pagans, atheists, and Satan-worshippers.
Ostrogoths or visigoths?
And God help you if you're anything like a goth and you commit a crime. The media will crucify you.
The U.S.-published Investor's Business Dailybashed Obama's healthcare plan by comparing it to the UK's National Health Service, where apparently "the stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror script"note Even though the percentage of patients who die waiting for treatment is lower in the UK than the US and where Stephen Hawking would most certainly be dead if he were British. Um... Stephen Hawking is British. And alive, thanks.
Hawking didn't get special treatment for being a rich and famous scientist, either. His condition and treatment started when he was an ordinary physics grad student.
Britons also don't have to wait six months to see a dentist (the British Teeth phenomenon is not only wildly exaggerated, but more an example of Values Dissonance about cosmetic dentistry than anything.) They have a dental check every six months (or should do); treatment for problems... varies, but is at least intended to be within a few days.
Firearms in news articles. Any black, vaguely military-styled rifle will invariably be described as a "machinegun", while any rifle with a telescopic sight will be described as a "sniper rifle". A good example being the Beltway Sniper attacks: the weapon used, a semi-automatic .223 caliber rifle equipped with an unmagnified optic, doesn't even remotely fit any military definition of a sniper riflenote The killers committed their crimes at a range of around 50-100 yards, longer than most murders by gunshot, certainly longer than practical with a handgun, but far shorter than a professional sniper. This is often parodied◊ by gun enthusiasts.
The above has, naturally, had a detrimental effect on the layman's perceptions of firearms, with gross misidentifications of both make and type (semiautomatic vs fully automatic, etc.). This public firearm confusion was humorously referenced in an episode of Stargate SG-1, where two bit-player scientists were complaining about Jack's preference for an overly militaristic solution to the problem of the week, one of them saying, "He's too busy polishing his M-16", at which point Jack holds up his gun where they can see it and says, "Actually it's a P90..."
In Polish media, a submachine gun is almost universally confused with a machine gun. And when it's not... One article wrote about Heckler & Koch MP 5: "the terrorists used Koch MP 5 and Heckler submachine guns".
This is actually the driving force behind a lot of attempts to limit or outright ban civilian access to firearms - the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban in particular banned a lot of things (pistol grips, folding stocks, etc.) that don't make guns any more dangerous than normal, they just looked scary to the uninformed politicians behind it.
A Finnish tabloid Iltalehti published an article on their page about a bridge made of trash collapsing in Shanghai, China. While that may have been true, before a headdesk on their forums, they cited Sankaku Complex as the source, calling it a Chinese magazine, all the while using an un-cropped screencapture of the post in question, with ads and channel previews showing...
A 2009 New York Times article about psychologists outraged over the posting of the Rorschach inkblot test on The Other Wiki briefly mentioned that the inkblots had been featured on other websites, but the implication was clear that the inkblots had only recently become available to the public. In fact, the outlines of all the inkblots, along with commentary on "good" and "bad" answers for what they represent, were published in William Poundstone's 1983 book Big Secrets and most of the websites with the test copied the blots and commentary from Poundstone's book verbatim.
This◊ article in a Polish newspaper about the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, featuring an image of the three Winter Olympic mascots... and the Internet meme Pedobear.
A common mistake when papers report on naval combat is to claim that any ship which doesn't go underwater or carry planes is a battleship. The correct term for any naval vessel is warship — there is not a single battleship in service in any navy in the world.
The Americans still have a couple of Iowa-class battleships in the mothball fleet, but that's really splitting hairs. The biggest ships in most navies are destroyers.
Of course, a modern "destroyer" is often larger than a World War II-era "cruiser". Confused yet?
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010. Associated Press Writer Nirmala George reports that "a tiny rock island" named New Moore Island in the Bay of Bengal has vanished due to rising sea levels. The facts, New Moore Island was a sandbar that first appeared sometime in 1974 near South Talpatti Island, never was more than two meters above sea level, had a maximum size at low tide equivalent to a mid sized Wal-Mart and none of the rest of the river estuary has "vanished beneath the waves". Sedimentary islands in river deltas arise and are destroyed constantly all over the world. Erosion giveth, erosion taketh away.
In an Indianapolis high school, there was an underage drinking scandal, and the Indianapolis Star misspelled multiple names. Which is extremely pathetic, because it was published right next to a list of graduating seniors submitted by the school.
When the September 2009 G20 came to Pittsburgh, a BBC reporter did an article, "Pittsburgh steeled to be host city", and included a photo of the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team playing at PNC park. The caption reads "The Pittsburgh Pirates are a symbol of the city's transformation." which sounds very nice. Unfortunately in reality the Pirates were near the end of their 17th consecutive losing season at the time!
Rest assured, dear tropers, that the "nonexistence" of dear old Triceratops has been highly exaggerated. But you wouldn't know from articles like this one. This story is fast becoming a fine example of why the mainstream news probably should just stop reporting on science stories at all: they fail to understand how scientific nomenclature works, happily report this fringe theory as a universally accepted fact, and seem to be of the opinion that Triceratops (who doesn't give a crap what name us puny humans call it by anyway) has somehow vanished from the fossil record altogether. A far, far better report on the "Toroceratops" theory can be read here.
In Steve Birnbaum's guidebooks for the Disney Theme Parks, the description for Muppet*Vision 3D states Waldo C. Graphic to be a new character created for the attraction. Waldo actually first appeared in The Jim Henson Hour about a year prior to Muppet*Vision 3-D's opening.
The popular news meme of Al Gore claiming to have "invented the Internet" comes from misrepresenting a statement he made in which he took credit for passing legislation that created the Internet.
The Chilean TV magazine TV grama had a section that mentioned the children programming highlights of the week in order to advertise a cable company. The description for each featured show were very inaccurate. They stated that Cow and Chicken lived in a stable and sometimes they summarized the premise as "Cow loves his younger brother Chicken, but doesn't understand why he tries to stifle her"; They confused Goosebumps with Are You Afraid of the Dark?; they described Legends of the Hidden Temple as an actual adventure series rather than a game show, and so on. Also, at the end of the shorter descriptions it always said "check the new episodes of this animated series", regardless if the statement fits at all.
A sheriff's department in California issued a warning about Pedobear, believing it to be a character pedophiles themselves use to lure children.
They also hilariously state that pedophiles use Pedobear as a mascot. Because if there's one thing every pedophile wants, it's a highly recognizable image to attach to themselves that identifies them as a pedophile. In reality, Pedobear is more often used as a way of drawing negative attention to a person when they say or do something pedophilic. By insinuating that a person is acting like Pedobear, it immediately alerts people familiar with the character to the fact that the person might be up to something. It actually does much more to combat pedophilia than it ever did to aid it.
In 1992, the New York Times published a list of "grunge slang," all of which was entirely made up by Megan Jesper, the receptionist at Sub Pop Records who was getting sick and tired of media outlets calling for general information about "grunge".
When legendary baseball manager Sparky Anderson passed away, Yahoo's headline read "The Hall of Famer was the only manager to win World Series titles in both leagues." Except he wasn't. Sparky was the first, but Tony LaRussa did it also, managing the 1989 Oakland Athletics (American League) and the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals (National League) to championships.
A British tabloid newspaper once ran an article with the headline "KILLED BY CHIPS" about a "boy" who died because he ate the aforementioned food ("fries" in American English). It turned out that (1) the "boy" was 20 years old (two years into adulthood) and (2) he didn't die because he ate chips, he died because he didn't eat anything else.
According to a lot of American news sources and talk radio (especially conservative shows), Socialism is a political ideology, not an economic one (although any economic system that puts the means of production in state handsthe technical definition of socialism—has a lot of political implications). For that matter, most people only really know of Communism and Libertarianism as the Theme Park Version, at best.
American sources also often have trouble distinguishing between Socialism and Liberalism: although there can be a fair amount of overlap, especially since the advent of 'big-state Liberalism', they are two distinct ideologies with very different origins.
In a similar way, one Russian journalist once described a 9x18 Makarov caliber brass casing as a "Bullet from a Makarov nagant".
An article in a British newspaper reporting on the accidental death of a student referred to the deceased as having attended "Brookes College" at the University of Oxford. In fact, the student had been a member of Oxford Brookes University, a completely separate and unrelated institution.
Mainstream articles on fan fiction invariably represent all of it as badly written smut composed in equal measure by twelve-year-old girls and bored middle-aged housewives.
Read here for an example from 2001, wherein an inactive play-by-email roleplaying game from the 80s-90s, by way of sheer coincidence◊ (the game was set in a town called Greendale), was assumed by many uninformed news reporters to be related to the anthrax attacks that fall.
A few years ago, a Finnish internet celebrity Pasi Viheraho contacted Finland's National Bureau of Investigation and questioned their internet censorship policies. When Viheraho asked why Google isn't censored, the representative of the bureau gave the infamous reply: "Google is not a website; it's a browser". The release of Google Chrome made this Hilarious in Hindsight.
When the Dutch abuse report was released in 2011 showing how the 20,000 children were abused in Catholic homes during a period of 60 years, newpapers quickly seized upon the story... except the report specifically said: "The Commission of Inquiry investigated how great the risk of unwanted sexual contact with children was in institutions (boarding schools, private schools, seminaries, children’s homes). It emerged that the risk was twice as high as the national average, but with no significant difference between Roman Catholic and non-Roman Catholic institutions.'', destroying the idea that Catholics were wholly responsible.
Laughed at in the first Polish console games magazine Neo Plus, in the column named Omega Boost Za Frajer(ów) (wordplay: Omega Boost for free as well as Omega Boost in exchange for dumbass(es)), in which the editors actually rewarded every reader that sent some media article containing mistakes connected to video games with copy of this great PS shoot'em up.
Another entry for the "memes misunderstood in the news" file was the "Pool's Closed" meme. It's kind of an obscure meme, but you can read up on it here. Long story short, it was conceived as a protest in response to rumours that mods on an online game were being discriminatory. The meme image consists of a black man sporting an afro, wearing a suit, and the words "Pool's Closed" underneath him. Someone put the image up at a pool in the real world, presumably as a joke. And naturally, someone cried "Racism!" Putting aside the fact that the meme is actually anti-racist, it's really an ambiguous image that could mean any number of things. But to one person, it meant no black kids were allowed in the pool.
Similar to the entry on palaeontology above, practically everything the media — any media — does that includes psychology will be an example of this trope. It's especially glaring in shows like Criminal Minds, which, despite being all about psychology, will get much more wrong than it will right.
This CNN.com opinion piece by Timothy Stanley criticizing the Eurovision Song Contest. You can immediately tell This Is Gonna Suck when the author describes the show as "Europe's version of American Idol". Not only that, he appears to be COMPLETELY misinformed about the qualification process, saying that host nation Azerbaijan shouldn't be participating because it's not in Europe. All that is required is that the country be a member of the European Broadcasting Union.
Worse, the author is an Oxford Professor. God save us...
Countless sources have said that in 1977, Walmart bought out a chain called Mohr-Value, which operated stores in Michigan and Illinois. Mohr-Value was never in Michigan, but it did have stores in Missouri. This likely stems from confusion over postal abbreviations: Missouri is MO, Michigan is MI. This error is even on Walmarthistory.com. (And in case you're wondering, Walmart did not actually enter Michigan until 1990; the presence of Meijer, a local megamart chain that is (believed by Michiganders to be) less evil and (actually) has better merchandise, especially produce, at a competitive price has frustrated Walmart's entry into the state.)
When Brett Favre was traded from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets, practically every media report made a comment about Favre "wearing a different shade of green". The Packers and Jets use the exact same shade of green (Pantone 5535).
A Canadian cub reporter was once excitedly following a story that the leader of the New Democratic Party was canoodling with a member of his delegation to an environmental conference. A senior reporter had to gently explain that the "staffer" was his wife (and a fellow Member of Parliament).
Gerald Ford's infamous gaffe declaring that "there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe". You can tell the moderator's struggling not to crack up.
The Onion has been mistaken for a legit news source so many times it's not even funny anymore.
Its transatlantic cousin, Private Eye, which pre-dates it by a number of decades, has an equally long history of this. A highlight was a joke article (you could tell it was a joke article because it was in the traditional joke section surrounded by other joke articles) spoofing The Daily Express's tendency to run spurious Diana stories: DIANA WAS STILL ALIVE HOURS BEFORE SHE DIED!" This promptly ended up on Facebook and 4chan as an example of "The most retarded headline ever". The Eye had a field day:
Private Eye: To borrow the sentiments of many of the learned interneters: AHAHAHAHAHA...JUST LOL!
And then there is the Onion's military cousin, The Duffel Blog, playing off of the fact that life in the military can sometimes seem genuinely absurd and arbitrary even to those who understand it.
The book The Beach Boys: The Definitive Diary of America's Greatest Band On Stage and In The Studio by Keith Badman opens with a bizarre section that allegedly describes the history of Hawthorne, California, the LA suburb where the Wilson brothers grew up. In fact, it's the history of Hawthorne, Florida, a tiny town located 2,500 miles away.
Countless Moral Guardians have gotten on Larry The Cable Guy's case for his "Git-r-done" catch phrase, perceiving it as sexual — while Larry's humor can be crude at times, he has always made it clear that "Git-r-done" just means "just do it".
Similar to the Peanuts example on the Film page, some news articles claim that the 2012 Furby is the first time they have been revived since 1998, when the Furby was also brought back in 2005.
Rick Santorum managed to cause an international incident via use of this trope. With the Dutch. By spouting off about how Holland euthanizes ten percent of its elderly, therefore they're afraid to go into hospitals, so voluntary euthanasia is bad! Needless to say, the Dutch were not amused. (This isn't all that surprising when you consider that the Netherlands is basically the living embodiment of everything the radical right hates, via high taxes, universal health care, free or nearly free higher education for its citizens, voluntary euthanasia, legalization of pot, prostitution, and gay marriage, etc., but still, Rick Santorum managed to cause an international incident with the Dutch.)
The Dutch are more often victim to such Cowboys Bebop in US Conservative issues. There was a politician who compared drug related crime numbers favourably for the USA, when in reality the numbers are highly in favor for the Dutch approach. His excuse: "But it's only for local political consideration."
Erik Mouthaan: [to Rachel Maddow] If all your viewers would start a country, it would be Hollandnote Er, actually it would be "the Netherlands"; "Holland" is just one province thereof.
And, most infamously, during the hearings on the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in 2010, someone claimed that the reason Dutch forces failed at Srebrenica was due to the Dutch military's acceptance of gay people. He was dismissed by the Dutch Prime Minister, Ministry of Defense and public at large. (Srebrenica is such a gigantic Berserk Button in the Netherlands that when a report was published on the massacre in 2002, it prompted the government to resign.)
In a speech, Barack Obama got his wires crossed when discussing the budget sequesterment in February 2013 by stating that he would need to do a "Jedimind meld" to get the cuts done. The White House did follow it up with a Crowning Moment of Funnyon Twitter, however.
Auto racing series are frequently jumbled up by the mass media and in-particular by picture editors who often will place a large picture of a car from a completely different series in an article. Indycar is probably the most ill-served as the cars are often labelled as Formula One cars and the Indianapolis 500 is called a NASCAR race. And some media outlets continued to refer to Indy Car under the name of the previous CART sanctioning body, even more than 3 years after it's demise. Other examples include labelling junior formulae cars as "Formula One", rallies as "Rally cross", Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) stock cars as NASCAR (the two series are affiliated but are still separate entities), mixing up IHRA and NHRA drag racing, assuming any off road trophy truck race is the Baja 1000, calling Moto GP "Superbikes" and vice-versa, and so forth...
Pretty much every newspaper in the UK believes that an "internet troll" is someone who sends death threats to people, release their private details to the public and are generally hellbent on literally ruining peoples' lives. They're not. Trolls are people who post annoying or stupid things to get rises out of people, which is nowhere near as nasty as what the UK media portray them as; what the media describe is cyberbullies, flamers or just people who are flat-out nasty. Unfortunately, most of the people not in the know have taken the media's definition of troll to be true; nearly all newspaper headlines on someone being harassed online is a variant of "X Person's Life Ruined By Internet Trolls."
Well, not wholly inaccurate if you consider cyberbullies to be a subset of trolls.
UK newspapers tend to be clueless about the internet generally; for instance, there were howls of outrage when the BBC spent £100,000 on purchasing bbc.com, and "only" used it as a redirector to its main bbc.co.uk site. Those critics are clearly unaware that (1) £100,000 is a typical price for a short, pre-owned .com domain, and (2) using it as a redirector is the usual reason for purchasing an alternative version of one's URL.
Another one was in a review of a book called katie.com (an autobiography of a teenage girl and how she came within a hair's breadth of being abused by a predator she met online) where the reviewer raised concern about the use in the title of .com "with its association with porn sites". Just about anyone who has more than a month's internet experience knows that although it is superficially true that .com is related to porn sites, this is only because (1) most sites, regardless of nature, are .com and (2) most sites, regardless of domain, are porn sites; it isn't because .com is a specifically pornographic domain, as .xxx is.
And another one was a review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, in which the reviewer made the mistake of reviewing the book as a stand-alone novel, instead of as what it actually is, namely book 6 of 7. Bad mistakes include the reviewer complaining that "the book gives no indication of what year, or even what decade, it is set in" (of course it doesn't; we were already given that information in the second book) and that the book "makes no mention of things such as computers or TVs" (of course it doesn't, for the same reason that Lord of the Rings doesn't).
An article about how Mystere was a key inspiration for NiGHTS Into Dreams used a photo of the cast of another Cirque show, "O". "O" didn't even open until 1998, two years after the release of the first game!
An infomercial for the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria, Illinois mentioned the forthcoming visit of the tour Dralion...and used cast photos from Alegria to illustrate it.
Robin Leach's report on the first preview of Michael Jackson ONE mentions that one setpiece is set to "How Does It Feel" from Stranger in Moscow. The song in question is "Stranger in Moscow" ("How does it feel" is a key refrain) from HIStory. He also mentions "I Cant [sic] Stop Loving You"; the correct title is "I Just Can't Stop Loving You". These are especially silly errors given that the piece reads like a paid advertisement for the show.
Ambition has a moment of this in episode 8, where a character states "facts are the enemy of truth", then quizzes you on the quote's source, mocking you if you don't pick Cervantes. Problem is, the quote is really from Dale Wasserman...
Also, in Sir Basil Pike Public School, Ted tells his class that they'll learn about compound fractions... but the fractions shown are the board are improper.
Countless artists and illustrators get the U.S. Highway System markers (a white shield on a black square background, assigned to a set of major roads throughout the country) mixed up with the Interstate Highway System (a red-white-and-blue cutout shield of a different shape, assigned only to freewaysnote there are also business routes, which most oten follow normal roads and use a green version of the same shield, but these are only in certain states) mixed up, and use one's shield for the other. Others still use the older style of U.S. shield, retired in 1961, which had the name of the state at the top and was a cutout. Some even conflate the two, and put the Interstate shield's colors on a U.S. shield, typically of the pre-1961 variety. Still others will use one of the shields to designate a state highway, most of which have their own unique shapes from state to state.
In New York, it is especially common to mix up the U.S. highway shield with the New York State Route shield, to the point that some actual reassurance markers on roads inNew Yorkhave the◊ wrong design.◊
This CNN article about crossplaying in cosplay. In cosplay circles "crossplay" means dressing as a character who's the opposite sex to younote Not to be confused with crossdressing; for example a male cosplayer dressed as Bridget from ''Guilty Gear would be crossdressing but not crossplaying, since even though he's wearing girl's clothes, he's dressed as a male character (and conversely a female cosplayer would be crossplaying but not crossdressing).. The article uses it to refer to Gender Bent versions of characters (also quite common but generally treated in the same category as reimagined cosplaysnote e.g. Steampunk versions of well known characters.). While that could be a simple mistake, the fact that the article actually quotes "an assistant professor of history at Texas A&M University" who gives the correct definition several times makes it quite astounding. Trying to portray female cosplayers as engaging in some form of empowerment (and dismissing "serious" male crossplayersnote While the likes of "Sailor Bubbah" are quite well known, there are a lot of male crossplayers who make an effort to portray female characters (and succeed; they're just much harder to notice).) doesn't help. It also repeats the common misconception that cosplay is Japanese in originnote The word "cosplay" is, but it was coined in the 80's to describe what had been done at various American/European sci-fi conventions for many decades..
CPU Mag in their Steam machines article, show Counter-Strike Source in a photo and call it Counter Strike Global Offense.
There is no denying that Baffle Ball is an important hallmark game in pinball history — its success turned into a nationwide craze, single-handedly jump-starting the nation's interest in "pin games". However, when the history of pinball is recounted in mainstream outlets, Baffle Ball is frequently misidentified as the first pinball game ever.
Stern Electronics' last pinball game, Orbitor 1, is notable for being set on a bowled transparent playfield, resulting in a game where pinballs spin and curve around the various obstacles. The secret apparently eludes many observers, who often explain the game's effects as the result of magnetism.
Most, if not all, of the new evil drugs of the 2010s ("bath salts," "krokodil," "spice," "legal herb," "poppers," etc.) are synthetic derivatives of controlled substances. To skirt U.S. drug laws, they are sold as a wide variety of innocuous products like substances for pipe cleaning, bath salts, or potpourri, slapping a "not for human consumption" warning on for good measure. Pull up any given article or video on them, and you'd think there's a brand new drug out there that's making people into cannibals and/or zombies or having their own flesh eaten (by the very drug itself!) from the inside out. A very cursory knowledge of biology and chemistry are the only things necessary to find out that unregulated drugs can have unexpected and very nasty side effects, none of these synthetic derivatives have wide usage (except as "potpourri," and so on...) and may well be chemically unstable (be it inherently, for lack of better production means, or due to the lack of regulation). ...but try finding THAT (at least mainstream) news article.
And, naturally, a disturbing amount of anti-drug propaganda, past and present: people on LSD burning their eyes out staring at the sun, Reefer Madness, MDMA eating large chunks of your brain, and the list goes on for a very long while.
Forensics often gets some bizarre interpretations, while others try to omit the word entirely if they can get away with it. Forensics is a competitive activity for junior high, high school, and college/university students encompassing oration (giving a speech), acting, interpretation, student congress, debate, and discussion. The U.S.'s largest organization, The National Forensic League explained in their 2012 proposal to change its name, that "forensics" was used in the sense of "thorough investigation into a topic" - needless to say, the students participating aren't somehow competing in crime scene investigation or anything related to it.
Mashable's article on the All Blacks Sevens team's performance of the haka seems to have confused the team with the All Blacks proper. The latter play the full, 15-man game of Rugby Union, whereas the former plays the Sevens game, a shortened version with seven players on each side. The article introduced the Sevens team as "New Zealand's national rugby team, the All Blacks" (technically true but more accurate for the 15 man team) then went on to explain that they usually perform the haka before every match, which is the 15 man team's tradition. The Sevens team only do the haka when they win a tournament - there's no point spending five minutes on the haka for each of the five or six 15 minute games they play over a weekend. In addition, the writer states the haka is a "dance" performed for "intimidation" - both something of a Fandom Berserk Button to some All Blacks fans.
It's an extremely common error in media of all kinds to confuse sushi (vinegared rice) with sashimi (raw fish).
Likewise, "hacking" (programming, particularly reverse-engineering the source code of a game in order to devise cheats) is often misused to mean "breaking the security of computer systems," for which the correct term is "cracking". The Raspberry Pi Foundation is attempting to reclaim "hacking" in its proper meaning.
One newspaper journalist noted the fact that the British National Party (an extreme right-wing organisation) had few or no Scottish members, and jumped to the conclusion "therefore there is very little racism in Scotland". As anyone knows who has spent very much time on Usenet or on web forums, Scottish racists consider themselves to be non-British, so of course they are not going to join or support any organisation with "British" right there in the name.
This Daily Beast article on the trend of Screen-to-Stage Adaptation on Broadway and the West End in The New Tens laments the lack of originality in musical theatre these days. Unfortunately, it makes several huge errors that undercut the intended point, some of which are addressed in the comments for the article:
Carousel, Chicago, Mame, Oklahoma!, and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying are mentioned as examples of original musicals. The first four were actually adapted from non-musical stage plays, and Auntie Mame itself was originally a novel. How to Succeed was originally a book.
Frank Wildhorn's Bonnie and Clyde musical was Based on a True Story, not the 1967 film on the same subject.
If/Then wasn't the only original-to-the-stage musical on Broadway in the spring of 2014...The Book of Mormon, which happens to be one of the biggest stage hits in years, was still running.
Stage musicals falsely accused of being direct film adaptations are American Psycho, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, From Here to Eternity, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (of Kind Hearts and Coronets), High Fidelity, and Matilda. All six stories originated as novels, two of which were written by the same author. While their film adaptations did predate their stage incarnations, the musicals return to their respective novels as the jumping-off point; Charlie does include some internal homages to and one song from its two film incarnations, but is a very different beast than either.
In February 2014, the platinum BIONICLE Mask of Light piece made news as the most expensive LEGO piece ever to be sold. Articles such as this claimed the mask belongs to a character named Avohkii — actually, Avohkii is the name of the mask itself, and its wearer is called Takanuva.
For a year or two after The Incredibles came out, there was a flame war amongst those editing its Wikipedia article between those who reckoned that the Pizza Planet truck "must" appear in it somewhere (based on no evidence whatsoever other than that it had appeared in every previous Pixar movie) and those who knew that it doesn't because they had thoroughly looked for it and found no trace. One of the former offered as "proof" that it does, the blog of a Disney insider... which explicitly states that it doesn't. Talk about seeing only what you want to see...
It is often astonishing to see so many people who make it their job to be a critic, yet don't seem to understand the difference between critiquing/critical thinking. Let alone examples of what differentiates facts, opinions, and arguments. Which are pretty basic fundamentals of English and Logic that you should gain before graduating public school.
Some might be hired for their comic skills (intentional and unintentional) more so than any skill.
In the December 2014 issue of Otaku Usa, it claims Puella Magi Madoka Magica is a shoujo series. Incorrect. Although its demographic has been controversial among the fandom, especially female fans and feminist, it's still senien anime.
This could also be an example of the common misconception that "all shoujo anime are magical girl series, and all magical girl series are shoujo anime."
The french canadian toy store Castello's birthday partys service is depresingly gulty for this trope for anything kid related. For saying than Miley is Hanna Montana's nickname, making Darth Vador a good guy to calling Elsa a princess. See for yourself:http://castellojeu.com/anniversaire
Another example from the French-speaking world: Les Grosses Têtes, a culture-oriented radio show. They invited Victor-André Masséna and started to talk about his Famous Ancestor... with one of the hosts asking how the ancestor in question had felt about not being a Marshal of the Empire. Right after they had deplored that the general public was ignorant and full of misconceptions about the Napoleonic era.