Category: Media

15 Credibility Street #28: Defense against the dark art of scare-mongering

It was just Halloween, the media is out to scare you into believing dumb things. Don’t. Tricks in treats? Not-too-deep-thinking about marijuana-laced candy warnings will bring quick realization this hazard is not worth worrying about. One incident in New Brunswick, Canada may have been nailed down but who would eat that anyway? The condition called…

15 Credibility Street #26: Stand me up at the gates of Hell

We delve right into a discussion about the latest mass shooting in the U.S. – what we know and what we don’t know and why. Many people have an ideological basis for their points of view. And, sadly, they hold invalid and illogical views perhaps until they are faced with the truth right in front…

15 Credibility Street #23: The sound and the fury

This episode, Sharon and Torkel discuss several recent news events and how they reflect on social views of science and credible sources. First, an eclipse recap: Nothing bad happened and we were not overwhelmed by alien or occult forces. The Hopkinsville aliens did not reappear. New Age spiritualism at a Mt. Shasta festival The media…

15 Credibility Street #18: Crystal clear consideration of claims

News items: Crystal healing at Edith Cowan Uni in Australia. Kudos to the Australian Skeptics to making their views crystal clear on these bogus claims about healing properties of rocks. Electrosensitivity UK makes doubtful claims. Electrosensitivity UK is a nonprofit organization that placed advertisements in public places around London claiming “More and more research is starting…

15 Credibility St #10: Minding the Gap

In this episode, we talk about the loss of the founder of GapMinder, the efforts of CNN to ignore that they ought to be doing journalism, and what happens when fantasy erodes the grip on reality for some pre-teen girls. We really need to mind the gap. In June of 2014, we brought you the story…

Mother Nature Network twists the science to be scary

Here is another site you might wish to mark off your list of clicks: Mother Nature Network (MNN). This is a site that takes science stories and rewrites them, [possibly] getting them wrong in the process. Yesterday, they posted this story: Massive river of molten iron found flowing between Russia and Canada A river as…

15 Credibility Street #5: UFOs over Turkey and I ain’t too surprised

We’re back with another news chat episode. The news is weird, as usual. Strange days indeed… Mothman reappears close to the 50th anniversary. Howard suspects pecuniary interests might be involved in the promotion of these local legends. The same can be suggested for the many YouTubers and websites that promote “weird news” like anomalies, natural…

TIGHAR: The Ever-Optimistic

My Washington Post newsfeed contained a familiar name with the same old story, rehashed once again in 2016 just like it was in 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012, and probably before that but I wasn’t keeping track on this blog. The wonderful thing about TIGHAR is TIGHAR thinks it’s a wonderful thing. It’s actually amazing…

Scottish poltergeist story is highly questionable, even if the police say they saw something

Cross posted from Doubtful by Sharon Hill A story about a family in Rutherglen, Scotland, who called in police to report paranormal phenomena, rode the media wave yesterday into today. The original source was the local Rutherglen Reformer paper that appears digitally on the Daily Record (UK) website. Here is the main story: Rutherglen family call in police…

Real-deal “boy next door” medium? Or Hollywood hype?

Back in July, I caught wind of yet another psychic medium “reality” show in development. This one seems tailor-made for Hollywood. Or, should I say… “tyler-made”? The eight-episode hour-long series “follows 19-year-old “celebrity medium” Tyler Henry, as he balances his unique abilities with trying to be a regular teenager.” He’s 20 now. Still, wouldn’t you think…

Bigfoot Captured breaks History: Channel continues to fake out viewers

WOW! History Channel pulled a “Mermaids” gimmick. Why would they sabotage their credibility? Oh wait, ever since it became the “Hitler” Channel a while ago, it’s been heading downhill. According to this review of their latest special program, Bigfoot Captured, a “shameful fake documentary” about Bigfoot, it’s hit rock bottom. Reviewer Jim Vorel of Paste Magazine takes the…

Sweet Satan! It’s Exorcism EXTRAVAGANZA! (UPDATE: Snoozefest)

UPDATE (editor) (2-Nov 2015): How did the broadcast go? Ratings are not in yet for cable but they WERE facing a World Series game and America’s Next Top Model. Both shows seemed to be more exciting according to reviews from Variety and the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Hopefully, they won’t try such blatant sensationalism nonsense…

China’s floating city is a likely CGI hoax (UPDATE)

On October 13, I posted a link (in Chinese) to our Facebook page (which you might ‘like’) regarding a questionable image of a city in the clouds in Foshan, China. Even though this “mirage” was shown on Chinese television, it’s certainly not impossible that they are giving bad information to the public. Is this an optical illusion, or…

Tabloids totally wrong about Japanese tsunami mystery creature

We are back again to do what we do best, totally bust an inflated story that the tabloids pass off as sensational news. It’s obvious they do NO checking or investigation of the stories, they simply repeat what silly story they make up or are fed from a dubious source. This time, Marcus Hemmler from Group of…

Pennsylvania news outlets go overboard over “venomous” caterpillar

Trending on Facebook today in Pennsylvania is the topic of the white hickory tussock moth (Lophocampa caryae). The headlines are that that this “venomous” or “poisonous” caterpillar from Canada has been spotted in PA. This is a clip from a “trending” page in Facebook: Oh my! Pretty scary stuff if you don’t know much about the…

Destination America now the haven of paranormal programming

Last year at this time, SyFy gave up the ghost on new paranormal programming. That slack has been taken up with a vengeance by Destination America, a cable and satellite channel owned by Discovery Communications that features lifestyle, historical and travel programming focusing on the culture of the United States. From their lineup, paranormal themes play a huge…

Big ol’ sea wolf caught in Pacific (UPDATE: Don’t be ignorant!)

NEAT! (Originally published 16-Sept 2015) Remember, kids. Learn about nature so you can correct people who say this is some sort of “mutant monster” in your Facebook feed. An enourmous sea monster was caught by baffled Japanese fishermen off the island of Hokkaido. A ferocious looking fish with a gigantic head and sharp, protruding teeth has been found swimming in…

Elongated skull find in Russia hijacked for pseudoarchaeology ideas

UFO watchers are in a tizz over the discovery of an ancient skeleton with an elongated skull that resembles an ALIEN. The humanoid skeleton was unearthed from a site known as Russia’s Stonehenge and it is being heralded as proof that aliens visited Earth thousands of years ago. Researcher Maria Makurova told Russian news agency…

Sorry Charlie: Nobody DIED from the demon-summoning challenge

Fake news sites are a menace. They hide their disclaimers well, but even if they had disclaimers right up front, you could bet many readers would not notice them and still believe the crazy stories and pass them on as real. Especially if the stories appear shocking and fit with the person’s personal beliefs. The…

Russian mystery monster carcass – Busted

It’s consistently disappointing that crap news outlets (and sometimes even not-so-crap) ones will speculate wildly and wrongly about a mystery carcass and fail to ask (or to correctly quote) an expert in marine animals. We all know why — it’s because “sea monster” stories get attention and get re-run in the Daily Mail and the…

Some guy named Frank says “Earthquake”. People panic. Don’t.

When even the “Esoteric Metaphysical Spiritual Database” says an earthquake prediction is nonsense, then you KNOW you should not panic. Planetary Alignment To Cause 9.8 Earthquake Prediction for California On May 28th, 2015? : In5D Esoteric, Metaphysical, and Spiritual Database By now, many of you have heard about the 9.8 Magnitude earthquake prediction for May…

Mass animal deaths reported; fringe sites panic over headlines

Mass animal deaths can be caused by a myriad of things – disease, natural toxins, algal blooms and other oxygen-depleting situations, human hunting and dumping, accidents, warmer waters, lack of food, etc. The mystery mongering sites will lump all the mass mortality events under one scary banner – DEAD ANIMALS! PANIC! They do a serious…