“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue of Shape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily,” page 128). Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”
With budgets cut to the bone at news organizations, with “journalists” not being hired for their investigative skills but rather for their looks. And with news today being all about “click-bait” and catchy headlines – our knowledge what’s going on in the world around us is rapidly diminishing.
A real journalist was able to make a fake story (about chocolate making you lose weight) and have it go viral to demonstrate just how bad things have gotten. It’s a great read, check it out. It makes you wonder if others are using similar tactics to disseminate equally incorrect news.
Here is a followup article that says it’s not OK to publish a fake article to prove a point. I think otherwise since the point would not have been proven otherwise.