This past June, the UK edition of the Huffington Post carried a story about an eyeball fad sweeping Japanese primary schools. The report was nearly identical to a similar story posted in the Huff Post’s US edition except for one glaring difference. The US article carries an update noting that claims of the bizarre fad were likely a hoax. In fact it was a hoax heard around the world with stories of Japanese tweens licking each other’s eyeballs creeping across the pages of newspapers, magazines, and more across the globe. The US edition of the Huffington Post was perhaps the first to correct its story and then publish another news piece devoted to the trend that was decidedly not. Let’s hope the UK version of the Huffington Post decides to get on the same page as its sister site across the sea so we can all see eye to eye on this eye-popping tale.
If you want a real eye-opener, take a look at "Lick This!" by Mark Schreiber and read how the tale of a fake fad made in Japan made its way into online publications like MNT as well as the pages of newspapers, magazines, and more all around the world.
Also see: "In the Public Eye" on Snopes.com
Related MediaBugs reports:
Eye Witless News Report (ABC News); UPI Out of Focus (United Press International); Another Code Brown! (Medical Daily); Entertaining... Licks Telling the News (ABC2 News, WMAR-TV, Baltimore); Didn't Get the Memo (New Zealand Herald); Here is the Thing (MSN News Canada) Fatal Error (CTV News Canada); Time to Correct? (Time Magazine); More Than Meets the Eye (New York Post); A Cock-eyed Story (New York Daily News); Faking It (Syracuse.com/The Post-Standard); Bucking the Trend That Wasn't (The Times of India); If You Can't Lick 'Em Join 'Em (Fox News); Not a Lick of Truth (The Telegraph); Eye Network Lacks Nose for Fishy Stories (CBS News); Calling Out the Daily Caller (The Daily Caller); Code Brown (Medical News Today); Gawk at This! (Gawker); Not a Thing (The San Francisco Chronicle); Less Than Meets the Eye (The Guardian); A Blind Eye to the Truth (Huffington Post); Falling for a Fake Story... (The Washington Times)
Disappeared (story deleted by news org.):
Faking It (Syracuse.com/The Post-Standard)