Over the last few months the story of an epidemic triggered by a bizarre fetish made in Japan has been spreading across the pages of newspapers, magazines, and more across the globe. Thanks to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Houstonians were also treated to a peep at this eye popping tale. An article published in the June 13 edition of the Chron noted, “Japan and other parts of the world are facing a mini pinkeye epidemic, reports The Huffington Post, due to teenagers engaging in eyeball licking.”
What makes this story even stranger is that the eyeball licking triggered-epidemic exists only in the press. The Huffington Post has since updated the story cited by the Chron and published a new one indicating the claims about a pinkeye outbreak in Japan due to school kids licking each other’s eyeballs for kicks are “reportedly a hoax.” Hopefully the Chron can spread the word about the hoax by correcting its story and begin putting a stop to this contagios infection in the media for which there is currently no end is in sight.
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 (the same error over and over again):
Seein Eye to Eye (Huffington Post/UK edition); 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)