I hope the United Press International (UPI) news service can harness some of its “100 years of journalistic excellence” to take a second look at its story about a recent craze among Japanese kids that involves licking each other's eyeballs. A growing number of news organizations (including the Huff Post, Gawker, Medical News Today, and Medical Daily) say there is a lot less to this weird and widespread claim of a Japanese eyeball licking trend than meets the eye. All four ran similar pieces but have since changed their stories in light of an article by Tokyo-based journalist, Mark Schreiber, as well as a damning verdict on the urban legend-debunking site, Snopes.com. Perhaps UPI can review this cock-eyed story and set the record straight, it would be a shame to lose a reputation for a century of journalistic excellence in the blink of an eye.
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:
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)