Ah, the Internet – making our lives better and worse at the same time. It brought us some amazing possibilities. Today news can travel the whole world in seconds; people can get informed about anything with a click of the mouse or a tap on the touchscreen. The World Wide Web brought us new levels of communication, reaching the impossible for many generations just over 60 years ago. The media rules our world with this incredible technology. There isn’t an event or a thing of which you can’t find about in an instant today. Big media outlets cover everything in public life and report everything that we managed to achieve in this hectic world. Since man’s landing on the Moon, we’ve accomplished a lot, for sure. And people should know about that. But, we’re talking about something else today.
What do these large media outlets do when there’s nothing groundbreaking to report? That’s when they pull out their secret weapon – sensationalism. It’s true that, with the right tools, any story can become a sensation. Skillful writing and carefully constructed headlines make sure that worthless content gets at least some attention. “Don’t believe the hype,” you hear people say it all the time, but it’s just too damn hard to do. You have to read, watch or listen to a story to know if it’s real, or just overblown (the latter happens much more often).
How many times has this happened in your life? Probably, too many. Despite this occurring on a daily basis, some over-hyped moments remain iconic. They become annoying “internet classics”, reminding people not to believe everything they read online. Check our list of 15 times when media hype was totally for nothing.
15. The Whip/Nae-Nae Dance
Anyone who was born in the 90s (or earlier), surely remembers Macarena. It was a hit song accompanied by (not so) awesome dance moves. Yes, it was a dark chapter of human history. Well, we have learned a little from this event, and similar things keep happening. Look at Gangnam Style for example. It turns out we like to dance in strange and ridicule forms. It dates from Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
In 2015, a song Watch Me by a 17-year old rapper named Silencio, was released, and it spawned a new dance epidemic. This guy performed two new dance moves called Whip and Nae-Nae in the music video, and shortly after, everyone started doing it. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. The only problem is that these moves are to be done only to this song. It’s limiting. And the dance doesn’t even look that cool, it’s just…meh. It was just a trend, and fortunately, now it’s over. We hope that the next trend will be worthy of the hype.
14. The Dress That Tore The Internet Apart
This dispute might be the most meaningless one of all time. It all started when a girl posted a poorly lit photograph of a dress on her Tumblr page and asked followers to tell whether the dress is blue and black or white and gold. But then all hell broke loose. The post broke Buzzfeed’s traffic with over 670,000 people viewing it at once. The debate also caught the attention of some notable people, like Kim Kardashian and even the Prime Minister of Singapore (both of them were in the white-and-gold team). But how could people perceive the dress so differently?
According to scientists, our color perception depends on the type of light that falls on an object, so in different lights, the dress could appear to be colored differently. In the end, the designer of this piece of clothing, Roman Originals, confirmed that the dress is blue and black. Thank God that we don’t have to look at it anymore.
13. The Apple Watch
Let’s face it people; when it comes to hype-making and high-level marketing, no one does it better than Apple. The mega corporation is at the very top of today’s tech industry, which is a very, very competitive space. Yes, their products are great, but their selling skills are way beyond. The Apple Watch was announced like the new Jesus. The company claimed that it is revolutionary and that it opens a whole new chapter in Apple’s history.
“OMG, I want it bad!” This is probably what the average consumer would think upon hearing the news. Tim Cook, the company’s CEO, even said that: “It would change the way you look at your wrist.” An interesting statement indeed. But despite all the buzz, this smart watch turned out to be just an overpriced, nothing-special piece of technology. Millions were interested in the new gizmo from Apple, and many have ditched it after a brief period.
Half croissant, half donut?! NO WAY! Yes, it’s true, when a croissant and a donut combine, cronuts happen. When New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel, unleashed this bizarre creation, it took the web by storm. It was viewed as something genius, delicious and out-of-this-world. Of course, any experienced internet user would be reluctant to believe this hype. It’s a donut made from croissant dough, how revolutionary is that?
A lot of disappointed people said it tastes like a churro with some glaze and frosting on top. But of course, the hype brought many curious people to Ansel’s bakery, and some would have to wait up to an hour to get a taste of the cronut. This invention sparked a lot of imitations, like dough’ssant and there are claims that it tastes a lot better than the original. Luckily the fuss about this food is over, and we can move on with our lives.
11. McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast
Just the thought of being able to have an Egg McMuffin at any time of the day, every day, is more than enough to get anyone excited. McDonald’s breakfast menu is one of their most popular features without a doubt, and when they announced the new All-Day Breakfast program, it put many smiles on chubby kids’ faces. But how did it go? First off, the employees of this fast-food chain complained about the unpreparedness for this move.
It turned out it’s very difficult to put out regular daily orders along with all the breakfast items, due to lack of people and equipment. The second thing is, the menu varied all throughout the country. This means that you couldn’t order all of the items in every restaurant, but only the ones that have the breakfast menu available. This inconsistency turned out to be a major disappointment with regular customers. Anyways, we will see what happens with this brand in the future, and it doesn’t look too good.
The funnyman Stephen Colbert is one of the America’s (and world’s) favorite TV hosts. His show, The Colbert Report, brought him a ton of recognition awards and success during its air time, 2005-2014. He was always on the edge of controversy, which is what made his style so appealing to the public. But, one time he went overboard; a Tweet was posted on Colbert’s official Twitter account, saying: “I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.”
This was a joke, but some people thought it was inappropriate. As a result of this, an offended 23-year old activist started a hashtag campaign #CancelColbert, which spread like a wildfire on Twitter. Of course, Colbert didn’t get canceled; no one expected that to happen. This was just another case of hashtag activism which eventually leads nowhere. OK, at least it made some comedians consider what are the borders and limits of satire.
9. Islamic State’s “Inevitable” Attack On The US
ISIS have made quite a stir in the past few years. The extremist organization murdered thousands and devastated lives of many countries. They are a real deal, and not to be messed with. Their messengers posted threatening videos online, talking about their next targets. Among them was the US, of course. President Obama responded to this and said that American intelligence services hadn’t detected any real threat, but the media didn’t listen, and headlines went wild.
NBC’s warning: “ISIS Terror Threat to US Targets ‘High,’ Say Officials” was among the first panic-rising headlines. The fuss passed quickly, but new threats aired in the following days. Supposedly, a group named Khorasan, which was a section of Al-Qaeda, developed “advanced” technologies to get explosive devices through airport security unnoticed. Even though it sounds real and plausible, nothing has happened. Yet. The media put some effort promoting this story for a while, and later it was thrown into the trash bin.
8. Eating Junk Food During Pregnancy Will Make Your Kids Forever Fat
According to an article from 2008, mothers who eat junk food during their pregnancies will leave their children doomed to a lifetime of obesity and diabetes. Where have we heard this before? Hm, everywhere! Sure, it makes sense that bad food makes you fat, and it surely can’t be right for the child developing in your body. But, is it really that bad? Well, the scientists never actually proved that.
There were some experiments performed on rats, but the results of those were negative as well. Of course, what applies to mice doesn’t apply to humans. But the journalists went on with their quick rationalizations and conclusion. To be fair, it’s not recommendable for anyone to eat junk food frequently, let alone pregnant women. But, this claim lacks evidence since scientists need years, sometimes decades to prove health-related discoveries. On the other hand, journalists take only a few seconds to make a hyped headline.
7. The Interview – The Movie
This movie made so much hype that it almost started a freaking war. Well, that’s just what happens when you make fun of North Korea. In the movie, CIA wants to assassinate Kim Jong-Un, the leader of this country. Best film buddies James Franco and Seth Rogen, play journalists who are about to do an interview with North Korea’s great leader. Of course, North Korea wasn’t happy about the theme of the film, and they threatened Columbia Pictures. Eventually, the filming company had to re-edit it. But that wasn’t the end of their troubles.
In November of 2014, a group by the name of Guardians of Freedom (allegedly connected to North Korea), hacked into Sony Pictures Entertainment computer systems. This struck fear with many major cinema lines which refused to show the movie. The movie was released for online sales and premiered in some theaters. In the end, it turned out to be just a harmless comedy flick.
6. Self-Driving Cars Are Taking Over
The internet has gone mad about the news of autonomous vehicles. A car without a driver?! No way! Of course, this produced a lot of silly and unrealistic speculations. For example, a question was posted whether these cars will be a threat to Uber? Hold your horses, kids. This is a BRAND NEW technology, so it will probably take years and years to perfect it. And we’re not talking about toy cars here; these are real vehicles carrying people, so there is no room for error.
A lot of testing needs to take place to make these things reliable. Hybrid cars have been on the market for well over ten years, and so far they make up only 3% of global car sales. Nevertheless, it would be cool to play video games comfortably tucked in on your way home from work, while your smart car cruises down the road. This idea will just have to wait.
5. Fifty Shades Of Grey –The Movie
What comes after a mind-blowing success of a controversial book? A big screen adaptation, of course! Whenever the Hollywood vultures see a monetizing opportunity, they try to seize it, and making a movie after a successful book with a strong fanbase is easy money. Not to be too cruel, many film adaptations of books have proved to be great. Take Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings, for example.
Unfortunately, Fifty Shades of Grey fails miserably. After a critically acclaimed book, the expectations for a movie adaptation are high; we all know that this can lead to disappointment. Released on Valentine’s Day, this motion picture attracted many couples to cinemas, hoping for an imagination-provoking, sensual experience. The hype was high, but the reality was harsh. After two hours of drama, people were left with nothing but a bland taste in their mouths. Looks like not every good book is good for a movie adaptation.
4. False Ebola Scare
In 2014, after reporting of an Ebola outbreak in Africa, a man by the name of Thomas Eric Duncan was taken to a hospital in Dallas due to an Ebola diagnosis. The news started serious concerns in the American public, about whether the US borders are secure. People were afraid that anyone infected with a deadly virus could just walk into the States, and this led to potential travel bans (which never happened).
To make things worse, two nurses who were treating Duncan got infected, as well as a doctor from New York. This was the moment when the media started to go crazy. “Ebola here!” was the title of some of the biggest newspapers in the country, and people went into full panic mode. In reality, only four people were infected, and one of them died. Although it might have been perceived as the new AIDS, Ebola failed to live up to its expectations. Luckily for all of us, but the memory of the hype lives on.
3. Lamar Odom Overdosing And Near-Death Experience Hype
Remember when Lamar nearly died in a brothel last year? Seems like everything is fine now, and he wasn’t in any life-threatening state or needed any organs transplant. When the event is “hot”, many media outlets put up some over-hyped headlines about it, and Lamar dying, or having his organs failing was the perfect example. Besides from being blown out of proportion, those headlines are often offending.
Like many that follow the Kardashian clan, news about Lamar was way over-hyped, because “the machinery has to continue working”. The buzz is how the Kardashian empire continues to generate interest and money, so every now and then you’ll hear some shocking news about someone from the family. Those people live under a ton of spotlights and cameras; that’s how they’re making money. Lamar did have a breakdown, and went into a coma, though. Luckily, he did recuperate and is feeling better now. Still, the media is continuing to over-hype the headlines that talk about him or his wife, Khloe Kardashian.
2. Johnny Depp And Amber Heard Divorce
How much fuss can there be about a single divorce? When it’s a celebrity divorce, it can be huge. Celebs are stalked by paparazzi all the time, monitoring their every move. And we know that celebs have a turbulent love life.
Let’s start with a brief history of this couple. The two met in 2009 during the filming of The Rum Diaries movie. In 2012, after Depp split with Vanessa Paradis, he and Heard started dating. They got engaged in 2014, and finally married in February 2015. Later that year, rumors of trouble started popping up. On May 21st, one day after Depp’s mother passed away, Amber called 911 saying that Johnny had physically abused her. She also requested a restraining order against him. Not long after, Depp’s daughter and his ex-wife speak out in his defense, saying that he is a gentle person, but Heard’s lawyers claimed differently. In a way, the drama is still going on, and we hope it’s going to be over soon.
1. Justin Bieber vs. Giant Guy
Justin Bieber said that he was not going to do selfies or autographs with fans anymore. Not everyone knew that. After attending game three of the NBA Finals, Bieber was hanging out on the sidewalk in front of his hotel. Then, a man named Lamont Richardson was leaving a bar with his two female friends, and they encountered Justin. It started off nicely; the girls chatted with him for a bit, and then Lamont asked him if one of his friends could get an autograph.
Bieber then replied: “No autographs tonight motherf***er.” He then proceeded to “puff his chest up” and act tough according to Richardson. Apparently, the singer was drunk and didn’t realize that he was facing a 6’5″ guy. Despite rumors and hype that Bieber got beaten in a brawl, nothing actually happened. He posted a photo on his Instagram page proving that his face was intact. This is one of the classic over-hyped reports, of something that could have gone wrong.