The Daily Express is predicting the 'END OF DAYS' this weekend.
But fear not. There are plenty of reasons to doubt the veracity of this story, not least because it is from the Express and it's clearly utter nonsense.
If you still need further reassurance, you should remember this silly season filler comes from a paper well-known for infamously inaccurate weather headlines. If they can't even predict a cold winter correctly there's no reason to believe they'll accurately pick an apocalypse.
Also, you should take comfort from the fact this isn't even the first time this year the Express has predicted the end of the world and it was obviously wrong then - though it clearly liked the reaction its story got.
"Chancellor George Osborne's family cat, Freya, is being treated by vets after being "clipped" by a car near Downing Street. The tabby's injuries are not serious."
A report in the Guardian adds:
"Freya is recovering and expected to return home soon. Osborne was said to be "grateful" to those who helped his pet and will pay any bills himself."
Leaving ITV News to add the all-important detail:
"It is unclear where the incident happened or whose car was involved."
So 'cat is OK after trip to the vet, owner pays the bills, nobody really sure what happened'.
Hold the front page.
Now we are being urged to be terrified about ebola and The Mirror appears to be the scare-monger in chief.
Of course ebola is serious, especially in Sierra Leone and Liberia where more than 800 people have died from the illness.
But despite medical experts playing down the risk to the UK, the Mirror has been working overtime to sensationalise the threat, talk up the risk to the UK and use the word 'TERROR' in big capital letters whenever possible.
So in the past week we had the "Commonwealth Games Ebola Terror" in which an athlete was found not to have ebola - a detail which was known before the Mirror wrote its headline, accompanied by a photo from Liberia for addded shock factor.
And then there was the story of "Ebola terror as passenger dies at Gatwick" which involved a passenger who didn't die of ebola, tested negative for the illness and, according to the Department of Health, showed no symptoms of ebola.
Of course, the headline is deeply and deliberately misleading, written to feed the irrational fears and prejudices of Mail readers.
The Mail eventually admits the sperm bank will be used by "lesbians, single women... and... heterosexual couples" - meaning it's actually just a sperm bank.
The Mail's online headline takes its discriminatory hyperbole to higher levels still, telling its readers "NHS to fund sperm bank for lesbians: New generation of fatherless families... paid for by YOU".
At this point it's worth noting that even the 'NHS-funded' element of these headlines is more than a little misleading. Public funding for the sperm bank amounts to a single £77,000 grant.
"The ebola crisis hit the Commonwealth Games," reports Friday's Mirror beneath a headline declaring "Commonwealth Games Ebola Terror". Next to the headline is a picture of a body being carried on a stretcher.
"Evan brings a rare combination of curiosity, intelligence and mischief to his broadcasting - just the qualities I want Newsnight to be known for. I've admired him from afar as a listener and viewer for years and I'm thrilled that he's joining us to help reinvent the show where he made his name in the Nineties."
Davis said he was powerless to "turn down the offer of this role on Newsnight, treading in the footsteps of some of the best television presenters in the business."
In the early hours of Sunday morning Sky News reported on growing concerns about the degree to which the crash scene of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was being tampered with and compomised.
Hours later one of the broadcaster's own correspondents, Colin Brazier, was seen rummaging through the luggage of dead passengers. After pulling items out of the luggage and holding them up to the camera it belatedly dawned on Brazier that what he was doing was incredibly wrong.
"We shouldn't really be doing this," he was heard saying live on air, as he dropped some car keys back into the suitcase.
Sky News has now apologised for Brazier's actions. A statement said:
"Today whilst presenting from the site of the MH17 air crash Colin Brazier reflected on the human tragedy of the event and showed audiences the content of one of the victims' bags. Colin immediately recognised that this was inappropriate and said so on air. Both Colin and Sky News apologise profusely for any offence caused."
The Daily Mail did a good job on Tuesday of pretending it was angry about all the hard-done-by white, middle-aged men being "culled" in David Cameron's reshuffle. But really it was already building itself up to get on with the serious business of objectifying the women MPs taking up new roles in the Cabinet.
On the front of Wednesday's paper the Mail is doing the journalistic equivalent of winding down the van window and shouting "Oi! Oi! darlin'...show us your legs!" at a woman trying to go about her business. Inside, a photo story critiques each of the female MPs' outfits and physical appearance in a way no paper would ever consider doing for male MPs.
When male MPs walk down Downing Street it's referred to not unreasonably as Downing Street. But when female MPs appear on Downing Street it is suddenly transformed by the Mail into a "catwalk" which they "sashay" down, rather than simply walking. And if there's more than one female MP they become locked in a "catwalk battle" lest we forget they are only there to be judged on their appearance and compared to one another.
Update: One of the Daily Mail's own staff has broken ranks to criticise the paper's "unspeakably awful and demeaning" coverage of women. Outgoing business correspondent Becky Barrow took to Twitter to post the following message:
Daily Mail: 'Women, know your place'
As the World Cup Final went into extra time on Sunday night, newspaper editors were poised, waiting to put their papers to bed. Then Mario Götze scored, they all wrote the same headline and went to the pub.
At least nobody went with 'History Boys'.
Updated: A number of media outlets and social media users around the world have been fooled by a spoof video which appeared to suggest North Korean state TV was claiming the country's football team had made it to the World Cup final where they will play Portugal.
The Metro, who have since corrected their original story, reported:
"North Korea's state controlled media is brazenly telling the country's football fans that the national team have reached the World Cup final in Brazil... In a report posted on YouTube, the media have been caught broadcasting that North Korea are on course to win the biggest prize in football, despite not actually qualifying for the World Cup."
Unfortunately, despite the normally watertight argument that if something has appeared on YouTube it must be true, the story is a hoax.
According to a report from ITN, North Korean football fans are not only aware that their team was not in the World Cup they are also able to watch the tournament on TV. Although other reports suggest North Koreans may be seeing some games with a delay of around 24 hours there is no suggestion the country's football fans are being kept in the dark about which teams have contested the tournament.
A deal was announced in 2010 by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union which allows North Korea to broadcast World Cup matches.
This is the video which is supposed to be from North Korea that has got people confused:
The Metro was among a number of media outlets who had to hastily rewrite their stories:
A press release issued to broadcasters on behalf of flight booking website Skyscanner this week claimed there has been a "surge in Brits flying to Germany" to watch Sunday's World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. To make its case, Skyscanner was offering broadcasters an interview with a "footie fan" who was quoted as saying:
"When Germany made it to the finals this week my mates and I jumped at the chance to see whether we could get to Germany to experience some of the excitement and buzz with local fans! Luckily we managed to find some cheap flights to Berlin through Skyscanner so we booked straight away. We can't wait to soak up the atmosphere this weekend."
What broadcasters weren't told was the "footie fan" in question actually works for Skyscanner's PR agency - the same agency who had put out the press release.
One of the stranger stories this week saw the world's media obsessing on the watch worn by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis. Never mind the brutality and the killing the media all wanted to discuss the comparatively irrelevant detail of his "bling".
The Telegraph reported "the watch bore an obvious resemblance to models designed by a number of famous watchmakers, including the £3,490 Omega seamaster". The Daily Mail hedged its bets claiming it was either a Rolex, a Sekonda or an Omega, while the Huffington Post reported it was indeed an Omega Seamaster, the same watch as the one worn by James Bond in recent films apparently.
However, according to CNN the watch may actually have been "a relatively more modest $560 "Islamic watch" from Al-Fajr... the preferred choice of "true Muslims"."
The Daily Mail is regularly criticised for inaccurate reporting, making up stories, lifting them without credit from other outlets or putting such a spin on a story that any facts there may once have been are no longer recognisable.
Less common are apologies for any of the above.
But it seems George Clooney has too much clout for the Mail to ignore. Within hours of the Hollywood star criticising the Mail this week for fabricating a story about his fiancee's family the Mail issued an apology.
"The story was not a fabrication but..." began the Mail's forlorn defence, the "but" and the rare apology both betraying the fact it clearly must have been. The Mail tried to blame the story on a "trusted freelance journalist" before apologising to Clooney and stating "we accept Mr Clooney's assurance that the story is inaccurate".
However, Clooney remains unimpressed. "I thank the Mail for its apology, " he wrote this week. "Not that I would ever accept it, but because in doing so they've exposed themselves as the worst kind of tabloid. One that makes up its facts to the detriment of its readers."
George Clooney has written a letter to USA Today criticising what he calls "a completely fabricated story" in the Daily Mail about his mother-in-law to be and her alleged opposition to him marrying her daughter.
"It says Amal's mother has been telling "half of Beirut" that she's against the wedding. It says they joke about traditions in the Druze religion that end up with the death of the bride. Let me repeat that: the death of the bride.
"The irresponsibility, in this day and age, to exploit religious differences where none exist, is at the very least negligent and more appropriately dangerous.
"The Daily Mail, more than any other organization that calls itself news, has proved time and time again that facts make no difference in the articles they make up. And when they put my family and my friends in harm's way, they cross far beyond just a laughable tabloid and into the arena of inciting violence."
You can read Clooney's full letter here.
The Mail Online has published what looks at first glance to be the usual 'celebrity spotted wearing clothes and going for dinner' kind of filler that pads out its site on a daily basis. The headline declares that Nigella Lawson was spotted "dressing down for dinner" but it quickly becomes clear the piece is far more mischievous than that. The headline says Lawson was spotted with a "Harry Potter look-a-like" though the Mail will have known full well the name of her lunch companion:
Who was the mystery "Harry Potter look-a-like"? It was none other than Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian:
Referencing its own much-parodied obsession with insulting the appearance of minor-celebrities and leering at their "curves", the Mail tells us:
"Alan, her lunchtime companion, wore a crumpled navy suit and a blue shirt which hung to his curves. His hair looked in need of a good brushing and he wore his recognisable round glasses - making him look like the fictional wizard."
While it may appear the Mail ran this story purely to make some childish jokes at Rusbridger's expense the decision to report on the social engagements and private life of another paper's editor surely marks a further souring of relations in the Fleet Street playground.
The Media Blog is five years old today. Below are the top 10 most-read posts from the past five years:
1. Newsnight strips "porn user" of her PhD... now you see it, now you don't. You admit on television to watching porn and the next thing you know you've been stripped of your hard-earned qualifications.
2. The Daily Mail turns the creepiness up a notch... the Daily Mail's distasteful coverage of young girls has been covered a number of times over the past five years but this post continues to get a steady stream of readers a year-and-a-half after it was published.
3. They didn't...?... Back in May 2012, the Liverpool Echo served up one of the most unfortunate page layouts of the past five years.
4. BBC calls its own Facebook fans "saddos"... As the BBC readied its website for the 2012 Olympics some holding text insulted its Facebook fans.
5. Daybreak viewers: Confused by time... Daybreak may have been pulled from the TV schedule but its former viewers continue to be confused by Good Morning Britain on ITV+1.
6. The Mail claims victory in moral crusade... the Daily Mail's campaign to clean up the internet gets more ironic but the week.
8. Ooops! The Daily Mail falls victim to spoof Steve Jobs iPhone recall Tweet... There have been plenty of cases of people being taken in by fake Twitter accounts over the past five years but this was one of the most notable examples.
9. The Daily Mail limps on with 'Big Fat' campaign... the Mail took offence at some jokes on Channel 4 and tried to whip up some outrage. Unfortunately even the paper's own readers didn't seem that bothered.
10. The Express misjudges the mood on Twitter... a promoted tweet sparked a remarkable backlash and saw Twitter users rallying to fritter away the Express's budget.
A new member on an online muslim community message board this week has posted the below message. It was the new member's first message:
"salam my sisters and brothers we should get out of this evil country and pledge our allegiance to the muslim sharia law and get out of evil west. who wants to join me so we can wage war and jihad against the corrupt west."
So who was this would-be jihadist? Members of the online community were quick to check out the poster's IP address to see if it gave any clues. And it seems the IP address used by the member to register points to the offices of the Daily Mail group, which it should be noted are home to a number of different UK newspapers and their websites.
That may mean a journalist working from those offices has tired of their job and has decided to wage war on the west instead, or it may mean they are trolling muslim messageboards trying to scare up some stories.
The moderators of the forum, called Ummah.com, have posted the following statement, saying "there may be possible explanations as to why this has happened, IP addresses can be spoofed or faked... someone may have compromised their network, or it may even have been someone within the network posting this trying to entrap us."
In the statement Ummah.com mentions a confirmed case of 'entrapment' from 2009 when The Sun was made to apologise by the PCC after running a scare story based on fake comments from a phoney 'extremist' posting comments on Ummah.com.
A headline from the London Evening Standard today claims 'Garden Bridge across River Thames 'will bring eight million tourists a year to London''.
To put that into perspective the Evening Standard is claiming this proposed new bridge will result in a 50 per cent increase in tourists visiting London each year. To see a bridge.
The Evening Standard of course is known as something of a cheerleader for London Mayor Boris Johnson and it has certainly done its best to make the "exquisite" Garden Bridge, which Boris is both championing and part-funding, sound like a great investment. But if you read on it becomes clear the headline is wildly misleading.
Graham King, Westminster Council's head of strategic planning, told a scrutiny committee meeting: "Footfall will be similar to the flow of the Hungerford and Golden Jubilee Bridges of nearly eight million people a year."
So eight million people per year, including many London residents who already live in the capital and tourists who would be visiting anyway, may use the bridge to cross the river. There is no mention of the bridge bringing a single tourist to London, let alone eight million.