Gossip Cop busted 3,136 stories in 2017. That was substantially higher than the 2,404 stories we exposed in 2016. And while the National Enquirer was our worst offender last year, that dishonor now belongs to HollywoodLife.
Over the last 12 months, HollywoodLife was corrected or busted by Gossip Cop 643 times. No other publication even came close. We nailed the National Enquirer on 411 occasions, which was higher than last year’s chart-topping 335 debunked falsehoods. But even the disreputable supermarket tabloid could not keep pace this past year with a webloid that often seems to double as a fabrication factory. In fact, with stars ranging from Justin Bieber to Kylie Jenner calling out the site for its untruths, it has earned the unflattering nickname HollywoodLies.
One reason the outlet found itself in our crosshairs so often in 2017 is because Gossip Cop expanded its mission. In addition to calling out straight-up factual errors, we also began paying more attention to illegitimate and inauthentic claims. That is, assertions that may seem plausible on the surface, but were actually made-up. As such, we happened to notice a pattern when it comes to HollywoodLies: It appears to manufacture fake news inspired by real news.
On dozens and dozens of occasions, we found the online publication taking popular topics and concocting related “exclusives.” Many of these were provably false lies. Other times, these “exclusives” were often based on obvious guesses and on reasonable assumptions inferred from readily available information, such as social media and interviews, or were made-up out of whole cloth, which is why no reputable outlets were reporting anything similar.
To give a recent example of the former, HollywoodLies has claimed to have exclusively learned that Kim Kardashian is nervous for the upcoming birth of her third child. Well, most women are anxious for their babies’ arrivals and the reality star has said as much in interviews. No one genuinely connected to Kardashian shared that with the blog. It was made-up to capitalize on the upcoming delivery. The quotations were fabricated and the purported source was fictional.
And to give a recent example of the latter, just days ago, HollywoodLies alleged it exclusively learned that Selena Gomez is referring to Justin Bieber as her “husband.” No reliable publication with trusted credibility has reported anything remotely similar. Again, the quotes were fake and the source nonexistent. It was all made-up to exploit the couple’s on-and-off relationship. And it was particularly galling that the webloid wanted readers to believe it had first-hand knowledge of Gomez’s feelings when she publicly deemed HollywoodLife “the worst” in an interview with Billboard.
Of course, many of the outlet’s posts were not fabrications of its own making. Countless stories were picked up from the tabloids without any fact-checking whatsoever. The website simply regurgitated what appeared in gossip magazines, regardless of whether it was accurate or not. And it usually wasn’t factual, such as the multiple times HollywoodLies lifted false tales about Gwen Stefani being pregnant and/or married.
That’s why our year-end rankings of the publications we busted the most in 2017 contains multiple tabloids. Several web-based outlets have once again charted high on our list, including MediaTakeOut and Celeb Dirty Laundry. Notably, this makes the first time the Daily Mail has ended up in our top 10, due to an increasing number of mistakes.
Though we always monitored British outlets on a regular basis, towards the end of the year we also started putting a closer eye on the gossip media in other regions, particularly Australia. The country’s tabloids, including NW, New Idea and OK! Australia, rival the ones here with the amount of falsehoods they peddle. All of this means that in 2018, Gossip Cop‘s surveillance will be going farther than ever before. With the rate at which misinformation spreads across the globe, flooding social media and dominating search engines, it critical these publications be held accountable.
That’s why over the next year, Gossip Cop will not just be monitoring current rumors, but also revisiting ones from the past to see how they held up with time. For instance, on January 2, 2017, we busted In Touch for falsely claiming Kourtney Kardashian was pregnant with her fourth child. Now one year later, it’s clear Kardashian was never pregnant with a fourth child and the tabloid was 100 percent wrong. While Gossip Cop exposes lies on a daily basis, time is the ultimate fact-checker.
Our resolution in 2018 is to continue separating fact from fiction, expose what’s real and what’s rumor, call out fake news and maintain the level of accuracy and consistency to which we hold our peers. We hope you’ll join us in another year of fact-checking and busting bad dish.
GOSSIP COP’S 2017 TABLOID SCORECARD*
*Indicates the Top 10 outlets with the most rumors corrected by Gossip Cop between January 1 and December 31, 2017.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is accurate to the best of our ability.