Great Moments In Fact-Checking

Many of Snapple’s “Real Facts” aren’t facts:

Elephants actually sleep three to seven hours a night, not two (#35), according to the San Diego Zoo. The Statue Snapple Facts Fakeof Liberty wasn’t the first electric lighthouse (#179); that distinction belongs to the Souter Lighthouse, according to the UK National Trust. And the average American doesn’t walk 18,000 steps a day (#89), not even close. The real tally is more like 5,116 steps, according to a recent study.

Other “Real Facts” are misleading or outdated. A mosquito doesn’t really have “47 teeth” (#50); it has a serrated proboscis — the sharp tube used to suck blood. Pennsylvania isn’t really misspelled on the Liberty Bell (#300) because “Pensylvania” was an accepted spelling in the 18th century, according to the National Park Service. And while the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows (#85), it’s not necessarily because she was painted that way. They just eroded, some art historians now believe.

The larger point of the exercise:

[A]ll of this raises larger questions about our relationship with information, not least of which is why we’d trust a beverage maker to inform us about anything other than its product. Perhaps it’s naive to expect any truth in advertising but there’s still the lingering expectation that if someone explicitly says “this is a fact,” then it should be.

(Image: A photoshopped “Real Facts” cap.)