You know how it is. You're a busy hack on the go. You've got articles to write, stuff to do, people to see... I mean, it's just such a pain in the arse to actually bother to try and get your facts right, isn't it?
So when you cobble together the usual fearmongering load of old toss about "the brown folk are trying to blow us up in our beds - eek!" then you might as well just go for it.
No point bothering with a quick Google to see if what you're doing is, you know, accurate or anything.
Why bother with that? Fact-checking's for wimps.
Al-Qaeda's terrifying vision of a devastated America in the wake of a nuclear attack
says Barry Wigmore. Is he even real, or is it one of those bylines that's code for "We hammered together this load of old toss off the internet"?
Except, well. You may find this hard to believe, given the quality and brilliance of the publication in question, but it's not actually Al-Qaeda's vision at all.
This is the apocalyptic scene terrorists hope to create if they ever get their hands on a nuclear bomb.
It appeared as rumours swept the Internet that the FBI was warning that an Al Qaeda video was about to be released urging militants to use weapons of mass destruction to attack the West.
Still capping up the 'internet'. Ha ha. Because Microsoft Word told you to? But anyway, there were rumours somewhere that the FBI was warning about the brown folk trying to blow us up. Wouldn't the FBI just tell the public rather than a few nutters on the internet...?
The information was said to be coming from 'groups that monitor Islamic militant websites'.
"My nan met this bloke down the pub whose wife's hairdresser told her..."
The FBI was quick to point out that it had not issued any warning and that the video was not an official Al Qaeda release through its media arm, Al Sahab, but simply an ' amateur' collection of old footage spliced together and posted on the Internet.
Essentially they debunked the entire story then...?
U.S. analysts said a lot of effort had been put into the video - entitled Nuclear Jihad, The Ultimate Terror - with graphics, music, and clips of different leaders and groups.
The same expertise seems to have gone into creating this image of a devastated Washington.
Would you like to know why there seems to have been quite a lot of expertise in this image, Barry?
Because it's from a video game, as The Register pointed out on Friday. Not from 'Al-Qaeda' at all.
Turns out the image was lifted from Fallout 3, the latest installment of a role-playing game made by Bethesda Software. Marketers describe the game, due in stores a few months, as "America's First Choice in Post Nuclear Simulation". Players are left to roam America's ravaged streets in the year 2277, 200 years after nuclear bombs destroyed the nation's capitol.
The Daily Mail's blunder was too big for even Fox News, which has been known to conflate fact and fiction on a few occasions, to pass up. But so far, the paper is standing by its fantasy report. The article remained uncorrected more than nine hours after being published.
But they've changed it now, right?
Just like the '8-year-old suicide bomber' who definitely wasn't eight but is still described as such, the Mail doesn't seem to be willing to change its stories when the facts get in the way or new evidence - you know, minor stuff like proving what you've written to be complete bollocks - presents itself.
Ah, that's 24-7 news, Mail-style. When you get it wrong - just ignore it.