Several institutions exist to check the veracity of political statements: FactCheck.org, PolitiFact, The Washington Post's Fact Checker, and the classic Snopes. Now, The Atlantic Wire would like to inaugurate a fact-checking apparatus to cover the only assertions more hotly disputed than political claims: trend pieces. These sorts of stories (about how we raise kids, drink, dress) are always controversial, because they're about how we live, which makes everyone an expert. And a critic.
We have three ratings for trend stories: Probably True, Plausible, and You're Kidding. Which category the trend falls into is based on the points each trend story received in three categories: actual evidence the trend exists, actual evidence the trend is new, and general insidiousness.
The Trend Story
Claim: Women are wearing bangs all of a sudden. "The Forehead Is the New Canvas," by The New York Times' Stephanie Rosenbloom.
Evidence of Trend's Existence: 1. Three celebrities were spotted wearing bangs at one New York event in May (Jessica Biel, Marion Cotillard, and Gennifer Goodwin). 2. Six more celebrities have bangs: Beyoncé, Rachel McAdams, Ivanka Trump, Nicole Kidman, Lea Michele, and Zooey Deschanel. 3. Models wore bangs at the Chanel cruise show. 4. "Celebrity gossip magazines are already calling 2012 the year of the bang," The Times says. It's not clear which magazine is being referenced, though MilaniHair.com posted a headline in January proclaiming, "Hair Trends 2012: Year of the Bang." 5. People are watching a YouTube called "An Infomercial for Bangs."