Factoid = A piece of unverified or inaccurate information that is presented in the press as factual, often as part of a publicity effort, and that is then accepted as true because of frequent repetition: “What one misses finally is what might have emerged beyond both facts and factoids—a profound definition of the Marilyn Monroe phenomenon” (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt). Usage Problem. A brief, somewhat interesting fact.
Red herring (noun) = (Arenque defumado) An issue or idea that serves no function other than to divert attention away from more important issues. Some have argued that the war with Iraq is a red herring diverting our attention away from the War on Terrorism. This is such an obvious and patent falsehood that it smells of (red) herring.
Usage: The first question is whether some herring are really red. There are white herring, black herring, gray herring and red herring, depending on how they are prepared. If smoked slowly over burning willow branches, herring do turn red and develop a distinctive aroma.
Suggested Usage: Today's words come from the phrase "to draw a red herring across the track," originating in the second half of the 17th century. Originally, red herring and dead cats and foxes were dragged along a trail to train hunting dogs to follow a scent. Because the scent was so strong and familiar to the dogs, farmers were wont to drag a red herring around their fields to divert the howling hounds and stamping steeds of the fox hunt away from their crops. Fleeing criminals would also mislead blood hounds in hot pursuit by dragging the occasional red herring across their tracks and sending the dogs off on a wild goose chase.
Etymology: Yes, a red herring can send you on a wild goose chase. This is another common English idiom with an interesting story. After all, exactly what is it that wild geese are supposed to chase? In fact, the wild goose chase was a kind of horse race of 17th century England in which the horses behind the leader had to follow the leader's course. This encouraged the leader to set as tortuous and confusing a course as possible to prevent the other horses from passing. A wild goose chase thus became a confusing chase in many directions with little chance of success. The name of this race was chosen because wild geese always strictly follow a leader in their migrations across the spring and autumn skies.–Dr. Language, YourDictionary.com