Re: "Did that thing really sink?"
For a lot of people, life consists of 'being entertained'. Everything they see and hear is entertainment. Not for one second do they imagine that some of that entertainment is based on fact.
On the other side of the coin I used to work with two fairly 'intelligent' people in their mid-twenties who thought that Close Encounters was based on fact. So, I suppose, we just can't win.
I suppose it comes down to education in the end. I do remember that my history classes were very boring and poorly taught. I was saved by having a good set of encyclopaedias at home. Nowadays kids have the internet and the problem with that is that the truth and the rest of the rubbish carry the same weight.