China Fooled by the Onion Imitating CNN Imitating the Onion

“China’s Official People’s Daily Quotes the Onion: Kim Jong Eun ‘Sexiest Man Alive,’” as spotted by the Wall Street Journal:

The official voice of the Chinese Communist Party appears to have been had.

The People’s Daily newspaper, which for more than six decades has sternly spouted the party line, on Tuesday posted on its website a 55-photo slideshow dedicated to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Eun. The occasion: The satirical newspaper the Onion earlier this month declared the double-chinned Mr. Kim the “sexiest man alive for 2012.”

The slideshow – which begins with a photo of Mr. Kim astride a dappled gray, looking stoically into the distance –  quotes liberally from the Onion and offers no evidence that a tongue is anywhere in the vicinity of a cheek. “With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true,” the text below the slideshow says, citing the Onion.

“He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time,” it quotes Onion Style and Entertainment Editor Marissa Blake-Zweibel as saying. Longtime readers of the Onion will note she shares a name with the fictitious T. Herman Zweibel, who the Onion claims served in a number of editorial positions at the paper for more than a century until 2001, when he was launched into space. (Mr. Zweibel’s once-weekly column has appeared only sporadically since then.)


China’s People’s Daily isn’t the first foreign — or domestic! — news service to be taken in by satire of the Onion. But hey, if they needed confirmation from a second source, they could have simply gone by tone of a 2010 report by CNN’s Alina Cho, broadcasting live from Pyongyang, which also made the portly young tyrant sound totally cool and dreamy:

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Since CNN’s launch in the 1980s, it has tried to obtain live feeds from some of the world’s worst hellholes — ultimately at disastrous cost to the network’s credibility.

Related: “CNN: All Adults in America Went Shopping on Black Friday Weekend,” though in this case, I’m not sure if CNN took their lead from the Onion, or simply their own “election” coverage of assorted dictators who invariably end up with 99.9 percent of the vote.



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