There are probably some bloggers who have never been pwned by The Onion — reporting on a story that originally appeared in the satirical publication as if it were the real deal.
I’m not one of them. I was taken in several years ago and was forced to issue an embarrassing retraction.
So I know exactly how the Chinese party newspaper, The People’s Daily, feels today.
The online version of China’s Communist Party newspaper has hailed a report by The Onion naming North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as the “Sexiest Man Alive” – not realizing it is satire.
The People’s Daily on Tuesday ran a 55-page photo spread on its website in a tribute to the round-faced leader, under the headline “North Korea’s top leader named The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.”
Quoting The Onion’s spoof report, the Chinese newspaper wrote, `’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.”
“Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper’s editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile,” the People’s Daily cited The Onion as saying.
The photos the People’s Daily selected include Kim on horseback squinting into the light and Kim waving toward a military parade. In other photos, he is wearing sunglasses and smiling, or touring a facility with his wife.
People’s Daily could not immediately be reached for comment. A man who answered the phone at the newspaper’s duty office said he did not know anything about the report and requested queries be directed to their newsroom on Wednesday morning.
It is not the first time a state-run Chinese newspaper has fallen for a fictional report by the just-for-laughs The Onion.
In 2002, the Beijing Evening News, one of the capital city’s biggest tabloids at the time, published as news the fictional account that the U.S. Congress wanted a new building and that it might leave Washington. The Onion article was a spoof of the way sports teams threaten to leave cities in order to get new stadiums.
A 55 page photo spread? I don’t know what’s goofier; the paper actually believing Kim is the sexiest man alive or devoting so much space to the subject in the first place.
I really hope they don’t can the editor responsible for this fiasco. Far more discerning and intelligent people than he have been taken in by an Onion story.