The PJ Tatler

State-Run Media Falls for Joke -- And It's Not Barack Obama!

The Washington Post has run a bazillion stories on its own sale to the man who perfected online home shopping. This one happens to also be about how the Chinese state-run media fell for a mildly funny but kind of obvious prank, about the Post’s sale to the man who perfected online home shopping for less than the price of A-Roid. Not how the US state-run media keeps on falling for the joke that is Barack Obama, for the paltry price of their souls.

The announcement that Amazon chief Jeff Bezos had purchased The Washington Post surprised a lot of people, but it appears that the folks over at China’s ever-serious state media were so taken aback by the news that they briefly lost the ability to differentiate satire from reality. On Thursday, the state-run Xinhua news agency translated into Chinese a heavily satirical story from on the sale, running it as fact. The story was dutifully re-reported by People’s Daily Online and other Chinese media outlets.

The original article, by comedian Andy Borowitz, is titled “Amazon Founder Says He Clicked On Washington Post By Mistake” and included a series of gag references that will be familiar to anyone who ever purchased something online, which is relatively common for urban middle-class Chinese.

They’ll also be familiar to anyone who’s ever encountered Andy Borowitz’s “comedy.”