‘The Onion’ report named North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as the “Sexiest Man Alive” for 2012, and ‘The People’s Daily’ in China took it as real news and ran a 55-page photo spread on its website as a tribute to Kim.
The Chinese paper even quoted ‘The Onion’s’ story, writing “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.”
And it didn’t end there. The story went on to say “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.”
As for the photos, ‘The People’s Daily’ selected Kim on horseback and waving toward a military parade.
In other photos, he’s wearing sunglasses and smiling, or on an official government tour with his wife.
‘The Korea Times’, a South Korean daily, also reported ‘The Onion’ story as real news.
This isn’t the first time a state-run Chinese newspaper has fallen for a satirical report by ‘The Onion’.
Several years ago, ‘The Beijing Evening News’, ran an ‘Onion’ story that the U.S. Congress wanted a new building and was threatening to leave Washington (like sports teams do).
Two months ago, Iran’s ‘Fars’ news agency got duped by ‘The Onion’ as well. It printed a story about a “survey” that showed most rural white Americans would rather vote for Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than Barack Obama.
It included a quote from a phony resident of West Virginia saying he’d rather go to a baseball game with Ahmadinejad because “he takes national defense seriously.”
Of course, it’s not just news organizations that fall for some of ‘The Onion’s’ stories. Ordinary folks get duped too. For a round-up, check out LiterallyUnbelievable.org.