The satirical newspaper named North Korean dictator Kim Jong Eun its “Sexiest Man Alive,” and the People’s Daily picked up the report, AP reports.
The state-run China paper announced the news on its Web site with a 55-page slideshow of photos of Kim, showing him on a horse and quoting the Onion’s praise of Kim’s “devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame.”
This is not, as the AP points out, the first time this sort of mistake has happened. The Beijing Daily News fell for an Onion report in 2002.
And maybe this wasn’t a case of falling at all. Maybe they just realized this was the way to rake in page views.
The world’s constant quest to make satire and news the same thing continues. Some might find this depressing. But if journalism and satire become one and the same, then satirists are journalists, and we might have to sit through fewer compliance trainings. Then again, this might not be a good move on satire’s part. New media supplants old. Jon Stewart is our era’s Walter Cronkite. Web supplants print. But if satire supplants news, soon no one in the print satire business will be left with a job.
I would love to see this entry on LiterallyUnbelievable.org, the Web site that displays the shocked responses of people who believe Onion headlines are real. This takes it to a whole different level.