It seems that awareness of satire at Iran’s Fars News Agency is practically zero after they picked up a bogus story run on the spoof website The Onion and reported it as fact.
Proudly boasting that a majority of rural white Americans would rather go to a baseball game with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Barack Obama, the government affiliated agency was left red faced over its faux-pas.
In fact, so gross was the mistake that they became a figure of fun for The Onion editor Will Tracy who said that. ‘The Iranian news agency, Fars, is a subsidiary of The Onion…The Onion freely shares content with Fars and commend the journalists at Iran’s Finest News Source on their superb reportage.’
Compounding their error was the actual content of the story, which was barely believable in itself.
‘According to the results of a Gallup poll released Monday, the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than US President Barack Obama,’ it reads.
Adding that 77 percent of rural white voters said they ‘would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad, a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed, than spend time with Obama.’
Totally ignoring the fact that Ahmadinejad is a teetotaler who as a Muslim man would never go for a beer with a rural white American, the Fars News Agency was praised by The Onion for their stupidity.
‘The Iranian news agency, Fars, is a subsidiary of The Onion,’ said The Onion editor Will Tracy.
‘They have acted as our Middle Eastern bureau since the mid 1980s, when the Onion’s publisher, T. Herman Zweibel, founded Fars with the government approval of the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini.Â
‘The Onion freely shares content with Fars and commends the journalists at Iran’s Finest News Source on their superb reportage.’
The original article in The Onion, imagines an interview with a fictitious West Virginia resident talking about his preference for Ahmadinejad.
‘I like him better,’ said Dale Swiderski in The Onion and reported by Fars.
‘He takes national defence seriously, and he’s never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does.’
The Onion’s fake article also said 60 percent of rural whites had respect for Ahmadinejad for not hiding the fact that he’s a Muslim, a swipe at the almost 20 percent of American registered voters who believe Obama is a Muslim.
And there was no mention of The Onion in the Fars article and not long after it was posted, the Fars editors appear to have realised what they’d copied and removed it.