We could hardly finish 2012 without another epic misreading of "The Onion" by a foreign publication. Thankfully, Chinese newspaper The People's Daily took care of that by reporting that North Korea's Kim Jong Un had been named "Sexiest Man Alive" at the end of November.
The story was, of course, completely fake.
But China isn't the only foreign country who has been fooled by "The Onion" and the parody newspaper's sharp, satirical wit. Look below for nine times it's happened in places like Russia, France and Denmark over the years:
A Danish television station not only ran this story as truth, but included a little poll on the side asking readers if Sean Penn has a right to be upset. So far, <a href="http://go-dyn.tv2.dk/articlefornoejelse/id-3498191:hvem-har-hugget-sean-penns-emailadresse.html">79% say he is ridiculous</a>.
Both <em>The Daily Banab Zamin</em> and <em>The New Nation</em> (two Bangladeshi papers) picked up <em>The Onion</em>'s story about Neil Armstrong finally being convinced that the moon landing was staged, <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8237558.stm">not knowing the story was fake.</a>
<em>The Beijing Evening News</em> printed parts of this article <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/U-S-satire-tricks-Beijing-paper-Satire-fools-2829911.php">as fact</a>, including a fake Dennis Hastert quote complaining that the Capitol "is no longer suitable for a world-class legislative branch. The sight lines are bad, there aren't enough concession stands or bathrooms, and the parking is miserable." No concession stands? But this is AMERICA.
<a href="http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9106242628">The Fars News Agency</a> published and <a href="http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/iranian-news-agency-plagiarizes-the-onion/">tweeted</a> this poll saying that rural whites preferred Ahmadinejad to Obama. The same poll also concluded "60 percent of rural whites said they at least respected that Ahmadinejad doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s Muslim."
By now <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/27/chinese-newspaper-falls-for-onion-article_n_2196882.html">everyone knows</a> that the People's Daily published a 55-page photo spread of Kim Jong-Un because they believed that the Onion had seriously named him the <a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/kim-jongun-named-the-onions-sexiest-man-alive-for,30379/">"The Sexiest Man Alive."</a> The Onion updated their article, chiding the paper by joking "exemplary reportage, comrades."
The Italian newspaper <em>Il Corriere della Sera</em> and the Norwegian paper <em><a href="http://www.olen.net/Humor">Adresseavisen</a></em> ran clips of this <a href="http://video.corriere.it/?vxSiteId=404a0ad6-6216-4e10-abfe-f4f6959487fd&vxChannel=Dal%20Mondo&vxClipId=2524_a579df7e-2144-11df-940a-00144f02aabe&vxBitrate=300">video as news.</a>
The French soccer website Sofoote.com published a photo and article about the only American soccer fan <a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/nations-soccer-fan-becoming-insufferable,17553/">Brad Janovic</a> under the headline "<a href="http://www.sofoot.com/la-solitude-du-supporter-ricain-127305.html">La solitude du supporter ricain</a>."
<a href="http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2011-01-10-theonion10_CV_N.htm">USA Today</a> says the website Russia.ru believed that this was an honest video.
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