Friday, September 4, 2009



O but I am all afire with gleeful merriment. And marveling how easily people will believe anything they read... even to the point of re-publishing without first passing it through their factual verification department.

I had a whole other blog post “in development” for today, but I cannot pass this up.

Day before yesterday, I featured and linked to a “Moon Hoax” article by The Onion, an elaborate parody newspaper that printed a faux interview with Neil Armstrong. The piece claimed to have covered a press conference where the famed first man on the moon admitted the lunar landings were faked.

Not for the first time, another news source mistook the pungent tabloid for genuine journalism. Then, not one but two newspapers missed the underlying fun-poke at lunar landing conspiracy theorists.

Lunar Landing"We thought it was true so we printed it without checking," associate editor Hasanuzzuman Khan told the AFP news agency. "We didn't know the Onion was not a real news site."

The Onion, of course, considers every news day an opportunity to celebrate April 1st. No one expected East Asia to be in on the joke, so I can sympathize – the story formats and styles give an air of authenticity if you don’t approach them with a sense of appreciation for the absurd.

I think this is why some people just “get” Monty Python, while others never will. Here are a few other times people missing the “satire” chromosome have taken The Onion too seriously