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[Disclaimer: This article is a "fake news" piece. Proceed at your own risk!]

Onion Spoof Article Picked Up as Real News: A Threat to Serious Journalism?

Oct 112012
 By , October 11, 2012

Iranian news agency reprint of spoof news raises serious questions about silly sites

Note to readers: This article is an experiment in new software equipment that makes the material visible to the public reading audience as it is typed and being viewed by an editor. It reflects an effort by the journalistic community to get the latest news and writings out to the reading community with as little delay and interference as possible. Thank you and enjoy the article.

A major media dysfunctionality was created by The Onion magazine, when the Iranian news agency Fars picked up one of their spoof ‘news stories’ concerning a survey undertaken in southern U.S. states, which found that rural rednecks preferred Ahmadinejad over Barack Obama.

the onion, spoof newsThe Persian news agency republished The Onion’s article as truth. Those familiar with The Onion will know that the entire newspaper is a spoof. The Iranians, however, are not used to this sort of tomfoolery and did not pick up the subtle irony that was there. The article also mentioned that 77% of those interviewed would rather go to a baseball game or have a drink with Mr. Ahmadinejad

The Onion’s reaction to the story was merely to add a sub-line to the article stating “For more information on this please contact the Iranian News Media Fars.”

Author’s note: I wish to use the occurrence of this bizarre bit of journalism to point out exactly how damaging the proliferation of these types of news spoof articles, books, websites and magazines have become, and that they are a threat to we serious journalists. Their blooming in the media world is like a fungus that is infecting not only true reportage, but also soils the minds of the reading public who consume this nonsense.

I feel it is time for the government and local officials to clamp down on this sort of silly news reporting that does no one any good and makes a mockery of true journalism. If we were…

Excuse me a moment, dear readers, my phone is ringing.

“Hello, Freed here.”
“John you say? You are the new managing editor for Humor Times? Cool!  How are you doing?”
“What in the world is wrong with you? You don’t need to yell like that!”
“Well, I’m sorry you don’t like the article. I have a right to my opinion.”
“So what if spoofs and satire are your bread and butter? I, for one, do not live on bread alone!”
“No, I do not own an ass and if I did it wouldn’t be dumb.”
“Look, John! This is my article and I will write it any way I please!”
“Hey! I never touched my mother and especially not like that! And if I had how would you know about it?”
“OK John, I’ll just send it to someone who will appreciate it. If you do use it, you’ll be hearing from my lawyer!”
“Good bye!”

Anyway, folks, with that done, with let’s band together and get rid of these disrespectful so-called spoof comedy sites once and for all!

Ed. note: We’ve decided to post this piece on our site, against our best judgement. Please don’t tell Roger.

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Roger Freed has a fertile, if somewhat warped, imagination. Read him at your own risk! More laugh gaffes available at Semi-Humorous Humor. For something in a more serious mode get "The Book Of Songs" by Roger Freed from A collection of short stories illustrating the subtle and powerful influence music can have on our minds and our spirits.

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