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The Delightful World Of Editorial Screw Ups In China

Last week’s incident of Chinese state-owned media outlet Xinhua re-printing Andy Borowitz’s satire as real news is hardly the first time Chinese news editors’ bullshit-detectors have failed them. Let’s see what other fake news stories have slipped by China’s seasoned fact-checkers.

Beijing Cream / Via beijingcream.com

Jeff Bezos making an accidental 250 million dollar purchase is apparently not too fishy to require a fact-check or a cursory Google search of this Andy Borowitz fellow.

Shanghaiist / Via shanghaiist.com

Another Borowitz Report article found the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald falling for an article claiming the switch from Windows 95 to Windows 8 had foiled a recent missile test.

3. People’s Daily Believes Kim Jong-Eun Voted Sexiest Man Alive

Shanghaiist / Via shanghaiist.com

Y’all probably remember this one: People’s Daily, yet another nationally syndicated state-run news organization, fell for this ingenious Onion article last year. The Onion even got in on the fun after they saw the re-post, writing: “For more coverage on The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-Un, please visit our friends at the People’s Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc. Exemplary reportage, comrades.” Bless their souls.

For a timeline of how this became “news” in China see this Shanghaiist article.

This Daily Currant article found its way into the pages of the 21st Century Business Herald this March. The fact-checking is strong with these ones.

Beijing Cream / Via beijingcream.com

Recently, Xinhua and Global Times posted a slideshow entitled “Actual Record of Female Inmate’s Execution - Exposing the World’s Darkest Side.” Except the slides were not of a real execution, but of some lethal injection fetish porn. I can’t begin to imagine how this happened… but it did. I’d have thought the doctor’s haircut would’ve been an initial tip-off.

Shanghaiist / Via shanghaiist.com

Xinhua, one of the leading state-run news sources in China, ran a story about MS. No satire here, but observe the image the editors picked to accompany the story. Does that head look familiar? Like all of these editorial gaffes, this photo was taken down quite soon after it (finally) came to the editors’ attention that a) that is not a real X-ray and b) the photo wasn’t attributed appropriately.

Now the journalists of China are not the only ones who have fallen for the masterful satire of Borowitz and The Onion. Rachel Maddow got caught believing ChristWire.com’s article about Sarah Palin supporting a U.S.-led invasion of Egypt in 2011; Fox News reported on an Onion article alleging Obama wrote a rambling 75,000 word e-mail; and people on Facebook fall for this shit every single day. Still, Chinese news sources are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to legitimacy and reliability, and none of this helps the matter. Thankfully, I’m pretty sure these kinds of screw-ups aren’t disappearing as long as media outlets around the world continue to value speed over accuracy, so we can all continue to…

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