BEIJING – Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice?
That’s the hard lesson being learned Tuesday by China’s ruling Communist Party newspaper, The People’s Daily, after it ran a version of a story by American satirical news site, The Onion, that named North Korean supreme dictator, Kim Jong Un, as the “Sexiest Man Alive for the year of 2012.”
The government newspaper didn’t just proclaim Kim the winner of the dubious honor. It positively reveled in it.
"With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman's dream come true,” quoted the newspaper from The Onion. "Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper's editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile."
The Chinese paper’s three paragraph piece on its official website was followed by a 55-page photo gallery depicting Kim at his best – riding a horse, shown on the cover of Time Magazine, inspecting fruit and of course, being met with rapturous applause by his people.
North Korea’s official state media, KCNA, has not commented on its website about either article.
This wouldn't be the first time that Chinese state press has fallen for The Onion's satire, and it remains unclear whether editors at the People’s Daily knowingly posted the piece.
In 2002, the Beijing Evening News published another story from the prank website that claimed the United States Congress was threatening to leave Washington, D.C., and relocate to Charlotte, N.C., or Memphis, Tenn., if “its demands for a new, state-of-the-art facility are not met.”
In February of this year, U.S Congressman, Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), was left red-faced after he reposted an old Onion story that claimed Planned Parenthood was opening an "$8 billion abortionplex" in Topeka, Kansas.
Meanwhile, this past September in the lead-up to the U.S. elections, Iranian state media fell for another Onion gag that said most rural white Americans "would rather vote for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. President Barack Obama.”
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