Another Chinese news outlet falls victim to satire, fooled on fake Krugman report

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 March, 2013, 12:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 March, 2013, 9:37am

Renowned American economist Paul Krugman is broke. The high-flying academic, author and New York Times columnist declared personal bankruptcy last week after he spent way more than he could ever make on purchases such as “rare Portuguese wines and 19th century English cloth”.

Sound phony? That’s because it is. (Anyone who has taken Econ 101 would have probably picked up on the wine and cloth joke).

The sardonic piece taking a snub at America’s high-priest of Keynesianism was published by satirical news website The Daily Currant last week. And like its competitor The Onion, the Currant banks on two types of audiences: those who appreciate satire; and those who genuinely can’t - and end up taking the news way too seriously.

Some Chinese media outlets have unfortunately fallen in the latter group. Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald has become the second such victim in months to be mercilessly duped by the “mysterious Western art of satire”.

The newspaper, one of China’s leading business newspapers, was fooled after it reported on the the Currant's Krugman story, on Sunday, on Chinese social media platform Weibo, with the headline (in Chinese): “Krugman, Nobel laureate, files for personal bankruptcy”.

 In November, state-mouthpiece People’s Daily Onine fell for an Onion article about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un being the “sexiest man alive for 2012”. The 55-page photo gallery was removed a few days later.

The Herald’s original post has also been removed, but was able to salvage this one from the newspaper’s official Weibo account:

[Krugman’s] own deficit reached more than US$7 million from Manhattan apartment mortgages, credit card debts and jewellery from Tiffany. His biggest investment failure was the acquisition of real estate in 2007, which saw its value drop 40 per cent. Krugman’s lawyer said although he is going through a debt crisis, he still supports Keynesian policies.

Krugman, a Princeton economist, won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2008 for his contribution on New Trade Theory. He is a staunch advocate for Keynesian economics - sometimes known as economic interventionism - which calls for monetary and fiscal policy to be used to spur demand and boost economies out of recessions.