'Amazon founder clicked on Washington Post sale by mistake': Chinese state media think it's for real

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 August, 2013, 11:33am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 August, 2013, 12:23pm

The New Yorker's satirist Andy Borowitz would probably be thrilled to find out that his articles have been translated into Chinese and published - with sensational headlines - by some of China's most-read news sites.

But would Borowitz be more amused if he learned that Chinese state media had run his latest online post as serious breaking news - and that it was not even their first time!

“Amazon founder says he clicked on Washington Post by mistake,” said a headline on The Borowitz Report about the US newspaper acquisition that has created quite some buzz. The post charactised Jeff Bezos as an e-shopper who did not know how the paper "got in my cart".

It was first translated and picked up by China Radio International (CRI) on Wednesday. It later appeared on the websites of of Xinhua state news agency, People’s Daily and Phoenix News on Wednesday, as shown by screenshots saved by readers.

The dupe appeared to add to an unfortunate week of journalism for Xinhua, which on Tuesday posted screenshots from a pornographic film on its website - saying the pictures show an execution in the United States. The pictures were removed on Wednesday.

By Thursday, CRI has taken down the Borowitz story, but it remained on Xinhua’s website as of noon.

Many of China's bloggers seemed to get a kick out of the incident. 

"Even a pupil could tell it's a joke," a blogger said on Weibo. 

"Will someone please click on CCTV 'by mistake' and make it go away," another blogger wrote jokingly.

In an earlier satire piece, Borowitz wrote that problems with Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 8 had led to a delay in North Korea's widely dreaded missile test. The Chinese daily 21st Century Business Herald fell for the spoof and reported it with an imaginary quote from the state-run Korean Central News Agency: that the regime "was working with Windows 8 support to resolve the issue".