China Is Punked By The Onion, Who Named North Korean Leader ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

It’s probably happened to most of us, we see a headline from the satirical site, The Onion, and it captures us. We devour the headline, incredulous that that person could actually say or do that. Eventually, someone points out to us that the article is actually a joke. We back away, red-faced and tail between our legs.

We’re in good company. The most recent edition of The Onion went over roughly a billion heads when they named North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, its “Sexiest Man Alive.” It didn’t take long for the “news” to spread across the globe, only the Chinese weren’t laughing. They very proudly proclaimed that an American publication recognized Kim for his baby-faced sexual prowess. In fact, the Chinese Communist Paper, The People’s Daily, ran a 55-page spread of images of the man the Onion called,

“Devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true. 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.

“He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time,” Onion Style and Entertainment editor Marissa Blake-Zweibel said. “And that’s the quality that makes him the sort of man women want, and men want to be. He’s a real hunk with real intensity who also knows how to cut loose and let his hair down.”

Former “winners” included Bashar Al-Assad (President of Syria), Bernie Madoff, the Koch brothers (both), and Ted Kaczynski.

Two months ago, The Onion “reported” that “the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama.”

Iran’s newspaper, Fars, not only printed The Onion story as true, they didn’t even credit The Onion, instead making the story look like it was from the news wires

It’s not even the first time China was fooled by The Onion. In 2002, the Beijing Evening News reported on an Onion article that claimed that Congress was threatening to leave unless a new Capitol building was built.
The incidents leave one with a new-found respect for satire and the tremendous responsibility its writers endure. On one hand, they want to be outrageous enough to keep us on our toes. On the other, who knows what sort of fallout the wrong headline could have.
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