Xinhua Falls For Satirical Borowitz Report That Bezos “Accidentally” Bought WaPo

Xinhua falls for Borowitz Report satire

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, shame on… you, I guess. Fool me four times, shame all around. Fool me five times, does your mother know you’re doing this? Fool me… I’ve lost count. Stop fooling me!

Xinhua has done it again: reporting fake news as real news. As Forbes explains:

Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government’s mouthpiece, translated verbatim a New Yorker magazine satire and published it as real news on its International News Online section. The New Yorker piece, written by satire columnist Andy Borowitz, says Bezos’ purchase resulted from an unintentional click of the mouse, and that he has been negotiating with the Post’s customer service department to retract it. Not realizing the news’ satirical nature, People’s Website, operated by another Chinese state newspaper, People’s Daily, also reprinted  the Xinhua translation.

I don’t know which of these first three paragraphs from Borowitz’s story didn’t tip off the Chinese news editors that this was NOT A REAL STORY, but perhaps this is where we simply tip our hat and give credit where it’s due:

Jeff Bezos, the founder of, told reporters today that his reported purchase of the Washington Post was a “gigantic mix-up,” explaining that he had clicked on the newspaper by mistake.

“I guess I was just kind of browsing through their website and not paying close attention to what I was doing,” he said. “No way did I intend to buy anything.”

Mr. Bezos said he had been oblivious to his online shopping error until earlier today, when he saw an unusual charge for two hundred and fifty million dollars on his American Express statement.

Or is this the place we remind you that Xinhua just published screenshots from a porno, thinking it depicted a real execution? They’re not — how do we put this nicely? — very, um, savvy over there.

Or has Xinhua slyly opened a humor/troll section without telling anyone?

The Borowitz Report has gotten Chinese media before (it’s because it’s hosted on The New Yorker, of course). In April, 21st Century Business Herald was snared by a piece of satire that claimed Kim Jong-un wanted to declare war on Microsoft.

Bezos’ ‘Accidental’ Purchase Of The Washington Post? It’s Just A Joke, Xinhua (Forbes, h/t Eric Fish)

    4 Responses to “Xinhua Falls For Satirical Borowitz Report That Bezos “Accidentally” Bought WaPo”

    1. Wank Malarky

      And you think that was written for YOUR delectation? You’re naieve as always.
      The piece was written for consumption for the Chinese audience as propaganda. They don’t care if it was a spoof or not and they don’t care about what you say. It appeared as a piece, and they reported it as such. The CCP doesn’t do irony.

      Go to the bottom of the class in Chinese political nuances, Anthony Tao. You missed the truth behind the story as always.

    2. Justin Mitchell

      I beg to politely, partially disagree. The Chinese media gatekeepers are clueless when it comes to printing Western satire (or in the case of the “female execution” pics ripped from a porn site, that also showed up in Global Times and Xinhua).
      A case can be made as Wank points out that they do so for pure propaganda reasons regardless of the source/truth. But as I found through several years toiling at Global Times, China Radio Intl, it’s usually just pure ignorance. They all lose some face when their stupidity is found out because they also want to have the respect and credibility of Western media…they just can’t have it both ways.

      Long ago, I had the pleasure of killing two such stories at two different Chinese English news outlets – GT and Shenzhen Daily. One was called “Incest Around the World” and the other was the hackneyed tripe about the “fake” US moon landings.

      It took some talking and effort, but in the end the stories were spiked. So it can be done if someone with any sense and responsibility is awake at the switch.
      That is all.


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