In what almost feels like an Onion story itself, Iran’s Fars News Agency picked up a story from The Onion today, apparently not knowing the story was satirical. The Onion article ‘reports’ that rural whites preferred Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to President Barack Obama, and would rather vote for Ahmadinejad if given the chance. Fars has since removed the post.
The Onion story is littered with outrageous laugh lines, some of which clearly poke fun at Ahmadinejad. One such line quotes a fake West Virginia resident and tells readers “he would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad, a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed, than spend time with Obama.”
Gallup, a well-respected polling service, also receives a mention. The post mentions one their polls, also fake, which finds “60 percent of rural whites said they at least respected that Ahmadinejad doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s Muslim.” When asked for comment, a Gallup spokesperson told Voted Up she would rather not speak about the article. “Gallup has no comment about the satirical material published on The Onion,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.
The Onion, on the other hand, could hardly contain its glee. Appending its original post, The Onion linked to a screenshot of Fars’ story and wrote “For more on this story: Please visit our Iranian subsidiary organization, Fars.”
Asked for further comment, an Onion spokesperson sent Voted Up a statement from Onion editor Will Tracy:
The Iranian news agency, Fars, is a subsidiary of The Onion. They have acted as our Middle Eastern bureau since the mid 1980s, when the Onion’s publisher, T. Herman Zweibel, founded Fars with the government approval of the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. The Onion freely shares content with Fars and commends the journalists at Iran’s Finest News Source on their superb reportage.
Something tells us Fars will not be adding that statement to its ‘About Us’ page.