A satirical article written by comedian and New Yorker contributor Andy Borowitz was translated by Chinese state run Xinhua news agency, which missed the facetious undertones.
The article, entitled ‘Amazon Founder Says He Clicked on Washington Post by Mistake’ was intended to poke fun of the sometimes frustrating process of online shopping. Borowitz jokes that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos accidentally added the Washington Post to his online ‘cart’ and then received an unexpected 250 million dollar charge on his American Express, which he then had trouble disputing.
Xinhua translated and ran the article and shortly thereafter The People’s Daily Online also picked it up. This misunderstanding has drawn even more derision to the already often ridiculed news agencies.
For The People’s Daily this is, sadly, not the first time such a thing has happened. In 2012 satirical newspaper The Onion named North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un their sexiest man alive, the People’s Daily responded by not only reporting the story but also added a 55 page slideshow meant to highlight Jong-Un’s machismo and overwhelming sexual presence.
Xinhua has also seen more than its fair share of gaffes. Earlier in the week the same news agency posted a slideshow on their website meant to expose the horrors or American execution without realizing the images were from an admittedly bizarre fetish porno.