China’s “People’s Daily” admits it fell for “Onion” satire

The state-run Chinese news organization that fell for The Onion’s satirical report calling North Korea’s Kim Jong-un the “sexiest man alive” has finally gotten the joke.

People’s Daily Online has taken down its story that gave credence to The Onion’s report calling the 29-year-old leader “devastatingly handsome.”

“We have realized it is satirical,” a People’s Daily Online editor in South Korea told the Associated Press.

The flub made by the People’s Daily Online grabbed international headlines from the likes of the Wall Street Journal,  Los Angeles Times, and on the social news site Reddit, where users laughed out loud.

“This is impossible to make up,” TheMadmanAndre commented. “Seriously, how do national media outlets still make the mistake of taking the Onion seriously?”

While Kim will likely never be officially crowned the “sexiest man alive,” he is in second place for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

Kim has collected more than 170,000 votes on Time’s official website, largely thanks to 4chan’s most notorious imageboard, /b/.  He is about 60,000 votes behind President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi.

After Time opened the polls Monday, 4chan’s /b/ —a random forum where people regularly post violent and sexual content—encouraged people to vote for Kim, who they have dubbed their “glorious leader.”

4chan pulled off a similar feat in 2009 when it successfully helped its creator, Christopher “moot” Poole, top Time’s prestigious list.

Photo by AK Rockefeller/Flickr

Fernando Alfonso III

Fernando Alfonso III

Fernando Alfonso III served as an early Reddit and 4chan reporter and the Daily Dot’s first art director until 2016. He’s gone on to report at Lexington’s Herald-Leader and at the Houston Chronicle.