Last week, Iran’s FARS Agency–a “semi-official” outlet with ties to the Iranian government–posted the headline “Gallup Poll: Rural Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad to Obama.” The story was cribbed entirely from the pranksters over at the Onion, and not only did FARS mistake it for an actual news article, they plagiarized nearly the entire thing, leaving out only a bit about how Ahmadinejad “has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed.”
Well, FARS has issued a retraction for the post, and they’re really, really sorry, you guys. However, they don’t believe the thrust of the Onion article was necessarily incorrect. “Although it does not justify our mistake, we do believe that if a free opinion poll is conducted in the US, a majority of Americans would prefer anyone outside the US political system to President Barack Obama and American statesmen,” wrote the editor-in-chief of FARS English in a statement.
After spending a measly 148 words issuing a half-assed apology for running the fake news item–without ever addressing that it was totally plagiarized–FARS proceeds to outline every other time a media outlet has made a gaffe, from a BBC weatherman accidentally giving the finger on-screen to TV host Evan Davis getting a case of the giggles. Hey, misery loves company.
Read the full retraction here.
(Image: jason carlin/Flickr)