News flash: People are fooled by the Onion


Fact-checking? What's fact-checking? I found it on the Internet!

Wired News has a story on various people and news agencies being fooled by Onion articles. This used to be news, but now it's so common it may end up relegated to just a counter. "Number of people fooled by Onion articles: n+1".

Comments (7)
  1. Mike Dunn says:

    I also get a chuckle out of people being fooled by http://www.dhmo.org [work-safe]

  2. quanta says:

    People are idiots.

    There is this right-wing group in a town I used to live in that also used an Onion article to further their own agenda (which was to refuse equal rights of all children regardless of sexual orientation):

    http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/LondonFreePress/News/2004/04/08/412787.html

    The galling thing was, when they were told their news story was fake, they continued to claim that The Onion was a legitimate, gay advocacy newspaper.

  3. matthew says:

    The onion is a bit crap. Adequacy.org (now an archive only) is better. This spoof story, ‘is your son a computer hacker’, got 5917 comments: http://www.adequacy.org/public/stories/2001.12.2.42056.2147.html

  4. I find it disturbing how easily people are fooled by these things.

    I every now and then get mass-emails telling me to support the banning of a site called bonsai kitten which is about putting newly born kittens in a jar and as they grow they will be shaped by the jar. The site is obviously a fake (and quite humorous in a morbid way) but most people fail to see that and get very angry and send a lot of hate-mail. It’s quite interesting how these hate-mails show the true color of the people sending them as some of the mails are very racist in nature.

    http://www.bonsaikitten.com/ (but I think it’s down at the moment)

  5. PaulJ says:

    Adequacy better than The Onion? Pffft. Whatever.

  6. Serge Wautier says:

    I find it disturbing how easily people are fooled by these things.

    A few months ago, I saw a documentary show on ARTE (cultural French-german TV network). A journalist (French, I think) was explaining that American never actually put a toe on the moon. Since the Nixon administration didn’t want to take any single risk that the moon conquest failed, all the world saw was a film made very secretly by Kubrick himself (shortly after he finished the Space Odissey).

    OK, german and french are opposing US about war on Iraq. But can it be up to a point where a network as serious as ARTE can be so fooled ?

    But wait ! The show went on with interviews by Rumsfeld, Kissinger and couple of others. These guys did confirm the story. They even gave details about the operation. The more they were speaking, the more the details became crazy. Boy, Rumsfeld ! Kissinger ! Telling me that all we saw of the moon was a film shot in Kubrick’s private studio in London !

    I’ll tell you: I don’t get easily caught by hoaxes. But that night, after 45 minutes of that show, I was sitting in my sofa, open-mouthed. I was really feeling sick. And the show ended, the credits were scrolling on the screen…. and i was stuck. I simply couldn’t move or get my eyes off that TV.

    …. After the (long) credits were done, suddenly and unexpectedly, the interviewees came back to screen, laughing : "We got you :-)"

    The whole purpose of the show is to illustrate that you can make people think anything you want. Here they used the credibility of famous people talking about what they know. (I admit it’s not that easy to get these names acknowleding your thesis).

    "What ? Rumsfeld, trustworthy ?" will you tell me ? "Of course Rumsfeld is not trustworthy !". Until the day in 20 years from now where you’ll hear him say "Of course we knew from the very beginning that there were no WMD in Iraq". That day, whether or not you believed him first, whether or not some were found, whether or not he’s right, I bet you’ll believe him ! Because he’s telling you something that puts him in a really bad position. Why would he do that if it were not true ?

Comments are closed.