Chinese Media Taken in by Satirical Trump Story

They reported that he wrapped White House phones in tinfoil
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2017 1:28 AM CST
Satirical Trump Story Fools Chinese Media
President Trump speaks on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A satirical story about a paranoid President Trump wrapping the White House telephones in tinfoil was believable enough to be carried by major media outlets in China. The story from the New Yorker's "Borowitz Report" ended up in publications such as business magazine Caijing this week after appearing in Reference News, a roundup of foreign news coverage produced by the state-run Xinhua news agency, the New York Times reports. Fake news is as much of a problem in China as it is in Western countries, media analysts say, though plenty of online commenters in China had no trouble recognizing the Borowitz story as satire.

After a sleepless Trump had the phones wrapped in tinfoil, he "ordered the Secret Service to check every room in the White House for signs of former President Barack Obama," Andy Borowitz wrote in the satirical story. "'He's still here somewhere, I know it,' Trump reportedly muttered." Headlines in China read: "Trump Turns White House Upside Down Looking for Signs of Obama." The "Borowitz Report" has fooled Chinese media before, including in 2011, when Xinhua and other outlets reported as fact its story that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos accidentally bought the Washington Post with an errant mouse click while shopping online. (Read more China stories.)

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