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Iran's News Agency Picks Up Onion Story 118

Posted by timothy
from the makes-them-cry dept.
J053 writes "FARS, the Iranian news agency, ran a story about a Gallup poll which showed that 'the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama.' '"I like him better," said West Virginia resident Dale Swiderski, who, along with 77 percent of rural Caucasian voters, confirmed he would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad.' Only problem was, it was a story from The Onion. Not only that, they took credit for it! The Onion responded by stating that 'Fars is a subsidiary and has been our Middle Eastern bureau since the mid 1980s.'"
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Iran's News Agency Picks Up Onion Story

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  • by unix_core (943019) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @03:24AM (#41497263)
    What's next? They're gonna steal fox news stories?
    • For sure! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They are trying to be the most reliable news source in Iran, after all.

      [end sarcasm]

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SpzToid (869795)

        Most reliable? If you're talking about Fox News, I think you are referring to the 'fair and balanced' coverage Fox News frequently advertises. Fox isn't claiming to be any more 'reliable' for reporting news than FARS is claiming to be doing in Iran. (and If you want 'breaking news' try TMZ). If Fox were so serious about actually reporting news, they wouldn't fill all their prime-time, most-profitable hours with pundit shock-jocks like Bill O'Reilly, or Glen Beck.

        Know your trademarks. Or psuedo-trademarks, o

        • Re:For sure! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by amck (34780) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @04:30AM (#41497453) Homepage

          Most reliable? If you're talking about Fox News, I think you are referring to the 'fair and balanced' coverage Fox News frequently advertises. Fox isn't claiming to be any more 'reliable' for reporting news

          If Fox News was reliably bad, you could simply take their headlines and invert them to find out the truth. In order to be completely useless it actually has to get things right occasionally.

        • Re:For sure! (Score:5, Informative)

          by QQBoss (2527196) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @05:07AM (#41497561)

          Errr, Glenn Beck hasn't worked for Fox News in over a year.

          I live in China, don't watch Fox News (or any other American television channels), and even I am aware that Fox/NBC/CBS/ABC don't run straight news shows during prime time- they run them between 5 and 7 pm or 10 and 11:30 or so, depending on the time zone, because running news during their most profitable hours would put them out of business. So why is Fox News unserious for running commentary at the times when they can maximize profits with other programs just as their competitors do with Monday Night Football, Law & Order, The Simpsons, etc...?

          Oh, wait, I misunderstand, you are comparing Fox News to MSNBC and CNN who run hard news with no shock-jocks during their prime time schedules like Hardball with Chris Matthews, The Rachel Maddow Show, PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, Anderson Cooper 360, and Piers Morgan Tonight(*). Oh... wait... now I get it, you are saying that there is no serious news reported in the USA except for CNN Headline News! That's the ticket!

          * I had to actually search for all those TV show names, if some of them aren't on the air anymore, my bad.

          • by Loosifur (954968) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @05:57AM (#41497687)

            Careful, that sounded dangerously close to not jumping on the bandwagon.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              After a new hours of Fox News i prefer jumping in front of the bandwagon...

          • Make that C-Span and you might have a point.

    • by Stephan Schulz (948) <schulz@informatik.tu-muenchen.de> on Saturday September 29, 2012 @04:07AM (#41497399) Homepage

      What's next? They're gonna steal fox news stories?

      Come on! Even a senile pygmy macaque can tell that Fox is all satire.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        You insensitive clod, I'm a senile pygmy who watches Fox News religiously and I resemble that.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Seriously, several friends of mine from the UK actually thought Fox News was satire. They thought Fox and the Colbert Report were basically the same thing.

        • by ewanm89 (1052822)

          To those of us in the UK, it's that bad that it might as well be. Of course comedians also make jokes about being taken more seriously than news reporters and politicians...

          • Re:What's next? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @08:27AM (#41498047) Homepage
            Actually, it is true that many people take Steven Colbert and John Stewart more seriously since they are true comedians, who know that the best humor has a significant element of truth in it. You can watch it and see where the humor is while still getting real news. You can't really say the same about Fox.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Polls show those who watch John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are more properly and successfully informed than those who watch the rest of this political hocome. I myself enjoy a laugh or two while realizing we're all fucked.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          In the US it's the contrary. People think that Colbert is real.

        • Re:What's next? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MysteriousPreacher (702266) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @07:20AM (#41497879) Journal

          A lot of what happens in the U.S. appears to be satire. I along with a lot of people got taken in by the Romney airplane window thing. We've heard so many odd things from senior politicians and candidates that it's really not easy to discern the poes from the nutters. The U.S. has elected officials wasting time trying to push creationism in to the science class, obsession with abstinence only education, and this odd idea that universal health care is synonymous with Bolshevism.

          Not saying we're perfect though. We have homeopathy and other crazy shit coming out of our earholes. We have vaccine denialism, denial of climate change, people who function daily in a modern society while still believing that an invisible guy in the sky is listening to their heaven-sent words, and organic/natural products being fetishised.

          We have a Daily Mail led army of middle aged white guys, simultaneously angry and despondent, because immigrants and queers are giving their houses cancer. Had a discussion the other night with a long-term Daily Mail reader, and it was a Gish gallop of nonsense and generalisations. Not a good sign when someone hurls vitriol at a group called "them", without taking the time to clarify membership of this group (i.e. "pakis"), it's pretty clear that the Mail is strong in them. Fun fact: The reason why crime is running out of control in the UK (despite statistics showing a long trend of decline), is that police recruitment is focussing too much on gays and women, and should instead only have tall straight men (presumably white) on the beat.

          A lot of this stuff doesn't really surface in public debate. A politician in the UK claiming that pregnancy resulting from rape probably isn't legitimate rape would be retiring to spend time with the family. The UK is generally secular, and religion tends to be more a personal and understated thing, so a politician pushing to have Jewish myths taught as science would largely be dismissed as some kind of nutter. In the U.S. there seems to be more support available for the extreme views. I'm writing as an outside, so do please correct me if I'm wrong here.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            so a politician pushing to have Jewish myths taught as science would largely be dismissed as some kind of nutter.

            Don't mistake those creationist nutjobs for having anything to do with Jewish people or mythology, beyond the general historical links between Christianity and Judaism. There is absolutely no relationship, and I have never heard anyone call them 'Jewish myths' before. And I actually know some people who are creationists (but otherwise fairly normal). Is that a British thing? It seems that the British media is generally somewhat anti-Semitic [honestreporting.com]. Jewish people in general are very pro-science.

            • Very true, thanks for clarifying that. The scripture is common to them, but taken very differently. One of the things I like about Judaeism is the culture of examination of the texts. Kind of amusing though how they seem to spend a great deal of time finding loopholes.

              • by jc42 (318812)

                One of the things I like about Judaeism is the culture of examination of the texts. Kind of amusing though how they seem to spend a great deal of time finding loopholes.

                This can work both ways. One of the more fun parts of the biblical dietary rules is that, while it's forbidden in general to eat invertebrates, there is a specific "loophole" listed in two places that allows eating Orthoptera (grasshoppers, locusts, etc.). What you do is ask someone who believes in such things whether they eat shrimp or crayfish or lobster. If they say they do, you ask if they eat grasshoppers or locusts or katydids. They'll probably look at you in disgust, and say "Of course not."

                Yo

                • by Stanza (35421)

                  Humans don't eat insects much? I don't know where you live, but you need to get out more. In Mexico City there are huge sacks of grasshoppers for sale in the markets, and in Korea silkworm pupae (is that an insect? maybe I'm stretching it) is a common snack and sold everywhere.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grasshopper#As_food [wikipedia.org]
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beondegi [wikipedia.org]

                  I'm sure many people can come up with many other common examples that evade me because I don't travel everywhere in the world. Wikipedia says f

                  • by jc42 (318812)

                    Yeah; I'm familiar with a lot of those examples of humans eating insects. But, as far as I've read, it's still true that most humans don't eat insects much. That is, even in places where insects are routinely eaten, they don't seem to actually make up very much of the local human diet. Are there any groups of people who get more than, say, 10% of their calories (or protein) from insect? If so, it could be interesting to read about them.

                    It's sorta similar to how one could observe that humans "don't ea

            • by psmears (629712)

              Don't mistake those creationist nutjobs for having anything to do with Jewish people or mythology, beyond the general historical links between Christianity and Judaism. There is absolutely no relationship, and I have never heard anyone call them 'Jewish myths' before. And I actually know some people who are creationists (but otherwise fairly normal). Is that a British thing?

              No - or at least, I've never heard anyone refer to them that way here.

              It seems that the British media is generally somewhat anti-Semitic [honestreporting.com]

              No, I wouldn't say that's true. Certainly there exist publications with a whole range of different slants on the Palestinian question, but that's a very different thing from being anti-Semitic. And there's always over- and under-emphasis of topics—and plenty of inaccuracy in general—but I don't think a charge of anti-Semitism is justified.

            • The bulk of the books covering creation come from Jewish scripture, so these are Jewish myths. If it's something predominantly based on Christian scripture I'd describe them as bring Christian myths. Credit where credit's due.

          • by dontbgay (682790)
            Correct you? Nope... seems like you pretty much nailed it.
    • What's next? They're gonna steal fox news stories?

      Nah Onion stories are already more accurate why would they bother?

    • Re:What's next? (Score:4, Informative)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Saturday September 29, 2012 @07:54AM (#41497953) Homepage

      At least the Onion is satire. The Sun (UK) printed a made up story about Japanese women being sold lambs made to look like poodles and wondering why they wouldn't eat dog food. Several other papers around the world picked it up and even the BBC repeated it.

    • I don't know about Iran, but Russian media, for example, routinely prints commentary on various Fox News stories, running along the lines of "See how we told you those crazy Yanks really want to kill us all and rape our women? They say so themselves!".

  • Some background (Score:5, Informative)

    by mabedan (2741361) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @03:28AM (#41497273)
    Fars news is owned by Iran's revolutionaty Guard, and is Iranian government's biggest propaganda tool. This website was among the many other government driven sources which anounced Ahmadinejad's "victory" 3 hours before the polls were over...
    • Re:Some background (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 29, 2012 @03:31AM (#41497281)

      anounced Ahmadinejad's "victory" 3 hours before the polls were over...

      So it is similar to our fox news?

      • anounced Ahmadinejad's "victory" 3 hours before the polls were over...

        So it is similar to our fox news?

        Under the current administration, it's more like MSNBC.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Fox news can't put a gun to your head and threaten to shoot you if you don't vote right.

        • Shhhh! Don't give Rupert Murdoch and ideas.
        • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

          Fox news can't put a gun to your head and threaten to shoot you if you don't vote right.

          Of course not. What Fox News does is perform a service.

          There is a group of people who have some features in common. They intensely desire validation of their views, and they really dislike hearing anything that does not reflect their views. While everyone likes their views validated, the force is strong in these folks. When this group hears or sees a story that they don't like, or distresses their self validation, the reaction is to condemn the people making the story. That is usually the "liberal media".

      • Perhaps you missed it in 1994 when the polls closed and they went to woman-in-the-street Gwen Eiffel who immediately announced the Democrats were off to a strong evening...as the Republicans took control of the House for the first time in over 30,000 years.

    • by unix_core (943019) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @03:36AM (#41497301)
      Oh, I thought it was one of those non-propaganda Iranian news agencies ;)
      • by mabedan (2741361)
        As a matter of fact, iranian press is not doing as bad as you might imagine. It's true that after Mr Khatami's presidency (iranian reformist), situation has gotten somewhat worse, but press has a relative freedom. They can't go all the way to criticise the supreme leader, but criticising the president, parlement, and countries politics is not a novelty.
        • Well, the parliament rips the president all the time so it's no surprise the press is allowed to. You can side with one faction of conservatives over another. Pro-reform newspapers have been systematically shut down though. I wouldn't call that relative freedom, except maybe compared to Saudi Arabia.
        • It is true, the press in Iran can criticize the president and parliaments and their policies. They can criticize them for not being true enough to the revolutionary ideal. You can be as critical of anything you want in Iran, as long as the revolutionary guard agrees with your criticism.

          Only a complete tool would think this is the same as freedom of the press.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          As a matter of fact, iranian press is not doing as bad as you might imagine. It's true that after Mr Khatami's presidency (iranian reformist), situation has gotten somewhat worse, but press has a relative freedom. They can't go all the way to criticise the supreme leader, but criticising the president, parlement, and countries politics is not a novelty.

          how about criticizing fars?
          "not as bad as you might imagine". yeah right, it's pretty fucking bad.

          http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a47ef9ec-0873-11e2-b37e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz27rIwLgAX [ft.com]

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @03:35AM (#41497291) Journal

    The agency in question is the Iranian state-controlled FARS news agency. What bothers me in this event is that FARS didn't mention the source of their (mis)information.

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @06:36AM (#41497785)

      They have added a link saying "For more on this story: Please visit our Iranian subsidiary organization, Fars." with a link so a screen cap of the story on Fars.

      I always love it when a real news organization gets punked by the Onion :).

      • by Jawnn (445279)

        They have added a link saying "For more on this story: Please visit our Iranian subsidiary organization, Fars." with a link so a screen cap of the story on Fars.

        I always love it when a yet another fake news organization, run by incompetent partisan hacks gets punked by the Onion :).

        TFTFY. By and large, "real" news organizations don't make mistakes like that.

  • Why is this not in the idle section?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Might as well start calling them FARCE.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I mean, what better could they have said in response to that?

    In unrelated news, readership for The Onion is up 0% for the middle eastern region after this story...

  • Ho ho ho! (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Any Web Loco (555458)
    Those foolish Iranian's eh? What a bunch of clowns? Seriously - why is this news? Onion stories get accidentally picked up by news agencies all the time - is this news because it's the bad-guys du jour?
    • Any Web Loco, eh? What a clown? Seriously - why is he posting? Stories get posted that aren't of interest to every single Slashdot reader all the rim - is he posting because he it the moron du jour?
  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @04:17AM (#41497433)

    It is good to see how onions can change the world.

    BBC has this story about the onion story http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/19620411 [bbc.co.uk]

    Peter Glazebrook talking about his amazing onion: 'I should think it could feed a thousand people. It would certainly do for a lot of hotdogs.'

    It is good to see how onions can change the world, even Iran. ;)

    • The BBC [bbc.co.uk] are hardly any better. Whilst the BBC for generations has had a good reputation - in Scotland, the BBC are showing themselves to be a state broadcaster and at every opportunity take the unionist cause [newsnetscotland.com] (which incidently is way off their charter). Over the last year, Scots have been subjected to TV shows about "how good it is to be British" and "why the UK is great for Scotland" which are not shown south of the border.

      They have been cutting back coverage of the Scottish referendum for independence [newsnetscotland.com]

      • There is a simple rule for determining if a news agency is biased or not. Do they agree with your point of view? Then they are unbiased. Do they disagree with your point of view? Then they are biased.

        Check this for yourself, why do you think the BBC has changed? There are plenty of reports of them doing the states bidding decades before the cases you mention, like their reporting on the miners strikes.

        So... why did you consider them unbiased before? Before they said what you wanted to hear? Could it be that

        • by Kjella (173770)

          That's just a silly "all truth is relative, so I can just pick the one I like" excuse. Some news agencies tell the truth, others tell lies. Some represent the facts fairly, some misrepresent them. Sure none of them live in a vacuum outside the cultural/socioeconomic/religious society they live in and journalists are also human beings with their own individual understanding of the world, but to say all bias is equal is like saying a person speeding and a serial child rape/murderer are both equally criminal.

          • That's just a silly "all truth is relative, so I can just pick the one I like" excuse. Some news agencies tell the truth, others tell lies. Some represent the facts fairly, some misrepresent them.

            You're missing it. If you tell the truth, and support the truth, you are biased toward the truth; if you do not these things (both), you are against it: that's how that little word "bias" works. One of those "binary" "either...or" situations which the human mind so loves.

      • by ibwolf (126465)

        Scotland is hoping to be the first country to become independent without a drop of blood being spilt.

        You are at least 68 years too late on that count. Iceland won its independence from Denmark with zero bloodshed.

        • by zenyu (248067)

          You are at least 68 years too late on that count. Iceland won its independence from Denmark with zero bloodshed.

          Your number is off a bit, I believe estimates of the number killed in World War II ranges between 50,000,000 to 78,000,000. Just because it was Hitler's tanks rolling over Denmark and not Icelandic ones doesn't it peaceful.

  • by 3seas (184403) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @04:52AM (#41497519) Journal

    As the world awakes to the games of the few... Hopefully this backfires in the way of enforcing the reality that the majority of the people on this planet are more alike than they are with the few in positions of command and control. When enough realize this, to few will participate in fabricated, expensive and damaging warfare. Adn we all know there are those few who thrive on what is not beneficial to the rest of us.

    • As long as they agree to continue participating in carving up complete command-and-control of each other, through violence or vote, there will continue to be conflict.

      Best to reduce the power of government and let people pursue their own ends.

      I suspect free people in a free society will, unfettered by dictatorship, freely choose to mod my love of freedom down as "trolling".

  • by Penurious Penguin (2687307) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @04:55AM (#41497521) Homepage Journal
    Someday, they may be fooled by something far more absurd than The Onion, like CNN -- leaving their whole nation careening stupidly in everlasting confusion. In regards to FOX, I think we've been duped ourselves, mistaking a Persian onion for a crystal ball.

    Revolutionary Guard: "Sir, we must expand our nuclear capabilities and wipe Israel off the map.

    Ahmadinejad: "It's laminated you imbecile."

    Revolutionary Guard: "Good point. About that uranium, sir."

    Ahmadinejad: "Look, I'm sick of all this primitive uranium shit. The Americans have a giant bat named Bruce. Our uranium can't make bats that large. There's just no way. This, ...this bat, it viciously defends the Americans and has billions of dollars, so it will obviously help the Israelis too.

    Revolutionary Guard: "You know, Ahmy, ..ever since we watched that Sam Bacile film together, I've been having doubts about this whole radical thing. Don't you ever think of just leaving this all behind and moving to Moldova?"

    Ahmadinejad: "I've thought of it many times, but they speak Moldovan, and I really have great difficulty with it. I'm thinking more along the lines of Kalmykia. They have a great chess club there, and the Americans don't even know about it. Plus, Putin might be more inclined to visit us on holidays."

    Revolutionary Guard: "A giant bat?"
  • Eeh, seems more like a FARCE
  • The same thing is going on here. "News" agencies see a story they like, and so they run with it without checking. Every election cycle it happens, and will continue to happen forever. No one is unbiased, Fox, Politico, TV networks.

    • by Bremic (2703997)

      Modern News Outlets are like YouTube commenters, on a race to be "First!"

      The ironic thing is that realistically if you want to be First! you have to publish in New Zealand.

  • Area man gets furst psot!!!

  • Iranian news agency took a story from The Onion. Now we can read about this from The Onion (CNN has the screenshot, but no actual link). I think that fake news websites have a great future. You know, all that Zen technics: sit quietly and wait until the whole world will change according to the news you make.

    • by alphatel (1450715)

      Iranian news agency took a story from The Onion. Now we can read about this from The Onion (CNN has the screenshot, but no actual link). I think that fake news websites have a great future. You know, all that Zen technics: sit quietly and wait until the whole world will change according to the news you make.

      This was one that was easy to expose. Enough time and the people of Iran won't even be able to research to find that it was a complete farse and laugh at their fars. Instead they will have to simply accept that it is the truth. Or, probably lose their heads.

  • by bmo (77928)

    ...except that Fox News doesn't quote the Onion, but rather like the Onion, they make stuff up out of whole cloth, based on what they expect their viewers to believe.

    They even went to court in Florida as an amicus to defend the practice.

    --
    BMO

    • by cellocgw (617879)

      except that Fox News doesn't quote the Onion, but rather like the Onion, they make stuff up out of whole cloth, based on what they expect their viewers to believe
      Uh-oh: you believe that *TheOnion* expects its readers to believe their stories? The problem at hand is clearly deeper than we thought.

  • Expect the editors to be arrested real soon.

    Hopefully, they don't have any embassies anywhere in the Islamic World . . .

    Being that they are being monitored by Iranian folks, they had better be careful about what they joke about in the future . . .

  • "Clay's Conclusion: Creativity is great, but plagiarism is faster."

    Nice.

  • by kbahey (102895) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @12:34PM (#41499377) Homepage

    The largest Egyptian state owned newspaper, Al Ahram, published a spoof Kissinger quote as genuine [ahram.org.eg].

    Of course, it plays to the sentiments of some about the revolutions of the Arab Spring are really a foreign conspiracy for chaos and wars, yadda yadda.

    They did not even apologize for it ...

  • I am always surprised when, every two or three years, someone sends me a link to a story on The Onion. Before even clicking the link, I just pause for a moment and think "wow, how the fuck is that site still around?". I mean, it's not the worst thing ever or anything, but it's kind of like CSI or LA Law or The Three Stooges. You only need to see a couple episodes to get the gist of it and it loses all its steam after that. In this case, you only needed to read The Onion for about two weeks in the late 90s a

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