Iran’s Official News Agency Cites The Onion As A News Source

Iran’s official news agency has apparently never heard of The Onion, or doesn’t know the meaning of the word satire:

No joke. Iran’s semi-official government news agency on Friday picked up a bogus poll story by The Onion that said a majority of rural white Americans would rather go to a baseball game with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Barack Obama.

“Gallup Poll: Rural Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad to Obama” reads the article by Iran’s Fars news agency.

The Onion posted its satirical article Monday.

“According to the results of a Gallup poll released Monday, the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than US President Barack Obama,” it reads, adding that 77 percent of rural white voters said they “would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad, a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed, than spend time with Obama.”

The guys at The Onion responded about as you’d expect them to:

“The Iranian news agency, Fars, is a subsidiary of The Onion. They have acted as our Middle Eastern bureau since the mid 1980s, when the Onion’s publisher, T. Herman Zweibel, founded Fars with the government approval of the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini. The Onion freely shares content with Fars and commends the journalists at Iran’s Finest News Source on their superb reportage,” Tracy joked.

FARS isn’t the first entity to forget that The Onion isn’t real news. Earlier this year, Congressman John Fleming too to Facebook to speak out against a Planned Parenthood “Abortionplex” without realizing that the story he was linking to was from the satirical newspaper, and there’s blog called Literally Unbelievable that catalogs the people who get fooled on a seemingly daily basis.

FILED UNDER: Humor, Media, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Gustopher says:

    And then there are all of those who had believed the story that Ryan had taken to calling Romney “The Stench”.

    In fairness, though, I think we’re all expecting Ryan to go rogue at any moment, just like Palin did four years ago. And I would assume that Ryan would refer to Romney as “The Stench” (and Romney to refer to Ryan as “Gilligan”) in the nicest possible way, a bit tongue in cheek.

  2. Gustopher,

    Yea that one I couldn’t figure out. Roger Simon frequently engages in satire in his opinion column at Politico. How anyone could’ve taken that seriously I just don’t understand.

  3. Vast Variety says:

    The Iowa Republican has linked to the B&S of Grinnell College which is a satrical version of the Scarlet and Black campus news.

  4. Scott says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I have to admit I fell for it. I was just skimming and wasn’t thinking too hard or critically that morning.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    These are the days the Onion staff live for.

  6. Tom Hilton says:

    @Doug Mataconis: That was my initial reaction, but the number of people who reported it as serious (including Lawrence, which is kind of embarrassing) made me doubt my own judgment.

    Amid all the wheels-falling-off-the-bus Romney campaign stories, I guess people in the news media are primed to believe one more along the same lines.

  7. It must be nice to punk an entire nation.

  8. Franklin says:

    I imagine it’s difficult to pick up satire when reading a foreign language.

  9. Brother J says:

    I wonder if FARS rhymes with Farce? They sure know how to fall for it.

  10. Brother J says:

    Look what Onion story the Chinese fell for back in 2002.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    Oh, there’s even better than this. Remember when an Al Qaeda command headquarters was run over in Afghanistan and took one of the JIR’s articles as real science?

  12. grumpy realist says:

    P.S.both Technology Review and Tokyo Journal have had a history of running April Fool articles which manage to get picked up and quoted around the world as being real. What’s even more amusing is that one of the Tech Review spoof articles on reconstructing mammoths via preserved DNA looks now to be becoming real….

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    It must be nice to punk an entire nation.

    Well, I am seriously jealous.

  14. Gromitt Gunn says:

    I could see falling for the Stench article up to the line where Ryan supposedly blows off Stench for tea with Peggy Noonan. It was clearly satire at that point.