Farsical Apology


A few days I posted how Iran’s Fars News Agency fell for a story from satirical news site The Onion, claiming the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than US President Barack Obama.

Fars has now issued an “apology” for the gaffe.

Well, kind of.

We would like to apologize to all our dear viewers for the mistaken release of a fake opinion poll on our website on Friday.

“Unfortunately an incorrect item was released on our website on Friday which included a fake opinion poll on popularity rate of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and US President Barack Obama. The news item was extracted from the Satirical Magazine, The Onion, by mistake and it was taken down from our outlook in less two hours,” Editor-in-chief of FNA’s English Service said.

“We offer our formal apologies for that mistake,” he added.

“FNA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of its reports, however very occasionally mistakes do happen,” he said.

“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,” he added.

Active and well-known media occasionally make mistakes, and no media is an exception to this rule.
On April 25, 2011, The New York Times admitted they made the mistake of treating a fake creation from The Onion as something legitimate.Also, It’s not the first time a news outlet has been duped by The Onion.

A week earlier the Times printed an article documenting the history of the squeaky-clean teen magazine Tiger Beat, and included a retrospective of past magazine covers. Unfortunately (or humorously depending on one’s perspective), in the collection they also included a parody cover created by The Onion, which featured President Obama.

In 2002, the Beijing Evening News, one of the Chinese capital’s biggest newspapers, picked up a story from The Onion that claimed members of Congress were threatening to leave Washington unless the building underwent a makeover that included more bathrooms and a retractable dome.

Also, in February, Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), deleted a Facebook post in which he linked to an Onion article about Planned Parenthood that he did not realize was satirical.

All media, at least those you know like the BBC, CNN, etc., have had many goofs. During a report on the ongoing conflict in Syria, the BBC used an image of Iraq alleging that the image was taken after a massacre in Hula in Syria.

According to The Telegraph, the image – which shows of Iraqi child running over rows of bodies found in desert – was captured in 2003.

The photographer who caught the image in 2003, Marco Di Lauro, said he was shocked that a press institution like BBC did not check their sources and published such an image.

The time ITV also presented clips from Arma II as real-life footage of IRA soldiers shooting down a British Helicopter.

The BBC has made a series of embarrassing blunders over the years. Here is a selection cited by the Telegraph on December 6, 2010.

“The weather finger”

Tomasz Schafernaker, a BBC weather presenter, was caught making a rude gesture on-air, forcing the BBC and the Met Office to issue apologies. He was caught live on air making the obscene gesture just before the 11am bulletin in August, 2010 after news presenter Simon McCoy made a lighthearted remark. The camera cut to Schafernaker who, not realizing he was now being broadcast live, was clearly seen raising his middle finger to McCoy in a well-understood gesture. Instantly realizing his mistake, Schafernaker moved his hand to his face to disguise it.

“F—— trumpet.”

The BBC was forced to apologize after a member of staff delivered a four-letter tirade without realizing he was being broadcast live on Radio 5 Live. Thousands of listeners heard the unnamed producer swearing at a jazz music recording. He was heard to say “f****** trumpet” before adding: “”It drives you mad that f****** Stanley Clarke.” The BBC apologized.

Caught in the “Today show duck house”.

Sir Peter Viggers’s £1,645 duck house, first disclosed by The Daily Telegraph, provoked Today show host Evan Davis to fall into fits of the giggles. “Evan, just shush… it’s serious stuff,” co-presenter Sarah Montague, said all the time trying not to laugh herself.
“Leg over”.

The ‘Leg Over’ has become a commentary classic since 1991. Commentating on a Test match between England and the West Indies, Test Match Special legends Brian Johnston and Jonathan Agnew were undone by what has been described as the most famous fit of giggles in broadcasting history. Johnston was describing a dismissal in which Ian Botham’s inner thigh had brushed his stumps, dislodging a bail. “He just didn’t quite get his leg over,” Agnew added. Johnston then erupted in snorts, whimpers, sneezes and, finally, uncontrollable laughter. Listeners were similarly afflicted; motorists had to pull on to the hard shoulder to wipe away the tears.

“Nicky Campbell and west Kent Hunt”

The BBC presenter Radio 5 Live made a memorable slip-up in 2009 when he introduced the “master of the west Kent hunt”. He introduced Georgie Worsley as the master of the Old Surrey, Burstow and West —-.

“Nicky Campbell and hunting mark II”

The presenter then shocked listeners in April by accidentally swearing after a slip of the tongue during his breakfast show. Campbell introduced a Countryside Alliance guest on his breakfast show and said he was “pro —-ing”. What he had meant to say was that Tim Bonner, the pressure group’s head of media, was pro-hunting.

Worst. Apology. Eva.

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An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool. He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and single malt whisky.