Xinhua Falls for Satire, Claiming Washington Post Purchase Was Mistake

August 8, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

China’s state-run Xinhua translated and published a satirical New Yorker article on Thursday claiming Amazon website founder Jeff Bezos’s $250 million purchase of the Washington Post was a “gigantic mix-up.”

The original article was part of Andy Borowitz’s humor column and quoted Bezos saying, “I guess I was just kind of browsing through their website and not paying close attention to what I was doing. No way did I intend to buy anything.”

“I keep telling them, I don’t know how it got in my cart. I don’t want it. It’s like they’re making it impossible to return it.” 

This isn’t the first time regime media has displayed a misunderstanding of Western media. On August 7, Xinhua released what it said were scenes from an execution—but which were actually from a film of fetish pornography.

In November 2012, the state-run People’s Daily reported that The Onion had named North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as 2012’s “Sexiest Man Alive” and provided readers with a 55-page slideshow of Kim’s greatest moments. 

The Onion later amended its report by stating, for more coverage “please visit our friends at the People’s Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc. Exemplary reportage, comrades.”