news agency issued a bizarre apology on Monday for citing a spoof story
about President Barack Obama from satirical newspaper, The Onion, as fact.
Fars, the state-backed news source linked to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), admitted mistakenly republishing an article that claimed rural Americans preferred Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Obama.
spoof article mentioned a supposed opinion poll finding that 77 percent
of rural Caucasian voters "would 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
Fars reproduced the article on its website on Friday alongside its
usual stories about advances in Iranian military technology and
condemnation of Israel. The Iranian version omitted The Onion's
description of Ahmadinejad as "a man who has repeatedly denied the
Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed." Fars
appeared to have taken the story down by about 1 p.m. ET on Friday.
In a statement on its website on Monday,
Fars acknowledged the error - but also listed a string of blunders by
Western media outlets including the New York Times and the BBC.
"All media, at least those you know like the BBC, CNN, etc., have had many goofs," the statement said.
It also said that it still believed the Onion story was true.
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," it quoted its own un-named editor-in-chief as saying.
Iran news agency cites Onion story as fact
statement added: "[Fars] makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of
its reports, however very occasionally mistakes do happen."
The statement cited an April 2011 error by the New York Times in which it accidentally republished a spoof image from The Onion in an article about teen magazine, Tiger Beat.
also cited other "embarrassing blunders over the years" by the BBC,
reproducing a list -- originally published by the Daily Telegraph -
including an incident in which a weather forecaster was caught on-air
flipping the bird to a producer.