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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

You could not make it up - apparently

When satire turns out to be truth then we need to start worrying. However, according to the Independent that is precisely what happened last week when a satirical website accidentally broke a real news story.

The paper say that  a spoof news story on The Onion, headlined “US Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment Of Ballistic Missiles”, appeared 24 hours before reports emerged that this had actually happened in real life:

Israeli newspaper Haaretz noted the similarity to its own story, published the following day, which carried the headline, “After Iran deal, Obama offers military upgrade to help Israel swallow bitter Iranian deal”.

Barack Obama had offered Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu “immediate talks to upgrade the Israel Defense Forces’ offensive and defensive capabilities”, the paper reported last week.

Later, Haaretz graciously admitted in a blog post that: “There’s no other way around it: the fake newspaper broke the story.”

The only difference between spoof and reality was that Mr Netanyahu (in reality) initially didn’t respond to the offer and later rejected it. – the second time he had turned down such a proposal – “believing that any kind of reciprocal deal would be construed as Israel having come to terms with the Iran nuclear deal”.

By contrast The Onion quoted a fake State Department spokesman, who said: “Bibi always gets a little cranky when he sees us talking to Iran, but a few dozen short-range surface-to-surface missiles usually cheer him right up.

If The Onion has become a paper of record then it is time to start re-evaluating our definition of reality.
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