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WaPo Disaster as Reporter Falls for Satire, Writes Viral Fake News Story on Trump

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Dookie” Dies in Darkness, apparently.

The Washington Post is facing an embarrassing fact-checking error regarding the band Green Day after a writer mistook a parody article on Clickhole — The Onion’s sister site — as an actual source in a recent article, Stereogum reports.

The Post’s article had to do with the recent push to have Green Day’s 2004 song “American Idiot” enshrined in the number one spot on the British charts when the president visits the country on Friday.

While the number one song in the U.S. isn’t exactly that big of a deal, it’s pretty huge in the U.K., with bookmakers having huge sums every December to bet on what will top the charts at Christmas. So, needless to say, getting “American Idiot” to number one would be a big liberal political raspberry to the president — kind of like when the classy British left tried to get “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” to number one when Margaret Thatcher died.

“So far it’s at #18, but Britons have until Thursday night to buy and stream ‘American Idiot’ to get it to #1 during Trump’s stay,” Stereogum noted.

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That’s dimwitted enough, but The Washington Post looked at that display of dullardry and told the people of ol’ Blighty to hold their warm, pitch-black beer.

Now, most of you are probably familiar with either Green Day’s “American Idiot” — an undisguised, ham-fisted rant against then-President George W. Bush and his supporters — and Clickhole, The Onion’s satire of Upworthy-style websites.

One of the articles Clickhole wrote was a rather humorous dig at the obvious nature of the song (even by the standards of Green Day, which isn’t a band known for nuance): “Enough Time Has Passed To Reveal George W. Bush Was The ‘American Idiot’ (By Billie Joe Armstrong),” a 2017 satirical article written in the voice of the Green Day frontman was titled.

Unfortunately, the Washington Post’s Meagan Flynn didn’t quite get the satire in her article about the phenomenon.

Do you think the WaPo should do a better job fact-checking?

“But despite the song’s ubiquity, Armstrong waited 13 years to reveal — in an article he wrote for Clickhole.com — that the ‘American Idiot’ was President George W. Bush,” Flynn wrote, quoting one of the more hilariously deadpan lines from the article: “The main reason we made George W. Bush the ‘American Idiot’ is because he started a war.”

“Armstrong said the band had ‘intense’ discussions at the time about whether to reveal this publicly or even name him on the album — but ultimately the band decided it would be ‘too shocking,’ he wrote, too much of a bombshell to drop into the American consciousness at the time.'”

“He thought that by finally revealing the truth, it would provide fans a sense of closure ‘on this little corner of Green Day lore.'”

“‘But who knows?’ she wrote. ‘We’ve got a whole new dysfunctional administration in the White House. Maybe the saga of the ‘American Idiot’ might not be over and done with as it seems.'”

The fact that someone inexplicably a) wrote and then b) signed off on this at the capital’s paper of record makes my heart happy, for whatever reason. I also find it humorous that a paper whose slogan is “Democracy Dies in Darkness” uncritically passed along a lumpen mass putatively objective journalism full of uncritical Trump-loathing about a song whose lyrics include “now everybody, do the propaganda / and sing along to the age of paranoia.” Then again, given Green Day’s leaden sense of humor, I doubt they get the irony, either.

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The article now comes with an editor’s note at the top: “A previous version of this report included information about the meaning of ‘American Idiot’ that was attributed to a Clickhole.com article. Clickhole.com is a satire site. The information has been removed from the story. It has also been corrected to reflect that ‘American Idiot‘ topped Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart, not its Hot 100.” I also like how those two facts are put next to each other as if the errors are somehow similar in gravity.

Don’t wanna be a WaPo idiot. Don’t want a nation under the old media.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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