When The Washington Post went to chronicle a British protest linked to the upcoming arrival of President Donald Trump, it included information that even The Post later had to agree was fake news.
As reported by Entertainment Weekly, British music fans are working to drive the 2004 Green Day song “American Idiot” up in the charts as their way of protesting Trump’s visit.
As of Tuesday, the song was, in fact, atop Amazon U.K.’s top-seller list and well toward the top on other charts as well.
In its reporting on that, The Post was on target. But the story went astray when it included information from Clickhole.com, a website that offers satire and not facts, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
The site had a satirical Op-Ed attributed to Green Day frontman Billy Joe Armstrong about the song, some of which found its way into The Post’s article.
“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,” The Post wrote.
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) July 10, 2018
The satirical piece, which remains up on Clickhole, further slams Bush.
“The main reason we made George W. Bush the ‘American Idiot’ is because he started a war,” the Clickhole article quotes Armstrong as saying.
It took a little time, but eventually The Post learned it had conflated satire with news and tweeted a correction.
This story has been updated to remove material attributed to a satirical Web publication, Clickhole. https://t.co/qxLXFS84Pw
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 10, 2018
The Post also added an editor’s note to the story.
“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,” the note read.
The campaign to boost the song has been a long time in the works.
Paul Shane and Jeffrey Holland, who are behind the effort, said they started working on the project in January 2017.
Nope. No idea why people distrust media these days.
— Greg Fuhrmann (@gregfuhrmann) July 10, 2018
“(When British Prime Minister) Theresa May offered Trump a full state visit, 1.8 million people signed a government petition to protest this,” they said, according to Newsweek. “We thought we’d protest in a different way. We thought this would be amusing.”
Trump will arrive in Britain on Thursday and remain through Sunday. During his visit, he is scheduled to meet with May and Queen Elizabeth II.
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