Netizens react: People’s Daily fooled by The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive tribute to Kim Jong-un
Either People’s Daily has woefully made a fool of itself, or, as a handful of netizens conjectured below, they did this on purpose: The mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party dedicated a 55-photo slideshow on its official site People’s Daily Online to Kim Jong-Un on its website when it seriously reported that the North Korean leader was named by “U.S. website The Onion” as the Sexiest Man Alive of the year.
Not only did it buy the whole story on The Onion, it also quoted Marissa Blake-Zweiber, the fictitious editor of The Onion, as saying, “He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time.”
The People’s Daily Online posted the slideshow in both English and Chinese (already taken down). Since it went online, foreign media such as Wall Street Journal and Reuters all jumped in for the circus. the blog Gawker even wrote in its headline, “China Thinks The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive is a Real Thing and that Kim Jong-Un Won It”, which many Chinese netizens believe is an unfair blanket judgment, “It does not represent Chinese people at all! Don’t make us a laughingstock too.”
The editors at People’s Daily Online probably have absolutely no idea that satirical and yet fake news stories are The Onion’s calling card, but many Chinese netizens are savvy enough to be a fan of The Onion. Those who are not familiar with the satirical publication, still believe People’s Daily is unforgivable anyways, “What’s wrong with the editors’ aesthetics?!” Others shrug off the epic FAIL, “People’s Daily has been a joke for 60 years. They won’t care.”
China is a longtime ally and benefactor of the rogue state. The country’s economic catastrophe and horrendous human rights abuses are never mentioned in the state-run media, although Chinese netizens, living in the parallel universe of the web, know too well the situations in North Korea. Some in the web community even term China “Western Korea” in that China, except for its economy, is not that better than North Korea. In February 2011, a journalist wrote a crappy propaganda piece that sings the regime’s and the Kim family’s praises, which was heavily criticized and ruthlessly ridiculed by Chinese netizens.
More netizens comments on Sina Weibo:
保鲜记录：The organ starts to have some sense of humor.
tommmmmmmmmmmmmmm：They had never written anything true anyway.
chikane：This is People’s Daily Online’s populist approach. You guys didn’t get it…
破破的桥: Don’t tell me that the editor for this feature has lost the basic aesthetic eye!
王健_美联储: I got fooled by The Onion in my first year in the U.S. I bought it. But it is professional journalist we are talking about at People’s Daily! So, does it mean that People’s Daily is going to emulate The Onion?
Cateyes猫咪咖啡屋：Actually, both of them are spoof websites.
Hann00：The Heavenly Kingdom makes a world-class fool of itself every day. Just get used to it.
約翰特洛克：This international joke is spreading crazily on FB. I think it is actually a masterful smear campaign by the People’s Daily against Kim Jong-Un.
PC357：CNN is doing a story on that, saying The Onion fools Chinese. Damn, can the editors at People’s Daily represent Chinese?
大神二世：What a shame! They licked shit when kissing asses!
胡郁欣：What a disgrace!
Lucia_吱：How annoying! It does not represent Chinese people! Don’t make us a laughingstock too.
斯坦尼夫拉夫斯基：People’s Daily will go into The Onion Movie 2.
笨笨an: It has been fooling the People for 63 years and has actually already fooled itself into an idiot.
杉杉含笑：What’s wrong with the editors’ aesthetics?
二太空:It shows what kind of fool is running People’s Daily Online.
爱上老虎的狼：Peepers’ (intended) Daily Online is a master at smear campaign!
水木三又木：This stupid media has been a laughingstock for more than 60 years. They don’t care. //@Kevin宫崎骏: People’s Daily have taken down the story, but media in the entire world are laughing at China…
平源氏：It seems the entertainment section of People’s Daily Online is really doing a good job! Not bad. Going with the times.