The story on Australian women’s site Mamamia began, “So here’s the best news story you’re going to read all day.”
And yet, the story that followed, a Feb. 20 report about a Texas woman who had avoided jail by claiming she is a “spermaholic” (that is, addicted to sperm), was anything but “best.” Indeed, it was a satire story so unbelievable that it’s shocking Mamamia was duped by it.
When it learned of the hoax, after the Australian news site Mumbrella flagged it, Mamamia was rightfully embarrassed by its gullibility and quickly unpublished it. (See a Google cache here.) According to Mumbrella, “Last year Mamamia’s head of editorial strategy, Kate Spies, penned an opinion piece in which she explained Mamamia was moving away from ‘click bait.'”
Mamamia identifies itself as “the largest independent women’s website in Australia.” It claims to publish “news, opinion, social commentary, political analysis, style, relationships, parenting, beauty and healthy, great videos, clever podcasts, and deeply personal stories” and also claims to have a readership of “around four million Australians a month.”
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The satire story originated last month on World News Daily with the headline “Prostitute avoids jail time after being diagnosed as ‘spermaholic,'” Mumbrella reported. A quick look at World News Daily‘s “About Us” page would tip readers off that the story doesn’t quite fit. The About Us page claims the site is “an American Jewish Zionist newspaper based in Tel Aviv and dedicated on covering biblical archeology (sic) news and other mysteries around the Globe” with a 200,000 daily print edition.
Other stories on the site’s home page claim a a virgin teenager got pregnant from a flu shot, a 600-pound woman gave birth to a 40-pound child, and a South Carolina woman named her twins Donald and Trump.
Mamamia also has apparently deleted its Facebook post promoting the story.
iMediaEthics has written to Mamamia to ask if it will post a correction.