The Atlantic Wire’s John Hudson called out the Huffington Post Aug 19 for treating a satirical article as news and not being transparent in its corrections.
According to Hudson, Huffington Post’s Katla McGlynn criticized a joke article “Is my Husband Gay?” as if it were a serious, not a satirical article. The article was published Aug 14 on ChristWire.org, which labels itself “Conservative Values for the Unsaved World.” While the site doesn’t ever label itself as satire or a joke site, iMediaEthics Google search of the site turns up several posts and articles questioning or labeling it as such. There’s enough to at least treat the site with skepticism before seriously criticizing it.
McGlynn’s Huffington Post article demonstrated she took the bait, since she “denounced it for relying on ‘unfounded and offensive stereotypes about gay men.'”
However, as of Aug 21, McGlynn’s article suddenly questions whether the article is satire or not and features nine of her “favorite ‘commonly accepted’ signs.”
“We’re not sure if this is a satire or not, but from the looks of things no one really knows,” McGlynn added.
In an undated update to his Atlantic Wire article, Hudson noted that McGlynn’s story had been changed significantly but without any corrections or updates. The only “update” visible on the article is the Aug 19 5:02 PM timestamp visible next to the timestamp of the article’s posting – Aug 19 at 3:15 PM.
“Instead of running a correction, The Huffington Post article in question was re-written to suggest that they suspected it was satire all along,” Hudson wrote, also noting that even the comments posted on the original article have been deleted from the article. Not only did the article get changed without any transparency, Hudson alleges, but the original comments were removed.
According to Hudson, Huffington Post editor Alex Leo e-mailed the Atlantic Wire after Hudson’s article was published, “complaining” that he had “misquoted” and “misinterpreted” McGlynn’s article. But, when Hudson pointed out to Leo that the post had been changed, Hudson wrote Leo “didn’t believe” them. Hudson didn’t save a screenshot of the original Huffington Post article.
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Last Month’s Christwire Hoax
Last month, Hudson noted when another news outlet fell for ChristWire’s articles. In his July 27 article for the Atlantic Wire, Hudson wrote that NBC’s Los Angeles affiliate, NBC LA, did a report that treated ChristWire’s article “Boycott Bill Murray for a Better America” seriously. The article called Bill Murray “a weak man, a murderer of lambs, a despicable hedonist who waves the white flag welcoming the end of American moral and economic primacy,” among other things.
By July 28, NBC LA posted an editor’s note thanking The Atlantic for letting them know the ChristWire site is a satirical site. NBC’s gracious response to Hudson is in stark contrast to the denial of the Huffington Post.
In May, iMediaEthics wrote about Gawker-owned blog Gizmodo falling for a fake article published by Brazilian satire site Sensacionalista. Sensacionalista had published a satire story claiming a woman claimed to have been impregnated from watching 3-D porn. Gizmodo posted a story about the impregnation, only to scrub it from its site and Google’s cache.