The Washington Post is being heavily mocked for a blunderous error on Tuesday, when it cited the humor website Clickhole as a source for the claim that the Green Day song “American Idiot” was written about President George W. Bush.
The Post cited the satirical article saying lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong had once declared that the hit song was about Bush. "The main reason we made Bush the 'American Idiot' is because he started the war," Armstrong said (in the fake Clickhole article).
Clickhole, a spinoff of The Onion, writes funny stories that might seem real, but the site says they want to mislead “just enough" to go viral.
With President Trump's trip to Britain on the horizon, the Post put out a piece headlined, “In honor of Trump visit, Brits launch campaign to lift ‘American Idiot’ to top of the charts." The story, it's kinda' worked: The song is No. 1 on the U.K. Amazon chart.
The Post story has been changed, but one Twitterer captured its original form:
Now, how the reporter — and the all the editors who read the story — don't know what Clickhole is, is amazing. Does Post owner Jeff Bezos keep them locked up in little pens, in the dark?
After the story was published, social media exploded with mockery.
"You don’t see the problem with a reporter unwittingly adding material from a satirical site to “buttress” a story? you realize something like that can only happen because the satire reinforced the reporter’s preexisting point of view, right?" wrote one person on Twitter.
"Frankly, the reporter in question should be fired for taking material from Clickhoke. that’s the equivalent of using Wikipedia articles for your dissertation," he added.
"And yet the media keeps complaining 'they call us fake news' well stop putting out fake news and we will stop," wrote another.
After the mockfest, the Post issued a correction in the form of an "editor's note."
"Editor’s note: 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." In the new version, there are no references to Bush at all.
In case you've forgotten, the song's lyrics include these words:
Don't wanna be an American idiot
One nation controlled by the media
Information Age of hysteria
It's calling out to idiot America
It doesn't sound much like Bush, but it sure does bring to mind The Washington Post, doesn't it?