Iranian news agency prints fictional Onion story as fact

The weirdest stories from the global press

Jack Rodolico By Jack Rodolico

After another week of heavy news — endless wars, endless speeches at the UN, a presidential campaign that seems, well, endless — it’s prime time for a few curve balls. This is the Latitude News Mishmash, a look back at the three weirdest stories from this week’s global news. As always, drop us a line if you spot something off kilter next week.

Iranian news agency prints fictional Onion story as fact

A man dressed as Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad walks towards a protest on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York September 26, 2012. The demonstration was organized by human rights group Iran180 in response to the Iranian and Syrian regimes’ human rights record. (Reuters/Andrew Kelly)

The Onion, in its inimitable style, lampoons traditional news by printing fake news stories like “Joe Biden Hitchhikes to Democratic National Convention” and “Neil Armstrong’s Wife Glad To Finally Get Rid Of All The Space Hobby Crap.” So this story called “Gallup Poll: Rural White Prefer Ahmadinejad to Obama” is pretty much run of the mill as far as their funny take on reality goes.

But we took a big double take when we saw the same story, printed as fact, by Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency. Obviously, Fars was all too eager to reprint a story that cast the Iranian president in a more favorable light than the American president.

But, strangely enough, Fars “lifted” the story, plagiarizing it in its entirety while only changing the photo.

“[Ahmadinejad] takes national defense seriously,” says a fictional West Virgina resident, “and he’d never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does.”

“According to the same Gallup poll,” both The Onion and Fars report, “60 percent of rural whites said they at least respected that Ahmadinejad doesn’t try to hide the fact that he’s Muslim.”

There was one line that Fars did not print: The Onion refers to the Iranian president as “a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed.” Somehow that line slipped through the filters of Fars’ crack team of reporters.

Billionaire offers $62 million to man who woos his daughter — his gay daughter

Suave bachelors, beware! Shine your shoes, head to China and get ready for the challenge of a lifetime. A Chinese tycoon is offering just north of $60 million to the man who marries his daughter.

Ordinarily, just about any woman would have a hard time falling for a beau who is, obviously, driven to marry her in order to tap her father’s fortune. But Gigi Chao will be a particularly tough catch. She’s already married. To a woman.

Gigi’s father is Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, a shipping magnate and property developer. According to Ireland’s Independent, the billionaire isn’t setting his sights too low.

“I don’t mind whether he is rich or poor,” he says. “The important thing is that he is generous and kind hearted.”

Actually, the important thing is that his daughter is gay and married (we presume happily) to a woman. With the glaring exception of her sexual identity, Mr. Chao seems to think his daughter has many redeeming qualities.

“Gigi is a very good woman,” he boasts, “with both talents and looks. She is devoted to her parents, is generous and does volunteer work.”

Gigi Chao reportedly married her partner of seven years while in France last spring, though her father denies this happened.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Ms. Chao’s Facebook and Twitter accounts have been swamped with new followers and “friends.”

Honestly, does that really turn you on?

Speaking of creepy men, The National reports that a man in Dubai, United Arab Emirates was busted for filming his female colleagues sitting on the toilet.

It seems a story like this surfaces every couple years in the U.S.: some lecherous wacko sets up a video camera in a women’s bathroom at a mall, a gas stations, work. But the plot twist for the culprit in Dubai? He filmed himself setting up the camera.

The National identifies the man as “EA,” a 27-year-old Indian. EA hid his mobile phone in the ladies’ room for three days before a female colleague, a 26-year-old Egyptian clerk, spotted the camera. After using the toilet, the clerk says, “I noticed a red light flashing from under the sink.”

She turned off the camera, checked the recording, and “found a clip of the man on the toilet seat adjusting the camera to ensure he got the full scene in the frame.”

Now in court, EA admitted he had made such recordings four times previously, but, he claims, he deleted the images and did not look at them.

And Bill Clinton didn’t inhale…