CHICAGO: The Onion, a satirical news corporation founded in 1988, published an apology letter from the editor after reports surfaced that an employee had mistakenly written a real news report and had it featured on the website.
The employee, Wu Psee, a Chinese immigrant, had been hired a few days before. This article was supposed to be his first big post-training assignment. The former People's Daily columnist had spent hours writing and editing a report on the increasingly powerful Chinese military and its impact on the Asia-Pacific region. To celebrate the milestone, his superiors gave it a featured position on the site without checking its content beforehand. The error was caught 23 minutes later, after it had been viewed by thousands.
"We sincerely apologize for our oversight earlier today", the letter stated, "The Onion and its affiliates aims to differentiate itself from the large media networks and provide only humorous, satirical reports."
The letter was later lambasted for being too serious in tone.
Readers who fell for the real headline were shocked and dismayed by the blunder. "I can't believe The Onion would do something like this. I go to the site every day and read a few articles to begin my day on a good note, but this morning I was confronted with... that." said a disgusted Thomas Thatcher of Deerfield, NH.
Mike Bennington, a graduate student at Boston University, was less harsh: "A mistake is a mistake, but that was a big one."
Mr. Psee will not face any consequences due to his inexperience.
Still, many, like Bennington, wonder, "How did he not know he was writing for a site like The Onion?"