March 9 (UPI) — A satirical article about President Donald Trump covering the White House phones in tin foil gained traction on Chinese news sites, despite being entirely fictional.
The Friday article in the New Yorker, “Trump Orders All White House Phones Covered in Tin Foil,” was penned by humorist Andy Borowitz as part of his column, which offers satirical takes on real-world events.
The New Yorker’s Borowitz Report disclaimer — “not the news” — failed to dissuade Reference News, a paper published by China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, from citing it in an article about Trump ordering aides Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway to wrap the White House phones in tin foil.
Borowitz’s article was intended to poke fun at Trump’s unsourced claims that former President Barack Obama had his phones wiretapped in the closing days of the presidential campaign.
The satire was lost on Reference News, however, and the story was soon picked up by popular outlets including Sina, Caijing, and Tencent.
Xinhua was previously fooled by a Borowitz Report column in 2013 titled “Amazon Founder Says He Clicked on Washington Post By Mistake.” The article was later deleted when The Washington Post responded to Xinhua.