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The Onion taken seriously
Upon occasion, the straight-faced manner in which The Onion reports non-existent happenings has resulted in outside parties mistakenly citing The Onion stories as real news.
In 1998, Fred Phelps posted the The Onion article "'98 Homosexual-Recruitment Drive Nearing Goal" on his "God Hates Fags" website as "proof" that gay people were indeed actively trying to "recruit" others.
On June 7, 2002, Reuters reported that the Beijing Evening News republished, in the international news page of its June 3 edition, translated portions of "Congress Threatens To Leave D.C. Unless New Capitol Is Built". The story discusses the U.S. Congress's threats to leave Washington for Memphis, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; or even Toronto, Canada unless Washington, D.C. built them a new Capitol building with a retractable dome. The article is a parody of U.S. sports franchises' threats to leave their home city unless new stadiums are built for them. Evening News initially stood by the story, demanding proof of its falsehood. It later retracted the article, responding that "some small American newspapers frequently fabricate offbeat news to trick people into noticing them with the aim of making money."
In late March 2004, Deborah Norville of MSNBC presented as genuine an article titled "Study: 58 Percent Of U.S. Exercise Televised".
In 2006, the Danish television station TV 2 posted a story on the gossip section of its website that took seriously The Onion article titled "Sean Penn Demands To Know What Asshole Took SeanPenn@gmail.com".
An article on Harry Potter inciting children to practice witchcraft was believed by many[who?] to be real and was the subject of a widely forwarded email which repeated the quotes attributed to children in the article. Columnist Ellen Makkai and others who believe the Harry Potter books "recruit" children to Satanism have also been taken in by the article, using quotes from it to support their claims.
In September 2009, two Bangladeshi newspapers, The Daily Manab Zamin and The New Nation, published stories translated from The Onion claiming Neil Armstrong had held a news conference claiming the moon landing was an elaborate hoax. Neither realized The Onion was not a genuine news site. Both of the newspapers apologized to their readers for not checking the story.
In October 2009, the Russian news site Russia.ru repackaged clips from The Onion video piece "New Anti-Smoking Ad Warns Teens 'It's Gay to Smoke'" as legitimate news.
In February 2010, among others the online newspapers Il Corriere della Sera (Italy) and Adresseavisen (Norway) repackaged clips from The Onion video piece "Denmark Introduces Harrowing New Tourism Ads Directed By Lars Von Trier" as legitimate news.
In June 2010, the soccer website Sofoot.com (France) mistook for real news the article "Nation's Soccer Fan Becoming Insufferable", picked up the story and translated it partially on their own website under the title "La solitude du supporter ricain". The article even ends with a kind word for the fake fan, telling him to be brave and to hang on.