Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post issued a correction in its story Tuesday that reported on a push from British protesters to make Green Day’s hit song “American Idiot” No. 1 on the charts ahead of a visit from President Trump after the reporter was duped by an article on a parody news site.

The story quotes a purported opinion piece from Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong posted to parody site, which was founded four years ago as the sister satire site of The Onion.

The original Post story read:

“Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong wrote ‘American Idiot’ in the throes of the Iraq War and the angst of post-9/11 America, which the song described as an ‘alien nation where everything isn’t meant to be okay.’ The titular track on the band’s 2004 rock opera resonated with a generation of eyeliner-wearing, anti-establishment punks while at the same time playing ad nauseam on car radios in American suburbia, spending six weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 100.

“But despite the song’s ubiquity, Armstrong waited 13 years to reveal — in an article he wrote for — that the ‘American Idiot’ was President George W. Bush.”

Other articles on the site include a fake opinion piece Mitch McConnell headlined I’m Proud Of President Trump For Replacing The Un-American Practice Of Family Separation With The Profoundly American Practice Of Mass Incarceration” and a news piece headlined “Do You Smell Luxurious to Attend Warren Buffett’s Extravagant Adult Baptism?”

The Washington Post has since updated the story with a correction: “This story has been updated to remove material attributed to a satirical web publication, Clickhole, which should not have been treated seriously.”

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