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Washington Post Cites Parody Site as Real News

The Washington Post issued a correction in its story Tuesday [1] 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 ClickHole.com [2], 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 clickhole.com [3] — 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 [4]” 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.”