We Don’t Understand Iran, And They Don’t Understand Us

The Onion has fooled many with its fake news stories.  Now it has caught its biggest fish yet:  the official Iranian news agency, Fars.

Fars reported as fact an Onion spoof about a fake Gallup poll that found that 77 percent of rural white Americans would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Obama.  The Fars story included The Onion‘s fake quote from a West Virginia resident who purportedly said the Iranian leader “takes national defence seriously, and he’d never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does”.

Fars has apologized for its blunder, but I think its apology tells us something more significant about Iran than the fact that Fars was initially duped by The Onion.  In the apology, the Fars editor-in-chief said:  “Although it does not justify our mistake, we do believe that if a free opinion poll is conducted in the US, a majority of Americans would prefer anyone outside the US political system to President Barack Obama and American statesmen.”

If the head of the official Iranian news agency truly believes that Americans would prefer a hateful, repressive, anti-Semitic figure like Ahmadinejad to our own President, there is a huge gulf in understanding between our two countries.  When those two countries are jousting about Iran’s reckless efforts to obtain nuclear capabilities, such a lack of understanding can be extremely dangerous.  If Iranians think it is plausible that rural Americans would vote for an intolerant, deluded bigot like Ahmadinejad, what are they thinking about President Obama’s warning, in his recent speech to the United Nations, that the United States “will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”  Are they taking that warning seriously, or are they kidding themselves about that, too?

The Onion And Biker Joe

The Onion — America’s great humor newspaper — just can’t stay ahead of our zany Vice President, Joe Biden.

Ever since President Obama was elected, The Onion has been running stories lampooning the man who is a heartbeat away from the presidency as a kind of amiable, dim-witted Everyman.  Some of The Onion‘s classic headlines for these stories have included Joe Biden Shows Up To Inauguration With Ponytail, Joe Biden Introduces Trio Of Sexy Bodyguards, Biden Unveils New Health Initiative To Make U.S. Women Hotter, and, most recently, Joe Biden Hitchhikes To Democratic National Convention — among many others.  The articles feature absurd story lines and hilarious, obviously Photoshopped images.

But try as they might, The Onion just can’t match the antics of our real Veep.  This was demonstrated again today when the Associated Press carried a story about Joe Biden’s antics with a biker gal in the Cruisers Diner in Seaman, Ohio.  The accompanying photo shows a grinning Biden cozying up to the biker gal with his face right behind her ear.   On either side of the happy couple are two obviously irritated biker dudes who look like they would like nothing better than to punch Biker Joe’s lights out.

Do you think The Onion ever entertained the idea of an article called Joe Biden Gets Into Brawl Over Woman In Biker Bar but rejected it as too far-fetched?