The media last week got very excited about claims that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un had fed his uncle to a pack of starving dogs:
Unfortunately, for those outlets who ran the story it has since been found to be false. According to the Guardian, the tall tale orginated from a satirical post on a Chinese social media site. But somewhere along the line the satire and the truth were lost, drowned out no doubt, along with the alarm bells that should have been sounding, by the noisy stampede of newspaper editors rushing to publish the story.
Details in the satirical blog post were repeated as if genuine by a Chinese newspaper - Wen Wei Po - that was cited by the English language Straits Times based in Singapore. After that the story spread around the world.
There is a growing list of media outlets being taken in by satire. In 2012 Iranian news agency FARS picked an article from US satire site The Onion which claimed white Americans preferred Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Barack Obama. Back in 2002 the Beijing Evening News reported that the US Congress was threatening to leave Washington unless a new Capitol building was built with a retractable dome. The source, again, was The Onion.
The Daily Mail was one UK media outlet which ran the North Korean dog story. It has since published a new piece online claiming the false reports were "repeated by... a wide range of US and European media", though not mentioning any, such as itself, by name.