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American satire website 'breaks' real news story on Israel

world Updated: Jul 22, 2015 13:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
the onion

A screengrab of American satire website The Onion's article on Israel.

American satire website The Onion has become the talk of the internet for, believe it or not, “breaking” a news story that eerily mirrored real life developments.

Last week, The Onion published a spoof report headlined "US Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment Of Ballistic Missiles" that said America would soon be "treating" Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "to a nice, big shipment of ballistic missiles" to compensate for the much talked about nuclear deal with Iran.

It even quoted a fake US state department spokesperson as saying, "Bibi always gets a little cranky when he sees us talking to Iran, but a few dozen short-range surface-to-surface missiles usually cheer him right up."

Twenty-four hours later, it turned out the fake story was, in fact, quite close to reality.

The following day, Haaretz – a leading Israeli newspaper – reported that US President Barack Obama had offered Netanyahu immediate talks to upgrade the offensive and defensive capabilities of the Israel Defense Forces.

Israel has condemned the nuclear deal with Iran, with Netanyahu saying the agreement was a “capitulation” and a mistake of historic proportions.

Quoting a senior official in Obama's administration, the Haaretz reported that the two leaders had spoken on the phone and this was the "second time Obama had made a direct offer to Netanyahu on launching such talks".

The report further said Netanyahu did not respond to the offer because that would imply Israel had accepted the nuclear deal.

In a light-hearted but cheeky blog post on Tuesday, the Haartez noted the similarities between its story and that of The Onion. "There’s no other way around it: The fake newspaper broke the story," it said.

The newspaper took the opportunity to point out that such an eerie similarity between satire and reality isn't really a great sign.