US President Donald Trump has copped another round of mockery online after sharing a blatant parody article as though it were real news.
A little after 6am on Friday, US time, Mr Trump – who frequently accuses the news media of spreading false information – posted a link to an article by a well known satirical website, The Babylon Bee.
To be clear about just how obviously satirical it is, the site’s tagline is: “Fake news you can trust.”
The story declared that Twitter had shut down its entire network to slow the spread of negative news stories about the President’s election opponent, Joe Biden.
“Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this? Bringing more attention to Sleepy Joe and Big Tech,” Mr Trump wrote.
It apparently escaped his notice that he was sharing the link about Twitter shutting down its own network … on Twitter’s very much still up-and-running network.
At the time of writing, roughly two hours after Mr Trump posted the tweet, it was still up.
However, given he will probably realise his mistake at some point and quietly delete it, I’ve chosen to include a screenshot here instead of embedding it.
We can only assume that Mr Trump did not actually read the article, as no adult with a functioning brain could possibly do so and still treat it as real news.
“In a last-ditch effort to stop negative stories about Joe Biden and his family from spreading, Twitter shut down its entire social network Thursday,” it reads.
“After seeing account after account tweet out one particularly bad story, CEO Jack Dorsey realised he had to take action. Dorsey smashed a glass box in his office reading ‘Break In Case Of Bad Publicity For Democrats’. Inside the case was a sledgehammer for smashing Twitter’s servers.
“‘Red alert – shut the servers down! Shut them all down!’
“Dorsey ran downstairs and started smashing as many computers as he could, but he did need to ask for some help, as the hammer was pretty heavy. None of the programmers could lift the hammer, either. Eventually, they managed to program a robot to pick up the sledgehammer and smash the servers.
“After hearing the Twitter employees talk about critical theory, the robot got woke and began attacking all the cis white males.”
The Babylon Bee took the President’s blunder in its stride, quickly publishing another parody article reporting he had declared it his most trusted news source.
“In the wake of his much-anticipated Fake News Awards, President Donald Trump confirmed Friday that while most news sources are ‘totally fake’, there is one that he trusts more than any other — The Babylon Bee,” it bragged.
“His remarks came in response to a reporter asking if there’s any news source he trusts exclusively in light of his rampant mistrust of the media.
“‘Everyone knows I really like Fox & Friends, but look, The Babylon Bee is the absolute best. They’re tremendous — nobody else even comes close to the quality and truth in their reporting,’ Trump told reporters.
“‘I read the Bee every day because I always know that what I’m reading is 100 per cent accurate.’
“‘Even when they hit me, which they do quite a bit, what can I say? I’ll take it. It’s all true,’ he laughed.
“The President admitted to refreshing the Bee’s homepage ‘sometimes hundreds’ of times per day for the latest stories.
“‘I’m just glad they don’t have a TV show yet — I’d never get anything done!’”
Mr Trump’s critics on social media were equally amused, and proceeded to roast him.
The timing of the President’s mishap was perhaps appropriate. It came hours after his appearance at a town hall forum on NBC, during which he was grilled about his unfortunate habit of sharing misinformation and conspiracy theories on Twitter.
“Just this week, you retweeted to your 87 million followers a conspiracy theory that Joe Biden orchestrated to have SEAL Team Six, the Navy SEAL Team Six, killed to cover up the fake death of (Osama) Bin Laden. Now, why would you send a lie like that to your followers?” moderator Savannah Guthrie asked him.
“I know nothing about it,” Mr Trump protested.
“You retweeted it,” she pointed out.
“That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody, and that was a retweet. I’ll put it out there. People can decide for themselves. I don’t take a position,” said Mr Trump.
“I don’t get that. You’re the President. You’re not, like, someone’s crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever,” Guthrie said.
“That was a retweet. And I do a lot of retweets. And frankly, because the media is so fake, and so corrupt, if I didn’t have social media – I don’t call it Twitter, I call it social media. I wouldn’t be able to get the word out,” Mr Trump argued.
“Well, the word is false,” she shot back.
“And you know what the word is? The word is very simple. We’re building our country, stronger and better than it’s ever been before,” the President concluded.
Mr Trump may have been particularly susceptible to the Bee’s satirical story on Twitter today, as he is currently embroiled in a very real spat with the social media giant.
The President is angry with Twitter for stopping his campaign and its supporters from sharing an article about Mr Biden and his son Hunter’s business dealings in Ukraine.
That’s a whole other story, which you can read about in detail here.