The origins of the Onion newspaper come from my hometown. In fact, I worked with a few of the staffers at other local University newspapers. I did do a couple “Satire” articles for the Onion, but nothing was published.
Apparently, the Onion has a great reach – even to those who don’t understand. Another article was re-published as actual news. This time it was a Bangladesh newspaper – The Daily Manab Zamin – which then was picked up by the New Nation.
The articles talked about a (supposed) news story that Neil Armstrong was quoted “the Moon landings were fake…” The two news agencies soon after learning the Onion is a satirical paper, apologized for the misinformation.You can read the Onion article here
This is not the first time the Onion has influenced another writer. in 2004, the Beijing News first didn’t site the Onion until pressured. The news article was about how Congress won’t resume until a new “Modern” capitol was built. So not only did they use misinformation, they plagiarized it.
It’s interesting how the web can spread a hoax. There was another, also in 2004, where a man beheaded himself on a video. It was posted to see how fast the video could be made into news. An Arab station picked it up and the wheels were set in motion.
As for the Onion, please understand it is not a real news source. It is satire. If I remember correctly, there was only one issue that actually reported real news. But that was years ago and no one remembers it.