Two Bangladesh Papers Fall for 'Onion' Moon Landing Story

By: E&P Staff The editors of The Daily Manab Zamin in Bangladesh know a sensational news story when they see it. So when astronaut Neil Armstrong told a press conference that he had become convinced his 1969 moon landing was actually "part of an elaborate hoax orchestrated by the United States government," they rushed the story into print.

They credited the source of the story -- the Onion News Network.

A day later, having learned that The Onion is a satirical newspaper, the Manab Zamin apologized. But that day a second Bangladeshi paper, The New Nation, published it as well.

In the original Onion piece, which ran Aug. 31 on its Web site, the weekly said the Apollo 11 commander "was forced to reconsider every single detail of the monumental journey after watching a few persuasive YouTube videos" and reading a conspiracy theorist's blog.

Wrote The Onion: "It only took a few hastily written paragraphs published by this passionate denier of mankind's so-called 'greatest technological achievement' for me to realize I had been living a lie," said a visibly emotional Armstrong, addressing reporters at his home. "It has become painfully clear to me that on July 20, 1969, the Lunar Module under the control of my crew did not in fact travel 250,000 miles over eight days, touch down on the moon, and perform various experiments, ushering in a new era for humanity. Instead, the entire thing was filmed on a soundstage, most likely in New Mexico."

In its correction, the paper said, "The truth is that Neil Armstrong never gave such an interview. It was made up. We are sorry for publishing the report without checking the information."

It turns out, Neil Armstrong did not alter his famous quote, as the Onion reported. "I suppose," the fictional Armstrong said, "it really was one small step for man, one giant lie for mankind."


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