Debunked: Obama Called Putin a Jackass

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.



External Quote:
ST. PETERSBURG (The Borowitz Report)—Hopes for a positive G20 summit crumbled today as President Obama blurted to Russia’s Vladimir Putin at a joint press appearance, “Everyone here thinks you’re a jackass.”

The press corps appeared stunned by the uncharacteristic outburst from Mr. Obama, who then unleashed a ten-minute tirade at the stone-faced Russian President.

“Look, I’m not just talking about Snowden and Syria,” Mr. Obama said. “What about Pussy Riot? What about your anti-gay laws? Total jackass moves, my friend.”

As Mr. Putin narrowed his eyes in frosty silence, Mr. Obama seemed to warm to his topic.

“If you think I’m the only one who feels this way, you’re kidding yourself,” Mr. Obama said, jabbing his finger in the direction of the Russian President’s face. “Ask Angela Merkel. Ask David Cameron. Ask the Turkish guy. Every last one of them thinks you’re a dick.”

Shortly after Mr. Obama’s volcanic performance, Mr. Putin released a terse official statement, reading, “I should be afraid of this skinny man? I wrestle bears.”

After one day of meetings, the G20 nations voted unanimously on a resolution that said maybe everyone should just go home.

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Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Supplemental Information:


The author, Andy Borowitz, is a long time satirical comedy writer for The New Yorker who specializes in creating fantastic headlines surrounding current events. His columns have even fooled the official Chinese State news agency, so don't feel too bad if he 'got' you too!

External Quote:
Chinese State Media Fooled by Andy Borowitz on Washington Post Sale


AUG 8, 2013
In the latest sign that The New Yorker's satirical Borowitz Report is gaining ground on The Onion, Andy Borowitz managed to fool China's state-run Xinhua news agency into thinking that Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post because of one errant mouse click. "Amazon founder said the acquisition of theWashington Post" was due to "an unintentional mouse click" is the rough Google Translation of the Xinhua report, which says it gleaned this startling news from The New Yorker.

They aren't fully wrong. The report did appear in The New Yorker, but it was a story from the Borowitz Report—the magazine's high-brow satirical blog that specializes in skewering the morning's headlines (and, usually, making fun of right-wingers). "Mr. Bezos said he had been oblivious to his online shopping error until earlier today, when he saw an unusual charge for two hundred and fifty million dollars on his American Express statement," reads a portion of the story, which Xinhua apparently translated in full on its site.

The Xinhua story is still up today, which kind of makes this a major score for the Borowitz Report. Considering the onerous restrictions on press freedom in China, it's amazing how easily its official "journalists" have been fooled.

And while Borowitz's feat was grand, it's still not as good (in our humble opinion) as The Onion fooling China's People's Daily, a paper run by the country's ruling communist party, that Kim Jong-Un was deemed the sexiest man alive in 2012. That story lent itself an entertaining slideshow. Borowitz's not so much. But there's always next time.

One Sentence Debunking:
The article was written as a satire, but is effective because you know that is what the participants are probably thinking but are stymied from saying it out loud.
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That was hilarious. I think it's the vernacular that aids the realism, "total jackass moves, my friend", "the Turkish guy". I can imagine those two cutting that kind of swaggin' talk under less frustrating circumstances. Reminds me a little of the Nixon tapes. Unfortunately I think contrary to expectations just a week ago the script got totally flipped and it was Mr Obama that came out of it looking like very much the unpopular one. Putin arguably spoke for 90 percent of the participants, rendering talk of a Russian security council veto as a cynical "jackass move" absolutely redundant, even though it probably is, as the veto is representatative of the views of the vast majority. Very funny piece though. Are we sure the Chinese did not get the joke?