Whether it's due to really good satire or really gullible people, satirical online newspaper The Daily Currant's parody articles keep popping up across the web — as fact.
The latest joke-turned-viral article started gaining traction on Sunday as social media sites buzzed with the latest comments from embattled conservative Senatorial candidate Todd Akin , of "legitimate rape" fame.
"Todd Akin Claims Breastmilk Cures Homosexuality," reads the Daily Currant's headline, attached to a full-length piece detailing comments the congressman made to "a reporter for Cape Giradeau's KBSI 23 News that 'female breast milk – when fed directly to an adult homosexual male daily for at least four weeks – has a 94% chance of permanently curing homosexual perversions.'"
Now, to be very clear, this is not true. Although KBSI 23 News does in fact exist, Akin was never on the program, nor has he ever made statements linking breastmilk to a cure for homosexuality.
The fake Akin goes on to claim that the National Institutes of Health knew of the "cure" but was part of a conspiracy that aimed to keep the knowledge a secret.
"We now know how to purge men of sin and put them on a path towards god. Why can't every gay man in America have that knowledge? Just 4 weeks of live breastfeeding can cure them of their terrible suffering. Why aren't we talking about this?" Akin is quoted as saying.
By Tuesday morning, the transition from "news" to news was complete. A quick search of "todd akin claims breast milk cures homosexuality" turned up pages of blogs reposting the story as fact, including this blog on Celebrity Cafe that did not realize the hoax until Tuesday afternoon. (Note: There is now an update clarifying the story is satire.)
The Twitterverse's reaction has been mixed, with many users now posting that the story is fake:
@jhrx4fun The site that this is from (The Daily Currant) is a satirical site. So, alas, it's not real.
— Kyle MacDonald (@kymacdonald) August 28, 2012
While many others have yet to catch on:
Todd Akin Claims Breastmilk Cures Homosexuality | The Daily Currant dailycurrant.com/2012/08/26/tod… It would be more impressive if it cured homophobia.
— mdtoorder (@mdtoorder) August 28, 2012
In early July, a post by the site enjoyed similar success after reporting that Rick Santorum thought Grindr, a gay dating app, was used to find coffee shops.
Reporting on the hoax, Mashable contacted founder and editor Daniel Barkeley, who told the site, “We’re surprised and gratified to see the article’s success." But, Barkeley continued, “We certainly don’t try to fool people into thinking our articles are real, but good satire often requires skating as close to the truth as possible while still being ridiculous.”
While the Daily Currant makes its intentions perfectly clear, Internet hoaxes are relatively easy to concoct on purpose, as Bill Cosby and Bill Nye both found out this weeks after being "killed" on Twitter. Facebook and Twitter were flooded with false reports of the stars' demise before the truth finally started to trend on Monday.