US diplomats fall for parody North Korean account in their rush to pick on Trump
It's a reasonable expectation that two experienced diplomats would be able to tell parody from news, but politicians never fail to surprise: Power and McFaul were apparently a little too eager to unload on Donald Trump to double-check if the @DPRK_News account they retweeted was actually real.
As Twitter users from all over were sneering at Trump's refusal to attend a ceremony commemorating US Marines in France due to light rain, "DRPK News Service" published a tweet which read: "Supreme Leader Kim John-Un does not fear rain."
Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un does not fear rain.— DPRK News Service (@DPRK_News) November 10, 2018
McFaul, who has repeatedly bashed Trump for cozying up to the "dictator" Kim, thought the North Korean leader was now "trolling" his American BFF, and promoted the parody with a now-deleted re-tweet.
So I guess it's safe to say that he....McFell for it? pic.twitter.com/NdWpnrv5rf— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) November 11, 2018
All's fair in love and Trump-bashing, it seems... or so thought another former Obama official, Samantha Power, who fell for the same tweet.
Outspoken Kremlin critic and Newsweek foreign policy columnist Jeff Stein also fell for the gag:
Some welcome level-headedness was provided by AP's Matt Lee. In a series of tweets, the veteran reporter informed the "victims" they had been played by a fake news agency.
All three have since deleted the tweets – but not before the screenshots had been taken.
How many former officials will fall for this parody account? https://t.co/BGhjl5zjNA— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) November 11, 2018
Adding to the embarrassment, the account in question has been around for years and has been known to be a fake since at least 2015.
The parody has claimed a long list of victims over the years, including Newsweek, BuzzFeed, Fox News, The Verge and The Washington Post. The most recent casualty among high-profile news outlets was the New York Times.
Last year, the Daily Beast even conducted an extensive interview with the two men behind the account, a data analyst and an attorney, after The New York Times quoted @DPRK_News in its piece about July 2017's missile launch.
Twitter was ruthless in mocking Power and McFaul, with commentators calling the former UN ambassador "ignorant" and unfit for the job, and saying that McFaul was blinded by his anti-Trump bias.
Samantha Power was the former Ambassador to the UN, and she RT’ed a North Korean parody account as if it was true. That is who Obama had running the UN. That is who the media said we should support.— Mike Cernovich 🇺🇸 (@Cernovich) November 11, 2018
The former ambassador for the US is using a parody account thinking it’s actually coming from the North Korean government and links to it in an attempt to ridicule our President. I thought she was an unqualified person before but this is really ignorant. Unbelievable.— Walter White (@donkeykong1922) November 10, 2018
When you need your bias confirmed so desperately that you fall for an obvious DPRK parody account. Oof. @McFaul— VK (@vjeannek) November 11, 2018
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