This week, Swedish newscasters reported on a fake story about how bananas are the most popular fruit for pretending to make phone calls.
The Onion, a famous satirical online newspaper, published a fake science story last week with the headline, “Report: Bananas Still Most Popular Fruit for Pretending to Receive Phone Call.” It was a paragraph-long piece that said researchers from Johns Hopkins University had studied the phenomenon of pretending to receive a phone call with fruit, and that scientists were amazed to discover that nobody ever did that with apples or oranges. It was a silly story, not meant to be taken as real, but then it wound up on the morning news in Sweden.
According to The Local, a Swedish morning news show actually reported on the story as though it were real, attributing the research to Johns Hopkins University and acting bewildered that anybody would actually conduct the research in question.
The head of the Swedish news program told The Local that the anchors reported on the piece in an obviously skeptical fashion and were not taking it seriously. It was meant to show viewers that it’s important to check the facts before automatically assuming that a headline is real.