Times Now recently fell for a fake story on a Saudi man allegedly buying two Airbus A350 aircrafts for his son’s birthday for Rs 2,600 crore. The original story was a piece of satire, published by the ThinAirToday website as reported by fact-checking website BoomLive.
Not only did Times Now originally publish the story as a true news item, but it also added its own share of material to spice up the piece. In its original story, Times Now reported, “Choosing a perfect birthday gift for your children is perhaps the most difficult task. Furthermore, there is extra pressure when the recipient is already making wild guesses about the promised package.
“When the task becomes too confusing, some parents trust others to pick a gift for their children. However, there are some ‘extraordinary’ parents who go a little overboard in selecting a present for their children.”
Even ThinAirToday was amused to see the addition. BoomLive website spoke to the creator of the satire piece and even the person running the satirical website was amused with the addition of news detail to the original fun piece. The person representing the satirical website said, “The problem is, I think, media sharing this outside of the context … They even added some details, I might add them to my original article …”
Faced with embarrassment, Times Now quickly rehashed its original piece and turned it into a ‘fact-check’ article. It wrote, “The viral story of a Saudi Arabian man buying two Airbus planes for € 329 million (Rs 2,600 crores) is false. The story first surfaced on the satirical website Thin Air Today and was then picked up by another website later in the day. It claimed that the man paid an exorbitant amount of money on two Airbus planes, which he later gifted to his son for his birthday.”
Even though Times Now’s ‘fact-check’ found its own story fake but the website refused to issue an apology and even admit its mistake.
Its corrigendum at the end of the revised article simply read, “This is an updated version of the story. The original story published on August 27, 2019, claimed that a man from Saudi Arabia spent Rs 2,600 cr in buying two Airbus planes for his son. This is not true as the story was a gag piece that was published in an aviation-centric satirical website.”