Two Bangladeshi newspapers have apologised after publishing an article taken from a satirical US website which claimed the Moon landings were faked.
The Daily Manab Zamin said US astronaut Neil Armstrong had shocked a news conference by saying he now knew it had been an “elaborate hoax”.
Neither they nor the New Nation, which later picked up the story, realised the Onion was not a genuine news site.
Both have now apologised to their readers for not checking the story.
“We thought it was true so we printed it without checking,” associate editor Hasanuzzuman Khan told the AFP news agency.
“We didn’t know the Onion was not a real news site.”
The article said Mr Armstrong had told a news conference he had been “forced to reconsider every single detail of the monumental journey after watching a few persuasive YouTube videos and reading several blog posts” by a conspiracy theorist.
“It took only a few hastily written paragraphs published by this passionate denier of mankind’s so-called ‘greatest technological achievement’ for me to realise I had been living a lie,” the fake article “quoted” Mr Armstrong as saying.
The made-up quote went on to say that although the journey had felt real, in fact “the entire thing was filmed on a sound stage, most likely in New Mexico”.
“I suppose it really was one small step for man, one giant lie for mankind.”
The story was published on the Onion’s website on Monday and on Wednesday, the Daily Manab Zamin translated it into Bengali, attributing it to the Onion News Network in Lebanon, Ohio. It then ran in New Nation on Thursday.
Daily Manab Zamin, the only tabloid newspaper in Bangladesh, published an apology to its readers on Thursday, saying the report had “drawn a lot of attention”.
“We’ve since learned that the fun site runs false and juicy reports based on a historic incident,” it said.
“The Moon landing one was such a story, which received numerous hits on the internet.
“The truth is that Neil Armstrong never gave such an interview. It was made up. We are sorry for publishing the report without checking the information.”