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Literal-mindedness knows no bounds

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Some years back, when Phillipe + Jorge picked up on a report in the Onion about anti-semiotism at Brown University, some readers failed to get the joke.

Now, as Boston Magazine reports, the Boston Herald has had its own problem with taking things a bit too literally (h/t Romenesko):

[T]he Herald got duped by a satirist.

On Sunday, Andy Borowitz posted an entry on the Huffington Post and his own website that claimed Cheney appeared on Meet the Press, and had challenged Clinton to a day of hunting. It’s a brilliant piece of satire, with some great fake quotes.

“To be frank, Hillary Clinton’s stories about her adventures with guns don’t exactly pass the smell test,” the vice president told host Tim Russert. “If she really wants to show that she knows how to handle a rifle, there’s an easy way to do that: meet me in the woods.”

That quote was picked up in its entirety by our favorite tabloid. Perhaps the piece’s kicker, which the paper also used, should have tipped them off.

But shortly after the vice president issued his challenge, Sen. Clinton seemed to back off from her earlier claims of hunting experience, saying that she had “misspoke” about her hunting exploits as a child.

“I fired a gun once, but I didn’t like it, and I didn’t recoil,” she said.

Clinton couldn’t possibly be that witty. But the, ahem, smoking gun is this—Dick Cheney did not appear on this weekend’s episode of Meet the Press.

“We were bamboozled,” Herald publisher Kevin Convey told Boston Daily. He explained that the item got picked up as straight news in Google, and was folded into unrelated wire reports from the AP, and appeared online and in the print edition.

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