One of the Internet's best kept secrets is the satirical website ChristWire.org. Every day, its contributing writers publish articles condemning homosexuality, atheism, Hollywood or some other perceived threat to American culture. The writers pretend to be hard-right Christian conservatives and, occasionally, they succeed in tricking serious news organizations into believing them. Last month, for instance, we caught NBC Los Angeles falling for a ChristWire article about the moral depravity of Bill Murray. The article called Murray a "murderer of lambs" and a "fatal disease" to society. Still, the satire was lost on NBC (they interpreted it as unchecked Christian fundamentalism and later had to issue a correction).
Today, ChristWire claimed more scalps with an article titled Is My Husband Gay? It ominously warns that "homosexuality can pop up at any time" and that "over 2 million couples" are secretly struggling with homosexuality in their marriages. Faux-pundit Stephenson Billings goes on to advise married women on how to tell if their husband is gay. If he "travels frequently to big cities or Asia," for instance, he's probably gay:
Big cities offer indulgence of every kind. From gay bars and clubs to prostitutes and sex bathhouses, a man seeking encounters can find them easily if he’s so inclined. Is there ever really a good excuse for a husband to visit Thailand or San Francisco without his wife?
Thus far, they've snookered the The Huffington Post and a number of smaller left-leaning websites. HuffPo's Katla McGlynn denounced it for relying on "unfounded and offensive stereotypes about gay men." Though the article is patently ridiculous, McGlynn goes line by line lambasting it. In one instance, she targets Billings's hilarious warning about men wearing tight clothes. Billings says:
Gay men don’t need words to communicate their availability for sex "hook ups.” They silently broadcast the news by showing off their lean, hard bodies in designer clothing labels.
It's 2010. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't own skinny jeans or check themselves out occasionally.
Hats off to ChristWire for another modest media coup.
Update: HuffPo Hides Its Mistake Instead of running a correction, The Huffington Post article in question was re-written to suggest that they suspected it was satire all along. Rather conspicuously, the article now begins "We're not sure if this is satire or not." The article has also been scrubbed of comments cited in the original article, namely McGlynn's opinion that ChristWire was spreading "unfounded and offensive stereotypes about gay men." The Atlantic Wire became aware of these changes when Huffington Post editor Alex Leo reached out to us via e-mail, complaining that we "misquoted" and "misinterpreted" the article. We explained to Leo that someone at HuffPo clearly re-wrote the post but she* didn't believe us. She offered no explanation as to how we produced direct quotes from McGlynn's article that no longer exist on the page.
*Our original post incorrectly referred to Alex Leo as a he. We made a mistake. This is our correction. Not so hard, right?