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The Washington Post Fell for a Clickhole Article About Green Day’s “American Idiot”

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Musician Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performs onstage during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival: For Freedom. For Justice. For All. in Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City. at Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

Donald Trump is visiting the U.K. this week, and those cheeky Brits have a plan to stick it to him when he arrives. There’s a campaign to send Green Day‘s Bush II-era “American Idiot” to the top of the charts there by repeatedly downloading and streaming it, in protest of… well, you probably get it. It’s going well enough that the song is currently the most downloaded on Amazon’s U.K. charts, and that the Washington Post ran a brief article about the whole thing this morning.

When that article was originally published, it contained the following sentences:

But despite the song’s ubiquity, Armstrong waited 13 years to reveal—in an article he wrote for—that the “American Idiot” was President George W. Bush.

“The main reason we made George W. Bush the ‘American Idiot’ is because he started a war,” Armstrong wrote.

Clickhole, of course, is a satire publication, the internet-centric spinoff of the more famous The OnionThe article in question was not actually written by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, but by a comedy writer making fun of the extreme heavy-handedness of Armstrong’s hit song, which was obviously about Bush to anyone with ears, and felt more like a pat on Green Day’s own back for resisting the bad guys than it did meaningful protest. Criticisms, incidentally, that could also be applied to a novelty campaign to bring “American Idiot” back to the charts.

The Post has since updated its story with an earnest editor’s note: “A previous version of this report included information about the meaning of ‘American Idiot’ that was attributed to a article. is a satire site. The information has been removed from the story.”

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