Real Journalists Crown Fake News Story of 2005

Press release: February 1, 2006

Picking the top news story of 2005 would be difficult. However, a panel of top journalists and renowned humor writers had no difficulty naming the top satire news story of the year. The group, including writers from the New York Times and National Public Radio, dubbed "President Bush Sells Louisiana Back to the French" by Ben Spierenburg ( the winner in the first annual HumorFeed Satire News Awards.

"Several of the pieces had great premises, but 'Bush Sells Louisiana' sustained the humor throughout," said panelist Robert Zelnick, chairman of the Department of Journalism at Boston University and retired Emmy-award winning journalist for ABC News. "Of course Bush would never sell a 'red state' like Louisiana just to raise money for Iraq."

HumorFeed ( is a selective satire news aggregator of nearly 60 satire news websites. In 2005, it listed over 3,500 headlines submitted by its members. Earlier this month, HumorFeed members chose the top ten stories of the year to submit for the panel's consideration.

"We recognize that the web is a big place," said HumorFeed administrator E.F. Watley. "However we think that HumorFeed members represent a unique group of the web's best satire news sites, and we're pleased to have had the opportunity to submit our members' work to journalists from the nation's leading genuine news sources."

In addition to Zelnick, the panel included senior New York Times writer John Markoff and National Public Radio correspondent Eric Weiner. Working with the three serious journalists were two well-known humor writers: Andrew Marlatt, co-creator of the BBC television series "The Comic Side of 7 Days" and former webmaster for, and nationally syndicated writer Madeleine Begun Kane of

"'Bush Sells Louisiana' is a great piece of political satire," said Weiner. "The author manages to poke fun at both the French and the United States at the same time. No easy feat. Like all good satire, the story makes you laugh a lot and cry a little."

Confusion Road took second place, with "Terri Schiavo Dies; Congress Orders Feeding Tube Reinserted;" third place went to BBspot, for "Microsoft's Antispyware Tool Removes Internet Explorer".

Spierenburg, 26, works as a freelance writer in Pella, Iowa. His website was admitted to HumorFeed in August 2005. After he first ran the "Bush Sells Louisiana" article on HumorFeed, it achieved national attention and was even featured on the Howard Stern Show.

"I'm very proud to have come in first place in the Humorfeed contest," said Spierenburg. "The BSNews vision is to make people laugh. This victory just proves the truthiness of our motto, 'America Prefers BSNews.' "

The competition is the first in what will henceforth be an annual event for HumorFeed.

"I was impressed with the caliber of the entries," said Weiner. "This is some of the best satire on the internet--or anywhere else, for that matter."

For more information contact E.F. Watley,

Press archives

In the press:

Sirius radio - Howard100 News (3 minute segment, 2/8/06)
Pella Writer Wins Satire Award (Des Moines Register, 2/8/06)
COM chairman judges satirical news; The lighter side of journalism (Daily Free Press, 2/9/06)
Ben Spierenburg Interview with Doc Reno (broadcast 2/10/06)

Click here for the announcement of the 10 finalists on January 17

Click here for more information about HumorFeed

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