Farce news, when comedy becomes the headline

There are enough problems with passing comments on social media becoming ‘news’ stories, but now ‘claims’ by a comedian have hit the headlines.

Click bait headline at NZH: Did Trump mistake Jacinda for Justin Trudeau’s wife?

The question that no one seems to have asked apart from the Herald’s headline writer is answered in the article.

The article leads:

When US President Donald Trump first met Jacinda Ardern at Apec in Vietnam last week, he thought she was the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to comedian Tom Sainsbury.

Sainsbury, who is well known for his impersonation of National MPs on Snapchat, made the claim on Radio Live this afternoon.

How well known? I haven’t heard of him before.

He said he was chatting with Ardern while they were backstage at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards on Thursday night.

“I don’t know if I should be saying this, but she said that Donald Trump was confused for a good amount of time thinking that she was Justin Trudeau’s wife.”

Sainsbury said Trump eventually realised who Ardern was, and that Ardern had also said that Trump was “not as orange in real life”.

Comedians could have a lot of fun if media make a habit of turning their jokes into news.

In a statement, Ardern said: “Someone thought the President had confused us, but in all of the conversations we had it was clear to me he hadn’t, and recalled the conversation we had late last month.”

Ardern said she exchanged pleasantries with the US president and shook his hand, but did not have a substantive conversation.

That has been widely reported, including, I presume, by the Herald, so suggesting via a headline that a comedian joking is news is not a joke, it’s seriously suspect. I didn’t see if they ran it as breaking news or not.

Toby Manhire also pushed the comedian story at The Spinoff: ‘You’ve done well for yourself’: Did Trump mistake Jacinda Ardern for Trudeau’s wife?

This could be called farce news.

I wonder if Justin Trudeau’s wife has a name – but I guess an investigative jouranlist would be required to find that out.


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 20, 2017

    You wonder why Trump treats the media with contempt when it treats its readership with contempt?

    • Except that by trying to out-fake and out-farce the media, Trump treats the US and the world with contempt.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  November 20, 2017

        The converse. By saying exactly what he thinks he takes the whole world into his confidence in contrast to traditional politicians who hide behind carefully filtered platitudes.

        • I think that there’s a growing lack of confidence in what he says, in the US and to a lesser extent around the world (it was already high).

        • Gezza

           /  November 20, 2017

          Trump’s a moron. Whatever other qualities he’s got – and quite a few of them are bad ones that don’t need listing, I’ve listed them tons of times – being a moron is one of his standouts. T-Rex Tillerson knows one when he sees one in action.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  November 20, 2017

            For a moron he’s quite complicated, Sir Gerald. Ànd I think GWB and Obama were much more moronic in some harmful ways though I admit it is early days yet to make that call.

            • Gezza

               /  November 20, 2017

              All 3 of them are a disaster in international relations. At least as far as getting the American government hated for its arrogance, hubris & catastrophic military adventures.

            • Gezza

               /  November 20, 2017

              And in the diplomatic arena the standout for uselessness would have to be John Kerry, Obama’s man. Lavrov, & Assad, & the Russian UN Ambassador, in particular publicly walked all over him, laughing, & shredded his underpants. He even managed to fall off his bike & break his flipping leg in the middle of endless negotiations over Syria & Ukraine etc. They just laughed at him. Despite Trumps big show of a few tomahawks at Assad’s troops, Assad & Putin are still laughing at Trump.

  2. Traveller

     /  November 20, 2017

    Tom is well known to a younger generation. I find him averagely funny, but a very good mimic. His best take is Simon Bridges

  3. Corky

     /  November 20, 2017

    ”How well known? I haven’t heard of him before.”

    There’s a reason for that. Just have a look at his Facebook page. He’s a Leftie for sure. He has that infantile/puerile Leftie sense of humour. Still, he has an audience. That again harks back to our education system.

  4. David

     /  November 20, 2017

    One thing we have learnt from her trip is she is bloody hopeless at relationships with leaders who are of a different political bent regardless of if they are the most important relationships to the whole country. She needs to remember and really quickly she is the PM for all on NZ.

  5. https://mobile.twitter.com/jacktame/status/932313384766251009

    Well, at least it is true
    Jack Tame
    Jacinda Ardern says she should never have told anyone the story about Trump confusing her for Justin Trudeau’s wife.. Wouldn’t confirm that in the retelling she made it clear it wasn’t actually Trump’s confusion. @Breakfaston1
    7:23 am · 20 Nov 2017

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  November 20, 2017

      Tame gets roasted in the comments to that tweet. I’ve always found him banal.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  November 20, 2017

      It was an interesting interview. He wanted to know what story she had told people over here about the incident.
      He heard from two sources that Jacinda had told them the president had mistaken her for Mrs Trudeau and wanted her to confirm what she had actually said to them.
      She kept going back to what had actually happened, which was quite different, and completely avoided the question in a way that suggested she had embellished.
      It was badly handled and didn’t reflect well on her.
      She eventually said she wished she hadn’t related the story at all.

  6. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  November 20, 2017
    • High Flying Duck

       /  November 20, 2017

      Cue gratuitous non-flattering comparison with Jacinda…