The New York Times caused a stir by posting an article about the discovery of watermelons on Mars, quickly removing it and blaming the fake news for a system flaw.
The Times article titled “Fields of Watermelons Found On Mars, Police Say” went live at 2:19 p.m. Tuesday and immediately caught the attention of bewildered readers.
Intrigued minds doubted not only the shocking discovery of watermelons on the Red Planet, but also that the news came from the police.
The subtitle followed: ‘Authorities say the emergence of aliens is responsible for the abundance of watermelons in space.’
On Tuesday, the New York Times briefly published an article claiming that “fields of watermelons” had been found on Mars, with Joe Schmoe reporting
The byline on the article belonged to Joe Schmoe, who does not appear to be a real reporter at the time of publication.
The short text in the article was just as bizarre: ‘The FBI declined to comment on reports’ [sic] of watermelons raining down, but confirmed that kiwis have been intercepted. This story is terribly boring.’
futurism reported that the story was live for less than an hour before it was taken down, though its synopsis was archived before the New York Times could get to it.
The article was also cached on Google News.
The item has since been replaced on the New York Times website with an admin note that says “This article was published in error.”
Within an hour, the article was removed and the Times claimed it had been published ‘incorrectly’
“A fake article for a test system was accidentally published on this page before,” the short note reads.
In a statement to Futurism, the paper added: “Earlier today, a fake article intended for a test system was accidentally published on our site. The article has since been removed.’
In all likelihood, the company was testing their content management system and accidentally published the joke.
That didn’t stop Twitter from jumping on the venerable publication for the mistake.
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said it was “all fake news fit for print,” mocking the Times slogan.
“Clearly they employ a seer and published this article 1,000 years ago,” one user tweeted.
“Looks like the space watermelon whistleblower has been silenced,” said another user.
“How embarrassing,” David Marcus tweeted. The Times broke the embargo and published early. Kat is out of the bag now, NASA.”
Some noted how one could easily be fooled into believing that water had been found on Mars, a frequent hope of exploration on the planet.
One person tweeted, “Have you heard they found watermelons on Mars?” “Water on Mars? Yeah, it seems like they’re finding water on Mars for the first time every week — wait, did you say watermelons?”
Parker Molloy perhaps summed it up best by saying, “And that’s why you don’t play in the CMS, kids.”
Unfortunately, there are still no verified reports of fields of watermelons found on Mars
Scientists do believe that microbial life could live on Mars, but it could be buried beneath the surface
Scientists do believe that microbial life could live on Mars, but it could be buried beneath the planet’s surface.
Watermelons on Mars was far from the only problem the New York Times encountered on a busy Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, they were one of hundreds of websites around the world that went down, including CNN, Amazon, Shopify, PayPal, Reddit, the White House and the UK government, after a “service setup” with their server provider. outage.
It’s unclear what the configuration was and whether Fastly intended it to happen, but it took three hours to get it fixed, during which time government websites, media outlets, and online shopping sites experienced massive problems.