Many in the news media have a terrible track record this election as far as joke interpretation goes.
Over the weekend Mitt Romney joked that it was "a real problem" that airplane windows don't open. It was reported as "Mitt Romney wonders why Ann Romney's airplane windows don't roll down."
Then earlier this week a satirical column in Politico -- it quoted Paul Ryan as referring to Romney as "stench" -- was picked up by several publications and reported as fact.
There's also the time in late August when at a campaign rally in Michigan Romney said, "No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised.” He said it was a joke, albeit afterward, and yet he was questioned in several interviews about the appropriateness of what he said.
But even when Romney says he's joking while in the middle of saying something, the Washington Post isn't having it. In that infamous "47 percent" video, Romney is shown at one point saying "had [my father] been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this." The people Romney was speaking to laughed and he continued, "I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino."
Here's what the Post had to say about that in an editorial today headlined "Mitt Romney's Immigration Incoherence":
"IF ONLY HE were Hispanic, Mitt Romney mused in his secretly recorded comments unearthed by Mother Jones magazine, his electoral prospects would be so much brighter. 'I say that jokingly,' said the Republican presidential nominee, who plainly wasn’t joking at all, 'but it would be helpful to be Latino.'"
No winning there.