The Hobart Mercury has been drawn into an international scandal after its articles were found to contain up to 90% horseshit. An embarrassed spokesman yesterday said a full investigation was underway and the newspaper was looking to return its output to pure and unadulterated bullshit as soon as possible.

Yesterday a DNA trace on Tasmania’s top fecaloid tabloid led back to a racehorse named White Knight, last seen running backwards at the 2012 Launceston Cup despite being backed by Liberal Leader Will Hodgman. The finding comes on top of recent laboratory work which had The Mercury testing positive to horseshit in stories about politics, the economy, cultural life, fashion, the arts, sport, tourism, lifestyle, editorials, regular columns and the weekly supplement Cable Car News. Other areas of the paper were unaffected.

Readers all around the state capital were up in arms. “What’s goin’ on?” complained Pearl of Rose Bay. “When I think Mercury, I think bull.” Tezza of Collinsvale said he might as well save his money for the finer things in life like knee-high ugg boots. “I don’t need to spend two bucks for horseshit, I’m up to my ears in it for free, ay,” he said. Aloyisius of Dynnyrne said he was unimpressed by the falling content contents. “Are they saying there is a lack of quality bullshit available in Tasmania? They should be giving us what we’ve come to expect.”

The horseshit switch appears to have been taking place over a number of years with journalists right through parent company News Limited involved in the substitutions. “Once upon a time, if you didn’t have a nose for bullshit, you couldn’t get a job here,” said one former News employee on the condition of anonymity. “Nowadays no-one can get a job here. And the entire print division’s going down the crapper, which is kind of poetic justice.”

In a statement the head office of News Limited laid the blame on ‘long supply chains’, ‘subcontractors’, ‘exchange agreements’, ‘rogue elements’ and ‘greenies, who are full of it’. However subsequent testing of the press release found that it contained only 19% bullshit and was in fact padded out with horse piss, donkey doo-doo, fox scat, industrial waste, seal gurry and Piers Akerman.

Meanwhile Tasmanian Times editor Lindsay Tuffin pointed to the saga and said it was a reminder to media consumers to think carefully about their choices. “When you’re looking for someone to properly butcher your information, you really have a lot of options these days.”