I'm not sure what would be worse:'
1. The author knew Shanter was joking, but wrote the article as if he was serious just to create controversy, or
2. The author was totally oblivious to the joke.
The second. Shatner has a reputation within the 'industry,' of being an egotistical asshole. I've also talked to people who have met him at conventions and he's also that way with fans.
So it wouldn't surprise me that someone who knows him - even only professionally as a writer - would want to screw Shatner when they had the chance.
James Doohan was rememberd for saying [paraphrase] 'I like Capt Kirk just fine ... it's Bill Shatner I'm not crazy about.'