Moral Low Ground


Republican U.S. Congressman John Fleming Links to ‘Onion’ Story About “Planned Parenthood Abortionplex”

Last May, the satirical newspaper The Onion ran a real humdinger about a Planned Parenthood “abortionplex,” an $8 billion “sprawling abortion facility” that would “allow the organization to terminate unborn lives with an efficiency never before thought possible.” The abortionplex would be replete with 2,000 abortion rooms as well as “coffee shops, bars, dozens of restaurants and retail outlets, a three-story nightclub, and a 10-screen multiplex theater — features intended not only to help clients relax, but to foster a sense of community and make abortion more of a social event.”

"8,864,902 terminated"… Does this look believable to you? (Photo: The Onion)

It turns out Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) was so dumbstruck (with the emphasis on the dumb) by the fake “news” article that he posted a link to it on his Facebook page. That’s when Literally Unbelievable, a blog dedicated to Facebook statuses from people who think Onion articles are real, learned of Fleming’s flub and posted it before the conservative congressman realized he’d been duped and removed it from his Facebook wall.

The Onion is satire,” commented one user. “How exactly did you get elected?”

According to Politico, Literally Unbelievable publisher Hudson Hongo credited a “keen-eyed reader” with spotting Fleming’s post. Hongo told Politico that he finds it “extremely satisfying to see a politician being made the rube by just the kind of sensationalism (in this case satiric) that they seem so adept at manufacturing these days.”

As for The Onion, editor Joe Randazzo issued a statement in which he expressed his pride that Fleming is a reader:

“We’re delighted to hear that Rep. Fleming is a regular reader of America’s Finest News Source and doesn’t bother himself with The New York Times, Washington Post, the mediums of television and radio, or any other lesser journalism outlets,” he said.

Take heart, dear Fleming. You’re far from the first to get bamboozled by the venerable Onion. In November 2010, no less a journalistic juggernaut than Fox News found itself hoodwinked by a story about a phony Obama diatribe against everything from the war in Afghanistan to his mother-in-law.

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