Getting fooled by an Onion story is bad enough; getting fooled by an old Onion story is even worse; but getting fooled by an old Onion story when you're a U.S. Representative is pretty much unforgivable. So, as required by internet law, we must tell you that Louisiana Republican Congressman John Fleming was recently duped by an old Onion article.
Last Friday, Fleming, a vocal opponent of abortion and Planned Parenthood, shared a link on Facebook to the infamous Onion story headlined, "Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex." The link was accompanied by a statement from Fleming reading, "More on Planned Parenthood, abortion by the wholesale."
The fake story is from May, 2011, and something of a viral classic by now, even inspiring its own Yelp page featuring fake reviews. A screenshot of Fleming's damning Facebook post (which has since been deleted) was first posted by "Literally Unbelievable," the website that collects Facebookers' gullible reactions to Onion stories. The Onion had rerun the Abortionplex story due to the Komen Foundation Planned Parenthood controversy.
Rep. Fleming is entitled to call abortion a "pernicious evil" and demonize Planned Parenthood, since over ninety-percent of their services are devoted to terminating pregnancies. (Oops, slight exaggeration.) But did he even read the fake story? Did he really believe that there's an $8 billion abortion clinic in Topeka, Kansas featuring "coffee shops, bars, dozens of restaurants and retail outlets, a three-story nightclub, and a ten-screen multiplex theater?" Maybe it's not so surprising coming from an out-of-touch politician who previously complained about making only $400,000 a year.
Onion editor Joe Randazzo put it best when he said he was "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."