The situation began earlier today when The Onion tweeted, “BREAKING: Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children held hostage by group of armed congressmen. #CongressHostage.” An hour later, another tweet read, “Arlington gun shop confirms Rep. @EricCantor bought 6 semi-automatic handguns, 3 rifles & 600 clips of ammo last month #CongressHostage.”
They then linked to a video of the “hostages” in Congress, with voices being heard to say, “Hey Boehner, this kid’s got a phone,” followed by a gun-shot. As of right now, The Onion is still tweeting updates about the ongoing hostage situation.
The story is fake, but the response in the past hour has been very real. The Washington Post reached out to The Onion questioning the validity of the tweets. The Onion responded, “This is satire. That’s how it works.” U.S. Capitol Police were also called and they have just released a statement saying, “Conditions at the U.S. Capitol are currently normal.”
Lost on some of The Olds seems to be the obvious, and, in my opinion, really well done satire regarding our Congress’ gridlock over everything from social security to the debt ceiling. American leaders really are holding future generations hostage for political points and posturing.
This isn’t the first time The Onion has gotten into hot water with individuals not in on the joke. In 2002, readers of the Beijing Evening News were treated to the fake story about the U.S Congress threatening to move out of Washington being reported as fact.
PopWatchers: Did The Onion go too far? Are there really that many people in this day and age who don’t know what The Onion is all about? What does it say about our current political situation that people believed this story?