Fool him once, shame on you. Fool him once with a widely circulated and obviously fake story from satirical newspaper The Onion that was published nine months ago? Yeah, that’s all on him.
Congressman John Fleming (R-LA) is going to have a rough news cycle after his office posted a link to an outrageous story about Planned Parenthood’s intentions to build an $8 billion “abortionplex,” complete with shopping mall, movie theater and three-story night club. It’s a laughable commentary on the outrageous charges that anti-choice groups use to attack Planned Parenthood, from one of the finest purveyors of satire, but the joke appears to have been lost on Fleming.
“More on Planned Parenthood, abortion by the wholesale,” wrote Rep. Fleming (or more likely an overzealous staffer) before linking to the post. Just hours after the link was posted, Rep. Fleming’s office deleted the post, but not before the blog Literally Unbelievable grabbed a screenshot:
Getting duped by false stories in The Onion is a common occurrence, as Literally Unbelievable demonstrates. But rarely does it happen to someone so public. And adding another layer of humor to the incident, the story Fleming posted is nine months old and was already a viral Internet phenomenon: several fake Yelp reviews of the abortionplex were published, and the story was the basis for Literally Unbelievable in the first place.
Fleming has been a punch line before. ThinkProgress reported in September that Fleming complained that he and his family struggled to live on an annual income of $400,000, more than enough to qualify Fleming as a member of the 1 percent.