Friday, September 30, 2011

Fallout from Onion spoof reporting on a “hostage-taking” Congress proves nobody in Washington has a sense of humor. Least of all Republicans.

If there’s anything Congress hates more than an agreement that could put the United States back on a stable economic footing, it’s a spoof that highlights its Republican-driven incompetence and irrationality.

Case in point:

The satirical newspaper The Onion ran a spoof – both online and in Twitterfeeds – that purported to follow Congress taking twelve children hostage and demanding $12 trillion to let the kids live.

A half brain-dead idiot would have to know it was a spoof, and a damned pointed one at that. It featured a Photoshopped picture of John Boehner holding a pistol to a little girl’s head. That’s it, at top right.

The spoof included a Tweet that said, Three-course lunch from Charlie Palmer's Steakhouse delivered as per Rep. Boehner's demands #CongressHostage

And what was that, if not a pointed reference to the fact that in the United States, wretches starve while the Congressmen, who could turn around the economy if they wanted, instead stuff their faces and make trouble for the nation?

The spoof even included a followup story that involved the pompous pontificating of Senator Mitch McConnell, who has had a major hand in holding up agreements in the Senate. Here’s the Onion explaning McConnell’s alleged position on the ransom:

Obviously, the most important thing here is to reach a deal that works for both sides," read a statement from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on the disputed $12 trillion agreement that would free the young children currently being held at gunpoint by the country’s legislative branch. "But many important questions still remain: How will the ransom money be allocated? How can we cut needless expenditures such as individual ski masks for every congressman? Should there be a stipulation to take one of the children with us to ensure a clean getaway? Unfortunately, it may be quite some time before we can reach an adequate consensus on these and other issues." At press time, FBI officials said Congress had moved to extend the money drop-off deadline until early December.

The bad congressional behavior that inspired this spoof was so pointedly reflected in this story that the Republicans must have had a Category Five meltdown. Next thing you know, the Capitol Police — this is for real now — began investigating the Onion reports.

C’mon! What’s to investigate? We know where the report originated. At the Onion. We know what their motivation was: to spoof Congressional bad behavior. And we know who did it: The Onion staff members.

I met a few dumb cops in my police beat reporting days, but never this dumb. Why do I suspect that the cops aren’t "investigating" on their own?

Why do I think that somebody on the Republican side of the aisle is putting them up to it — perhaps by threatening sotto voce to cut the Capitol Police budget is they don’t make a big deal out of this to punish the Onion staff?

Instead of investigating The Onion, I have a better idea. Let's investigate Congress.

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