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Friday, January 28, 2022

In House hearing on extremism, Republican reveals he’s been duped by military version of ‘The Onion’

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The Washington Post:

“Has your organization named the American Legion as a hate group?” Fallon asked a puzzled Lecia Brooks, chief of staff at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Were you aware that the organization named the VFW, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, as a hate group?” he continued. “You had in the past.”

Needless to say, Brooks was not aware of that, because it wasn’t true. In fact, Fallon’s incredible claims had actually appeared in Duffel Blog, a satirical website focused on fake military stories. In other words, Fallon got snookered by the military equivalent of an Onion article. And he wasn’t the only one.

Brooks contested that claim immediately, but it wasn’t until about half an hour later, after she drew similar questions from Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), that she pointed out the satirical source of Fallon’s error.

After the “confusion” was cleared up, committee chair Rep. Adam Smith, a Washington Democrat, stated the, well, obvious: “That’s why we have these hearings, is to try to get to the facts. Then we can debate what to do with them, but we can’t be throwing out a bunch of misinformation.”

No, no. We can’t. But they still do. ALL. THE. TIME.

Of course, if Fallon had studied Duffel Blog a bit more closely, he would have seen headlines like “Kim Jong-Un seen outside Mar-a-Lago blasting ‘In Your Eyes’ on boombox” and “Army mandates quarterly ‘don’t invade the Capitol’ training.” So, yeah, this is pretty clearly satire.

A spokesperson for the SPLC confirmed to The Washington Post that it has never listed either veterans organization on its “hate map,” a much-cited, sometimes challenged list of extremist groups. 

To be fair, this isn’t the first time a Republican has been taken in by Duffel Blog. According to the Post, in 2012 Yertle McTurtle himself was fooled by a Duffel Blog story claiming prisoners at Guantanamo Bay were receiving G.I. Bill benefits. In fact, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was so concerned he sent an inquiry about the story to the Pentagon.

Then again, Moscow Mitch isn’t as stupid as the rest of them. He may have thought (quite accurately) that Republicans would believe anything. 

I mean, they pretty much always have, right?

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