Don't Panic: Capitol Police "Investigating" Onion Stunt

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 29 2011 12:02 PM

Don't Panic: Capitol Police "Investigating" Onion Stunt

This morning, The Onion's Twitter feed started churning out items about a phony hostage situation, with Republican members of Congress threatening schoolchildren. (Yes, "phony" and "Onion" should be oxymoronic.)

Screen shot 2011-09-29 at 11.52.44 AM

It was a joke hooked to this article, posted earlier Thursday morning. But for some people who work in the Capitol, the joke clanged. "NOT FUNNY" tweeted Jim DeMint staffer (and former Washington Times reporter) Amanda Carpenter. It was only a few weeks ago, after all, that Anonymous hacked the NBC News Twitter account and started posting fake info about a terrorist attack. I was wondering if a hacker did this before I checked the main page, mostly because the joke is so obvious -- hah hah, Republicans literally taking Washington hostage!.

Asked for comment, the Capitol Police's public information officer Sgt. Kimberly Schneider passed on this statement.

It has come to our attention that recents twitter feeds are reporting false information concerning current conditions at the U.S. Capitol. Conditions at the U.S. Capitol are currently normal. There is no credibility to these stories or the twitter feeds. The U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting.

That's all the police are saying right now; they may comment later on "investigating" means. Hopefully, it doesn't mean anything. Thanks to Twitter, the joke has been defused as quickly as it was misinterpreted.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
Dear Prudence
Sept. 16 2014 6:00 AM Can of Worms Prudie offers advice to a letter writer who wants to blackmail a famous ex with tapes of his fetish.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Why Not Just Turn Campus Rape Allegations Over to the Police? Because the Police Don't Investigate.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.