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Onion Twitter joke prompts serious response

Ed O’Keefe
Washington Post [1]
Sept 30, 2011

Just hours after federal officials arrested a man alleged to have plotted an actual attack on the Capitol, the U.S. Capitol Police [2] aren’t laughing about a joke tweet suggesting a similar siege.

The Onion, a satirical newspaper, wrote this on its Twitter feed Thursday morning:

BREAKING: Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children held hostage by group of armed congressmen.#CongressHostage [3]Thu Sep 29 14:44:50 [4]via HootSuite [5] [6]The Onion [6]

The newspaper followed the “breaking news” tweet with a link to a satirical article [7] suggesting that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is serving as spokesman for a “bipartisan group” of congressional hostage-takers. Subsequent messages appeared to provide real-time updates of the completely fictional situation.

The Capitol Police reacted angrily.

Full article here [1]