Unfunny, unlike: The Onion backfires

2011-09-29 22:34

Washington - The satirical news publication The Onion gets a lot of laughs by crossing the line.

But even some of the most devoted fans of the popular humour outlet were complaining on Thursday that it may have gone too far.

At around 09:30, The Onion put out a message to the 3.1 million followers of its Twitter feed @TheOnion. The identical message was posted to The Onion's Facebook page, which has 1.9 million fans.

"BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building," the message said.

And then silence for 10 minutes.

Subsequent tweets and Facebook updates made it clear the message was part of a joke and quashed speculation that The Onion had been hacked.

"Congress Takes Group Of Schoolchildren Hostage," it said with a link to a parody article on TheOnion.com about US lawmakers taking children hostage and vowing to shoot one every hour unless they got "$12 trillion in cash".

As the original Onion tweet rocketed around Twitter, US Capitol Police issued a statement saying conditions there were "normal" and there was "no credibility to these stories or the Twitter feeds".

Day after al-Qaeda arrest

"The US Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting," added a spokesperson for the US Capitol Police, Sergeant Kimberly Schneider.

Contacted by AFP, The Onion declined comment.

The joke news story came one day after US authorities said they had arrested a US follower of al-Qaeda who allegedly planned to fly explosive-packed, remote controlled aircraft into the Pentagon and the US Capitol.

The original message about "screams and gunfire" in the Capitol received hundreds of comments on The Onion's Facebook page, most of them negative.

"Unfunny. unlike," wrote Brendan Burke.

"Poor choice for humour. Hostage taking and gunfire have never been funny," said Pat Donovan Baessler.

"There's a fine line between irreverent humour and poor taste," said Lori Hein. "This post has crossed that line."

Reader Eric Vogel parodied The Onion's original message for his comment.

Not funny

"BREAKING: Witnesses report that The Onion isn't as funny as it used to be," Vogel said.

Other readers expressed surprise anybody could be offended by The Onion.

"Isn't the whole point of The Onion to be tasteless?! Hello!" wrote Debbie Pollack DeKalb.

The Onion is known for attempting to inject a dose of humour into sensitive subjects with fake news stories.

Just two weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks, it published a story with the headline "Hijackers Surprised to Find Selves in Hell."

Read more on:    the onion  |  us
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3525.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.