In an effort to take on Planned Parenthood, Rep. John Fleming, R-La., decided to share a news article on Facebook about the health organization' secret project: a long-planned $8 billion Abortionplex.
The only problem? His post came from The Onion, the satirical news outlet, meaning everything in the months-old Abortionplex story was completely, 100 percent fake.
'Our True Passion: Abortion'
The Onion article in question was first published in May 2011, but was reposted on the paper's site last week when Planned Parenthood's funding was cut -- and then restored -- by the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a breast cancer group.
The article was clearly meant to ridicule opponents of Planned Parenthood, who often insist the primary purpose of the organization is to perform abortions. Onion editors decided to bring back the popular piece in order to ridicule that claim.
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Although we've traditionally dedicated 97 percent of our resources to other important services such as contraception distribution, cancer screening, and STD testing, this new complex allows us to devote our full attention to what has always been our true passion: abortion, reads one pretend quote by Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards.
Fleming Goes After Planned Parenthood
Unfortunately for Fleming, however, the congressman (or whoever runs his Facebook page) took the articles' purposely outlandish claims as fact, and posted the Onion article prominently on his Facebook wall.
More on Planned Parenthood, abortion by the wholesale, Fleming posted in a comment below the article.
Fleming has been an ardent opponent of birth control rights in the House. He voted to ban federal health coverage that would include helping to pay for an abortion, and tried to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
Nearly 50 million tiny, defenseless children have been aborted since the Supreme Court's infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, Fleming's campaign Web site reads. This is our national sin, shame and disgrace.
The Onion Phenomenon
Fleming has since removed the Onion article from his Facebook page, and neither he nor his staff have returned requests for comment. In other unfortunate twist for the congressman, however, Literally Unbelievable spotted his post first. The site managed to grab a screenshot of his Facebook page, a post that has since gone viral.
Literally Unbelievable, a blog that chronicles when Facebook users believe Onion stories are real, show the Louisiana congressman isn't the first person to be humiliated by not recognizing a fake news story.
China's Beijing Evening News -- the Chinese capital city's most distributed paper and part of the state-run media -- once reported an Onion article from 2002 claiming that Congress was threatening to leave Washington, D.C., unless a new capital was built.
An article from January 2012 pretending that scientists were advocating setting up a death lottery to trim population growth has been posted dozens of times on Facebook, with commentators hailing the end times or condemning the fake scientists' comments as a crock ... just like 'global warming.'
'How exactly did you get elected?'
But when it comes down to it, there aren't many excuses when an elected official doesn't realize he's using a fake news source as the cornerstone of his argument, especially on such a volatile issue as abortion.
The Onion is satire, one commenter posted below the fake article. How exactly did you get elected?
And while many people seem to have been duped by the satirical news source's stories before, Fleming should have recognized this one in particular. One of the reasons it became so popular last May was that so many Americans took it as a real story that even mainstream news sources began to commenting on their ignorance.
PAID FOR WITH TAX DOLLARS.... MAKE ME SICK! one Facebook user wrote back when the article came out in May 2011. 8 Billion Dollar Baby Holocaust, wrote another.
Women are sooooooo stupid to fall for this, as if its something to be excited about! a third commentator posted. Dumb Dumb Dumb!!!
It is doubtful Fleming's blunder will have much effect on his chance at re-election.