The Onion, which launched an attack of false hostage claims to Capitol Hill and Congress via Twitter on Thursday, prompted an investigation by Capitol Police -- who were not amused, and felt the satire news outlet went too far.
On Thursday at 10:33 a.m., The Onion posted a tweet that read, BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building. Following this tweet, was another at 2:44 p.m. which read, BREAKING: Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children held hostage by group of armed congressmen.
The breaking news was accompanied by a link to an article entitled Congress Takes Group of Schoolchildren Hostage, which said House Speaker John A. Boehner was an acting spokesman for the bi partisan group of congressional members who held the children hostage.
U.S. Capitol Police, who were dealing with the Mass. student who allegedly planned an actual attack on the Capitol, were not amused with the fake-news newspaper's gunfire and hostage claims. The false news prompted an investigation on Thursday.
It has come to our attention that recent twitter feeds are reporting false information concerning current conditions at the U.S. Capitol, Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said in an e-mail statement. 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.
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Given the source, as The Onion is a well-known satirical newspaper, Schneider did say recognized that it was a false news claim, though an investigation was still under way.
We now know the source of the reporting, Schneider said. In the beginning, there were so many retweets, reports from different places, etc., that it took a bit to track down the original source of the reporting.
While some say The Onion went too far, sparking a rage of panicked retweets on Twitter, The Onion seems to be holding its ground, evident by the updates released following the breaking news.
Extra demands include transport to Dulles airport with fueled-up private jet waiting on runway. McCain expected to fly it. one follow-up tweet read later on Thursday. Another was a fake quote from the President, reading, Obama: 'I know this Congress well. Trust me, they will kill these kids.'