Capitol Police probe Onion satire

Friday, September 30, 2011

WASHINGTON — Capitol Police were not amused by satirical tweets and an article written by the humor newspaper The Onion reporting that members of Congress had taken a group of schoolchildren hostage.

The satirical newspaper’s Twitter accounts and related story yesterday reporting gunshots and hostage-taking in the Capitol came a day after the FBI arrested a Massachusetts man accused of planning to bomb the Pentagon and the Capitol with explosive-filled model airplanes.

“It has come to our attention that recent Twitter feeds are reporting false information concerning current conditions at the U.S. Capitol,” Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said in a statement.

She said conditions at the Capitol, now largely empty because lawmakers are on vacation, were normal. “There is no credibility to these stories or the Twitter feeds. The U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting.”

The Onion tweets and article spoke of congressional leaders “brandishing shotguns and semiautomatic pistols,” taking a class of schoolchildren hostage, and threatening to kill them if they didn’t get $12 trillion in cash.

The newspaper showed a doctored picture of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, holding a gun to a child’s head and reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was firing a handgun and wearing a black pantyhose over his head.

Boehner’s office had no comment.

Time.com also asked whether the satirical newspaper was going too far with its tweets.

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