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Onion Story Gets Blown Out of Proportion

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the seeing-is-believing dept.

Government 641

A 3-year-old Onion video titled "Martial Law Plans Revealed?" has swept across the internet recently, and taken the gullible along with it. The video has some preaching from the highest mountain top about the evils of a government turning fascist, and an equal number explaining until red in the face what The Onion is.

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641 comments

Suckaz (-1, Troll)

birukun (145245) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979192)

HAHA I love explaining to my left wing friends that the Onion is not real..... now I can tell teh same to my right wing friends!

Re:Suckaz (4, Interesting)

linumax (910946) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979484)

I attend political debates, couple of times a month with different audiences and I have yet to meet a single person from the left mistake Onion with real news. I have also very rarely seen people from the right make that mistake. However, people who attend these talks are most likely better educated.

Back on topic, regarding general public this was released three years ago and at the time the left didn't come out and mistake this with real news. From looking at Facebook and Twitter, it seems like a whole lot of people on the right have been duped.

Re:Suckaz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979556)

On an unrelated note I wish fucking a.fsdn.com didn't slow down the entire goddamned Slashdot page all the time.

"Waiting for a.fsdn.com...." .. .. yeah what the fuck else is new?

Re:Suckaz (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979626)

Oh here we go

-slam the right. It's practically a new passtime to slashdot.

At least we don't have a Leftist Congressman talking about the "island tipping over" if too many soldiers are stationed there.

Or another Left Congressman talking about how the Pelosicare bill is legal because the "Good and Plenty" clause of the constitution allows it.

Re:Suckaz (5, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979758)

-slam the right. It's practically a new passtime to slashdot.

They invite it, though, with right wing politicians calling Obama a socialist, a 'secret Muslim', not born in the U.S., talking about death panels in the healthcare bill, etc. And that's in the GOP itself, not just in the TEA Party.

Re:Suckaz (3, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979488)

The difference, of course, is that your right wing friends won't believe you.

Re:Suckaz (2, Insightful)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979640)

Conspiracy nutjobs exist on both sides of the spectrum. For every idiot republican who thinks that Obama is a secret Muslim Kenyan terrist who wants to make them get gay married, there's an idiot democrat who is certain that 9/11 was an inside job.

Re:Suckaz (1)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979664)

Doh. Meant to include that both idiots will ignore facts when they conflict with the elaborate conspiracies that they have concocted in their heads.

Re:Suckaz (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979846)

Doh.

Meant to include that both idiots will ignore facts when they conflict with the elaborate conspiracies that they have concocted in their heads.

Didn't I just see an article somewhere (maybe here) in the last week or two which stated that real, actual, honest-to-goodness facts can often cause horribly misinformed people who believe something that is totally incorrect to to feel even more strongly that their misinformed belief is right?

I can't seem to find a link to it in my browser history but I'm certain I saw it.

Re:Suckaz (3, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979780)

That is a false equivalency, very few in the left wing believe 9/11 was an inside job, and they are roundly denounced by the rest of us. The right wing, however, holds some very crazy beliefs very strongly.

# 39 percent of Republicans believe Obama should be impeached, 29 percent are not sure, 32 percent said he should not be voted out of office.

# 36 percent of Republicans believe Obama was not born in the United States, 22 percent are not sure, 42 percent think he is a natural citizen.

# 31 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a "Racist who hates White people" -- the description once adopted by Fox News's Glenn Beck. 33 percent were not sure, and 36 percent said he was not a racist.

# 63 percent of Republicans think Obama is a socialist, 16 percent are not sure, 21 percent say he is not
Story continues below

# 24 percent of Republicans believe Obama wants "the terrorists to win," 33 percent aren't sure, 43 percent said he did not want the terrorist to win.

# 21 percent of Republicans believe ACORN stole the 2008 election, 55 percent are not sure, 24 percent said the community organizing group did not steal the election.

# 23 percent of Republicans believe that their state should secede from the United States, 19 percent aren't sure, 58 percent said no.

# 53 percent of Republicans said they believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama.

Re:Suckaz (0, Flamebait)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979838)

Outside of the Acorn thing, all of those are demonstrations that republicans are generally stupid and ignorant, not conspiracy theorists ;)

Re:Suckaz (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979852)

Sarah Palin was always more qualified than Obama. Sarah Palin had great executive experience as Governor and Mayor. Obama? Zero executive experience. Biden? Zero executive experience. Quite frankly, Obama did not have the resume that most people expect to see in a Presidential candidate.

And I seem to remember many liberals thinking that Bush should be impeached. I don't know what the numbers were, but you didn't cite a source for yours, so...

Re:Suckaz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979872)

These are false statements, very few in the right wing believe the things you have posted, and they are roundly denounced by the rest of us. The left wing, however, holds some very crazy beliefs very strongly, such as the belief that 9/11 was an inside job.

Hey, if you can make 'objective' yet broad, sweeping statements about a group you don't align yourself with, so can I!

But the Onion IS real... (5, Funny)

nweaver (113078) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979512)

After all, in 2001, they had Bush's inaugural address as "Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Over" [theonion.com] ...

Re:But the Onion IS real... (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979568)

It's scary how prescient that article turned out to be.

Re:But the Onion IS real... (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979642)

Reality has been waging a very effective war on satire for some time now.

The only bright side to all this is that Irish babies are, in fact, delicious.

Re:But the Onion IS real... (4, Funny)

daeley (126313) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979720)

The only bright side to all this is that Irish babies are, in fact, delicious.

Well, that certainly gives a whole new spin to "Swiftboating."

Re:But the Onion IS real... (1)

cheatch (1713998) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979682)

At first reading this I was like ya, it wasn't that clever to write that now that he's out of office, then I saw the date..

Re:Suckaz (1, Flamebait)

ericspinder (146776) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979734)

The only reason why people are even distributing such foolery is that right wing commentators have been filling the gullible with tales of Death Panels, Socialistic take over, etc. in a seemingly desperate effort to confuse people enough to vote for them again.

Reactionaries always whine about 'those dirty damn liberals' as an effort to distract from real policy discussions. Troll like, they are often spit out comments about how 'their liberal friends' are 'so stupid'.

Re:Suckaz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979756)

sounds like you have dumb friends

Re:Suckaz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979774)

Some of your friends might do well in explaining to you that The Onion is very much real indeed. Their stories, on the other hand, are not factual.

Wait, wait... there are some morons on Facebook? (5, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979194)

SOTP TEH PRESSAS!!!!1!

I think this is the very definition of a Slow News Day.

Re:Wait, wait... there are some morons on Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979406)

You mean, there are only morons on Facebook?

Internet Stupidity Test (4, Funny)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979204)

There should be a law. If you're to fucking stupid to realize what The Onion is, or that something came from The Onion, you don't get to comment about politics. Ever.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979234)

You meant "too fucking stupid", are you fucking stupid?

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979630)

Hey...quit calling my sister stupid.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (2, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979346)

Forget about commenting. Any idiot that saw this and thought it was true without checking up on the named Senator/Congressman (they gave a false name and false state) should be declared too stupid to be allowed to live outside an assisted living facility. At the very least, they need a legally appointed guardian to prevent them from giving their entire life savings away to the first con man that talks to them.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979470)

Or the "America's Wild Goats, A Disappearing Nuisance" slide at the end. God I love The Onion.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (5, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979650)

So what do we say about the idiots that saw the faked Shirley Sharrod video up on breitbart.com and rushed to denounce her and the NAACP as racist, when in fact the original video shows the exact opposite? And by idiots, I mean both the smug race baiting liars that put this up, the Obama administration that pressured for her resignation, and the NAACP itself for falling for a breitbart/Faux news lie in the first place and denouncing her. Brietbart is the guy who destroyed ACORN with false accusations and edited video, it's what he does, and yet, the idiots in the Obama administration and the NAACP fell for it. They walked right into his trap. See, if it never came out that the video was faked, it's a win if the administration and the NAACP do not react. But since they did react, why, simply reveal the video was fake and denounce them as idiots for falling for your trap.

People will believe anything. If we had to appoint guardians for every nut-job that believed a patently obvious lie, there wouldn't be enough non-nut-job guardians to go around.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (0)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979390)

That is definitely true, but the video itself seems to have had any reference to "The Onion" stripped out. Unless you click through to the YouTube page and read the fine print attribution, you won't see the word "Onion" anywhere.

So yeah, still they are idiots for accepting something so ridiculous as this as fact, and for failing to have any innate sense of skepticism about random shit on the internet that doesn't come from at least a moderately vetted news source, but you can't blame people for not knowing what The Onion is when the video says nothing about "The Onion" and most people probably clicked on it in an embedded form from Facebook or other websites.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (5, Informative)

aliddell (1716018) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979446)

Did you not see the Onion-Span in the bottom right corner?

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979772)

A) That rather looked like the letter "D" in a script font to me, so I would have thought it said "D-Span". It certainly doesn't say "Onion-Span", and the association with the Onion logo is only obvious if you already know or suspect it's from the Onion.

B) That part of the video was partially obscured for much of the video by Google ads over the lower bar of the screen.

Obviously none of this changes the fact that it was obviously a spoof to anybody with a brain, but the fortuitous combination of YouTube's Google ad placement with an small, not-completely obvious logo means that the sourcing, while clear if you already know it's from the Onion, isn't necessarily obvious at a glance.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (1)

JWyner (653364) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979574)

but the video itself seems to have had any reference to "The Onion" stripped out. Unless you click through to the YouTube page and read the fine print attribution, you won't see the word "Onion" anywhere.

You mean aside from the giant "Onion-SPAN" logo at the bottom right corner throughout the entire video?

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (1)

pugugly (152978) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979606)

That is definitely true, but the video itself seems to have had any reference to "The Onion" stripped out.

I'm presuming you mean, besides the 'onion' motif replacing the standard C in C-Span?

Because I'm not particularly observant and I caught it.

Pug

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (1)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979670)

Even if they don't know what the onion is (and as other replies say, there is a logo in the bottom right, but that doesn't mean they know what it means), the end of the video shows the upcoming debate is about "America's wild goats, the disappearing nuisance." Presumably, as soon as they see that, they should probably know it's a satire.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (3, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979726)

Even if that were true (and it's not -- see some of the other replies to you) the complete lack of critical thinking skills displayed by anybody who believes this remains... disturbing to say the least. (You have no idea how tempted I was to say "classified" there.)

I mean honestly. "Classified flesh-eating?" Do these idiots truly believe that the people would leave a term like flesh-eating in there next to something classified? It's both the worst and the most descriptive term in the sentence! "A new Bill of Rights will be drafted" is silly enough on its own, but just gets worse when paired with "to be approved by classified."

I know our own history is funny enough that none of this is IMPOSSIBLE (it basically happened), but to anybody with a handful of functioning brain cells it should be more than enough to throw up red flags and start looking into things -- starting, perhaps, with the fake congressman. But instead morons treat it as a reason to start running their mouths about their terribly ill-informed opinions on fake news stories. Bravo, morons, for continuously proving why the right to speak is not bundled with the right to be listened to.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979778)

That is definitely true, but the video itself seems to have had any reference to "The Onion" stripped out. Unless you click through to the YouTube page and read the fine print attribution, you won't see the word "Onion" anywhere.

So yeah, still they are idiots for accepting something so ridiculous as this as fact, and for failing to have any innate sense of skepticism about random shit on the internet that doesn't come from at least a moderately vetted news source, but you can't blame people for not knowing what The Onion is when the video says nothing about "The Onion" and most people probably clicked on it in an embedded form from Facebook or other websites.

But... That's kind of the problem.

I mean, I can post pretty much any random thing I want - doesn't make it true.

If you see something horrifying or upsetting on teh interwebs, it's generally a good idea to check the source before you run screaming for the hills.

In this case, they really ought to have followed it back to the YouTube page and read the attribution. And then checked to see what "The Onion" is.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (3, Funny)

Stele (9443) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979474)

If you're to fucking stupid to realize what The Onion is, or that something came from The Onion, you don't get to comment about politics. Ever.

I'd say the same about people who don't know when to use the word "to", "too", or "two".

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979572)

And we turn your name over to the health care death panel.

Re:Internet Stupidity Test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979802)

Totally. You should have to speak english too, otherwise you can't vote. And you should have to own your own home. And be white. And a man.

Who needs the Onion? (1)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979208)

When we already have a press like this? [dailycaller.com]

Re:Who needs the Onion? (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979698)

The Daily Caller is not 'press' though, and that story is a great example of a ridiculous lie. Rev Wright's statements were taken out of context, videos were edited to make him look bad, but you NEVER saw that mentioned in the corporate conservative press.

That's "Blue" (2, Informative)

XanC (644172) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979212)

You mean "blue in the face". Red would imply embarrassment. Those would be the other folks, not the ones getting blue in the face.

Re:That's "Blue" (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979262)

Oh sure, turn this into a Red State/Blue State Issue ;)

Seems legit to me (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979214)

"Should event occur in urban areas.... Jesus.... (haunted) That's.. classified."

Seriously, people are complete and total retards. And I mean that in the 3rd grade definition, not in any clinical sense. This should not be news to anyone, especially those of us who've been kicking around the internet for more than a couple of weeks.

Yum - onion rings (1)

Cidtek (632990) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979268)

All of a suddan I crave fried onion rings so the article isn't totally a waste of time.

Has swept across the internet recently (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979296)

More like swept across 2 dozen facebook entries.

Worst. Editorial promotion to frontpage. Ever.

Some things never change... (1)

techstar25 (556988) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979316)

It's War of the Worlds 2010.

Re:Some things never change... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979350)

Heh our posts are a minute apart. Slashdot has a hive-mind too, apparently.

Re:Some things never change... (2, Interesting)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979472)

It's War of the Worlds 2010.

And I've wondeded whether the reaction to the War of the Worlds broadcast made people in the US, at the time, more skeptical of radio broadcasts, thus less susceptable to broadcast propaganda than those in other countries (or audiences), and thus led to the US neutrality in WW II until the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

One thing the reaction to this item shows: The current government has some people prepared to believe that martial law and fascism are on their agenda.

Not sure if the rumor is a good or bad thing. On one hand it will make people more skeptical again. On the other, like the parable of the kid who cried "Wolf!", it could delay or abort public opposition if the real thing does come along. (How convenient for any hypothetical neofascists.)

The last thing I want to see is the idea planted in the heads of ANY US administration that they COULD get away with it. B-(

It makes sense (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979328)

After all, America is the country that was sure it was being attacked by Martians only a couple generations ago, when Orson Welles did his "War of the Worlds" radio show.

Re:It makes sense (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979502)

"They" also thought that islamic terrorists had anthrax that just so happened to match the exact purity and unique genetic strain that is manufactured in a US government lab...

"They" also thought that there were WMD in Iraq...

"They" also believe that Obama is a non-citizen, born in Africa, Communist, Nazi, anti-Christ, ushering the apocalypse and European new world order... ...for certain values of "They".

Re:It makes sense (1)

eXFeLoN (954179) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979700)

It was only the US because no one else in the world had invented / knew how to use the radio. duh.

But the Onion *is* prescient! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979348)

I think we ignore The Onion as a serious news source at our peril [theonion.com] , especially now that mainstream media has all but abandoned serious reporting themselves. Imagine what could have been avoided if people had listened in 2001. It's like their reporters had used a fricking time machine!

Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but... (3, Interesting)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979374)

...remember what they said about Gillette in February 2004 [theonion.com] ? And then what happened in September, 2005 [cnn.com] ?

(Now let's watch as The Onion replaces the writings of Nostradamus as the road map to an apocalyptic future.)

For a follow-up (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979398)

Try citing The Onion AV Club as a source on Wikipedia. No one will believe you. Condescendingly, they'll explain that The Onion is satire.

Gullibility, it's what's for dinner! (2, Interesting)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979424)

Moving on, our next topics are Santa Clause, Jesus, the Tooth Fairy, and honesty in government.

Re:Gullibility, it's what's for dinner! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979538)

Did you have some point you wanted to make by throwing Jesus in there, other than that you're a bigot? There's quite a bit more manuscript evidence for the existence and life of Jesus than there is for Genghis Khan. If you want to have a conversation about the validity of his own (Jesus') claims to be God incarnate, then you may. But only a willfully ignorant fool could deny the actual historical existence of Jesus of Nazareth.

Totally shouldn't be allowed to vote! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979440)

I totally agree! Also if you don't speak English - how the fuck are you expected to know what's going on? Or if you don't own your own house. Or aren't white. Or a man.

People are afraid of real zombies? (1)

BoppreH (1520463) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979466)

I'm not sure I'm watching the right video. The one I saw is a congressmen reading a bill about response to *zombie* threats.

"Flesh eating," "airborne infection," "urban outbreak."

Please tell me I watched the wrong video.

Re:People are afraid of real zombies? (1)

GryMor (88799) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979704)

"You watched the wrong video"

Unfortunately, you did in fact watch the correct video and I'm just telling you the above per your request.

Though, parts sounded like a Eldritch Horror/Cloverfield situation rather than a Zombie scenario.

SIC SEMPER TYRANIS (1, Troll)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979468)

The government is fascist today, was fascist under Bush, has been fascist since the Bretton Woods agreement. No - it's been fascist since the Constitution was passed. The government is really just the enforcement arm of the international banking guilds who coin the currency and inflate the money supply through unbacked credit. Of course this is the usual misdirection - "See! Only a dweeb who believes fake news would think the American government is a fascist dictatorship." Meanwhile, the government abridges your speech, your right to own weapons, what foods you can eat, what herbs you can grow, what you can and can't do with your own personal property. Some people were just born to be slaves, I suppose.

Poe's Law at it's best (3, Informative)

amstrad (60839) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979476)

Poe's Law points out that it is hard to tell parodies of fundamentalism (or, more generally, any crackpot theory) from the real thing, since they both seem equally insane. Conversely, real fundamentalism can easily be mistaken for a parody of fundamentalism.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe's_Law [rationalwiki.org]

Re:Poe's Law at it's best (4, Interesting)

twoallbeefpatties (615632) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979878)

There's something amazing about invoking Poe's Law here, similar to the number of far-rightists who think that Stephen Colbert is secretly a real conservative who's just pretending to play a fake one so that he has a chance to mock liberals - that even when you make it clear up front that you have a parody, some fundamentalists will still miss or ignore that part. Apparently, there's nothing you can do to get 100% certain with parody.

There was a Bush-era Onion martial law story... (2, Funny)

captainClassLoader (240591) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979478)

...That you can find here. [theonion.com]

Re:There was a Bush-era Onion martial law story... (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979858)

March 2001 is barely "Bush-era" and it's about Starbucks declaring Martial Law, not the government. A better Bush-era article in a similar vein was their one about the Department of Homeland Security mysteriously issuing every man woman and child a lifejacket, with no explanation, and assurances that they surely won't need it and everything is fine. Link [theonion.com]

Kindra Arnesen is concerned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32979498)

Kindra Arnesen has come out against the bill. She also was quoted saying "Y'all don't know wut all the numbers mean but I'z do because I'z a fishermans wife and I gots maps behind me"

As a result, all her followers have been writing letters to congress in opposition to the bill.

RSS Feeding Onion (1)

Tink2000 (524407) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979592)

I have the Onion on my RSS feed, and sometimes their posts my jaw drop open and I have to rub my eyes, only to realize my feed has pwnd me yet again.

The best argument against democracy... (5, Funny)

Techranman (1352375) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979666)

...is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” Winston Churchill

Still waiting for Cock Puncher to be released! (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979674)

And dont tell me its not real! It IS real! I know it!

lmao (1)

tycoex (1832784) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979688)

This is absolutely hilarious. He says "classified" for literally every other word. People really thought this was real?

I think this goes to prove (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 3 years ago | (#32979866)

that the slashdot posting system is too slow, and allows too much time for consideration before posting a comment. We need an option to improve ability to fire off knee-jerk reactions unthinkingly. This whole episode is misrepresenting slashdot posters as being less reactionary and idiotic than twitter users.
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