No, not the stock “market”. Rather, the capacity of people to realize that satire is satire:
Satirical news publication The Onion broke the news on Twitter about an hour ago of a hostage situation involving Congress, but the story is not true and a number of Twitter users are saying it’s not funny.
It all started with this tweet:
@ TheOnion : BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building.
That was quickly followed up by this: “BREAKING: Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children held hostage by group of armed congressmen.”
This got retweeted a bunch of times, eventually transitioning from Lulz to “OHMYGAWDTHATISTERRIBLE!!!” in the spectrum of reactions.
In response, the Capitol Police released a statement saying that they’re surprised people took this seriously. Actually, no, I take that back:
Capitol Police told the Washington Post in a 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.” (emphasis mine)
WTF? There is nothing to investigate, making things up is the heart and soul of what The Onion does, either you laugh or you don’t. Are we going to see jackboots approaching the Onion offices looking for computers to seize and writers to assault, all because some moron out there on the web thinks the site that publishes this would suddenly go all CNN on their twitter feed, rather than waiting for the details then deciding whether to A) crack a joke or B) say nothing?