Our satirical pals at the National Report, whose idea of satire is to write up fake news stories that contain few hints as to their fakeness — because satire does not have to be “funny” — have achieved another epic bit of trolling. About a week ago, they ran a fictitious story about a 9-year-old being suspended from school for saying “Merry Christmas” to an atheist teacher. And for that special bit of verisimilitude, they gave their fictitious school a name that was conveniently close to the name of a real school in San Francisco, ha-ha! The story was about “Argon Elementary School in San Francisco, CA,” and as it happens, if you search “Argon Elementary School in San Francisco,” one of the top results is Argonne Elementary School in San Francisco. The National Report story has since been changed, renaming the school as “Anon Elementary School,” which is pretty darn funny right there. But once the story hit the wingnuttosphere — as it was designed to do — the switchboard at the real school was flooded with angry calls from at least 75 angry defenders of Christmas — including some threats of violence against the nonexistent teacher, not to mention a lot of angry emails and angry letters to the real principal. Hey, just harmless fun, and an excellent reminder to not believe what you read online, so it’s a public service!
We’re kind of hoping that Argonne Elementary and the San Francisco School District can find a way to bill National Report for the extra security they had to call in following the hoax. That would make us laugh, big time.
The San Francisco Chronicle notes that the story quickly hit the War On Christmas Outrage Circuit:
[The] hoax went viral, with the National Report site garnering about 20,000 likes and shares on Facebook as of Tuesday. Nearly 400 links were made to the original story on Twitter feeds. Dozens of online sites picked up the story, many of them leaning to the political right and each spreading the rumor further afield.
Hahaha, people are so stupid and gullible. It’s good to make fun of them for being simpletons and falling for a hoax that sounds exactly like nine million real (well, real distorted) stories on Fox News.
Assistant Superintendent Leticia Salinas said that once the threats started coming in, the school’s administrators held an emergency faculty meeting to review security measures; she added
“You don’t expect to have to deal with this at this time of year … What was mostly upsetting was some of the references of what people should do to the teacher.”
You know, because of the mean nonexistent atheist teacher who gave a nonexistent kid detention. But if it had happened, all that anger would have been totally justified. After two days of angry calls, the school on Monday started routing all calls to an answering system with an explanation of the hoax.
The National Report also “zinged” gullible readers in October with another hilarious fake story claiming that schools in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho were mandating that all teachers receive firearms training and carry concealed weapons. Hahaha, it was just satire of course, and no harm was done, except maybe for wasting the time of real school district employees who had to patiently explain to real reporters that, no, the teachers were not going to be packing heat.
You really have to admire the brilliant satirical skills of the National Report, because in the long run, this will teach everyone to be more skeptical of online news sources. This is truly a valuable lesson, because before now, no one knew that it was possible to rile up a bunch of angry people by lying to them.
It might suck a little bit for the people who actually work at real schools named in the stories — just jokingly!!! — and maybe it sorta sucks that San Francisco taxpayers will have to pick up the tab for the extra security, but hey, that’s just the price they pay for other people being so gullible. Haw haw, can’t you people take a joke?
By Doktor Zoom