Fictitious abortion bamboozles a blogger

ON BLOGS

July 16, 2006|By TROY MCCULLOUGH | TROY MCCULLOUGH,SUN COLUMNIST

The condemnation from the blogger was swift and furious.

The target of his ire was a woman named Caroline Weber who had written an article about her plans for an abortion.

The blogger, who goes only by the name Pete, was particularly upset with Weber's apparent enthusiasm over her impending procedure and was further outraged by Weber's complaint that her HMO wouldn't pay for her contraceptives.

"Sorry ma'am, if you hadn't had sex you wouldn't have gotten pregnant, it's not the HMO's fault for not supporting your promiscuity while not married" he wrote last week at marchtogether.blogspot.com.

"Miss Weber, you have killed your child, which you admit is a baby/human being, intentionally. That does make you an admitted murderer," the diatribe continued. "I'm going to pray for your forgiveness and for the suffering which you will endure when you realize what you have done. Every baby you see from that moment on is going to wake you up to the realization that you killed your child."

But Pete's rant fell on deaf ears - or rather, no ears at all. Caroline Weber exists only in the imagination of the staff of The Onion.

Oblivious of The Onion's satirical nature, Pete had apparently stumbled across a 1999 article titled "I'm Totally Psyched About This Abortion!" that included over-the-top gems like this:

"So, to all of you pro-lifers who are trying to rain on my parade, keep it to yourself, because I don't have the time for that kind of negativity. I've got an abortion to plan, and I just know it's going to be the best non-anesthetized invasive uterine surgery ever!"

A lot of people were scratching their heads over how such outrageous satire could be taken for the gospel truth and comments flowed in by the hundreds.

"I'm pro life, but sweet Jesus you're an idiot. For your next post, how about a passionate speech on the need to immediately free Prince Albert from the can?" wrote one amused reader.

"You poor, poor idiot. You are never going to live this down. Just give up this blog and start over," wrote another.

"Dumbest. Blogger. Ever," summed up a third.

Undeterred by the free-flowing criticism, Pete wrote a follow-up post a few days later.

"Needless to say, a few people wanted to let me know that I was a dolt for thinking that her article was real. As a matter of fact, call me a dolt, because in the beginning I really did think it was real. Why? because I meet women like her in the field all the time," he wrote.

Pete didn't dwell long on his stupendous gaffe and instead attempted to use his newfound Internet fame to further preach his anti-abortion message. But the howls kept pouring in.

The massive group sites Fark.com and MetaFilter.com had latched on to the story, and it was well on its way to spreading to the far ends of the Web - one more example of an embarrassing misstep leading to instant Internet infamy.

Pete isn't the first person to confuse Onion articles with straight news stories, but he's paying a particularly tough price for his mistake.

The ridicule from the blogosphere has been swift and furious.

troy.mcculloughbaltsun.com

Listen to Troy McCullough's podcasts at baltimoresun.com/onblogs

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.