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When is news not really news? No, we’re not talking about FOX. We’re talking about satire.

You know the culture wars have spun out of control when no one can tell the fake news from the real. Even hard-nosed reporters like Rachel Maddow can be susceptible, as just last year she reported on a story from the satirical website christwire.org about a supposed Evangelical campaign to get Sarah Palin to invade Egypt.

With things at this kind of fever pitch, even the best of us can get confused. But is it too much to hope that an actual U.S. Congressman doesn’t fall for a beyond-outrageous story in The Onion?

This week, Louisiana’s GOP Rep. John Fleming posted a link on his Facebook wall. The link, to a nine-month-old Onion story with the screaming headline “Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex,” spins a tale of how Planned Parenthood wants to “make abortion more of a social event” with features in their Abortionplex like shops, cafes, a 10-screen multiplex movie theater and a three-story nightclub. “The Abortionplex’s high-tech machinery is capable of terminating one pregnancy every three seconds,” the faux article quoted Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards as saying while standing under a banner that read ‘No Life Is Sacred‘. “We’re so thrilled!”

Louisiana Congressman Fleming fell for the story, hard, adding his own comment on Facebook: “Abortion by the wholesale.”

The mania surrounding Planned Parenthood has been out of control for a while now, with conservatives blatantly misrepresenting what the organization actually does. But an elected official falling for a joke in a national satire publication is insane.

As we barrel toward November, we expect it all to get worse, especially as the GOP strangles itself trying to pick a nominee. Republicans started the culture wars, and they’re in no hurry to see them end, even if insanity has to come into play.

So we have to wonder: What’s the next satirical headline that some conservative official will fall for? What do YOU think? 

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Before you leave, don’t forget to check out this week’s featured video:

GOP TIME MACHINE: Women in the Workplace

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