Thomas Jackson, the Ferguson Police Chief, was slammed by satire website The Onion on Thursday.
The Onion posted a fake opinion piece from Jackson, which is titled: “Sometimes Unfortunate Things Happen In The Heat Of A 400-Year-Old Legacy Of Racism.”
“You don’t want violence, of course—no one does. But sometimes when you’re out there, in the middle of longstanding policies denying minority men and women the most basic human rights, you must take decisive measures. We train our officers to behave professionally and respectfully toward the communities that they serve. But no matter how much training and experience they may have, they are human beings who, in the bedlam of decade upon decade of racist enculturation and deeply institutionalized systems of inequality, may be involved in a tragic situation,” the parody opinion piece says.
The Onion has a disclaimer, saying it’s satirical in nature. It says, “The Onion is a satirical weekly publication published 52 times a year on Thursdays … The Onion uses invented names in all its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.”
The Onion has satirized real-world events in the past with fake opinion pieces–notably from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during his country’s civil war, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, and former Clippers owner Donald Sterling ( “It’s Impossible To Say Whose Voice That Was, But He Made Some Compelling Points”).
A number of people apparently thought the satire Jackson opinion piece was real.