In a Wednesday House Armed Services Committee hearing on extremism, first flagged by The Daily Beast, freshman Rep. Pat Fallon (R-TX) grilled Southern Poverty Law Center director Lecia Brooks on how her organization defines extremism — and voiced his bemusement that the group had named prominent veterans' associations as hate groups.
The problem? They hadn't done any such thing. Fallon was referencing a popular military satire website that publishes joke stories.
"Ms. Brooks, just a yes or no question for you: Has your organization named the American Legion as a hate group?" said Fallon in the hearing. Brooks said it had not. "I've found it and it did," replied Fallon. "And how about — were you aware that the organization named the VFW, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, as a hate group?"
"Later in the hearing, it came to light that Fallon had cited as fact a 2017 story from Duffel Blog, a military satire site not unlike the Onion," reported Blake Montgomery. "The joke headline reads, 'Southern Poverty Law Center classifies VFW and American Legion as hate groups.' Brooks told Fallon, 'That assertion appeared as satire in a military satire blog known as 'Duffel Blog.'"