Satirical military news website "The Duffle Blog" covered in WSJ
If you don't read the Duffle Blog every morning, you should start. It's pretty much my first stop every morning. And Wall Street Journal lays out how I'm not the only one reading it.
NEW YORK—When Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell's office got word that the Pentagon was offering veterans' benefits to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, staffers sprang into action.
The influential Kentucky lawmaker's aides fired off a letter to the Pentagon, demanding answers. The senator got one, but probably not the response he was expecting.
The Defense Department doesn't offer military benefits to dangerous detainees. Mr. McConnell's staff had been duped by the Duffel Blog, a year-old satirical website that is gaining a reputation as the military version of The Onion.
Mr. McConnell and his staff aren't the only ones to be snookered. Over the past year, the Duffel Blog has hoodwinked radio talk-show hosts, politicians and reporters across the country.
I actually got my start in writing in a very similiar fashion. While deployed, a fellow squad leader and myself began an underground newspaper like The Onion that we would distribute to the rest of the guys in our Battalion. It got popular enough that our command embraced it, despite us continually making fun of them. We even had a night where we have a variety show with commedians etc. But we never had Generals that said they read us like TDB:
"The lads have a well-tuned sense of humor and convincingly imaginative 'reporting' that bode well for a country that could use some laughs," said Marine Gen. James "Mad Dog" Mattis, who just retired as head of U.S. Central Command. "I think the writers know that we need to stop taking ourselves so seriously." [...]
Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Marine officer who recently took over as head of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, said he got a "good laugh" out of a Duffel Blog story that touted his decision to take on the "haunted command" in Kabul that has proved to be a career killer for his predecessors.
Their stories are hilarious. Here's a sampling of their 100 percent fake news stories:
HOPE MILLS, NC — Controversy surrounds the arrest of a Fort Bragg soldier on Saturday on fraud charges, following allegations that he was impersonating a civilian for personal benefit.
Army Specialist James Mountebank admits that he was at the popular Fayetteville hotspot It’z Entertainment City, but claims he had no fraudulent intent when he reportedly told a bartender and two fellow patrons that he was not a soldier in the U.S. Army. According to witnesses, however, Mountebank’s intent was clear.
Sometime before 11:00 p.m., Mountebank ordered a drink for an unidentified woman, according to bartender Chase Mixson. The woman rejected the beverage, telling Mountebank that she “[doesn't] get involved with Army guys,” when sources say he first claimed to be a Certified Public Accountant. When asked for details about his job and where he works, Mountebank became “belligerent and defensive, changing his story on the fly.” It was then that Mixson began to take note of Mountebank’s feeble performance.
Or my personal favorite:
DENVER, CO — The Phony Veterans of Foreign Wars, the nation’s leading military fakers’ organization — representing fake members from all service branches — has gone on the offensive in the fight against military bloggers.
PVFW fired back with a public relations offensive, speaking with reporters and establishing a password-protected blog on their website devoted to peer-reviewed development of members’ stories of their superhuman valor and heroism.
“Because of these milbloggers’ relentless assault on our First Amendment-protected right to lie about brief, unglamorous or nonexistent military service,” PVFW chairman Michael Spurwick told reporters, “several of our members have suffered irreparable damage to their reputations, and a few have even had their businesses and careers ruined, after being exposed as frauds. Something had to be done.”
If you need a good laugh in the morning, you could do worse than checking out The Duffle Blog.