Hold on to your hats, take a seat, take a deep breath, do whatever it takes to absorb some shattering news: An article in The Onion is probably fake.
This earth-shattering scoop is brought to you by the Houston Business Journal, with an article entitled "Houston PR Pro Contemplates The Onion's Fracking Article."
The Onion piece in question is a sort item headed "Fracking Industry Now Largest Employer of Recent PR Graduates."
HBJ reporter Deon Daugherty wrote: "The "article" referred to an unnamed and altogether unsourced -- and likely fictional -- labor market study that supposedly found oil companies with hydraulic fracturing interests have taken the top spot -- above the tobacco industry, gun enthusiasts and the folks on Wall Street -- for hiring the most media savvy college graduates."
"Likely fictional? You can't pull nothing past Deon Daugherty!
She then went on to talk to a guy who does PR for energy companies to examine the (possibly, probably, totally nonexistent) study cited in The Onion.
"I've run across [Ed] Davis and his colleagues a few times while covering energy, and he seemed to be someone who would give it to me straight," she writes, and does he ever.
First off, Davis said, not only would it likely take more experience than a recent grad possesses to pull the wool over the public's eyes with regard to hydraulic fracturing, but by and large, these folks aren't interested in obfuscation.
"I can tell you, that's not them," he said of The Onion's depiction.
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It's not quite as bad as the Congressman who ranted about a proposed "abortionplex" reported by The Onion, but the general operating theory, journalistically speaking, is that Onion articles don't need to be debunked.