A fraudulent email making the rounds of the right-wing blogosphere this past week, from Glenn Beck’s 9/12 site to Fox News, relayed the amazing first-hand tale of an heroic patriotic Texan who practically single-handily thwarted a “terrorist dry run” on a flight from Atlanta to Houston. The fake Jack Bauer wannabe in question, Theodore Petruna, posted the tale of his Texas tough-guy commando action against 11 Muslims on a plane in “full attire,” on his Facebook and sent it to a few friends.
The tale of 11 “robotic” terrorists on a plane in full Muslim dress, who would have been allowed to fly on the plane with real Americans, were it not for the brave actions of Tedd Petruna, was forwarded by a friend who vouched for his credibility. And from that point the ridiculous story was used as proof by right-wing blogs, that America was “under siege.” Right-wing blogger Debbie Schlussel “confirmed” the story in the email as legitimate and wished that we had “real men like Tedd Petruna running things”.
The fake story found its way to AirTran Airways and the airline debunked Petruna’s made-up story point by point. What was the first clue that his story was a lie? He wasn’t even on the plane in question, because he missed his connecting flight. And there were no Muslims on the plane dressed like Arab Sheiks. The incident in question involved two Spanish-speaking passengers who were asked to put away their cell phones and other electronic devices. Because they didn’t speak English, they didn’t respond and the flight was delayed, until the two passengers were questioned and allowed to re-board.