Who among us hasn’t, upon finishing some news article or another, thought, “This reads like an Onion story.” Add this to the pile:


As reported by the New York Post today: James Henson, a twenty-six-year-old Oklahoman and “former ‘die-hard’ backer of Hillary Rodham Clinton says he switched his allegiance to Barack Obama” because of what he called “‘some pretty bad treatment’ he received [while volunteering at] Clinton’s Des Moines office.” Henson tells the Post of “witnessing abusive higher-ups and crying campaigners.” One day Henson says his “back went out” and “he was told he could lie on the floor and make calls” but then “a worker screamed at him to get up” without even asking why he was on the floor. “I don’t think [the worker] cared,” Henson said.


In other words, per the story’s headline, “CLINTON CAMP TURNS FAN INTO OBAMA MAN.” Actually, this ex-Clinton-“fan” is kind of photogenic (see the Post’s extremely Oniony accompanying close-up photo of a grinning, baby-faced Henson). How long before we see him telling his story on cable news above the caption “Clinton Campaign Abusing Volunteers?” Hurry, cable news bookers! Hurry!


And no, I’m not making light of back injuries or allegedly abusive treatment of volunteers, gophers, or grunts of any kind. What I am belittling is a news article made up of, at bottom, one guy’s (unsubstantiated) complaints about a job he once had.


It reads less like a news story (Onion or otherwise) than it does some sort of letter-to-the-editor.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.