Humor, Satire, and Parody

Senator Sullivan blasts NASA for allegedly removing American flag on moon

On Sunday, U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R- Alaska) excoriated NASA for allegedly ordering astronauts to return to the moon to remove the American flag. The stern response from Alaska’s junior senator capped a week of mass outrage after fringe conservative media outlets alleged that NASA Administrator Bill Nelson had ordered the flag removed because it could be considered offensive to international or non-human visitors to the lunar surface.

The anonymously-sourced story first appeared in a number of conservative media outlets last week and quickly caught fire on social media. Enraged commenters demanded that new NASA moon missions restore the American flag and called for the firing of the agency’s “woke Ivy League elite” administrator. Several commenters published Nelson’s home address and encouraged activists to mail him tiny American flags and American-flag-colored astronaut ice cream.

“I’m surprised NASA isn’t planting the communist flag after removing ours from the moon,” fumed online commenter AK-Patriot1776. “Woke NASA hates America, they hate our freedoms, they just want to go into space because they hate this country and they’ll make the moon woke and Mars too.”

By Friday, the story appeared in numerous national and international outlets. Conservative activists hastily organized a defiant “space flag convoy” designed to put more American flags in space, and convinced the private company SpaceX to attach a 3×5′ American flag to one of its Falcon 9 rockets for a planned Friday night launch. Upon takeoff, the American flag attached to the rocket was shredded by the sudden acceleration, caught fire, and came to rest in a muddy cow pasture.

“NASA’s gonna be so pissed when we get more American flags up there!” said space flag convoy organizer Randy McDoughty, who vowed that his group would attempt to send another American flag into space later that week.

On Sunday, Senator Sullivan posted on social media to express his anger that NASA had ordered the flag removed. In a long, strident letter on official U.S. Senate letterhead, Sullivan insisted that NASA immediately restore the American flag to the moon, and demanded a response from NASA leadership.

NASA responded on Sunday, denying the accusations wholesale. “At no point in time,” NASA’s statement said, “has any NASA official ever sought to have the American flag removed from the moon. We cannot even begin to speculate how this unfortunate miscommunication occurred. Truly, we cannot. It defies all logic and common sense. Frankly, the fact that anyone believed this makes us deeply concerned about the future of this planet.”

Faced with the denial, Sullivan spokesman Ben Dietdrich doubled down on social media later that day. “[Senator Sullivan] stands by his letter,” Dietdrich wrote. “The Senator took an oath to respond to all threats to America, no matter how real. Look: did the Senator get hoodwinked by a completely fake story made up by pathologically untrustworthy conservative media outlets and actively participate in the public harassment of a federal official? Or did he draw a brave, bold line in the lunar sand and defend American values? Our constituents believed the story. The feelings were real. The outrage was real. The Senator stood up for what’s right, and at the end of the day that’s what matters.”

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