Unfamiliar though this site is to us, Duffelblog.com was an easy one.
Buried deep on its About page:
The ease of discovery is a testament to the site-creator’s character: Paul Szoldra isn’t trying to trick us or pass on misinformation en malice. A quick Google search revealed that the marine veteran started Duffel Blog originally as a way to drive web traffic to his other website, CollegeVeteran.com.
From an April 2012 USA Today article:
Szoldra was a mortarman and a combat instructor during his eight years in the Corps. When he got out in 2010 and transitioned to college life at the University of Tampa, he found the change jarring. He started a website to help others making the switch from the combat zone to the classroom and called it CollegeVeteran.com. In an attempt to boost traffic, Szoldra came up with the idea to add some fake military news.
So he posted a story about a colonel in the Air Force who was so sick of the “Chair Force” nickname that he banned all chairs on base. The story was a hit, but he was worried people would think his college veterans site was a joke, so he separated the two and in March, The Duffel Blog was born.
He started a website to help others making the switch from the combat zone to the classroom and called it CollegeVeteran.com. In an attempt to boost traffic, Szoldra came up with the idea to add some fake military news.
The articles are routinely well written, some so outrageous that they could actually be real. “ISAF Drops Candy to Afghan Children, kills 51″ is a perfect example. Other articles are clearly jokes for jokes’ sake, like “Coast Guard Finally Shoots Something.”
We imagine that Szoldra puts enough incorrect details in an article to send the red flag to current and retired servicemen, marking the story as impossible. But for the rest of us civilians, we’re likely not to catch the subtleties. It’s our ignorance of the armed services intricacies that dupe us, as when a Duffel Blog article reported about Guantanamo detainees getting GI Bill benefits. The article resulted in a formal inquiry by U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell.
But let’s be honest, Kentucky . . .