Look before you leap: Mayor of Maricopa, AZ accidentally praises Fred Phelps

Have you ever read an article too fast, then commented on it, only to realize that you said something absurdly inaccurate?  Yeah, don’t do that.  Here’s why.

Ed Farrell is the Mayor of Maricopa, Arizona.  Maricopa is the 19th largest city in the state, with a population of about 45,000.  On Monday, Farrell posted on the death of Phelps, saying, “We need more Fred Phelps in this world. May you rest in peace sir.”

Oh no.

For the record, Farrell is not a terrible human being – he just made a very bad mistake.  In a comment to his hometown newspaper, Farrell said that he thought Phelps was just a Kansas based minister and had no idea of his affiliation to the Westboro Baptist Church.  Farrell said that he “shamed himself” and didn’t realize that the article he posted about Phelps’ death was a fake one anyway.

There are a few lessons here.  The first one is obvious: be careful with what you post and make sure that the content you are posting from his legit.  There are entire websites dedicated to people who have mistaken The Onion for real news.  It’s a common mistake, but make sure that if you are going to post anything as an elected official, you can verify that the information is real – or at least not satire!  Second, and related: read whatever you post first.  Take the extra minute to spare yourself the embarrassment.

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