(In his own mind, email and that of the Muslim-fearing cowards and dupes sharing his story as if it actually happened)
By Brad Friedman on 12/5/2009, 12:20pm PT  

[12/7/09: Updated again at bottom of article. Petruna standing by story. Sort of... & Now again on 12/8/09 as other passengers on flight say Petruna "living in a fantasy world".]

More evidence --- rather hilarious, or sad, depending on how you choose to look at it --- that rightwing Muslim-fearing Fox "News"-addled cowards live in an alternate-reality fantasy world entirely of their own making. In this case, quite literally.

First read the email frantically circulating around wingnut sites, according to Josh Marshall at TPM, including Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project site, as if it were fully based on reality.

Then read the airline's detailed account of what really happened, wholly debunking the email of Tedd Petruna, the "heroic" passenger from Texas, and his account of single-handedly saving a plane full of good Americans from 11 Muslim terrorists on an Airtran flight in Atlanta as it prepared for takeoff to the Houston-Hobby airport.

Your appetizer: Mr. Petruna, the courageous Texan who authored the email describing his own heroics, wasn't even on the plane that he claims to have personally saved from the evil Muslim terrorist hijackers, and the plane was never canceled at all, having continued to the Houston-Hobby airport as scheduled.

As we've been highlighting for some time now here at The BRAD BLOG --- our Rise of the Tea Bags video paints such a picture, and Frank Schaeffer has done a fine job illustrating it as well, most recently here and here) --- we really do now, officially, live in two different Americas. One actual America, with all its flaws, failures, and frustrations, and another world completely existing only in the minds and self-produced group hallucinations of wingnut media-addled fantasists, fear-mongers, and phonies. How that changes at any time in the near future is a question to be answered by someone well above our pay grade.

UPDATE: A bit more info for ya...Debbie Schlussel, a poor man's Ann Coulter, if you will, has now posted three times on this matter (see the update links at that link), describing this as a "Muslim Hijacking Dry Run," in which she notes that she's spoken to Petruna, so she now knows that [her bold] "it's all true. WAKE. UP. AMERICA. We are under siege."

"As we know," the delightful Schlussel informs us, "authorities think we shouldn’t know about these things. They don’t want us to panic or to be suspicious of Muslims, when they’re busy doing outreach over shawarmeh at 'Ahmed’s Falafel Hut.'"

Speaking of those who "think we shouldn't know about these things things" --- unless we missed it, it doesn't look as though Schlussel, in any of her three breathless posts, has yet linked her tea baggers to AirTran's official response to Petruna's email, in which they explain he wasn't on the plane, and note other absurdities in his email, or to the Atlanta Journal Constitution's two stories now (originally on Nov. 18 and again today in response to the viral wingnut hysteria). The AJC's coverage includes interviews with others on the plane, telling a completely different story from Petruna, who wasn't on it, as confirmed now by both the airline, and the passenger manifest, as reviewed by those cover-up artists at the AJC. The paper also says that neither airline officials nor any federal agencies they interviewed corroborated Petruna's account. But that shouldn't stop it from being all over Fox "News" this week anyway, we'd guess.

[Hat-tip for the Schlussel link to BRAD BLOG commenter "Shortbus" who also notes with some accuracy: "The comments on Debbie's post are better then anything on TV right now..."]

UPDATE 12/7/09: TPM has now spoken to Petruna reports that "he is standing by his story, despite several holes in the tale and the carrier's claim he was not even on the plane."

They also note that:

...according to KHOU in Houston, Petruna admitted to the TV station that "his description of the men's attire was wrong, and [that] he didn't personally see anyone watching porn." TSA told the station its officers never boarded the plane, and they consider the matter an airline customer service issue.

TPM's Justin Elliot goes on to describe his conversation this morning with Petruna:

Reached at [NASA's] Johnson Space Center's Neutral Buoyancy Lab this morning [where he works], Petruna told TPMmuckraker that despite AirTran's assertion, he was on the flight. He wouldn't say much, though, because "I'm in the middle of a lawsuit about this right now." We're not sure whether a lawsuit has actually been filed or what it would be about, though Petruna told Schlussel, the right-wing columnist, that he was mulling a defamation suit.

Keep mulling, Mr. Petruna.

UPDATE 12/8/09: Other passengers from the flight now stepping forward to say that Petruna is "living in a fantasy world". Via TPM...

A security consultant who was a passenger on AirTran Flight 297 says the man who claims he thwarted porn-watching Muslim hijackers clearly fabricated the story, but Brent Brown adds that the airline's version of events underplays the seriousness of what happened.

Brown told WSBTV that Tedd Petruna, who says a group of Muslim terrorists were casing the plane, is "living in a fantasy world." (Petruna now has his own hash tag on Twitter.)