On April 7th the National Report published an article that said Kansas was pushing through a law in the state legislature to ban the show Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. Of course, I didn’t see it right away but when I did hear of it, I was immediately outraged and somewhat depressed. I shouldn’t have been. The National Report
is one of the many satirical sites that have popped up on the internet. They’re not helping! Unless you consider that they may be making people more skeptical of what they read on the internet, they are doing more harm than good. The Onion has been around for years and they had the corner on satirical news for years. Their satire was so “over the top” in most cases that the satire was obvious. Most people know about The Onion and the mere mention of the source being The Onion telegraphs to the reader that what follows is clever satire. No need to look it up; it’s from The Onion, yo! However, The National Report: America’s #1 Independent News Team sounds legit and there is so much unbelievable real news that I could believe that Cliven Bundy is being considered as a GOP candidate for president in 2016! So now, I don’t know what to trust.
Perhaps that is a good thing, right? Maybe having so many satirical BS sites mixed in with the real BS sites will encourage Skepticism. There could be health benefits. Reading some these articles tends to increase my heart rate and after all, isn’t that what exercising is all about?
A quick search of the internet and it’s clear that are others that object to the increasing number of satirical “news” sites too. There is a twitter, “I hate satire sites. They serve no purpose. I don’t even like the Onion.” There is at least one right wing nut that believes that the increase in spoof sites is part of a government conspiracy to “work in the government’s interest by detracting from honest [sic] news.”
Other countries have them. Recently Muslims decided to sue a French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo for blasphemy. Please note that the paper’s premises were firebombed in 2011 after it published cartoons of Mohammed. While blasphemy isn’t a crime in France, apparently there are places that were annexed by Germany and returned to France that brought with them German legal code that bans “insulting religious communities.” But the joke’s on the Muslims because the code only recognizes “Catholicism, three forms of Protestantism, and Judaism” as religious communities.
Perhaps we all need to have one of those “yellow stickies” permanently affixed to the edge of our computer monitors with all of the satirical new sites listed. That way we can immediately know whether or not to take the latest FaceBook posting seriously. Here are a few of the sites:
A more complete listing can be found on Wikipedia.