Sometimes one has to wonder if certain publications are created not just for chuckles, but to mock with derision in the name of humor as well as some have alleged out to destroy the reputations of others? Some have wondered aloud about that based on the fact that some satire’s publication names are similar enough to a credible serious news source but not close enough for legal recourse.
For instance there is the National Report.net which many confuse for the National Review.com, the National Review is a conservative commentary news source founded by William Buckley in 1955. The National Report.net is a satire site that takes conservative concerns and issues and creates false stories under the guise of satire. The Daily Currant vs. The Daily Caller, the Daily Current is satire and the Daily Caller is a publication whose motto is original reporting and thought provoking commentary. Some say satire is great, it’s just fun and humor, and while I too love a good humorous story and the Onion is one of my favorite satirical websites, personally, I think the Onion is the best at satire. I do believe some satire websites can also be duplicitous in nature, especially as far too many readers today do not check for credibility as well as the sources, nor do they happen to notice that perhaps the story reads too good to be true. For example an article that stated Attorney General Eric Holder payed gang leaders to cause disturbances and is now himself under federal investigation, that of course would be an ideal predicament to place Holder in contempt for many of those on the right in politics as far as A.G. Holder is concerned. Some of these satirical publications will use a well known name that is sometimes presented with an incorrect career title or name changed just enough to still be recognizable, but different, such as the fictitious 22nd court Judge Rinehart in St. Louis, vs the very real Judge Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Los Angeles, or perhaps just a coincidence with the choice of names phonetically?
Some of my friends abhor satire sites and want their existence abolished, while I can understand why, I don’t completely agree with that sentiment. I do agree that these sites can create much confusion and spread untruths (in the name of humor) that mistakenly become truth in publications not known for, nor desired to be known for satire. For instance the Washington Post reprinting a story from the Daily Currant that Sarah Palin was joining Al Jazeera America as reported by New Republic.com in an article (excellent one in my opinion) on how gullible we all are at times. The problem with the mindset of abolishing such sites and practices is that one would be suppressing their freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in a humorous manner shouldn’t be suppressed because some in a rush to spread the news don’t fact check, and is it the fault of the satire site that even some of the most credible news source publications would fall for their shenanigans? Yes it’s embarrassing to say the least, if not also humiliating for a publication that prides itself on providing factual news and commentary. My advice to all whether you write for a publication or a loyal reader is to always do your own fact checking, especially if it seems to ‘good to be true’ especially in regards to politics, entertainment scandals and any news that is of your particular interest is to double check the story. You can easily Google, Bing, and use a number of web crawlers and browsers to check a story, by searching for either a great number of credible news only publications featuring the same story or even just checking the person(s) featured in the article.
I posted below some links to sources that list some of the satire sites, I would suggest bookmarking for future reference and if memory fails one in the future, just remember we are all fallible at some point in time and yes eventually “everybody plays the fool sometimes,” or gets played with some foolishness sometimes. I am thinking about starting a satirical publication myself, perhaps I will call it the Illinois Revelry, satirical stories of democrats partying and frittering away the taxpayers money….hmm..that may not be satire though when one is speaking of Illinois! Better yet, I’ll stick to getting the varied and real news from Illinois Review, Lincoln Report and various other state and national publications.
How do you feel about satirical sites? Some think some are funded specifically to mock and ridicule those publications they don’t agree with or a specific political party, or entainers to their detriment, is there any possible truth to this thought?
References: http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/Fake-News/tp/A-Guide-to-Fake-News-Websites.01.htm and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Satirical_websites