The issue with satyric news

Posted: July 5, 2014 by jennroig in Commentary, English
Tags: , , , , , , ,
On The Onion: Little-Known Facts About The Founding Fathers

On The Onion: Little-Known Facts About The Founding Fathers

It is no news. Fake and satyric news have been there for a while. And we [journalists] love it. From The Daily Show with John Stewart  to The Onion and The Daily Currant, we follow their accounts via Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, or whatever social media is fashionable at the moment and we may be using.

dogs pockerThe reason we love it, it’s the witty. Humor -smart humor at least- takes creativity, intelligence as well as to be informed. I’m not referring to the fake alerts that invade Internet with every new storm or flood, warning about sharks exploring parts of Manhattan with very bad Photoshop. I mean the good job, the one that takes time and it’s believable because something inside your brain agrees that no matter how crazy that sound, it eventually could happen.

Sometimes the lines are so blurred, and the comedy is so clever and the writing has been taken so far, that we buy the content, we believe the joke to be true for a moment, until someone calls it for what it is: they’re making fun of whoever is the target of the occasion. So we need someone who call us back to reality: “check it again, it’s in The Onion, the Pope wasn’t teaching how to use a condom in public”.

There are other styles in satira. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is a very good example. We appreciate so much the exquisite work of John Oliver’s team because they take the time to gather all facts and statements to mock a politician, a celebrity, a public official, or the general stance of a government towards a newsworthy situation. This time is about strong analysis, debunking misguided notions and bringing facts to the table again.

But sometimes the joke isn’t so clear and the issue is upsetting enough. I really resent this attempt by the “National Report” to throw accusations of doping over the Dutch Football Team in the World Cup. There’s nothing hilarious about it.

There’s nothing on the outlet’s presentation that leads to believe it is about Satira. Moreover, the tone and style of the writing do not suggest any satyric intention. By all means.

I know it’s up the reader to be aware and suspect the probable irrationality of it all. But sometimes emotions are too heavy and that’s a good moment to step back or be very clear about the intention.

I felt really dubious about The Netherlands’ performance against Costa Rica, mostly because I was rooting for CR, but also because I bought the fake report of a doping scandal. The fact that FIFA is so corrupt and so dirty and so unfair and disgusting, didn’t help to raise my flags.

Anyway, this is a note to self, and a suggestion to online readers. Wait a bit before making up your mind. You may be stumbling upon some fake, badly written, satirical attempt of news.

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