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Spoof News Websites Often Make More Sense Than The Mainstream Media-Don’t Get Caught Out

Updated on September 4, 2019
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

News Thump - Why the Sadiq Khan balloon is nothing but a spectacular display of self-owning

Spoof take on that balloon
Spoof take on that balloon | Source

Are Spoof News Websites Damaging?

Fake news tweets Pres. Donald Trump seemingly at any criticism but we should never forget many news outlets do have a political bias.

They are income-based and it is increasingly difficult for members of the press to make money.

Too many established news publications these days post opinion pieces as real news when in fact the news element is tiny and the spin huge.

With headlines tarted up to grab eyeballs and make money the click-bait lede in may be deceptive.

But then there are a growing number of spoof and satirical news ventures online which amuse but can also deceive

Sharing a piece from the Suffolk Gazette, one such U.K. comic news websites, I was surprised how many people fell for the tag line that Britain would no longer allow crosses on Easter Buns in order to be politically correct.

Even after reminded it was not real news, but rather a spoof, one friend was still adamant that it had some truth in it.

The Suffolk Gazette is one of many websites that mixes up real and fictitious news to amuse.

It is designed to be funny but could these sites have a dangerous element?

The U.K. has a long standing love affair with political humour.

From my youth I recall Viz and Private Eye in the U.K. both hard copy publications.

Viz is still on the go but this description online makes me wonder how much it may have changed, or perhaps it is just I have changed with age?

Viz (comics) ... Viz is a popular British comic magazine founded in 1979 by Chris Donald. It parodies British comics of the post-war period, notably The Beano and The Dandy, but with vulgar language, toilet humour, black comedy, surreal humour and generally sexual or violent storylines

Private Eye is more like the real deal

Founded in 1961 Private Eye offers a satirical look at World news.

It has run and won various campaigns and does have a serious side.

A quick look at the latest online copy of Private and the following image has prominent front page placing.

Private Eye

Source

Private Eye launched at a time people in the U.K. were waking up to the failings of the political class.

British television viewers began watching shows like “That Was The Week That Was” and would move on to more hard hitting political laughs when “Spitting Image” hit our screens.

However there was no Internet, social media, photo editing or sophisticated technology enabling easy interference with real news.

Politicians and the Westminster elite were lampooned mercilessly.

Ian Heslop, regular Have I Got News For You panellist, has edited Private Eye since 1986.

It still has a hard copy version as well as a presence online. It’s circulation is or was relatively small compared to the mainstream media. However if you assess Eye for what it is it has a huge circulation.

Unlike most other spoof and satirical news offerings in the U.K. Private Eye has a proud reputation as a source of investigative journalism. Its staff have dug into news stories not covered by the mainstream media. They have managed to break important news stories, usually of failings.

But Private Eye is a different kettle of fish to most other funny news sources in the U.K.

Real Image From E.U. Referendum Campaign

News Thump published image and story lampooning Boris Johnson and the EU Leave campaign ahead of G.E. 2017
News Thump published image and story lampooning Boris Johnson and the EU Leave campaign ahead of G.E. 2017 | Source

Just Some Spoof And Satirical News Sources

  • Suffolk Gazette
  • Rochdale Herald
  • Daily Mash
  • The Onion
  • News Thump
  • Joe
  • The Poke
  • News Biscuit
  • Jonathan Pie
  • Daily Discord

The above list is not exhaustive but includes some of my favorite sources.

Some of the above provide satire, others spoof news and a few even offer investigative journalism.

But such sources in my opinion have a place in journalism and are useful

Some offer made up news but most a satirical spin on real events.

All offer much needed humour especially when times are tough.

As news is sent spinning on its head readers are encouraged to think outside of the box.

Fake or Spoof?

Twitter Sunday whether fake or spoof it is not genuine or real news
Twitter Sunday whether fake or spoof it is not genuine or real news | Source

Don’t Get Caught Out

I guess it says something when spoof news and satire is mistaken for real news.

We live in such strange times such mistakes are increasingly likely.

No-one wants to get caught out sharing fake news and the same goes for funny news, unless you are sharing as humour and acknowledging that.

Unlike fake news which can me malicious and maliciously shared, spoof news and satire is created and shared in good faith.

Tips

  • Check source
  • Research source
  • The above points include author, publication and if pertinent who has shared
  • If the news seems just too ridiculous ask someone else their advice
  • Inform yourself. Which news websites are reputable, which humorous and which safe?

As they say knowledge is power.

© 2018 Ethel Smith

Comments

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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks for commenting Ptosis

      I speak with the UK in mind. We have had political staire for years but the internet has spun it on its head. I seem to recall Pres. Trump tweeting from one of our spoof sites.

      For me the trouble is when funny news gets passed on and inevitably shared as real news

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 

      2 years ago from Arizona

      In this age of hybrid media, are you now debating over what role political satire should play in framing contemporary politics?

      John Oliver does something called “investigative comedy.” and has stated that “I am not a journalist. I think that’s factually clear.”

      Is this a new thing? Apparantly not. Will Rogers said, “Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”

      Do we trust comedians more than journalists? Yes.

      Why? Because satirists specifically, are trusted more is because they put an opinion on the table. Often times that opinion is used to show how ridiculous a politician, policy, or trend is. FOX, CNN and MSNBC, which all tend skew the facts to support their own political agendas and do not provide the “fair and balanced” news as they claim.

      This distrust of politicians and office holders is not new and is, in fact, as American as the Founding Fathers themselves. Therefore, humor has always been the best way to swallow and accept the obvious exploitation of political office and the misbehavior of politicians.

      Dannagal Young, an associate professor of communications said, “Exposure to John Oliver's show had the strongest impact of all of the news media outlets we asked about. We did not find any effects of exposure to CNN, MSNBC, newspapers – none of those things were related to public opinion on net neutrality.”

      Objectivity is a cornerstone for serious journalists. Something that is not found in news entertainment such as FOX, CNN and MSNBC.

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