I check out Snopes daily to keep up on the latest scams and urban legends. At least several times a week there is one based on an article from the National Report. Having seen this site popping up almost every day there, I finally took a look to see what they were about.
This is a “satire” site in only the loosest terms. It takes controversial issues and builds almost-plausible stories around them with no humor. Thus, gullible (usually conservative because of the issues they choose) people believe stupid things about their political opponents and it actively makes this a dumber, more partisan world.
Take this article from their front page:
So in one article they hit illegal immigrants and (implied) welfare abuse, two hot-button issues for conservatives. The idea is they provoke outrage enough to turn off people’s brains, and those people post it all over facebook and other social media. This generates clicks, and they make their money by sucking intelligence out of the country.
Just in case someone might copy and paste without linking back to them, they have their pages set up so copying anything appends this to the end of the copied section:
It is as if The Onion and Fox News had a Prom night dumpster baby that spent most of its childhood seeing how long it could keep its head in the plastic bag the Weekly Wold News comes in.
They use to have a disclaimer on their site saying that it was satire, but I assume they took this down so that the shit they stir up would last longer before being debunked. And, due to the nature of the internet, it comes back to life over and over again when someone does a search on the topic of the article.
The dick in charge has this to say for himself:
](http://www.snopes.com/politics/satire/ingodwetrust.asp)Your whole business model is based on them being too lazy to check! Don’t come off as if you didn’t expect this you canker on the ass of journalism. On top of this they try to stir more controversy and keep it alive with fake comments on the articles. At the end of the article I linked to in the OP there are two comments:
So, an overly credulous moron for you, whichever side of the political spectrum you are on. It is interesting to note that the two comments were made two minutes apart about two hours before the article went online.
Yes, forgot to mention that part. It is not even an attempt at a clever name (like say the Daily Currant), but a pure attempt at deception.
Lovely, apparently they have another site, the Wyoming Institute of Technology (a fake group). Any article at the National Review mentioning a new technology for chemtrails or how a third of humans now have RFID chips unknowingly implanted in them links to a companion piece there. So, it looks like a reputable piece of journalism reporting on a scientific discovery from a reputable source.
Having a separate site made to look like a real research institute to act to make your fake news article look legitimate removes any veneer that you are actually a satire site rather than someone actively trying to deceive the public. It also puts the lie to Montgomery’s quote that people should look at another source. There is the other source which (at first blush) appears totally independent.
The only question left is if this is purely people making money off of being spunk-gargling cunt monkeys or if they actually intend a political effect from this anal leakage they seep onto the internet.
The Onion is a humor site, and consistently good at what they do. Sites like this and The Daily Currant are pure trollery. Their sole aim seems to be to laugh at the reader, rather than to make the reader laugh. Funny if you happen to work there, I guess, otherwise not so much.
The next step in the devolution of “satire” will be purposely inaccurate street maps, fake weather reports and hilarious medical advice websites that recommend fatal home remedies. Because as we all know, nothing in life is funnier or more fulfilling than getting someone to believe something that isn’t true.
I had also seen a lot of Daily Currant articles referenced at Snopes, so I checked that one out as well. The Daily Currant is not as well-done as The Onion, but they are at least trying. The two lead articles are now, “Unemployed in France Go On Strike,” and, “Unemployed Gender Studies Major Sues ‘The Patriarchy’”. If people are not getting that that is satire then I think it is the reader’s fault.
The National Report is precisely at that level for politics.
Seems pretty funny to me, and I’m sure 70% of conservatives have the intelligence to realise it’s an hoax.
The essence of satire is that it can be read seriously, as distinct from broad comedy which depends on outrageous over-statement and obviously then points and laughs.
But it should have wit and social criticism. This is lacking.
That article lacks wit or humor. It presents a current issue in society as if the somewhat more controversial direction has been taken. It does not explore that in an interesting manner, or with irony. It does not make social commentary. It just presents the initial first reaction that relevant parties would obviously have. It’s lazy clickbaiting.
I too think the National Report is idiotic and (mostly) not funny, but it’s really no more egregious than the supermarket tabloids, if more politically-oriented. Certainly if I see that title, or anything attributed to the “Wyoming Institute of Technology”, I can rest assured that it’s bullshit.
With that said, I believe there was a Pit thread a few weeks back in which the OP got suckered into assuming a NR piece was legit, but I can’t seem to find it at the moment.
As for clickbait sites, gah, what a tragic waste of bandwidth. BTW, what’s up with the Weather Channel being one of the worst offenders lately? Hint to whatever yo-yo’s manage their site: I don’t give a rat’s ass what the fifty creepiest places in the world are. What’s the local weather?
OK, that is like saying, “Sure, Pol Pot may have killed two million of his own people, but he’s no Hitler.” I think we may wish to set the bar a little higher. At least it is generally (god, I hope) understood that the tabloids make their stories up out of whole cloth for the most part.
I would hate if the only way we can prevent people from being taken in by the National Report is that they become famous enough that everyone knows their schtick.
Well, how is it that this is generally understood? It’s not like the tabloids print, “Hey, folks we’re making this crap up as we go along” in every issue. Most people figure it out pretty quickly, some never do. I’m actually sort of hoping some prominent right-wing nutbag quotes a NR piece at some point, and gets called out on it. Now that would be funny.
The other thing the National Report reminds me of is a more formalized version of E-mail glurge. It’s usually pretty easy for someone to sniff out the bullshit in such cases: anonymous original author; vague or inconsistent dates/times/places; vague references to primary sources that can’t be verified; and so on. The worst thing NR does, in my view, is to have actually ginned up a web site for this fictional “Wyoming Institute of Technology” to fake up a source for some of their pieces. Even there, if one gets as far as the WIoT “Jobs” page, I think even the dimmest bulb could figure out it’s a put-on.
Anyway, these mooks aren’t remotely comparable to Pol Pot; two million bruised egos, maybe, but that’s about it.
The authors are named with a brief and impressive sounding bio. They nail down times and places solidly whenever possible, and while they obviously cannot link to the specifics of the subject unless they go to their own fake technology institute, they add a lot of links to the other TV stations or news outlets that “discovered” the story. Of course they just link to the front page.
When possible they link to real stories, as the story aboutlegalizing marijuana in Indiana does to a story about Eric Holder saying the fed would not go after growers in Washington and Colorado.