The Great Satirical News Scam of 2014
These “satire” news sites like the National Journal and the Daily Currant are a poison to rational and truthful discourse on the internet. About once a week it seems like, I see some stupid story (usually in my Facebook feed) that - in the words of Charles Johnson in a LGF comment - “prey[s] on people’s ignorance and confirmation bias.”
The New Republic tackles these pernicious sites head on.
While it takes a particularly keen immunity to irony to fall for an Onion article these days, The Daily Currant is a fake-news site of a different stripe: one entirely devoid of jokes. Whether this humorlessness is intentional or not—the site’s founder contends his critics don’t have a sense of subtlety—the site’s business model as an ad-driven clickbait-generator relies on it. When Currant stories go viral, it’s not because their satire contains essential truths, but rather because their satire is taken as truth—and usually that “truth” is engineered to outrage a particular frequency of the political spectrum. As Slate’s Josh Voorhees wrote after Drudge fell for the Bloomberg story, “It’s a classic Currant con, one that relies on its mark wanting to believe a particular story is true.”
And these sites make a lot of money. I don’t suggest checking any of these Onion-wannabe sites, as your browser will be flooded with advertisements and cookies. They’re making money on people’s fears and confirmation biases. It’s sickening. It’s also protected speech and a money maker for unscrupulous folks.