Satire vs. Click-Bait

In the assigned articles there were really two different things that were being labeled as “fake news”, Satire and Click-Bait. At first I had a really hard time believing that these two were even relatively similar, although after going through the readings/viewings I can see some similarities in both. Something common in nearly all of the readings/viewings was the fact that much of the popular satire news/click-bait revolved around politics which isn’t completely surprising since politics such a polarizing issue. Another similarity is that they both seem to be relying on the knee-jerk emotions of the viewers. The reading “Truthiness and Consequences in Parodic News” explains that for satirical shows such as Saturday Night Live they usually poke fun at politicians but rarely criticize policy with any substance. The same is true for the click-bait sites who get their stories shared because of their surreal headlines which contain very little substance, because as Craig Silverman in the NPR interview mentions, “the false misleading stuff does really well is because it’s highly emotion-driven”. Even with these similarities it is clear that satire and click-bait are very different mainly because of the platform that they are on. The click-bait fake news stories talked about here are mainly on “serious” fake websites that are trying to pass off this information as true, but if these same fake news titles were on a site such as The Onion, a site devoted to satire, these articles would have a much different feel to them and obviously wouldn’t be as believable. In fact as I was looking at the BuzzFeed 50 Biggest Fake News article many of the popular stories seemed like something I would see on The Onion. One thought for further discussion regarding this topic is: In this day and age where sound bites and video clips can be easily taken out of context and shared, do you think that satirical news can have an effect similar to that of click-bait stories where they spread misinformation. Do you think it is possible for that to ever become something as big as click-bait has, or is that something that is already happening?

As I was reading these articles I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite subreddits: r/nottheonion, it has click-bait/Onion type news stories except they’re all actually real. I would recommend checking it out, there are some pretty funny stories on there.


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