Fake News and Reduction to Absurdity

The modern connotation of “Fake News” is one of blatant lies and political propaganda.  This is interesting in that Fake News is only worth making if people want to look at it. The titles are often fall into 2 categories to generate views: ridiculous/unbelievable titles and titles that address the things the target audience wants to believe are true.

The alt-right thinks Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl performance was a satanic ritual

This is an example of both of these because it’s crazy to think that Lady Gaga’s performance was satanic, many people saw the routine and just out of curiosity want to know if it could be interpreted that way.  It also paints the alt-right as a bunch of lunatic conspiracy theorists to draw views from the left, many of whom already hold those views.

Fake News is more traditionally associated with programs like the Colbert Report, the Daily Show and Last Week Tonight.  It serves as a parody of the traditional news programs and a satirical commentary of the events that are happening in the real world.  It tends to carry its own spin of the events and uses humor in its portrayal of real events to force a perspective on the audience.  I believe this to be beneficial in the sense that its more entertaining than regular news programs and can reach a larger audience to deliver its message.  It brings about an argument by inserting jokes where problems are, making the problems easy to see.  One technique that is used is “reducing to absurdity”.  It follows along a real line of argument/logic and shows how it can have a solution that’s crazy, and by extension that the logic leading to that conclusion is flawed.

John Oliver: Border Wall

In this clip, John Oliver breaks down the arguments for and against Donald Trump’s border wall.  He jokingly disposes of the arguments in favor, with the exception of how it might make people feel better. Then he provides an alternative solution, which is absurd, but could achieve the same good feeling with fewer consequences.  This can show people, in an entertaining way, the problems with building a 1000 mile wall.


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