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snopes 30 October 2014 03:22 PM

Our appetite for fake Ebola stories and other bunk
As if the genuine horrors of Ebola weren’t enough, a website called the National Report has taken to ginning up hoax “reports” about the disease. Over the past month, the site has published at least seven fake stories about Ebola, including one reporting that authorities quarantined the entire town of Purdon, Texas. It would be generous to describe the National Report’s treatment of current events as “satirical.” In addition to this bogus (and stupid) story, the site has published others about Texas kindergarteners getting Ebola from a Liberian foreign exchange student; the government’s plan to implant RFID chips in citizens during a pilot Ebola vaccination program; the president’s promise that Obamacare will cover the coming epidemic; and more.

Photo Bob 30 October 2014 06:18 PM

I like the OP's use of the word "lampooning" in relation to The Onion. That is perfect description of what they do. Other "satirical" rags go beyond this poking fun at current issues and delve into the realm of rumor mongering.

On our local forums one poster started posting articles from the National Report and The Daily Currant just to get a rise out of people and to point out that one should always verify the source and the story before believing it. Even after several other posters pointed out the source as being a "satire" site, posters would still say "I'm not sure if the OP is true but...".

Even after being told it is fake some people want to believe the nonsense. I would not mind if the satire kicked off a conversation about an issue, but many of these stories are so far from truth that any discussion is pure fantasy. In itself not a bad thing, but when others in the discussion take it seriously it can lead to some real problems (especially when one has a somewhat warped sense of humor that not everyone understands).

Not sure what the answer is. I hate to think of shutting down such sites. They have the right to be asshats. I just wish they would see that their satire is not satire at all, just rumors.

snopes 30 October 2014 07:08 PM

Fake news sites are trolls, not satirists.

Hound_Dog 07 November 2014 10:43 AM

I believe it depends. When their aim is to make fun of something in a cultural manner with a wink and a pinch of nastiness but clearly stating the fakness of the news: then I agree upon calling them satirists.

However, if the aim of such site is to make people believe in fake information and get scared to owner's amusement then they are trolls and should be taken care of by Trolljegeren.

urbanlegendfanatic 19 December 2014 12:02 PM

NewsBiscuit's another one whose stories end up having to be debunked by sites like Snopes. Plus twitter feeds like Christwire - I think that's the twitter feed Rachel Maddow even quoted and then had to backpedal because she found out it was a satire site. I don't know - if you aren't bright enough to read the "this is a fake news site" warnings all over a satire site then is it the sites fault?

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