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Fake News

Satirical (intentionally fake or exaggerated) news

Stephen Colbert

A closely related cousin of fake news is satirical news.  Satirical news typically refers to the practice of presenting journalistic coverage of current events that intentionally exaggerates elements of the story being reported.  The distinction between satirical news and fake news is that satirical news is intentionally exaggerated, often for comedic effect, whereas fake news is intended to mislead an audience into thinking that it presents objective, factual information.

For years, television shows such as Saturday Night Live, television personalities such as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Keith Olberman, and publications such as The Onion or The National Lampoon have generated satirical news coverage of United States politics.  This practice has become pervasive enough to have had media reports and works of scholarship dedicated to analyzing it.  Ironically, satirical news coverage can influence the beliefs held by members of its audience just as much as news coverage that purports to be objective.

Sources of satirical news exist in other languages and in other parts of the world, too.  In France, for example, the weekly journal Charlie Hebdo and the TV program Guignols D'info ("News Clowns") offer French-language satirical news.

Image by Derek Steen, used under the Creative Commons license.

Jon Stewart on humor and an informed public

Video may be found here -- link opens in a new window.  WSU login authentication required.

Jon Stewart

Peabody Awards. (2006, Jun. 5). Jon Stewart. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/peabodyawards/8249425063/. Used under the Creative Commons License.

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