I enjoy satirical websites like the The Onion that take current political events and trends and then twist them around and manufacture a ‘story’ to illustrate some point about it or to highlight some absurdity. It is not uncommon for people who are not aware that these are satirical sites to take them at face value, even though it should be fairly clear that they are meant as humor.
But there has emerged a new kind of website whose purpose seems to be to write stories that are not clever satire but are written as straightforward supposedly news items, just with fake ‘facts’. The point of these sites seems to be to dupe readers and even news organizations into reporting on them as if they are true stories.
Jonathan Turley does not like these sites and neither do I, for pretty much the same reasons he gives. He is also surprised that they have not been sued already.
Admittedly, drawing a clear line between ‘real’ satire and ‘fake’ satire is not easy because it can come down to intent. The idea of the The Onion seems to be to make people laugh while that of sites like National Report seems to be to fool them into thinking it is real. Some of the latter’s stories are so extreme that it is hard to imagine anyone taking them seriously but clearly some people do.
This is also why I do not approve of the practice of actual news organizations indulging in April Fool’s day hoaxes, because they strive to make the story as close to real as possible and thus fool readers.