People who believe satirical articles
August 17, 2019 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Snopes investigates. Republicans are more likely to believe the Babylon Bee. Democrats are more likely to believe the Onion, but not quite as much. People are much less likely to believe articles which are labelled satire.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz (16 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
so based on some of those numbers, when a higher percentage of Republicans are fooled about something, it's at a higher rate than when a higher percentage of Democrats are fooled, generally in the nine or ten percent range. So one can only assume that Republicans are nine or ten percent more foolish than Democrats, which does not support the conclusions of my personal opinion, wherein Republicans are certainly at least nine hundred percent more foolish than Democrats.
posted by philip-random at 8:22 AM on August 17, 2019 [5 favorites]


I mean do we need to point out the several times that the Onion was basically right but just a few months early? Satire is hard when it's difficult to imagine something the US president wouldn't say or do? I mean other than show real empathy...
posted by cirhosis at 8:39 AM on August 17, 2019 [13 favorites]


Imagine having sincere beliefs and opinions so basic that they are clearly delineated and distinguishable from the satirical!

If current year Snopes is looking to get rid of Jokes, have they considered looking in the mirror? Sad to see a venerable once-proud site so fallen.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:40 AM on August 17, 2019


I enjoy the Onion, and appreciate satire in general, but I’ve started to wonder if it’s a genre we need to give up in this hellscape of a world shaped by social media.

What is the functional difference between satire and misinformation, if between 5 and 20% of the population will reliably read it as honest reporting?
posted by a device for making your enemy change his mind at 8:41 AM on August 17, 2019 [14 favorites]


I haven't RTFA yet. But I know right wingers are profoundly dense about humor and satire. Their favorite "jokes" and "funny videos" are always the simple punch down kind.

(And speaking of Snopes, the same relatives I always had to send Snopes links after their emails like "FW:FW:FW GANGS ARE CHLOROFORMING WOMEN IN MEIJER PARKING LOTS"? Yep, they're right wingers.

Incredible lack of critical thinking skills. That's why they believe without question hateful things their church & Fox tell them.)
posted by NorthernLite at 8:57 AM on August 17, 2019 [8 favorites]


This happens because our social media feeds seamlessly interleave fact, theory, opinion, satire, and disinfo. No one ever opened an issue of MAD and didn't realize it was satire, or confused an old scifi TV series for historical documents.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:26 AM on August 17, 2019 [13 favorites]


Not quite on topic, but a couple of years ago I found I had to stop using Snopes' debunkings in online debates with right-wingers, as it seems a theory has developed and propagated among them that Snopes is itself a part of the vast left-wing MSM atheistic big government gun-taking conspiracy...
posted by senor biggles at 9:29 AM on August 17, 2019 [11 favorites]


I find it's not just what I'd call right-wingers who resort to the Snopes-Are-Themselves-Part-Of-The-Conspiracy accusations, it's anybody whose facts continually run afoul of such radical tactics as fact-checking (ie: anti-vaxers, chemtrail and Area 51 true believers etc). I mean, it must be exasperating to be so wrong, so often.
posted by philip-random at 10:04 AM on August 17, 2019 [7 favorites]


Interesting article, in principle, but I never got to see the "poll results" because I had to keep whitelisting scripting in different domains. When I got to 16 and I still wasn't seeing them, I decided Snopes is now officially Part Of The Problem.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 10:34 AM on August 17, 2019 [3 favorites]


No one ever opened an issue of MAD and didn't realize it was satire, or confused an old scifi TV series for historical documents.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_of_the_Worlds_(1938_radio_drama)#Public_reaction

Although it was admittedly better done than the dreck we get nowadays.
posted by sneebler at 11:56 AM on August 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


> confused an old scifi TV series for historical documents.

By Grabthar's Hammer, what a reference!
posted by genpfault at 12:26 PM on August 17, 2019 [16 favorites]


Nope, the "millions of people thought the War of the Worlds radio broadcast was real" story is over blown and likely perpetuated by Orson Wlelles. The PBS American Experience episode about it is really good. Here's a media professor on the topic.

Much like the Kitty Genovese story, it's just not an accurate collective memory of what really happened.
posted by crush at 1:16 PM on August 17, 2019 [11 favorites]




What is the functional difference between satire and misinformation, if between 5 and 20% of the population will reliably read it as honest reporting?

The benefits of the artform that are provided to the other 80-95% of people who are able to make the distinction?
posted by But tomorrow is another day... at 3:14 PM on August 17, 2019 [6 favorites]


This happens because our social media feeds seamlessly interleave fact, theory, opinion, satire, and disinfo. No one ever opened an issue of MAD and didn't realize it was satire, or confused an old scifi TV series for historical documents.

Neil Postman, speaking at a meeting of the German Informatics Society, on October 11, 1990:
The tie between information and action has been severed. Information is now a commodity that can be bought and sold, or used as a form of entertainment, or worn like a garment to enhance one's status. It comes indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular, disconnected from usefulness; we are glutted with information, drowning in information, have no control over it, don't know what to do with it.

And there are two reasons we do not know what to do with it. First, as I have said, we no longer have a coherent conception of ourselves, and our universe, and our relation to one another and our world. We no longer know, as the Middle Ages did, where we come from, and where we are going, or why. That is, we don't know what information is relevant, and what information is irrelevant to our lives. Second, we have directed all of our energies and intelligence to inventing machinery that does nothing but increase the supply of information. As a consequence, our defenses against information glut have broken down; our information immune system is inoperable. We don't know how to filter it out; we don't know how to reduce it; we don't know to use it. We suffer from a kind of cultural AIDS....
(emphasis mine.)

The entire talk is damningly prophetic, and well worth your read.
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:26 PM on August 17, 2019 [10 favorites]


Thanks, tivalasvegas, that was a good read.
posted by freethefeet at 2:48 AM on August 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


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