And now the fake news ...
Parodies of Internet news sites
August 20, 1997
Web posted at: 5:14 p.m. EDT (2114 GMT)
From CNN Interactive Writer Wayne Drash
(CNN) -- A breaking news bulletin flashes across the computer
screen: "TV meteorologists conclude the heat wave is being
caused by excessive heat," it reads. Another Web site has a
banner proclaiming: The world's 975 million Muslims have
announced plans to "lighten up a bit."
While millions of readers read online news daily, hundreds of
news-parody Web sites are popping up all over cyberspace.
Many simply offer a quick satirical glimpse at recent events.
Others dedicate full-blown articles to false stories, often
attributing fabricated quotes to well-known people.
One clever site mocked a CNN Interactive article on Mars with
a story saying that weird objects were seen on the red
planet. Photographs showed Martians pressed against
Pathfinder's camera. NASA scientists called it the damnedest
thing they'd ever seen. The page layout starkly resembled
ours, except the Interactive logo was facing the wrong way.
Such sites can offer relief from the depressing news reported
by the media. And for their part, the sites typically run a
disclaimer stating they are not real news.
But some online journalists squawk, saying the sites further
cripple their efforts to gain credibility among print and TV
peers. Others unleash loud guffaws and immediately crank
out e-mails to share the URLs with friends in the industry.
Among the most detailed news-parody sites is The Onion, (www.theonion.com) which bills itself as "Number one in
news." (It also is intended for people over the age of 18).
The site is updated weekly with in-depth articles about ...
One article reports that members of the National Education
Association are appalled at the poor grammar used in
teen-suicide notes. Another claims that President Clinton has
declared a weeklong national holiday to get the national sh-t
together. And yet another says the world's Muslims plan to
chill out -- "the most significant Islamic ideological
pronouncement since a 732 A.D. pledge to drive the Hebrews
into the sea," the site says.
Skewpoint on the News
skewers the news in short, quirky blurbs. It's motto:
"Breaking the news beyond repair."
Perusing the site, one quickly discovers that cosmonauts
aboard space station Mir are on strike and have asked U.S.
Labor Secretary Alexis Herman to redouble her efforts in
getting better pay and working conditions for those aboard
the aging spacecraft. Another blurb says United Parcel
Service is working to replace its fleet of trucks with giant
versions of the Mars' Sojourner rover.
Other sites mock main media outlets. Stale, (www.stale.com) makes fun of Microsoft's online magazine, Slate. Others,
like CNNot, (http://www.guerrilla.com/cnn/) report
fictionalized articles beneath old CNN Interactive logos,
including one that reports the FDA has determined that
secondhand ... uh, well think of a word that rhymes with darts ... are a health hazard.