|How to Avoid Being Fooled by a News Satire Story - January 11th 2005|
Following a string of recent blunders by major news broadcasters in reporting satire material they had mistaken for fact, Random Perspective has complied a short guide so you can avoid being fooled by similar stories in the future.
You may think that such a story would be easy to spot, however in December 2004 an impersonator from the satire website DowEthics.com speaking on behalf of the company Dow duped the BBC. Later in the month ABC News incorrectly reported that Comedian Kenny Rogers Bodyguard was involved in a fight in the fictious town of Hazelton. They had picked the story up from a spoof website.
This is why we have felt it necessary to compile the list. If the BBC can get it wrong, then God can get it wrong – but by following this guide you can increase your confidence in what you are reading.
Check for the website for the satire news water mark. It looks like this:
Although it is not a legal requirement, this logo has been used on all the best satire websites on the Internet.
Any story with this image on its page is a satire story and cannot be trusted.
Check other news stories on the site. If they link to stories about George Bush being naked or Tony Blair being replaced with a clone then it is very likely the website is fake.
If the website features a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that implies the content on it is dubious then our best advice is not to trust it.
All news satire stories conform to a standard letter skip coding technique. If you count the number of the letters to the first instance of the S in the story (not including spaces) and then count this number again – the next letter you land on should be A. Do this again for the remaining letters in the word SATIRE.
If you come across a news satire story that does not conform to the letter skip coding technique then report them to your local authorities – all news satire websites are legally obliged to use this in their stories. If they do not, the website owner can face prosecution, including a 15 year jail sentence for trying to pass false information off as the truth.
News satire stories use the letter E in their stories more than any other letter. Count the number of instances of each letter in a particular story. If the letter E is the most frequent then you are reading a fake news story.
Not all news websites belong to the news channel they share their name with. During the internet gold rush of the mid nineties, several domain names were purchased by individuals with the intent of selling them on for millions of dollars. The most famous example of this is CNN.com. CNN refused to pay the owner of their domain and as a result he used the domain to host his own news satire website. Under no circumstances believe anything you read on this website.
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