Uhhh … Bonjour! (Or don’t mistake comedy for the truth)

We talk about The Onion in class occasionally. I started a category for the satirical site on this blog last month after WSFA’s unfortunate misadventures.

Let this post, however, convince you that The Onion isn’t alone in satire. And they aren’t the only ones fooling people. A site called The Daily Currant fooled Boston.com and Breitbart.com. Mediaite reports:

The Daily Currant is at it again, this time fooling the Boston Globe‘s Boston.com and Breitbart.com with it’s story about New York Times columnist Paul Krugman filing for bankruptcy. Krugman himself responded to the mix-up on Monday, relishing in the hoax.

Boston.com’s story was based on Austria’s Format magazine, whose story was based on The Daily Currant’s. “Krugman owes $7.35 million while assets to his name came in at a very meager $33,000,” the story reads. “This will allow the economist and New York Times blogger to get a feel of how the majority of Americans go about their dreadful lives without any savings and a social system that will only shed pennies to him.”

We have to be smarter than this. You can’t just re-write or reprint things solely because someone else wrote it or — even worse — because you want it to be true.

Here’s the Currant’s satirical piece. Read it. Precisely where should you stop and wonder about the legitimacy of what is passing in front of your eyes? Skim over the stories the site is promoting alongside this piece. What there doesn’t pass the smell test?

I love satirical works. They are a great source of amusement and life imitating art, which shows life how to get art done. The problem is with people who mistake satire for reality. Don’t repeat it as truth. Verify what you read. Look into the original outlet. What else are they reporting right now? What have they written in the past? Are they a news source or are they brilliant comedy writers.

Just because it is on the Internet doesn’t mean it is true. Get the joke, don’t make yourself a part of it.

(This isn’t the first time The Daily Currant has tricked people. Did you see where Sarah Palin was going to work for Al Jazeera? A Washington Post writer did.)

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