Let’s face it: a couple of bad jokes are always better than bad information. As it turns out, most Americans agree.
The mainstream news media is providing extensive coverage of President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. However, to their dismay, traditional journalists have found that they are not the nation’s trusted source of unbiased, impartial information. Apparently, more people are interested in reading about the story on Babylon Bee, a satirical Christian news site, than they are in hearing about the story from the likes of CNN and the New York Times.
In the wake of Gen. Soleimani’s demise and Democrat outrage over the strike that killed him, Babylon Bee put out an article titled “Democrats Call for the Flag to be Flown at Half-Mast to Grieve Death of Soleimani”. The article makes a number of outrageous statements, claiming that celebrities were buying American flags for the first time in order to fly them at half-mast, and that Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi told members of the “Squad” to “let it all out” in grieving for Gen. Soleimani’s death. In other words, it was hilarious — and called out the left’s insane take on the situation.
Given the fact that Babylon Bee is a satire news site, one would think that the article wouldn’t generate much controversy. After all, most people know the difference between large news companies such as CNN and satirical news outlets such as Babylon Bee or The Onion. However, the Babylon Bee’s article went viral, earning nearly 900,000 shares on Twitter and Facebook.
The overwhelming success of the piece triggered CNN news journalist Donnie O’Sullivan, who took to social media to complain that this one post earned more traffic than CNN or the New York Times gets in an entire week. O’Sullivan and other outraged Twitter users also accused Republican social media users of circulating an article that people would actually mistake for real news.
This is not the first time that Babylon Bee has been targeted for its transparent satire. When the outlet published an article in March 2018 stating that CNN was using an industrial washing machine to spin the news, Snopes made it a point to note that the claim was “false” — just in case people reading the article wouldn’t be able to figure out the obvious. Later, the Babylon Bee was targeted by Snopes for making the hilarious claim that California laws now require Christians to register Bibles as assault weapons.
Not surprisingly, The Onion and other satirical sites aren’t targeted by fact-checkers in the same way. The reason why is obvious: the Babylon Bee’s comedy comes from a conservative perspective, while the Onion tends to take more jabs in the other direction.
While it is true that there are some people who do mistake satire news articles for genuine ones, the nation does not need mainstream news journalists and left-leaning pundits to act as news content moderators. Indeed, news moderation is downright dangerous in a free society. It makes it impossible for voters to understand various points of view and come to well-informed, intelligent conclusions.
The outrage over Babylon Bee’s wildly successful satire article on Soleimani’s death makes it clear that progressive news channels are losing, and they’re not happy about it. Sadly, these same news channels aren’t stopping to ask themselves why people are more interested in reading satire than in actual journalism. Some honest introspection would immediately reveal that continually taking a particular side when covering news events is a sure-fire way to lose viewers.
This should be a wake-up call for the progressive media establishment to grow and adapt — but we all know they’re not going to do that.