As a journalist, I was disheartened to see the emergence of the term “fake news” in the public discourse. Woe is me, I thought; anything I write, no matter how well researched, can now be perceived in the public mind as having the same quality and integrity as everybody else’s work. What was I going to do?
And then it hit me. The reciprocal was also true.
Anything I write, no matter how poorly researched, can now be perceived in the public mind as having the same quality and integrity as everybody else’s work. This is cause for celebration for funnies editors everywhere!
With all journalism receiving the same cynical distrust, the playing field has been leveled! No longer will the funnies section be seen as a wannabe, secondhand, back-of-the-issue afterthought! Watch out Malcolm Gladwell and Naomi Klein; here’s an up-and-coming journalist.
I now have the opportunity to become the new purveyor of information, the opportunity to change my lowly editorial status and ascend into firmaments of public regard, and I must seize it. When you’re living on your knees, you rise up!
Therefore, I’d like to officially announce the launch of my new website, AnythingGoesForJoeShmoe.com, where everything’s made up and the facts don’t matter! I’ll be writing under the pen name Joe Shmoe, an ordinary, nondescript journalist producing extraordinary and sensationally descriptive journalism. And remember, anything goes! Literally, anything.
It’s not a ‘news’ site; what is this, 2007? No, it’s an alternate information site. It will only consist of my opinions, my facts and whatever whimsical notion of reality I wake up with that day.
I’ll write outlandish stories, completely made up commentary and false reports. I’ll photoshop pictures, workshop nonsensical headlines and infiltrate social media platforms. I will follow where the hearts, likes and clicks lead me. The world will know me as the “great publicist”!
And then it hit me – hard, as irony often does.
What I was describing already exists. It’s called satire. The Onion, Clickhole: they all do that. Authoring the very content that would raise my influence as a journalist would be the same content that currently shackles me to my lowly funnies post writing satire.
Enthusiasm subdued, I contemplate the ironic joke of the world we live in. Funnies editors used to be respected, you know? I thought there was an opportunity to #MakeTheFunniesSection Great but I guess I was wrong. Satirical analysis will always be of lower quality and integrity.
So to reiterate, I will not be venturing into the world of alternate information. This has been a fake announcement. Seriously. I will not launch my own fake news website.
… OR will I??