Skip to main content

Those familiar with The Onion understand that its political satire functions as social commentary, that its fictionalized stories are intended to shed light upon that which is serious and real and problematic.

In short, it creates fictions that are just as true – if not truer – than what is happening in the real world. (Or, as Tim O'Brien writes in The Things They Carried, "Story-truth is sometimes truer than happening-truth.")

In many ways, right-wing journalism is often identical to The Onion, in that it creates fictionalized news, making up stories that don't actually exist. Intentionally. In this respect, right-wing outlets are equal to The Onion.

However, unlike The Onion, right-wing outlets create fictions hoping that they will be believed as truth, fictions that will actually be read as news rather than the unintentional, self-deprecating satire they actually are. In other words: the motivation is to trick rather than to treat.

A prime example of this was seen last week with the sensational "Friends of Hamas" story about Chuck Hagel. The story was created by Ben Shapiro, Brietbart News's Editor-at-Large, who claimed in a mere three paragraphs that a pro-Hamas group called "Friends of Hamas" was found to be a Hagel donor.

The story immediately caught fire on the right as conservative bloggers and news outlets, intent on tarring President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense with anti-Israel smears, repeated and amplified the story.

The only problem? It's not true. No such group even exists.

Jon Stewart famously explained how this dynamic works at Fox News, how the opinion side of the network creates speculative stories for the "news" side to run with and cover as though they are actual stories.

This is how it has come to work in the entire right-wing "journalism" industry, only the so-called journalists have become more efficient, bypassing the need to wait for speculative fictions by simply creating them as original news pieces sourced anonymously.

And this is where The Onion and right-wing outlets diverge. While The Onion critiques our political world with fiction, right-wing outlets create fictions that are worthy of critique.

While The Onion tries to amplify the truth with its fictions, right-wing outlets try to amply their fictions with more fictions.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site