News satire, also called fake news, has been around for a while. While many believe, sometimes respond in anger to news satire, it is quite different that fake news.

Satire news is a type of parody presented in a format typical of mainstream journalism, and called a satire because of its content. News satire has been around almost as long as journalism itself, but it is particularly popular on the Word Wide Web, the Internet.

For for example on websites like The Onion, Faking News, or my very one publication the Torres Report (formerly the Vatican Enquirer)  where it is relatively easy to mimic a credible news source and stories may achieve wide distribution from nearly any site. News satire relies heavily on irony and deadpan humor, meant to entertain or even raise awareness on a particular issue.

Although satire news and fake news is made up, not true, mostly or all a lie, the former uses satirical commentary and sketch comedy to comment on real-world news events, fake news is the spreading of false information, a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines. Fake news intend to mislead and profit from readers believing the stories to be true. Fake news websites are similar to false propaganda created by individuals in the countries of Russia, Macedonia,  Romania, and the United States.

Following the 2016 U.S. president elections we’ve all been hearing a lot about fake news – you know those news stories that sound, feel and smell real, but they are not. Many have come to believe as if it’s a new trend. It’s not.

Many also think to know the motivation behind satire news sites, but it could be different from what you might expect. It’s all about entertainment, having some fun. In the 2016 U.S. presidential elections viral satire news stories weren’t made up to try to convince people of something or other.

I started publishing the Vatican Enquirer (later changed it to the Torres Report, given the Vatican name resulting in a high bounce rate, visitors expecting something else) to bring some relief to daily grind of publishing news, often wondering what if or if the report I am reading is real and what would it be like if it were this or that way. On a few occasions real life imitated the parody, one example is my satire on U.S. president-elect Donald Trump not moving into the White House.

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My take on that was poking fun on the lifestyle accustomed by his wife and how she would resist moving into social or government housing. A few days after publishing my story, right there, on CNN and other mainstream media, Mr. Trump is being said to be evaluating his staying on at Trump Tower and commuting to work at the White House.

In another case, again following the Trump victory, while in a group of friends, one of their friends brought up the topic, having read of Mr. Trump negotiating the purchase of Costa Rica or Nicaragua. I had a chuckle with that one. Never knew my crazy mind would come back in such a manner.

Even crazier is receiving a phone call from a guy insisting on speaking to Don Novello, the man behind the SLN character, Father Guido Sarducci, the fictional character created Novello, a chain-smoking priest with tinted eyeglasses, works in the United States as gossip columnist and rock critic for the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano,  mentioned as The Vatican Enquirer, a take-off of the tabloid The National Enquirer.

This guy on the other end of the phone call says he had just seen an online interview of Novello On the Talk Show with Harper Simon and insisted on speaking to him. It took me almost 10 minutes to calm him down, that Novello was a comedian and had no ties to my publication, none whatsoever. And not to believe everything that is on the internet.

My drive to publish satire comes from growing up watching Saturday Night Live (SNL). Yes, I am old enough to be there when it first started airing, the first episode on October 11, 1975.  

My publishing fake news, was no social experiment, like the creator of the fake news site The Denver Guardian, Jestin Coler, started writing fake news apparently as a way to prove how insidious it is. He was surprised at how fast the fake news gets eaten up.

Making up satire or fake news stories can be challenging, but I assure it can be fun. Keeping it trendy is the key.

Now you know. Head on over to the Vatican Enquirer for some light, fun and entertaining reading. Other sites you might also enjoy, as before The Onion, The National Report, The Borowitz Report in the New Yorker and La Prenda Libre and El Deforma, both in Spanish.