My Meaningful Media

The Real Fake News

Fake news is a serious problem. The first reports of it go back to the 13th century BC, when Ramesses the Great spread false images of himself winning the Battle of Kadesh. In truth, the battle was a stalemate and ended in a peace treaty between Egypt and the Hittites. Today, fake news has gained power and is more difficult to uncover, as it can be injected into the internet like a virus and spread uncontrollably via blogs, websites, and social media accounts. This can lead to incorrect perceptions and wrong conclusions that can have severely negative implications for society.

But there is one kind of fake news that I happily consume every single day. The satirical fake news created by Der Postillon. The main effect of reading their funny and often eloquently crafted headlines is that I am laughing my ass off at least once a day. Today I started my day reading that Donald Trump is planning to build a wall around California to protect the rest of the US from the wildfires.

Besides being extremely funny, Der Postillon is able to capture a truth behind their funny headlines. Recently, they claimed that a disturbed man in Sydney was looking out the window while riding the bus, instead of looking at his phone—and we can all read the alarming trend behind it of our obsession with all things silicon. (However, the fact that these silly headlines are frequently reposted as true stories is a constant reminder of the dangers of consuming media without reflection, and a call to check facts and sources before moving to conclusions.)

Der Postillon is great—and many countries have their own version of it. Besides the original—The Onion in the US—you can find De Speld in the Netherlands, Le Gorafi in France, Lercio in Italy, and El Mundo Today in Spain.