On Sunday, a CNN reporter sounded the alarm over the popularity of a piece published by a conservative satirical site.
As Fox News reports, last week, The Babylon Bee drew some laughs with an article poking fun at the Democrats’ reaction to the U.S. airstrike that led to the death of Irani Gen. Qassem Soleimani, using the headline “Democrats Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast to Grieve Death of Soleimani.”
The viral nature of the satirical take (though one could be forgiven for believing it was true) appears to have trigger’d CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan who expressed concern that “Republican friends” on Facebook “are circulating it like it’s legit,” and that The Babylon Bee was getting more traffic on that one article than his network and The New York Times get weekly.
“To put this in perspective, this is the same number of engagements the top NY Times and CNN stories on Facebook had over the past week,” O’Sullivan wrote.
“A lot of people sharing this ‘satirical’ story on Facebook don’t know it is satire.”
O’Sullivan, who covers “disinformation, politics, and technology,” blasted the site over what he suggested was its weak effort to present itself as a satirical outlet.
“Having a disclaimer buried somewhere on your site that says it’s ‘satire’ seems like a good way to get around a lot of the changes Facebook has made to reduce the spread of clickbait and misinformation,” O’Sullivan elaborated before pointing to Facebook users whose comments suggest they believe the satirical piece.
O’Sullivan was the subject of mockery on social media over what has been called a “public meltdown.”
“Why is a CNN reporter having a public meltdown over a satire site,” Washington Examiner Executive Editor Seth Mandel asked.
And, The Babylon Bee immediately jumped into action to satirically ‘document’ the reaction:
CNN has slammed the world’s best satire site, The Babylon Bee, after CNN executives realized that “fake news” articles on the website were getting at least as much social media traction as their own.
“There ain’t room in this internet for the both of us,” growled one CNN anchor on the air Monday evening. “There simply aren’t enough people out there for us to fool with our fake news stories and The Babylon Bee to fool with their satire. There isn’t enough clickbait and outrage traffic to go around.”
Reporters at the media outlet also pointed out that their news was “much faker” than The Babylon Bee’s.
“They’re obviously amateurs over there at The Bee,” said Brian Stelter.
“A lot of times, their reporting comes true. If you’re gonna do fake news, do it right — 100% fake, guaranteed, 24/7. They really should learn from the pros over here at CNN.”
“Stay out of our territory,” he growled.
Conservative commentator Stephen Miller summed up CNN’s reaction best:
“You guys should definitely keep focusing your energy on Babylon Bee and people sharing a joke article is in no way a reflection of the garbage state of your profession.”
You cannot make this stuff up any more.