From time to time I come across an article in a national newspaper about something I really know about - the First World War or Hamlet or, curiously, news publishing strategy - and I am almost invariably horrified at the superficiality of the analysis and plain inaccuracy of the "facts". People who know about other things tell me much the same tale of horror - apparently the press is no better informed about goverment pensions policy or performance related pay or the history of York, with articles on those subjects commonly cobbled together from Wikipedia and a press release. And one wonders, inevitably - if they are habitually this wrong when they talk about the things I do know a bit about, how badly are they misinforming me about everything else?
In contrast, I have eulogised before about The Onion, increasingly deserving of its self-conferred title of "America's Finest News Source". And today I find myself just as impressed by the Daily Mash and its take on Facebook privacy settings. Sure, satire is easier ro get "right" than investigative journalism. But once again I find myself wondering at the chasm between allegedly factual journalism and satire.
Three years ago Pew found that the audiences for satirical news were the best informed in America. I am increasingly inclined to attribute this to straight cause and effect. Satire is where the news is reported best.