Funny fake news is fake. But what’s news?

When readers are unfamiliar with the old-school characters and local news stories that satirical newspapers send up, humor sites that specialize in fake news headlines aren’t reading as funny. Now social media algorithms are treating them like any other fake news source and throttling their traffic.

In “Dying Laughing” at The RingerAlison Herman and Victor Luckerson examine how fake news crackdowns are hurting satirical news sites, along with so many lost points of shared reference that make their humor work:

For The Onion in particular, divorcing an article from its context can prove troublesome. The outlet began as a satirical newspaper, and still hews to the stylistic conventions of old-school journalism as a mainstay of its dry, faux-factual house style. In an era when fewer people than ever read newspapers, that’s a problem. “The reference point is becoming lost for…

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