In this seemingly satire-proof age, here are a few tips to help you differentiate real news sites from imitators, both skilled and otherwise:
- Generally, reputable news sources end in a .com or .org web address. Beware bizarrely complicated domains. For example, nbcnews.com is real, whereas nbcnews.com.co.net would be bullshit.
- If you’re not sure if a site is real, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “about us” link. Many faux news sites, even completely unfunny ones, say they’re “satire” in their mastheads.
- Google is your friend. If you see an image you think might be Photoshopped, do a reverse image search. You can also search fact-checking sites like factcheck.org, politifact.com, or that old reliable, snopes.com, to verify dubious-sounding assertions or statistics.
- ClickHole is part of the Onion family of websites, of which only the site you are reading right now deals in non-joke information.
That last lesson was learned by, of all places, The Washington Post late last night, after the paper published an article about a real campaign in the U.K. to get Green Day’s “American Idiot” to the top of the British charts in time for Donald Trump’s visit there this week. That campaign has reportedly been successful, at least on Amazon, but the paper’s reporting on it was—less so:
The paper cited a ClickHole article written last year by “Billie Joe Armstrong,” in which he “reveals” that—and we’re quoting a completely fake quote here, to be clear—“now that enough time has passed to let the dust and controversy settle, I finally feel comfortable revealing that the ‘American Idiot’ I sang about was none other than President George W. Bush.”
The story went up overnight, and so it took WaPo a few hours to realize its mistake, which was a source of much early-morning merriment here at Onion HQ. Less fun is the straightforward correction, which reads:
Editor’s note: A previous version of this report included information about the meaning of “American Idiot” that was attributed to a Clickhole.com article. Clickhole.com is a satire site. The information has been removed from the story.
It’s okay, WaPo. It happens sometimes, and we all got a good laugh out of it. Meanwhile, you can go to the Clickhole.com home page right now and read satirical, totally non-real quotes from “Danny DeVito,” “Ken Burns,” and “Armie Hammer” on the subjects of paint cans, bees, and Jolly Ranchers.