A study conducted by the Institute of Statistics has produced results which may be cause for concern. Out of group of 500 individuals tested, only ten were able to differentiate between satire and legitimate news. They were shown headlines such as “2 million die of shock after dark horse candidate elected” and asked whether this was an actual article or written with the intent to make others laugh.
Two hundred called it fake news, 100 considered it to be a well written informative story, and two called it out as satire. Oddly enough, despite some people being able to call out the dark horse story, they failed to call recognize other satirical stories.
They ironically enjoyed stories that satirized political figures they agreed with. Those who labeled “Millennials Do Nothing, Boomers All Over The Country Screech” as fake news lauded “Trump Destroys The Deep State Once For And All” as a story deserving of an Pulitzer.
Curious if the inability only applied when the individuals read the stories without context, participants were shown online stories with tags, humor being the first most visually dominant. The amount of people who answered correctly actually went down.
When given the ability to comment on these digital stories, they often displayed a sense of intellectual superiority when they called out perceived errors.
“We could actually see that large amounts of Dopamine, the chemical responsible for pleasure, were released when they believed they were correcting a mistake.” Dr. John Smith the man behind the experiment says.
It is currently unknown what cures exist to combat this shocking new disease scientists are calling “media illiteracy”. People are advised to develop a sense of humor, as those who laughed during the study were more likely to understand what satire is.