The Caricature: Facing Fake News Head On

By: Grace Frye

Figure 1. “Although the topics discussed may seem ironically or unfortunately realistic, they are satirical and fictional in nature. With that out of the way, welcome to The Caricature.” (Click on the image or the link to visit Grace’s site.)

The current national news climate is changing. Not due to technological updates or breaking stories. The main contributor to the changing news climate is one thing: fake news. Absurdist stories are circulating the internet, are being shared on social network sites daily, and are taken at first glance as fact at an alarming rate.

As an aspiring journalist the rise of purposefully false information is not only disconcerting, it shakes me to my core. The Society of Professional Journalists has four pillars of ethics that journalists are held to: 1) Seek Truth and Report It; 2) Minimize Harm; 3) Act Independently; 4) Be Accountable and Transparent. The creators of fake news fly in the face of these principles. By consciously reporting falsities with the intent to cause harm, often times creating conflicts of interest and refusing to take responsibility for their actions, they have created a toxic new genre of internet media. As an ethical reporter it is important to adhere to these pillars to gain trust with an audience, however fake news is jarring and seeks to disrupt this trust and the Fourth Estate that is news media.

With this project I wanted to face fake news head-on by creating politically charged pieces of satire. Rather than create purely fictional news and contribute to the propaganda fueled problem myself, I have opted to explore hot topic issues through the lens of comedy. Comedian and speaker W. Kamau Bell introduced the idea of political comedy in his show “United Shades of America” and his standup routine, “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour” as a way to start and hold awkward conversations with differing opinions. He also emphasized the need for comedy as a way to break down tensions when challenging a person’s beliefs. I’ve worked to emulate his ability to put an audience at ease and address difficult topics effectively.

This is not only a project for my upper division communication course on Propaganda and Political Persuasion at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX—I plan to continue this creative project and hope to develop it further. Right now the stories focus mainly on politics, but I have delved into the relationship between politics and business as well as education. I want to grow the site and continue to contribute weekly. Not only is this a way to help combat fake news by bringing light to the absurdities hoax news disseminates, it is an important way to grow as a writer and reporter. In the larger body of my portfolio work this is a one of a kind project where I can practice my web, design, research, and writing skills.

As it stands now, purposefully fake news with the intent to disseminate false information is a caricature of traditional journalism. Diligently reported stories are replaced by propagandist hoaxes intent on disrupting media by way of shares and click throughs. I’m here to stand up to fake news. First and foremost this site is a piece of political satire. Although the topics discussed may seem ironically or unfortunately realistic, they are satirical and fictional in nature. With that out of the way, welcome to The Caricature.

The Caricature can be reached here: