WINOOSKI – Despite his best efforts, lone internet commenter Steve M. was unable to convince any of the other commenters that the satire post they were discussing was not a real news story. The article was labeled satire, as well as the entire site on which the article was published, but this did not dissuade readers from believing it to be factual. Steve M. appeared as the tenth comment, pointing out the satirical nature of the piece, but received angry trolling in return.
Comments such as “WTF! Is this real?” and “This makes me so angry! How could they actually do this?!” received replies from Steve M., informing them that, no, it was not real.
“It’s satire,” wrote poor Steve M., hoping to involve his fellow citizens in the joke. But it was not to be.
“If this is a joke, which it’s not, then it’s not funny,” responded one angry reader, who seemed unaware that even unfunny jokes are not necessarily factual. “Yah, well three of my frends posted this, so its real jokes on you a**hole,” wrote another internet dweller, after being politely corrected by Steve M.
“I’m not sure what else there is to do,” Steve M. told us after we contacted him for this story. “People get one piece of information in their heads, and then don’t look to see if it’s true or not, and the more you show them that what they thought was actually false, the more they seem to defend it as sacred truth.”
Steve M. says he will not give up trying to correct people online, but may change tactics in the future.
“I actually did find one way that seemed to work. I found a satire post that a lot of conservatives seemed to be commenting on, so I wrote ‘My Trump-loving friends told me this piece was not real, just a joke, but all liberals know that it is real and true. Suck it Trumpers!’ Within minutes all of the conservatives were suddenly defending my imaginary friend, and had convinced each other that the article was satire. It works on liberals too. Just say the opposite of what you want them to believe and put a Trump 2020 hashtag after it, and they will do a 180 so hard it’ll make your screen spin.”