Satirical News Sites Rejoice as USA enters Election Year
Satirical news sites across the United States entered 2024 with joy in their hearts as the Presidential election season officially started. The Republican Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary have already provided plenty of shakeups to the Republican lineup of candidates to lose to Donald Trump, and even more opportunities for parody sites to get some easy traffic.
“It’s like going on autopilot,” says Trent Warner, creator of math-rock parody site Counterpoint. “We call it SNL-mode. With election articles, you’re not really aiming for any sort of joke or punchline, you’re basically just given free rein to point your finger and say ‘Hey, isn’t that thing that really happened funny?’” We asked how you know that you’ve written a good article, when you don’t have to be particularly funny, and Warner says, “You’ll know when you get your first comment saying that ‘reality is more ridiculous than the satire these days.’ Once you’ve caught the crowd who thinks they’re saying something profound, you can be sure it’s going to be shared far and wide to show how profound they are.”
Some satirical news sites still aim for quality, even as they jump on the election season bandwagon. “Not all of us are The Onion, okay?” says Monica Heller, who runs romance novel parody site The Lover Insider. “We can’t all make twenty paragraph-length articles every time Mitch McConnell’s eye twitches. Some of us mom and pop parody sites have to put in actual work to make sure that the news of the day has some sort of connection to our various niches. I watched the Republican debates in slow motion to catch the right clip of Vivek Ramaswamy licking his lips while his eyes were in a suitably sultry lilt. And then he dropped out before Iowa even! I don’t know if I can survive ‘til November.”