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Loving The Onion for its satirical takes and hating The Babylon Bee for theirs is all in a day’s work for CNN “reporter on disinformation” Donie O’Sullivan.
While he has endlessly tweeted out uproarious Onion stories on everything from “Clinton Throws Flash Grenade to Divert Attention from Question About Senate Voting Record” to “FBI Uncovers Al-Qaeda Plot to Just Sit Back and Enjoy Collapse of United States,” (hilarious), he has taken issue with The Babylon Bees’ off-the-wall comic piece “Democrats Call For Flags To Be Flown At Half-Mast To Grieve Death Of Soleimani.”
The fictional story was shared abundantly on social media, as much as top New York Times and CNN stories, which rankled O’Sullivan.
Babylon Bee founder Adam Ford took to Twitter to parlay the hypocrisy he saw in O’Sullivan’s crush on The Onion and displeasure with The Babylon Bee.
Ford points out that O’Sullivan, a fan of The Onion’s skewering of American politics, doesn’t like it when The Babylon Bee does it. Why not? The Onion racks up clicks, as does The Babylon Bee. The Onion has often been accidentally shared as though it were real news, as has The Babylon Bee.
There was the time The Onion ran a story about how North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was named sexiest man of the year, and it was reprinted by the South China Morning Post. Or the time a congressman shared an appalling story about Planned Parenthood opening up an “abortionplex.” There was even the time The Onion ran a story “Congress Takes Group of School Children Hostage” and the actual Capitol Police sprang into action to save the school children from Congress.
The Onion has been publishing satirical content online since 1996, and we, the public, have almost gotten used to not believing what they post. The Babylon Bee has only been on the scene four years, but they’ve been constantly crushing it.
There’s one major difference between these two outlets. And at first glance, it’s basically nothing. The Onion runs political and social satire, The Babylon Bee runs political and social satire. But while The Onion has always done so from something of a leftist bent, The Babylon Bee makes no bones about its Christian underpinnings. The Babylon Bee’s google listing clearly states “The Babylon Bee is your trusted source for Christian news satire.”
But explicitly stating that your site is satire not good enough for CNN expert in disinformation Donie O’Sullivan.
Disinformation campaigns are serious business. Bad actors and nefarious governments work hard to spread fake news in efforts to mislead the public. That’s not going to stop, in fact it’s just getting worse.
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are in a rush to try and curb the spread of fake news and influence campaigns. But as they rush to do so, they must be made aware of the efforts of bad actors like O’Sullivan who wish to silence their ideological opponents by crying “disinformation” at every turn.