The Laugh Sites
Indian spoof websites are adding that bit of lighthearted color to an otherwise sombre election scenario.
World famous whistleblower and owner of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange woke up one day to find, much to his amazement, that he was endorsing India’s Bharatiya Janata Party and its leader Narendra Modi.
The BJP was apparently using a leaked memo to claim that Modi was regarded as ‘incorruptible’ by Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks. The website and its owner soon issued a clarification that they never made such a claim. In its efforts to control the damage, an embarrassed BJP said that Modi did not need Assange’s endorsement as he was “above such certificates.”
Ideally, the matter should have died down within a few days but it did not – thanks to the spoof and satire websites that have grown in strength and influence over the last few years.
As a result, what followed was a flood of pictorial messages – or memes as they are popularly known – with a serious-faced Assange ‘endorsing’ funny lines such as ‘Multiplayer games should never be considered interruptible’ to ‘America is not afraid of Pompeii. Given all its years of dormancy, it’s evident that it is ineruptible’ to ‘If you are a bad gambler, you will lose a lot of money In Crap Tables.’
Although these web portals have existed for some years, the election season has provided them with the fodder they thrive on – politicians making all kinds of statements and their strange antics. Web portals such as The Unreal Times, Faking News, News That Matters Not, Farzi News, The India Satire and Hahakar News, to name a few, as well as some pages on Facebook, are actively producing satirical news.
Their standard operating procedure includes selecting random statements of famous politicians and twisting them to make fake news stories that read like serious news but have an inherent element of satire. They sometimes present completely outlandish ideas in the form of apparently innocuous everyday news. For example the headline ‘Mumbai named second most honest city while Sharad Pawar was not in the city’ or ‘I never asked the public that question about going to the washroom: Kejriwal.’
In addition to Indian politicians, these websites are known to target international politicians and cricketers in their spoofs. At times, instead of news stories, they present pictorial stories where speech bubbles are added to different