Rumor Review

When satire causes confusion

Viral rumor rundown president of Finland fakeIt is true that Sauli Niinistö, the president of Finland, met with President Donald Trump on Oct. 2 at the White House. But Niinistö did not later post a video in which he said he prefers “the company of reindeer and snow.” The video, a piece of satire, features Actor Rob Paulsen, who created the video and shared it to his Instagram account.

Satire out of context

This is an example of a piece of satire that has circulated outside its original satirical context, causing confusion.

For teachers

Should Paulsen have labeled this video more clearly as a piece of satire? Is there anything he could have done to prevent it from being misunderstood if it was copied and used elsewhere online? Is it reasonable to expect the creators of satire to take steps to prevent such confusion, or is that the sole responsibility of the audience? Even if you always recognize satire, can other people mistaking a piece of satire for something real have an impact on you?