In an increasingly tough media business, organizations have increasingly been using the buddy system to partner up for maximum impact: MSNBC with The Washington Post and Newsweek, NBC News with Discovery, TIME with the home of earnest dreamboat Anderson Cooper. If synergy is good enough for real news organizations, why not for fake-news organizations?
That may be the future of satirical newspaper The Onion (current lead story: "Scratch ‘N’ Win Ballots to Debut in November"), if a report in Variety is correct: Viacom is said to be interested in acquiring it. Viacom, is, of course, owner of Comedy Central, the home of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, which suggests the potential for the world’s first fake-news empire. There’s no way of knowing if that’s Viacom’s real intention, but they wouldn’t be the first to notice crossover potential; Daily Show executive producer and writer Ben Karlin is a veteran of The Onion. And Viacom would be smart to take an interest in the potential of intelligent fake news, which seems to have greater influence, growth potential–and credibility–among young audiences than real news. (Rocketboom, start thinking of a price!)
If the report is correct, the merger will inevitably lead to massive layoffs of redundant fake-news reporters, the shuttering of fake-news bureaus in foreign capitals whose fake news does not interest Americans, and a marked increase in lucrative fake-news reports about celebrity babies to increase profits for fake news’ real shareholders. Welcome to the big time, guys.