Our Media Was Not Built For The Irony Of The Area 51 Raid
The Area 51 raid Facebook event has, as of publishing time, over a million people who have said they are going, and nearly another 900,000 who have marked themselves as "interested" in charging the gates of the secretive military installation where the aliens live. That's nearly two million people who get the joke, with probably a handful of tinfoil hat wackos mixed in who are getting teary-eyed at the thought of the world finally coming around to their way of thinking. If you needed any more evidence of the irony fueling this meme machine, the group was created by a Facebook user with the handle "Shitposting cause im in shambles."
You are forgiven if you thought that it was real for even a second, because all this is just the kind of insane BS that seems believable right now. What didn't help was that traditional news outlets were not built for a world where irony goes viral.
Nearly all articles about the event seem to not know how to handle that this is a joke, so they dryly reported on it as if millions of people were legitimately interested in getting shot by federal agents. This USA Today article waits until the final sentence to casually suggest that the whole thing could be a joke, and that the tweets embedded in which people get excited about potentially finding alien vehicles from Halo were maybe ironic. Since there's not much to say about the story once you suggest that a lot of people liked the funny joke, sources like NBC News and The Hill quickly segued into reciting the history of Area 51, because they have word counts to hit, by Jove.
The best thing to come from the coverage is watching stuffy news outlets dryly describing "Naruto running," which is the raid organizer's proposed method of dodging bullets. America's awful grandpa FOX News described Naruto running as "referencing a Japanese comic character known for his speed." The Washington Post, topping all of this off with a real chef's kiss of a description: "anime ninja Naruto Uzumaki, whose signature head-forward, arms-behind-the-back running technique has led some to believe it makes them run faster. (It doesn't.)"
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