KIDLAT

Kidlat News: Philippine news satire in a lightning-fast website

Kidlat News is a low-bandwidth, text-only news satire website, with a focus on Philippine news and current events.

We may use the names and photos of public figures or actual businesses in our articles, but the stories themselves are invented. In all other cases, any similarity to actual persons, businesses or events is purely coincidental and unintentional.

Satire is a legitimate genre of literary arts and is protected speech, so please do not sue us.

You may though, steal our stories. Or maybe follow us on Twitter (@kidlatnews2024).

Is satire ‘fake news’?

Much like how caricature exaggerates a subject’s features here and there in order to emphasize certain traits, satire uses hyperbole or fiction to emphasize a point, create humor, or shed light on a larger issue.

Besides hyperbole, satire also uses other rhetorical elements such as irony, contradiction, sarcasm and slapstick to enhance its effect.

So how is satire different from the ordinary, low-down “fake news”? Satirist Aaron Hagey-Mackay puts it this way:

The motive underlying them is different. Satire uses fiction or humour to point to a larger social or political truth. It only works if you know it’s made up. Fake news operates under the guise of credible journalism to convince you of a falsehood–usually for political or monetary gain. It only works when you don’t know it’s a lie. In short, satire plays with its audience; fake news preys on its audience.

Of course, it takes a discerning reader to distinguish one from the other, and an equally competent writer to create an article that can legitimately be called satire and not simply a made-up news story masquerading as the real thing.

Indeed, inventing a totally fictitious news article without employing the rhetorical elements of real satire would render the result as simply “fake news.”

For example, before the 2022 Philippine President Elections, Rappler accused Adobo Chronicles, a self-proclaimed satire site, of writing and spreading a fake news story, with little semblance to what would normally be considered as satire.

Satire in Philippine media

Besides the aforementioned Adobo Chronicles, there used to be a number of self-styled humor/satire news sites that existed in the 2010s such as So, What’s News, Mosquito Press, Professional Heckler, Agila News, and others.

Many have ceased publication, perhaps because, as the Philippine Daily Inquirer recently observed, satire–real satire–“has simply become unpopular.”

“Satire, which is high comedy, is supposed to make people laugh, then think,” said director Jose Javier Reyes in the same Inquirer article. “Problem is, people just want to laugh and don’t think.”

This is probably the reason for the recent trend of “satirical news cards” popularized by social-media-based humor pages such as International State College of the Philippines (ISCP), Philippine Daily New Society, and Cebu Dairy News.

Graphic: ISCP BA in Mass Communication

These are simply headlines over a graphic or photo which take less time to create and appreciate than the longer news article, and easier still to share on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit. Though often humorous, only a few can legitimately be considered as satire.

Kidlat News is satire, not fake news

Like many satirical news sites, humor is the main goal that drives us to write. For example, we wrote articles like Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau Thanks Philippine President Marcos for Regular Supply of High-Grade Filipinos and Senator Ronald Dela Rosa Declares Trees ‘Communist Sympathizers’, Calls For Complete Deforestation of Mountains with the intention of being funny.

Humor, of course, is highly subjective, and what we find hilarious might not elicit a single chuckle from others.

But some of our articles, like Ilocano Migrant Worker Feels Deep, Metaphysical Connection to Congressman Sandro Marcos or Ungrateful Daughter Chafes at Role As Parents’ Retirement Plan, are not even humorous at all, even for the writers. Instead, they were written specifically to point out the irony in each of these women’s situation.

Compared to an ordinary news article, whose sole purpose is to inform, the appeal of satire is that it serves many purposes: make people laugh, expose contradictions, highlight social issues, mock people in power, encourage debate.

At Kidlat News we are not interested in writing real news–or even fake news–articles. Because those are boring. We are going to confine ourselves to writing stories that we think are worth writing and the only kind we know how to: satire.