An article from The Daily Currant reports that 37 people died of marijuana overdose on January 1, 2014, the first day that the sale of marijuana was legalized in Colorado. It quickly grew viral, reaching more than 1 million likes on Facebook and almost 15,000 shares across other social media, with a lot of people weighing in on how these marijuana users should have stopped short of abusing the now-legal weed. However, not many of the readers realize that The Daily Currant is a satirical website and the article was actually a satirical article and NOT true.
People had overlooked a number of points or had no idea about the absurdity of such as portrayed in the article. For instance, the article cites a report from the Rocky Mountain News, a legitimate newspaper which had gone out of business for more than a decade already. The article also mentioned 29-year-old Jesse Bruce Pinkman as one of the victims but only those who watch the TV show Breaking Bad would have an idea that he is a fictional character.
According to the article, the chief of surgery at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, Dr. Jack Shepard, revealed that he had personally put 5 college students in a body bag, examined many patients, and expected the count to rise as high as 200 or 300 the following week. As a doctor, he seems to be a reliable source for the article but Shepard is just another character from a TV show, Lost.
There were also mention of people coming in with “hypospadias, acquired trimethylaminuria and multiple organ failures” but only those working in the medical field are familiar with the 2 conditions. Hypospadias is a birth defect where the opening of the male sex organ is not at the tip while trimethylaminuria is not “acquired” since it is a genetic condition that causes the patient to give off a strong, fishy body odor.
It is also common knowledge in the state of Colorado that Gov. John Hickenlooper had been vocal about opposing the sale of marijuana in the past but changed his mind and signed the first bill in history to establish a legal marijuana market. It was also Hickenlooper who approved the legalization of weed in the state. Of course, many of those who were not following the state’s move to legalize marijuana or know Hickenlooper would assume that the governor was against the ballot initiative and would try to overturn the new law, just as The Daily Currant’s article reports.
Also, not too many people have read articles on The Daily Currant before and just assumed that everything on the article was true.
Several newspapers, including The Examiner released articles to counteract the satirical article, explaining to the public that what was written there should not be considered as fact. However, the satirical article continues to spread like wildfire across various social media, with too few people checking if what was written there is factual or not.
Also, some critics believe that “legitimate” newspapers should not try to explain satirical articles as that would “kill the art of satire” but these papers believe that the people should know the truth, the real truth.