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Analysis of a Fake News Article on the Notorious Website ‘The Onion’

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In the article, ‘Obama Sinks Family Savings into Developing Presidential Tabletop Game’, an anonymous author discusses, as the title states, how the former president Barack Obama is sinking all of his financial gains into the development of a board game. This article can be found on a notorious fake news website called ‘The Onion’. The article achieves its purpose as a piece of fake news because it does not have a certified publisher to back up the article and the evidence and quotes are only in favor of the author’s argument. In the article itself, the author interviews Obama about his board game and how it has affected his life. The main rhetorical device used is Logos because the author wants to poke fun at Obama and make him seem uneducated; however, there is ethos and pathos as well. All of these devices are being used to make lampoon of Obama.

The main rhetorical device used to poke fun at Obama is Logos, which is a logic-based approach. The author employs this approach by placing alleged quotes from Obama throughout the article. One of these statements being, “I drained our bank account to pay this specialty manufacturer to make the game components, and I’m hoping the Kickstarter money will cover the cost of renting warehouse space to store the finished product”. This quote is meant to conjure up the idea that Obama isn’t that educated. By putting all of his savings into a game that may or may not gain traction shows he is irresponsible and not smart. This is because he is making a very drastic decision without a good reason or back up plan. With this being said, the article has a logos-based approach because the reader is observing facts and has to piece together the meaning behind them.

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The approach is Ethos, which is the use of credibility to back up ones writing. Throughout the article, the reader can notice small details that make the legitimacy of the article questionable. First off, the author does not include his name. Without a name, the reader cannot observe other works by the author and confirm that they are qualified or giving reliable information. Secondly, the article has been published on a notorious news site called ‘The Onion’. This automatically should raise a red flag for anyone looking for dependable data. Lastly, a less noticeable feature is the diction used in the article. The diction used was not formal and had many grammatical errors. The article could be seen as a real source of new had these errors not been prevalent.

Another approach used in the article in Pathos, which is an appeal to the reader’s emotion. There is a lacking in a direct use of Pathos; however, the aspect of money problems mentioned earlier and the humorous ending to his board game can be stretched and used as Pathos. This is because the author makes the reader feel that Obama is just like a normal person who doesn’t think everything through and makes mistakes. With this being said, the use of this device helps create a connection that strengthens the ‘realness’ of this fake news article.

The author of this article does not accomplish his goal of making people view Obama as an uneducated man. But it does achieve its goal as a piece of fake news. Throughout the article the intended message permeated the text, however, due to many factors, the reader can obviously see that it is fake news. These factors could have been avoided had the author used the rhetorical devices in a better manner. These are the main reasons why this piece of fake news did not accomplish is the goal in the long run.

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Analysis of a Fake News Article on the Notorious Website ‘The Onion’. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from
“Analysis of a Fake News Article on the Notorious Website ‘The Onion’.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022,
Analysis of a Fake News Article on the Notorious Website ‘The Onion’. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 4 Mar. 2024].
Analysis of a Fake News Article on the Notorious Website ‘The Onion’ [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2024 Mar 4]. Available from:
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