Smudge Takes Hit on Social Media in Wake of ‘Pizzagate’
By Scott Salad
Published December 11th, 2016
Courtesy of DOCLVHUGO
MENANDS — The Capital Region's weekly co-dependent source for make believe news experienced a mass exodus of social media followers last week, a trend that many believe is due to the recent rash of bad press that fake news has received in recent months.
The Albany Smudge's Twitter account — which started the week with a whopping 310 followers — was down to 305 by Friday morning, while the company's Facebook page was 12 likes below it's weekly average of 23.
In addition, four people fled the company's RSS feed, bringing the total number of subscribers below 10 for the first time in three weeks.
The paper's editor-in-chief, Burt Wilkersonn, believes the drop in support is directly related to incidents like ‘Pizzagate’ — the bogus online-conspiracy theory report that fooled thousands of people into believing a D.C.-area pizza parlor was the hub of a Democratic party-run child-sex ring.
The theory was debunked, but that didn't stop a man with a gun from firing three shots inside the restaurant last weekend, demanding to be taken to the supposed sex-dungeons.
“Fake news has taken some shit lately, no doubt,” said Wilkersonn. “But we'll pick ourselves up by the boot straps and press on. We have no choice, because if we weren't covering the fake news that's not happening in the Capital Region, who would?”
Despite the decline in numbers, Wilkersonn is adamant the lost readers will return.
“This story here, the one that you're reading right now, is about 80-percent bullshit. We're not trying to fool anyone. I wouldn't have said that if we were. No, our only aim is to give people throughout the 518 a brief respite from the shit storm that real life blows their way daily — especially between the hours of 9 to 5.”
Managing Editor Terry Stinson agreed.
“There are two kinds of fake-news sites,” noted Stinson. “Those, like ours, that are pure satire intended to entertain, and malicious ones that follow specific agendas designed to confirm the biases of the truly ignorant.”
When asked what, if any, financial incentives drive The Smudge, both Wilkersonn and Stinson laughed.
“You can make money writing fake news?” Wilkersonn asked.
“Yeah,” added Stinson, “we're not that bright.”