Satire is a powerful tool. It’s funny, witty, and can be quite a challenge to the reader. It's supposed to outrage and amuse, cause laughter and delight, prick your conscience and unveil uncomfortable truths — all at the same time. By its very definition, it aims to find the sweet spot between reality and absurdity. But for some people (read: naive), the line between satire and real news gets blurry — especially when they fall for these tales and share them as truth each day.

See, popular satirical news sites like The Onion are easily confused with the real deal. In fact, they are misunderstood so often that it even spawned a whole online community dedicated to ridiculing those who have been fooled. So let us introduce you to the wildly popular 'Ate The Onion' subreddit, a place collecting screenshots of people who failed to see the satire and immediately embarrassed themselves online.

No wonder the community has gained a cult following with over 553k members cringing over hilariously painful scenarios they stumbled upon on the web. So below, we hand-picked an entertaining collection of some of their best posts to share with you. Continue scrolling, upvote your favorite ones, and be sure to let us know what you think of them in the comments!

For some more outrageously funny and gullible reactions to non-existent events and ideas, check out Bored Panda’s earlier post about 'Ate The Onion' right over here.

#1

Hulk Was So Sexy They Ate The Onion

Hulk Was So Sexy They Ate The Onion

PerAsperaAdInfiri Report

#2

End Of An Era: The Blue Whale That Hangs From The Ceiling Of The Museum Of Natural History Has Died

End Of An Era: The Blue Whale That Hangs From The Ceiling Of The Museum Of Natural History Has Died

mortalstampede Report

#3

:/

:/

coolkanood Report

Sleepy children love Moon
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Then she's not a virgin. If her name isn't Mary, then I'll be doubly disappointed

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To gain some insight on the role of satirical news sites today, we reached out to James E. Caron, a Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. In his recent book Satire as the Comic Public Sphere: Postmodern "Truthiness" as Civic Engagement, he examines well-known comedians such as Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Jimmy Kimmel, and discusses how satirical commentary on current events and politics affects the audiences.

"Good satire both entertains and informs," Caron told Bored Panda. "Mock news sites sometimes are doing satire, but not always. Mostly they entertain." At its core, satire raises people's awareness and provides multilayered commentary on political communication and mass media by using humor and irony. With the power of clever ridicule, it challenges readers’ views and helps confront unpleasant truths.

"For an informed citizen interested in civic issues of the day, they take their place in the range of discourse available that makes some sort of attempt to shape our reality," the professor added.

#4

They Must Be Punished

They Must Be Punished

Thejester03 Report

Nunya Bidness
Community Member
2 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one is real. I read on Facebook that they used their newly created arsonbots to get the job done.

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#5

Oem Recommended

Oem Recommended

9fmaverick Report

Doggo
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"Every 3,000 TikTok posts..." This is cracking me up 🤣

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#6

Youngest Child Ever

Youngest Child Ever

blockguy143 Report

LinManuelMiranda
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

no, no guys, you got it all wrong. The youngest child ever is that 1 and 3/4 year old I saw in the park the other day.

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Being part of the entertainment industry, political satire reaches more people than ever before. Since it adds a sense of wit to the mix, it makes the audience incredibly receptive to it. It makes the bitter truth a tad sweeter to swallow, but it usually conveys the message nonetheless.

However, is it a good teacher of how to address important political and social issues? "Some satire will include in its comic presentation an actual solution to a highlighted problem, but mostly not," Caron explained. "But providing solutions is not the job of satire. That is what political leaders are supposed to do."

"What good satire can do, however, is bring attention to important issues in ways that make the readers/viewers laugh and then think. That is what I call in my book 'the theory of amusement.' Laugh and then muse (think) about what you are laughing about. Satire is not so much a teacher as it is a traffic sign, pointing a thoughtful person toward a place of reflection."

#7

Ate The Hamster

Ate The Hamster

daltontf1212 Report

#8

She Hopes It's Not Real

She Hopes It's Not Real

ka6emusha Report

Jake B
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

These planes always look like they are peeing to me. But I am a bit weird.

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#9

Embarrassing: The U.S. Is Ranked 182nd In The World Alphabetically

Embarrassing: The U.S. Is Ranked 182nd In The World Alphabetically

mortalstampede Report

A 2017 study conducted by The Ohio State University has shown that satirical news programs have real political effects on people who consume them, just like watching serious, fact-based news. After inviting 146 college students to watch regular news and satirical news sources, the research aimed to measure the impact programs such as The Daily Show have on the study participants.

The results revealed that people with little interest in politics were more likely to select satirical over serious news. In addition, satire even has the power to reinforce our pre-existing attitudes and even influence political efficacy — the way people believe they can influence political processes.

#10

Oh Boy, Former Coworker Eats The Onion With The Peel And Everything

Oh Boy, Former Coworker Eats The Onion With The Peel And Everything

Darth_Inconsiderate Report

#11

Drank The Flat White Onion

Drank The Flat White Onion

clonemutations Report

Bouche Clay
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So, is the term "tighty whities" offensive to white people with toned rear portions?

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#12

Aviyah Doesn't Understand Ethics

Aviyah Doesn't Understand Ethics

aviyahsworld Report

ThatG
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Easy Aviyah. He shot it with an air rifle.

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"Satirical news matters," Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, author of the study, said. "It is not just entertaining — it has a real-life impact on viewers." The findings of the study indicate that satirical news can draw in and engage viewers who otherwise would about political content. "This suggests that satirical news could be a gateway into more serious news use for people who aren’t currently engaged in politics." So while these entertaining new sources may seem funny, they bring serious and much-needed effects.

#13

To Be Fair, It's A Plausible Sounding Story

To Be Fair, It's A Plausible Sounding Story

JournalofFailure Report

#14

Fda Approves First Artificial Tumor

Fda Approves First Artificial Tumor

mortalstampede Report

#15

I Can't Let This Bee Unseen

I Can't Let This Bee Unseen

1ANJ1 Report

However, things take a different turn when news stories that should be taken as a joke are mistaken for real news. While satire may seem obvious and easy to spot for many readers, the serious, matter-of-fact manner that certain sites use to "report" fake events sometimes lead to misunderstandings.

According to professor Caron, people fail to note the irony or sarcasm built into satire because they are not paying attention to the underlying circumstance or event, or even historical fact that it plays with. "To get any joke, you have to have a specific piece of information that is being joked about," he said. "Without that knowledge, the joke is missed."

A brief scroll through this list will prove that not all audiences can spot the difference between satire and actual events. What’s worse, they perceive satire as hard cold facts, especially across social networks. These individuals may lack critical thinking skills or have poor media literacy — qualities that all informed and savvy media consumers should aspire to have. "Also, people believe what they already believe before they even read the satire/hear the joke," Caron added.

#16

Vegans In An Uproar Over A Fake Article

Vegans In An Uproar Over A Fake Article

diverareyouok Report

LinManuelMiranda
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

*cannibals* "I can eat human fingers now because they don't really need them anyway!"

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#17

Idiot Parents Know Nothing Of Games

Idiot Parents Know Nothing Of Games

Ok_Bath6437 Report

#18

Sorry To Burst This Bubble

Sorry To Burst This Bubble

tofumusubi Report

Catrovert
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Welcome to the East Atlantic Ocean folks! Formerly known as Russia!

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For our previous feature of 'Ate The Onion', my colleague Rokas got in touch with one of the moderators of this incredibly popular subreddit, who noted that satirical news is now as important as any other form of comedy. "News outlets have always favored tragic events over uplifting ones so, in a way, I think satirical news helps people see the bright side. Or at the very least it makes them consider that there might be a bright side and not everything is as terrible as it is presented on the news."

The moderator TheCats_Bananas listed two main reasons why people fall for satirical satire, in their opinion. "The first one [is] that people are used to seeing news on their feeds so when they see a satirical headline, they don't even consider that it might be satirical unless it's extremely farfetched, so they just comment on it without much of a second thought."

"The second reason is that in recent times, actual news headlines have gotten so unexpected and ridiculous that people have just accepted the fact that most of it is real so there's little reason to doubt anything anymore," they said.

#19

Krispy Kreme Human Glazing

Krispy Kreme Human Glazing

silkspun Report

T5n
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Honestly, if this was real, I would definitely do it.

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#20

Just Don’t Hold It Down For More Than 5 Seconds

Just Don’t Hold It Down For More Than 5 Seconds

kidehe34543 Report

#21

Stupid Baby

Stupid Baby

KirbyPlanetRobobot Report

Bisces
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I mean, the baby is shitty though. He was ONE minute late! What were you doing? What was sooo important? I didn't realize your time was more important than my cool... time thingy joke! Yeah! Do better.

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When we asked professor Caron whether the latter is true, he mentioned that we do live in strange times "when folks believe that JFK Jr. will appear at a rally" or "that the supreme court will reinstall Donald Trump as president."

"If that is your reality, then nothing is ridiculous because everything is ridiculous," the professor added. "People believe what they want to believe with real news too as well as the mock news created by satirists."

#24

This Is Going To Take Years To Clean Up

This Is Going To Take Years To Clean Up

KaitlynCaudill Report

michael ye
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Every vampire ina 100 mile radius: Oh my god that's disgusting! WHERE?

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To become better at separating fact from fiction online, we must stay informed. "Think critically when you read crazy stuff on the internet. Just because you are reading it doesn't mean it's true," Caron advised.

"Example: conspiracy folks, when told that Trump lost 60 of 61 lawsuits contesting the 2020 election, reply that the judges are all corrupt. Isn't it curious that those judges were perfectly honest, no charges of corruption before they ruled against Trump? That's a coincidence beyond belief for a thinking person."

#25

Need👏🏾a👏🏾hobby

Need👏🏾a👏🏾hobby

allwxllendswxll Report

#26

Grandma Took The Bee Too Serious

Grandma Took The Bee Too Serious

ghostbadger7 Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#27

Woah! I Didn't Know That!

Woah! I Didn't Know That!

Sumoman435 Report

To follow the wise words of Abraham Lincoln, "Don't believe everything you read on the internet!" Don’t rely on your completely subjective assessment of the source, hone your critical thinking skills, and enjoy the constructive and hilarious dialogue that satire so often opens up. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the examples featured in this list. Which were your favorite ones? Did you ever fall for a satirical headline and embarrassed yourself online? Feel free to share your opinions and experiences with us in the comments.

#28

I'm Beta Testimg This Update. Some Of My Friemds Said It's Ummecessary But I'm Just Tryimg To Do My Part

I'm Beta Testimg This Update. Some Of My Friemds Said It's Ummecessary But I'm Just Tryimg To Do My Part

StanielNedward Report

#29

The Comments On This One Are The Best I’ve Seen

The Comments On This One Are The Best I’ve Seen

reddit.com Report

Nunya Bidness
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It only happened because they dressed the baby like a mouse. Snakes love to eat mice.

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#30

Carl Weathers Took A Small Bite It Seems

Carl Weathers Took A Small Bite It Seems

1IfByLand Report

Ty Stratton-Quirk
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The sad thing is, this actually sounds halfway believable...

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#34

A Friend Sent Me An Onion Tweet And I Thought It Was A Real Article

A Friend Sent Me An Onion Tweet And I Thought It Was A Real Article

NickOneTen Report

Dre Mosley
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yeah, but that judge out of the gate was biased in his favor, so I could sort of buy this one

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#35

Surprise Surprise, A Sub Full Of Paranoid Narcissists Takes A Great Big Bite Out Of The Onion

Surprise Surprise, A Sub Full Of Paranoid Narcissists Takes A Great Big Bite Out Of The Onion

reddit.com Report

Ty Stratton-Quirk
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Have...have people NOT been doing this? Please don't tell me I'm the only one!

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#36

Pretty Sure This Was From Something On Ifunny, But It Still Got Ate

Pretty Sure This Was From Something On Ifunny, But It Still Got Ate

Burritosrule77 Report

See Also on Bored Panda
#37

Good Thing We Got That Cleared Up

Good Thing We Got That Cleared Up

who-dini Report

Cristian Gonzalez
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

THis is where Mr Beast got his inspiration on.

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#38

He's Clearly Never Lived In A Big City Before

He's Clearly Never Lived In A Big City Before

anonsharksfan Report

Hex Gurls
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

‘tHiNk AbOuT It!’ no no, YOU think about it.

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#40

Asked My Wife What She Was Raging About And She Sent Me This

Asked My Wife What She Was Raging About And She Sent Me This

imjam13 Report

#41

Bit The Hard Drive?

Bit The Hard Drive?

engispyro Report

#42

Tom Cruise Kills 18 Civilians

Tom Cruise Kills 18 Civilians

clueless_b4 Report

highwaycrossingfrog
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Whose first response to bombing a Yemeni village is Scooby Doo???!

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See Also on Bored Panda
#47

Quote Tweeting A Comedian

Quote Tweeting A Comedian

andre-js Report

#48

Is She Bluffing?

Is She Bluffing?

-NewYork- Report

Bouche Clay
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'd probably have fallen for her bluff.

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#49

I Uhm-

I Uhm-

nylajd Report

Bouche Clay
Community Member
2 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well, we can praise the ones that are practicing torture distancing, anyway.

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#50

That Damn Pewdiepie Is Always Up To Something!!

That Damn Pewdiepie Is Always Up To Something!!

brokenlewiston Report

Note: this post originally had 121 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.