Babylon Bee editors Kyle Mann and Joel Berry got candid with Fox News Digital on why they wrote a book on “wokeness” and what foolproof strategy they use to defend their satirical site against liberal critics who have had them fact checked or flagged as “misinformation.”
“The Babylon Bee Guide to Wokeness,” which was released Tuesday, mercilessly pokes fun at “woke” activists who are “offended by everything.” The authors suggest which pronouns to use and which to avoid, finding your identity in your feelings, and how to make amends for being White.
While the book is in jest, Mann and Berry say it has a sobering message hidden in the humor. Take the chapter on the rewriting of American history, for example, which suggests that textbooks are wrong and that the Founding Fathers were actually racist. Mann said he and his co-author used extreme examples like that to try to “shine a light” on the hypocrisy and revisionist history in schools with the rising popularity of critical race theory among academics.
In today’s culture, the editors say, even civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. would be cancelled because he preached messages of colorblindness and nonviolent protest. In the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020, riots erupted in major cities across the country.
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“His core message, for one, was being peaceful, and nonviolent,” Berry said. “That already disqualifies you from being a woke person.”
King’s most famous speech, where he instructed Americans to judge one another not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, would be a “no-no” for today’s woke crowd, Berry added.
“The woke movement has kind of reversed that to where racism has to be central to every – to our understanding of human beings, and our friends and our neighbors,” Berry said. “We can’t see someone as just an individual with hope and goals and dreams. We have to look at them as part of their group identity, their race. It’s a total perversion of what Martin Luther King wanted and believed.”
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The wokeness effect has hit home for the Babylon Bee, too. The New York Times accused the satire site of having “trafficked in misinformation,” before issuing a correction. Snopes said it was muddying the water with misinformation. CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan also sounded the alarm on the satirists, accusing them of trying to confuse readers.
“To put this in perspective, this is the same number of engagements the top NY Times and CNN stories on Facebook had over the past week,” O’Sullivan wrote of one of the site’s articles. “A lot of people sharing this ‘satirical’ story on Facebook don’t know it is satire.”
But he ended up only being the butt of the joke for admitting CNN was losing to the site in traffic, giving the satire site the chance to respond with the humorous article, “CNN Attacks Babylon Bee: ‘The Internet is Only Big Enough For One Fake News Site.'”
Mann and Berry said that is the key to counter-punching their naysayers’ attacks.
“We just try to keep our sense of humor and mock those groups that do that. If the New York Times comes after us and it’s so ridiculous that they’re calling us a misinformation site, then we write an article about the New York Times and we make fun of them,” Mann said, laughing. “You always kind of win that exchange when [there’s] someone lecturing you and saying your joke is inappropriate and then you just tell a joke about them.”
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“They give us plenty of material,” Berry added of their media critics.
All the while, the Babylon Bee has also been fighting Big Tech’s apparent effort to get them kicked off social media. But they have a strategy for that too.
“We respond to that by trying to go to as far into the subscriber-funded model so subscribers can directly support them so they don’t have to rely on traffic from Facebook,” Mann said.
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“The Babylon Bee Guide to Wokeness” came out Tuesday.
“We hope it will be adopted by elementary school teachers across the country,” Mann quipped.