He blasted the self-proclaimed Internet newspaper for its trashy content and its penchant for “aggregating” news from other sources and presenting it as its own.
Colbert was particularly irked by a story with the headline “College Students Warm Up To The Back Door.”
“Obviously,” Colbert excoriated, “that provocative teaser is just ‘clickbait’ and it could mean anything. But it means exactly what you think it means.”
“Huffington Post broke this story by rolling up their sleeves and doing the kind of reporting that won them the Pulitzer Prize two years ago,” he lampooned.
“They paraphrased a college newspaper column from Washington State University.”
While the tactic is tacky, it’s far from the most egregious practice. Most celebrity tabloid sites simply make up their stories and attribute them to “anonymous sources.”
The practice is so rampant, and at times so ridiculous, it’s given rise to other gossip Web sites that exist solely to debunk other gossip Web site stories. There’s no shortage of material.
The Internet has fostered a kind of journalistic Darwinism, where survival is dictated by how many pageviews a site receives from readers. It’s caused a race to the bottom, with sites publishing sensational stories merely to serve as Colbert says, “clickbait.”
Check out Colbert’s report below, let us know your thoughts and follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest media news.