In late July 2023, users on Facebook, Twitter, and Truth Social shared an article that claimed an executive at Paramount said the company may be cutting ties with the Country Music Television (CMT) channel. The headline read, "Paramount Says It Might Have to Cut CMT: 'They've Lost Their Audience.'"
Social media posts sharing the article showed a thumbnail picture of country music singer Jason Aldean, who had recently generated news headlines after CMT pulled his music video for the song "Try That in a Small Town" from its airwaves. NBC News reported CMT had "yanked" the music video "after it garnered widespread attention over its lyrics and for featuring a Tennessee courthouse where a Black teenager was lynched in 1927."
Regarding the Paramount-CMT article, one Facebook user commented, "Go woke, go broke."
However, there was this fact: This story originated on a website that described its output as satirical.
In other words, no, a Paramount executive did not say the company may have to remove CMT from its channel lineup. The story was fictional.
The Dunning-Kruger Times website first published the satirical article on July 27, 2023. It read, in part:
Paramount, the parent company of MTV and CMT, is concerned with the network's performance.
According to Vice President of Programming Joe Barron, the entire network may need to go.
"They've lost their audience," said Barron, "without an audience, it's just a network of sitcom reruns and reality television. Who wants that anymore?"
The alleged "Joe Barron" person was a fictional character whose name had appeared in many other stories published by the Dunning-Kruger Times. The website's "About Us" page reads, "Dunning-Kruger-Times.com is a subsidiary of the "America's Last Line of Defense' network of parody, satire, and tomfoolery." The page also references Snopes; we've covered a number of the outlet's stories since so many users believe them to be real news.
After its initial publishing, the story about Paramount and CMT was shared on social media platforms without any disclaimer saying it was satire.
In one Facebook post, a page named 1st News published, "Paramount Says It Might Have to Cut CMT: 'They've Lost Their Audience.' Full story in the first comment."
The first comment below that post displayed a link to the Dunning-Kruger Times article, except it was hosted on newsc5.com. This website address looked to have been created to fool users into believing it was associated with a local news website. (We previously reported on another time this website copied content from Dunning-Kruger Times.)
Newsc5.com showed no disclaimer about the story being satire, which led to a number of Facebook comments from people who seemingly believed the news was real.
"Absolutely awesome. It serves them all right!!!," one user wrote, apparently in reference to CMT.
"I love karma," another person commented.
Many comments also stated, "Go woke, go broke."