Elisabeth Preston, writing on Undark:
Over a decade’s worth of research shows that while satire does carry some risks, it can be an effective tool for communication. Satire can capture people’s attention and make complex topics accessible to a wider audience. In some circumstances, it can even sway beliefs. If scientists want to communicate with the public about a serious subject, they might try a joke.
It is not only good news though:
But humor could also manipulate audiences in the opposite direction. “Comedy could just as easily be used to engage people with perspectives that misrepresent or undermine science,” [Lauren Feldman, a communication researcher] says.
Another risk: people might not get the joke.
You already know what I will say but yes, I think The Onion is doing an terrific job when it comes to satire: humourous pieces with a real message; my favourite category being American Voices, where they publish fake one-line opinions from the public regarding a very real issue.