The truth of The Onion

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By Domenico Nicosia


Part of being a member of the media also means that I have become hypercritical of media coverage from other organizations. From time to time, the golden boys of journalism have let me down.

Recently, I have started to lose my faith in CNN. Because we journalists know the behind-the-scene workings of breaking news coverage, it is easy to see through the network’s thin coverage. It appears as though anchors are starving for any bit of information. Too often they report on eyewitness information and unverified rumors. One example of this was the Boston Bombing coverage.

Most recently it was the Malaysia Airline disaster. In my opinion inviting people on air to speculate as to what happened to the plane is not productive. It feeds people false information and can fill their heads with false hope.

But, there is one “media organization” that can be relied upon to call legacy media out when they go too far beyond what is acceptable — The Onion.

The satirical news site has a keen eye for taking what is newsworthy and commenting on its ridiculousness. Granted, they are not always successful and are at times offensive, they almost act as an ombudsman for the news as a whole.

A recent example of this is the article Malaysia Airlines Expands Investigation To Include General Scope Of Space, Time . Instead of commenting on the tragedy that is the missing plane, The Onion decided to satirize the media’s coverage of the event.

The Onion is valuable because it provides us an opportunity to take a step back and observe the situation from a different point of view.

Another good example is CNN’s coverage of the VMA’s in the article Let Me Explain Why Miley Cyrus’ VMA Performance Was Our Top Story This Morning. The article explains why CNN used its top spot (the one that featured 9/11 coverage) for the Cyrus coverage. It is sad, but true how spot on the commentary was.

What do you guys think of The Onion? Is is valuable or offensive?

One Comment on “The truth of The Onion”

  1. Personally, I think The Onion is incredibly valuable in today’s journalism world. It’s one of the few credible websites that draws attention to the coverage (or non-coverage) issues that pop up in a variety of media around the country. It gets to the root of the issue, in most cases, and it can cause positive change if the issue is valid and the medium finds truth in what is being said. However, I do think that The Onion can occasionally go too far on coverage, becoming overly critical in an unproductive way.

    That being said, it’s also hilarious and immensely entertaining, and it’s getting younger Americans to pay attention to how the media is covering the news today. That’s an accomplishment in itself.

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