The Onion thanks its 'Communist subsidiary' for picking up story

BNO News | NYU Development Research Institute

The People's Daily ran 55 pages of photos celebrating Kim Jong-Un's designation as "Sexiest Man Alive." That honor, alas, was bestowed by The Onion.

Onion Editor Will Tracy said: "We are pleased that one of our many fine Communist subsidiaries, the People's Daily in China, has received accolades for its coverage of our Sexiest Man Alive announcement."

The People's Daily has served as one of the Onion's Far East bureaus for quite some time, and I believe their reportage as of late has been uncommonly fine, as well as politically astute. May our felicitous business association continue for centuries to come.

The Onion used a similar joke after Iran's news agency took another of the satirical paper's stories seriously.

"There IS a serious point here," William Easterly writes on the site of NYU's Development Research Institute.

Satire that mocks authority obviously is not allowed in an authoritarian system. Having never seen satire, and instead receiving nothing but fawning praise themselves, the autocrats are incapable of recognizing satire. It’s very funny, but it’s also very sad.

To be fair, American journalism has its own problems recognizing fake news. And reality can often be stranger than satire's wildest dreams. I looked at this story about an NPR station trying to get a drone twice before I felt comfortable it wasn't a joke, for instance.

Also: Is this Economist blogger unaware of The Onion's mission, or does s/he just possess a remarkably dry style (in addition to a fine set of initials)?

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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