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Why read the Post when you can read The Onion?

October 22, 2007

Is The Onion our “most intelligent” newspaper? Reason Magazine makes a pretty decent case that it is. Both in its operation and its content, the article argues, The Onion has been more successful than most other newspapers in the 21st century. The reason it doesn’t get more attention:

Too many high priests of journalism still see humor as the enemy of seriousness: If the news goes down too easily, it can’t be very good for you. But do The Onion and its more fact-based acolytes, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, monitor current events and the way the news media report on them any less rigorously than, say, the Columbia Journalism Review or USA Today?

However, even if the journalism establishment doesn’t properly appreciate The Onion, readers do. Despite being available for free online (and on the street in DC) The Onion has seen a 60% increase in paid print subscriptions in the past three years. What other newspaper can say that?

The reason for their success, ultimately, is that people appreciate the honesty and political incorrectness that The Onion offers. All other news publications have gone so far the in the other direction, creating a huge void The Onion gladly filled:

It delights in crapping on pieties and regularly publishes stories guaranteed to upset someone: “Christ Kills Two, Injures Seven In Abortion-Clinic Attack.” “Heroic PETA Commandos Kill 49, Save Rabbit.” “Gay Pride Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance of Gays Back 50 Years.” There’s no predictable ideology running through those headlines, just a desire to express some rude, blunt truth about the world.

Basically, you should be reading The Onion. It will make you smarter (and give you funny things to quote to your friends and coworkers).

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