One could argue it’s a post-modern phenomenon when fake news is consumed just as much as—and regarded more highly than—real news. The Onion is proof of that. With a print circulation of about 690,000 (that’s roughly The Los Angeles Times’ daily circulation) and a successful online version, The Onion boasts a following that most alternative news publications would merge with a corporate entity for.
Onion staffers John Harris (pictured above, bottom) and Chad Nackers (pictured above, top) are part of a small team of comedian/writers who craft satirical news stories for the spoof-news source. Starting out as a weekly paper circulated on select college campuses, The Onion has grown into a full-fledged news source that covers all media bases. Aside from its print edition, its 24-hour online-news network, morning show Today Now! and arts and entertainment edition, The A.V. Club, have broadened the scope in which the team can poke fun at politics, culture, sports, media and, ultimately, the rest of us.
The Onion’s secret lies in its ability to outdo serious news sources with thought-provoking satire and dead-on mimicry of news and pop-culture. Headlines like “U.S. Continues Quagmire-Building Effort in Afghanistan,” “Haiti Makes Bid for 2216 Olympics” and video segments on “How to Find a Halloween Costume for Your Effeminate Son,” make us laugh, then think and often feel embarrassed for the world we’ve created.
The Onion’s John Harris and Chad Nackers @ Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, 801-524- 8200, Saturday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., free with ticket from the Dewey Lecture Series (only a few left at press time, although overflow seaing may be available).