The Onion explains it all

The purported managing editor of CNN explains how they picked their top story in a fictitious opinion piece (which still rings very true).

There was nothing, and I mean nothing, about that story that related to the important news of the day, the chronicling of significant human events, or the idea that journalism itself can be a force for positive change in the world. For Christ’s sake, there was an accompanying story with the headline “Miley’s Shocking Moves.” In fact, putting that story front and center was actually doing, if anything, a disservice to the public. And come to think of it, probably a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of people dying in Syria, those suffering from the current unrest in Egypt, or, hell, even people who just wanted to read about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.

It’s all about the traffic, I guess, not the news…which any glimpse of CNN, Fox News, or the Huff Po will tell you.

I didn’t say anything about it because I was totally squicked out by the weird things she was doing with her tongue.


  1. sethmassine says

    I love the Onion. Funny, because my hyper conservative brother is the one who discovered it, and he thought it was legit at first!

  2. says

    The idea that righteous and noble truth-tellers tilting at windmills is “news” is the real corruption, not the fact that news reporting has almost always been limited to what the advertisers want the news to be. Socially conscious polemic isn’t “news” any more than the MTV awards are, but the latest fatality figures in a foreign country aren’t interesting or extremely relevant to the audience, whether they qualify as “news” or not.

    In short, quit being a crabby old man, you crabby old man. ;-)

  3. says

    I do not have a TV so I rarely watch news any longer, but I find watching television newscasts to be painful for the most part. Due to the lack of density of verbal communication they really rarely say anything, and when their top story is something like this they waste all of their time on it. At least with websites I can skip the top stories when they are moronic and move onto something else. It is also easy for me to read multiple news sources multiple times a day, compare their content, and try to get the best information. But sadly more reporting is still painful and basic. They usually have to assume the reader knows absolutely nothing, repeat the basics that are repeated in each story on a given topic, and then perhaps add a few paragraphs of new info. It is depressing and often shallow.

  4. says

    The idea that righteous and noble truth-tellers tilting at windmills is “news” is the real corruption, not the fact that news reporting has almost always been limited to what the advertisers want the news to be. Socially conscious polemic isn’t “news” any more than the MTV awards are,

    You are one clueless jackass,a ren’t you? Although it’s true that the news of the past was not any more a media circus, it’s just a little more obvious now.

  5. congenital cynic says

    Who is the “she” who was doing things with her tongue? Was it Miley Cyrus?

  6. anchor says

    Yep, all about the traffic (formerly known as ‘audience share’ in something called ‘ratings’ that advertisers always pored over).

    And in the ‘op-ed’ who does the ‘Managing Editor of CNN’ blame it all on?

    ‘Us’, of course. Crap content and programming is all our fault.

    Give the viewing consumer audience target what they want, rather like finding the best bait and chum. Obviously we must like what we’re given to nibble on because we strike on it.

    The ring doesn’t seem at all hyperbolic.

  7. kantalope says

    I on the other hand only clicked on this story because it was about hard hitting news networks – not because Miley Cyrus or Onion!

  8. says

    Honestly, I do blame “us” quite a bit. While I wish people in the news biz had more integrity, and actually were interested in news, we gobble up the pablum they present and there is absolutely no pressure for them to change their programming or content. We make it really easy for them to make the decision to do this, we could turn the TV off, or change the channel, we could ignore these stories on websites, but I think it is pretty obvious many of us do not.

  9. dantalion says

    It takes a different shape these days, but we’re talking about the mechanism which has always been the steering force in for profit media (remember the Maine?).

    In the business model used by the news media, the news viewer is not the customer, and the news is not the product. The news viewer is the product. The valued paying customer is the purchaser of advertising space. Space which they are buying on the assumption of a certain number of viewers seeing their ad in that space.

    Occasionally this means stories getting censored because some major advertiser doesn’t want to look bad. What it means far more often is that relevant stories will be ignored because utterly irrelevant crap moves more copies.

  10. says

    A friend pointed out a headline on to me today: “The Horrific Video We Must Show You”.

    Things like this are also the reason no mainstream US news site is on my regular news rounds. I might occasionally pop over to CNN to see what they say about something specific but I would never use it as part of my regular news trolling.

  11. Charlie Foxtrot says

    Hard to decide which I love the more, the Onion’s razor sharp observations, or the way they are frequently treated as ‘real’ news.

    As for Ms Cyrus, the tongue thing looked to me like body-language that like she wasn’t really comfortable with what she was doing. Either that, or she needs some ‘sexy’ lessons…

  12. robro says

    Meanwhile in other news, ABC is reporting that a Fort Worth area mega-church has mini measles epidemic (21 cases) going on, engendered by someone visiting from overseas. Many of the children have not been vaccinated. Now, of course, the pastor is promoting vaccination…a little late…though with the caveat that if it “crosses your of faith”…well, the main thing is to “stay in faith.” Yeah, right.

  13. spike13 says

    On one morning in I believe 7/01,the Taliban was in the process of destroying two massive Buddas which were in Afgani territory.( they used artillery to destrot these monuments).It was the lead story on the BBC.I switched to NBC and was watching the New York broadcast of the Today show…Their lead story was that “Puff daddy” was changing his name to “P-Diddy” or “Piddles ” or some such…..
    Relying upon the major media in this country….we’re doomed.

  14. Tony! The Immorally Inferior Queer Shoop! says

    Jason Dick:
    I did not watch the VMAs, so I did not see Miley’s performance. When I saw your post, I thought “how was her performance racist?’ (not in the denial kinda way, but the literal ‘I really am curious how her act was racist’ kinda way)
    Having read your link…wow.
    ‘Racist as fuck’ perfectly describes the performance.

  15. randay says

    The Onion also has a terrifying video report on “Sources Warn Miley Cyrus will be Depleted”

  16. carlie says

    Maybe it’s skewed due to coverage, but it seems that Nickelodeon child stars manage to become adults out of the limelight, while Disney child stars are the ones doing the highly public crash and burn flameouts. I wonder if anyone has looked at the differences in how they treat and manage the kids to find best and worst practices.

  17. DLC says

    Carlie@24 : I noticed the same thing. Those kids who get run through the Disney Machine. Going back through history of the recent ones you see a consistent pattern of being picked up by the Machine around 12 or so, peaking in popularity between 16 and 18, and then crashing and burning from there. It’s almost as if it were scripted for them. While I am by no means an expert on the entertainment business, it seems to me that they don’t manage to remain stable personalities after turning 18 to 21.

  18. says

    I think the tongue extensions were a shortcut for saying, “I can do any goddamn thing I want to do, and in public too.”

    Okay, she’s young and dumb. Let her exercise her tongue. Let us find it icky.

    On the other hand, here’s some real criticism: Miley can’t twerk. Her imitation of twerking is weak and uncoordinated compared to more skilled dancers.

    Also, I don’t think she rehearsed enough with the giant foam hand/finger accessory. In many of the stills you can see her pointing her actual hand at her crotch area, while the foam finger is a bit off course. If you’re gonna do it, do it well. Big Freedia youtube link.

  19. WhiteHatLurker says

    In other news … local website, Pharyngula, uses cheap “The Onion” link to draw more page views and increase their eye ball time.