Shed a tear for The Onion.
The satirical newspaper self-described as "America's Finest News Source" is ending its print run in all remaining cities with the Dec. 12 edition.
“It's sad to see a print edition no longer exist, but it's important to see the Onion succeed,” Onion Inc. President Mike McAvoy told Crain's Chicago Business.
At the height of its 25-year print run, the Onion was in 17 different cities. Today, that number is winnowed down to just three: Milwaukee, Providence, R.I and Chicago, where the Onion and the A.V. Club are headquartered. After the print run ends in those cities, the paper will exist entirely online.
Killing off of the print edition has been a slow progression as advertising shrank, according to Crain's. Print editions vanished in cities like San Francisco, New York and Denver in 2012. This summer, the presses stopped running for The Onion in Madison, Wisc. where it was founded in 1988 by two University of Wisconsin–Madison juniors.
In 1998, the radio show "This American Life" had an inside view of The Onion's writer's room and learned just how tough it was to get a headline in the newspaper.
Somewhat presciently, the Onion ran a story in July headlined "Print Dead At 1,803."
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Stephen A Smith sort of proved <em>The Onion</em>'s point when he went on a Twitter tirade about the article, "Stephan A Smith Thinking Son Is Finally Ready For The Sex Argument." Smith rebutted that he didn't have a son or a 9-year-old, later tweeting that he had realized it was a joke.
Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana posted the article "Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex" to his Facebook page, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/06/john-fleming-onion-planned-parenthood_n_1257763.html">commenting that it was "abortion by the wholesale."</a> Perhaps the $8 Billion price tag should have tipped him off.
A Danish television station not only ran this story as truth, but included a little poll on the side asking readers if Sean Penn has a right to be upset. So far, <a href="http://go-dyn.tv2.dk/articlefornoejelse/id-3498191:hvem-har-hugget-sean-penns-emailadresse.html">79% say he is ridiculous</a>.
Both <em>The Daily Banab Zamin</em> and <em>The New Nation</em> (two Bangladeshi papers) picked up <em>The Onion</em>'s story about Neil Armstrong finally being convinced that the moon landing was staged, <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8237558.stm">not knowing the story was fake.</a>
<em>The Onion</em> sparked a panic in Washington D.C. when it started tweeting "breaking news" about 12 children being held hostage at the Capitol Building with the hashtag #CongressHostage. Capitol Police <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/29/the-onion-congress-hostage_n_987254.html">launched an investigation</a> after the tweets, many of which did not link to the parody story, were re-tweeted hundreds of times.
<em>The Beijing Evening News</em> printed parts of this article <a href="http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/U-S-satire-tricks-Beijing-paper-Satire-fools-2829911.php">as fact</a>, including a fake Dennis Hastert quote complaining that the Capitol "is no longer suitable for a world-class legislative branch. The sight lines are bad, there aren't enough concession stands or bathrooms, and the parking is miserable." No concession stands? But this is AMERICA.
Because this sarcastic news brief cited real-life organization The California Parenting Institute (CPI), the organization was swamped with phone calls. Their director of marketing and development, Wendy Hilberman, told the <a href="http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20111028/ARTICLES/111029463/1350?template=printpicart">Press Democrat</a> that "It's obviously not OK to list our agency, even in satire."
If you Google "Jesus died because He was weak and stupid" you might get a good look into America's consciousness. Fictional six-year-old Jessica Lehman's quote has been used <a href="http://www.snopes.com/humor/iftrue/potter.asp">as a chain e-mail reason</a> <a href="http://forum.dancehallreggae.com/showthread.php/19293-quot-Jesus-died-because-He-was-weak-and-stupid-quot">to fear</a> Harry Potter. Go figure.
On March 12, 2004, Deborah Norville stated on her MSNBC show that a new study said that 58 percent of exercise done in America was on broadcast television. Whoever wrote the script that night literally wrote, "For instance, of the 3.5 billion sit-ups done during 2003, two million, 30,000 of them were on exercise shows on Lifetime or one of the ESPN channels," as if it were news copy.
Even <em>The New York Times</em> is susceptible to the occasional <em>Onion</em> parody. The Times published an article about <em>Tiger Beat</em> using a PhotoShopped image of the President on the magazine's cover that accompanied <em>The Onion</em>'s fake story. They later <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/weekinreview/17tigerbeat.html?_r=0">ran a correction</a> stating they had "erroneously included a parody cover."
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Three years after <em>The Onion</em> came out with this video of Rep. John Haller becoming increasingly concerned about "classified" information, many took to Facebook <a href="http://i.imgur.com/VlYaV.jpg">in fear of imminent martial law</a>.
Now, we assume Fox News knows that <em>The Onion</em> is satire, but according to <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/foxnation-com-repurposes-anti-obama-article-from-the-onion-forgets-to-mention-its-a-joke/">Mediaite</a>, their website Fox Nation failed to mention that the story was fictional. Naturally, it attracted such gems in the comment as: “HAHAHAHAHAHA OBUMMA – Un-raveled. EPIC FAILURE. IMPEACH it.”
This early <em>Onion</em> article attracted the fury of Fred Phelps (author of the "God Hates Fags" website), who according to <em><a href="http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.03/onion_pr.html">Wired</a></em>, "listed the article as proof of a gay conspiracy."
<em>The Onion</em>'s "news" that the Catholic Church had softened its feelings toward homosexuality after meeting one fabulous couple fooled some conservatives online. In the Facebook screenshot at left, <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/insane-things-representative-sally-kern-has-said">notoriously anti-gay Rep. Sally Kern</a> doesn't exactly take the bait, but doesn't say she knows it's a joke, either.
<em><a href="http://jclass.umd.edu/archive/newshoax/casestudies/pranks/PranksOnionTele2.html">The Battle Creek Enquirer</a></em> reported that the Sheriff's department had released a dispatch about the possibility of terrorists making telemarketing phone calls, including information from <em>The Onion's</em> article.
This video of Chad, an ingenious Make-A-Wish kid who cheated the system by demanding unlimited wishes, fooled many into believing that the foundation had actually gone broke. Make-A-Wish <a href="http://www.wish.org/about/fraud_alerts">still has a disclaimer on their website</a> stating that the “Today Now!” segment is not true and that all characters, including wish child “Chad,” are fictitious.
The Mecklenberg County, VA Republican Party thought they were really on to something when they posted <em>The Onion</em>'s story to their Facebook page. After posting, they expressed their disconcern in a comment that no other news sources had picked up the story of Obama's 19-year-old son. We wonder why?