Saturday, April 12, 2008

Behind the scenes with “The Onion”

CBS News reporter Serena Altschul sits down with Scott Dikkers, editor-in-chief of The Onion for a look at the satirical paper’s history, favourite targets, and the winning recipe for fake news.

Via Wikipedia, the “fictional history” of The Onion:

Officially, the paper purports to be over 250 years old, having originally published in the mid 18th century. It was named “the Mercantile Onion” because those were the only two English words the paper’s immigrant founder, Herman Ulysses Zweibel, knew at the time. (Zwiebel is German for onion – note the difference in spelling.) The newspaper’s motto was Tu Stultus Es, or “You are stupid.”

In 1896 Zweibel’s 20-year-old son, T. Herman Zweibel became editor, a position he supposedly holds to this day despite being over a century old and largely senile. For much of the 20th century the paper was highly reactionary and violently opposed every social reform the century brought forward, from women’s suffrage to married characters sleeping together in the same bed on television.