The Onion

The Onion

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The Onion is a tabloid newspaper and website featuring tongue-in-cheek satirical news articles and a non-satirical entertainment section. Aside from its daily updated website, the organization has published several books and launched a web video series known as The Onion News Network in 2007.


According to an article in The Washington Post,[1] The Onion newspaper was founded in 1988 by University of Wisconsin-Madison students Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson. The publication's name was chosen by Johnson's uncle after witnessing his nephew eat an onion sandwich on white bread. In 1989, Keck and Johnson sold the paper to Onion staff members Scott Dikkers and Peter Haise for $16,000. In the following years, Dikkers and Haise took the newspaper to several other college campuses in Milwaukee, Chicago, and Boulder. Several years later in 2000, the publication was approached for purchase by the cable television network Comedy Central, but a deal was not made.

O the ONION AVCLUB TORONTO CONGRESS TAKES GROP 3011 SCHOOLCHILDREN HOSTAGE A.V CLUB We Need $12 Trillion Or All These Kide Biden Asks White House Visitor If He Wants To Check Out Roof


In May of 1996, the website[3] was launched, featuring many of the newspaper articles as well as web-exclusive content on a daily basis. On August 29th, 2003, CNN[20] published an article titled “The Onion: Funny site is no joke”, which reported that the publication remained a “Midwestern secret” until the website was launched in 1996. In April of 2004, the website launched the “Onion Premium” paid subscription service, which allowed an ad-free browsing experience and full access to the site’s archives, but it was discontinued in the following year after disappointing results. However in August of 2011, the website implemented another paywall requiring visitors outside of the United States to pay a fee to access more than five articles in a 30-day period.

the ONION a.v. club I store | subscriptions | books I personals NEWSLETTERS CONTESTS VOLUME 40 ISSUE 02 AMERICA'S FINEST NEWS SOURCE14 JANUARY 2004 Front Page TOP STORY xarch Previous Issue Archives LATEST HEADLINES IN THE NEWS ITS To Give Every lraqi Us All S3.54491 Let Free-Market Capitalism es Typo Results In 10,000-Acre Wyoming Skate Park JACKSON, WY-A simple typographical error in a proposal to set aside a scenic Big Horm Mountain valley Fran Drescher for public recreation has resulted in the construction ofScreeches Out For the 10,020-acre Henrietta Bedford Memorial Skate Park, Wyoming Department of Natural Resources officials announced Tuesday Cancer Awareness WASHINGTON, DC-At a Monday press conference, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumfeld announced a change of plans" for the $87.5 billion aid package Congress approved in October. Instead of being used to fund an array of military and reconstruction operations in the Middle East, the money will be divided equally among Irag's 24,683,313 Short-Distance Relationship GASTONIA, NC-After four months together, sales manager Jack Petrakis, 29, and paralegal Justine Crucifix A Testament To Man's Wealth Froeger, 26, reported Tuesday that dating someo lives in the same building isn't worth the hassle. Jogging Fat Man Watched From Apartment Window Full Text >» the ONION VIDEO SPORTS NEWS BEAT | MORE ▼ | SOCIAL ▼ AV, Club-Store-Dating ★Con America's Finest News Source SPECIAL REPORT: COMMON PARTNERS ITS LIKE MARRIAGE ONLY WITH BULLETS. LAW oer nnocarl COMMON LAWTONIGHIT T Ua NEW ORIGINAL SERIES ONION IPAD APP SNEAK PEEK IN THE NEWS Moms Invent DrugObama Gay Marriage World's First Lesbian |Paula Deen's 05K Walk Last Updated 11:33 AM Search /READERS Friend Theronton DownY ORDU MB READERS Log in to see your so-called friends' activity READERS Friends' Throats. f Lagin with Feebok Login with Facebook Learn More NEW SWIRE the ONION REVIEW WEEKLY VIDEO RECAP TV Listings: Not The New YorkTHIS WEEK IN HISTORY, Philharmonic 1 hour, 1 minute ago This Week In History: Sears Tower Constructed With Bold Fan On The Street: On Pujols" First Home Run 1 hour, 31 minutes ago Challenge To God Engraved On Roof (1972) 05.08.12 Dental Hygienist's Eyes Tell A Very Different Story 1 hour, 31 minutes ago PETERSBURG, KY-Gus Hall, the janitor at the Creation Museum, accidentally left his flashlight in the Adam and Eve exhibit, but no one seemed to notice. 3 hours, 1 minute ago IT'S LIKE MARRIAGE ONLY WITH BULLETS Santorum Now Viciously Condemning Homosexuals, Minorities, Women For $100,000 Speaking Fee Roger Goodell Tells Junior Seau's Family To Throw Brain In His Trunk With The Rest Of Them 3 hours,31 minutes ago A5-year-old announces that the circle is no longer her favorite shape,Gray Wolves Sighted In Capitol former Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown makes his comeback to horse racing as a jockey, and the guitar music fad runs its course more x» Building For First Time In 85 Years 5 hours, 1 minute ago


On March 23rd, 1999, The Onion published the satirical humor book Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source, which featured mock newspaper front pages for years ranging from 1900 to 1999. That year, the book was awarded the second Thurber Prize for American Humor. From 2000 to 2006, an annual collection of archived news stories were released in book form. On October 30th, 2007, a parody desk atlas titled Our Dumb World was released, which contained entries for a majority of the world's countries with satirical descriptions of each region's customs and history.


On June 3rd, 2008, the comedy film The Onion Movie was released on DVD by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, five years after it was initially filmed. The story was centered around the life of a television news anchorman, who fights against a takeover by a multinational corporation.

Syrian Electronic Army Hack

On May 6th, 2013, The Onion’s official Twitter feed was compromised by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a hacker group known for infiltrating accounts owned by several news media outlets, including the Associated Press, the BBC, NPR and Reuters. The group posted a series of tweets criticizing Israel's military operations and Zionism (shown below) shortly before the account was restored.

The Onion @TheOnion BREAKING: #TheOnion readership mass confusion as Syrian Electronic Army takes over. All demand a permanent column. 2m the ONION View photo The Onion @TheOnion Poland to double flights from the Middle East, anticipating Israeli 5m the ONION mass exodus. "The bagel bakery ovens are working over time" Larry Expand The Onion @TheOnion The #Onion CEO: "We regret taking zionist money to defame Syria now the hackers are up our ass" Expand 9m the ONION 12m The Onion @TheOnion UN's Ban Ki Moon condemns Syria for being struck by israel: "lt was the ONION in the way of Jewish missiles Expand 16m The Onion @TheOnion NASA: 9th planet discovered and identified as the Qatari Emir the ONION Hamad Bin Khalifah View photo 21m The Onion @TheOnion Israel denies forging new alliance with Al Qaeda: "We were friends the QNioN all along, so it can't be new" IDF Spokesperson Expand

That same day, The New York Times[22] reported on the attack, noting that the SEA used e-mail phishing techniques to hack into The Onion's Twitter account. The article also included a statement from SEA member “Th3 Pro,” who indicated that the hack was carried out in retaliation against an Onion satire article[23] written from the perspective of the incumbent Syrian president Al-Assad.

Hi, In The Past 2 Years, You Have Allowed Me To Kill 70,000 People COMMENTARY Syria Opinion ISSUE 49.13 Mar 25, 2013 By Bashar Al-Assad years, you-the citizens of the world and their governments-have allowed me to kill 70,000 people. You read that correctly: I am an individual who has murdered 70,000 human beings since March 2011, and you have watched it happen and done nothing

Also on May 6th, The Onion published several articles[24] in response to the hack, quipping that the SEA would inevitably be killed by rebels and that the satirical news organization had changed all of their passwords to “OnionMan77.” In the coming days, the incident was reported on by a number of tech news sites, including CNET,[25] The Huffington Post,[26] TechCrunch,[27] Slate,[28] and NPR.[29]


After the site redesign in 2005, the paid subscription service Onion Premium was discontinued, allowing all archived content to be accessed for free. Web-only content began being published daily, including the "QuickPoll" online opinion poll, a fictional President's radio address, the Onion Sports Network and the "Stock Watch" satirical stock market analysis. In 2012, the website introduced a "News Beat" section with false weather reports, quizzes, polls and highlights of popular stories. Also in 2012, the site introduced a video series titled The Onion Review, which highlighted notable news stories for the week.

Onion News Network

In March of 2007, the site launched the daily web video series The Onion News Network (ONN), which parodied the reporting on 24-hour television news networks. On January 21st, 2011, the show premiered its first season on the IFC television network. On March 22nd, 2011, IFC announced that ONN had been renewed for a second season. On March 21st, 2012, an IFC spokesperson announced that the ONN show had been canceled. Shows featured on the satirical network included the pundit discussion panel In The Know (shown top, left), the breaking news segment Newsroom (shown top, right), the Factzone with Brooke Alvarez, the morning talk show Today Now! (shown bottom, left), the Nancy Grace parody Cross Examination with Shelby Cross, the C-SPAN parody O-SPAN, the ESPN parody OSN (shown bottom, right), the entertainment show Starfix and the crime show Raw Justice.


On April 29th, 2014, The Onion announced plans to launch a parody of viral content websites like Upworthy and BuzzFeed named "ClickHole"[2] in June of that year. As of May 2014, the website contains an infographic image with instructions on how to click on links within a web browser (shown below) directly above a clickable "Click Me!" button with a live-updated counter.

A Step-By-Step Guide To Clicking Step 1: Using your pointer, locate a link to a piece of content that you want to explore I. nye [ West occupies a : ar pl erica's popular culture, hav enclosure comprised o r a mesh ther Step 2: Locate the part of your mouse or trackpad that enables you to click. 2. Step 3: Click your content. 3.



The Onion's satirical articles have been repeatedly mistaken for real news throughout the years.

Westboro Baptist Church

On July 29th, 1998, the site published an article titled "Homosexual-Recruitment Drive Nearing Goal"[13], which was later cited by Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps as evidence that homosexuals were trying to sway others to become gay.[14]


In March of 2004, the article "58 Percent Of U.S. Exercise Televised"[15] was reported as real by MSNBC anchor Deborah Norville.

Obama's Martial Law Hoax

On July 20th, 2010, a video published by its political satire outlet O-SPAN (a parody of C-SPAN) in 2008 began spread on the social networking site Facebook with warnings that Obama had enacted martial law.

Fox News

On November 26th, 2011, Fox Nation[17] reposted excerpts from an article titled "Frustrated Obama Sends Nation Rambling 75,000-World E-Mail"[18] as if it were genuine. On May 30th, the website Literally Unbelievable[11] was launched, which featured screenshots of Facebook status updates interpreting Onion articles as real news.

shared a link. Brain-Dead Teen, Only Capable of Rolling Eyes And Texting, To Be Euthanized The parents of 13-year old Caitlin Teagart have nothing but lay on the couch and whine about things being gay. Sunday at 10:35pm . and C like this. 1 share like a vegetable. If she can text and apply lip gloss, and other things I saw her doing. she deserves a chance to live. It seems that she a hindrace to her parents life style, or something. This is just plain Yesterday at 12:36am shared a link. May 4 what??? why teach an ape this? cruel in my opinion! Scientists Successfully Teach Gorilla It Will Die Someday Tulane University researchers say Quigley is now able to experience the crippling fear of impending death previously only accessible to humans. Share likes this. Saturday at 8:37am via mobile shared a link via The Onion. about an hour agoe Maya Angelou Thought She'd Be Invited To More White House Stuff BLI WINSTON-SALEM, NC-Saying that she didn't want to be presumptuous but had thought her celebrated literary career, numerous academic honors, and Like Share I respectfully disagree. No disrespect meant to Dr. Angelou, but the White House needs to reserve an open- door policy for those who are charged with the people's business regardless of their accomplishments. It's also the private home of the President and his family. Who they invite, and how many times, is their own business. about an hour ago Like shared a link. 15 hours ago Archaeological Dig Uncovers Ancient Race Of Skeleton People AL JIZAH, EGYPT-A team of British and Egyptian archaeologists made a stunning discovery Monday, unearthing several intact Like Comment -Share 1 A and 2 others like this. Could another possibility be that the Egyptians take out the organs at death and put them in jars? Could their lack of skin be from Leprosy? Or could they have been a enemy and were skinned? I am not sold on their story. 2 hours ago Like

FIFA Executive's Plea Video

On May 31st, 2015, Austin Jack Warner, a Trinidad and Tobago politician and former executive of FIFA who were among the dozen international football officials arrested a few days prior on charges of "wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering," under an investigation led by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (F.B.I.), uploaded a response video on Facebook to address the indictments he is facing. In the the seven-minute long video, Warner opens by thanking his sympathizers in the social media for sending donations and words of support, before expounding on a conspiracy theory involving a scheme led by the U.S. government in collusion with other members of the football governing community.

“If FIFA is so bad, why is it USA wants to keep the FIFA World Cup?”

During an emotional plea accompanied by somber music at around 5:00 mark, Warner holds up an Onion article headline that reads "FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In The United States: Global Soccer Tournament To Kick Off In America Later This Afternoon," which was originally published on the day of his arrest (shown below).

ENthe ONION FIFA Frantically Annof aIN THIS SECTION + FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States Global Soccer Tournament To Kick Off In America Later This Afternoon ARTICLE May 27, 2015 VOL 51 ISSUE 21 Sports World Womens Sports And Soccer Fifa FIFA ZURICH-After the Justice Department indicted numerous executives from world soccer's governing body on charges of corruption and bribery, frantic and visibly nervous officials from FIFA held an impromptu press conference Wednesday to announce that the United States has been selected to host this summer's 2015 World Cup. "We are thrilled to reveal that, for the first time in 21 years, the World Cup will finally return to America, with matches set to kick off today at 5 p.m. local time in Los Angeles," said FIFA president Sepp Blatter, smiling broadly before unveiling the tournament's official logo, a hand-drawn stick figure kicking a soccer ball with “USA 2015!" hastily scribbled in black marker above its head. “with world-class venues in cities across the country and a rapidly growing passion for the sport, the U.S. is the perfect choice-really the only choice-for this summer's tournament. Everyone at FIFA is certain that the 2015 World Cup in America will be a tremendous success, and billions of fans from around the world will, in justa few hours, come together to enjoy this wonderful display of soccer over the coming weeks." At press time, the U.S. national team was leading defending champions Germany in the World Cup's opening match after being awarded 12 penalties in the game's first three minutes.

The gaffe made by the former vice president of FIFA was subsequently covered by mainstream English-speaking news sites like NPR, New York Times, Telegraph, as well as several sports blogs including Deadspin, Bleacher Report and SB Nation.

Quvenzhané Wallis Tweet Controversy

On February 24th, 2013, during The Oscars ceremony, The Onion posted a highly risqué tweet about Quvenzhané Wallis, the nine-year-old American actress nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, describing her as "kind of a cunt" (shown below).

Following TheOnion the ONION Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that uvenzhane wallis is kınd of a cun t, rignt? #Oscars2013 Reply Retweet ★ Favorite More 515 RETWEETS FAVORITES 412

The tweet was immediately met with widespread criticism, with many Twitter users offended by the tweet spreading the hashtag "#unfollowTheOnion." Within one hour, The Onion deleted the tweet from the feed.

Beautiful Cinnamon Roll Too Good For This World

Beautiful Cinnamon Roll Too Good For This World, Too Pure is the headline for a satirical article published by The Onion in January 2014, which subsequently became an exploitable catchphrase used on Tumblr to describe adorable, charismatic or otherwise sympathetic fictional characters.

Beautiful Cinnamon Roll Too Good For This World, Too Pure NEWS IN BRIEF January 23,2014 VOL 50 ISSUE 03 Food Local SCOTTSDALE, AZ-Citing the pastry's sublime, inviting aroma and the alluring glint reflecting off its glaze, sources confirmed Thursday that a beautiful cinnamon roll was simply too pure for this world, too perfect. "Look at this angelic confection. Never in my life have I laid eyes on such an immaculate swirl, nor glimpsed a crust as delectably golden brown in hue," exclaimed bakery customer Kristen Garding before realizing that perhaps such a flawless, delicate work of art was not meant for this earthly realm. "Alas, we toil in far too cold and dark a world for such cinnamoned purity as this, such perfection, whose rich, buttery brilliance conjures the divine." As of press time, the cinnamon roll had been purchased along with a medium cup of coffee.

Tide Pod Challenge

On December 8th, 2015, The Onion published a satirical opinion article about the appetizing package design of multi-colored laundry detergent pods, written from the point of view of a child struggling to resist his temptations to eat them.

COMMENTARY So Help Me God, I'm Going To Eat One Of Those Multicolored Detergent Pods Dylan DelMonico 12/08/15 3:00am . SEE MORE: OPINION Anybody who knows me wil tell you the same thing: I get what I want. Whether it's food, being held, my binky, you name it-if I decide I'd like it, you damn well better believe I don't rest until I get it, one way or another. And from the very second I saw those blue and red detergent pods come out of that shopping bag last week, I knew immediately that, come hell or high water, I would eat one of those things. So with God as my witness, I swear to you: I'm going to find that container of multicolored pods, I'm going to take one out, I'm going to shove it in my mouth, and I'm going to chew it up and swallow it down, and nothing and no one is going to stand Dylan DelMonico in my way. You can't be expected to keep an eye on me 24/7, and of course, you have to sleep at some point.

In late 2017, the tongue-in-cheek concept of forbidden snacks blew up on the social media, with many trolls flooding Twitter and Facebook with jokes centered around the idea of snacking on laundry detergent pods, mainly due to their packaging and multi-colored appearance. There was a marked increase in YouTube videos and poison control center calls of people eating Tide Pods as part of the Tide Pod Challenge,[30] as they really looked like a colorful snack. Facebook and Youtube eventually removed and banned all content pertaining to eating Tide PODS and anything but warnings against the Tide Pod Challenge.[31]

"Not The Onion"

Not The Onion is a popular expression or catchphrase for expressing the opinion that a news story is so outlandish and unbelievable that it is reminiscent of an article published by The Onion. While the satirical newspaper has been in publication since 1988, the phrase "Not the Onion" did not come into prominence until the mid-00s. On October 25th, 2008, the subreddit /r/NotTheOnion launched. This page allowed users to submit bizarre and funny news articles that look like satire but were, in fact, real. As of July 2017, the subreddit had more than 12 million subscribers.


According to a press release in PRNewswire[4], received 20,000 unique visitors per week shortly after the website launched in 1996. On January 10th, 2011, the Chicago Tribune[19] reported that the site received around 7.5 million unique visitors per month. As of May 11th, 2012, the site has a Compete[5] rank of 2,680, an Alexa[6] rank of 3,868 and a Quantcast[7] rank of 693. The Onion Facebook[8] page has received over two million likes and the Twitter[9] account has accumulated over 3.7 million followers.

Search Interest

External References

[1] Wikipedia – The Onion

[2] Washington Post – Onion Nation

[3] The Onion – The Onion – Americas Finest News Source

[4] PRNewswire –
Miramax Has Tears of Joy, Cutting First-Look Deal With The Onion

[5] Compete (via Wayback Machine) –

[6] Alexa –

[7] Quantcast – (login needed)

[8] Facebook – The Onion

[9] Twitter- @TheOnion

[10] The Huffington Post – Onion News Network Canceled: IFC Spokesperson

[11] Literally Unbelievable – Literally Unbelievable

[12] Wired – Award-Winning Local Journalists Reflect Own Self-Hatred Back on Nightmarish World

[13] The Onion – Homosexual-Recruitment Drive Nearing Goal

[14] Wired – Award-Winning Local Journalists Reflect Own Self-Hatred Back on Nightmarish World

[15] The Onion – 58 Percent of U.S. Exercise Televised

[16] The Onion – Congress Threatens To Leave D.C. Unless New Capitol is Built

[17] Fox Nation – Frustrated Obama Sends Nation Rambling 75,000-Word E-Mail (deleted)

[18] The Onion – Frustrated Obama Sends Nation Rambling 75,000 Word E-Mail

[19] Chicago Tribune – Blooming Onion

[20] CNN (via Wayback Machine) – The Onion – Funny Site is No Joke

[21] NY Mag – Writers at The Onion Refusing to Leave New York for Chicago

[22] New York Times – No Joke Syrians Hack the Onion

[23] The Onion – Hi in the past 2 years

[24] The Onion –

[25] CNET – Onion's Twitter account hacked by Syrian Electronic Army

[26] The Huffington Post – Onion Reportedly Hacked: Twitter, Facebook Say 'Syrian Electronic Army Was Here'

[27] TechCrunch – The Onion's Suspected Twitter Hack Reveals The Syrian Electronic Army's Morbid Humor

[28] Slate – The Onion Apparently Hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army

[29] NPR – Syrian Electronic Army Claims It Hacked 'The Onion'

[30] NY Times – Yes, People Really Are Eating Tide Pods. No, It’s Not Safe.

[31] Endgadget – Facebook and YouTube are removing 'Tide Pod Challenge' videos

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