Area Man Realizes He’s Been Reading Fake News for 25 Years : NPR
Before Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert became establishments in news satire, there was The Onion. Thursday, “America’s Finest News Source” turns 25.
Two college students founded the fake news organization, which began as a newspaper in Madison, Wis. “It really started as something very local that was intended mainly to … sell pizza coupons,” Editor-in-Chief Will Tracy tells Morning Edition host Renee Montagne..
It still has that Midwestern touch, he says.
“We still have a lot of Midwesterners writing for us, and I do think that there is a distinctly Midwestern aesthetic and voice to the paper,” Tracy says. “It’s sort of an unflashy, flat, unpretentious sort of voice that we have.”
Part of that regional bent comes through in The Onion’s daily-life humor and its stories about “Area Man” (who Tracy says seems to be a Midwesterner).
“I think that’s one of the things that separates us from maybe other fake news outlets is most of what we do, actually, is focusing on the everyday minutiae, more so than what’s happening in Washington,” he says.
Stories like the one with the headline “Area Man Knows All The Shortcut Keys” is funny “because you know somebody like that,” Tracy says, “and it’s put in that sort of news voice which elevates it to a certain level of importance that it doesn’t actually merit.”