The Onion and the People’s Daily

by Benjamin Zycher

Well, I’ve just awakened from a deep slumber induced by reading my own writings while consuming twelve pounds of Thanksgiving turkey, and what do I find in the news? Beijing’s finest journalists reported in the People’s Daily that the award of “sexiest man alive” has been bestowed upon that rugged vision of foursquare manhood, the well-fed Kim Jong Un, four-star general and occupier of the cleanest sheets in Pyongyang. The source for this announcement: the Onion, which our friends in Beijing seem not to have noticed is a daily journal of satire.

And so much mirth has been directed at the Chinese journalists.  But — really now — not so fast. Put yourself in their shoes. As they survey the massive daily outpouring of American mainstream journalism, why precisely would they not view the Onion as authoritative relative to the transparent front-page blatherings of, say, the New York Times?  Or of MSNBC, etc.  I cannot think of a good reason, to be blunt.  Can you?

— Benjamin Zycher is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

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