Appear Better Informed About Darfur in 3 Minutes: The Onion Makes Me Cry

Darfur. We both know how serious it is, but we’re not sure exactly why or where it is.

The Onion (helping you seem more informed”) has produced this fantastic parody of news analysis. It’s called “How Can We Let Darfur Know How Much We’re Doing For Them.”

picture-10.pngI’ve never laughed as much in preparing a post for this silly blog- in fact cried laughing (to use a bad pun). The Onion, I hope you know, is a website/print publication that has made the single finest transition to online-video content. The Onion News Network is as well written as the website I used to eagerly anticipate each Wednesday (in fact, it was literally the only website besides Google that I checked routinely in the early part of this century). But the acting is what cinches this. The acting is better than amateur online-video content, and most of television.

Watch each of these actors and realize how easy it is to believe that they’re real analysts and you’re not supposed to be laughing- the cadence, the off-camera glances, the “pile on” comments, and the timing. Folks if you’re watching, I’d kill for a cameo. No charge, and I’ll get their with 24-hours notice. 

The onion logoAccording to Wikipedia, (but watch out because The Onion reminds us Wikipedia is prone to error), The Onion launched The Onion News Network, a daily web video broadcast that had been in production since mid-2006. An early story featured an illegal immigrant taking an executive’s $800,000 a year job for $600,000 a year. The Onion has reportedly invested about $1 million in the production and has hired 15 new staffers to focus on the production of this video broadcast.[11] Carol Kolb, former editor-in-chief of The Onion, is the head writer.

In a Wikinews interview in November 2007, Onion President Sean Mills said the ONN has been a huge hit.

“We get over a million downloads a week, which makes it one of the more successful produced-for-the-Internet videos,” said Mills. “If we’re not the most successful, we’re one of the most.”

TheOnion has a YouTube account (with an atypical banner that allows viewers to drop directly into its podcasts, website or RSS) since March 2006, but its videos are all relatively new to YouTube (past several months). As of this post, I have about 35,000 subscribers on YouTube, and The Onion has about 13,000. I’m willing to bet that the network has twice as many subscribers as me by the summer.

I’ve often said that quasi professional content is on the rise, but this isn’t fair to call “quasi.” The only reason this content isn’t a better version of SNL is because there’s not enough of it, and perhaps it appeals to a smaller segment of the SNL audience with primarily news parody. Then again- it works for Jon Stewart.

See: FDA recalls pot pies because they’re hungry and the plight of lost hikers.

10 Replies to “Appear Better Informed About Darfur in 3 Minutes: The Onion Makes Me Cry”

  1. Man… Those are ridiculously good videos…

    Always a big fan of the Onion, I saw your post here, and subscribed immediately… This is way better than what’s on TV. Except Sox games and Family Guy.

    Let them be a source of inspiration to us all to make BETTER videos. Seriously. I mean, what are we gonna aspire to as creators? “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?”

    Come on.

  2. By the way, the best part is the scrolling headlines at the bottom of the screen… “More than 100 bar-fight victories in question: Winners may have used performance-enhancing alcohol…”

  3. Hey Nalts

    Thanks for this post, I had heard of The Onion but hadn’t got around to watching it, very good.

    Check out a show called Newstopia – it’s an Australian tv show but the episodes can be found on youtube – here’s part 1 episode 1: watch?v=6J_xKebCT20

    It’s got a fair bit of local Australian news but you may enjoy it anyway. Start from episode 1, it gets better through the series.

  4. I’d kill to see the outtakes. Classic lines, “Make the concert so loud it drowns out the sounds of gun fire” “I love clay pots!” pricesless! i have been watching them on and off for the past couple of months!

  5. My favorite onion post will always be the one they did shortly after 9/11 depicting the hijackers whining in hell about not getting their 72 virgins. It reflected the mood of the country at the time in a savagely vengeful, yet also hilarious, way.

  6. I am an Onion subscribe and have been for many years. I remember when they first came out with the videos. I can’t wait to get home to watch this video; it sounds great. Damn this school blocking software!! (Yes, I know I can unblock the site, but the videos don’t work anyway, so why bother?)

  7. OMG that 72 virgins line was brilliant. That was funny at a time when it was hard to do anything funny that mentioned 9/11.

  8. There is a good example of what I was getting at in the South Park post – The Onion = professional and kickass. If that was the perception the average tv/yt viewer had of online video, we’d have an easier time making this into something bigger.

  9. I’m very, very proud to say that The Onion got its start as a print production in Madison, Wisconsin, before moving to NYC and the bigtime. A number of “The Daily Show” writers started out at The Onion.

    I didn’t know there was a video site, so I’m checking that out next. But yes. The Onion makes me laugh out loud, regularly.

  10. The Onion has really gotten lame, it used to bring me to tears now it’s more of a heh!

    The videos are pretty good though, the Diebold [click] was one of their best.

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