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Some people say The Onion may have too much integrity for the Pulitzer Board to award it a prize. What do you think?
Whoa, hold on, that is grossly inaccurate! All people say that, not just some.”
True, but The Onion also has more conviction, sense, class, and moral character than the Pulitzer Board, so it’s hard to know which deficiency is responsible for the prize committee’s cowardly negligence in award-giving year in and year out.”
Probably. Integrity is like beauty: too little and nobody will look at you, too much and everybody wants to fuck you.”
| ISSUE 47•25
| ISSUE 47•25
| ISSUE 47•24
| ISSUE 47•24
SAN FRANCISCO—In an exclusive interview Tuesday, Internet executive Paul Murrow admitted that his revered journalist father, Edward R. Murrow, was a real dirtbag and a huge piece of garbage compared to the brave and tireless reporters at The Onion. “There’s no comparison,” said the 58-year-old Murrow, his voice quivering as he expressed praise for the hard work and unflappable commitment to reportage exhibited by the entire Onion staff. “He was a good man, a great father, and a fantastic journalist, but compared to what The Onion does every day, he was a leaky pail of shit. I can’t believe I looked up to him. Why couldn’t someone from The Onion have been my father?” Murrow added that he’d like nothing more than to rename his father’s namesake journalism award to “The Onion Prize,” but said there could never possibly be an applicant worth bestowing The Onion name upon.
The Onion Radio News has been the most highly regarded broadcast news source in the world since visionary Onion publisher T.Herman Zweibel made the bold move in 1922 to shut down the popular Onion Telegraph News and focus on the then embryonic medium of radio. From day one Zweibel intended to employ this new technology for the public good, and for the first two years he devoted much of his airtime to denouncing silent film actress Louise Brooks.
Overnight, Zweibel’s vitriolic attacks gained sufficient listenership to attract wealthy sponsors like Campbell’s Liquid Beef and Spotto potato detergent. The financial success of the Onion Radio News led Zweibel to hire professional “pronouncers,” as they were called then, who were charged with the important task of reading items from the printed version of The Onion to fill time between Zweibel’s marathon anti-flapper rants.
In 1947, a polyp the size of a Concord grape on Zweibel’s vocal cords forced him to stop his nightly rants, allowing the Onion Radio News to finally become one of the first 24-hour news outlets.
Today the Onion Radio News, anchored by Doyle Redland, continues to inspire and inform millions of listeners around the world and has become the living embodiment of the power of the spoken news word.
SAN FERNANDO, MEXICO—In an effort to better connect with the men and women murdered by the Zetas drug cartel, Josh Sullivan, an investigative reporter for The Onion, eschewed modern conveniences and the comforts of home for a month, going undercover and posing as a corpse in a mass grave to gain an intimate understanding of the victims’ plight.
Ignoring numerous warnings, Sullivan, who earned a masters degree from the Columbia Journalism School in 1998, selflessly risked his own life by immersing himself in the unsanitary pit of human corpses to share, firsthand, the heartrending experiences of the 154 inhabitants within.
“I knew the dangers going in, but I felt bound by my employer’s sterling history of journalistic excellence to really throw myself into this story headfirst,” Sullivan, 38, said. “It would be irresponsible to simply walk up to the edge of a mass grave and peer in. To really comprehend the conditions in this area, you need to get into the thick of it, at least four or five people deep.”
“I wanted a fresh perspective,” Sullivan added. “And to thoroughly probe this problem, I had to be embedded at the bottom of the body pile. That’s where you’ll find the true horrors.”
Sullivan, who in order to gain access to the mass grave faked his death by closing his eyes and wearing the bloody clothes of a deceased resident, never revealed his true status as a living person. The investigative reporter said it took several weeks to earn the trust of the grave’s inhabitants, but he eventually started to blend in with the locals after much diligent effort.
“I really felt like I was an essential part of the community,” Sullivan said. “The way of life down there—the behavior, the traditions, the customs—it all became like second nature to me.”
According to Sullivan, he spent his days quietly observing his surroundings from beneath the heap of cadavers, but also worked tirelessly at night. His movement restricted, he managed to type away on his laptop and provide readers of his live blog with instant access to anecdotes about waking up to the sound of drug cartel members dumping freshly killed bodies into the mass grave.
Sullivan stated that while he was fully aware of the perils of his assignment, he realized he had to expose the gruesome conditions rather than worrying about his own safety or well-being.
“You can’t imagine how cramped and filthy it was—a truly forgotten corner of the world,” said Sullivan, adding that many of the locals had few possessions and were often dressed in rags or simply naked. “It was utterly inhumane. I saw entire families packed into a space that wasn’t much larger than a refrigerator.”
Acknowledging his commitment to outstanding journalism, Sullivan said it was vital to steep himself in the world of the mass grave completely, and he stressed the importance of actually touching the rotting occupants, smelling the various stages of decay, seeing the decomposing elderly and infants, hearing the maggots consuming flesh, and tasting the soil beneath which he was buried.
While Sullivan can finally admit he suffered greatly during the harrowing experience, the journalist takes pride in the fact that his investigative report has helped to improve conditions for the dead bodies, which now have cleaner and more spacious mass graves.
Colleagues in the journalistic community said Sullivan’s work was historic and worthy of recognition for its excellence in Breaking News Reporting, International Reporting, Investigative Reporting, and Public Service.
NEW YORK—Intrepid Onion journalists saw their hard work pay off this week after an investigative report months in the making exposed fraudulent Milwaukee eBay seller Jake Noonan for unloading shoddy imitation Pulitzer Prize medals on unsuspecting, well-intentioned customers of the popular online auction site. “Bringing down this prolific charlatan, who has been duping good Americans out of their hard-earned money—it feels good,” said a source from The Onion editorial board, which assigned reporters to set up eBay accounts and purchase more than $1,500 worth of the “bullshit” awards Noonan had advertised with photos of real Pulitzer medals pulled from the Internet. “After anxiously receiving the merchandise, we knew we had to inform the police and the Pulitzer Board and expose this creep. I mean, have you seen these pieces of crap? They wouldn’t fool anybody.” The source added that he felt a certain degree of pride in protecting consumers who were hoping maybe to put the medals up in their offices or in glass cases they had purchased specially for the fake awards.