Despite being widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading satirical websites, The Onion seems to have been confused with a genuine news outlet by somebody at The Independent.
The paper’s Independent Voices section today ran a round-up of the internet’s goggle-eyed reaction to a raunchy appearance from former child star Miley Cyrus at a music awards show last night.
It included a quote from Meredith Artley, managing editor of CNN.com, explaining why the site had chosen to lead on Cyrus and her revealing dance moves.
Artley, as Indy Voices retells, said: “I could have argued that Miley Cyrus’ performance merited the top spot on our website because it was significant in terms of what’s happening in the world of pop culture…But who the f**k are we kidding?"
The quote came from an opinion piece supposedly written by Artley for The Onion. But it seems that the Indy missed Artley’s lightning-fast denial on Twitter.
To clarify, I did not write this. http://t.co/bZZo6JJ5DT But I accept all compliments and deny all accusations. Tx for the page views.
— Meredith Artley (@MeredithA) August 26, 2013
Axegrinder wonders whether The Indepedent was caught out by its eagerness to attract quick web hits to the story of the hour. Exactly the sort of thing The Onion piece was satirising.
As Artley didn’t write in The Onion:
So, you may ask, why was this morning’s top story, a spot usually given to the most important foreign or domestic news of the day, headlined “Miley Cyrus Did What???” and accompanied by the subhead “Twerks, stuns at VMAs”?
It’s a good question. And the answer is pretty simple. It was an attempt to get you to click on CNN.com so that we could drive up our web traffic, which in turn would allow us to increase our advertising revenue.
There was nothing, and I mean nothing, about that story that related to the important news of the day, the chronicling of significant human events, or the idea that journalism itself can be a force for positive change in the world. For Christ’s sake, there was an accompanying story with the headline “Miley’s Shocking Moves.” In fact, putting that story front and center was actually doing, if anything, a disservice to the public. And come to think of it, probably a disservice to the hundreds of thousands of people dying in Syria, those suffering from the current unrest in Egypt, or, hell, even people who just wanted to read about the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech.
But boy oh boy did it get us some web traffic. Which is why I, Meredith Artley, managing editor of CNN.com, put the story in our top spot.”
Artley has taken it all in good spirit, later tweeting: “I’m reading it more of a joke than something to call the legal team about.”
Meanwhile, the Indy has since realised its mistake and amended the article, removing the suggestion that The Onion piece was real.