As many controversial stories have recently demonstrated, journalists play a significant role in determining how a news item is reported, as well as which narratives make it to light. The nature of social media and the rise in leakers and whistleblowers present new challenges for traditional reportage. They also offer exciting new opportunities for intrepid investigative reporters. To meet these challenges, The Onion is launching a new cover-up desk to suppress today’s most damning stories.
Countless reporters, anonymous sources, and leakers work to expose illegal or unethical activity, often over the objection of their more powerful bosses. This is a disgrace to journalism and absolutely cannot continue. As consummate professionals, we are disturbed by investigations into politicians, industry leaders, and other wealthy people, many of whom are too busy or have committed too many misdeeds to prevent every bit of damaging information from coming out. All too often, dogged efforts by media executives and their powerful friends to bury information or kill stories are undermined by disobedient journalists who can’t leave well enough alone.
Our agile new cover-up desk will allow us to stop at nothing to ensure negative press never sees the light of day.
For our new venture, we’ve assembled an industry-leading team of reporters we lured from ABC News, NBC News, the Washington Post, and elsewhere, who boast combined decades of self-censorship and ignoring substantive evidence about topics from financial malfeasance to sexual misconduct to government wrongdoing. From our new $50 million offices in Washington, D.C., New York, and San Francisco, they will do the hard work of following every lead and probing every dark corner to collect as much information as possible about accusers and sow doubt about their motivations and character. They will also be available for television appearances as experts, where they can repeat approved talking points about a controversial issue or figure until no one watching would believe anything to the contrary.
As a journalistic standard bearer, The Onion has long been a champion of suppressing damaging stories about powerful people. What our cover-up desk now enables us to do is take our efforts at concealment into the 21st century. Not only will we be on the ground tampering with evidence and destroying any compromising documents that fall into our hands, we’ll also have a 24-hour secure tip line for anyone with information about a negative story that could become public. Using these methods, our reporters will be on the front lines of ruining investigations, obliterating incriminating documents, and threatening victims into silence forever.
While we face stiff competition within the news industry to stifle transparency and accountability, we at The Onion are positive that we’ll be capable of covering up stories that other organizations would never dream of.