Police face an incredibly difficult task in maintaining order in a barbaric hellscape like America, and journalistic ethics require news sources like The Onion to report the truth accurately from the officers’ perspective. Amid ongoing criticism of how the media portrays violent acts by law enforcement, we’re sharing The Onion’s official in-house style guide to ensuring that our news reports always support the police.
All children are rounded up to adults: Any child older than 5 harmed by police is automatically age-advanced to 18, while we refer to those 4 and under as “mature juveniles.”
No “excessive” violence: Instead of “excessive” aggression, we use “generous,” “bountiful,” or “family-size.”
The phrase “was found dead” should be used as often as possible: It’s better for everyone this way.
Sources = Police: All sources should be a neutral witness wearing a cop uniform.
Black men are never “unarmed”: A cell phone or water gun could be lethal in certain circumstances. It’s not for a responsible reporter to speculate. Also, fists could be weapons. Or feet. Or eyes. Really, the list is endless.
Use “altercation”: In addition to keeping things vague, it’s a great SAT word.
Police never fire bullets: Any bullet from a police officer’s firearm must be described as “emitting spontaneously from a self-firing gun” or “appearing in the victim’s body as if by magic.”
Don’t assume that getting shot hurts: Until someone describes the pain, our report should first consider that gunshots feel good.
Omit needless words: When describing police-involved shootings, omit words and phrases that aren’t key to the story, like “while running away,” “in the back,” and “child.”
And God willed it thus: In a scenario where a suspect dies in police custody, always end with this phrase.