The Onion: Fake news org celebrates 25 years of satire

(CBS News) Before Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, there was The Onion. The publication started out as a weekly newspaper, but 25 years later it is a multimedia fake news organization.

The Onion has used satire to skewer everyone from the evergreen "Area Man" to elected officials, and even though it creates fake news The New Republic recently said that it "is the country's best op-ed page."

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Head writer for The Onion Seth Reiss was just 5 years old when the publication launched, and he told "CBS This Morning: Saturday" that he thinks they are indeed the best.

"I think The Onion is America's best op-ed page. We're America's finest news source. I think we're better than CBS, NBC and ABC combined," joked Reiss. "I can't believe it took them so long to write that article."

Reiss said that, while the platform has completely changed, the process to create their fake world of news has stayed relatively the same.

"We go through about, I don't know, hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of headlines, and we whittle them down to the three or four that you see every day," said Reiss. "It's pretty much stayed that way, except now we do a lot more timely content because, in this world of the Internet that can be absolutely awful and can push you to write so many things, we're trying to parody that, so it's kind of incumbent on us to write more topical pieces."

Reiss doesn't believe that there is any competition for The Onion because they are different from other comedic news outlets in that they actually create a fake world of news, not just make fun of real situations.

Republican congressman falls victim to old Onion article

Creating a fake world means that occasionally it is taken to be real, but Reiss says that they love it when governments believe their stories. In fact, when The Onion published that then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was more popular than President Obama, the government of Iran thought it was true.

"We love it when governments do, when people do it's a little sad," said Reiss. "If it's just like a normal person who is duped, it's always a little sad to see that, especially, you know, on our Facebook when somebody doesn't quite understand what happened."

For Seth Reiss' full interview, watch the video in the player above.

  • Shoshana Davis

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