Every once in a while, the entertainment news online spills over onto the “real” news online. Sure, a lot of major news outlets have entertainment sections, but rarely do those stories make it to the front page, above the electronic fold. Recently, however, that very thing happened, as Miley Cyrus grabbed all the headlines with her “performance” on the Video Music Awards.
The usual suspects carried the story… Entertainment Tonight online Entertainment weekly online, Us Weekly online… everywhere you would expect to see a story like this, you saw it. But the story also appeared on the front page of CNN.com, stealing the top headline spot from arguably more newsworthy topics, such as the 50th anniversary of Dr. King and his “I Have a Dream” speech, or the rumors of chemical weapons in Syria.
In a media coup that would make Paddy Chayefsky and Aaron Sorkin stand up and cheer, the satirical newspaper The Onion took CNN to task for bumping serious journalism aside for an audience grab. In a faux op ed piece attributed to the very real managing editor of CNN online, The Onion laid out the reasoning behind the decision of CNN to feature the Cyrus story above other stories, saying the decision 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.”
The Onion itself has been a consistent source of entertainment news online, but always with its own satirical spin. This latest attack on the media puts the fake newspaper firmly in the same corner as Jon Stewart, with his incredulity at choices made by so called “serious” journalists and his impassioned pleas for those same journalists to “stop hurting the country” with their choices.
What is Meredith Artley, the actual managing editor of CNN.com, saying in response to the faux editorial with her name and picture on it? Not much, as it turns out. She is mainly staying away from in depth comments, other than to suggest on her Twitter account that she will not pursue any legal action against The Onion. And that she wishes they would have used a better headshot.