Friday, September 30, 2011

"The Onion" should be criminally charged for latest tastelessness

Mike Ullery
Chief Photographer

Earlier this week, a Web-based satire “news” source, The Onion, released a story stating that U.S. Congressmen were holding school children hostage, at gunpoint, inside the Capitol.

The Tweets caused quite a stir around the country.

News stories, legitimate news stories, on Friday, were discussing The Onion’s latest escapade. One news source defended The Onion’s right to post such crap, claiming their “humor” is protected by the First Amendment.

I sincerely hope that federal investigators find cause to charge Onion officials with felony counts of inducing panic. The Onion, and their followers, can claim an attempt at humor all they want but the fact is that, not only, is such a “joke” not humorous, it is downright cruel.

I am all for protecting the First Amendment. I am also for prosecuting, to the full extent of the law, anyone who causes grief or panic among Americans by their blatant disregard for their fellow citizens.

I saw a post on Facebook following The Onion’s assault on the American public, to the effect that “It’s The Onion,” In other words, one should automatically know the information was false. I do not agree.

As our country slips more and more to “citizen journalism,” the line between real, professionally-gathered news and the unconfirmed and many times just flat out untrue reports is growing increasingly difficult to decipher.

Throw in the tragic events of incidents such as Columbine, and you have to realize that even attempting humor related to potential harm to Americans, especially in the halls of Congress, is far beyond distasteful. It is, in fact, criminal.

It is sad that Americans have descended to the depths of what is considered humor and satire. Even on the “higher-class” end, you have late night talk show hosts such as David Letterman, using the misfortune of others as the basis for the rants that he calls humor. At the other end of the spectrum, we have Websites like The Onion. Nothing they say is humorous. They are an insult to the intelligence of the American people.

On television, programs like Family Guy are just downright vulgar. I believe that the reason they do the shows in cartoon format is lull viewers into thinking the “characters” are funny. Have our values sunk to such levels where we actually mistake this crap for entertainment?

That fact that these shows are cartoons just invites our children to watch. Too many parents, who are more worried about themselves than family values, just sit there and allow their children to watch the programs.

Some of you, especially the younger crowd, will undoubtedly say that I am just old-fashioned. Yes, I am. What is wrong with that? I was raised with the values set by my parents. They would have been just as disgusted with what is going on in America today as I am.

This is not about a generation expressing themselves and we old fogies just don’t understand. This is about basic values that we all should have, and live by.

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