August 5th, 2012
Rep War I Survivor
Join Date: Feb 2006
Onion causes uproar with fake terrorist attack on Willis tower
Satirical newspaper the Onion is under fire for publishing a photo that simulates an airplane flying into the country's tallest skyscraper.
'Sears extremists fly a plane into Willis Tower,' a narrator says as the image is shown in a weekly news recap video.
The image shows an airplane emblazoned with the Sears logo aiming directly at the company's former Chicago-based headquarters, now named the Willis Tower.
As of Saturday morning, the picture generated more than 3,600 comments and more than 4,100 likes on the Onion's Facebook page.
Some commenters called the photo 'disgusting', 'tasteless' and 'not funny'.
Many said also that the picture was inappropriate, because it's reminiscent of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
In an emailed response to questions about the criticism, The Onion marketing director Grant Jones stuck with the newspaper's tone.
'9-11 must never be the fodder for jokes,' he wrote. 'Perhaps you didn't see the news that humor died after 9-11.'
Calling the blurb a 'very important story', he added, 'we're surprised other major news sources are not giving it the coverage it deserves.'
In New York City, however, Onion readers weren't pleased.
'That's not funny,' said Christina Lopez, 36, who was living on Long Island on Sept. 11, 2001. 'It's not OK. Ever.'
Bill Hylen, a Philadelphian who was visiting lower Manhattan on Friday, was also troubled. The 45-year-old said there may be a time when a lighthearted allusion to 9/11 won't hit such a nerve in the nation, but 'it's not coming up any time soon.'
It isn't the first time The Onion has generated angst with its satire.
Last September, Washington Capitol Police released a statement refuting tweets and an article claiming members of Congress had taken a group of school children hostage.
The story included a doctored picture of Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner holding a gun to a child's head.
The story came a day after the FBI arrested a man accused of planning to bomb the Pentagon and the Capitol with explosive-filled model airplanes.
The Chicago-based publication was founded in 1988 by two students in Madison from the University of Wisconsin as a local college newspaper.
The paper went on to become a national comedy institution and went online in 1996. Since then it has also developed a television news parody. The publication is distributed weekly in cities, but it has also embraced Twitter and on has an app for the iPad and other tablets.
The Onion's editorial staff has been based in New York City with other offices in Madison, Wis., but is relocating to Chicago.
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