Greg Beato: Amusing Ourselves to Depth

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GREG BEATO: Amusing Ourselves to Depth

1. Tim Keck started The Onion because “he wanted to create a compelling way to deliver advertising to his fellow students”. “Part of the first issue’s front page was devoted to a story about a monster running amok at a local lake; the rest was reserved for beer and pizza coupons.” (389) This shows that the newspaper’s direction towards “fake news” and advertisement.

2. The Onion is one successful newspaper because it prints 710,000 copies of each weekly edition, 6,000 more than the Denver post; have 3000 local advertisers; attract 2 million online readers a week and boast a 60% increase in their print circulation. (389-390)

3. Beato choose the title “Amusing Ourselves to Depth” because it warns the fate that would befall us if public discourse were allowed to become substantially more entertaining (390), which is the opposite to what The Onion is doing. This suggests Beato is against this idea, and supports The Onion, that entertainment in news is good.

4. Beato mentions “America’s most informed citizens simply prefer comedy over the stentorian drivel the network anchormannequins dispense,” (390) to argue against Neil Postman’s notion.

5. The Onion focused on expressing a worldview of any kind and delights in crapping on pieties and regularly publishes stories guaranteed to upset someone by being completely honest.

6. Beato is not suggesting that fake news is better than “real” news but implying that by being honest, expressing a worldview of any kind and not afraid of offending people with a pinch of entertainment is better way to convey news.
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