The Onion (Humor)

AllSides Media Bias Rating™: Lean Left
The bias meter value for The Onion (Humor) is -2.00. -6 is the furthest "Left" value and 6 is the furthest "Right" value.
Lean Left What does this mean?

How we determined this rating:

  • Independent Review
  • Editorial Review: Aug 2020
  • Community Feedback:   ratings
  • AllSides has low or initial confidence in this bias rating.

Unless otherwise noted, this bias rating refers only to online news coverage, not TV, print, or radio content.

Learn about our bias rating methods
The Onion (Humor)
The Onion (Humor)
Bias Rating Lean Left
Type News Media
Region National
Twitter @theonion
Facebook theonion
Wikipedia The Onion (Humor)
What a Lean Left Bias Rating Means

The source displays media bias in ways that moderately align with liberal, progressive, or left-wing thought and/or policy agendas.

Learn more about Lean Left ratings
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About The Onion (Humor)'s Bias Rating

The Onion (Humor) is a news media source with an AllSides Media Bias Rating™ of Lean Left.

In 2022, lawyers for The Onion filed a Supreme Court brief supporting a man who was prosecuted after he poked fun at law enforcement on social media.

What a "Lean Left" Rating Means

Sources with an AllSides Media Bias Rating of Lean Left display media bias in ways that moderately align with liberal, progressive, or left-wing thought and/or policy agendas. A Lean Left bias is a moderately liberal rating on the political spectrum.

Learn more about Lean Left ratings

Bias Reviews

We use multiple methods to analyze sources. Learn how we rate media bias.

The Onion Rated Lean Left in Aug. 2020 Editorial Review 

During an Aug. 2020 Editorial Review of The Onion, the AllSides team, which contains people from the left, center, and right, had a consensus that The Onion has a Lean Left bias.

The team noted that The Onion only makes fun of the establishment left, not the far left. It lacks right-wing comedy poking fun at the far left; in addition, The Onion doesn't make fun of the far right. The team noted that in 2016, The Onion's parody content included positive spins in favor of Hillary Clinton. In Aug. 2020, there was more emphasis on Donald Trump and on making fun of the political establishment as a whole, as well as entrenched government, framed as ineffective from a far-left perspective, not a Center perspective. The Onion had a focus on absurdist humor and had a largely anti-establishment bias. One team member noted that The Onion seems "more to be attacking the Democratic party from a trendy, far-left perspective." They noted media bias by omission in that The Onion did not critique left-wing protesters, which was a massive event and topic of conversation in Summer 2020.

The Onion Rated Lean Left in April 2020 Independent Review

Following an independent review by an AllSides editor on April 27, 2020, AllSides gave The Onion an initial rating of Lean Left. Our reviewer noted that The Onion generates humor and satire content poking fun at both sides, but moreso at right-wing figures and ideas.

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Community Feedback

Feedback does not determine ratings, but may trigger deeper review.

As of April 2024, people have voted on the AllSides Media Bias Rating for The Onion (Humor). On average, those who disagree with our rating think this source has a Lean Left bias.

Confidence Level

Confidence is determined by how many reviews have been applied and consistency of data.

As of April 2024, AllSides has low or initial confidence in our Lean left rating for The Onion (Humor). If we perform more bias reviews and gather consistent data, this confidence level will increase.

Additional Information

The Onion is an American satirical digital media company and newspaper organization that publishes articles on international, national, and local news. The company is based in Chicago but originated as a weekly print publication on August 29, 1988 in Madison, Wisconsin. The Onion began publishing online in the spring of 1996. In 2007, they began publishing satirical news audio and video online as the Onion News Network. In 2013, The Onion ceased publishing its print edition and launched Onion Labs, an advertising agency. The Onion runs the website ClickHole, a response to viral sites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy, as well as PatriotHole, a channel parodying right-wingers.

Third-Party Claims of Bias

A 2016 TIME article referred to The Onion as "left-leaning." A Feb. 2020 Politico article accused The Onion of going "full-on Bernie Bro," referencing 2020 Democratic candidate for president Bernie Sanders. Writer Derek Robertson stated that while The Onion had "served up equal-opportunity political satire" since 1996, "over the latest presidential cycle, anyone reading closely might notice the site’s treatment of Bernie Sanders looks less like a skewering than an affectionate back rub." Robertson continued:

"The Onion" laid out its new ideology unambiguously in an August 2019 piece titled “Democrat Party: Moving Left Vs. Remaining Moderate.” The article is less a series of jokes than a laundry list of familiar complaints from the activist, Bernie-friendly left about moderate Democrats, like criticizing their foreign policy as “10 percent less than whatever Dick Cheney would do.”

Self-Proclaimed Bias

In the aforementioned Feb. 2020 Politico article, the writer quotes The Onion's editor-in-chief, Chad Nackers, as saying, “The Onion started in Madison [Wis.], and people are pretty progressive … a lot of Bernie’s policies are progressive things that we want to back.” In 2008, Onion writer Tom Hanson told the Washington Post: "I wouldn't say we have the broadest spectrum of political inclinations on our staff, but we're not here to be a pal to liberals or to be a mouthpiece for the Democratic Party. We're here to make fun of things that are dumb."

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Articles from The Onion (Humor)

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