The Onion’s latest project is a massive multimedia undertaking: 700 pages of fake leaks from President Donald Trump’s White House, including a presidential daily briefing rendered in the style of an Applebee’s kids placemat and emails from Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump begging for permission to sit on top of the Pentagon to look for UFOs.
The parody hits Betsy DeVos, the CIA, Reince Priebus, the EPA, a handful of Republican congresspeople, Kellyanne Conway, and dozens more. There are even four faux-documents about Trump’s concerns regarding the “threat posed by lighthouses,” which are “unpatriotic” because they face their lights away from the U.S. shore, and disconcerting because they’re “too tall.”
Most of the documents are parodies of email leaks, which have become not just a economic and political weapon, but something of a surreal pop culture phenomenon in the last few years. The project broadly speaks to the frenzy around mysterious White House leaks, BuzzFeed’s infamous “Peegate” document dump, and a general clamoring to simply “see the receipts” amid political controversy.
Fittingly, the sheer volume of the “documents” means it would take hours to wade through all of The Onion’s project. Much like the leaks that make for huge online moments, it simulates the feeling that anyone can be the detective who finds the crucial bit of information in the haystack.
As of this writing, The Onion is about 30 minutes into reading all of the pages out loud on Facebook Live. The stream began with a satirical editor’s note, mimicking the self-laudatory “we did our jobs and confirmed these facts” preambles often affixed to somber news reports.
This impressive stunt comes just one week after The Onion-owned ClickHole rebranded as PatriotHole to parody right-wing news blogs that shout about patriotism, conspiracy, and liberal tears.