White House Goes After The Onion

Ken AshfordBush & Co.Leave a Comment

Truth is funnier than satire sometimes:

You might have thought that the White House had enough on its plate late last month, what with its search for a new Supreme Court nominee, the continuing war in Iraq and the C.I.A. leak investigation. But it found time to add another item to its agenda – stopping The Onion, the satirical newspaper, from using the presidential seal.

The newspaper regularly produces a parody of President Bush’s weekly radio address on its Web site (www.theonion.com/content/node/40121), where it has a picture of President Bush and the official insignia.

"It has come to my attention that The Onion is using the presidential seal on its Web site," Grant M. Dixton, associate counsel to the president, wrote to The Onion on Sept. 28. (At the time, Mr. Dixton’s office was also helping Mr. Bush find a Supreme Court nominee; days later his boss, Harriet E. Miers, was nominated.)

Citing the United States Code, Mr. Dixton wrote that the seal "is not to be used in connection with commercial ventures or products in any way that suggests presidential support or endorsement." Exceptions may be made, he noted, but The Onion had never applied for such an exception.

Seal1Mmmmm.  Maybe The Onion never sought an exception because nobody who reads The Onion could ever possibly think it was a commercial venture supported or endorsed by the President.


The Onion was amused. "I’m surprised the president deems it wise to spend taxpayer money for his lawyer to write letters to The Onion," Scott Dikkers, editor in chief, wrote to Mr. Dixton. He suggested the money be used instead for tax breaks for satirists.

Heh.  Even The Onion’s lawyers are funny.

** Use of the Presidential Seal in this post does not represent an endorsement by the President of the views contained herein.  We just do it because it amuses us.  Seriously.  Plus, we’re kind of hoping to get a letter from the Justice Department.