image from the Onion 's Twitter logo The Onion published a fake editorial piece which was NOT written by CNN managing editor, Meredith Artley, although it says she wrote it. The piece--made-up though it is--is a concise and straightforward explanation of the use of social media and internet marketing for revenue maximization. In case you missed the event that started things off--Miley Cyrus did a song-and-dance number at the recently televised MTV Video Music Awards ceremony. By many accounts, it was in pretty poor taste, and generated "viral" attention on the internet. The attention it generated was a "news story" covered by many mainstream media outlets. This prompted the satire by The Onion , supposedly in the voice of CNN's managing editor, explaining why the story was played as a top news headline: ". ..boy oh boy did it get us some web traffic...Those of us watching on Google Analytics saw the number of homepage visits skyrocket the second we put up that salacious image of Miley Cyrus dancing half nude on the VMA stage. But here’s where it gets great: We don’t just do a top story on the VMA performance and call it a day. No, no. We also throw in a slideshow called 'Evolution of Miley,' which, for those of you who don’t know, is just a way for you to mindlessly click through 13 more photos of Miley Cyrus. And if we get 500,000 of you to do that, well, 500,000 multiplied by 13 means we can get 6.5 million page views on that slideshow alone... ... Now, let's get back to why we put the story in the most coveted spot on our website, thereby saying, essentially, that Miley Cyrus’ suggestive dancing is the most important thing going on in the world right now. If you clicked on the story, and all the slideshows, and all the other VMA coverage, that means you’ve probably been on CNN.com for more than seven minutes, which lowers our overall bounce rate. Do you know what that is? Sorry for getting a little technical here. The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. If we can keep that bounce rate low, and show companies that people don’t just go to CNN.com but stay there, then we can go to Ford or McDonald’s or Samsonite or whatever big company you can think of and ask for the big bucks." The description provided in the quote--of internet reaction to the video--probably describes, with a fair amount of accuracy, the behavior of many net surfers following this "story," and the possible motivations of the news organizations who promoted the story. What makes this "funny" is that, when stated plainly, the revenue-chasing seems out-of-place for a news organization. Perhaps the mission of a news organization is no longer to deliver unbiased news to a broad population (and secondarily to make a profit). Rather, news organizations, like other corporations, may now be putting revenue generation as the number one priority. Source: " Let Me Explain Why Miley Cyrus’ VMA Performance Was Our Top Story This Morning ," a PARODY by the Onion staff, August 26, 2013. Follow up: Read up on "parody." How can The Onion get away with putting words in someone's mouth that they did not say? What message is communicated by this "editorial piece"? Is it effective? Consider viewing the first and second seasons of The Newsroom .