Lost in all the Wall Street Journal drama is the news of Rupert Murdoch getting his paws on another bastion of American journalism: The Onion. The beloved if slightly over-the-hill humor newspaper has signed on to provide exclusive content to MySpace, including audio podcasts and video from its misbegotten Onion News Network offshoot. The paper announced the partnership via press release filled with the usual barrage of jokes — and with a buzz-kill addendum ("the foregoing is a satirical press release published by MySpace, Inc…") that suggests the big-league nature of the deal. Despite its shaggy pose, the Onion boasts dead-serious print circulation (3 million copies) and online traffic (4 million visitors each month). One can't help but feel troubled, though. The newspaper industry's panicked attempts to branch out into every new platform from social networks to mobile phones should be prime satire fodder; the Onion, in doing the same thing with the same zeal (anyone remember "The Onion on Your PDA" ads?), is losing just a bit of its outsider soul every time it oh-so-self-effacingly bites a new fad.
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