Nackers says it’s not that the Onion has decided to try its hand at actively abetting the Sanders campaign. To him, this campaign is simply the first one its staff has seen that embodies what it has been complaining about all along. Part of it is just how simpatico their policy preferences are: “The Onion started in Madison [Wis.],” Nackers said in an interview, “and people are pretty progressive … a lot of Bernie’s policies are progressive things that we want to back.”
But it also runs deeper: When Sanders waves his hands in theatrical exasperation, trying to lift the lid off corruption, oligarchy or the daily indignities thwarting the common man, it’s actually … a little like what the Onion does. “[Bernie’s platform reflects] society’s foibles that we at The Onion have been pointing out for decades,” Nackers said.
Whether it’s a conversion or just a recognition, the coverage puts the Onion in an odd position for a site whose sympathies, and readers, are largely liberal. Its lines of attack on mainstream Democrats like Pete Buttigieg and Nancy Pelosi can seem indistinguishable from what you might find on a conservative site like the Daily Caller’s ham-fisted attempts at satire: “Weak, Exhausted Nancy Pelosi Given Saline Drip Following Hours-Long Attempt To Stand Firm In Convictions,” reads one Onion headline.