It's hard to believe it's been just a little bit more than a week since we all first learned about the National Security Agency's Prism program. While Britain's The Guardian and The Washington Post have gotten plenty of credit for breaking and teasing out the unfolding scandal, I think a third news organization also deserves to be singled out for its coverage. I'm talking about The Onion, America's Finest News Source, whose reporting has deepened our collective understanding of our new lives as obedient, patriotic subjects of the surveillance state.
Two Onion dispatches this week have been must-reads. The first, "Area Man Outraged His Private Information Being Collected By Someone Other Than Advertisers," really captures why learning of the existence of Prism has been so upsetting for consumers:
"I can't express how infuriated I am that my credit history, phone activity, and online browsing habits are being systematically collected and archived without my knowledge by undisclosed organizations that aren't trying to sell me products," said the visibly disturbed man....
The second, "NSA Assures Americans That PRISM 2.0 Will Be Way More Invasive," looks ahead, echoing the experience that many users have had with Facebook over the years.
Speaking of Facebook, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention The Onion's pioneering coverage, back in 2010, of how the CIA's Facebook program has dramatically cut the spy agency's costs.
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. Follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.