Why isn't this man laughing?

The White House cracks down on the Onion.

Published October 26, 2005 3:59PM (EDT)

With a war raging in Iraq, with the terrorist mastermind who struck the United States on the loose, with top administration officials in serious legal jeopardy and a Supreme Court nominee in deep trouble on Capitol Hill, you'd think that the White House -- and especially its legal department -- would be too busy to sweat the small stuff.

You'd be wrong. According to a Reuters report, the White House has demanded that the Onion stop using the presidential seal when it lampoons George W. Bush.

While insisting that the Bush administration has a sense of humor -- and on that point, we haven't any doubt -- White House spokesman Trent Duffy said a line has to be drawn somewhere. "When any official sign or seal is being used inappropriately the party is notified," Duffy said. "You cannot pick and choose where to enforce that rule. It's important that the seal or any White House insignia not be used inappropriately."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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