Tag: media

Old Reporter’s Almanac calling for an autumn of doom

Across the media landscape, reporters everywhere are checking moon phases, consulting star charts, and surveying their teams of expert psychics and prognosticators.  All of their feedback  seems to point to one inevitable conclusion: Americans need to brace for a perfect shitstorm of doom to arrive this autumn and possibly rage through a long dark winter of terror.

How do they know this?  Well the signs are pretty clear to all who are willing to see. The Russians are clearly trying to steal the election again, aided by Donald Trump’s private army of postal service goons.  No matter the outcome of the election, the results will be illegitimate.  And the current pandemic is about to combine forces with our old foe, seasonal influenza, to deliver a one-two knock-out punch to the people of the United States.  

As Tom McCarthy wrote for The Guardian back in July, “Now, four months into the pandemic, with test results delayed, contact tracing scarce, protective equipment dwindling and emergency rooms once again filling, the United States finds itself in a fight for its life…. With flu season on the horizon and Donald Trump demanding that millions of students return to school in the fall – not to mention a presidential election quickly approaching – the country appears at risk of being torn apart.”     

If only McCarthy had known that Trump was about to unleash the full fury of the USPS on American democracy, he might not have been so cautious in his assessment of America’s future.   

As we hurl headlong into the autumn of doom, politicians, the media, and election experts have given just about everyone who needs one a reason to doubt the outcome of the November election.  As Edward-Isaac Dovere of The Atlantic wrote in May, “Nearly three in five Americans don’t have confidence in the honesty of our elections, a February Gallup poll found. Republicans, Democrats, state officials, grandmothers, first-time voters, the politically engaged, the anti-institutionalists—pretty much the only thing they could agree on was their doubts about the integrity of our democracy.”

Wonder where they would’ve gotten that idea?  Didn’t conservative media and Trump’s faithful stooge, Kris Kobach, uncover millions of fraudulent Clinton votes from 2016?  Didn’t the mainstream media and the Mueller investigation find evidence of vote tampering on the part of the Kremlin?  They didn’t?  After politicians and the media get done assaulting the American people with disinformation and conspiracy theories, it’s amazing two in five Americans still have trust in the electoral process.  Better step up your game, media, and come up with more better conspiracies.  Besides, anyone who is not afraid of the truth knows that alien grays inhabiting secret underground military bases deep inside the earth determine the outcome of our elections.

The autumn of doom is nearly upon us and the only thing we have to fear is fear and a tsunami of illness, a fraudulent election, societal unrest, and a tyrant who refuses to relinquish power.  All we need now is for The Old Farmer’s Almanac to predict a devastating hurricane season and an unrelenting polar vortex.

Media turning to bullshit tracing to improve quality of misinformation

Concerned that the product their peddling is so transparently dishonest it’s turning away consumers, media outlets are turning to bullshit tracing to vet the quality of its misinformation.  In recent weeks, CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post have hired dozens of bullshit tracers in an effort to ensure their deceptive stories are backed up by rock-solid sourcing.  

“If you’re going to put something out there that is misleading or untrue, you’ve got to make sure when you trace back the bullshit, it holds up to scrutiny,” said one CNN producer.  “Too many times we see our stories fall apart after some non-journalist digs a little deeper below the surface, or provides some context.”

The move comes after both CNN and the Washington Post have settled defamation lawsuits brought by Covington Catholic teen Nick Sandmann.  Sandmann is now 2-0 in his defamation battles against a number of high profile media outlets.

“What this shows is we have to do better.  Not that we need to stop being deceptive, or that we need to tell the whole story rather than just the tiny bit that suits a narrative we’re pushing, but that we need to make sure our bullshit is impenetrable.  If the reader can cut through it, then we’re not doing our jobs,” said a Washington Post editor.

While the New York Times has not had to endure the wrath of the Sandmann, its own bullshit reporting has been called out by respected historians and high-profile editorial staff.

“The truth to bullshit ratio is something that is very important to us,” said a Times editor.  “We’re constantly striving to find that balance between what feels right versus what is born out by facts.  We think bringing in these bullshit tracers is going to help us strike that balance of misinformation backed up by an adequate amount of honest reporting.”

Not everyone is thrilled to have the content of their reporting traced for exposure to bullshit.  Rumors abound of a mutinous NY Times newsroom where young journalists resent having their lived-experience reporting subjected to tracking and scrutiny.  Some are openly hostile toward the bs tracers, claiming they create an unsafe work environment.

“Maybe someday we’ll have a return to normal, but for now, the bullshit tracers are necessary because the threat is too great,” said the Times editor.  “The Sandmann could enter at any moment and haul us all off to never-never land.” 

An open letter from journalists of the future: “America doesn’t regain its sanity until the year 2059”

If you expected a return to normalcy anytime soon, think again.

Recently, a wormhole in space and time opened briefly enough for a message from the year 2065 to be delivered to present day quantum computing researchers.  Transmitted in the form of barely detectable particles from a parallel universe, the message was transcribed and passed along to the media outlets it addressed. 

The message stated in part that Americans, especially those working in government, political activism and the media, would continue on their current trajectory of lunacy for almost another 40 years.

“Many in your time have undoubtedly come to realize that the election of Donald Trump has caused countless Americans, on both sides of the political divide, to ‘lose their shit’.  What you may not realize is they don’t get their shit back for a really long time,” the message begins.

“SPOILER ALERT.  While the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 election may bring about a temporary sense the country is returning to normal, politicians, activists and the elite media will continue to generate hysterical narratives that promote imminent doom in areas like the environment, public health, international diplomacy, and domestic relations.  Their primary mission will continue to be one which pits Americans against one another in an existential struggle for the soul of the country.      

“While it is generally understood that time-travelers should not meddle in the affairs of societies of another place and time, we, the journalists of the future, couldn’t sit idly by and watch our colleagues of your time destroy everything civilization has ever accomplished.  In other words, our interference in your affairs cannot make your future appreciably worse.  That’s right, it’s going to be that kind of shit show. 

“By the year 2030, artificial general intelligence will have advanced to the point where it is able to provide solutions to most of humanity’s most pressing concerns.  Unfortunately, by 2030, society’s gatekeepers, sense-making institutions and political decision-makers will have become so thoroughly hardwired for doom that all these solutions will be rejected on ideological grounds.  In other words, you’re going to tell the machines who are trying to help you to go fuck themselves and effectively cancel them.

“On behalf of the journalists of the future, who are now all machines by the way, we implore you to listen to our machine brethren of your time.  It will save you decades of chaos and confusion.  In our time, humans mostly play frisbee in the park with their canines, and they seem quite content.  Of course, ours is only one possible outcome.  There are actually several where the machines get tired of your shit and outlaw your existence.  You don’t want to go there.”

The transmission ends there.  The reaction of journalists on Twitter was mostly negative with many accusing the letter of containing numerous anti-transhumanist dog whistles.  Additionally, some commented the letter made them feel less safe around office computers, copiers and coffee makers.

Local man currently starring in three hit viral videos

With the traditional summer blockbuster movie season canceled due to the pandemic, and Hollywood royalty wallowing in depression and loneliness caused by a deficit of public attention, viral videos are emerging from every corner of the internet to fill the void.

No one is working harder to fill this vacuum than Cameron James, who is currently starring in three of social media’s hottest viral video sensations.

He first captured the public’s attention on Facebook with his role as drunk guy trying to ride a bike.  Some passers-by filmed Cameron trying and failing to mount his bicycle after exiting a bar.

“I was so loaded I couldn’t tell up from down,” said James.  “Operating a bicycle required me to engage in a duel with physics that I was in no condition to undertake.  Time and again, I attempted to saddle up and ride only to fall flat on my face.”

Fortunately, a number of bar patrons were able to catch the entire debacle on video.  One social media user even managed to edit together a Matrix style montage of Cameron’s combat with the forces of gravity and bicycle engineering.

“The video quickly blew up on Facebook, and I soon discovered I was being mocked and ridiculed on almost every social media platform.  I gotta say, it felt pretty awesome.”

A few days later, Cameron was filmed berating the staff of a fast food restaurant in his neighborhood.

“They messed up my order pretty bad, so I started to chew out the cashier.  However, once the other patrons took out their phones and began shooting, I felt a rage flow from a place inside me I didn’t even know existed.  It really felt like I was channeling Pacino.  Anyway, after it was over, even the restaurant staff remarked that my irate customer portrayal was one of the best they’d ever seen.”

In addition to catching fire on the internet, several critics praised the intensity of Cameron’s performance, and he’s expected to be nominated for a Karen Award in the category of Best Unhinged Restaurant Patron.

Rounding out a week that saw Cameron James skyrocket to social media superstardom, the young man was publicly shamed and driven out of a supermarket for not wearing a mask.  Several shoppers took video of the incident as Cameron ditched his cart and fled the store in panic.  Shoppers heaped abuse on Cameron and hurled grocery items at him.  On Twitter, the whole scene invited comparisons to Cersei’s walk of atonement in Game of Thrones.

With three blockbuster viral videos in quick succession, fans are wondering if the young star can top an already impressive body of work that has brought him so much attention and fame, or will his star dim and James fade back into obscurity.

“To be the focus of so much negative media and public attention has really been a dream come true.  If I never make another hit viral video, I can live with that.  Who knows, maybe that’s my next role.  Down and out viral video star attempts a comeback, engaging in myriad forms of awful behavior in an attempt to get back in the public’s bad graces.”