Media culpa

If only some other news and 'information' organizations were as honest and candid as these scientists

Boston GlobeMarch 15, 2014 

20070726 Media satire

MCT

VAL B. MINA — MCT

"The publishers Springer and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) are removing more than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated nonsense."

-- Nature, Feb. 24, 2014

• Fox News network president Roger Ailes announced the formation of a task force to purge the channel's video archives of over 15 years of knuckle-dragging idiocy uttered by his many hirelings. "It's almost as if a malevolent virus struck our newsreaders, individually and collectively," the veteran media insider told the New York Daily News. "Waterboarding isn't torture; Halloween is a liberal holiday; Barack Obama is a fascist; 'Santa just is white.' It sounds like computer-generated nonsense."

• Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that the site's billion-plus users will be seeing many strange new posts in their daily "news" feeds. "It may look like computer-generated nonsense," Zuckerberg said, "but it's called advertising. That's what allows us to pay for server farms the size of South Dakota to store all your must-see cat videos. So please -- indulge us."

• "Liberal claptrap; atavistic Occu-prop; Obama-as-tool-of-Wall-Street-puppeteers -- there really isn't any silliness that we won't post to boost traffic," admits Markos Moulitsas, creator of the Daily Kos website. "Remember Ned Lamont's landslide Senate loss in Connecticut? I'm proud to say we were a part of that. If my fellow ideology-driven, digital pap-pushers have learned one thing, it's this: People want affirmation, not information in their daily news stream, and that's what we give them. Sure, sometimes Daily Kos reads like computer-generated nonsense, but you know what? so does the New York Times!"

• "We're not making any apologies for James Patterson," Hachette Book Group CEO Michael Pietsch declared in a contentious interview with the trade magazine Publishers Weekly. "First off, Jim is a great guy who has donated more money to booksellers, university scholarships, and literacy charities than most authors make in a lifetime. Second, how do you think we finance those fey little novels so beloved by ladies' book groups? Off of Jim and his army of co-authors, that's how. Formulaic? Perhaps? Seriatim silliness? Your words, not mine. Computer-generated nonsense? That's harsh. Now get out of my office!"

• "True Detective" writer and showrunner Nic Pizzolatto, who has supplanted "Breaking Bad" scribbler Vince Gilligan as the small-screen auteur-of-the-nano-moment, defended the impenetrable scripts of his monster television hit in an interview with TheWrap.com. "Listen in on a bit of Rust Cohle's famous 'time speech,' " Pizzolato suggested, alluding to the existentially unhinged character played by Matthew McConaughey. "Cohle says: 'In this universe we process time literally, forward, but outside of our space time from what would be a fourth dimensional perspective, time wouldn't exist.'

"Obviously this is obscurantist bushwa," Pizzolata elaborated. "It sounds like computer-generated nonsense, a mashup of some Linda Ronstadt Stone Poneys-era lyrics with random quotes from 'The Portable Nietzsche.' But you know what? It worked for Chris Carter on the 'X-Files,' and it worked for David Lynch on 'Lonesome Pine' -- sorry, 'Twin Peaks.' "

"Are you a betting man? Because if you think I don't have a Emmy for Outstanding Writing in my immediate future, you could lose a ton of dough."

• The editors of the Boston Globe, in a tiny note artfully buried at the bottom of Page 2, admitted that almost half of the hundreds of columns written by Alex Beam in his centuries-long stint ("None dared wish it longer," one wag noted) at the newspaper had been purged from the Globe's digital archive. "So much of Beam's work was borderline unreadable," the note stated. "He tossed around words like 'obscurantist,' 'atavistic,' and 'seriatim' as if he was auditioning for tenure in the English Department at Middlesex Community College. But in the end, a lot of his work read like computer-generated nonsense. We apologize to our readers for the many years of affront."

Alex Beam, Boston Globe; alexbeam@hotmail.com.

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