Crisis Strikes Newspaper Office

Fake News written by Martha Throebeck on Tuesday, June 8, 2004

from the the-nightmare-on-broadway dept.

CAPE GIRARDEAU -- Panic briefly gripped the Southeast Missourian newsroom yesterday after it was discovered that only one measly 'Speak Out' comment had been submitted all day, leaving a giant void to fill on the Opinion page.

"This is the day we've always feared," announced the editor during an emergency newsroom meeting. "I'm declaring a Chartreuse Alert. Battle stations, people, battle stations!"

Within minutes several newsroom staffers were frantically searching Google for filler material to use on the Opinion pages for the coming week. The task was surprisingly difficult.

When a reporter suggested that the paper run a David Limbaugh column, the editor responded, "We just ran a Limbaugh piece yesterday!" The reporter then argued unsuccessfully, "But Limbaugh's columns are always the same: Democrats bad, Bush good. Nobody will be able to tell that we ran the same column over again!"

Another staffer suggested, "Surely there's a spare letter to the editor or guest column that you've got lying around somewhere."

"Oh sure, I've got an entire drawer here filled with letters sent by various crackpots from the college and elsewhere," the editor said. "But I have a strict policy of only printing one letter per person every 30 days. And if I break the rule once, I'll have to break it again and again. Can you imagine what would happen if we ran the same old "Republicans - are - destroying - the - Earth - and - poisoning - our - children - as - part - of - a - fiendish - world - domination - scheme - to - enrich - the - evil - oil - industry" diatribes every day? Readers will start having heart attacks and will sue us for millions."

But one editorial board member spoke up and said, "But I think laughter is the best medicine, and there's nothing better than rolling on the floor laughing after reading a particularly bad letter. If laughter truly does bring health benefits, then think about all of the lives would could save!"

In the end, the crisis was averted when somebody checked the Speak Out hotline as the deadline approached and the automated voice said, "Congratulations, you have... fifty... new messages!"

The newsroom immediately burst into shouts of "Hallelujah!" and "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

As it turns out, most of the new calls were from one Erma Grausteinberger of W. Themis Street, a prolific Speak Out caller who had merely been away on vacation the last few days.

"I usually get sick of Erma's incessant calls, but today I can only say, 'Welcome back, Erma! We missed you!'" the editor said as he headed for the door. "Hopefully the next time Erma leaves for a trip she can tell us in advance so that we don't have to go through this again!"