Monday, April 10, 2006
The assignment was based on a recent incident:
In their zeal to make it look like we're losing the War on Terror, what hoaxes will Reuters fall for?
At first I was going to take the assignment at face value, and started to draw up a list of other hoaxes Reuters would publish, each one crazier than the last. But it soon became clear the length of my growing list might soon overwhelm Blogspot's posting limits.
In their eagerness to shout "Dismal failure!" about the war, the Reuters news service blindly swallowed claims by Iraqi terrorists that they had video footage of them capturing a downed helicopter.
Well, they DID have footage - unfortunately the time stamp on it was March 19, 2000, and it was probably of a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
So, still in the spirit of the original assignment, I thought I'd instead flip it around and list only those very few hoaxes that even Reuters wouldn't fall for. There aren't nearly as many:
- Additional, still-classified pictures from Abu Ghraib show prisoners being forced at gun point to pre-punch election ballots in George Bush's name for the 2004 US Presidential election, and being pistol-whipped if they leave any chads hanging.
- Insurgents have film showing their operatives capturing Air Force One and taking the First Family hostage. In the low-quality, grainy print made available, the President seemed to resemble a beleaguered Harrison Ford, and the film seems cut short as the President is attempting to do something. The insurgents report he was subdued. They are demanding one billion dollars and the execution of Liza Minelli in exchange for the return of the Bush family, but insist they get to keep the plane.
- George Bush is presently living in a 3m by 3m cell in Tikrit, waiting to stand trial before the Honorable Saddam Hussein, while body doubles of Bush and Hussein lull the West into thinking the US has everything under control.
- Saddam's famous "wood chipper" was finally discovered behind a secret panel in one of Saddam's palace ball rooms but, contrary to popular belief, analysis by military forensic experts determined that it had only been used to make large batches of flavored ices at parties.
- CNN Executive Eason Jordan actually single-handedly captured Saddam Hussein early in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but was taken out by a US Army sniper's tranquilizer dart before he could get a one-on-one interview with the deposed leader. By the time Jordan awoke Saddam was gone, and didn't turn up again until "captured" by US forced in his famous hidey hole many months later.
- Reports that the so-called Iraq war was won by the US back in 2003 turn out to have been false, and indeed, Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf was correct all along, that US forces really were butchered at the Baghdad airport and did not succeed in capturing Baghdad until last spring with the help of Shiite irregulars.
- George Bush was spotted last week marching in drag as the Grand Marshall of Baghdad's Gay Pride Parade.