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Monday, July 21, 2014

It must be true, I saw it in the newspapers

Leave it to the media to report the facts. Would they lie to us?

For 30 years, The Weekly World News had a proud place as one of the supermarket tabloids prominent at most checkout lanes. And it was popular, bought by 1.2 million people a week at one time. As we became "more sophisticated," it lost its edge and ceased as a paper in 2007. But my, oh my, the stories its crack team of reporters brought us, week after week, all with scintillating photos, artwork and bold, eye-catching headlines:

  • Bigfoot Kept Lumberjack as a Love Slave
  • Chimp's Head Put on Human Body
  • Fat Cat Owns 23 Old Ladies
  • Heaven Photographed by Hubble Telescope
  • Mermaid Cemetery Discovered
  • Abe Lincoln Was a Woman
  • Cuba Launches Shark Attack on U.S.
  • Dog with Human Hands Composes Magnum Opus
  • Ghostly Titanic Docks
  • Garden of Eden Found
... and it goes on and on. My personal favorite, however, is the story of a cruel surgeon who reattached a pair of "Siamese twins" after they failed to pay their medical bill. As an aside, I did know the owners at one time of the Weekly World News and its sister publications. They told me the WWN staff always had fun... and that some (a few) of the stories are true! Wadda 'ya think?

Today we have The Onion that lampoons what often passes as news today. Latest on-line issue reports God has pledged $5,000 for cancer research, the Brazilian government has posted listings for 12 soccer stadiums for sale on Craigslist, and a Special Report: "Majority of UFO abductions committed by alien that person knows."

This stuff could never happen in real life, could it?

Hmm. Check out this story in The Wall Street Journal: "Russians Hear News That's Good for Kremlin." The scary part... this is real. It's called putting a spin on the terrible tragedy of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, shot down over Ukraine with 298 lives lost.

Kremlin controlled airwaves have been giving the Russian people an idea of who to blame? Hint: Anyone but Russia or the separatists it is backing.

Many on the street say they believe the United States has had a hand in it to provoke a war with Russia. Others are sure it was the Ukrainians. "It has to be them. They just keep asking for trouble and for war, and they blame Russia for everything."

"I think Ukraine is responsible. It's their ridiculous nation."

Conspiracy theories air on state-run television... the U.S. engineered genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and are now doing the same in Ukraine to foster its interests... the downed aircraft was filled with corpses... dispatchers ordered the plane to a lower altitude to make a better target... "the next act could be an assault on a nuclear plant or terrorist act in Europe... and says one, "They will blame Putin. Who will be the new sacred victim?"

Another on-the-street interviewee said "This was definitely a provocation and America is to blame. Whatever America gets involved in, it messes it up."

The crowning touch: State-run television ran an uncorroborated interview with a woman who said Ukrainian government forces crucified a 3-year-old boy and then dragged his mother behind an armored vehicle until she died. Calls for the state channel to retract the story were ignored.

For me, I choose the more believable one about the redneck vampire that attacked a trailer park... or the 500 foot-Jesus that appeared at the U.N... and I say, it's about time!

PS: I forgot to mention that Weekly World News  did have an insight into politics. It noted that UFO aliens backed Obama, that space aliens backed Bush for President, that Romney was voted President of Mars, Dick Cheney is a robot and, an alien confided in Clinton and Bush that five U.S. Senators are space aliens. (Hmmm, that might explain a lot.)

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