On July 28th, 2016, the Internet was whipped into a massive shitstorm as news articles everywhere claimed that North Korea had declared war on the United States. Kind of.
America stood at the podium as blinding lights flashed all around him. He could make out several of the audience members through the spots: Times, Huffington Post, CNN, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal in the back there with a cigar. Wait.
“Here’s the thing,” America started. “You can’t have ‘North Korea’ and ‘declares war’ right next to each other in the same headline, okay? People will see that as ‘North Korea declares war.’ Now I’ve got people freaking out, Twitter is going nuts, and I bet the guy is over there just patting himself on the back for spooking everyone like this.”
Times threw a hand up. “America, isn’t this really a problem with the people? They see a headline, misread it, and don’t even both to look at the actual article. If misinformation is being spread, whose fault is it really?”
America sighed. “Look, Times, I get it. You’re a respectable paper. You take pride in your journalistic quality. That’s fine. But the problem is that less respectable news sites–blogs, Twitter, Facebook– they’ll latch onto these misunderstandings and generate a lot of panic and fear. So we’re back at the original problem, right? How about everyone maybe not write headlines that instantly make people think North Korea is going to nuke us and his sister. Problem solved.”
Times sat down without a fight, but scribbled something in her notepad. It gave America a bad feeling.
“This just in!” The Onion said loudly from the back. “Obama Says Tricking Country Into Nuking North Korea All Part of Plan. Shit–wait, wait. I can do better. Give me a second.”
America smacked his teeth and slumped against the podium. “Okay, which one of you let him in here?”
Notes: Never thought I’d personify newspapers but here I am.