In an unfortunate mishap, editors at USA TODAY’s website misplaced 98,000 antiwar protestors for half an hour on Saturday afternoon. Editors became aware of the problem when staff from the publication’s Lost & Found office rang to notify them that they were overwhelmed by a sudden and unexplained influx of tens of thousands of people holding banners and chanting.
With mass suicides at the site of the Washington DC march after remaining protestors assumed that they had been left behind on the day of the Rapture, a national crisis was declared. Scenes on the Washington Mall were upsetting, with the still-living protestors beating their backs with Birkenstocks, wailing and repenting for voting for John Kerry, and loudly promising God to remove that FIRE ASSCROFT bumper sticker from their SUV.
FEMA officials contacted USA TODAY’s Human Resources office to promise help somewhere around next Sunday’s issue, forcing the editors to take immediate action.
A directive was immediately issued to the USA TODAY’s subeditor’s office to correct the mistake on the website “as quickly as fucking possible.”
In an interview with BNN, USA TODAY President and Publisher Craig Moon noted that, “This is just another example of the power the media has to create and shape reality. When USA TODAY web technician Randolph Murks incorrectly entered ‘2,000’ instead of ‘100,000’ into our headline management system at 4:00PM, the alternate universe that our newspaper creates resulted in the literal disappearance of 98,000 people from the streets of Washington DC.”
An anonymous Defence Department official confirmed that the government was exploring military applications for the technology, which is currently primarily utilised by the media and political campaign industries.
Media organisations have a history of losing important issues and entire countries for months, sometimes years. East Timor resident Palang Gumbak, president of the East Timor New York Times Appreciation Society, reiterated how grateful the East Timorese were during the potentially dark years following Indonesia’s 1975 occupation of the island.
“It could have been so much worse,” Gumbak commented, “if the newspaper of record had not ignored us so studiously for the better part of two decades, something awful might have happened. We are grateful for the media blackout that no doubt saved hundreds of thousands of us being slaughtered. Imagine what might have happened if we hadn’t been camped out in the New York Times’ car park during that period.”
Other notable media disappearances include the invisibility of Palestine on any map published in the Western world since the early 1900s. Queried by BNN, MapQuest.com spokesman Cylus Batt encouraged people to think of these glitches as positive.
“For example,” said Batt, “in our maps of Israel and the Occupied Territories, the closer you zoom in to look at the horror show, the deliniation between Israel and the territories it occupies disappears, leaving our users much calmer and responsive to the far simpler reality we have created.”
Palestinian taxi driver Ahmad Abedmoz had nothing but good things to say about MapQuest’s decision.
“Since the last quarterly update of MapQuest’s mapping and routing data, which obliterated the Green Line, I’ve had no problem whizzing through Israeli checkpoints,” he said, “It’s almost as if they weren’t there!”