Q&A with a fake news writer

THE FIFTH COLUMN

Q: Are you a robot?

A: Are you for real?

Q: Let’s move on. Is everything a joke?

A: Cancer isn’t funny. I wrote a story on Hillary Clinton dying of cancer after the election and showed it around the office. No one thought it was funny, so I changed it to “Hillary Chokes on Quail, Dies”, which got some laughs but only because I left “on” out in the first draft.


Q: So you’re not funny?

A: No.

Q: Tell us about your childhood. What was it like growing up in a house where everything was made up and nothing really mattered?

A: It was great. I had an imaginary friend called Breitbart and my mom and dad used to prance around in bed sheets with holes in them so they could see where they were going. They said it was a church thing, which I never really understood because we burned crosses in the neighbours’ gardens. I bunked school a lot on account of the cerebral palsy that paralysed me from the neck down on Mondays and Fridays.

Q: Do you think the cerebral palsy turned you into the reclusive sociopath you are today?

A: That was a made-up story. Keep up.

Q: Do you ever watch or read real news?

A: I watch a lot of PNN and GNN, depending on the disaster movie I’m watching. Ron Burgundy is a great source for vintage stories and straight-up lifestyle stuff. For inside scoops, I head to the old age home or embed myself at the local pub. My readers enjoy the biased views of middle-age white men with their brains soaked in alcohol because, guess what, they relate. People don’t care about the bigger picture anymore. Object … ah… what’s that word? When you’re not biased?

Q: Objective.

A: That’s it. Objective news is dead, man. People want to know they’re right because everyone around them says the same thing. Mark Zuckerberg knows what I’m talking about.

Q: You spend a lot of time sitting. Any advice for young fake news writers out there trying to cut it in the big leagues?

A: Get up and walk around. Copy-pasting real news articles to change them can be time-consuming. Even more so when you consider the amount of time wasted on pasting fake news articles you thought were real to begin with. There’s so much of it out there. Check the sources and see if it has been published by other fake news sites. That’s how you know it’s fake.

Q: Do you ever worry that you’ll be prosecuted?

A: Oh, I’m ready to run at the drop of a hat. No really, one knock at the door and I’m out of here.

Q: What’s your favourite running shoes?

A: Adibas is a great brand. The new NKIE AirBus 90 is surprisingly well made. And you can get them for real cheap.

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