News Blankout

Now that media owners have decided the only way to keep their profits way high is to gut their staffs without regard for coverage or public service, I want to provide a public service of my own.

In the absence of enough writers to do even a bare-bones job, here's another idea whose time has come.

How about fill-in-the-blank stories? These generic scripts and articles would report on the most commonplace current events. They could fill the pages and airtime between the advertising and keep conglomerates' revenue incoming with far less outgoing to the writers, reporters, producers, etc., now that so many have been laid off.

Radio and TV stations can keep up their pretense of serving the community by having announcers simply read from these templates. We could call it "Rip Reed and the News."

It would be a snap. Look at how many of our stories are so similar:

* ________ has asked Treasury officials for federal funds. In a statement, ______ CEO ______ argues that it is only current economic conditions that have brought the _____ industry to its knees. Decades of inept management have had nothing to with these problems, and if billions are not forthcoming, bankruptcy and massive layoffs will be the only alternative.

* ________ Corp. today announced it is filing for bankruptcy and immediately closing its plants and laying off _____ workers. Company Chairman ______ expressed regret. "The ___-billion dollar infusion of cash from the government was not enough to prevent this unfortunate development," he said. He went on to point out that while all severance and pension agreements could not be honored, top executives will still receive their bonuses.

* _________ has been charged with fraud in connection with the collapse of his ________ fund. Prosperous clients like _____ said they have lost millions. ______s of others say their 401(k)s have been wiped out and they lost their entire nest egg for retirement. Regulators at the _______ agency said this was a total surprise. "We had no idea," said Chairman ______.

*_______ told interviewer _______ that the ______ nude pictures of her in ______ magazine had nothing whatsoever to do with the upcoming release of her new movie "______ and Me". The timing of that and her willingness to talk openly about the breakup of her marriage to ______ were not publicity, just coincidence.

*Gov. _______ faces indictment after investigators videotaped and wiretapped him seeking bribes. Prosecutor _____ says this is the “worst case of corruption I've ever seen." Gov. _____ released a statement saying he is entirely innocent and the victim of a vendetta by his political opponents.

*Congressman ______faces indictment after investigators videotaped and wiretapped him seeking bribes. Prosecutor _____ says this is the “worst case of corruption I've ever seen"
Congressman _____ released a statement saying he is entirely innocent and the victim of a vendetta by his political opponents.

*Sen. _____ called a news conference to acknowledge he is the "Candidate A" identified in the indictment of ____. He insisted he had "done nothing wrong" and would cooperate with the investigation. He would not respond to questions from reporters.

*_______ is the principal in a sex scandal involving his actions while conducting public business. He had no comment, but his spokesman released a statement saying that _____ was not going to resign as _____, but would fight the charges. "He did nothing wrong," the statement continued. "He did not have sex with that _____."

*_____ announced he would resign as ____. With his wife standing by his side, ______ told reporters he needed to focus all his energy on his _____ and all those whose trust he betrayed.

*______ travelers were stranded at ______ airport when all flights were canceled because of _____. Officials at all of the airlines announced they would be charging a ______-dollar rebooking fee.

It's plain to see that we can easily identify every news situation and how they can be written up. Who would know? You must admit this is a _______ idea.



Visit Mr. Franken's website at www.bobfranken.tv.

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