There are very, very funny jokes about quantum physics. They do not, however, go over well with audiences that don’t think about the comedic possibilities of Schroedinger’s cat.
The same principle is true for jokes about the way news is reported and packaged. For our April Fool’s issue, we ran a story entitled, “U.S. Army Nukes the Philippines.” The first three inches of the story were about a helicopter crash that killed five U.S. servicemen when they had dropped a nuclear weapon as part of anti-terrorist operations. After saying that most of the wreckage had been recovered and two servicemen were still missing, the story got around to mentioning that the nuclear explosion killed 95 percent of the Philippine population. We quoted the Secretary of Defense as saying, “the mission has been a success and the guerrillas will never terrorize the people of the Philippines nor the world again.”
The article simultaneously existed in both funny and unfunny states.
Here at the Daily Nexus office, we thought it was a good satirical piece about the media focusing on U.S. losses and ignoring what happens to the rest of the world. The article was based on a real story written by the world’s largest news service, the Associated Press. The wire service sells news stories to almost every paper in the country. If you searched its website Tuesday for “terrorism,” a story about “West Wing” plot lines was prioritized above a story on bombings that killed 14 people in the Philippines three days ago.
Outside our office, the Philippine community did not think the article was funny. They thought the joke in the article was that 95 percent of the Philippine population had died in a nuclear blast and that the Daily Nexus considered that to be highly amusing. The Associated Press’ writing and story prioritization was not the first thing they thought about.
Our case wasn’t helped by the fact that a lot of people read the story on our website, where it wasn’t identified as part of our April Fool’s issue. Worse, the online version contained parts of the original AP story that we had cut out of the print version because they were irrelevant and would have appeared to be mocking Filipinos. For the mistakes in the online version, the Daily Nexus offers its deepest apologies. Although unintentional, our online presentation of the story was in extremely poor taste.
We stand by the point of the original print story, however. All too often, America’s journalists fail to do their job by showing the full – and sometimes awful – effects of U.S. military actions and focus their attention only on American causalities.
We hoped that our April Fool’s article would make our readers more informed and critical consumers of the news, and we hope that this editorial has finally achieved that goal.