Vast Spy Network Captured... While Spying On Itself!

Fake News written by Bernhard Rosenkraenzer on Tuesday, July 24, 2001

from the this-is-thoroughly-confusing dept.

Just minutes before the last Crashback article was posted, the following message was received by the mail servers at the top-secret Vast Spy Network(tm) Outpost Number 137®.

Subject: An internal matter...

It is our sad duty to inform you that "Slashdorix: Fake news for nerds, stuff that would matter if it were true" -- the result of an earlier acquisition of Humorix by Slashdot -- is no more.

The site has been renamed to Slashdot, and the motto has been changed back to Slashdot's old one. However, the content hasn't changed. It's a weird story: Slashdorix was getting so many comments on badly researched fake news items ("Hey, this story is actually genuine!") that they outnumbered the "This isn't true" posts on Slashdot. By comparing the stats closely, we figured that Slashdorix actually produced more genuine stories than Slashdot, even though we never intended to.

The big problem with creating proper fake news stories is that they need to be believable. If we ran a story on Linux going closed source, or even George W. Bush pronouncing a foreign name correctly, everyone would immediately recognize it as fake news, and it wouldn't be much fun.

In providing believable fake news, we often beat the official announcement only by a couple of hours. You wouldn't believe how much trouble Noah Morals had getting rid of the NSA's lawyers when we reported that George Dubya Bush proposed mandatory one-time SUV purchases for all wealthy citizens as part of his scheme to boost oil usage (and tax income) at the cost of the environment. Naturally, this "fake" story was published just two hours before Bush was getting ready to hold a press conference to announce the exact same thing.

(The reason why the official announcement never got out is closely related to this case, contact our legal department for the details.)

Granted, when Microsoft announced its plans to require monthly fees for their software just two days after our story on it, there were a couple of minor differences (the fees are supposed to be somewhat lower than the user's soul and sold to the devil in human shape, also known as Steve Ballmer), and they didn't arrest all open source programmers because Microsoft bought the government, but arrested an open source programmer because Adobe bought the government -- but that's just the "Angry father grills his kids! We interviewed the steaks." type of journalism commonly found in mainstream press. We couldn't uphold the claim that any of our items actually represented fake news.

Noah Morals disgustedly left Humorix headquarters after facing the 497th lawsuit for false advertising in a month (filed mostly by Microsoft and the government to make us stop pre-announcing their plans), and with no other lawyer-fodder, we couldn't keep it up.

Noah, are you reading this? You can safely come back now. But please pay attention to that odd black car still patrolling the headquarters.

This communication is over.

The staff at Outpost 137 became quite upset when a similar message was published before the story "researched" by VSN #137 could possibly have passed the 319 anonymizers designed to conceal the outpost's location.

A quick investigation revealed that this couldn't be a coincidence -- nobody could have known our fake news was not actually fake news, unless... Yes, the Vast Spy Network(tm) actually spied us out.

Noah Morals, by his contract with the headquarters the one and only representative for all legal matters, immediately filed a lawsuit against the Vast Spy Network(tm), and is currently busy preparing the defense. He was not available for any official comments, but people in the cubicles next to him reported he's ectatic about it. "I'm going to appear in a big espionage case! And since I'm representing both sides, I'm going to win!!! Yes! I'm going to win the first case in my life!"

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