“A thousand good fabrications speak much louder than a standard column inch.” That’s what ‘Call me Jake’, Rory’s boss and associate editor, told him when he first started at the Drudge Online. Look at him now a few months later! Wow! Trainee in the morning ── fully-blown reporter by the time the sun fell over the Thames.
Now that’s something to make a young pup really stand on his hind legs. He proudly changes his job-title on Twitter and Google accounts to Reporter. Wagging his tail he looks and feels very satisfied with himself.
Rory Thimble swivels on his chair. He cannot believe his luck. Little over two years ago he was pumping out and editing parochial pulp for an online student paper ─ The North Dulham Small Globe.
Today he has just come back from an expenses-paid trip to the Caribbean with ‘Call me Jake’ and another helpful hack from the Drudge.
“Did I not promise you would see the world? That’s what happens when you move into the big-time. And you have the Owners to thank for that Rory“.
Thimble thinks back to the generous invitation from the Owners and the niggling reservations he felt when approached about this working holiday. All those LGBT links of Jake’s in truth gave him some concern. Was it really a good idea for a recently-graduated neophyte to go abroad with an ageing journo? Would he still be able to hold his head up at Raven Cottage?
‘Call me Jake’ sensed something of Thimble’s worries.
“As a family man I will take care of you like my own son. We have so much to look forward to: fresh sea-breezes, sunshine, beaches, speedboats, porpoises, albatrosses, pelicans ─ and lots of other firsts you barely ever catch a glimpse of in Dulham or Dulham North.”
“It’s just that . . .”
“The Owners are putting a lot of money behind this project.”
“Will we be sharing?”
“Of course not. The Drudge is not the Daily Worker. No expenses spared here. The Owners . . . ”
“That’s one of my worries. I’m a little puzzled why the Owners get us to do so much LGBT stuff?”
“Oh, I see.” The penny drops and ‘Call me Jake’ cups his chin in his hands. “No fears there young Thimble. No fears at all. Look, I know from the pieces you wrote at Uni’ you have care for the planet, green energy and all that. Well, the Owners do too.”
“Meaning the more we promote LGBT rights and try to make this alternative lifestyle the norm, the less of a population explosion we have to deal with. It’s easy maths. And it’s much more humane than war.”
“Hmm, I see what you mean.”
“But we don’t have to conform.”
All Thimble’s university morals were gradually being turned on their head by the Hegelian associate editor. After his expenses-paid trip to the Caribbean he no longer believed in sustainable energy. As his boss pointed out windmills would be upended in the bracing “sea-breezes” with the forces of Irma and Maria. Thinking it through he realised there was no way either that tidal power could be harnessed in the girly ”sea breezes”. His boss was right. Thimble’s respect for ‘Call me Jake’ was growing daily.
He spins round in his chair again and punches the air. Dulham have just scored.
“What are you writing?” Jake is suddenly upon him. Thinking quickly Rory hits the ALT TAB keys to refresh the screen back to an article: ‘Woman with peanut allergy tries to sue President Carter”.
“Drop that” says his boss. I need you to write another exclusive about the widespread anti-Semitism which is engulfing the country.
“Another one? But you helped me write one a few weeks back Jake.”
“The Owners need more. We have to spoon-feed the masses so the elite can pick their bones clean. You and I, Rory, we are part of the elite. And there are rich pickings ahead.”
“OK. What’s the angle?”
“The rise in anti-Semitism.”
“I thought when you donned that kippa to antagonise the congregation at Finsbury Park Mosque you came to the conclusion that there was no anti-Semitism.”
“That’s not the news the Owners want to hear. So if we cannot find it, we must manufacture it. . . Anyway I’ve virtually written the piece for you.”
“Then why don’t you put your name to it if it’s ready to run?”
“It’s the court case. You know, the one against ambassador Murphy, who we stitched up. It wouldn’t look good at the moment under my name. There’s not much work. It’s virtually press-ready copy. You just need to interview somebody with first-hand experience of anti-Semitism.”
“And where will I find that somebody?”
“No worries there Thimble. . . Masonson, my lawyer who has pledged to ruin ambassador Murphy, has a girlfriend who regularly experiences anti-Semitism, in fact nearly every time she goes with her brother to disrupt Islamic meetings she comes across it. She’ll do the interview with pleasure.”
Thimble is not overly happy with this. He does not like to think an article he did not research is going to go out under his by-line. Thinking quickly he tries to wriggle out of the task.
“The readership will guess it’s not mine.”
“How do you mean?”
“People who know me know I am not really anti-Islamic.”
“That should be ‘People who knew’ you . . . You have new friends now. Remember?”
“Yes. I’m thankful for my new friends. But what if the public discovers that article I wrote about the hijab being the height of fashion regardless of what French racists say.”
“How can anyone discover that? We’ve taken it down.”
“What the one published in the North Dulham Small Globe Online?”
“Yes. It’s down. That’s the beauty of stuff you write online Thimble. You can easily remove it, vanish it into thin air just like popping a bubble as we did with that piece in the North Dulham Small Globe. Pop! I’ve just got rid of a load of potentially incriminating tweets regarding my pro-Israeli views before we take Murphy to the cleaners.”
“How can you be sure you’ll win?”
“It’s a near certainty. The Owners who own mainstream media have a large influence on the judiciary. Let’s say they are all members of the same clubs.”
Thimble has no other argument.
“You are sure nobody will find the hijab piece?”
“Absolutely certain. . . Now phone this number and speak to Ruth about the terrible anti-Semitism she has experienced.”
Things are not going well. Even if the money’s all right. When “Call me Jake” leaves Rory Thimble hits the ALT TAB keys only to find Dulham are losing 3 – 1.
(Disclaimer. Any likeness in this fictional story to any person living or dead is purely coincidental)