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"Then go out and shoot someone!" the station manager demanded.
"Sorry, Boss, I can't do that."
"Yeah, you're right," said the station manager. "Tell Susie Sweetwater to do it. Her ratings are down. This should help."
"Susie's in the middle of her reading class right now, and you know how she hates to be disturbed when she's learning new words."
"Then Heartthrob! Audiences salivate whenever he's on. The public would back him even if he had assault weapons and made welsh rarebit out of the Easter Bunny."
"It's an hour until air," the news director reminded the station manager. "Hearthrob's already in Makeup. They're darkening his hair tonight."
"Celebrities!" shouted the station manager. "Audiences love train wrecks, and celebrities do it better than anyone! Find me Lindsay Lohan!"
"We have two crews on her now," said the news director, "but all she's doing is drinking and partying. Besides, we've done that story five times this month."
"What about the Jersey Shore morons."
"They're currently destroying what's left of the Roman civilization, and we can't afford to send a crew."
"Get me a fire! Forest. Trailer. Stove. I don't care!" the station manager demanded, smashing his coffee mug against his desk, and cutting his wrist. "BLOOD!" he shouted. "We have blood!"
"It's only a scratch," said the news director.
"It's blood! And it's good for a grabber. Grab a producer. Come in with an extreme close-up full-frame, and then pull back to a medium shot. Dissolve to some of the footage of the Vancouver fans rioting when their team lost the Stanley Cup. Here's your lead: Violence in Canada leads to blood-letting in America." He paused a moment. "Make sure you run teasers on this every five minutes."
[Walter Brasch, who once worked with TV, says it's much safer in print journalism. His latest book is Before the First Snow, which is receiving critical acclaim for its look at the American counterculture.]
Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and professor of journalism emeritus. His current books are Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution , America's Unpatriotic Acts: The Federal Government's Violation of (more...)
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