BROOKLYN, NEW YORK – In the 12 years that Doris Johnson has kept Polly as a pet, she has never noticed any targeted crapping by her beloved green parrot. But that all changed this week when Doris lined the bottom of Polly’s cage with a recent copy of the New York Times.
“I don’t pay any attention to which newspapers I use in Polly’s cage. I just use whatever papers I’ve already read so Polly can crap all over them…and there has never been any pattern or strategy in her crapping,” said Doris.
Polly’s random defecation pattern changed dramatically when a recent NYT editorial appeared face-up in her cage. Although it cannot be proven that the content of the opinion piece had anything to do with Polly’s efforts to crap all over it, it’s noteworthy that this specific editorial was the subject of much controversy and public debate.
In the June 14 editorial, America’s Lethal Politics (link), the editorial board reasserted their conclusion that Republican rhetoric, especially that of Sarah Palin, was directly responsible for inciting a violent attack in 2011 at a political event in Tucson, Arizona. In the aftermath, this falsehood was fanatically reported as fact by the New York Times and other news organizations. This conclusion was soundly debunked, however, when it became clear that the attacker was insane and not politically motivated whatsoever.
“I couldn’t help but to notice that Polly was aiming her little poops directly at this article,” said Doris. “The ad for the used car salesman was untouched and so was the horoscope section, which is strange because they would’ve been the easiest to hit. It just seems like she felt this article was extra worthy of being crapped on.”
Doris tested her hypothesis the following day by lining Polly’s cage with the corrected version of the same editorial. Sure enough, Polly unleashed another furious crap-storm all over it. In the revised version, the NYT editorial board acknowledged the falsehood of what they published the previous day. They also made it clear that they pay little to no attention to the veracity of the statements they make in their newspaper, which is ironic because news outlets traditionally make it a priority to only publish statements that are factual.
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Knowing that some parrots have an amusing ability to say a few words, I placed a little microphone next to Polly’s beak to hopefully record my first-ever interview of a bird.
Me: “So Polly, what do you think of the recent New York Times editorial?”
Polly: “Fake news! Fake news!”
Me: “Oh I see. But what about the corrected version of the editorial in which they acknowledged their errors?”
Polly: “BS! BS! Caught in lies!”
Me: “Wow Polly, you’re quite the political pundit! Tell me, do you often read the New York Times when their articles line the bottom of your cage?”
Polly’s reply to this question wasn’t clear, but rather, a little garbled. But here’s what it sounded like:
Polly: “Failed news outlet! Once reputable, now no longer credible! Unworthy of subscribers! Layoffs inevitable! Fake news!”