It is time to tap the growth industry of future news.
As they say at the Oscars, I'd like to give special thanks to George W. Bush for liberating me from the journalistic constraints of present news. I figure since he and his cronies let neither facts nor reality get in the way -- with great success, I might add -- I don't need to either.
I mean Dick Cheney figured this out years ago -- make something up, say it, say it again and again and again -- and again. Get some earnest Democrat to question you publicly and then slam him so the press can jump into the fray. ("Do you Democrats love the terrorists more than you love America?") It makes great conflict TV and America and the media love great conflict TV.
The truth is, I wish I were more like W. and Dick. But my sense of fair play still forces me to turn to someone else to make things up. Then I can quote them.
This someone is something special, though. Not Dick or W., not even Rummy or Harry Reid pleading for decency (or is it mercy). No, Jimmy the Freak is what we in the media call a "fresh face."
Jimmy was slow coming to the American Dream, though he did build a resume of sorts back in the '60s: Woodstock, Altamont, Aspen and a whole lot of acid. But he got tired of chanting and living on brown rice in the foothills, and, after making megabucks selling breathtaking homes to a bunch of faux liberals, he made his way to Vegas for some action nearly 25 years ago. Never left. Today he's truly a god among bookies. The best. So I figured, who better to lend a little gravitas to future news.
I got right to the point.
"So Jimmy," I asked. "Conspiracy theorists are having a field day talking about The Fix in future elections. What with Diebold manufacturing those voting machines with no paper trails and sending bushels of their profits to the Republican Party. What do you think?"
I knew I was off to a bad start when Jimmy folded his wraparounds and locked me in his "get-real" gaze. "Wag the Dog, man. Wag the Dog," he said. "The Republicans don't need to steal shit. They just have to send in some new plays."
"Yeah, man. Stuff that freaks out America. Gets people scared and teary eyed and patriotic. Pumps up the anthem, man. Gets 'em spying on their neighbors. It's easy, man."
Wow, I figured. This future news stuff was promising. "So Jimmy, how about some possibilities. Go out on a limb. Give America the odds."
He'd knocked back a few Coors Lites by then so he took pity and gave it a shot.
1. What are the odds that the Repbulicans will offer up at least one orange Homeland Security alert in the two weeks leading up to the election?
"No brainer, man. Kids stuff. That's in the 90 percent certainty range."
2. What are the odds that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will round up a bunch of punks in LA the week before the election, call them Al Qaeda, and arrest them in connection with a plot to drive Smart cars packed with explosives into the main terminal at Los Angeles International Airport?
"50-50. But they might be driving Hummers, man. This is LA."
3. What are the odds that W. will pump up the decibels about Iran's nuclear threat past the painful level, convincing Americans to bomb the heck out of Tehran if for no other reason than the chance to return in peace and quiet and get back to important stories, like Britney Spears new baby?
"Hey, man. I thought you journalists were supposed to ask tough questions? I'll give you
3 to 1 it gets loud, really loud, and 5 to 1 the Republicans in Congress form a conga line behind the prez. I mean these dudes are good. If they'd been around selling real estate when I did, I'd still be eating brown rice."
"So do you think we'll actually bomb Tehran a week or two before the mid-term election, Jimmy?
"That's not what I said, man. Things in Iraq would really have to be in the tank for that to happen. Hyping the Iran nuke threat alone should get enough people juiced to vote GOP. And, you know man, our smart bombs actually are pretty stupid. I don't thinkW. would want to risk a lot of pictures of dead babies the Monday before elections. The whole thing is to control and invent news. Wars get messy. So I think he'll give 'em the sizzle but wait with the steak."
I thanked Jimmy profusely.
"That a relief about Iran," I told him. "I mean we're already over our heads in two wars."
He winked. "Man, you were asking me about the weeks BEFORE the election. I didn't say we weren't going in. Think about it. W. still has two more years to divert us from reality. He'll have a few more wars up his sleeve. Trust me."
I wandered into the casino to pull a few one-armed bandits.