In my previous life, as they say, when I was a journalist writing news articles, everything had to be to true – whatever that means anymore – and it had to be backed up with documented facts and/or quotes. Every detail had to be accurate.
However, even back then, I had the fiction bug. So, every so often I exercised the liberty of combining journalistic fact with my emerging passion for fiction. For the fun of it, I would twist and pervert the rules and write fake news articles, backed by fake attributions and fake quotes.
I would write articles that possessed just enough truth to gain the reader’s attention, but plenty of fiction and sometimes humor so they would know by halfway through the article it was all a bunch of garbage.
Below, for example, is one of my short “creative news” articles I wrote several years ago, complete with a fictitious newspaper name. It was when American troops were still fighting in Afghanistan. I just adjusted the date to make it current for this posting:
KARACHI TIMES HERALD – Karachi, Pakistan, July 30: The two-day terrorist strike crippling the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region has been directly attributed to the drop in death and destruction by more than 50 per cent along of normal rates. Official sources in Islamabad claim that while an eerie, peaceful tone has engulfed that border region, the national economy has already developed signs of weakness, especially in smaller towns, reliant on “terrorist projects” and “anti-Western initiatives.” Estimates of a two-week strike is the consensus from both sides of the bargaining table.
“Even the flow of black market goods has slowed to a trickle,” Interior Minister Insaad indicated. “Without the terrorists and militias along the border,” he said, “American and Afghan troops are more easily able to close smuggling paths and regulate border check points.”
Ahmed, a mid-level terrorist operative, wishing to withhold his full name, agreed with a half dozen colleagues rolling cigarettes outside a Peshawar smoke shop, saying that faith and conviction alone do not put food on the family table. “We risk our lives every day,” Ahmed said. “I have seven to feed in my family and others here have as many as 10 or 11.” He claimed that attacking villages, battling the American invaders and bombing cars is not just risky, but is heavy and exhaustive labour that deserves better pay and working conditions.
With more than 2,500 terrorists and recruits estimated to have joined the picket lines since Monday, surprise has been the response by authorities to the reduced number of attacks and high crimes throughout Pakistan and even in neighbouring regional centres, such as Kabul, Kandahar and Delhi.