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Vatican Putting Out Feelers For How Public Would React To Another Children’s Crusade

VATICAN CITY—Saying they had been giving some thought recently to the idea of sending legions of Christian boys and girls to retake the Holy Land and wanted to gauge the level of support, Vatican officials reportedly began putting out feelers Wednesday to determine how the public might react to another Children’s Crusade, much as was attempted in the year 1212.

John Kerry Scrambles To Stop Bunker’s Self-Destruct Sequence As Russian Oligarch Taunts Him From Bank Of Monitors

BOGDARNYA, RUSSIA—Working frantically to gain access to the system’s override settings at the computer terminal controlling the impending implosion, Secretary of State John Kerry scrambled to stop the self-destruct sequence of an underground bunker located thousands of feet below the Russian countryside Tuesday while oligarch Dmitry Granovsky taunted him from the numerous banks of monitors positioned throughout the facility, sources confirmed.

Islamic Awakening Inspires Man To Defect From ISIS

MOSUL, IRAQ—Telling reporters he had renounced his role as a militant and would soon be relocating in order to seek out an environment more conducive to fully devoting himself to his newfound religious faith, 24-year-old Huzaifa Quraishi confirmed Tuesday his recent Islamic awakening had inspired him to defect from ISIS.

CIA Orchestrates Coup D’État To Replace Entire Population Of Venezuela

Agency Installs Pro-American Populace Of 30 Million Venezuelan Citizens

CARACAS, VENEZUELA—Sources are confirming that the Central Intelligence Agency has orchestrated a coup d’état in the South American nation of Venezuela, toppling the country’s 30 million residents and replacing them with an entirely new, pro-American populace.

A Primer On North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remains largely unknown to Americans due mainly to the secrecy and isolationism upheld by its government. The Onion provides a primer on North Korea’s people and culture

‘People Are Inherently Good,’ World Halfheartedly Mutters

NICE, FRANCE—Following yesterday’s terrorist attack in Nice, France that left over 80 people dead and scores more injured, sources reported that a dazed and utterly dejected global populace halfheartedly muttered the phrase “People are inherently good” to themselves Friday.

Louvre Curators Hurry To Display Ugly Van Gogh Donor Gave Them Before Surprise Visit

PARIS—After retrieving the eyesore from amid a clutter of unused display cases and movable stanchions in the back of the facility’s basement where it had been stowed ever since the museum received it, curators at the Louvre hurried to display an ugly Vincent van Gogh painting before the artwork’s donor made a surprise visit to the museum Friday.
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Chinese Journalists Bemoan Decline Of Traditional State-Run Newspapers, Rise Of State-Run New Media

Journalists voiced frustration that they are regularly asked to take their meticulously written defamations of antigovernment activists and reduce them to mere 30-second video blogs.
Journalists voiced frustration that they are regularly asked to take their meticulously written defamations of antigovernment activists and reduce them to mere 30-second video blogs.

BEIJING—Claiming the changed media landscape of the digital age has led to a marked drop in the depth and quality of party propaganda, veteran reporters in China expressed concern this week over what they see as the decline of traditional state-controlled journalism in their country.

As critics reflected on the proliferation of government-operated clickbait news sites, the emphasis on social-media-friendly propagandist content designed solely to boost traffic, and the pressure to disseminate the latest manipulative falsehoods with ever-greater speed, many questioned whether the state-run media was still living up to its responsibility to serve as the trusted mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China.

“Reporters used to have the time to sit down, read the day’s official press release from the Central Propaganda Department, and craft a carefully written 2,000-word article describing the government’s flawless response to a massive earthquake or deadly riot,” said Zhang Li of the People’s Daily, describing the great care she and her colleagues take in upholding censorship standards. “Now, we’re given 15 minutes to whittle down a party directive on the booming economy into a single paragraph that they’ll post on our social media page in the hopes it goes viral.”

“These days, being a journalist is more about getting pageviews than it is about actually scrubbing out all the information deemed too sensitive for the masses,” she added.

Veteran reporters said they rarely see the type of lengthy, in-depth cover-ups that were once the mainstay of state-controlled media, back when the collapse of a coal mine would send journalists marching directly to the source to ask pre-approved questions at staged press conferences, and to tour the few areas of the site the government had cleared for them to photograph.

Under today’s model, journalists explained, government newspapers are far more likely to settle for tweeting out the party’s official response, and then asking readers to sound off in their website’s heavily censored and sometimes entirely fabricated comment section.

According to sources, most editors believe the audience for long-form propaganda no longer exists, and so reporters spend their days producing slideshows that promote the government’s myth of complete religious freedom, or hastily writing top 10 lists that distort perceptions of Europe and the United States.

“I understand that we can no longer expect to tightly control the thoughts of our citizens with a newspaper they dutifully read every morning,” said Guangming Daily’s Wu Qiang, who admitted he is tired of lacing every feature he writes on Mao Tse-tung’s legacy of peace and prosperity with modern pop cultural references in an effort to appeal to millennials. “But we’ve swung to such an extreme emphasis on speed, interactivity, and mass appeal, that we’re content to post a breaking headline about the Tibetan people’s deep appreciation for our benevolent governance and simply update it every 15 minutes as more misinformation becomes available.”

“This certainly isn’t the type of journalism we learned when we were studying for our loyalty exams,” he continued.

Beyond their concerns with the quality of today’s government messaging, a number of veteran journalists have spoken of their fear of losing jobs to a younger generation more adept at promoting the Politburo’s objectives through social media.

“We used to have an entire division of seasoned reporters who, when rampant protests were taking place in Xinjiang, could write up dozens of puff pieces to fill out a morning issue that made no mention of the incident,” said Ma Jianzhu of the Liberation Daily. “But now, they’ve been almost completely replaced by a bunch of web analytics people whose job it is to make sure whatever we end up writing to downplay Uyghur unrest or the toxic levels of plastic in the water supply has enough of the right keywords to get us on the front page of Google.”

“It’s pretty shameless stuff, if you ask me,” he added.

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