Journalist Johann Hari’s admission that he sometimes took quotes and excerpts from previous texts and incorporated them into the dialogue of his interviews got me thinking. So I tried my own version:
ANCHOR: The top stories tonight:
Attacked for not praying - religious extremism on the rise!
Family planning gone awry, how it’s alleged one woman terrorizes her countless children.
[MUSICAL STING, TITLES AND JIB SHOT]
ANCHOR: A warm welcome to the Newshour, thanks for joining us.
In the past hour, shocking revelations from Helpmeunder-stan, where witnesses reported seeing an elderly man being thrown down a flight of stairs by authorities.
Let’s get more from our correspondent on the scene, who were are not naming for safety reasons, what are you seeing where you are?
REPORTER: Yes, extraordinary scenes here in the capital. The man, aged 85, was alleged to have refused to say his prayers in a temple known as “My lady’s chamber”, before plain-clothed security forces intervened and hurled him to his death, this was as government, the government is about to …
ANCHOR: Sorry to interrupt there, but has the government said for sure if this was their doing? Have they claimed responsibility?
REPORTER: Not yet, but numerous eyewitnesses who tweeted from the temple say they saw the incident. Human Rights Watch also issued a statement saying, quote: “This is yet another case of the state’s crackdown on religious freedom. We urge Helpmeunder-stan to abide by international law and the universal declaration of human rights, and we call on Security Council members to hold the leadership of Helpmeunder-stan responsible for their actions.”
ANCHOR: Sounds like it’s a frightening situation there, thanks to our special correspondent there, who as I said, we’re not naming for security reasons.
Well I … we … I’m hearing we can speak to one of the security forces … yes, we’ve just been joined on the line by one of the members of the security forces, special unit 35, Codename “Goosey Goosey Gander” of Helpmeunder-stan. Sir, thank you for joining us. Did your forces kill this man as has been reported?
GOOSEY GOOSEY GANDER: Yes.
ANCHOR: How on earth can you justify this slaughter?
GOOSEY GOOSEY GANDER: Firstly, we are fighting a war here. And in war …
ANCHOR: Who is the enemy in this war?
GOOSEY GOOSEY GANDER: Those trying to delegitimize our state, from within. We were under attack, and responded with appropriate force without harming anybody else peacefully observing their prayers.
ANCHOR: But, Human Rights W …
GOOSEY GOOSEY GANDER: Wait! Let me finish! I was on on my patrols at the temple and was wondering, where shall I wander? Upstairs? Downstairs? In my lady’s chamber. Then I met an old man, who wouldn’t say his prayers …
ANCHOR: Was he armed?
GOOSEY GOOSEY GANDER: He posed an existential threat. Which is why, according to the highest standards of law that we set for ourselves, I took him by the left leg and threw him down the stairs. Thank you. I have no more to say about the incident. [Hangs up]
ANCHOR: Well that was, errr, agent Goosey Goosey Gander, his codename of course, from special unit 35, of Helpmeunder-stan. More on this as and when it comes through.
Now, in neighbouring Helpyouunder-stan, a harrowing tale of child abuse in a little-known village called ASHOE. More now from our Chief Helpyouunder-stan editor who we’re also not naming for security reasons, who joins us from just outside ASHOE with more, what’s the latest?
CORRESPONDENT: Sorry just to correct you there - we thought this village was called ASHOE, but when we got here, we realized that the house where the alleged abuses occurred was actually a shoe.
ANCHOR: I’m sorry, a what?
CORRESPONDENT: Well it is a shoe.
ANCHOR: Like the type you wear on your feet?
CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I’m unsure what size, but it is big. So yes, if my cameraman can zoom out and pan you can see the scene of this massive shoe, with plumes of smoke appearing from where the top of the laces are …
ANCHOR: Looks like an Adidas, fascinating.
CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed. Now the old lady who we understand has scores of children, perhaps hundreds, has been holed up in the heel section, that you can see there, if my cameraman can just zoom in, and police have surrounded the area, and we’re hearing that child welfare have sent a negotiating team to the door, but there’s been no answer …
CORRESPONDENT: Well, It’s claimed she has been abusing these children, who may not be hers, for years. Well, with me now, is a neighbour and friend of the old lady. Madam, thanks for joining us, from the neighbouring area of ASANDAL, I understand?
NEIGHBOUR: No, a sandal. Look, no roof. It helps with ventilation in the summer.
CORRESPONDENT: My apologies. So you say the police should leave your friend and neighbour alone?
NEIGHBOUR: Yes, I blame the state for not supporting her. Child welfare is lying. These are all her children. But who else will look after them? The state gives her nothing. She’s an old lady who lives in a shoe and she didn’t know what to do …
CORRESPONDENT: But the claims of abuse? Beating? Do you support that?
NEIGHBOUR: Lies, look I was there, visiting recently. She gave them some broth, but without any bread, because they can’t afford bread. And, of course, the children were upset and were crying for more.
CORRESPONDENT: And how did she respond?
NEIGHBOUR: Like any good mother, she whipped them all soundly and put them to bed. But soundly, as I said.
CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for that. That was a neighbour and friend of the old lady who lives in that building behind me, the shoe, where you see this unfolding hostage drama. Well there you have it from the scene, back to you in the studio.
ANCHOR: Thank you very much indeed there. We’ll keep you updated on this fast moving story in Helpyounder-stan and all the other developing news. It’s time for a short break. When we come back, anorexic star Jack Sprat, talks to us exclusively about living in the same household as his obese wife. Stay with us …