Life Imitates Satire: CDC Handling of Disease Specimens More ‘Over The Top’ Than My Parody
July 18, 2014 - 6:25 am
The other day, I wrote a “fake” news story at ScrappleFace.com about the Centers for Disease Control’s “discovery” of a lot of highly-infectious stuff — hundreds of vials of small pox, influenza, dengue, etc. — that they had misplaced…for decades.
When I write satire, I try to make it sufficiently “over the top” (OTT, in apropos text parlance), so it won’t be mistaken for an actual news story. And so, under the headline “CDC Urges Calm After Finding Lost Cache of Cooties,” I “reported” that the CDC was “fairly sure” it has avoided exposing its staffers to the Cooties contagion.
Officially, the CDC urged the public to “remain calm,” but during a media tour of the Atlanta laboratory, journalists saw several scientists and technicians rubbing spots on their arms where associates had inadvertently touched them. A spokesman assured reporters that the wiping motion was strictly a precautionary measure.
How droll, I thought to myself (which is my favorite way).
However, after reading Tammy Bruce’s latest column, I confess I’ve fallen far short. If you thought the newspaper business was headed rapidly toward the recycle bin of history, imagine trying to write satire in times like these. Witness this snippet from Tammy’s column…
The institute’s problem of carelessness apparently isn’t limited to the one unfortunate incident of 80 CDC workers becoming exposed to anthrax after an incautious lab-to-lab transfer.
In fact, New York magazine reported results of a separate audit of the CDC, which found the lab had been “transferring dangerous materials in Ziploc bags, storing anthrax in unlocked refrigerators in an unrestricted hallway, and misplacing anthrax containers.”
As a satirist, I cannot compete with material like this.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to write my Congressman to request a government bailout for my dying industry.
Full disclosure: Tammy Bruce is my colleague on the PJTV show ‘After Hours with John Phillips.‘