Fun_People Archive
28 Oct
Bits o' BONG Bull No. 540!

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 99 03:56:00 -0700
To: Fun_People
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Subject: Bits o' BONG Bull No. 540!

X-Lib-of-Cong-ISSN: 1098-7649  -=[ Fun_People ]=-
Excerpted-from: BONG Bull No. 540!
                             BONG Bull
        Copyright (c) 1999 by BONG.   All rights reserved.
To subscribe: Send blank e-mail to

For Oct. 27, 1999. Special this week! Silly libel judgments, were $5.5
million, then $315,000, now 89 cents, with a large loaf of sandwich white
or whole wheat! To redeem, tear the top off your local Food Lion manager
and send to the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull
No. 540!

FOOD LION SKINNED. For our foreign readers, the above refers to a
supermarket chain's lawsuit against the ABC network after a "PrimeTime Live"
episode. Reporters wearing hidden cameras took meat department jobs to
document food preparation practices including the bleaching of rotting
poultry. Food Lion did not contest the facts of ABC's report, but convinced
a jury in 1992 that it was $5.5 million worth of wrong for reporters to lie
on their applications to get jobs in the meat room. A U.S. appeals court
has tossed the judgment but upheld convictions for trespassing and breach
of loyalty against two ABC producers. Damages of $1 apiece are pending.
   (Which is why news organizations put more stock in one's published work
than in applications, by the way. You never know when a former adulterator
of pork loins will try for a desk job.)
   But we digress. To BONG's surprise, some professionals yet find fault
with ABC's method. Well, reasonable people can differ. On the one hand, some
think a reporter can play customer, patient, taxpayer or hourly-rate chicken
bleacher to get a story that non-reporting customers, patients, taxpayers
or hourly-rate chicken bleachers already know.
   On the other hand, some think it is always required to ask "Excuse me,
doctor, but is it true your hospital orderlies collect money in the
after-hours bordello they run in your mental ward?" and "Oh mister banker,
may we have a copy of your mortgage red-line map?" and "Hello professor,
does your sex-for- rades deal apply to us audit students too?" Tomayto,
tomahto. Let the readers choose and let's move on.

THE GAFFE BRIGADE, PART 1,389. Mike Madden <> posits,
"I almost don't think college newspaper mistakes count, but this one
happened under my watch, so what the hell. When I was managing editor of
The Daily Pennsylvanian at the U. of Pennsylvania, we ran a story about how
hard it was for the university to get kids to stop drinking too much. The
headline? 'U. officials say college drinking hard to' -- the final word cut
off by Quark XPress and unmissed by any of the various student editors who
were supposed to read back the page.
   "The next day, the Yale-envying Penn officials would be sad to hear me
admit, none of my allegedly Ivy League classmates noticed the typo. But an
English professor I ran into was mightily pleased -- he thought we'd turned
into post-modernist poets over in the newsroom.
   "Of course, at the Philadelphia Inquirer, where I was lucky enough to
land after graduating from Penn (in spite of errors like the one above),
they never make any mistakes worth repeating in BONG Bull..."
   Yeah, the Inky is perfect in every way, Mike, though we are often amused
by how they spell Enquirer.
  -- Heather Welford from Blighty <> attests, "
completely true -  story from the UK. About 20 years ago, a sub I worked
with who moonlighted at the Daily Express brought in a tearsheet from their
news pages showing a large pic of the Express stand at the Chelsea Garden
Show, visited on this occasion by the Queen. Express writers at that time
were always known as Expressmen (sic), and the gardening correspondent was
one Douglas Farthing. The pic showed him bowing low towards Her Maj in duly
deferential fashion. The caption (I gather you say 'cutline' for this) was
a gem, changed, sadly, in all subsequent editions of the paper: "Expressman
Farting with the Queen."
   -- John McClelland of Roosevelt University <>
appends, "We peons were never able to confirm the rumored cash settlement,
but we recall the prominently published correction in '69 or 70' when a
certain Chicago suburban twice-weekly ran a routine announcement of federal
research funding to a local hospital under the headline "St. Francis gets
$75,000 federal graft."

   -- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's M.A.J. McKenna
<> advises, "A new book, 'The Victorian Internet,'
reveals the existence of a 19th century system of vacuum tubes under NYC of
large enough bore to send a cat through; it arrived dazed and hissing but
alive, apparently. (Shame the ones that still existed on Wingo Way -- street
address of the Boston Herald -- when I worked there in the early 90s weren't
of such wide caliber. I can think of some editors who would have benefitted
... but no, no, I've said too much already.)"
   -- Unisys' George Carvill <> tells, "I was,
once, an honest newspaper man, though I moved over to the Dark Side many
years ago. I won't name the newspaper, but I do recall a cohort was
explaining the virtues of the new computer system we were installing to a
group of editors and writers. It would handle type, photographs, page
layout, etc. When he was done, one not-too-clear- on-the-concept type asked
in all seriousness, "Are you going to upgrade the tube system too?"

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