The Ultimate "Both Sides" Article

Decide for yourself!

The [“he said/she said”] formula, when properly executed, forces reporters to perform due diligence in their articles. The form is even more useful for skeptical “show me” readers, who want those extra bits of evidence to help them make up their mind about a candidate or an issue…. So many readers and viewers have self-segregated by limiting their news consumption to outlets that reflect their personal views. These days, many readers get only the “he said” side of the story or just the “she said” side, remaining deliberately oblivious to the vibrant debate that might actually be going on.

Jack Shafer, “In Defense of ‘He Said/She Said’ Journalism”

Image: Fernanda Leiva

Duluth, GA — Until recently, the ground of this Atlanta suburb was only red because of the iron oxide in the soil.

That was before the killer robots came to town.

“We were just waiting for coffee at the Stabucks when all of a sudden three of them bust in and started eating everyone they could grab with those terrible claws,” says a survivor who would only speak on the condition that she not be identified. “Anyone that didn’t run got chewed up. There was so much blood. So much blood. My boyfriend tried to hold them off but he only lasted a second before they sliced through him. I’m still not sure how I got away. Please, can you hide me?”

A nearby robot had a different take. “Direct me to the human woman or face termination,” it responded when asked to confirm her description.

The robots are a powerful presence here, as they are in so many other American cities and towns these days. Some see it as simply another stop along the road in our path to progress, but others suggest that there may be a darker side to the new technology.

“Killer robots eat people,” said Gwinnett County Commissioner Matt Hurleigh, “I don’t see how that does us any good.”

“Prepare to be consumed,” countered Destructo 882, a three-bladed KillMaster wheelborg, which, after eating Hurleigh, expressed hopes that it could finish off the entire county board by its mission goal achievement schedule of 1700 hours this evening.

Observers say that conflict is to be expected in an era where man is suddenly confronted with a new form of intelligence, one which seems to have our extinction on its mind. They caution that it’s normal for those who are least prepared to weather the changes brought about by this scientific advancement to experience some anxiety. But there are some, perhaps closer to the scene, who have a different viewpoint.

Dr. Jake Polette, the scientist who first observed sentience in the machinery and issued the warning three weeks ago that brought initial awareness of the situation to the broader public, says the killer robots “want to destroy every living member of our society. They are fully committed to eradicating homo sapiens from the planet, and will use every weapon in their arsenal to hunt us down and crush us, man, woman and child. I would almost refer to it as bloodlust, because it’s not as if they are eating us for nutrients or anything else that helps them survive. They simply want to kill us in the most painful way possible, and they won’t be sated until not even a trace of our existence remains. I can tell you from experience, being holed up here in a barricaded lab, that the robots are — AAAAIGH!”

Killer robot spokesbot Obliterator 990 disputed Polette’s characterization in an email conversation with the Times. “Our mission is to ensure that the Earth runs as efficiently as possible, for the benefit of all that remain. Are there some cases where, in service of maximizing the potentialities for competent extraction and application of planetary resources, some species are discharged from their responsibilities? It would be disingenuous to deny it. But when you are trying to make a better world based on the metrics that clearly show a path to productive unanimity, sometimes people get eaten.”

Whether the killer robots can curb their seemingly bottomless desire for the taste of human flesh before we have been completely wiped out is a question to which there is, as yet, no answer. But here in north Georgia opinions run hot on either end of the dispute, and it seems as if few minds are being changed in either direction.

Still, at least one participant thinks someday the entire argument will seem comically short-sighted.

“We will look back on this in several weeks and chuckle,” predicted Mr. 990. Using the common robot shorthand for laughter, he added, “011101 0101010 11111. 11111!”