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About

Completely BS Breaking News is a project designed and developed by Nick Oba, of Locust Swarm.

A Cease and Desist demand has been sent to us by CBS Corp of the US. We've set up a campaign HQ to fight them tooth and nail.

Overview

Completely BS Breaking News was initially called Instant News and drawn up way back in 1998 as a project to be shown at ARS Electronica. The idea was to highlight sensationalism in the media, especially the bizarre spectacle of morbid journalism the media and media consumers feast on when major disasters such as earthquakes occur.

Finally released in 2010, the website gained traction thanks to a story entitled "Marshall Islands Legalize Cocaine." Apparently, the president of the Marshall Islands is now threatening legal action. The response to that is here.

Excruciating Detail

This site used to carry three types of stories.

1. Disaster Stories.

I spent three weeks developing a fairly sophisticated algorithm which generated an unlimited supply of authentic-looking disaster stories instantly. Each disaster story was unique and yet 99.99% of the stories read like authentic wire stories. Here is an example of an earthquake and here is a plane crash.

Such disaster stories could be generated by the push of the "refresh" button, the idea being to directly feed people's morbid desire to see a big, gory disaster to relieve boredom at the office, and thereby to illustrate the sensationalism both the media and the media-consuming public thrive on nowadays. (To be blunt, I think it's unnecessary and uncouth. Even the BBC panders shamelessly to the public's craving for breaking news, aping CNN, and it's disgusting.)

I pulled the disaster stories in wake of the Japan tsunami. There are times to be clever, and there are times to shut up.

2. Why Not? Stories

There are three of these on this site. These are stories which cause people to instantly identify them as fake, and exclaim: "that will never happen!"

  1. Japan to End Whaling
  2. Israel to Dismantle Settlements, Recognize Palestinian State
  3. United States to Destroy All Nuclear Warheads

My answer is, well, why not? These stories have the following in common: they address a senseless status quo, which could be rectified with just one decision by someone in power. A few phone calls from one person would be enough to transform any of these stories from satire into real news.

For example, Israel and Palestine have been at it for decades, driven by nothing but delusional paranoia in Israel. Similarly, the nukes in the US no longer serve any purpose whatsoever - it's either a case of inertia or more paranoia. Whaling, meanwhile, isn't even a Japanese tradition; whales were caught in the 1950's when the country had a food shortage and needed protein, but the country hasn't been short of food for a good long time. It's just stupid.

3. Pseudo News Stories

These prank stories are outlandish enough to be interesting, yet somehow carry a ring of truth. These days you have all manner of wild and insane news on YouTube and other sites, which makes some of the stories on this site seem mundane by comparison. My defense is that the humor in these stories is of an understated type which can be best appreciated by an educated audience who regularly follow real news.

These types of stories are in the tradition of work done by Joey Skaggs and the The Onion (and the Yes Men, though they seem to have an agenda). The main purpose of these stories is to mess with your head.









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Copyright 2011 Completely BS Breaking News. All rights reserved.

Web application development by Locust Swarm. All logos and trademarks belong to their respective owners. Completely BS Breaking News is not affiliated with the Copenhagen Business School of Denmark, nor the Canterbury Building Society of New Zealand, nor CBS Corp of the USA.