Journalism

Fox News says terrorists are sending killer robots after us!

– by Deborah Levinson

Like many liberals, I’ve never had a high opinion of Fox News, but even I was willing to believe they tried to adhere to some journalistic standards. And apparently, they do – except that they’re using the same standards as The Onion.

Yesterday, Fox posted a scaremongering story entitled Scientist: Terrorists May Use Robots in Future Attacks. The story relies on the incredibly lazy “journalism” of simply reporting on a press release and embellishing it with a few facts the reporter no doubt gathered by typing the word “robot” into Google.

But personally, my favorite part of this story is the accompanying photo (shown here). Apparently, the robots the terrorists are going to use to kill us are none other than the Daleks, the brutal, ruthless mutant cyborgs developed by Terry Nation in 1963 for the BBC science fiction show Doctor Who. It’s a wonder Fox News didn’t call for the arrest of Nation’s heirs, not to mention the show’s current writing and production team, as terrorist sympathizers.

Instead of demanding Russell T Davies’ head on a plate – I suppose after the Series 3 finale, there are enough Doctor Who fans demanding that themselves – Fox continues to link fact and science fiction, speculating that while it may be hard to believe terrorists are secretly designing homicidal killbots, in fact, U.S. company iRobot is allowing its customers to modify and reprogram their Roomba house-cleaning robots. Obviously, because iRobot also has a thriving business designing and selling robots to the U.S. military, it must be possible for ordinary consumers to transform their ostensibly harmless carpet-sweepers into unstoppable death machines bent on destroying the American way of life. Damn you, iRobot, for encouraging hobbyists interested in science and engineering! Don’t you know that learning about electronics and computer programming is tantamount to giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

Oh, Fox News. I never thought you’d fill that void in my life left by the loss of The Weekly World News, but you just may do that yet.

Guest Scrogue Deborah Levinson is a design developer living and working in Boston. She obviously knows way more about Doctor Who than is healthy.

41 replies »

  1. Fox is right – it’s all hopeless and we should flee to cower in caves or seal ourselves into homemade concrete bunkers, to preserve what precious little time we have left before the robots come and slice us into pastrami or laser beam us into charred stumps.

    Don’t forget to bring along a deck of cards to pass the time.

  2. I was out fleeing the Daleks for my life when I realized something:

    The Daleks aren’t even robots! They’re living beings embedded in an armored shell that eschew contact with all other living things for fear of genetic contamination.

    Man, even when they screw up they can’t get it right….

  3. Brian,

    How did I miss that?That is one awesome piece of floor-cleaning, varmint-blasting technology. If it had a stun gun for two-year-olds I’d be ordering one right now.

  4. Nah, Thundercats! 😛

    I may have to point my wife to this thread – we have a nearly 2-year-old, and he’s recently started the “scream bloody murder throw myself to the floor kicking cry until I’m hoarse” stage. And this kiddo is harder on Mom and Dad because the nearly 4-year old has yet to be convinced not to give her little brother the very attention he’s craving with such tantrums.

    A stun gun would be nice….

  5. Brian @ #5: I never realized until I read your comment how easily that could also apply to neocons.

    jimbo92107 @ #7: Hey, I loved The Weekly World News! I still have a photocopy of an Ed Anger column stuck on my fridge! And frankly, one point I didn’t make in this post is that the WWN would have done a *better job* with this story than Fox.

  6. The near-2 year old can outsmart our Roomba, though. He already torments it by chasing it into corners. Might take him the better part of an hour to figure out how to disable the stun gun.

  7. Jennifer, Nora hunts down our Roomba, stops it, and removes the dirt collector. I figure it’s better than letting her chase the dogs.

  8. “The trouble is that we can’t really put the genie back in the bottle,” he said in a press release before his speech to the Royal United Services Institute. “Once the new weapons are out there, they will be fairly easy to copy. How long is it going to be before the terrorists get in on the act?”

    Sharkey pointed out that the U.S. military already has 4,000 robots on the ground in Iraq, as well as dozens of drone aircraft flying overhead there and in Afghanistan.

    So we’re supplying terrorists with the technology they need to send Dr. Who to kill us? Why do we hate America?

  9. No, Jay, after the terrorists, led by evil genius Davros, mutate into small tentacled creatures living inside armored metal killing machines, the Doctor will save us. Expect to see a Fox News story about this any day now.

  10. We were thinking of getting a Roomba to amuse our cats. But now I realize that such a device would only TERRORIZE the poor little kitties. We must be ever vigilant and sacrifice as many human lives as possible to keep these household appliances “over there” so that the TERRORISTS won’t come to our living rooms and upset our pets.

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  12. So, Faux News is warning that our super-duper robot technology will soon fall into the hands of islamocommiefacisthippy hands? Logically, therefore, we should cut Pentagon funding for this research. After all, if we don’t develop the kill-bot technology, they can’t steal it. Duh!

  13. Our rotisserie has begun acting sort of strange lately. And a couple of times we’ve found our electric carving knife OUT of its utensil drawer and plugged in. No one but Dad is allowed to even touch that thing. Should we be worried?

  14. I have a theory that Fox News is actually the embodiment of professional wrestling of the 70s, still pretending to be real, with many fans declaring its reality. I believe in a few years or maybe a decade, Fox News will declare it is not ‘real’ news, but ‘news entertainment’. Imagine what they would get away with saying if they opted out of the restraints of (supposed) decent and objective journalism. They could sell pay-per-view news events and everything, pitting man against machine!

  15. This is hilarious. Thank you!

    By the way, isn’t a general definition of a terrorist organization a group whose aim is to change behavior of others via scare tactics? By that definition, I think Faux News qualifies.

  16. “Oh, Fox News. I never thought you’d fill that void in my life left by the loss of The Weekly World News, but you just may do that yet.”

    I hope this wasnt a dig on the Weekly World News.. I loved the weekly world news. I think they were far more accurate than Fox News.

  17. Jymiek, it was absolutely not a dig at the Weekly World News — as I said up in post 17, I still have an Ed Anger column stuck to my fridge!

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  19. Aren’t there a lot of people out there, fueled by Christian fantasies of the Apocalypse, convinced that computers are going to take over the world?

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