New York, NY: Fox News CEO and hot air balloon impersonator Roger Ailes recently announced the initiation of a new algorithm for finding the most tragic events around the US.
Fox News has always been a leader in what newspapers call “tragedy hunting”. When the notorious puppy strangler emerged last year, Fox had wall-to-wall coverage and anti-strangling t-shirts before the first puppy was even cold.
Similarly, during Hurricane Katrina, Fox News had an entire fleet of helicopters dedicated to filming families stranded on rooftops begging to be rescued. Other news agencies could only struggle along with boats and aerial photography.
ABC News once sought to knock Fox from its top tragedy spot by hiring a misery forecaster, Hammon McMerry, the famous author of the book, “Everything is Terrible”. McMerry put forth a valiant effort, but after weeks of reporting on stomach aches and bruised news, ABC had to resort to covering real news and viewership dropped sharply.
One of Fox’s trademarks is the assignment of levels to tragedies. “Category One” applies to minor car wrecks, lost pets and the death of non-famous people. “Category Two” is for pile-ups, fires at animal shelters and the deaths of minor celebrities.
“’Category Three’ is what we really aim for,” said expert tragetician Bill McFeely. “We’re talking burning orphanages, car chases and the death of any celebrity that’s appeared on prime time. Well, almost any celebrity. There’s the exceptions like Michael Jackson, which falls into ‘Category Four’. That’s Pulitzer fodder there.”
Fox’s new technology allows reporters to scan police radio frequencies, obituaries and hospital records for anything that might help feed the American public’s desire for unhappiness. Preliminary reports estimate an increase of 20% in tragedy coverage.
“This is just the beginning,” said Ailes, referring to rumors of yet another advancement on the horizon. Codenamed “Kind of like Minority Report”, Fox New’s trageticians are developing an algorithm to detect tragedies BEFORE they occur. By combining a number of factors such as Socio-Economic Status, criminal histories, news channel preferences, snack foods, party affiliation and sympathy towards other living creatures, experts can target families most likely to produce tragedies.
“We’re even exploring the possibility of hiring full-time sadness correspondents. Seeing as they’re producing the majority of our content, it only makes sense to give them some support,” explained Ailes.