07
Oct
11

Reading Digest: Rumor Control Edition (Updated)

Bart Gets an Elephant5

“After breakfast, me and Milhouse are going down to the ravine.  We got a tip from a six-year-old that there’s a dead Martian down there.” – Bart Simpson

Before we get to this week’s links, let me take you on a brief tour of a rumor.  Yesterday afternoon, Springfield Springfield tweeted:

‘The Simpsons’ likely to end after current season, confirms Fox executive

The tweet contained a link to this story from New York Daily News titled “‘The Simpsons’ likely to end after current season, confirms Fox executive: report”.  The keyword here is “confirms”, which is used right in the second paragraph as well as in the title:

A Fox executive confirmed to Reuters on Wednesday that even if the actors who voice the animated series took a pay cut, it still wouldn’t make it profitable — so the current 23rd season will likely be the last.

Following the link to the Reuters story reveals “Another ‘Simpsons’ Season Would Likely Be Last, Executive Says (Exclusive)”.  This is what happens when you do Ctrl-F for the word “confirm” at that story:

Lack of Confirmation

So, there really hasn’t been any confirmation at all.  Nor, for that matter, was it an “exclusive”.  While the story linked from the New York Daily News is indeed at reuters.com, it’s not an actual Reuters story.  In fact, it’s a rewrite of the same original report at The Wrap.  The story is even bylined “By Tim Molloy at TheWrap”.  The Wrap and Reuters must have some kind of content sharing agreement, but no FOX executive ever spoke with Reuters.  There’s no “exclusive” and there certainly isn’t any cause to use the word “confirm”. 

However, since the content sharing agreement apparently doesn’t require a link back to the original story (which I discussed yesterday), it certainly looks like a second report from Reuters confirming the original story.  It isn’t.  It’s the original story published in two places. 

So what happened is: a story originally at entertainment site The Wrap gets published.  A few hours later, the exact same guy changes a few words and publishes it on Reuters.  The New York Daily News picks that up as confirmation, which then gets sent as confirmation to Springfield Springfield’s twitter followers.  Not a single new piece of information hit the internet, it’s just one report echoing around as fast as fiber optic cable can carry it (which is really fast).  This single, unconfirmed report spawned more news stories and blog posts than I could ever hope to link, all saying that the show likely had only one season left.  

However, late yesterday, right about the time the New York Daily News was getting confused, there was an actual new story published at The Wrap, “‘Simpsons’ Deadline for Voice Actors Looms”.  It contains this direct refutation of the original quote:

The person familiar with the actors’ position dismissed the idea that Fox wants no more than one more season as "pure spin" and a negotiating tactic. The person said the offer now on the table for the actors would include a guarantee of two more seasons and the option of a third.

This is just one more anonymous quote in a week that’s seen far too many of them, but the report that Season 24 won’t be the last is at least as credible as the one that Season 24 will be the last.  It probably won’t go flying around the internet like the other one, but that has nothing to do with whichever of them turns out to have been correct.

Ultimately, that a whole bunch of people were temporarily misinformed about this isn’t that big of a deal.  The show is either going to get cancelled (still very unlikely) or it’s going to keep going (ugh).  All the blog posts and goofy stories by theoretically respectable news outlets won’t matter in the least to the outcome.  But it’s a little disturbing that a single unconfirmed rumor that was childishly easy to track down – all I had to do was read and follow links – could get people that confused that fast. 

Due to cancellation fever, there are fewer links than usual this week.  On the plus side, several of those links are from people who heard the talk of the show ending and thought it should’ve done so long ago.  There’s also the return of awesome Simpsons embroidery, a couple of mentions of Homer’s parenting advice, productivity enhancing camping hammocks, and cake pops.  Mmmm, cake pops. 

Enjoy.

[Programming note: Time spent sorting through rumors this week was time I didn’t spend doing a Compare & Contrast post for “Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts”.  It will be along, likely early next week.  There’s no new Zombie Simpsons this Sunday anyway.  There will be further updates on the Zombie Simpsons contract negotiations when actual new information comes along.  At this point, things are exactly where they’ve been all week: negotiating behind closed doors for a contract extension.]

[Update 12:06pm EDT: Harry Shearer released a statement this morning.  It basically just takes a dump on FOX and says they’re being a bunch of greedy bastards, which is true.  No news about progress or collapse of the talks.  Carry on.]

The 5 Best Songs on The Simpsons – Smooth Charlie’s Link of the Week is six songs from the show.  While some people just make lists, others go to the time to find YouTube for each song, even if it means the dialogue is dubbed into a foreign language while the song is still in English.  The bilingualism causes some funny juxtapositions, especially on the Canyonero song. 

Greed may do ‘The Simpsons’ a favor – Five classic YouTube clips to celebrate the rumored end of the show. 

News:Charles Napier Dies Aged 75 – That’s a shame.  He did a couple of guest voices on Zombie Simpsons, but was most beloved by me for being the voice of Duke Phillips on The Critic.  A bit more here

Rick’s Cafe: The ten best Simpsons sports episodes ever – This list contains one episode from Season 11, everything else comes from before that.  Oddly enough, the only two images are from Zombie Simpsons episodes that aren’t on the list. 

Homer Simpson Model of Parenting – A list of some of Homer’s better parenting quotes.  I didn’t check them, and there are a few later season quotes, but on the whole this is a very cromulent list.  Bravo.

half-arsed over-gardening – Some excellent parental usage:

It feels a little small when she, when they give me that look. As Homer said in reply to Bart, “But I’m using my whole ass.”

Homer’s resigned sadness in that line is awesome. 

The best kind of tent is not a tent – Apparently they make hammocks you can use to go camping with now.  What an age to be alive.  There’s also Hank Scorpio YouTube here, you can probably guess which scene.

the simpsons embroidery project // 4 – Simpsons embroidery is back again.  This time we’ve got Homer riding the bomb and Thrillho.  Both are amazingly done, from the nicks in the “Do Not Ride The Bomb” sign to the wind in Thrillhouse’s hair.

Birthday with the Simpsons – Fan made Simpsons cake pops.  Oh man, those look good (and check out Marge’s hair!). 

Rebel With A Versatile Cause – Pretty much:

I love The Simpsons.  If I were in a conversation with a like-minded soul, and we just sat there throwing out quotes from the first 10-seasons or so, I genuinely cannot imagine what would happen to make me tire of the conversation. Dehydration, perhaps.

The Simpsons Top 10 Episodes of the First 10 Seasons (Re-post) – Exactly what it says, though I was a bit surprised to see “Viva Ned Flanders” in the #10 spot. 

Lisa Simpson, I’m amazed – Some vegan love for Lisa, along with bran flakes and tiny Simpsons toys.  Cool.

peeing with the door open is patriotic – If you have a bathroom you don’t share with anyone you can do whatever you want in it, including post YouTube of Homer whizzing with the door open. 

Boob – And finally, we get to end with three links to people who agree with us.  First up is this quick television roundup which includes this:

Simpsons-  I watch this almost completely out of nostalgia and some weird form of loyalty.  It hasn’t been great in over a decade and barely borders on good most of the time.  The premiere was so-so, and the online voting was so lame.  For those that don’t know, they ended the finale with an online poll.  They wanted the viewer to vote whether or not a couple should stay together.  Wow.  Hilarious.

My sarcasm detector just exploded.

Mmmm, opinions on Beliebers… – The author here is a teenager who isn’t keen on Justin Bieber or his fans.  After some excellent mockery of both, she brings down the hammer:

Tonight on Twitter, PURPLE MONKEY DISH WASHER was trending. For a second, I had some faith in my generation. I was so excited! People knew The Simpsons! Wow!

Haha, I was wrong.

Apparently, PURPLE MONKEY DISH WASHER is an inside joke within the Beliebers. They are clueless to its origin, and that makes me sick.

There’s a video of me at 4 months old watching The Simpsons. I’ve been raised with it. I have seen positively every episode, most twice. You do not mess with me and The Simpsons.

Something that drives me crazy about people today is that they’ve only ever seen the new episodes. I tell people all the time, you have to go back and watch the old ones! You fool! You have no idea what you’re missing!

Got that right.  Keep the faith, sister; their love of Bieber will fade, but love of The Simpsons lasts a lifetime. 

The “About Goddamn Time” Files – Simpsons might get cancelled – This guy hits a lot of the notes we always hit:

The characters that used to drive the show are all just caricatures of their former selves.  The writing is hackney.  They try to compensate with funny or topical (or both) situations, but the situations aren’t funny or particularly topical (and even if they were, there’s no way to gloss over how bad the writing and characters have become).

Got that right.  Plus there’s this:

Normally, I wouldn’t mind it going on forever.  If people somehow actually enjoy the new episodes, whatever, let them watch it.  My problem with the continued production of these terrible terrible terrible episodes is that they dilute the rerun pool.

That’s what I keep saying!  Welcome, friend.  Welcome. 


4 Responses to “Reading Digest: Rumor Control Edition (Updated)”


  1. 7 October 2011 at 12:12 pm

    thanks for the pingback! hoping to find more great scenes to embroider in the coming months!

  2. 7 October 2011 at 8:27 pm

    So much for the excitement. FOX announced a 24th and 25th season of the show.

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/fox-broadcasting/fox-orders-double-dohs-of-the-simpsons/10150853795895557

    Also revealed more info about this year’s Treehouse of Horror. I knew about Dexter, but they’re also taking on 127 Hours and Avatar. Wow. Not only are those writers incredibly topical, but when I think Halloween, I think about those two movies. Fucking unbelievable.

  3. 3 John Hugar
    8 October 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I agree with you guys about Marge Be Not Proud for the most part, but Thrillho is one of my favorite moments ever.


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