Tampa Bay Times – Downtown Tampa – Friday, 4.19.2019
In a mob-style tactic, the Tampa Bay Times will now be physically collecting, “safety fees,” or as they refer to it in the mafia, “protection money.”
Once a month an employee of the Times will show up to your door and physically intimidate you until you pay a petty amount of cash on the spot.
“As you know, digital press has kind of begun a strangle-hold on the paper industry, and we just can’t afford to let these ‘risks’ get out of control,” said Benjamin, the shadow owner of the media outlet who remains anonymous so as to not let his political agenda interfere with the neutral-branding of the propaganda machine which is the Tampa Bay Times.
“Yea, as you saw, we wrote an article about you guys doing your whole little, fake-news thing,” he motioned towards me with his whiskey glass, “so you knew we were running out of ideas.” Benjamin sat upright in his fancy chair, which was fireside even though we were on the 5th floor of an office building.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” said Benjamin. “I’m scared for our future.” He took a breathe, “Not for this company,” He threw his arms gesturing towards everything as a whole, “I mean of the media industry, the ‘press,’ the ‘news…’ I can buy and sell a million companies and be rich forever, but it’s the future of the press which scares me.”
He pulled my chair closer to his. “We were just having fun. We were just trying to get our guys in office and not make it look too obvious so we’d throw in an article about the fair every now-and-then and make it look like we WERE’NT bias and that we DIDN’T have an agenda… And it worked.” He threw his whiskey glass into the fire. It shattered everywhere, some glass got in my hair close to my eye.
“Now it’s too obvious,” Benjamin droned on. “Now everybody knows what ‘influence’ is and what ‘sponsored content’ is, and now there’s laws and regulations, and we can’t just lie anymore…” He got quiet.“We can’t lie anymore.” His eyes rose to meet mine. “No more lying.” Benjamin, the shadow owner of the Tampa Bay Times, then swung open the nearest set of French door windows, and took a full sprint and a jump-step off the railing of his balcony.
I didn’t stand up to go over and look or see what happened because I was in shock. Maybe there was a pool below, maybe there were bushes, maybe Benjamin turned out fine and everything was ok. I left without bothering to look and find out.
The point is, thank you Tampa Bay Times for printing us in that article one time, we do unironically appreciate it, and I personally think you’re good guys for doing that and helping draw attention to us trying to write satire articles based on the Tampa Bay Area.
But anyways, a man named Chester will now be showing up to subscribers doors once a month to collect a $30 “safety fee,” and if you don’t pay it he’s going to shatter your lamp and then maybe push you against the wall, and try to do just enough, where physically you wouldn’t be able to legally accuse him of much, because the Times have hired specifically sensitive henchmen who know the law well and will try to stay within the blurred legal lines as much as possible. Thanks again. We love you Chris!