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Shell Shocked: Fake news comes to Sanibel

By Staff | Nov 7, 2018

Art Stevens

Yes, I’m guilty. Tar and feather me. Or better yet drown me in a vat of Grey Goose vodka. That’s the way to go, slurping your way to your last breath.

I’m guilty of writing fake news. Among my recent claims are the mysterious sighting of dinosaurs in “Ding” Darling; geckos that can talk; genies washing ashore in old seltzer bottles; and Hillary Clinton elected to mayor of Sanibel.

Will I be hunted down by secret government agents assigned to interrogate and re-educate journalists and columnists who are guilty of distributing fake news? Or will they come for me with a strait jacket and send me to the Lee County Fake News Rehab Center?

I’ve recently noticed a hardening of the arteries on the part of this newspaper’s top editors. My copy is being scrutinized more carefully these days lest a middle of the night Twitter be sent out by President Trump calling me “Fake Head.” I couldn’t live with that.

But given what I routinely write about how can I possibly tell the truth? I have to confess that I am a fake news writer and must live with the consequences. I can only guess what my detractors in Sanibel are now saying to their friends and family about my unwillingness to tell the truth.

Top Honcho at Doc Ford’s: Why is he always making fun of our blackened fish? He’s said repeatedly that blackened fish is addictive and that those who eat it become vampires. I think he needs to be taught a lesson.

Captain Annie, top checkout clerk at Bailey’s: Why is he casting aspersions on our chicken salad? It’s the best in Lee County. He doesn’t know the difference between chicken salad and hogwash. He once wrote a column claiming that he met a Martian at the fresh produce section here at Bailey’s. This suggests to me that he continues to have close encounters of the stupid kind. I wish he’d base his columns on facts.

Sanibel Mayor: Someone should tell him that there’s no such thing as a truth panel. We never convened a truth panel and sent for him to interrogate him on his inaccuracies in the coverage of Sanibel politics and life style. That’s not how a democracy works. If we weren’t a democracy we would parade him up and down Periwinkle wearing a sandwich sign saying “Death to Fake News.” But we’re a democracy and we live and die by the U.S. Constitution. However, if he does this one more time …

Islander Editor: How much longer can we contain the demonstrations in front of our offices? Every Thursday morning at least 200 Sanibel residents congregate to protest the fake news being highlighted in his column. We try to tell the demonstrators that he makes things up because he lives in a parallel universe. But they don’t believe us. They want him expelled from Sanibel because they say he frightens children.

We’re guaranteed freedom of the press and we stand by that. He can make up anything he likes so long as it’s clear that it is fiction. As the movie line goes, he can’t handle the truth. He imagines a Sanibel with talking animals and a major league baseball stadium. He imagines thieves stealing our precious beach sand in the middle of the night. And vampires going about their business when the darkness comes. Granted that he lives in a parallel universe but he isn’t a revolutionary or a radical. His news may be fake, and he may be a flake but we won’t have him jump in the lake eating his cake. My God, I’m beginning to sound just like him.