Nurse Hatchet looked up as Nothin' Newsworthy arrived at her cubicle for his medications. 'Two BBC sedatives, three Fox anti-intelligants, one Murdoch braincell-blocker', she read from her list, handing Nothin' his daily prescription. He pretended to swallow them, then went away to read a new book he had borrowed from the library.
'1984' by George Orwell was all about government propaganda and news manipulation, and controlling the population by using mass brainwashing techniques. And of course using state-controlled medications and drugs, to numb people's minds.
It was funny, he thought, since he'd stopped taking his tablets he'd started to notice some strange things. Like how every time the government was caught publicly lying, cheating, swindling and even killing people, it suddenly flooded the news with a single and entirely unnewsworthy story, and kept repeating it and repeating it and exaggerating its importance until people forgot all about the government's lying, cheating, swindling and killing.
There was that Shilpa Shetty fuss, that even the Prime Minister began commenting on just as the murder of David Kelly by government agents was becoming newsworthy again; the hype about being afraid of catching bird 'flu abroad conveniently relegated the outbreak of the same illness at a government research lab in England off the front pages;
the continual mention of skin pigmentation during the US election hid the fact that Barack Obama has no policies, or even any skill at doing anything at all except for making carefully rehearsed speeches for little children, full of catchphrases and slogans; and now swine 'flu, you're millions of times more likely to be struck by lightning or hit by a car than catching it - so all day, every day, it's the number one worldwide news story.
'Whew!', he thought, 'as long as I worry about pigs' 'flu I'll forget all about multi-billion bank frauds, illegal occupations of Middle East countries, US funding of mass-murdering Israeli fascists, who blow children to pieces in airstrikes ... hey, I'll even forget to watch ABC News tonight. Well, I'll sure lose a load of sleep worrying about that one!' Just then his buddy in the institution, Chief Braingone, wandered in.
'Hey, Nothin', he said, 'you heard about this swine 'flu stuff? I'm kinda glad we's locked in here, else we might catch it some place.'
'Chief', Nothin' replied, 'you sure are one dumb mother, believing all that crap in the news! When governments want to bury bad news they just pick on one trivial story and fill the papers and TV with it - like this swine 'flu shit.'
'You should read this book', he said, waving '1984' in the air, 'the minute the government are caught out doing anything iffy they call in the news guys, and not only order them to write stories to block out the iffy stuff, but also rewrite the iffy stuff so it's as if it never happened. In other words, my brainless friend, the news is all lies.'
'Well, I'm gonna see Nurse Hatchet, see if she's got a pill for pig fever, man, it might kill us all!', and he wandered out of the room again, as Nothin' put his head in his hands.
Later that evening he decided to take all his medications after all, and soon he was sitting watching BBC News 24, and Fox News, and ABC News, and all of them had the same, idiotic story about swine 'flu, repeated over and over.
Still, he thought, he was happy now, nothing serious like wars and corruption to worry about, or banks stealing his money, or scientists being murdered and lies being told about weapons of mass destruction, to allow governments to steal billions from their own people across the world.
It was all quite simple now, as the Fox, BBC and Murdoch medications got to work, an unheard-of illness that a handful of people have caught in a human population of over four billion was the only real news to think about today. Tomorrow it might be squirrel 'flu. Or aardvaark measles. And soon he was drifting off to sleep, to dream about irradiated sheep ...