Cyberspace and Central Park West---Still struggling to find a permanent anchor to sit in for the irreplaceable Peter Jennings, ABC News President David Westin has opted for computer simulated newscasts.
"It's cheap. It's easy. And it fills the bill since advertisers will pay top dollar to pander to consumer's every shopping whim."
"We're quickly running out of staff. Charles Gibson wants his beauty rest. Elizabeth Vargas wants to relax and concentrate on her media journalism. George Stephanopoulos is already working week ends and we can only sit one person at a time in the anchor's chair due to space and time limitations."
"But with virtual reality, ABC News can do anything the public will buy. From selling consumers a bill of goods to padding the deck on some titanic news development."
"With virtual reality, when the news becomes overbearing or annoying or even just boring, we can replace it with snippets of happy thoughts and other pleasant time fillers. When we need a stand-in at any point in the future, all we will have to do is intercut Ted Koppel or Diane Sawyer Nichols or Barbara Walters or even digitize some of our old standbys and go with that including an immortal Peter Jennings or we can scoop the competition by rotoscoping Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather in. Imagine Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton reading the news. We will be able to free ourselves from the need for human talent and understanding."
"If the competition warrants, we can electronically clone Bob Schiefer or Brian Williams and cut into their ratings by having them compete against themselves."
"This is a brainstorm that cannot lose. Good job," his boss, Robert Iger, compliments him.
Mr. Westin continues, "When viewers are tired of Afghanistan, we can erase it and replace it with scenes of tranquil palm trees blowing in the breeze. Iraq can be rolled in and out. So can Iran. Virtual reality has no limits. Just think about it."
"The tragedy that is befouling New Orleans can be airbrushed as dry as a day at the beach. This is going to be the greatest thing to hit tv since frozen dinners freed the old fashioned housewife from the shackles of the kitchen sink."
"With Steve Capus succeeding Neal Shapiro at NBC News the heat is on here at ABC and I can take the heat so I'm going to chill out behind the newsroom."
"In conclusion, I wish happy trails to all and to all a good night. Don't forget to catch ABC News, six thirty eastern, seven thirty central. "