Journalism In Verse


Real Fake News

in Politics by

“how is it to be told? . . . in detailing the facts themselves?”
—Charles Reznikoff, Reznikoff Papers Box VII, Folder 26

“Terrible crimes are being committed,
we are not safe anywhere anymore,”
says Thomas Paine, Ward 16 Alderman.
Joining Antifa is now illegal
punishable by 15 years in prison.
New Jersey couple
set to testify against
Hillary Clinton
killed in an explosion.
Senate Democrats call for
Supreme Court nominees
to ignore the U.S. Constitution.
Waters: “SCOTUS pick
should be illegal immigrant.”
“We don’t need
U.S. farmers anymore,
we have grocery stores,”
says Canada’s prime minister.
Robert De Niro involved in a
child sex trafficking ring.
Anthony Bourdain killed
by Clinton operatives.
Pope Francis Orders
White Women to Breed
with Muslims
Studies and research carried out
so far have proven that there is no reason
to believe that the Holocaust ever occurred.


Poet’s note: From 2014 on, the Russians have set up numerous Twitter accounts in the name of defunct or non-existent news sources to deliver factual local news and have built up staunch follower bases in the process; then during an election cycle they become “operational” and spread false stories to influence voter opinion. The skill and bravado, not to speak of the success, of this form of cyber-warfare is most vexing and must somehow be countered. I selected some names referenced in the reports about this, augmented with others garnered from a Wikipedia list of defunct media, and paired these with stories scrutinized in—it’s all untrue, including the name of the Chicago Alderman. In selecting the name Thomas Paine, I had in mind the one who wrote a pamphlet originally to be titled Plain Truth, which spoke of the threat of tyranny in his time.

Russian influence campaign sought to exploit American’s trust in the local news [NPR]
Report: Russian operatives target El Paso, pose as local news accounts [El Paso KVIA]

Howard Richard Debs is a recipient of the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His essays, fiction, and poetry appear internationally in numerous publications; His book Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words, is a 2017 Best Book Awards and 2018 Book Excellence Awards recipient.  He is co-editor of New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust forthcoming in 2019 from Vallentine Mitchell of London, publisher of the first English language edition of Anne Frank’s diary.

Photo by Elijah O’Donell.

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