Lessons from An Incorrigible, Predictable Swine

We wrote yesterday about how if Tony Ortega didn’t have his pet obsession Scientology to write about, he wouldn’t have anything at all to publish.

Today we have a classic case in point, Tony Ortega’s Swine Flu panic.

What a different time it was for Tony Ortega in that spring of 2009. He was, of course, busy protecting the child sex slavers who owned the Village Voice while enjoying the last few months of he’d ever hold down a real job.

We’ve heard from numerous previous co-workers that Tony Ortega’s fanatical preoccupation with Scientology had been causing quite a bit of tension behind the scenes at the Village Voice. Maybe it was this pressure to write about actual news which prompted Ortega try his hand at tackling the current events of the day.

We all know that Tony Ortega loves to be a drama queen and frequently plays the part of a breathless, Chicken Little desperate to incite panic. On the morning of May 8th 2009, Tony Ortega proved it when he took to the pages of his rag alt weekly to announce “the sky is falling!” by rushing out an urgent, un-fact-checked statement concerning the H1N1 flu. After all, serious journalists were writing about H1N1, why shouldn’t a hysterical, tabloid artist like Tony Ortega take a crack at it?

Tony began his ‘stop-the-presses’ statement this way:

This morning, we received a report that one of our news interns may be ill with swine flu. This has not been confirmed, and we are currently trying to get more information about it. However, to be safe we have cautioned our employees and are having a cleaning crew scrub the entire office this evening.

No other employees at the Voice report flu symptoms, and we are continuing our work as normal.

Of course he didn’t wait for it to be confirmed because Tony Ortega doesn’t care about the truth of what he writes about, he only cares about what kind of stir he can cause in the moment.

Ortega shouting to the world that his office may have been infected was just the latest example of his trying to exploit scandal to his own ends. It didn’t matter if it was real, all that mattered is he thought he could get his audience to buy it.

Hilariously, and not at all surprisingly, the whole thing blew up in Tony’s face and he was forced to add an ignoble update to his failed ‘disaster scandal’ story, revealing that Tony Ortega was – once again – completely making things up because he had nothing better to write about.

Tony Ortega’s ‘it was all someone else’s fault’ update read in full:

Update 4:45 p.m. Our intern turns out not to have swine flu. He called to apologize and said that another intern may have misinterpreted what he told her about his condition. Please resume normal levels of PANIC.

Translation: “Sorry not sorry. Continue to panic because I’ll do this again.”

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