It turns out that a long time ago, in a far-flung corner of The Deal's galaxy, some of our staff members may have committed a few ... indiscretions that are now providing ammunition for our enemies to use in their ceaseless battle to silence our editorial voice. We cannot let that happen. We've resisted commenting on the so-called scandal because, frankly, the details are too nauseating to contemplate. But since media outlets around the world have decided to pile on, we can no longer remain on the sidelines and allow our critics to define the debate. Also, we need to get this written and edited before any more of our employees are packed off to the pokey.
So, we begin with the most powerful defense any journalist can muster when faced with accusations of going too far in pursuit of the truth: the First Amendment. Neener neener.
Of course, such sophisticated constitutional arguments mean little to our critics, who are all a bunch of communist terrorists with ties to the Mafia, the Trilateral Commission and Charlie Sheen. It's true. Don't ask how we know. We just do.
More to the point, we had no idea our people were out there making a mockery of all that is decent in this honorable profession. And contrary to what media reports would have you believe, the alleged improprieties were not perpetrated by every individual who works here. We would remind our critics that "the overwhelming majority" is not the same as "practically everyone."
Furthermore, the whole thing happened -- if it happened at all -- like, last week. Move along. Nothing to see here. Except perhaps this copy of the First Amendment.
And even if we did ruin the lives of a few -- all right, millions -- of innocent people, it's not like we were the only ones doing it. We're looking at you, Weekly Reader. Just how did you get that big cover story on supertrains in China? Fess up, comrade.
Sure, several of our highest-ranking executives have resigned in recent weeks. But just a few of them have been indicted. This is normal turnover. If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs. And if you want to cover the deal economy, you have to trample mercilessly over the rights of a few law-abiding citizens. All right, millions of law-abiding citizens. We're so "impressed" that our critics can count.
The bottom line is this: Anything we did -- and we are not saying we actually did anything -- we did in furtherance of the vision set out by the Founding Fathers as they bravely fought their way through the frozen jungles of Normandy. That vision is evident in the text of the First Amendment. Right after the Establishment Clause and just before the We Founding Fathers Are OK with Wiretapping and Bribery Clause. It's a little thing constitutional scholars call The Area Between the Lines.
Granted, there are some competing interpretations of The Empty Space, as it is known colloquially. But we're confident that all of our actions -- if, in fact, we took any actions -- are covered by its protections. We're so confident we didn't even ask our lawyers for a legal opinion on whether our interpretation is correct. They're pretty busy with arraignments, bail hearings and other routine editorial tasks. No need to bother them with something so obvious.
Despite this airtight constitutional shield, our critics are using our alleged missteps -- which were totally not our fault and for which we have already paid eleventy-six gazillion dollars in hush money -- as a way to dismantle this venerable institution.
Listen, we're already pretty broken up about the whole mess -- you can put away the sledgehammers. And the subpoenas. You don't have to go all Nancy Grace on us.
In closing, we'd like to make one thing perfectly clear: The most important constituency in this entire sorry episode is you, our readers. We pledge to you that we will not be cowed by chirping of cynics or the clink of the jailer's keys. We will continue to provide what you have come to expect: full-page advertisements expressing our sincere regret for all the trouble we've gotten ourselves into.
Now, now. There's no need for the cuffs, officer. We'll go quietly.
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