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Fake News FREAKOUT!! Part Three

Fake News FREAKOUT!! Part Three

This is my third Christmas as a member of The Smoky Mountain News staff, and this is also the third installment of the FAKE NEWS FREAKOUT. Conspiracy? No. Coincidence? Likely. 

But since there seems to be some lingering confusion over what fake news is not (stuff you don’t agree with) and what fake news actually is (the stories below), submitted herewith for your amusement are a number of genuine fake news stories gathered from around the region this past year. Co-conspirators Holly Kays and Jessi Stone contributed to this fake news report, which is fake. 

Congressman Meadows deported to his homeland

President Donald Trump’s tough anti-immigration stance has always been at the forefront of his domestic policy agenda, but that’s never been more clear than with the recent surprise deportation of influential Asheville Republican Congressman and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows. Meadows was detained by ICE officials in Washington last week after being forcibly separated from his anchor babies and subsequently put on a plane to Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, France. The surprise deportation comes after Trump noticed that Meadows’ own biography admits he was born amongst cheese-eating surrender monkeys in Verdun, France. When reached for comment, Meadows said, “Mais je ne suis pas de là! Bien que les soins de santé universels sont gratuits.”


fakenews meadows

Membre du Congres Americain Mark Meadows. Illustration photo par Cory Vaillancourt

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Meadows clears up confusion over his degree

A Tampa Bay Times investigation earlier this month revealed that Asheville Republican Congressman Mark Meadows’ educational attainment at the University of South Florida wasn’t quite what he’d claimed it was, but he’s since taken immediate steps to clear up the misconceptions. Meadows had been mentioned as a possible candidate for President Donald Trump’s chief of staff job; during the vetting process it was noticed that someone had edited Meadows’ Wikipedia page to change his purported bachelor’s degree from USF to an associate’s degree. Meadows apologized for the confusion and said that he actually earned his bachelor’s degree in real estate management in 2009 from Trump University’s satellite campus in Toulouse, France.


Now easier just to report on those who don’t have Long Leaf Pine award

The Order of the Long Leaf Pine may be the State of North Carolina’s highest civilian honor — awarded to such luminaries as Maya Angelou, Dale Earnhardt, Billy Graham and Michael Jordan — but a recent and marked increase in the number of awards issued now makes it easier just to report on the tiny, tiny minority of North Carolinians who haven’t been given one. “I was just standin’ here in my yard mindin’ my own business when Governor McCrory showed up in a fancy suit and give me this here reward,” said unemployed fax machine repairman Tyler Taylor, of Tarboro. “I don’t know what I done to deserve it, but then a few weeks later Governor Cooper showed up and give me one too.” As of press time, nearly 700 of North Carolina’s 10 million residents still hadn’t received theirs. 


WLOS ceases broadcasting after subscriptions to Smoky Mountain News, Mountaineer lapse

Lamestream corporate media boogieman Sinclair Broadcasting announced last week that Asheville fiefdom WLOS-TV would temporarily suspend all news broadcasting after an accounting department foul-up that resulted in the failure to renew mail subscriptions to Haywood County print newspapers The Smoky Mountain News and The Mountaineer. “Our megalithic business model doesn’t recommend investing in that particular community, ever, but we still care about their pocketbooks — and ours,” said Sinclair VP of Exploitation Bret Bretterson. “Without the long-standing, large-scale, surface-level, unattributed appropriation of the work of others, we’ll have to find a new way to deliver value to our shareholders.” To fill the programming gap, producers were reportedly considering running with a segment on how Asheville is “quirky” and “eccentric” but still upscale with a cool music and art scene and a booming speculatory real estate market, all in the midst of scenic Southern Appalachia®. 


Cherokee Media ban lifted — with restrictions 

After months of exile to the Cherokee Council House lobby, The Smoky Mountain News will be permitted to enter the chambers of the Tribal Council once more following a recently drafted agreement between the two organizations. 

According to the agreement, SMN reporters may enter the chambers on two conditions. Any reporter seeking to cover Tribal Council must wear a large red M on his or her chest — the scarlet letter would stand for “media” — and allow all elected officials at least three takes of any quote before using the material for a story. 

“First drafts are never as good as second or third drafts,” said Councilmember Tommye Saunooke, of Painttown, who initiated the media ban in April. “The same goes for things people say up around this horseshoe. It’s good to see the paper finally realizing that.”


Government employees overdo it on Fiscal New Year’s Eve

Averring they’ve “not budgeted so hard this whole year” and pledging to “never budget so much again” — at least until next year — scores of town and county managers as well as governmental budgeting and accounting professionals awoke the morning of July 1 with raging Fiscal New Year’s Day hangovers induced by furious budgeting the night before. Although much of the western world wakes up on Jan. 1 after a late night of dinner, dancing and drinks — sometimes overdoing it with the latter — North Carolina’s fiscal year ends June 30, which to local governments is the state-mandated deadline for the laborious task of passing a yearly budget; while some engage in budgeting on a weekly or even daily basis — which could lead to fiscalholism — most do so only once a year, resulting in a miserable Fiscal New Year’s Day. However, those who opt for the ol’ “hair of the dog” remedy recommend some light checking account reconciliation after brunch and before a nap.


Franklin leaders finally fight it out

After spending much of the year using their words to fight from behind the Franklin Town Council dais, Mayor Bob Scott and Councilmember Joe Collins finally decided just to have it out once and for all. 

The crowd attending town board meetings had been steadily growing over the last few months as more residents flocked to see which longtime Franklin leader would turn the deeper shade of red during such verbal altercations. A fight over the ABC board finally brought them to a roaring boil. 

“You want to take this outside?” Collins asked the mayor. 

Seeing no other way to solve the issue, Scott agreed. 

“If that’s what it’s going to take, so be it,” he said, getting up from his chair and placing his gavel inside his coat pocket. 

Hoots and hollers erupted from the audience as they all followed Collins and Scott outside to the parking lot, though they weren’t exactly sure what the fight was about or who they should even be rooting for. Collins, in his 60s, and Scott, in his 70s, put up their fists and circled around each other for a few minutes while still hurling insults at each other. Collins reached his breaking point when Scott went for the jugular — bringing up Collins’ censure from years ago when he was mayor. Collins swung his right fist with all his might and made direct contact with Scott’s jaw. The impact immediately knocked Scott to the ground.

Collins, amazed at his own strength and riled up by the screaming onlookers, raised his arms in victory. He was so busy celebrating he didn’t notice the car speeding down Main Street until it plowed into his side, placing him on the concrete right next to Scott. 

As both men lay on the pavement moaning in pain, Vice Mayor Barbara McRae quietly made her way through the crowd, gingerly leaned down to retrieve the gavel from Scott’s pocket and reconvened the meeting. 

“Glad that’s over. Maybe we can finally move on now,” she said, banging the gavel down.


fakenews ghosttown

Monorail! Cory Vaillancourt photo illustration


Itinerant monorail salesman’s song-and-dance captivates Maggie Valley 

After putting towns like Brockway, Ogdenville and North Haverbrook on the map with his genuine bona-fide electrified six-car monorail, traveling huckster Lyle Lanely overcame initial speculation that his was “more of a Shelbyville idea,” while revealing his vision of a rejuvenated Maggie Valley over the course of a seemingly impromptu musical number that left locals sufficiently roused as to spontaneously break into song. Hoping to allay concerns raised by citizens at the meeting, Lanley, a grifter by trade, said the monorail glides as softly as a cloud, and that there’s no chance the track could bend. Additionally, brain-dead slobs would be given cushy jobs according to Lanley, who added that he was not sent by the devil, but was instead on the level. Lanley said the monorail was Springfield … err, Maggie Valley’s only choice, to which the populace raised its voice — “Monorail, monorail, monorail!” Lanley later made an appearance in front of a room of local third-graders before leaving town with a suitcase full of shattered hopes and broken dreams.   


Jackson commissioners battle meeting addiction

The five-member Jackson County Board of Commissioners will launch a weekly support group meeting to squelch what multiple doctors have diagnosed as an unhealthy addiction to meetings. 

The Jackson Commissioners’ BMI — or Board Meeting Index — had always been on the high side of normal, but their recent decision to designate themselves as the health and social services board in addition to existing responsibilities alerted physicians to the seriousness of the symptoms. 

“Unfortunately, once an addiction is developed it never goes away — it can only be managed,” said local doctor and former health board member Cliff Faull. “While a support group could prove an effective tool to work through the problem, commissioners should avoid establishing a regular schedule for the gathering so as to prevent feeding the addiction.”

Despite the doctor’s advice, commissioners have elected to hold the support group weekly at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays — three out of four weeks, it will fall conveniently right before or after a meeting or work session on the existing schedule. 


Sylva to receive world’s first skyhook

In a move expected to reduce traffic congestion along N.C. 107 while improving Sylva’s profile in the tourism industry, the N.C. Department of Transportation will employ a groundbreaking new approach to transportation infrastructure — the skyhook.

Expected to be operational by 2027, the skyhook will offer high-velocity transportation between designated nodes in Jackson County, including the Cullowhee airport, Harris Regional Hospital and a yet-to-be-developed landing pad along U.S. 74. Due to the impressive energy potential afforded by the skyhook’s tethering point on the dark side of the moon, each trip will take only 30 seconds, with the skyhook capable of holding up to 10 cars at a time. 

“This is a better outcome than we could ever have hoped for,” said Jackson County Smart Roads Alliance organizer Jay Coward. “Forget smart roads. From now on, Jackson County is all about smart skies.”

The project is expected to cost approximately $87 billion, with completion dependent upon timely creation of a national Space Force to install the moon tether. 


Maggie Valley transitions to economy based solely on chainsaw art

Amidst the near-incessant din of two-stroke chainsaw motors clattering away 24 hours a day, local economic development officials brushed off the recent failure of a pie-in-the-sky monorail project to instead laud the triple-digit, year-over-year growth in total wages paid by Maggie Valley’s chic and lucrative chainsaw art industry. Occupancy in the downtown Chainsaw District is near 100 percent, and formerly shuttered restaurants, bars and hotels near the intersection of Stihl Street and Husqvarna Avenue are now alive with billowy white clouds of smoke and whimsically-carved bears, dragons and Harley Davidson logos. Operators also reported a brisk tourist trade in sculptures of longleaf pine trees, carved from actual longleaf pine trees. 


Powerful magnet detected in Cherokee ballot boxes

The results of a study into alleged ballot tampering during the 2017 Tribal Council elections have revealed that election irregularities were likely due to natural rather than nefarious forces. 

The study showed that, unbeknownst to election officials, recently ordered ballot boxes were mistakenly constructed of a powerfully magnetic material. The magnet then interacted with metals from the pens used to mark the paper ballots, causing the pile of discarded ballots to levitate in the air and place itself in the box, free of human assistance. 

“We will definitely have to upgrade our poll worker training program to account for this issue,” said EBCI Election Board Chair Denise Ballard, struggling to stay standing as the box’s magnetic force attempted to draw her in by her bracelets. “I myself will have to remember to wear only non-metallic accessories when coming to work. Or maybe we should just get new ballot boxes instead.”


Order of the Long Leaf Pine given to actual longleaf pine

Despite running out of living human beings upon whom to bestow the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, Gov. Roy Cooper traveled last month to Western North Carolina to award the award to an actual longleaf pine. As the unofficial state tree of North Carolina, the longleaf pine can grow to more than 100 feet in height and reach a diameter of nearly 4 feet, like the one so honored by Cooper in the Cowee Mountains of Swain County. When reached for comment, the tree refused to speak because it’s a tree, and because it’s also not actually a longleaf pine — pinus palustris is not native to most of the state, including Western North Carolina.


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