Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory

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BBCLondon, January 25 - The main computer handling incoming dispatches from British Broadcasting Corporation journalists around the world was forced into automatic shutdown this afternoon after a correspondent covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict included no assumptions of Israeli guilt.

A four-minute clip and a condensed, two-minute version of a report on corruption rampant in the Palestinian Authority arrived at the London server of the BBC just after 1 pm Wednesday, and within seconds, the system had crashed, a development that technical staff at the institution are attributing to the report's lack of anti-Israel slant or implications. The server was never configured to handle such content, and the resulting processing error caused a deactivation of the system.

"The system just isn't set up to deal with that kind of anomaly, I'm afraid," explained IT specialist Amin Husseini. "We're still looking into what went wrong in the filing process, when the app our correspondents use to upload is supposed to scan the content for all the elements the server requires to properly process the submissions."

Husseini offered no concrete thoughts on what might have malfunctioned, but would not rule out foul play. "There is already one automatic suspect when anything untoward happens, so at least we have that avenue of investigation if all else fails." He added that the default finding for that internal probe would remain unless evidence emerged of some other cause, but that mention of the possibility of Israeli culpability in the incident would automatically be included in any report.

Unfortunately for the BBC team, all content on the server has been unavailable since the shutdown, and the backup server that came online in the wake of the crash was missing several reports that had been filed in the moments before the shutdown was triggered. Attempts to contact the journalist who submitted the faulty report have so far failed, leading to concerns that the problem may have originated with, and continues to compromise, the user-end of the app.

Corporation executives promised a thorough review of training to ensure the incident is not repeated. "We have strict guidelines, and the tools we employ to enforce those guidelines have functioned well, to date," stated Vice President for Operations Sir Shea Getts. "This is merely a technical matter, but it goes to the very root of this organization's mission. Noble Palestinian innocence and victimhood versus sinister Jewish Israeli conquest must shine through every news item we bring from the region. The most basic values of journalism are at stake here."

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