Another Perspective

News Quiz #3

In a bogus world, what story isn't bogus?

By 7.19.10

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In this contest, readers are again asked to identify the bogus news item. All four items are "reported" in similar style, from The American Spectator News Service (some minor details have been slightly altered). Three of them record actual events. Readers of previous quizzes have been a bit snippy in complaining about the ease of detecting the bogus item. Nevertheless, in News Quiz #2 very few people actually guessed the correct answer. Better luck this time. (And no cheating by looking on the web!) A bottle of bubbly and an autographed copy of the tie new book by American Spectator editor Bob Tyrrell goes to the first three readers who correctly identify the bogus paragraph.

Item 1

TAS NEWS SERVICE, HORSENECK BEACH, MASS. -- A few transgendered women caused a stir over Memorial Day weekend by going topless on Horseneck Beach. According to police, complaints were received after several individuals removed their tops and revealed their surgically enhanced breasts. They covered up before the police arrived, but even if they hadn't, they were doing nothing illegal, the police chief noted. Because they have male genitalia, they can't be charged with indecent exposure for showing their breasts.

Item 2

TAS NEWS SERVICE, MANCHESTER, U.K. -- A transsexual has won a legal battle over the backdating of a pension. The 68-year-old claimant was named Robert when he was born. The claimant underwent a "gender reassignment" operation ten years ago and sought a state pension the following year, upon reaching the age of 60, the age women are eligible for pensions.

Relying on the Recognition of Gender Act 2004, which requires married transsexuals to divorce before the government will recognize their newly acquired gender, the government pensions minister ruled in January 2008 that the claimant was allowed to receive a pension only from the male retirement age of 65. But the couple, who had been married for thirty years, did not wish to divorce.

The government declared that under the Act the claimant was not entitled to be recognized as female while still married to his wife, because one woman could not be married to another.

The groundbreaking decision from the Lord Justices, however, found that the pensions minister was wrong to treat the claimant as a man for state pension purposes, and that the denial was in breach of the claimant's human rights.

Item 3

TAS NEWS SERVICE, WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Following complaints by high-school students and college-age adults that the free Durex condoms offered by the city are not big enough and not of good enough quality, D.C. officials have decided to start distributing Trojan condoms, including the company's super-size Magnum variety.

"If people get what they don't want, they are just going to trash them," said University of the District of Columbia student T. Squalls.

"We thought making condoms available was a good thing, but we never asked the kids what they wanted," said D.C. Council member David A. Catania, apologetically.

Officials have also begun to authorize teachers or counselors, preferably male, to distribute condoms after they have completed a 30-minute online training course called "WrapMC" -- for Master of Condoms.

The city, which has 600,000 residents, expects to hand out more than four million condoms this year, an average of more than six per person.

"We want to support the regularization of condom use citywide," said Shannon L. Hader, director of the city's HIV/AIDS Administration. "We are promoting this idea that using condoms is healthy… to try to destigmatize condom use."

Durex condoms cost the city 5.7 cents each, but the Trojans will cost six to nine cents each (depending, of course, on size).

Item 4

TAS NEWS SERVICE, ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Charges have been dropped against a 43-year-old gym teacher, Louis Andrews, who was accused of incest, a Class E felony in New York. Subsequently, Monica Andrews, his daughter, bore a child and claimed Andrews was the father. Because the alleged event occurred one week after Monica's 18th birthday, Andrews was not also charged with having sex with a minor, police said.

During the course of the paternity suit brought by Monica to prove that Andrews was the father of her child, Andrews's attorney's wife, Joan Tyler, a gynecologist, while discussing the case with her husband, made an interesting discovery. Andrews's blood type is A. The blood type of Andrews's wife, Sharon, is B. The baby's blood type is A, but the blood type of the baby's 18-year-old mother is O.

Fans of detective fiction will quickly spot the problem: Monica could not possibly be the child of Louis Andrews, because a child must inherit his or her blood type (A, B, AB, or O) from the mother or the father. Thus, if a child's blood type differs from the type of both the mother and the man alleged to be the father, the man could not possibly be the father of the child.

Sharon Andrews, upon being confronted with the impossibility of Andrews's being Monica's father, confessed to having had an affair that resulted in the birth of Monica.

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About the Author

Daniel Oliver is a Senior Director of White House Writers Group in Washington, D.C. He served as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Ronald Reagan.