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"Troubled" "Country" Created to Explain Fluctuation in Gas Prices to American Public

"Thank God we also own CNN - 'Middle East in Crisis' is pretty much their default headline."

UNITED STATES DEPT. OF RECORDS, SAN DIEGO BRANCH - "It began as research into a story about international video piracy," explains intrepid U-T San Diego reporter Greta Gulch. "I was just noodling around on the Department's internal search engine, trying out various terms, seeing what other people had already dug up. I plugged in "Iran + copyright," thinking I might find something fun about repressive regimes and their secret love for Judd Apatow comedies. But instead, I got a document from 1935, establishing "Iran" as a branch of Exxon-Mobil. Turns out, the place doesn't really exist - not the way we think it does. I guess someone figured out that the American people will happily pay more if they think there's a war on somewhere."

Reached for comment, Exxon spokesman Craig Marko was sanguine. "I'm sure Ms. Gulch thinks she's on to a big story here, but come on - nobody really believes that some guy named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually exists, do they? The leader of a 21st century nation, and he denies both the Holocaust and the existence of homosexuals within his country? A guy like that, and he's building nukes with impunity? We've been telegraphing his total fakeness for years, because we know that the while the American public doesn't like to be fooled, they don't really mind being lied to. Just as long as they're in on the joke. We're happy to admit that 'Iran' is just a convenient illusion that allows folks to ignore certain unpleasant realities - sort of like Jesus. Next, Ms. Gulch will be dropping the 'bombshell' that North Korea is an Apple side-project that attempts to apply Steve Jobs' brilliant managerial style to an entire government. Where does the U-T get their reporters these days, The University of Obvious?"

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