The Great British public has now developed a natural immunity to stories about H5N1 - the Bird Flu virus. So deadly has this inoculation become that there has been devastation across the news desks of media organisations. Spreading in the opposite direction to the over hyped disease has been a dearth of opportunities for headlines, stories and news reports from masked journalists. This wave of despair has travelled from the west of Europe towards the Far East.
The inoculation has been carried by a migration of experience, science and common sense as the pandemic failed to materialise as each month passed. Realisation that more people die from falling over in the UK each year than have ever been diagnosed with Bird Flu in the entire world has provided the relief from the symptoms of media induced paranoia the country was under.
Advertising executives too are suffering as even scurrilous throat lozenge advertising involving sneezing birds has been unable to scare the population into a frenzy of Bird Flu story dependency.
Scenes of the devastation are prevalent in many major cities: dead newspapers filled with virulent hyperbole pile up in boarded doorways; news websites are unable to send e-mails of coughing, wheezing stories to uninterested friends of readers; journalists stand forlornly, live, outside a job centre near you.
“It really has been devastating,” bemoaned Janet Billingsworth of the Union of Health Correspondents, “we had amassed a huge stockpile of stories. We had a lot of pseudo medical advertising on 24-hour standby to be run at any moment. We can only hope that it doesn’t spread fully into the East Asian market - our sponsors have ten billion sachets of lemon flavoured aspirin to dispose of.”
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