In the lobby of the Fox News network building two security guards lie prostrate on the floor, their necks bent at impossible angles. On a desk behind them grainy surveillance monitors feedback images of the building: elevators, boardrooms, studios, corridors – all silent. This cartoon bastion of American media Conservatism is a 24-hour propaganda machine; things shouldn’t be so still, so calm, so empty.
Beyond the lobby, more security guards have been dispatched: some lie face-down on the carpet, other guards are bent over the railings of a staircase, unconscious. One officer hangs from a light fitting by his ankles, bloodied and contorted like some gross, post-beating human piñata.
The lights of a first-floor office flicker on and off, on and off; and in their arrhythmic staccato spasms a figure is exposed: Glenn Beck sits at his desk – dead. Streams of blood run from the hollows of his eyes in a faux-cascade of tears, a grotesque mime of emotion; something has eaten through his eyes and burrowed into his skull. Tonight’s episode of The Glenn Beck Program: cancelled.
The bodies of more guards are strewn across the second-floor, the walls peppered with bullet-holes from vain attempts to stop their assailant’s rampage. Amidst the detritus of smashed furniture and the mincemeat of TV scripts lies Sean Hannity; face against the floor, arse up in the air, trousers round his ankles, lifeless eyes staring into nothingness: he’s been sodomised by a plastic doll of his most hated liberal conspirator: Barak Obama. The Sean Hannity Show: axed.
A similar scene holds court on the third-floor. An elevator door opens and closes, opens and closes, repeatedly jamming on the still and supine body of a security guard who lays half-in, half-out of the lift. Across the ruined hallway is the office of self-styled orthodox Conservative nut-job and unwitting Howard Beale impersonator Bill O’Reilly, but the only sound that emerges is a revenant moan of wind from a broken window: somebody has been thrown from the building. The O’Reilly Factor: terminated.
So it is throughout Fox News. Anne Coulter: annihilated. Neil Cavuto: extirpated. Mick Huckabee: levelled. Shepard Smith has given up the ghost. The only human voice comes from the top floor: a throaty, pleading, desperate murmur: it’s Rupert Murdoch, begging for clemency. He pleads, lies, denounces his business practices, swears fealty to the Socialist Workers Party – but all to no avail. A piercing, metallic screech rings throughout the building, accompanied by a brief but high-pitched scream; gurgling, a bang; then silence.
The only figure to leave Fox News this night is a shaven-headed, broad-shouldered, skulltopus-tattooed apparition: silently walking away, he is soon lost to the pallid light.
WINNER: CHINA MIÉVILLE