USA Today Tries To Appeal To The Kook Set

USA Today Tries To Appeal To The Kook Set: RWN reader Alli Phipps pointed out a positively bizarre story in USA Today. According to USA Today technology writer Kevin Maney, President Bush fell off a Segway not by accident, but as part of a plot to hurt Segway and thereby help the oil industry. Here are some excerpts from column…

“President Bush meant to fall off his Segway. Oh, I’m sure of it. What we’ve got here is a clever conspiracy – a pre-emptive strike to save the oil industry from a technology that could sap its power.

…The first U.S. president to try a Segway supposedly forgot to turn it on, so the gyroscopic stabilizers couldn’t automatically balance him.

But maybe Bush wanted to fall. Maybe he understands in a way few do that society is on the verge of a debate that could mold the future of transportation, much like the debate 100 years ago when cars first suggested that horses weren’t the only way to travel.

And if the future veers toward little two-wheeled electric-powered personal transporters, where does that leave ExxonMobil and Halliburton and the rest of the oil industry President Bush adores? Probably in the same sad league as the old Pennsylvania coal-mining companies, with Houston as the next Wilkes-Barre.

…The conspiracy theory is bolstered by this: It’s nearly impossible to fall off a Segway. Seventy-nine-year-old George H.W. Bush didn’t fall off the one he got from his sons for Father’s Day. Barbara Bush also got one, and she didn’t fall off hers.

…Vice President Cheney – Mr. Oil Guy himself – has had a Segway for some time now. I heard Dean Kamen, the Segway’s inventor, talk about how Cheney called his company’s office and asked to buy one. Kamen personally delivered a Segway to the White House. Cheney, in his suit and tie, jumped on and started riding it around the White House driveway, with a panicked Kamen running alongside him.

Bush saw them through the Oval Office window and came outside to watch, recalls Kamen, who has photos to prove it. This doubtlessly is when Bush first saw the potential of falling off one.

Cheney might have planned all along to fall off his in front of the cameras. In fact, being the vice president, and thus more expendable, he could’ve tried something more dramatic, like running into a wall at the Segway’s top speed of 12.5 miles per hour. That would’ve made the Segway look super dangerous, considering all the teeth Cheney would’ve lost.”

Yes, President’s love to fall down in public because it makes them look like such leaders. Furthermore, I suppose Bush was too busy cackling evilly and plotting this out to think about all the positive publicity that would result from having him, his father, & mother all tooling around on Segways for the cameras. Of course, if Bush really wanted to hurt Segway, I’m sure he could easily have some snuck some anti-Segway legislation into the bowels of some bloated bill….

Wait a second, why am I even bothering to refute Maney’s editorial? Maney might just as well have said, “aliens used an anti-grav beam to destabilize the Segway and cause Bush to fall” because there’s just as much evidence to support that crackpot idea as the one he came up with.

But heck, what can you even say about someone who thinks the President would deliberately fall off a Segway as part of some plot to help big oil? I mean once you’re that far gone, you’re an official member of the tinfoil hat who’s only a few days without your Thorazine away from believing that the Earth is run by Lizard people.

In any case, the really scary part isn’t that Maney wrote this ridiculous piece, but that USA Today actually published it. So presumably, nothing in this column even raised any red flags with whoever was reviewing Maney’s ravings…if there was any review of his work at all. It’s too bad that USA Today didn’t act responsibly and kill this daft conspiracy theory before they embarassed themselves by going public with it.

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