| "Fraudcast News"
| Episode Information
"Fraudcast News" is the twenty-second and final episode of season 15 of The Simpsons and the three-hundred and thirty-fifth episode overall. It originally aired on May 23, 2004. The episode was written by Don Payne and directed by Bob Anderson.
- "After Mr. Burns is erroneously reported as dead, the Springfield newspapers write scathing articles about him. In order to put an end to his negative public image, he buys all the media outlets in an effort to brainwash the citizens of Springfield. Lisa Simpson decides to start her own paper, "The Red Dress Press", and writes an article about Mr. Burns' manipulation. Furious, Mr. Burns attempts to squash Lisa's paper but she refuses to go quietly."
Springfield holds a ceremony dedicating their newest national park, Geezer Rock, a rock formation which resembles a face in profile. As Lisa prepares to read a poem there,
- Postcard image, thing to see.
- To think of Springfield is to think of thee.
- What thoughts be-pass a'hind thy mean?
- Why sky art blue? Why trees art green?
- And what, pray tell, did thine eyes see?
- Perchance, old friend, they gazed at me.
- Brought low by nature's oafish hand,
- thy crush-ed our reviewing stand.
- And twixt thy stones glimpsed I the truth.
- All things must pass. Thy face, my youth.
Homer notices that there is a small tree growing in the eye of the rock, and pulls it out, believing he is doing the right thing. Unfortunately, this causes Geezer Rock to fall apart, and everyone runs for their lives—except for Mr. Burns, who winds up in a landslide. Smithers fears he has lost Mr. Burns.
Lisa is saddened that no one ever heard her poem, and she publishes it on Marge's suggestion. Meanwhile, it turns out that, Burns survived the horrible landslide—through slithering his way out—but nobody except Smithers has missed him. To improve his image, he decides to acquire every media outlet in Springfield.
Lisa distributes the very first issue of her newspaper, The Red Dress Press, which is well-received. She enlists the help of Bart, Milhouse, and Nelson, among others, to publish her newspaper's second issue.
Burns acquires all media outlets in Springfield except Lisa's newspaper. His views are even promoted on Itchy & Scratchy (which he now writes and directs, and it is terrible). Burns tries to bait Lisa with ponies in an attempt to acquire her newspaper, but she will not give up. Lisa is saddened that all the others left her, but is relieved when Bart decides to stay and help Lisa publish more issues. However, Burns gets back at Lisa by cutting off the Simpsons' power. Lisa writes her next issue through an old mimeograph Skinner used in Vietnam.
Burns finally wins the war by having a talk with Homer (and even drugging him) so he can dish some dirt on Lisa. The following day's Springfield Shopper boasts the headline, "LISA'S A TOTAL WACKO, IMPLIES FATHER", and goes further by humiliating Milhouse's crush upon her (the headline claims, "LISA LOVES MILHOUSE"). Lisa writes her final "I Give Up" edition and shuts down the Red Dress Press, but Homer responds by creating his own newspaper, The Homer Times, and other people also create their own newspapers to help her, showing Lisa that the little guy isn't powerless against the media.
Burns gets upset that, while he succeeds in defeating Lisa and her journal, people will not stop criticizing him. As a result, he is forced to acknowledge that no one besides Rupert Murdoch can truly control the whole media. But rather than conceding defeat (in which he hates), he goes out on a shopping spree with Smithers to cheer himself up.
"Fraudcast News" was nominated for a 2005 Writers Guild of America award in Animation, but it lost to "Catch 'Em If You Can".
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