Mea Maxima Culpa
by David Twiddy
Dr. Vulpine took the lectern behind a screen of radio microphones as press cameras flashed and newsreel cameras whirred.
"After careful investigation, I must announce that the recent popularity of mandrakes rests on no scientific evidence. All claims to "terroir" and focusing of local mystic energies are false. In contradiction to the labeling, every type and grade of mandrakes, from "good" to "excellent" and even the recently introduced "elite" and "premium elite," is in fact grown on large industrial farms on the outer prairies. I have seen these farms with my own eyes. The entire mandrake industry is fraudulent."
His words shocked the country. Mandrake futures evaporated; thousands lost their life savings. The newspapers played catch-up, confirming Dr. Vulpine's accusations and receiving in turn his scorn for ignoring their journalistic responsibility in the first place. President Tulson ordered a belated investigation into the industry. Now-valueless mandrakes burned in the streets.