'I have come amongst you, oh my readers,' said the Ghost of News Past, emerging from the headquarters of News International onto Wapping High Street and rattling its notebook and long-lens camera at onlookers in a most fearsome way, 'to fill you with shame and remorse for wasting your lives on all the inconsequential tripe we slopped out in 2022.'
'Looking back on it, why did you ever give a damn about the Wagatha trial? How empty are your days that you paid even the slightest attention to two footballers’ wives squabbling over the sum total of sod-all, and treating Britain's High Court like it was the public bar of a Merseyside pub?
'And why in the name of arse,' continued the spectre, 'did you ever think it mattered that Paul Someone and Holly Off-the-Telly jumped the queue to see the Queen’s coffin?
'Other things that you wasted your time and mental faculties on in 2022 include: Matt Hancock being a self-promoting twit in the jungle; the sordid, mangled saga of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard; Kate Bush and a song she sang 40 years ago; and watching Harry and Meghan reheating stale quarrels and hollow allegations for six hours solid on Netflix.
'That's six hours you will never get back,' added the phantom. 'You know that, don't you?'
'And you still haven’t learnt your lesson,' bellowed the Ghost of News Present, appearing alongside his fellow wraith, 'because you all continue to slavishly consume whatever toxic slime we serve up, day after day, about the idiot contestants on Love Island and I’m a Celebrity, along with creepy, paparazzi shots of a bikini-clad Gwynneth Paltrow on a winter holiday in Barbados.'
'I give you mortals fair warning,' wailed the Ghost of News Future, barging its way through the two other apparitions. 'To avoid turning your minds irreversibly to mush, you must ignore the stream of spurious non-stories we're planning to pump into the world in the days and weeks ahead - to be specific, anything about Cristiano Ronaldo, Megan Thee Stallion, cryptocurrencies or the Oxford English Dictionary making ‘goblin-mode’ its word of the year.'