Lisa prepares to read a poetic tribute to Geezer Rock, a rock formation outside Springfield resembling an old man in a mountain, in honor of its anniversary. When Homer attempts to remove a tree in one of Geezer Rock's "eyes", he causes it to collapse, interrupting Lisa's performance. Lisa finds an outlet for her poem through her homemade newspaper The Red Dress Press
In the meantime, the rocks collapsing overcome and seemingly kill Mr. Burns. He survives and is appalled to find that the Springfield populace shows more sadness over Geezer Rock's destruction than his apparent death. Mr. Burns then buys every media outlet in Springfield-including the skywriters-and begins seeding the media with pro-Burns and pro-nuclear power propaganda. Angered by Burns' overtaking, Lisa organizes a news crew to manage The Red Dress Press
and encourages the populace to think against the overflow of Burns propaganda. Naturally, Burns declares war in various ways (having goons attack their car, cutting off the power to the Simpsons house, and ruining Lisa's reputation). Touched by his daughter's determination, Homer composes an article in his own homemade paper The Homer Times
praising Lisa for her effort. Various Springfield residents print their own newspapers to get their own voices out there, encouraged by Lisa's actions. Mr. Burns stops his media takeover, but rather than admit defeat, he and his Ambiguously Gay
assistant, Smithers, go on a shopping spree.
This episode contains examples of:
- All Girls Like Ponies: Mr. Burns offers three ponies to Lisa as a bribe. She reluctantly refuses.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: Everyone for Burns' supposed death.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Burns admits at the end that nobody but Rupert Murdoch can own all media and he and Smithers praise him while looking directly at the audience.
- Bowdlerization: In the UK, the following scenes are cut:
- The Squeaky-Voiced Teen throwing himself off a cliff over Futurama's cancellation (and landing in a car with two teenagers making out in it).
- Mr. Burns' suckling on a mother mole's teat during his escape from being crushed by the rocks.
- Groundskeeper Willie's line about the new tractors being "shite" (the UK way of spelling "shit"; the "i" sound in this version is long, like in the words "line" and "mite") was cut down to "I've reviewed the new tractors." In America, the last word is bleeped out in reruns.
- Captain Obvious: During Principal Skinner's flashback about his mimeograph, there was an ad about a chair for sale stating it was "good for sitting".
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In promoting his newspaper, Willie notes that the new tractors are all "shite." It got past the first time around (see Bowdlerization above)
- Harsher in Hindsight: Zigzagged with The Squeaky-Voiced Teen killing himself over Futurama's cancellation. At the time, FOX canceled the show, making the suicide legitimate. Then, when Cartoon Network began airing reruns and Comedy Central announced that it would air new episodes, the suicide was seen as pointless. Now that Futurama is once again canceled (and looks as if it's never coming back), the suicide is once again legitimate.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Mr. Burns has Homer drugged so he may dish on Lisa, Homer mentions Milhouse having a thing for her and then laughs because it's funny when "...nerds don't know when they're nerds". Burns also laughs, saying that self-delusion is the most pathetic thing. He then passes a mirror, seeing himself as a younger and more fit self, and chuckles "Hello, Beefcake Charlie".
- I Pulled a "Weird Al": When Professor Frink expresses shock at Mr. Burns being alive, Burns merely chuckles and notes that he "pulled a Jesus".
- Never My Fault: Burns as usual
Smithers: Your goons did run her off the road, sir.
Mr. Burns: I can't be held responsible for what my goons were ordered to do!
- No One Could Survive That: Normally rocks coming down on a person like that would greatly injure or kill them. Burns, however, manages to survive because his "svelte physique" allowed him to crawl through air pockets.
- Noodle Incident: Invoked when Homer panics that tourists losing interest in Geezer Rock would mean no one buying his roadside corn. Marge tells him that he doesn't sell roadside corn. Homer flatly responds "There's a lot you don't know about me, Marge. A lot that would shock you."
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Getting run off the road into a "rattlesnake sanctuary" isn't a pleasant experience.
- Rule of Three: The goons that run Lisa and company off the road come in three: a black car ramming them, a helicopter swaying them with its landing skids, and a helmeted goon on a Segway that knocks them into a "rattlesnake sanctuary".