Today is April 1, the day when people who have nothing better to do resort to playing pranks on others. Not only are these juvenile and annoying, The Guardian reports on a prank by Google that badly backfired and caused unwitting people plenty of trouble.
Already today I have quickly skipped over many ‘news’ stories as soon as I realized that they were ‘jokes’. It has come to a point that I view with suspicion any news item on this day that seems even slightly odd, even this one that says that the Republican party is considering Carly Fiorina to replace Reince Priebus as party chair in January 2017 if the Democratic candidate should win the presidential election in November. I was even suspicious of the above Guardian story about the Google prank backfiring, wondering whether it was some kind of double bluff but it seems real. The Washington Post is keeping a list of all the fake stories it can find.
I cannot understand even supposedly serious media outlets like NPR, whose very existence depends upon being seen as credible, indulging in this nonsense that undermines credibility, as they have done in the past, though I haven’t checked in recent years. I just don’t see the sense in going to elaborate lengths to make their audience look ridiculous.
Having ranted against these jokes, I must admit to a grudging admiration for one by the BBC in 2008 that was beautifully done and was not intended to make people look ridiculous.
Here is how they produced the clip.
Here’s footage of penguins really flying.