Many people have now seen the April Fool’s Day You Tube video of Mitt Romney getting pranked on Sunday. The video shows Romney being introduced to an empty room amidst the a good-natured laughter of his staffers. The Museum of Hoaxes describes April 1st as “a day that will live in absurdity. April Fools' Day is an opportunity for misfits, pranksters and even the media to pull some legs and cause brows to furrow.”
Throughout the years, the media has been responsible for publishing April Fool’s Day hoaxes that were widely believed by their readers. Though Patch has been steadfastly truthful in its reporting this April Fool’s Day, here are some rather infamous media tricks that created quite a stir when they were published:
On April 1, 1957, the BBC decided to pull a prank on its audience by airing a story on the fragile Swiss spaghetti crop, showing footage of peasants plucking strands of pasta from trees. In the report, viewers were advised on how to grow their own spaghetti garden.
In 1998, Burger King ran an ad in USA Today saying people could get a Whopper specially created for left-handed people . Its condiments, the ad claimed, were designed to drip out of the right side. According to sources, not only did customers order the new burgers, but some burger-eaters were careful to request the "old" right-handed version.
Pi gets rewritten
In 2008, an executive with the Microsoft Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments posted on his personal blog an updated value for pi. The hoax claimed that Microsoft Research had determined the true-up value of pi to be a definitive 3.141999, or as expressed in company literature, "Three easy payments of 1.047333".
Ten years earlier in 1998, a researcher published an article suggesting that Alabama's state legislature had rounded the value of pi to the "Biblical value of 3".
It's not just corporations that can jump on the bandwagon of hoaxes ― in 1992, National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" program announced Richard Nixon, who in 1974 became the only U.S. president to resign from office, was running for president again. According to NPR, Nixon's new campaign slogan was, "I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again." NPR even ginned up audio clips of Nixon's candidacy speech, causing much angst from listeners. NPR gave up the joke after a few minutes.
Thomas Edison's Magic Machine
Edison was a genius, that's for sure. After he invented the phonograph in 1877, there seemed to be nothing stopping him from saving the whole world. And that's exactly what the New York Graphic claimed on April 1, 1878, when it announced Edison had invented a machine that could convert soil directly into cereal, and water into wine.
According to Alex Boese, creator of the Museum of Hoaxes online, "April Fools' is the one day that's basically reserved for misfits, rebels, nonconformists — and the powerless, like children. It's the one day of the year they get to have their fun."
Happy April Fool’s Day 2012!