Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

March 31, 2013

April 1 a day for fools

-- — Today is April 1, also known as April Fool’s Day. Its exact origin depends on which website you read, but it’s generally accepted that it has been around since the early 1700s.

Over the years, numerous pranks and practical jokes have been played on friends, family and neighbors, most harmless and funny. But there have been times when tremendous hoaxes have been perpetrated on an unsuspecting public by news organizations. The stories have been so outlandish that it is generally thought that no one would actually be duped by them. And yet they were. By the thousands.

A quick look on the Internet reveals some of the most entertaining and amusing of public hoaxes over the years, most of which will make you wonder how anyone could have believed them, but believe them they did!

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest was reported by the BBC in 1957. The report stated that due to a mild winter, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper crop of spaghetti, accompanied by a photo of women in the fields picking strands of spaghetti off of trees. Reportedly thousands called in, wanting to know how to grow the trees.

The Taco Bell Liberty Bell hoax started with a full page ad in a number of major newspapers announcing that the company bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Thousands protested to the government.

Nixon for President was announced on NPR’s Talk of the Nation in 1992. Thanks to technology and Rich Little’s impersonation of the former President, listeners were duped into believing that Richard Nixon had announced he was running again, under the campaign slogan, “I didn’t do anything wrong and I won’t do it again.” The show was flooded with calls before the hosts finally admitted to the hoax.

In 1976, BBC Radio (gotta love those Brits), conducted an interview with a British astronomer who announced that at exactly 9:47 a.m. that day, a unique planetary alignment would reduce the earth’s gravity momentarily. He told listeners that if they jumped in the air at the precise moment, they’d feel a floating sensation.

Soon after 9:47 a.m., the station soon began receiving calls from listeners who said they had experienced the sensation, with some claiming they had floated into the air.

You won’t find any hoaxes in today’s Times, as generally, stories that are true are far more frightening and bizarre than even journalists can imagine.

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What We Think
  • The real lessons of a mock drill

    Valdosta High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions held a powerful mock demonstration Monday morning on the school’s campus.

    April 14, 2014

  • Kudos to VPD

    Followed by a stellar report on Sunday about the drop in the crime rate in the City of Valdosta, city police officers prove their worth once again by arresting a dangerous fugitive in our community.

    April 13, 2014

  • It just plain stinks

    After every rain event, the pungent smell of sewage can be detected around the rivers and streams of south Georgia, and Florida residents brace for more to float their way.

    April 13, 2014

  • Pennsylvania school stabbings: Why?

    The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, April 10:

    April 11, 2014

  • European bans on emails unlikely in America

    Several European countries are banning work emails to employees before and after normal working hours, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., in an effort to curb the perceived abuse of employees by corporations.

    April 11, 2014

  • Strength of character

    It was an unusual friendship — a tiny 8-year old girl with long blonde hair and the 6’10” Michigan State basketball player.

    April 10, 2014

  • Daly’s return a boost for Valdosta

    Flashy, colorful and always a hit with the fans for his long drives and humble demeanor, John Daly’s return to Kinderlou Forest and the South Georgia Classic is a boon for Valdosta.

    April 9, 2014

  • Too many pinwheels

    April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, with numerous volunteers assisting the Child Advocacy Center in placing pinwheels on the lawn of the Valdosta City Hall. Each pinwheel represents one child that was a victim of abuse in 2013. Volunteers placed 887 pinwheels in remembrance.

    April 8, 2014

  • Take some kid time this week

    Spring break returns this week for many South Georgia schools. Both Valdosta and Lowndes County school systems are out through the week for the traditional spring break.

    April 6, 2014

  • Spring Into Art: Valdosta’s talent center

    Walking through the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts during Spring Into Art is always an amazing experience.
    Hundreds of paintings, drawings, photographs meet with sculpture and ceramics and other art forms to create a kaleidoscope of creativity. Spring Into Art is the most democratic of art shows because whatever is entered, as long as it meets the show’s criteria, is displayed.

    April 5, 2014

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