April Fool Roundup
Is the practice of hiding a false story on the front page of a national newspaper on April Fool’s Day purely a British thing or does everyone do it? The august New York Times doesn’t appear to do it.
Over here it seems to go back to the ‘Panorama’ programme’s infamous ‘spaghetti tree’ report. This was a short hoax broadcast on April Fools’ Day 1957 by Richard Dimbleby, a man not previously known for his sense of humour. It told of a family in Switzerland harvesting spaghetti from trees, and was broadcast at a time when pasta was not widely eaten in the UK.
Today’s media has an array of silly stories tucked in among the very real events occurring around the world. The Independent reports that an entire troupe of 300 performing fleas had fallen victim to the freezing weather gripping Germany. Naturally the poor old BBC picked up the story.
The Guardian said they had developed Augmented Reality Goggles to beam new articles into their readers’ vision. The Daily Mail kicks off its page with footage of a woman using a mobile phone – in 1938. The Telegraph’s front page proved impossible as everything on it felt like a hoax.
Some stories merely sounded like April Fool’s Day jokes; The Tottenham to Monte Carlo car rally is going ahead (I checked – it has a real website), and Nasa has apparently announced it was planning a $2.6 billion robotic mission to catch an asteroid in a giant bag and tow it to the Moon as part of a long-term programme that could one day lead to the permanent settlement of humans in space, but this was reported in other papers as true too.
So, was there a Daily Telegraph hoax?