All The News That's Fit To … Oh No, Not Again!

Fun, Irksome, Language, Technology

Kids I've flown from one end of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff.

But I've never seen anything like this morning's New York Times:

Where a lead story includes references to, well, you'll have to read it yourself but it does include the phrase "Two turds and a golfball," surely a first for The Times.

Yes, it's April Fool's Day, and yes, once again, the New York Times proves that layers of fact-checkers and editors cannot save a dying newspaper industry from its own gullibility. From the need to find the story that fits the narrative, no matter how ludicrous it may be.

During the cultural revolution, figures to be humiliated were made to wear a giant dunce cap of shame. Today, they are given a position at the New York Times.

Never mind that  the man who is the subject of the story does not exist.

Never mind that the story includes giveaways like "over 9,000" and "does not forgive, does not forget."

The story was too good to check. So the Times, which once ran all the news that was fit to print, ran with all the news that fit the Times' preconceptions.  And the result is another humiliation for the Gray Lady of American journalism.  On April Fool's Day, no less.

Unfortunately, today being, as everyone outside the 42nd Street cocoon knows, April Fool's Day and all, the Times has hidden its shame behind a paywall.  I won't link directly to the Times because I'm sure most of our readers haven't paid the toll. But Dr. Westby Fisher has more. Much more.

And screenshots on the way.

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

43 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Scott Jacobs  •  Apr 1, 2011 @6:26 am

    Since it's them getting pranked, wouldn't it be possible to cut and paste the entire article for all to read and use the defense of "self-parody"?

  2. Turk  •  Apr 1, 2011 @6:29 am

    Since it’s them getting pranked, wouldn’t it be possible to cut and paste the entire article for all to read and use the defense of “self-parody”?

    An IP fight with the NYT? Blech.

  3. Scott Jacobs  •  Apr 1, 2011 @6:38 am

    Would the fact that they apparently have no intelligence be a defense?

  4. jb  •  Apr 1, 2011 @6:39 am

    Lemon Gloria links to Randazza, who links to Eric Turkewitz, who links to Simple Justice, who links to Patterico, who links to Ted Frank, who links right back here, and none of them have any details or even a link to the paywalled article.

    Prank publicizing fail.

  5. VR  •  Apr 1, 2011 @6:42 am

    Or is the prank on us, that we just followed a bunch of links in a circle? I just went to NYtimes.com, and there was no obvious joke article.

  6. Scott Jacobs  •  Apr 1, 2011 @6:45 am

    "Lemon Gloria links to Randazza, who links to Eric Turkewitz, who links to Simple Justice, who links to Patterico, who links to Ted Frank, who links right back here, and none of them have any details or even a link to the paywalled article."

    *blinks*

    Mother fucker…

    No, not prank fail… READER fail.

    Fuck all y'all.

  7. Andrew  •  Apr 1, 2011 @6:51 am

    Brilliant. I haven't been pranked that well in ages.

  8. jb  •  Apr 1, 2011 @7:26 am

    Seriously? Well done, y'all.

  9. Paws  •  Apr 1, 2011 @7:40 am

    I ended up going all the way around the ring before I finally caught on. ::hangs head in shame:: Kudos to all involved!

  10. David  •  Apr 1, 2011 @7:43 am

    You magnificent bastards.

  11. DevilDan  •  Apr 1, 2011 @8:54 am

    I caught on about three sites in. Excellent. It might even be said to be a conviction of our click-happy browsing habits.

  12. devildan  •  Apr 1, 2011 @8:55 am

    It could have been more convincing if the other bloggers had put as much effort into the writing as Popehat did.

  13. Al  •  Apr 1, 2011 @9:29 am

    A brilliant joke and an actual use for a webring? Nice.

  14. Jeff  •  Apr 1, 2011 @9:31 am

    I know a bunch of the comments have already said "well done", but I would go even further than that and say this is one of the most original April fool's day pranks I have seen in a while, and this is certainly the most ingenious blog joke I have seen. If there was such a thing as a history of blogging, this prank should go down in the history books. As it should, because never again will this form of prank be as funny as it was today. Well done, everyone. Well done indeed. My only question is, whose idea was this? Will we ever find out?

  15. Don  •  Apr 1, 2011 @9:38 am

    I salute you.

  16. Turk  •  Apr 1, 2011 @10:00 am

    It could have been more convincing if the other bloggers had put as much effort into the writing as Popehat did.

    Those other bloggers wouldn't know a joke if it hit them in the face.

  17. The Californian  •  Apr 1, 2011 @10:26 am

    This is very elegant: sniping at the NYT for believing what it wants to believe–as a prank on readers who want to believe the NYT got pranked.

  18. Dan Weber  •  Apr 1, 2011 @11:03 am

    The Californian: It also pokes fun at the way bloggers all reference each other as proof, even when there is no actual story.

  19. James  •  Apr 1, 2011 @11:18 am

    Well done, sir.

  20. jdub  •  Apr 1, 2011 @11:47 am

    OK. That was pretty good.

  21. E.Z.  •  Apr 1, 2011 @12:05 pm

    Well played.

  22. SPQR  •  Apr 1, 2011 @12:52 pm

    The Art of Trolling win.

  23. SG  •  Apr 1, 2011 @1:18 pm

    I began to suspect something at about the fifth or sixth redirect… That is to say just before the end. I guess I'm gullible too.

    Still. You, Sir, have just ruined my dreams of seeing a screencap of the Times with a "IT'S OVER 9,000" headline. Expect a suit for emotional damage.

  24. Daniel  •  Apr 1, 2011 @1:53 pm

    Of course, the real April Fools' joke is that someone somewhere will link to these blog posts, assume that they're real, and try to cite them as actual evidence that the mainstream media is factually challenged and can't be trusted. Because, you know it will come up in Google searches forever, and reading things in context is for effete intellectual snobs, not "real Americans".

  25. Gino  •  Apr 1, 2011 @2:44 pm

    I was at the fourth link when I got it. Good one!

  26. Chris Berez  •  Apr 1, 2011 @3:34 pm

    Oh you assholes!

    God I fell for that hard.

    Well done.

  27. Mad Rocket Scientist  •  Apr 1, 2011 @4:41 pm

    Very Well Played! :-)

  28. Base of the Pillar  •  Apr 1, 2011 @5:46 pm

    After the 3rd go round, I started to suspect something was amiss. By the 19th, I positively knew it. So, no, you didn't get me.

    Magnificent bastards.

  29. Justin  •  Apr 1, 2011 @8:01 pm

    Excellent job; a prank concerning a prank. And you knew your readers would jump on a "NYT Punked" story like white on rice. If you're going to be a skilled fisherman, you got to have good bait I suppose.

  30. Mike 2  •  Apr 1, 2011 @10:44 pm

    Very well played

  31. jared  •  Apr 1, 2011 @11:09 pm

    If you look closely at one of the blogs in the loop, you'll find a link to the actual story behind the Times' paywall. You just have to want it bad enough.

  32. Turk  •  Apr 2, 2011 @6:55 am

    If you look closely at one of the blogs in the loop, you’ll find a link to the actual story behind the Times’ paywall.

    yeah, I saw that.

  33. bw  •  Apr 2, 2011 @2:51 pm

    There was one flaw. Of the several blogs I visit each day, at least one a day links to a NYT article. Thus my first thought was "WHAT paywall? I just reached a NYT article an hour ago."

  34. Mike De Lucia  •  Apr 2, 2011 @3:50 pm

    By tradition, aren't April Fools jokes supposed to be revealed sometime on April 1st? If I'd seen this yesterday I'd have greeted it with healthy skepticism. By today, it's less funny.

  35. Patrick  •  Apr 2, 2011 @4:46 pm

    Read the date on the post, Mycroft.

  36. David  •  Apr 3, 2011 @4:40 pm

    @Patrick I think M De L is referring not to mounting the joke, but to owning up before pumpkin hour brings on the 2nd.

  37. Turk  •  Apr 3, 2011 @6:06 pm

    I think M De L is referring not to mounting the joke, but to owning up before pumpkin hour brings on the 2nd.

    1. Why would someone work on a prank just to give it up before it ran its course?

    2. If someone did the reveal on April Fool's Day, why would anyone believe it?

    Which gives me an idea….

  38. Aufero  •  Apr 3, 2011 @6:50 pm

    I finally figured it out five links in. Best prank this year.

  39. David  •  Apr 3, 2011 @7:07 pm

    Here's the postmortem.

  40. Contracts  •  Apr 3, 2011 @10:25 pm

    Nicely done. Very nicely done.

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