According to this editorial,
April 1, 2002 9:24 AM   Subscribe

According to this editorial, April Fools hoaxes violate a fundamental trust between readers and the media and undermine the mission they're supposed to serve. Though opinion polls have never put "The Media" high on anyone's list of favorite organizations, I probably have to disagree in that April Fools hoaxes actually do more to help the media by revealing their sense of humor and giving them a touch of the everyman.
posted by tiny pea (30 comments total)
I have to agree with the editorialist. The April Fool joke is by its very nature witless on the level of pulling a chair out from beneath a man before he sits down in it. It is especially grueling when carried out by an ordinarily dependable media outlet. This morning, in the shower, I heard the weatherman on the radio announce an oncoming winter storm with an anticipated eight inches of snow and 60 mph winds (not at all unlikely at this time of year in this part of the country). Just as I was thinking "Oh crap," the announcer cheerily said "April Fool! I gotcha!" And the point was...? I guess at hospitals all over America today, doctors will be telling patients: "I'm sorry to tell you, your test came back positive. You have cancer --- April Fool!"
posted by Faze at 9:37 AM on April 1, 2002

Adequacy is the best site on the internet!
posted by Potsy at 9:55 AM on April 1, 2002

I dont know about anyone else, but after looking at the Posts on metafilter today, I am staying away from all news sources, especially online news sources today.

Its a bit Orwellian.
posted by vacapinta at 10:16 AM on April 1, 2002

What a whiny article... I have to agree with Tiny Pea... April Fool's jokes are usually even better when comitted by the media...

Unless your local media outlets are a joke anyway...

As an example: I don't feel in anyway betrayed by the Met4filter switch. I will continue to come here everyday to see what's up. Once I figured out the joke (or indeed that it was a joke and not just another one of my favorite sites, re-theming with no warning), I thought it was actually kind of clever...

So quit yer whining and think twice before you believe anything (especially what you see in the media)... Good advice for everyday, not just April 1st...
posted by davros42 at 10:29 AM on April 1, 2002

Silly Rabbit, that's an April Fool's Day editorial.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:33 AM on April 1, 2002

I just can't get over my sense of shock and surprise at yet another link from tiny pea.
posted by jjg at 10:38 AM on April 1, 2002

The problem with April Fool's jokes by the media is that they create not an environment of healthy skepticism which is (or at least should be) the usual condition and elevates it to outright mistrust of the media. There is absolutely no arguing that is a good thing.
posted by shagoth at 11:08 AM on April 1, 2002

Every year the CBC runs an April Fool story, and every year they generate hundreds of phone calls that either: complaining about the content of the phony story, or congratulate them on a great joke. Overall I think people appreciate the chance for a lighthearted approach to news combined with a good prank. To me, Shagoth that's a good argument for the tradition.
posted by holycola at 11:25 AM on April 1, 2002

My problem with April Fool's jokes by the media is that everything is so screwed up lately, half of everything you read in the news seems like it's a bad joke someone is playing on you. And since we know the Pentagon is spreading false information via its press releases sent to major media outlets, even the real news can sometimes be faked. Jokes seem fine, trying to find the fine line between funny and mean can be tough.
posted by jessamyn at 11:28 AM on April 1, 2002

I really can't tell if Coke is really thinking about selling vanilla Coke or if msnbc is playing a joke...
posted by gyc at 11:31 AM on April 1, 2002

exactly what I am talking about
posted by jessamyn at 11:35 AM on April 1, 2002

The vanilla Coke thing is real. The Wall Street Journal doesn't fuck around.

Coca-Cola Considers Launching
Vanilla-Flavored Version of Coke


ATLANTA -- Coca-Cola Co. is considering launching a vanilla-flavored version of its flagship Coca-Cola brand within the next couple of months, seeking to reverse a slump in its soft-drink sales.

Both the Atlanta beverage giant and rival PepsiCo Inc. have managed to boost soft-drink sales in recent months by launching flavored versions of their biggest soft drinks. They are finding some success at the same time that their core brands are struggling.

Coca-Cola Classic volume declined 2% in 2001.

News that a new vanilla version of Coca-Cola could be launched soon was reported by Beverage Digest, an industry publication. Plans haven't been formalized, but the publication said a launch is 90% likely, quoting a Coke bottler.

A Coca-Cola spokesman declined to comment.

The company also has a cherry-flavored version of Coke, which it is planning to relaunch over the next few months.

Coca-Cola's shares closed at $52.26 on Thursday, down three cents on the day. U.S. markets were closed Friday for a holiday.

Last year, new soft drinks helped Pepsi gain market share, while Coca-Cola's sales slipped. For Pepsi, a new lemon-lime soda, a lemon-flavored version of Pepsi-Cola and a cherry-flavored version of Mountain Dew helped the company grab a 31.6% share of the $61.7 billion industry, according to data released by Beverage Digest/Maxwell, an industry newsletter and data service whose annual rankings of the industry are closely watched. Pepsi's share rose 0.2 percentage point, and unit-case volume rose 1.3%. Unit-case volume is a measure of financial health and growth in the soft-drink industry.

Coke's market share slipped 0.4 percentage point, but the Atlanta beverage company still retained its U.S. market lead, with a 43.7% share. It was the third year in a row that Coke's market share has either dropped or been flat, down from a 44.5% share in 1998. Unit-case volume slipped 0.2%. Coke was also helped by new products, after introducing Diet Coke with Lemon late last year.

For the industry overall, volume rose 0.6%. The modest growth was an improvement compared with the two previous years, but it was well below the industry's annual growth of 2%-3% in the 1990s. Per-capita consumption of soft drinks fell to 55.4 gallons in 2001, from 55.7 gallons in 2000, according to Beverage Marketing Corp., a beverage research and consulting firm that also released annual results.

Updated April 1, 2002 6:14 a.m. EST
posted by luser at 11:46 AM on April 1, 2002

I *heart* vanilla Coke.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:53 AM on April 1, 2002

This piece totally misses the point. The betrayal of trust isn't in a joke, it's in a poorly executed joke. People enjoy April Fool's jokes, and generally react positively to them. They only become a problem when the reader can't confirm their suspicions that they're jokes. There simply needs to be some way (either by the joke being so over the top it couldn't be real, or by some subtle-but-perceptible wink from the publication) for the reader to assure him- or herself he "gets it".
posted by mattpfeff at 12:06 PM on April 1, 2002

Its a bit Orwellian.

Or, Wellesian.
posted by groundhog at 12:14 PM on April 1, 2002

Did you hear that Elton John has been asked to write a song as a tribute to the Queen Mother?

It's called 'Old Boiler In The Wind'
posted by wackybrit at 12:24 PM on April 1, 2002

Shameful, to think someone might have to go a day or two not knowing if Coke was really going to make a vanilla soda or if it was just a joke. Clearly, the media has utterly failed in its responsibility to keep us informed about the crucial cola wars.
posted by straight at 12:25 PM on April 1, 2002

Even the WSJ isn't definitive on the subject of Niller Coke, saying that the company is "considering" it. Part of that consideration probably involves leaking the idea to the press to see how the public reacts. Kind of reminds me of the way a company I once worked for developed software: first, announce the product and see how many preorders you get... if you get enough, begin development.
posted by kindall at 12:33 PM on April 1, 2002

the only way media/consumer AFD jokes could be considered a violation of trust is if one of the parties was so self-deluded as to beleive it was functioning as a vital element in a two way relationship. now there's a joke.
posted by quonsar at 1:30 PM on April 1, 2002

Ah, vanilla coke. Reminds me of all the flavored fountain Cokes that were hot when I was in high school--lemon, cherry, chocolate, vanilla, and so on--and those were the days when they mixed syrup and carbonated water, and if the, ahem, sodajerk liked you, he'd pour you a stiff one, syrup to soda speaking...

As for can you trust anyone who puts a Mission Statement in their menu bar? Yeesh.
posted by y2karl at 1:55 PM on April 1, 2002


Vanilla coke is just weird. It smells more vanilla-y than it tastes, and the taste is like weak cream soda.

posted by sammy at 2:17 PM on April 1, 2002

In Atlanta where the heart and soul of Coke is located, our local paper ( sounded pretty darn sure that Coke is launching Vanilla Coke to combat Pepsi's competeiveness.
posted by jmd82 at 2:33 PM on April 1, 2002

(Tiny pea's total threads posted (6) now outweighs his total comments (5)--and 5 of the threads are adequacy links. Tiny pea, what's the deal?) (I can't believe I'm addressing someone as "tiny pea." The web is weird.)
posted by rodii at 7:23 PM on April 1, 2002

Metafilter: Hey Tiny Pea, What's The Deal?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:25 PM on April 1, 2002

how apropos
posted by Dean King at 11:17 PM on April 1, 2002

rodii and miguel, isn't browsing metafilter for the discussion like reading Playboy for the articles?
posted by tiny pea at 11:44 PM on April 1, 2002

Tycho, of Penny Arcade sums it up well;

"I hate April Fool's Day. People dick around with me every ten minutes on average, there's no Goddamn shortage of it that needs to be rectified via a holiday explicitly for shitheads. Human beings are fundamentally monstrous, duplicitous skullfuckers, and setting aside time to encourage the fact strikes me as poor strategy."

When you feel that most of your life is spent dealing with or working around dickheads, you really don't look forward to a day that encourages them to crawl out from under their rocks.

Also, pranks are a very culturally specific thing. Since I have an English background and I live in Australia, I find the majority of local pranks to be shallow, immature and pointless, while most people find my pranks to be psychotic. On-line, you're guaranteed to annoy at least 100 times more people than find it funny. At least.
posted by krisjohn at 11:45 PM on April 1, 2002

huh. 27 comments and no one's come out and said the S-word. well, here it is then... is satire. cheers.
posted by zerolucid at 12:45 AM on April 2, 2002

rodii and miguel, isn't browsing metafilter for the discussion like reading Playboy for the articles?

Um, I do it... (the first one, not the second)

Seriously, the discussions here are usually pretty lively and intelligent, and I get a kick out of reading them, if a good one spawns.

But the Playboy comparison... that's saying the discussion is just filler between each page of boobies. You're thinking of Fark.
posted by nath at 3:19 AM on April 2, 2002

rodii and miguel, isn't browsing metafilter for the discussion like reading Playboy for the articles?

Are you a shill or do you just have a very limited range of reading?
posted by rodii at 5:33 PM on April 2, 2002

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