It’s that time of year again, the day where newspapers around the world publish ridiculous and outrageous stories in honour of April Fools Day. I’m not all that sure how I feel about news media publishing made-up stories but I suppose, considering some of the articles published by SA’s mainstream newspapers, it’s not all that different to what they always do.
Anyhow, in the interests of not being a curmudgeonly old whiner, here are some of the better April Fools articles that I’ve seen today.
The UK papers are particularly good on this day. My favourite is the Guardian’s declaration that thanks to William and Kate it is now firmly monarchist:
Let’s face it: the current crop of world leaders is far from inspiring. Across the Arab world, dictators battle their own people; at home, attitudes towards Cameron and Clegg alternate between apathy and outrage. In America, the hope that greeted Barack Obama has long since faded. As The King’s Speech so vividly reminded us, there are times when only the calming leadership of a hereditary monarch will do.
But Prince William has shown that he can be a new kind of king. That is why, in a significant change of course, we today pledge our full-throated support for the British monarchy.
In particular this stood out:
We will be recalling correspondents from some less newsworthy parts of the globe, such as north Africa and south-east Asia, so they can focus on palace matters instead. And we will shortly be making available to readers a range of attractive commemorative crockery.
Not to be outdone the Independent had a story about Portugal selling Ronaldo to Spain in a unique national debt deal:
Weighed down by debt, and reeling from the latest downgrading of their country’s credit status, Portugal’s finance ministry has secured the co-operation of football’s highest-paid player in an audacious bid to draw the nation back from the brink of economic collapse. In a move which some observers claimed “will lead to the destruction of the World Cup”, Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to “act like a patriot” and be sold to neighbouring Spain for €160m.
And another: According to the Telegraph a leaked Labour Party memo outlined plans for street parties in honour of Ed Miliband’s wedding to Justine Thornton. The apparent internal memo said that approved Miliband tea towel manufacturers had been appointed and suggested that May 27 be celebrated with “bunting and trifle”. Finally, however, the report ended with this:
A spokesman for Mr Miliband refused to comment on the street party email, but added: “Actually, Ed isn’t that partial to trifle, though he is very fond of a gooseberry fool.”
Here in SA The Daily Maverick took the recent Avusa buyout offers a step further. The online upstart ran with a story saying that it had put in a R12 billion offer for Avusa, the “publisher of everything not owned by Naspers”:
The Daily Maverick today announced a R12 billion hostile takeover bid for media company Avusa, publisher of titles such as the Sunday Times, saying it plans to take full control of the company before the end of May. In terms of the deal, shareholders will be offered R80 per share, a 210% premium over the now-doomed bid from a group involving Capitau, RMB and Mvelaphanda, if they submit a binding undertaking to sell before noon today.
On the tech front TechCentral reported that government planned on banning cellphone ownership by pregnant women and children under 16:
The department cites international research that purports to show there is a link between cellphone radiation and a range of health problems, including leukemia and lymphoma, especially in children. It cites research that says radiation from cellphones can also cause Alzheimer’s disease and has been linked to autism.
The seriousness of the issue clearly had some readers convinced and outraged: Greg wrote: “This is just stupid. Trying to take cellphones out the hands of those who need them most in emergencies. It’s beyond irresponsible and short-sighted, it’s downright dangerous.” Shortly after Greg wrote this: “D’oh you got me, just realised it’s April 1.”
And finally, the Australian ZDNet introduced the wonderfully named Mike Rotch, a hapless actor who was injured by a passing women after demonstrating in-pocket texting using the new screenless Blackberry:
[Rotch was] demonstrating “in-pocket texting” in a city street was severely injured by a female passerby, who clearly got the wrong idea. Eye-witnesses said the actor seemed to be trying to remove the Dauntless from his front pocket to show the woman what he was doing, when she began to beat him about the face with her handbag. He’s now recovering in hospital but managed to text this message to reporters: “Nitgerfycjunbg Bkacjberrt wabjers!”
Which were your favourite media April Fools Jokes? Tell me in the comments.