Patterico's Pontifications

12/28/2005

L.A. Times Falls for April Fool’s “Press Release”

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 9:15 am

The L.A. Times has this correction to a recent story about the Endangered Species Act:

Gray wolves — An article in Tuesday’s Section A about tensions over the federal effort to reintroduce wolves into parts of the West wrongly attributed to Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal a statement that Wyoming considered the Endangered Species Act no longer in force and “now considers the wolf as a federal dog.” The statement, which was circulated on the Internet, was purportedly from Freudenthal but was in fact a hoax.

The story is actually more amusing than this rather antiseptic correction indicates. McGehee has this link explaining the background. It turns out that the statements attributed to Wyoming’s governor were part of an April Fool’s joke. A Wyoming outfitter with no connection to the governor’s office sent a private e-mail to a few friends with the text of a phony “press release” from the state’s governor. You can read the “press release” here; it begins as follows (emphasis mine):

Wyoming is extremely disappointed in the ruling by the federal court that Wyoming has “no sovereignty over federally protected species.” Actually, we are not so much disappointed as we are mad as hell, and frankly that’s where the feds can go, and please take their fraudulently “endangered” species with them. Wyoming will not stand idly by and see our wildlife heritage be destroyed. Not on my watch!

The “press release” is dated April 1, 2005.

Its author has no idea how his private e-mail ended up getting quoted as “news.” As he wrote to the local paper, which had also been fooled: “In a related story to the Wyoming Governor’s Official Declaration, Hell froze over.”

So, if you see a banner headline in tomorrow’s L.A. Times declaring the freezing over of Hell, you’ll know where they got the story. After all, the story has been widely reported on the Internet, so it obviously meets the standards for publication in the Los Angeles Times.

28 Responses to “L.A. Times Falls for April Fool’s “Press Release””

  1. It’s just about time again for LA Times to run their ‘Yellowstone bears are in danger because they are no longer endangered’ story. The recovery of the bear population is great news we should all be proud of, but they report it as bad news because of the increase in bears getting killed threatening homes. Expect anecdotes of bears getting shot, while the vast majority of bears which lead happy successful bear lives doing bear things in peace get no mention.

    Mike W (c20d28)

  2. The explanation offered to the Casper Star-Tribune by the Times deputy metro editor David Lauter is even funnier:

    (He) called the error unfortunate. “We hate when this kind of thing happens, and we correct it as quickly as we can,” he said.

    “The reporter saw it on the Internet and had talked to the governor in the past, so she was familiar enough with the way he talks and writes that she thought it sounded authentic and she didn’t check, which she should have,” Lauter said.

    Er, approximately how many editors work on the freaking FRONT PAGE?

    Seafarious (b0bb4b)

  3. Also, a quick look at the Casper website shows they also offer Braille downloads of their stories. Perhaps the Times could look into this for their editorial staff…

    Seafarious (b0bb4b)

  4. Los Angeles Times Watch: Fake News Release Quote on Front Page

    The ASSociated Press has L.A. Times Prints Quote From Fake Release
    A quote in a fake news release that was intended as an April Fool’s joke ended up in a front-page story in the Los Angeles Times. The story in Tuesday’s editions of the …

    FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog (baa0b4)

  5. Any decent reporter (or anyone with any knowledge of American history) would have spotted the ruse when the fake press release mentioned nullifying a federal law. Shades of John Calhoun!

    Bradley (b10b6f)

  6. What do you expect from the MSM/Left/Democrats? If I recall correctly (and I think I do), just before the 2004 election, The Onion “reported” that the Republican party had spread the word in some mostly black areas in Fla. that the election was actually going to be held on Wednesday, rather than Tuesday, and the Kerry team fell for it, and issued some statement or another condemning it as yet another Republican attempt to “disenfranchise” black voters.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  7. Yet another Republican lie. We did not get that information from The Onion. It was an actual news story, reported, in fact, by a right of center news service. I believe the reporter’s name is Scott Ott.

    JFK

    John F. Kerry (6128b4)

  8. JFK

    You are kidding, right?

    This Scott Ott?

    http://www.scrappleface.com/

    dstanley (8b3ac3)

  9. I read on a blog that Patterico won the Nobel Prize in journalism. If the LA Times would run all their stories through him, this wouldn’t happen.

    Lew Clark (410296)

  10. Mike W. –

    I’m just relieved to hear that successful bears are carrying on with their bear lives. Of course we hear nothing of this from the MSM. I hereby nominate the bears to run the MSM, they would do a far better job.

    Laura (6be400)

  11. dstanley,

    You’re pretty sharp. I think I have a job for you. Wanna run my campaign in 2008?

    JFK

    John F. Kerry (6128b4)

  12. Seafarious wrote:

    Also, a quick look at the Casper website shows they also offer Braille downloads of their stories. Perhaps the Times could look into this for their editorial staff…

    :)

    Dana (3e4784)

  13. What’s a “federal dog” anyway? I’ve never heard that term, has anyone else? When I first saw it, I thought it was a typo & meant to read “feral”– that would’ve made more sense.

    That term “federal dog” alone would’ve been enough– I think– for most reporters (certainly most bloggers!) to dig a little deeper.

    Susan (bc454a)

  14. jfk

    sorry already signed on with hrc

    dstanley (8b3ac3)

  15. dstanley,

    Ask her what she knows about how Vincent Foster died and what she took from his office.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  16. I had forgotten about the “Yellowstone bears” but I do remember the prediction, starting in the late 60’s that long hair was no longer fashionable. The Times printed an article like that for years before finally being right. Like the clock being right…

    Pat Patterson (5b3946)

  17. I think it’s missing some bold:

    “The reporter saw it on the Internet and had talked to the governor in the past, so she was familiar enough with the way he talks and writes that she thought it sounded authentic and she didn’t check, which she should have,” Lauter said.

    It’s nice to know that all editors do nowadays is to issue corrections. Oh yeah and push all that multiple layers of fact-checking and all that stuff to the ground reporter. Must be a fun environment to work in for the reporter.

    Vanshalar (e3335a)

  18. Susan,
    I had the same thought. You would think that a Governor spouting something like “federal dog” would lead to an automatic confirmation phone call with the Governor’s office. Did the Governor mean “federal” or “feral”? Really, don’t those people have fact checkers?
    Before the World Wide Web there was a group that would occasionally publish fake stores hoping the MSM would pick them up. They started the story about freeway traffic leading to more tornados because the cars rushing past each other at high speeds started the twisting wind that led to tornadoes. The group was run by a journalism professor who did it to teach the media a lesson about proper journalism methods. If I know about this group you would think that true journalists would know and be wary of news stories that read like something out some gossip paper.

    tyree (b2fade)

  19. “she thought it sounded authentic and she didn’t check, which she should have,”
    Wow. I’d like to see a list of things that sound authentic to LA Times but really aren’t. Hopefully they are dumb enough to run that ‘Study shows more wife beatings on Superbowl Sunday’ hoax again. That one ran for years before someone discovered that no such study existed.

    Mike W (c20d28)

  20. federal dogs . . .

    I looked that up in the dictionary – there’s a group shot of John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, John Murtha and Howie Dean playing cards.

    Laura (c76fc5)

  21. Fools with an agenda never learn. The drunkard Ted had an op-ed piece in the Boston paper this week about the NSA invading someone’s privacy at a libary by spying on the computers. The big problem was that it was all a lie made up by a student. He had the poorest exclamation for the screw up that has ever been uttered, “my mistake (lie) wasn’t like someone else’s”. When you’re out actively looking to make a fool of yourself someone will give willing assistance. Will he (the drunkard) learn from the experience, no, he’s brain dead with hate for everyone who never supported (actually a murderer) him for President.

    scrapiron (a9eb8b)

  22. Scrap Iron wins the Best Line of the Week Award:

    When you’re out actively looking to make a fool of yourself someone will give willing assistance.

    Dana (a9eb8b)

  23. Nor can States just up-and-create “Federal” dogs.

    J. Peden (972e29)

  24. […] Runner-up #5: The late LATimes media critic David Shaw’s critique of blogs, including his now-famous claim that Times articles are vetted by at “least four experienced Times editors,” who check for “accuracy, fairness, grammar, taste and libel.” We all know how well that works. […]

    FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Michelle Malkin Watch: 2005 IN REVIEW: THE WAR ON BLOGS (baa0b4)

  25. Nice to see my home state in the news.

    Well, Wyoming did sue the Federal government over the wolf reintroduction issue…but I do suppose it would be too much to expect the Dog Trainer to check its facts.

    Next up, Wyoming will post the unbearable facts about delisting the Grizzly…

    Kazak (acdbf2)

  26. If 7,999 brown bears go #2 in the woods but the press is only reporting on the one that got shot pursuing Mr. Ruffneck’s cow for a midnight snack…do they make a sound?

    Gene S. (9221ee)

  27. In a related story, thefts of picnic baskets from campers in Yellowstone Park are up singnificantly…

    triticale (c1d8a5)

  28. Triticale, don’t you mean Jellystone Park?

    :-)

    Mary in LA (ba2551)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2665 secs.