Patterico's Pontifications


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 Dave Freudenthal a statement that Wyoming considered the Endangered Species Act no longer in force and “now considers the wolf as a federal dog.”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.

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