It was meant to be an April Fool's joke, but it might have gone a little too far.
Earlier today, Car and Driver magazine posted a story on its Web site that said that President Barack Obama had ordered Chrysler and General Motors to stop their spending on NASCAR, which the article said would have saved the brands $250 million.
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But it turns out the story, which had no obvious signs of being a hoax, was exactly that.
NASCAR spokesman Andrew Giangola said in a statement: "NASCAR is a very effective marketing platform for selling American-made vehicles to a large and passionate fan base. We’re focused on helping Detroit promote and sell cars and trucks higher in quality and more efficient than ever.”
For it's part, Car and Driver says it was all in good fun.
“Car and Driver has a proud tradition of irreverent editorial," said Eddie Alterman, vice president and editor-in-chief of the publication. "We amplify that irreverence each year as an April Fools tradition.”
Both the White House and the Treasury had no comment on the fabricated quotes.
I think the story crossed the line simply because there wasn't one clue that made this a joke during a time where this possibly could have been true.
After all, the fun of these hoax stories comes when the reader realizes how gullible they are.
Sports Illustrated has done some good ones.
Did readers really think Sidd Finch could throw that fast? Was it possible that only tennis insiders had heard of the next bombshell named Simonya Popova?
But what I learned when I wrote one a couple years ago is that people don't read full articles. They just stare at headlines and skim.
That's what happened with my joke "article" on Chimezie Kudu. I loved how on the night of the NBA Draft, all these players would be called that no one knew about. So I pranked this story about a player named Chimeze Kudu.
I had all the obvious signs. Here are a few:
He was 7-foot-11.
He only spoke an extinct version of Hottentot.
Only one scout had ever seen him play.
He practiced on a single hoop in a park in South Africa on a rim made out of antelope horn and the netting from the skin of a zebra.
His basketball was made out of fused sheep's testicles.
He had one percent body fat — concentrated in his cheeks and the back of his knees.
His agent was already talking to 7-Eleven on a possible sponsorship deal.
The only photo of him was of his feet and he had never shot a free throw.
And yet, despite all of these clues, many people believed it, including a major ESPN Radio affiliate, which included it in their news updates that day.
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