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Ah, to live in a land where litigation did not prevent this Login/Join
 
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Picture of wordmatic
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Those of you who live in the British Commonwealth Nations had the pleasure of reading, watching or listening to news items that were flat-out lies in honor of April Fool's Day.

My sister in New Zealand wrote that the best fake news item on TV was an item about a Kiwi Olympic marathon runner who had taken up smoking in order to get her lungs into shape for the polluted Chinese air. The viewers were so upset, that 10 minutes later, the newscaster had to announce that it was a hoax.

Then there was this bit from the BBC, which we in the U.S. get to watch, thanks to "the Intertubes."

(I did not recognize Terry Jones in his Antarctic naturalist's gear.)

And more links.

I think over here the news media don't dare have that much fun, for fear of being sued. What a shame!

Wordmatic

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Posts: 1390 | Location: Near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
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Are you saying the the US Media take themselves so seriously that they don't publish April Fools articles? That is os sad!

Even "The Times" publishes April Fool items and this year carried a full-page advertisement from BMW for a car that had an "anti-dog device", which would give an electric shock to any canine who chose to urinate on its wheels.

There was an interesting anthology of April Fool hoaxes in that same edition, see here http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_ent...s/article3654816.ece


Richard English
 
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I suspect, from the title of wordmatic's post, that the situation isn't that the US media take themselves seriously but rather that they are worried that if people took such an article seriously they might get sued. Such a law suit would probably get thrown out but it might not and that's what concerns the editors.

Imagine, for example, if I took the penguin story seriously and started telling people who then ridiculed me for believing it and I sued the BBC for the mental distress that I had been caused.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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I had heard and read many tales about the extremes of US litigants and the US legal system - but I had never appreciated that they could be quite so extreme as you suggest.

Let us hope that, if this is really the case, we manage to retain sufficient sense of proportion that it never happens here.

Mind you, I do read Randy Cassingham's "This is True" and some of the things he posts about do beggar belief!


Richard English
 
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I actually don't think such a case would get thrown out. And I'm not positive fear of litigation is why we don't have this on April Fools day--I'm only guessing.

Maybe someone else has a better theory.

Wordmatic

P.S. My personal favorite is the one about the Spaghetti Harvest, which I had not seen in years and which was on one of the links I sent earlier.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard English:
I had heard and read many tales about the extremes of US litigants


Remember that a lot of the things we read aren't true.


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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Remember that a lot of the things we read aren't true.

When I said that I had read them, I didn't mean to imply that I believed them all!

Randy Cassingham also has a site called "The Stella Awards", which takes its name from the eponymous lady who is the subject of the infamous MacDonalds coffee scalding case.


Richard English
 
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Indeed but most of those cases (and I haven't seen his site, you didn't provide a link - I'm talking about the ones that are widely circulated on the internet as "The Stella Awards") are just not true. They are debunked in that snopes link I gave.

And while I think about it (before this goes on for too long) I must get out of the habit of interrupting myself with unnecessary parenthetical statements. Wink


"No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson.
 
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I wonder how The Onion, 'America's Finest News Source' gets on?

Here's one particular fine example of their reporting: http://www.theonion.com/content/news/nations_snowmen_march_against

EDIT: The TRUE Stella Awards

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Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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the onion is a different wrapper of fish, to coin a phrase. the onion is what it is, to denigrate another phrase. the NY Times could never get away with publishing onion-type articles, for the reasons stated above -- the lawyers would be on them like white on spaghetti. <sigh>
 
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Marketplace on NPR had an April Fool's story on the IRS sending consumer items like air conditioners instead of refund checks, so I think it has less to do with litigation and more to do with tradition. I don't think US newspapers and news programs ever got into April Fool's, just as some Brits have never gotten into Halloween.
 
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quote:
I think over here the news media don't dare have that much fun, for fear of being sued. What a shame!
As neveu indicates, that's not the case. Our radio station, too, had a really funny one that sent people to the hardware stores searching for "gitson plugs" for their radio, which would allow them to see radio announcers on channel 1 of the TV. People really fell for it! There were others going around, as well, but none as good as the British spaghetti one!
quote:
which takes its name from the eponymous lady who is the subject of the infamous MacDonalds coffee scalding case.
Richard, I cannot believe you are posting about the "infamous" MacDonald's coffee incident after we had a detailed discussion of it (publically here and privately). After you learned all the facts, which MacDonald's cleverly attempted to withhold (they loved the fools who believed that this was a bogus lawsuit), you agreed with me that this was not a bogus lawsuit. MacDonald's was arrogant and tried to hide things from the courts (many previous accounts of burns; reports from their own company saying the coffee was way too hot; etc.), and they refused to settle and pay the lady's third degree burn bills of $80,000. MacDonald's took the risk of going to court and lost.
 
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I went back and reread that discussion, Kalleh. I discovered I had forgotten to link to the Wall Street Journal article by Andrea Gerlin, so I edited it to include that.

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Richard, I cannot believe you are posting about the "infamous" MacDonald's coffee incident after we had a detailed discussion of it (publically here and privately).

Why should you believe it? I have not even discussed the topic - I simply said that Randy Cassingham's "Stella Awards" sites takes its name from the lady who was the subject of that infamous case. I make no judgements about it at all and in our discussions I took no sides - I simply quoted Randy Cassingham.

Randy discusses it very fully on his site - Arnie gave the link - and you can all make up your minds about the truth of the matter.

I used the adjective "infamous" since I believe that this case is "notoriously bad" - although I make no judgements about the sources of its notoriety.

Randy Cassingham's Stella Awards site is about real cases, not urban legends - although I know that there are many of those and Snopes does a good job of debunking them.


Richard English
 
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