The One April Fool’s Day Joke That Got Me

Not much surprises me anymore when April Fool’s Day makes its yearly appearance. Don’t get me wrong – I can’t wait to see what jokes Google comes up with every April 1st, and Think Geek has a reputation for coming up with some of the most clever fake-products you’ll ever see. But, that’s the problem – you expect the good ones and assume everything else you come across on the Web that day is a fake. The acquisition announcements, the product launches, the lame website redesigns – it’s all been done to death.

So, I was quite surprised when I was tricked this morning by a delayed prank. I listen to public radio’s Marketplace podcast every morning during my drive into work, and today was no exception. They rolled through their news for the day at the top of the show – the 400 point rally in the Dow, etc. – then moved to a story on the stimulus tax rebate plan. Here’s a link to the story audio and a transcript, and for those of you reading this on-site vs through a feed reader, you can listen to it right here:

Needless to say, I was caught completely off guard. The story’s premise sounded too ridiculous to be true, but there were so many things that made it credible. First this was a public radio program, which typically refrains from pulling pranks on its listeners – at least in my experience. Second, they had professor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich play along and provide sound bites. Third, it was about the federal government, the IRS, and the Bush administration. Need I say more.

Anyway, I’d like to say well done to Kai Ryssdal, Rico Gagliano, and the rest of the Marketplace team. You got me good this year!

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