U.S. News
April 1, 2000

New York prankster makes April fools of the media

NEW YORK (CNN) - High noon meant read faces for the media in New York City on Saturday, after they showed up on Fifth Avenue to cover a nonexistent April Fool's Day parade.

At least two television news crews were dispatched after a news release sent to the local media stated that an April Fools' Day parade would begin at 59th Street and march down Fifth Avenue, starting at noon.

Crews from CNN and the Fox affiliate WNYW duly arrived at noon, only to find the usual parade of people and traffic.

Had the media checked, they would have found clues signaling a hoax.

A New York City police spokesman said organizers have to notify police before any parade: they had heard nothing about any April Fools' event.

The news release sent to the media also gave hints that something was amiss.

Three "Beat 'em, Bust 'em, Book 'em" floats were said to have been created by the New York, Los Angeles and Seattle police departments portraying themes of brutality, corruption and incompetence."

The "Where's Mars?" float, "portraying missed Mars missions," was said to have cost "at least $10 billion."

The Atlanta Braves Baseball Tribute to Racism" float was to have featured John Rocker, "who will be spewing racial epithets at the crowd."

The telephone listed as the press contact number belongs to a man identified in news articles as a "master of hoaxes."

The news articles say the man is known for devising elaborate stories to fool the media in order to expose their fallibility.


© 2000 Joey Skaggs