Wednesday, March 31, 2021

"There’s some precedent for a company trying a 'fake news' joke. In 2018, the food chain IHOP briefly tried to convince consumer it was exchanging the 'P' in its name to 'B,' trading pancakes for burgers."

"[Volkswagen spokesman Mark] Gillies, after presenting the false information the day before, came clean on Tuesday... '[W]e didn’t mean to mislead anyone. The whole thing is just a marketing action to get people talking' about its new car model." 

From "An unwelcome prank: Volkswagen purposely hoodwinks reporters" (AP).

VW must have thought that it's so clearly not true that the longstanding brand name Volkswagen of America would be changed to "Voltswagen of America" that it would work as an Onion-style headline, funnier because it looks like real news. 

But the Associated Press, USA Today, CNBC, and the Washington Post all took it seriously and reported it as news. And some of them are now acting outraged. E.g.: "This was not a joke. It was deception. In case you haven’t noticed, we have a misinformation problem in this country. Now you’re part of it. Why should anyone trust you again?"

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