The Onion News admitted that its article entitled “South Carolina Defends Right To Fly Hardee’s Flag From State Capitol” was an April Fool’s prank. In a statement release through the newspaper’s website, it announced that the article printed on Monday was indeed a fabrication, and none of the facts were true. Included was an official apology issued by the editor, T. Herman Zweibel, son of the founder, Friedrich Siegfried Zweibel.
The article caused quite a stir as the newspaper’s millions of readers circulated it over the internet. Outraged at the news, some of them immediately contacted family members.
“It looked really plausible,” said Katie Feldtman from Davenport, Iowa. “They sure fooled me.” Katie is now trying to make amends with her cousin, Sarah Compton, after a verbal spat led to a complete communication breakdown. “I keep calling, but she won’t answer. I don’t blame her. If I was her, I wouldn’t answer either.”
Thousands of South Carolina residents experienced verbal abuse from friends and family throughout the day. “It was horrible. I didn’t know what was going on at first,” cried Martha Saunderson from Spartanburg. “I explained over and over that I knew nothing about a flag, but he just kept screaming at me.” She hasn’t received an apology from her uncle, Mike Saunderson, yet. “I’m waiting right next to the phone. I’ll stay waiting right next to the phone.”
The article by The Onion News stated that residents of South Carolina refuse to remove the Hardee’s flag from the top of the capitol building. Apparently many South Carolinians claimed that it “signifies an important part of their cultural legacy,” some even describing it as “not just a flag, but a way of life.”
People across America agreed with the apparent criticism of the flag. “It’s a national disgrace and has no place on government property,” the article asserted. “It gives a bad name to all Americans, and it’s time for us to say once and for all that our nation disavows all the awful and truly disgusting things that the flag stands for,” a fictional professor apparently expounded. Not realizing that it’s a spoof, people ran to the phone to call up and insult friends and family.
“I called her a bitch and a disgrace to the family,” said David Milner from Peoria, Arizona. “I can’t believe I did that. I never do things like that.”
“Curse words don’t come out of my mouth,” exclaimed Suzan Waller from Morristown, Tennessee. “I was very passive-aggressive. I kind of urged my daughter towards tears.” She’s not sure if the bridge could ever be mended. “I think that was one flame too many. It’s ashes for sure.” Many families feel the same way. Across America there’s a lot of anger at being duped, and much frustration about the damage to family ties and friendships.
Experts in the journalistic field agrees that frivolity has no place in journalism. “It is careless of a news source the size of The Onion to pass fiction off as truth,” said Professor William Vanderburg, head of the journalism department at the University of South Carolina. “The press has an obligation to be fair and objective. I would advise against telling lies.”
At the time of writing, The Onion has yet to responded about any future plans to help the nation recover from the injury their April Fool’s day prank has caused. Added Vanderburg, “We can only hope that once everything calms down, a spirit of forgiveness will prevail.”
- South Carolina Defends Right To Fly Hardee’s Flag From State Capitol (theonion.com)
- YouTube Says It’s Shutting Down in April Fools’ Day Prank (mashable.com)
- April Fools. (chalmerscameron.wordpress.com)
- April Fools (arlenerules.wordpress.com)
- April Fools! (blovelyevents.com)
- Round Up: All of Google’s jokes for April Fools’ 2013, from Google Maps treasure hunting to YouTube closing (thenextweb.com)