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LAT falls for internet prank

Let’s face it. It’s easy to get fooled on the internet. Just today, for instance, I’ve sent $23,000 to a bank in Nigeria and thought I found my beshert on until she turned out to be a man, and, to boot, a shiksa. (Still puzzling that one out.) Of course, I’m not a newspaper, so when I fall for an internet hoax, it isn’t news. Not so for the LAT, which recently printed a quote from a fake press release in a front-page story. From the AP (via

Dec 28 7:05 PM US/Eastern

GREEN RIVER, Wyo. – A quote in a fake news release that was intended as an April Fool’s joke ended up in a front-page story in the Los Angeles Times. The story in Tuesday’s editions of the Times noted how successful the reintroduction of wolves had been 10 years ago, but said the predators remained controversial.

“In Wyoming, for example, Gov. Dave Freudenthal last April decreed that the Endangered Species Act is no longer in force and that the state ‘now considers the wolf as a federal dog,’ unworthy of protection,” the story read.

The Times printed a correction Wednesday, acknowledging that the news release was a hoax.

“The reporter saw it on the Internet and had talked with the governor in the past, so she was familiar enough with the way he talks and writes that she thought it sounded authentic, and she didn’t check, which she should have,” Times Deputy Metro Editor David Lauter told the Casper Star Tribune.

“We hate when this kind of thing happens, and we correct it as quickly as we can,” Lauter said.

The fake press release was put together by Maury Jones, an outfitter in the community of Afton, as a joke for April Fool’s Day.

“I never thought I’d get this kind of reaction,” he said. “But it’s got some legs.”

By the way, I hear there’s going to be an ‘Enlarge Your Penis Naturally’ feature in the LAT Health section next week.

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