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Car and Driver NASCAR Hoax, Why So Many Were Duped

Continuing the fallout [1] surrounding Car and Driver’s April Fool’s hoax [2], Ann Coutler, apparently fell for it.

In her column [3] dated yesterday, she wrote:

If Obama can tell GM and Chrysler that their participation in NASCAR is an “unnecessary expenditure,” isn’t having public schools force students to follow Muslim rituals, recite Islamic prayers and plan “jihads” also an “unnecessary expenditure”? Are all those school condom purchases considered “necessary expenditures”?

Upon further reading about this story, it looks like Car and Driver didn’t originally label the article a joke.

Media Matters for America [4] features a Live Search cache snapshot of the article, which does not include the later-added Happy April Fools text under the headline.

Knowing that, it’s no wonder so many people are up in arms about the article, and were so easily duped.

I apologize for being under the impression that the article was clearly marked all along. This explains why C&D said they went “too far,” and pulled the article.

C&D is a reputable magazine, and most people would take their reporting at face value. I know I would. And other than the computer-generated image of Richard Childress Racing’s No. 3 Chevy, driven by the late Dale Earnhardt Sr, there was no indication that something was fishy with this article.

I point to the image because it is not authentic in that the supposed Chevy is supporting a Mercedes Benz-like grill, not the Chevy front with the bowtie. But is that really enough to know the article is fake? No.

Regardless of whether or not I think that article was in poor taste, it is certainly understandable to take it at face value.

And, in this case, C&D used its reputation to trick people, and for that they should be sorry.

Several media outlets are still covering this story. They are: ESPN [5], Newsday [6], Investor’s Business Daily [7], and CNBC [8], just to name a few.