City Desk

Won’t Get Fooled Again

Best April Fool's Pranks in D.C.

When news broke this morning on an Adams Morgan email list that there was a stray animal loose in the neighborhood, it seemed alarming, at first:

There have been sightings of an animal described as a cross between a dog and a deer in adams morgan over the past few days. It has some fur, a mousy brown color and the height of a small deer. I saw it run down the alley behind Calvert street towards the woods yesterday afternoon being chased by a dog. Some neighbors were out and said that they had seen this animal early in the morning chewing on some bushes and that it had a strange dog like face and it barked. However it did let one woman pet it and seemed friendly. One neighbor said that she has a colleague in Bethesda who lives near NIH and they were told that the farm there where they do animal experiments reported that some animals had escaped. I am looking into who we should call to report this. If you see this animal please send me an email.

But a quick glance at the calendar—and a closer reading into the details, like the "farm where they do animal experiments" part–put the message in context. It was, after all, April Fool's Day. While big national sites like Hulu and Google pulled some pranks, the D.C. area saw its fair share of fake news today, as well. Some highlights, after the jump:

  • Food deserts are a serious problem. The overwhelming popularity of cupcakes is also a serious problem, albeit not as serious. Add them together and draw a fancy map of cupcake availability by ward, and voila—you get one of Greater Greater Washington's April Fool's posts. "This gives residents of those communities a major disadvantage in their everyday need to enjoy a small, sweet dessert," the post declares, sugar-laden tongue firmly planted in cheek.
  • GGW also "reported" on an investigation that had found D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells had requested government funds to pay for a "fully loaded" chrome-on-black bike, complete with handlebar streamers. (If you've been asleep and/or out of town all year, it was a riff on the Lincoln Navigator D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown had been leasing.) Not to be outdone, WTOP followed up, with its own report quoting Wells saying he was disappointed in his own behavior but that he wouldn't be investigating it because "to have the person that is conducting the hearing actually be the key, star witness, really creates the perception that the process won't be trusted."
  • Neighborhood blog New Columbia Heights purported to relocate up I-270 to Gaithersburg, rebranding as New Gaithersburg Heights and launching a new feature called, "Chili's of the Day."
  • Escalating one of the Beltway media scene's most one-sided feuds, FishbowlDC editor Betsy Rothstein posted a fake interview with Washington Post wunderkind Ezra Klein, who has apparently decided the best way to respond to Rothstein's constant barbs directed his way is to pretend she doesn't exist.
  • The National Zoo announced on Twitter that a new creature—half tiger, half panda—had been born. At least five minutes of PhotoShop work appeared to go into the accompanying TwitPic.

Illustration by Brooke Hatfield

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