Masterful NPR Prank Asks Why People Comment Without Reading

I’m definitely no fan of April Fools’ Day pranks. In fact, as I argued recently, we don’t even need it anymore since we’ve given the media tacit permission to lie to us every other day of the year already. But every now and again, against all odds, someone manages to pull off an actually funny prank that teaches us the most important April Fools’ Day lesson of all: Love.

Also that everyone is stupid.

That’s what happened with this NPR post on their Facebook page on Monday. “Why Doesn’t America Read Anymore?” the headline asked. It’s a question that many of us who toil in the bowels of the word-caves where the content is mined ask on a daily basis. An even more infuriating question: Why do people online comment without reading the story? Not that that sort of thing ever goes on around here, where the discussion forms are vibrant and teeming with well-considered takes on the specific issue at hand and definitely not an infinitely recycled deluge of Obamacare cliches.

“In an age of readily available information and countless ways to get it,” NPR’s post teased, “we seem to be losing touch with our powers of comprehension.”

“YES. SO MUCH THIS,” you might have thought had you seen the post, before promptly launching into your preformed set of talking points. Many readers, although that’s probably not the right term, did just that [screengrab via Uproxx]:

Had they actually taken the time to click on the link, they would’ve found the following:

Congratulations, genuine readers, and happy April Fools’ Day!We sometimes get the sense that some people are commenting on NPR stories that they haven’t actually read. If you are reading this, please like this post and do not comment on it. Then let’s see what people have to say about this “story.”Best wishes and have an enjoyable day,Your friends at NPR

The lesson here? It’s either that NPR is wasting your tax dollars on denigrating the American character, or that this is exactly why we need services like NPR in the first place. But you were probably already thinking that anyway long before you read this story.

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>> Luke O’Neil is a journalist and blogger in Boston. Follow him on Twitter (@lukeoneil47).

Tags: April Fool's, NPR