In the Loop

In the Loop: April 4, 2008 Archive

"Ely sale to Canada" hoax: The stats are in

Posted at 2:05 PM on April 4, 2008 by Jeff Horwich

For April Fools this year, the little Iron Range town of Ely circulated a fake news release threatening a sale of the town to Canada (and ran fake-newscast radio spots that simulated a bidding war among Nebraska, Uzbekistan, and a tycoon with a private island).

Did anybody buy it? Evidently so. By the numbers:

* 580 calls about it on April 1 and 2 to the Ely Chamber of Commerce
* 1,100 signatures on the chamber's (fake) petition to save the town

Some of the questions callers asked:

- What can we do to keep Canada from pursuing this?
- How much time do you think I have to get a passport?
- If Ely is sold to the Canadians, would the residents of Ely become Canadian citizens and lose their American citizenship?
- Will we be allowed to have dual citizenship and double our walleye limit?

And some other comments collected:

- "Do not sell out to Canada!!! ...I can not go to Canada because I had a DWI 12 years ago. I hope Ely is not dumb enough to complete this transaction!"
- "I just sent this to my son in Baghdad. It's 15:30 over there. I told him he needs to hurry home and save Ely!"

(According to a follow-up release from the PR firm behind the campaign.)

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