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.)