From Our Listeners

Letters: 'Whale Farming,' Bipartisanship, Correction

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Listeners respond to the segment that mentioned whale farming and the story on reconciliation between Republicans and Democrats. There is also a correction to comments made by John Bruton, the EU ambassador to the EU. Melissa Block and Michele Norris read from listeners' comments.


Now to your letters and a correction.


And a timely confession. First, the correction. The EU's ambassador to the U.S., John Bruton, says he misspoke yesterday when he included Spain among the countries that could not finance a stimulus. He says Spain is doing its part.

NORRIS: Now to that confession. For the second straight day, the story that got the most letters by far was whale farming.

(Soundbite of whales)

BLOCK: Listeners were horrified by the letters we read yesterday about people who grow pods of whales in Belleville, Illinois and harvest them for food, oil and in some cases, building supplies, even teaching them three-part harmony. Listeners were also outraged by our lack of outrage.

NORRIS: And they let our inbox have it. Shame. Shame. Shame. Melissa chose to read in a la-dee-da voice letters about the trivia of whale songs in this context. How about the cruelty? And this letter. As I listened to the guy talking about the porch he built from whale bones, I wondered in horror, where am I? What sort of people actually farm these magnificent mammals? And how can you so glibly talk about the uses for their parts?

BLOCK: Well, if you're still upset, we are sorry. But we do have some good news. Here's the confession. There is no such thing as dry land whale farming, not in Belleville, Illinois and not anywhere that we know of. And there was no story on whale farming on our air at all. Yesterday's letter segment was part of an April Fool's Day tradition on our program, the work of our wily producer, Art Silverman.

NORRIS: Some got the joke right away. Others took a little bit longer. I swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker, Darryl Frick(ph) writes from Greensboro, North Carolina. I was so angry about this whale farm in the continental U.S. that I planned to start a one-man protest outside the gates of the facility. It was only after several failed Internet searches that I realized that I had been duped.

BLOCK: And Kent White(ph) chimes in from Canada. Only an insular America would teaching whales to sing three-part harmony be considered an accomplishment. I spent a summer in northern Canada where the local Inuit had taught a pod of narwhals to sing the entire works of Bob Dylan in Inuktitut, no less. They, frankly, had much better vocal tone than Mr. Dylan himself, to my ear. Well, if you were fooled, please don't feel bad. We snagged some high-ranking folks here at NPR who will remain nameless.

NORRIS: And finally, Kevin Becker(ph) of Pikesville, Maryland thought he caught another joke in yesterday's show. He writes, ah-ha, I caught the fake April Fool's story: reconciliation between Democrats and the Republicans. Couldn't you come up with something that was a little more believable?

BLOCK: Serious or not, please keep your comments coming. Go to our Web site, and click on Contact Us. Don't forget to tell us where you're from and how you pronounce your name.

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