Real Or Fake News? NPR has an April Fools' Day tradition of airing a fake humorous news piece in one of its news shows. Can you tell the difference between the fake news stories and the merely bizarre ones?

Real Or Fake News?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/608127455/608477980" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Next we'll play an audio quiz that proves public radio lies to you and not just about when the pledge drive's going to end.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: But first, let's check in with our contestants. Megan, you are a avid blood donor.

MEGAN OSIMANTI: I am.

EISENBERG: I don't often get to say that to people. And tell us why that is, specifically.

OSIMANTI: Giving blood, I found out I had a pretty rare blood type. And...

EISENBERG: What's your blood type?

OSIMANTI: B-neg. So...

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah. That's very rare. How rare - do...

OSIMANTI: Yeah, 2 percent. I didn't know that.

EISENBERG: Two percent of the population?

OSIMANTI: I didn't know that until the Red Cross kind of started calling me like every day.

(LAUGHTER_)

OSIMANTI: And I don't know if they're, you know - they're hoaxing me or not. But they - yeah. They say that they need my blood...

EISENBERG: A lot.

OSIMANTI: ...Quite often. Yeah.

EISENBERG: All right. Jake, you go on adventures when you travel - you're a traveler - including jumping off a moving train in Rome.

JONATHAN COULTON: Yeah, that was wasn't on purpose.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: I was traveling with a girl I was dating at the time. And it was a 20-hour train ride that ended in Rome. And we woke up and the train was stopped there. And it started moving without us. And she went - she looked at me and she said, I think I can make it.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: And she jumped and just went splat. And then I - the train was picking up speed. So I had to jump to try to find her. We were fine. We spent a few hours in an ER but...

OSIMANTI: Oh, just a few hours in the ER?

COULTON: She's - we were both fine.

EISENBERG: You're both fine?

COULTON: Yeah.

EISENBERG: So we have a audio quiz for you called Real Or Fake News. NPR has an April Fools' tradition. Every year, it airs a made-up story on one of its new shows. So we're going to play you a clip of a new story that aired on NPR. You have to guess, is this a real story or a real April Fools' prank? We realize this is something that used to be funny but now feels super scary.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Anyhow, ring in. But be careful. If you guess incorrectly, your opponent automatically gets the point. Jake, you won the last game, so you win this and you're off to the final round. Megan, you need to win this or we're going to cover your toilet seat with saran wrap but on a random day of the year.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Here we go. In 2010, Steve Inskeep reported on a hotel in France called La Villa Hamster.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

STEVE INSKEEP, BYLINE: There, for about 100 euros per night, you can live the life of a furry rodent. There is no gym because you can get your cardio workout by scrambling up the large hamster wheel in your room. Then you rehydrate from a tube attached to the side of the wall.

EISENBERG: Is that real or fake? Just an April Fools' prank story.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Jake?

COULTON: I'm going to go real.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's real.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's real.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: In 2007, back before smartphones were commonplace, Liane Hansen reported on the center for reduction of noise pollution.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

LIANE HANSEN, BYLINE: The group is responding to an increasing number of confrontations spawned by a new phenomenon called Ring Rage - strangers getting into fights over obnoxious cellphone ringtones.

EISENBERG: Is that real or fake?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Megan?

OSIMANTI: Real.

EISENBERG: I'm sorry. That is fake. But here's more.

In 2011, Scott Simon reported on a new safety initiative.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: Starting this week in New York City, you might look up from a busy intersection and see...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: It says aggressive driver, aggressive pedestrian, two crash test dummies.

SIMON: Traffic-warning haiku street signs are appearing on poles around the five boroughs. They're posted by the New York City Transportation Department.

EISENBERG: Real or fake? What do you think?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Megan?

OSIMANTI: Fake.

EISENBERG: I'm sorry. That one's real.

OSIMANTI: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: I know. And there we all are, counting syllables in the middle of the street.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Doesn't seem safe.

EISENBERG: Nope.

COULTON: No.

EISENBERG: In 2011, Melissa Block reported on coffee shops that were ditching Wi-Fi in favor of the slow Internet movement.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: Instead, they offered dial-up at 28.8 leisurely kilobits per second. Order dial-up and Drip will activate one of the many phone jacks lining the brick walls here, 99 cents an hour.

EISENBERG: Real or fake?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Megan?

OSIMANTI: Tell me it's fake.

EISENBERG: That's fake, yeah. That's fake.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: That coffee shop wouldn't last one day.

In 2010, Guy Raz reported on the ultimate example of government bureaucracy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

GUY RAZ, BYLINE: We came across a blog post at Reason magazine this past week that linked to the Pentagon's official brownie recipe. It is 26 pages long with detailed specs for the finished product.

EISENBERG: OK. Real or fake?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Jake?

COULTON: Fake.

EISENBERG: Sorry, that is real. There's a 26-page long brownie recipe at the Pentagon.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This is your last clue. In 2005, Robert Siegel reported on a little known fact of life for Vermont maple farmers.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

ROBERT SIEGEL, BYLINE: Untapped maple trees can explode like gushers, causing injury and sometimes death.

EISENBERG: Is that real or fake?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Jake?

COULTON: Fake.

EISENBERG: That is fake. Sounds fun, but they do not explode.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right, puzzle guru Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

ART CHUNG: Congratulations, Jake. You won both games, and you're headed to the final round.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Coming up, we'll talk to Jenn Colella, who stars in Broadway's "Come From Away," a musical about a group of people stranded in a small town where everyone came together to help them in their time of need. It's not fiction. It's Canada. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.