Newspapers Vow No April Fools' Jokes, Citing Fake News

This is why we can’t have nice things.

In a sobering sign of the times, Scandinavian newspaper publishers said they will not publish April Fools’ Day jokes, as they have in previous years, citing the rise of fake news distributed via social media and other online platforms, according to Agence France Press.

The publishers say they want to avoid contributing to the scourge, but the decision also seems to be a symbolic protest, as if to say, “Look what you credulous idiots have forced us to do!”

The list of Scandinavian newspapers swearing off joke stories on April 1 includes Sweden’s Smålandsposten, where editor-in-chief Magnus Karlsson wrote a note on the Web site advising readers of the decision. Karlsson explained it is intended to avoid damaging the newspaper’s brand by publishing a “potentially viral and erroneous story. We work with real news. Even on April 1st.”

The editor-in-chief of the Trondheim newspaper Adresseavisen, Tor Olav Mørseth, told the Norwegian news service Journalisten in an interview: “We should be allowed to joke on one day of the year, I thought. Now the situation is a bit different, given the discussion around media credibility and fake news.”

Another local newspaper editor-in-chief strikes a similar note: “April 1st joke stories have been a fun tradition in the Norwegian press, but in the climate we’re now in, with the spread of fake news, it would be wrong for us who live off our credibility to deliver fake news just because the calendar reads April 1st.”

The Norwegian national broadcaster and other outlets that have pranked the public in previous years are likewise forgoing the traditional japes this year.

April Fools’ Day fatigue seems to be dampening enthusiasm for pranks on this side of the pond as well. Yes, it's due in part to worries about fake news. And  perhaps the general sense that the real news is so bizarre as to defy satire.

Objectors include The Verge, which vents< /a>, “Everybody hates April Fools’ Day – so why does it endure?” while Mashablepleads, “It’s April Fools’ Day, not week, and this madness needs to stop.”

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