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Wednesday, April 1, 2009
April Fools' prank a low blow


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- President Obama has told Hachette Filipacchi Media to cease operations of Car and Driver magazine if the company wants to receive any governmental aid for its other publications, according to a statement released by the White House.

Yes, this is an April Fools' joke.

But many likely wish it were true after the prank the magazine played Wednesday, which was in poor taste and downright tacky under the current economic climate.

In case you missed it, the magazine published a story that said, "The White House announced today that GM and Chrysler must cease participation in NASCAR at the end of the 2009 season if they hope to receive any additional financial aid from the government."

The magazine also said NASCAR was exploring options, including bringing in other manufacturers to replace Chevrolet and Dodge. Hyundai was mentioned as a candidate.

After much heat, the magazine pulled the story from its Web site and issued an apology.

Too late. The prank already wasted the valuable time of people from NASCAR, GM and Chrysler who have spent the past year dealing with catastrophic layoffs and financial ruin during this time of crisis in the automotive industry.

This is not a time to make jokes about something so serious -- even on April Fools' Day.

Besides that, this wasn't even funny.

NASCAR officials wanted the media to ignore the prank, saying the publicity would only give the magazine the exposure it wanted. But the editors shouldn't get off that easy. Perhaps the joke should be turned on them. Perhaps we should consider boycotting the magazine for a month.

And tell them Obama mandated it.