Bogus News Is an April Fools' Tradition

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Not True: The Taco Liberty Bell

In 1996, Taco Bell announced the purchase of the Liberty Bell, which would be repaired and renamed "The Taco Liberty Bell" for use as a corporate logo. Proceeds from the sale would be used to pay down the national debt, and that's a lot of chalupas.

Taco Bell later issued a press release and apology, but not before the National Historic Park in Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell is housed, reported thousands of people calling to protest.

These days, you don't have to ask for whom The Taco Liberty Bell tolls. It tolls for publicity, and may have inspired Burger King to introduce "The Left-Handed Whopper" and Sara Lee's "Crustless Bread," two items you'll only find on your April Fools' menu. Not True: Freewheelz

In April 2000, Esquire magazine reported on Freewheelz — a company that provided free cars that were essentially rolling billboards, with advertising on every side. Clients had to agree to drive their Freewheelz at least 300 miles a week to give the advertisers sufficient exposure.

Esquire's Ted Fishman says he wrote the article to satirize fly-by-night Internet companies with dubious business schemes. Not only was Esquire flooded with would-be "Freewheelzers," but the fictitious company's business plan was quite similar to those of several real Internet startups, which are now presumed to be dead "dot-bombs."