So headlined The Daily Beast on April 13. The Yes Men issued a fake GE press release announcing the company would return its $3.2 billion US tax refund. For 35 minutes, the Associated Press carried a story reporting the release as fact.
The Beast’s source is Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal. Mr. Weisenthal says the Yes Men’s effort ‘…OBVIOUSLY reads like a hoax.’ I sense a bit of competitive snark here, because the fake release is more convincing than that.
Generously – or maliciously – Mr. Weisenthal has reprinted the entire fake release with a lot of detail about why it convinced. And, he prints AP’s response.
I love the Yes Men’s first two paragraphs:
Fairfield, CT, 13th April, 2011– GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt has informed the Obama administration that the company will be gifting its entire 2010 tax refund, worth $3.2 Billion, to the US Treasury on April 18, Tax Day, and will furthermore adopt a host of new policies that secure its position as a leader in corporate social responsibility.
“We want the public to know that we’ve heard them, and that we know many Americans are going through tough times,” said GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt. “GE will therefore give our 2010 tax refund back to the public and allow the public to decide how to spend it.”
Pure genius! Especially when compared to the President’s straight lines on the deficit this noon….