Short circuit: ‘Voltswagen’ hoax draws consequences for perpetrators, victims

Short circuit: ‘Voltswagen’ hoax draws consequences for perpetrators, victims

Journalists, editors and consumers alike should be upset about the pre-April Fools’ Day hoax perpetrated by Volkswagen.

The car company leaked, then formally announced a shocking name change earlier this week, only to have the entire thing short circuit. Volkswagen is reportedly now facing the possibility of punishment for the hoax but I fear that newsrooms may also face lingering consequences with the public.

Volkswagen officials announced the company would be changing its name to “Voltswagen” to represent their work on electric vehicles — only to reveal on Wednesday that it was all a joke.

Several of the nation’s biggest newsrooms and many smaller newsrooms fell for the hoax.

And then, on Wednesday, they revealed it was all a prank — despite having previously insisted it was real.

Was the spread of this hoax our fault as journalists and editors, so many of whom these days are working alone from ohm?

I don’t think so, and it appears I’m not alone in that opinion. The AP now reports that the company could face trouble with U.S. securities regulators because its stock price rose nearly 5% on the day of the hoax.

Personally, I do hope the regulators charge right in.

Journalists run the risk of being pinned with the additional distrust that every error piles on, despite the fact they they were the victims in this case. News organizations, including the AP, double-checked the news and were fed lies in response.

And all this from a company that lied for years about vehicle emissions.