Of course Chinese media was going to fall for an April Fools joke. But we expected Beijing News to bite it, or People’s Daily, or 21st Century Herald (similarity: they’ve all been duped before, e.g., here and here). But CCTV, a television channel that, presumably, has researchers, copyeditors, producers and news anchors? That is to say, a terraced newsroom of professionally trained reporters and de factor fact-checkers?
Chinese Central Television’s news channel reported during its Tuesday evening news that Virgin Atlantic, the airline owned by billionaire Richard Branson, was launching the world’s first ever glass-floored air plane.
Embarrassingly, the story was an April Fools’ joke, and Chinese netizens were quick to take the national broadcaster to task.
The comments on Sina Weibo truly are best. Via SCMP again:
“They find time to attack Apple, but they don’t have time to fact-check, that’s true professionalism,” mocked another person, alluding to CCTV’s public attacks against the computer and cellphone maker for its warranty policy in China.
Here’s the Virgin Atlantic release that fooled CCTV:
Today we’ve announced that our world-class engineering crew have been secretly working on the design and production of the world’s first-ever glass-bottomed plane, created to ensure passengers can enjoy both an unparalleled flying experience, as well as a selection of stunning landscapes from the comfort of their seats.
The new aircraft will offer every passenger the chance of a bird’s eye view with an extra special opportunity to look down on the beautiful scenery of Great Britain as they fly.
Actually… that’s a stellar idea. How much should we bet that China is the first to make it actually happen?