How large is the English-speaking world's appetite for mock journalism? Purveyors of such apparently intend to find out. A new fake-news entry this month is Onion SportsDome, a parody of the often-frenetic SportsCenter on ESPN. Makes you wonder: Fake or real, can we tell the difference anymore?
That's the inspiration for today's This Or That quiz. Read our five news items - three are actual recent reports, two are made up - and decide if they're real or fake. Answers follow.
1. Consumer-products company Shonoco, based in New York, pulled its call center from suburban White Plains and assigned the operation to its previous contractor in India. A spokesman said complaints about call-takers tripled after the switch to the U.S. center.
2. Beachgoers in South Florida spied a large object on a sandbar 200 yards from shore and discovered, on closer inspection, that it was a grand piano. A 16-year-old took credit, saying its placement was intended as art and not a prank.
3. A midwinter tornado tore through the tiny Louisiana town of Oubleaux, but authorities in nearby Slidell were unaware of the extensive property damage for more than 24 hours. "It didn't look that different to us," a sheriff's deputy said.
4. Two California children, feeling numb and clammy, were hospitalized after eating a chocolate chip cookie they found on the kitchen counter. Police arrested their mother, who claimed it was a friend's medical marijuana snack.
5. A car salesman was fired for wearing a Green Bay Packers tie to work at a Chicago area dealership a day after the Bears lost to the Packers in the NFC title game. He said he wore the tie to honor his late grandmother, a Green Bay fan.
The answers right side up
1. Fake, and totally wrong.
2. Real, but weird.
3. Fake, and kind of mean.
4. Real, and very California.
5. Real, and not nice.