And a Florida newspaper apparently took in a few of the gullible, too.
Longboat Key residents are very protective of their community. So a front-page story in last week’s Longboat Observer that a $53 million project to four-lane Gulf of Mexico Drive would take away sidewalks and part of a golf course caused an uproar.
The story gained more impetus on Monday when the Herald-Tribune published a letter from a worried resident saying the scenic road that runs the length of Longboat Key would be ruined.
Just one problem: None of the disgruntled residents noticed that the date on the front page was April 1 or read the “Gotcha” disclaimer notice on Page 4.
The hoax story and letter resulted in about two dozen complaints to the Florida Department of Transportation, where bemused officials reassured callers their sidewalks and golf course were safe.
“We just don’t want people to be upset,” said FDOT spokeswoman Cindy Clemmons-Adente. “We want people to know that it’s not happening; it’s not even on our radar.”