Last week quite a few papers ran this story:
NON-SMOKERS NEED NOT APPLY
BERLIN -- The owner of a small German computer company has fired three non-smoking workers because they were threatening to push demands for a smoke-free environment.
The manager of the 10-member IT company in Buesum, named Thomas J., told the Hamburger Morgenpost newspaper he had fired the trio because their non-smoking was causing disruptions.
"I can't be bothered with trouble-makers," Thomas said. "We're on the phone all the time and it's just easier to work while smoking. Everyone picks on smokers these days. It's time for revenge. I'm only going to hire smokers from now on."
Turns out, the story was a hoax
. Stephanie Lamprecht, the reporter whose name appeared on the byline, said that her source -- some guy named Thomas Joschko -- just made it up: "He said it was a joke and worth the trouble. He said he's a chain-smoker himself and said he was tired of smokers being hassled so much."
From what I understand, it's not clear that Thomas Joschko even owns a business. He's just a guy who picked up a phone and told a reporter a wild story, trusting that the reporter would do minimal fact checking before running it.
This was the same modus operandi of Joseph Mulhattan
, one of the most prolific hoaxers in America at the end of the nineteenth century. He would invent bizarre stories and wire them to papers, which would invariably print them. It's nice to see that the same tricks still work.