April Fools! Using the Day of Hijinks to Advance a Message

Niraj Chokshi
National Journal

Leave it to the wonks and activists who work in Washington to turn an occasion for hijinks into a chance to further what they do every day: Attack their opponents and peddle their causes.

In a city where every message is crafted, edited, and vetted to advance an organization’s goals, April Fools’ Day is no different. (Let no opportunity go unexploited, after all.) Here are a handful of political attacks masquerading as April Fools’ Day jokes.


Silly House Republicans!

House Majority PAC, a group with designs on returning control of the chamber to the Democrats, used the occasion to ... attack House Republicans. (Gotcha!) The group’s April Fools’ prank site, GOPHouseofFools.com, features fake news stories poking fun at 10 GOP targets for alleged buffoonery, hypocrisy, and dubious ethical judgment.

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Droning On

Nonprofits aren't immune to the urge to capitalize on April Fools' Day, either. The nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which seeks to promote openness and transparency in government, announced a new drone on Monday to offer up “surveillance by the people, for the people.” Here’s its explanation:

Transparency Drone is a semi-autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle that will allow the public to access real-time data on the activities of Washington’s influence peddlers on an unprecedented scale. This project is a result of diligent research involving dozens of prototypes, and we’re proud to release our quadcopter into the wilds of Washington and beyond. Following the recent congressional interest in drones, Sunlight is opening the conversation by now allowing any citizen to follow their member of congress from above, attend all those exclusive fundraisers and zip through the halls of the hill.

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Obama’s America

And what story about political attacks would be complete without a GOP swing at Obama’s health care reform? The National Republican Congressional Committee jokingly touted the benefits of the law in an image which is already enjoying moderate success on Facebook. Here it is, via House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s communications director:

Not cool Mr. President. (via @ nrcc) #AprilFools twitter.com/rorycooper/sta… — Rory Cooper (@rorycooper) April 1, 2013

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