Who among us would fall for the NASCAR prank?

WHO AMONG US WOULD FALL FOR THE NASCAR PRANK?…. It probably seemed, at first, like an amusing idea of an April Fools’ Day prank. Car and Driver magazine “reported” that President Obama told Chevrolet and Dodge this week that they would only be eligible for federal aid if they pulled out of NASCAR events. The move, the “article” said, would save more than $250 million.

The prank caused quite an uproar, the magazine apologized, and editors later acknowledged the joke went “too far.” The parody piece has since been pulled from the Car and Driver website.

The funny part, as it turns out, is seeing who fell for the prank.

In her April 1 column, Ann Coulter fell for a fake April Fools’ Day article by Car and Driver magazine that claimed that President Obama has ordered General Motors and Chrysler to cease their participation in NASCAR because it is an “unnecessary expenditure.” Coulter wrote, “If Obama can tell GM and Chrysler that their participation in NASCAR is an ‘unnecessary expenditure,’ isn’t having public schools force students to follow Muslim rituals, recite Islamic prayers and plan ‘jihads’ also an ‘unnecessary expenditure’?”

Oddly enough, Rush Limbaugh said yesterday that no one would fall for the NASCAR joke. Oops.

For what it’s worth, Coulter’s column has not yet been corrected. That’s not necessarily a surprise — the whole point of Coulter pieces is to deceive the reading audience — but it arguably makes the embarrassment slightly worse.

Jason Linkins concluded, “Naturally, one wonders if this revelation will even matter to Coulter, since an Obama-hates-NASCAR message is something she can just go right on asserting in her credibility-free haunts without fear of being called out for it.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.