Last updated: November 14, 2012
First published: November 14, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer
According to messages circulating via the Twitterverse, the blogosphere and Facebook, a town in Texas has taken the unusual step of adding sugar to its town water supply in an effort designed to encourage residents to drink more water. The messages generally link to what appears to be a news article that provides details about the move.
Talon is small town located in Pecos County, Texas. When town officials realized that drinking-water consumption by residents was well below the national average, they decided take action and three months ago began adding sugar to their water supply to make drinking it more desirable.
However, the claims in the report are fictional and the story was never intended to be taken seriously. What may not be immediately clear to those who follow links in the messages, is that the supposed "news" story is published on the webpage of the satirical Canadian radio program, This is That. The This is That About page notes:
This Is That is a current affairs program that doesn't just talk about the issues, it fabricates them. Nothing is off limits--politics, business, culture, justice, science, religion--if it is relevant to Canadians, we'll find out the "This" and the "That" of the story.
Each week, hosts Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring introduce you to the voices and stories that give this country character in this 100% improvised, satirical send-up of public radio.
The "sugar in the water" story was featured as part of the show in early November 2012. In its original context, it is obvious that the story was intended as satire and did not describe a real situation.
However, the story was picked up by several mainstream news and media publications around the world and published as true. These seemingly legitimate reports gave undue credence to the tale, and it began to spread even more quickly. Most of the news outlets that had published the story quickly realized their error and removed the item or issued a retraction. Nevertheless, posts about the story continue to circulate with many still believing that the claims in the tale are true.
Texas town adds sugar to water supply to encourage residents to drink more water
This is That - About the Show