China’s State Broadcaster CCTV Falls for April Fool’s Joke of Richard Branson that Virgin Atlantic Will Begin a Glass-Bottomed Plane Service

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By Vittorio Hernandez | May 26, 2014 7:53 AM EST

Despite May about to end in one week, an April Fool's Day joke by Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson fooled CCTV, China's state broadcaster.

The joke was that Virgin would begin a glass-bottomed plane service which CCTV reported at World Express, its nightly news program. But Chinese Internet users immediately noticed the joke and corrected CCTV, so that by Wednesday the broadcaster removed the video clip from its Web site.

The joke said Virgin Atlantic would start servicing the London and Scotland route using its supposed-to-be first glass-bottomed planes which would be aviation-grade glass. CCTV also included the photos of the so-called glass-bottomed jet in its broadcast which added to credibility of the joke.

Branson said in Virgin's Web site that "Im thrilled to announce that Virgin has created another world-first with the introduction of the technology required to produce the worlds first glass-bottomed plane. This technological innovation coincides with the start of Virgin Atlantic Airways first ever domestic service to Scotland."

He said the glass-bottomed plane would allow passengers to appreciate the beauty of the British landscape and provide Scottish tourism an even bigger boost.

Beijing journalism professor Zhan Jiang opined that CCTV aired the news to spice up its programming for ratings, but possibly failed to check the source of the information.

CCTV had in the past been a victim of hoax news such as when The Onion, a U.S. satirical Web site, said in November 2013 that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is the sexiest man alive and the Chinese state media fell for it, resulting in several newspapers in China running the news, including People's Daily, the flagship of the Communist Party.

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