Prank Journalism at Its Best

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With all this talk of undercover videos and phone pranks, Charles Homans reminds us of Spy Magazine's prank conversation with lobbyist Edward J. Van Kloberg III, notorious lobbyist for foreign dictators.

Accompanying a February 1992 story by Art Levine on foreign lobbying, Spy had someone pose as a representative of an identifiably neo-Nazi (though not explicitly neo-Nazi) German political group looking for a U.S. lobbying contract. The impostor called herself Sabina Hofer, and this phone conversation ensued:

Hofer: We know that by the year 2000 we will be a very strong representation of the German people.

Van Kloberg: Germany will be Europe by the year 2000.

H: Or Europe will be Germany.

Van K: Exactly. And anybody who does not know that is a fool. And it's a marvelous thing to watch. It's an extraordinary thing to watch.

H: They have suffered very much this century. We found we had accomplished so much. And now it is beginning to fall apart. And that is one of the things we want to change. We want to make Germany great again.

Van K: Well, since I'm of German origin, I could not agree with you more.

H: I thought so.

Van K: {Laughs} And I believe in many of the tenets that you believe in. So we are not very far apart, my dear. ...

H: Where is your parents from?

Van K: Well, it's in Poland now.

H: Yeas, ach! Thank you! This is another thing that we want to do, that German lands that are in Poland. We want to arrange--

Van K: That never should have happened.

H: Exactly.

Van K: Never!

H: Do you think it is possible that we can have that nullified and that we can have the German lands be German again?

Van K: As long as Germany continues to move as it is moving now, entirely possible.

Find the whole story on Google Books.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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