'Buffalo Beast' Uses David Koch Name in Lame Prank Call

Lindsay Mannering
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wisconsin protestIt's rare, if not unheard of, for a celebrity or a politician to get a prank phone call. One that is recorded and released to the press, that is. Today breaks the cycle though, because that's exactly what happened in the case of the online news site Buffalo Beast and "David Koch" vs. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Morning radio shows prank unsuspecting losers all the time -- the DJ pretends to be an incompetent delivery man, a teacher at their kids' school, or a persistent salesperson checking up on a recently purchased stove. It's always a high-strung parent (usually the mom) or fiery Uncle Angelo ("No, deliver the roses to my secretary, not my wife!!") who gets pranked, and then we all cringe and feel really bad for laughing.

But in the heat of an ongoing debate over the possible elimination of Wisconsin state workers' collective bargaining rights, did this prank call add fuel to the fire ... or water? Here's what happened:

Ian Murphy, an editor and journalist from the Buffalo Beast, called up Governor Walker's office pretending to be billionaire and conservative backer David Koch. Murphy just picked up the phone, said he was Koch, and got put right through to the Governor's direct line. Piece of cake -- the Governor believed Murphy was actually Koch.

The two spoke for about 20 minutes about the union debate and Walker's recent media tour.

The debate, in its simplest terms, is over a piece of legislation that would disallow state and city government employees to organize together to ask for pay increases, and would raise pension and health care costs around 8%. If the bill passes, the Governor says he will not have to lay off or furlough any public employees. If it doesn't pass, about 6,000 state workers are in jeopardy of losing their jobs.

So Murphy calls up as Koch, and tries to get something juicy out of the Governor. But he kinda doesn't. There's nothing particularly inflammatory said, nor anything the Governor might regret. If Murphy really wanted something juicy, I think he could have tried a little harder. This is giving Governor Walker a ton of publicity, and nothing too defaming to his cause, either. In fact, the Governor's office is happy with the way things turned out, saying this proves that Walker stands up for what he believes in while in public as well as behind closed doors. The Buffalo Beast site crashed, too. Sounds like this was a prank call, and a server, fail.

What do you think of Murphy's prank call to Governor Walker?


Photo via paulbaker/Flickr

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