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'Fox and Friends' falls for ruse alleging purchase of $1 billion of jetpacks for LAPD, Fire Department

October 5, 2010 |  5:10 pm

It's a story that, by all accounts, shouldn't have flown.

Anchors at the Fox News national morning news show "Fox and Friends" reported Tuesday that the city of Los Angeles had ordered 10,000 jetpacks for its police and fire departments. The price tag: a whopping $100,000 per unit.

For those doing the math at home, the cash-strapped city of Los Angeles, which is regularly sending its police detectives home because it can't pay all their overtime, allegedly shelled out a billion dollars on space-age transportation that it has never used in an emergency situation, much less tested.

"We certainly haven't bought any jetpacks," said LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. "We haven't bought [squad] cars for two years."

As Gawker.com was the first to note, the "Fox and Friends" report appeared to contain material taken right out of a story from the Weekly World News tabloid, which bills itself as "The World's Only Reliable New Source."

Apparently taking that slogan -- and ruse -- to heart, "Fox and Friends" reported that the jetpacks can reach speeds of 63 miles an hour and reach an altitude of 8,000 feet. And then came the questions.

Co-host Gretchen Carlson said that while she was "all for buying stuff up and helping the capitalism and all that" she wondered whether the costs would be prohibitive in a bad economy.

Brian Kilmeade wondered about possible safety issues.

“You gotta make up some rules,” Kilmeade said. “Because you’re going to have jetpacks flying into choppers!”

A short time later the hosts did an about-face, reporting that the LAPD was not buying the "Jetson's"-style transporters.

The media buzz around the jetpacks harkens back to the 1970s when then-chief Ed Davis caused a stir by declaring that he wanted the City Council to invest in submarines to track drug smugglers.

-- Andrew Blankstein

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