The Yes Men are at it again. And this time it’s personal.
As NowPublic member Luiz Castro reported yesterday, in a beautifully and elaborately orchestrated hoax, 1.2 million copies of a “spoof edition” of The New York Times newspaper — boldly announcing “the End of the Iraq War” — were distributed to commuters in cities across the United States: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington.
The fake newspaper, dated July 4, 2009, “imagines a liberal utopia of national health care, a rebuilt economy, progressive taxation, a national oil fund to study climate change, and other goals of progressive politics” — and was published as a call to action for President-elect Obama to keep his campaign promises.
The Yes Men & Co even set up a fake NYT website to promote their agenda online.
Kudos and serious new media high-fives to everyone involved in pulling this off — it seems culture jamming is alive and well in the USA.
Now, hopefully, President Obama will take notice.
In an elaborate hoax, pranksters distributed thousands of free copies of a spoof edition of The New York Times on Wednesday morning at busy subway stations around the city, including Grand Central Terminal, Washington and Union Squares, the 14th and 23rd Street stations along Eighth Avenue, and Pacific Street in Brooklyn, among others.
The spurious 14-page papers — with a headline “IRAQ WAR ENDS” — surprised commuters, many of whom took the free copies thinking they were legitimate.
The paper is dated July 4, 2009, and imagines a liberal utopia of national health care, a rebuilt economy, progressive taxation, a national oil fund to study climate change, and other goals of progressive politics.
The hoax was accompanied by a Web site that mimics the look of The Times’s real Web site. A page of the spoof site contained links to dozens of progressive organizations, which were also listed in the print edition.
(A headline in the fake business section declares: “Public Relations Industry Forecasts a Series of Massive Layoffs.” Uh, sure.)
The Associated Press reported that copies of the spoof paper were also handed out in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, and that the pranksters — who included a film promoter, three unnamed Times employees and Steven Lambert, an art professor — financed the paper with small online contributions and created the paper to urge President-elect Barack Obama to keep his campaign promises.
According to The A.P., software and Internet support were provided by the Yes Men, who were the subject of a 2004 documentary film.
On Wednesday, the Yes Men issued a statement about the prank, stating, in part:
In an elaborate operation six months in the planning, 1.2 million papers were printed at six different presses and driven to prearranged pickup locations, where thousands of volunteers stood ready to pass them out on the street.
Catherine J. Mathis, a Times spokeswoman, said: “This is obviously a fake issue of The Times. We are in the process of finding out more about it.”
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