Iraq war ends? New York Times spoof says so

November 13th, 2008 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Nov 13 (DPA) The war in Iraq is over, and President George W. Bush has been indicted for treason - so it must have been a particularly busy news day at The New York Times.Real news, self-fulfilling prophecy or just a very elaborate hoax?

At least 1.2 million copies of a fake edition of the Times was handed out Wednesday morning to New York commuters, replete with alarming headlines - for some, almost too good to be true.

Accompanying the replica of the print edition was a website, which again looked like the Times:

Free copies of the 14-page newspaper, which looked exactly like the real Times, were distributed at busy subway stations across the city. Many commuters might not have noticed the fine print - the paper was dated July 4, 2009, US independence day.

Among the other gems that made front-page news: USA Patriot Act repealed; torture, rendition: “not such good ideas after all”; ex-secretary apologizes for WMD scare; and maximum wage law for CEOs succeeds.

It emerged later in the day that the newspaper was the work of a liberal group called the Yes Men, who issued a statement: “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.”

The spoof paper included the usual sections - international, national, New York, business sections, editorials and corrections.

There were several advertisements, including a recall notice for all cars that run on gasoline.

“It’s all about how at this point, we need to push harder than ever,” said Bertha Suttner, one of the newspaper’s writers.

“We’ve got to make sure Obama and all the other Democrats do what we elected them to do. After eight, or maybe 28, years of hell, we need to start imagining heaven,” she wrote in a press release published on the website of the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank.

A New York Times blog - the real one - quoted Catherine J Mathis, a Times spokeswoman, as saying: “This is obviously a fake issue of the Times. We are in the process of finding out more about it.”

The pranksters interviewed several gullible commuters and posted the video on the internet. One said, “I can’t believe it - the war is over. Wow!”

Another said: “I knew change was coming to America - I just didn’t expect it so fast.”

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