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Fiction from The New York Times, courtesy the Yes Men


November 12, 2008/21.51

The New York Times fictional newspaper from July 4, 2009

A prank edition of The New York Times, published by the Yes Men, had me going a bit earlier today.
   After receiving a realistic looking release and knowing that 1·2 million copies had gone out in print, it was a heck of an expensive prank from the liberal group. But it worked.
   My ?rst reaction on downloading the was: ‘Wishful thinking or a total departure from reality? Have the editors seen one too many Early Editions? Whatever the case, it’s an interesting ploy and bound to generate discussions about the con?rmation of , optimism for the administration, the accusation that the new President is a quitter, that Jayson Blair was not the only journalist in a culture of creating ?ction, that Republicans are humourless, and more.’
   Until, of course, I realize one of life’s little ironies: as I have been on my high horse about believing stuff over the internet, a pretty realistic prank got me pretty good as I got phished on to the spoof site.
   Here’s what the Yes Men had to say: ‘Hundreds of independent writers, artists, and activists are claiming credit for an elaborate project, 6 months in the making, in which 1.2 million copies of a “special edition” of the New York Times were distributed in cities across the U.S. by thousands of volunteers. …
   ‘The people behind the project are involved in a diverse range of groups, including The Yes Men, the Anti-Advertising Agency, CODEPINK, United for Peace and Justice, Not An Alternative, May First/People Link, Improv Everywhere, Evil Twin, and Cultures of Resistance.’
   With hindsight, it’s all 20-20: the email even says it came from the Yes Men and on closer inspection, the aren’t even The New York Times’, though they come darned close. Close enough for a non-NYT reader to be fooled.
   This edition goes on for 14 pp. including full-page advertisements.
   I take my hat off to the Yes Men: an expensive exercise, great exposure for their point of view, and a fantastic (albeit short-lived) way to get blogosphere discussions going.

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Filed by Jack Yan

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