Update III: Here's a second video of the Fake NY Times (aka "New York Times Special Edition") being handed out:
Earlier coverage and updates below:
This morning, New Yorkers are being offered free copies of the New York Times--which happen to be fake. One reader tells us, "After taking it I realized that the date was 7/4/09, and the headline read 'Iraq War Over'. It's full of fake articles, fake ads (even a Dr Zizmor 'Clean up the mess in the Iraq' ad), and a clever twist on the Times' slogan reading 'All the news we hope to print.'"
You can see the fake New York Times website, which has articles like "New York Bike Path System Expanded Dramatically" and "Public Relations Industry Forecasts a Series of Massive Layoffs"--and "National Health Insurance Act Passes."
Gawker says the volunteers distributing the papers were "rallied online via BecauseWeWantit.org" and notes the email to volunteered is " linked to the site of The Yes Men, longtime liberal prank group that has been doing things just as complex and finely tuned as this for years."
Update I: CityRoom spoke to Alex S. Jones, who co-wrote “The Trust," about the paper's history, "I would say, If you’ve got one, hold on to it. It will probably be a collector’s item. I’m just glad someone thinks the New York Times print edition is worthy of an elaborate hoax. A Web spoof would have been infinitely easier. But creating a print newspaper and handing it out at subway stations? That takes a lot of effort... I consider this a gigantic compliment to The Times.”
CityRoom also got a quote from Times spokeswoman Catherine Mathis, who seems less enthralled, “This is obviously a fake issue of The Times. We are in the process of finding out more about it.”
Update II: A video and press release from "New York Times Special Edition"
Early this morning, commuters nationwide were delighted to find out that while they were sleeping, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had come to an end.
If, that is, they happened to read a "special edition" of today's New York Times.
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.
Articles in the paper announce dozens of new initiatives including the
establishment of national health care, the abolition of corporate lobbying, a maximum wage for C.E.O.s, and, of course, the end of the war.
The paper, an exact replica of The New York Times, includes International, National, New York, and Business sections, as well as editorials, corrections, and a number of advertisements, including a recall notice for all cars that run on gasoline. There is also a timeline describing the gains brought about by eight months of progressive support and pressure, culminating in President Obama's "Yes we REALLY can" speech. (The paper is post-dated July 4, 2009.)
"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 twenty-eight years of hell, we need to start imagining heaven."
Not all readers reacted favorably. "The thing I disagree with is how they did it," said Stuart Carlyle, who received a paper in Grand Central Station while commuting to his Wall Street brokerage. "I'm all for freedom of speech, but they should have started their own paper."