The Future of the New York Times is Fake!


Those of you who work in the city are probably already aware that some enterprising souls (Gawker is pointing to the “Yes Men,” which seems to be the case) took the future of news into their own hands today and created their own fake(!) New York Times. The spoof paper, which was distributed by thousands of volunteers across the city, was dated July 4, 2009 and ran the headline “Iraq War Ends.” By all accounts it was “an exact replica” of the real thing (notwithstanding the content, obviously):

[The fake Times included] 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.

We have yet to see the real thing, but according to people we’ve talked to it’s rather well done — complete with a Thomas Friedman op-ed (“The sudden outbreak of peace in Iraq has made me realize, among other things, one incontestable fact: I have no business holding a pen, at least with intent to write”) as well as an apology from the Times for supporting the Iraq war. It even comes with fake ads!

There is even a website to accompany the paper, which was down for much of the morning, is eerily similar to that of the real NYT (except without the page-long Mac ad). As the Times City Room blog noted many of the links lead to “dozens of progressive organizations.” Obviously this was a huge and expensive undertaking, but why now?

Bertha Suttner, one of the newspaper’s writers, tells Romenesko:

“It’s all about how at this point, we need to push harder than ever…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.”

Ah yes, heaven. The Times responded to our email (and others’ it would seem) thus: “This is obviously a fake issue of The Times. We are in the process of finding out more about it.” It’s hard to imagine the Times not getting some enjoyment out of such well-done imitation — it is the sincerest form of flattery afterall. Also, we’re told that under the parody exception to copyright the Times is pretty much unable to sue.