Spoof Version of ‘NYT’ Distributed, Draws Notice

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By: E&P Staff

Fake copies of The New York Times, possibly a year in the making, were distributed in the city today, and apparently some commuters thought they were real. According to the group that claims responsibility, more than a million copies were distributed around the country.

The banner headline announced, IRAQ WAR ENDS, and other stories “revealed” that Times columnist Tom Friedman had resigned, college tuition was made free everywhere, bikes paths widened, and so on. It’s set in the future: next July.

The group claims in a release: “Early this morning, commuters nationwide were delighted to find out that while they were sleeping, the wars in Iraq and fghanistan 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.”

The spoof — not intended to be as ha-ha as The Onion, but more to promote a progressive agenda — even has a Web site, which resembles the Times site, but appears clogged at the moment.

For a look at the front page and links, go to The E&P Pub.

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.?

E&P’s Jennifer Saba files this first-hand account:

As I made my way up the Broadway/Lafayette subway stop this morning, I’m greeted by a newspaper hawker. Not terribly unusual. But this lady wasn’t trying to get me to take the typical amNY or Metro. Instead, she was passing out a “special edition” of The New York Times.

Ah, they finally got around to distributing those extra 200,000 or so second-run election day papers, I thought. For free, too. How nice. So I took one.

Um, except this is a newspaper from the future — dated July 4, 2009 with a headline that takes up half the page “Iraq War Ends.” Oh. It’s a fake — a pretty good one.

I’m not sure how they got away using the actual New York Times flag and from the looks of it, the typography and layout, which is identical to the real deal. The small print on page A2 says the special edition is an 8-year work in progress from several organizations including CODEPINK, HealthcareNOW, the Climate Crisis Coalitions, ACLU and others.

Here’s what I found when I flipped through the pages. The sample stories and headlines are good-intentioned but cringe-worthy none the less: “Harvard Will Shut Business School Doors,” says one headline in the business section and continues that it will be renamed the “Harvard University School of Integrity.” FACE!

“Senate Gets Tough on ‘Limited Liability’ to Rein in, Humanize Corporations.” Whoa.

Thomas Friedman “writes” in the op-ed page: “The sudden outbreak of peace in Iraq had made me realize, among other things, one incontestable fact: I have no business holding a pen, at least with the intent to write.”

Even the ads require closer inspection. Those cheesy Dr. Johnathan Zizmor skin ads so ubiquitous in NYC subways makes an appearance. “Now you can have … A beautiful clear conscience.”

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