And the Yes Men have struck again. On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of copies of a fake edition of the New York Times were handed out in New York and Los Angeles. The front-page headline declares an end to the Iraq war and an admission from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction. Other fake stories report the congressional passage of universal healthcare, the public ownership of oil giant ExxonMobil and the use of evangelical churches to house Iraqi refugees. The paper is said to come from the Yes Men, a group responsible for several hoaxes meant to highlight corporate and government complicity in unpunished crimes. One previous prank had a Yes Men member posing as a Dow Chemical spokesperson to announce responsibility for the Bhopal chemical disaster, forcing the company to remind the world it had done anything but. The Yes Men say the hoax resulted from a collaboration of many people, including a few New York Times staffers. Activist Jordan White was among those handing out copies of the fake newspaper in New York’s Times Square.
Jordan White: “Well, see, the thing about this is, is that, you know, we just got a new president elected. It’s a very big year, and it’s a big promotion for change and stuff like that. And, you know, it’s just the sort of thing of like, I don’t know, maybe that—could we achieve it? Maybe it’s so, maybe not. But it’s something to kind of look forward to.”
The paper also pokes fun at the New York Times editors, who apologize in a fake editorial for echoing the Bush administration’s faulty claims on Iraqi WMDs in the lead-up to the Iraq war. It also contains a fake resignation letter from columnist Thomas Friedman, who says he has no business to ever write again after vocally backing the US invasion of Iraq. The prank edition of the New York Times is available online at nytimes-se.com.