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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fake New York Times declares: Iraq War Ends

A group of "pranksters" claimed that they distributed 1.2 million copies of a hoax New York Times newspaper yesterday. The stunt includes a fake New York Times website, which you can see here.

The headline for the newspaper reads "Iraq War Ends." Other stories in the fake Times include "Maximum Wage Law Passes Congress," "Big Boxes appeal eviction from low-income neighborhoods," "New York bike path system expanded dramatically," "National Health Insurance Act Passes," and, of course, "Court indicts Bush on High Treason Charge."

The newspapers editorial, meanwhile, is entitled "We Apologize." The apology is for helping beat the drums of war, and for being insufficiently critical during the lead up to the Iraq War. The editorial is reproduced, in full, below the fold (I'm fairly confident the website won't be able to stay up very long...)

According to UPI:

"We wanted to experience what it would look like, and feel like, to read headlines we really want to read. It's about what's possible, if we think big and act collectively," Steve Lambert, one of the prank organizers, said in a news release.

Another member, Beka Economopoulos, added "It's up to all of us now to make these headlines come true."

A number of groups were involved in the project: 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.

Here's a screen shot of the website (just in case it gets taken down):


Editorial: We Apologize
Fake New York Times

The momentous occasion of the end of the war in Iraq also marks a time for reflection at The Times. As many of our readers have pointed out for years, this newspaper played no small part in making the case for the war in the first place, and in supporting the costly and deadly U.S. occupation of Iraq for five years — long after public opinion had turned against it.

We have in the past acknowledged botched reporting. In May 2006, we published an editors’ note acknowledging no fewer than nine articles that uncritically repeated erroneous claims about W.M.D.s by anonymous officials.

Those admissions, we realize, didn’t go nearly far enough. Notably, we failed to single out the instrumental role that Times reporter Judith Miller played in bringing unfounded W.M.D. allegations to a national audience.

Miller’s prominent stories hyping purported Iraqi weapons go back to 1998, and were full of dramatic but unverified claims and unreliable sources. “All of Iraq is one large storage facility” for W.M.D.s, she credulously quoted one source (September 8, 2002). Miller systematically played down skepticism and conflicting evidence, both of which were readily available to any reporter. In so doing Miller lent crucial support to the Bush administration’s agenda. It took Miller’s involvement in the vengeful leak of a C.I.A. officer’s name before we finally let her go — with a hefty severance package.

Even after this episode, we continued publishing articles based on claims by anonymous officials advancing unverified claims — this time, against Iran.

As for our opinion pages, what we passed off as “debates” on the Iraq war have consistently excluded the views of people with a track record of being right. Conversely, in January 2008, we boosted Bill Kristol’s already considerable national platform by offering him a regular column. It is hard to say why.

As early as 1997, Kristol had penned a Weekly Standard cover story, “Saddam Must Go,” in which he and contributing editor Robert Kagan called for war against Iraq: “We know it seems unthinkable to propose another ground attack to take Baghdad. But it’s time to start thinking the unthinkable.” They argued that Saddam Hussein had humiliated the United States by expelling U.S. officials from U.N. weapons inspection teams. The editorial cited unspecified sources about Iraq’s chemical and biological weapons capabilities, and concluded with this dark warning: “If you don’t like this option, we’ve got another one for you: continue along the present course and get ready for the day when Saddam has biological and chemical weapons at the tips of missiles aimed at Israel and at American forces in the Gulf. That day may not be far off.”

Why did we decide to reward Kristol for having been utterly — and lethally — wrong on Iraq? We can’t say for sure, but as of yesterday Mr. Kristol has been terminated as a columnist at The Times. In the same spirit, we also welcome Thomas Friedman’s resignation.

Beginning today, you will see a giant overhaul of our paper, from the front page to this page, as, belatedly shouldering our responsibilities as the newspaper of record, we make a practice of hiring writers who get it right.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on November 13, 2008 in Media | Permalink


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"...act collectively" - This is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. To act, by definition, is an individual phenomenon. Individuals can act towards a shared goal, but acting cannot be done collectively. When someone says that they really mean, "go limp and let my acting control you; then we will act as one."

A call to marionettes everywhere.

Posted by: Isaac | 2008-11-13 8:11:17 AM


That is absolute bullshit. Unless you define "action" as limited to the movements of a human body (which flies in the face of the ordinary meaning of the word), your claim is nonsense. When two people move a boulder by pushing at the same time on a boulder that is too large for either alone to move, they have acted collectively. There is no mind control going on there. You might have a hair up your ass about the word "collective", but that's your problem. Just because something is described as a "collective action" does not make it evil and the term is not an oxymoron. Some boulders would never be moved without collective actions. Whether they ought to be moved is another story.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-11-13 8:26:07 AM

I haven't seen that much wishful thinking since the Liebral Party Red Book.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-13 8:46:35 AM

Under Obama, all is possible.

Change is in the eye of the beholder and Obama will be unable to slash each individual's fear of the future.

What I do like about Obama is that in many of his speeches, he concentrated on the concept of individual responsibility.

Much of the loony left missed that part. They'll soon find out they got a much more down-to-earth man than they though they voted for. Then, watch the cries of betrayal begin.

Posted by: set you free | 2008-11-13 11:08:00 AM

These organizations have nothing better to spend their money on than their own wet dreams?

Mind you, had they done this in Canada, I'm sure they could have gotten a government grant.

Posted by: TimR | 2008-11-13 8:57:03 PM

The paper was dated July 9 2009. Who knows. The war at 12 billion a month ?? It may be the biggest fluke in history.

Posted by: peterj | 2008-11-13 9:22:01 PM

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