Living in the afterglow or wake (depending on your political leanings) of the 2008 presidential election, we are left to wonder where this talk of hope and change might lead us as a nation. Yesterday morning, like many others in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, I was taken by the headline, “Iraq War Ends,” on what seemed to be a free New York Times. Upon further inspection it became apparent that it was a hoax. Dated Saturday, July 4, 2009, this newspaper changed its official motto to “All the News We Hope to Print,” and reported that the weather conditions included “strong leftward winds.” Opening my email, friends had also sent me a link to the website.
After a little bit of digging, I discovered this intervention was executed by the Yes Men, in collaboration with a film producer and three unnamed Times employees. The project took six months of planning and collaboration. On the morning of November 12, 1.2 million copies were distributed by volunteers in multiple cities across the country. The organizers issued a press release as well as newscast report.
Perhaps my favorite response was a blog post on the The New York Times’ City Room, specifically a comment from a former Times reporter, Alex S. Jones, who states that these newspapers will become a collector’s item. Copies are already on sale on eBay. For those of you who don’t want to spend $7-$50 for a copy, you can print out the PDF. As we await the inauguration of President-Elect Obama, perhaps the Yes Men remind us, in Obama’s own words, “we are the change we need.”