New York Times Reports: Iraq War Ends... Really?

NY Times Spoof Leaves Many NYers Scratching Their Heads

Spoof New York Times paper declaring "Iraq War Ends" was the handiwork of The Yes Men -- an activist group with local roots.

The New York Times: Iraq War Ends - Spoof PaperALBANY NY — Thousands of 12-page New York Times look-a-like newspapers were distributed at various subway stations in New York City Wednesday morning, November 12, 2008. The leading headline on the front page of the spoof Times was enough to turn heads, declaring "Iraq War Ends." Curious commuters grabbed copies of the spoof paper, which were postdated July 4, 2009 and distributed free.

Members of well-known culture jamming organization, The Yes Men, were the pranksters responsible for orchestrating this elaborate hoax. The two leading members of the group include Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos. Vamos is an associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).

In addition to the shocking headline "Iraq War Ends," the spoof paper included what the (real) New York Times referred to as a "liberal utopia." Other topics headlining on the front page of the paper included:

  • "National Health Insurance Act Passes"
  • "Ex-Secretary Apologizes for W.M.D. Scare"
  • "Court Indicts Bush on High Treason Charge"
  • "Nation Sets its Sites on Building a Sane Economy"
  • "USA Patriot Act Repealed"
  • "All Public Universities To Be Free"
  • "New York Bike Path System Expanded Dramatically"
  • "Big Boxes Appeal Eviction from Low-Income Neighborhoods"
  • And many others
The parody Times also provided an online edition of the newspaper, located at www.nytimes-se.com. The website appears to be experiencing an overload of traffic after this recently-popular hoax, so loading time is very slow. The Yes Men website is experiencing similar problems.

Though The Yes Men didn't immediately claim credit for the hoax, they issued a statement later in the morning, declaring they were the ones responsible. A quote taken from the statement explains their methods: "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."


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