armchair cultural observation since 1995

News and Notes: Fake news, no onion

A week after anarchists planted fake USA Today cover wraps with the headline “Capitalism Wins At The Polls” in newspaper boxes around the country (I found a stack of them at my bus stop), corporate pranksters The Yes Men have reportedly succeeded in producing and distributing entire copies of a fake 2009 New York Times edition declaring the war in Iraq has ended.

The Yes Men prank, apparently a year in the making, has a companion Web site and is already drawing far more attention than last week’s distribution of USA Today “The World Tomorrow” wraps. Apparently more of a protest than a prank, the USA Today stunt was reportedly orchestrated by a group calling itself the Unconventional Action Journalism Department.

Could we have another flash mob-type trend in the making? I guess we’ll know if and when the L.A. Times, the Washington Post or some other paper gets pranked (remember: it takes three to be a trend).

Who knows, for a struggling industry this could end up being a good thing.

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