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News spoof claims war is over

Liberal activists are behind the parody -- all 1.2 million copies.

November 13, 2008|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Commuters nationwide found out during Wednesday morning rush hour that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had ended and global warming, healthcare spending and the economy's problems were on their way to being solved.

On behalf of a collective of liberal activists, 1,000 volunteers across the country handed out 1.2 million copies of a spoof of the New York Times, dated July 4, 2009.

At first glance, the parody, which used the Times' Gothic-style font on the nameplate, could easily be mistaken for the real thing. The 14-page paper -- which also announced the abolition of corporate lobbying, a maximum wage for CEOs and a recall for all gasoline-fueled cars -- showed up across the nation including in L.A., San Francisco and Washington.

The pranksters -- who include a film promoter, a college teacher, journalists and others -- said they wanted to encourage the administration of Democratic President-elect Barack Obama to keeps its promises.

The publication was funded by small, online contributions "to maintain the pressure on the people we've elected so they do what we've elected them to do," said a journalist who used the pseudonym Wilfred Sassoon to protect his real job at a newspaper in the New York area.

He said he helped create the paper with about 30 other people, many of whom work at New York daily newspapers.

Steven Lambert, an editor of the parody who teaches art at two New York City schools, Hunter College and Parsons The New School for Design -- and who gave his real name -- said the project was a success.

"This really resonated with people on the street," Lambert said. "First, there was a moment of, 'How could this be true?' But then people enjoyed this feeling of, 'Ah, amazing things really could happen!' The paper provides this vision of what's possible if we all work together."

On the Times' website, spokeswoman Catherine Mathis said: "This is obviously a fake issue of the Times. We are in the process of finding out more about it."

The lead story appears beneath the headlines "Iraq War Ends" and "Troops to Return Immediately." Another article declares, "Nation Sets Its Sights on Building Sane Economy."

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