Fake editions of The Washington Post handed out at multiple locations in D.C.
By EMILY HEIL AND PAUL FARHI | The Washington Post | Published: January 16, 2019
Fake editions of The Washington Post claiming that President Donald Trump was leaving office were handed out Wednesday morning at multiple locations in Washington.
The print papers — dated May 1, 2019, and looking strikingly similar to actual copies of The Post — were filled with anti-Trump stories that also appeared on a website that mimicked the official Post site.
The Post’s PR department released a statement on Twitter: “There are fake print editions of The Washington Post being distributed around downtown DC, and we are aware of a website attempting to mimic The Post’s. They are not Post products, and we are looking into this.”
Late Wednesday morning, a group that describes itself as a “trickster activist collective” called the Yes Men said it produced the bogus newspapers and website.
Under the headline “Unpresidented,” the fake newspaper’s lead story said that Trump had left a resignation message on a napkin in the Oval Office and left Washington for Yalta, the Crimean resort that was the site of a meeting of Allied leaders during World War II.
The false story also reported that his abrupt departure was prompted by “massive women-led protests” around the country, suggesting that the stunt was a promotion for a planned women’s march on Saturday.
A statement posted online by the Yes Men said author Onnesha Roychoudhuri created the paper with author L.A. Kauffman. “The story this paper tells is more reasonable than our current reality,” Roychoudhuri said in the statement. “And it’s anything but far-fetched. We’re already seeing unprecedented levels of protest and resistance. Now we just need to ask ourselves: What’s next? This paper offers a blueprint to help us reclaim our democracy.”
Copies were being handed out at locations around Washington, including outside the White House and Union Station.
The liberal activist group Code Pink posted a video on Facebook of the organization’s founder, Medea Benjamin, passing out copies of the paper at what appears to be a Capitol Hill office building.
In the video, Benjamin tells people, “The crisis is over — Trump has left the White House.” Later, she adds, “You gotta believe in The Washington Post.”
Benjamin did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
Code Pink has become well known in Washington for staging protests that disrupt Congressional hearings and other official proceedings.
It describes itself as “a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities.” The name satirizes the George W. Bush administration’s color-coded terror-threat alert system that has been phased out.
The liberal group MoveOn, which some on social media suspected of being behind the fake paper, tweeted that it was not responsible. “While we love the headline, we didn’t produce today’s satirical Washington Post.”