We were fooled -- for a moment.
The blaring headline makes you think you're just picking up the same ol' rag that's always shouting about something.
"WE'RE SCREWED" screamed the front page of the alleged "New York Post," we picked up on the corner of 49th and 6th Avenue, from a guy who actually didn't look like the kind of person who would be selling the Post. The fact that it was free was nothing alarming, they're always trying to move copies one way or another, maybe the newspaper audit numbers were coming out soon.
But it was a phony, a fake newspaper, completely based on Gotham's favorite tabloid. They got it right down to the last detail: the American flag billowing on the front page, the wood (that's newspaper-speak for "front page" font) and a Page Six bug to boot.
The cover's story, however, is decidedly non-Post-like. "What you're not being told: Official City report predicts massive climate catastrophes, public health disasters."
Sure, the real Post loves gloom-and-doom, so you might be fooled, but members of the News Corp. empire tend to be squarely in the "global-warming doesn't exist" camp (Although Uncle Rupe himself did have a famous change of heart a few years ago). And this paper is all about the impending dangers of global warming.
In the fake Post, there are stories about carbon emissions, urban farming, ads for sex (it's free entertainment and doesn't add to global warming), and even Page Six and the comics are given the treatment. The message is tied to the U.N. conferences this week.
"It's funny stuff," said one businessman reading the paper on a midtown corner. "I'm reading the ads in here, they're hilarious."
The Yes Men got the Post fonts down perfectly, and their website, nypost-se.com, is spot on as well:
The Post responded through their reps at Rubenstein PR, which released a statement that was headlined: "Witless Spoof in Flawless Format."
"It’s no surprise that they tried to spoof the New York Post; they figured this time they’d choose a paper people actually love to read," said the statement, taking a obvious shot at the New York Times. "But this is a limp effort. It has none of the wit and insight New Yorkers expect from their favorite paper. The Post will not be hiring any of their headline writers."
But perhaps the powers that be at the Post didn't have as much humor about the prank as their statement would suggest. Some of the volunteers who were distributing the fake papers outside of the Post's real offices were detained by police and had their papers taken away, according to Daily Finance.com.
One insider at the Post, noted that the faux-paper was pretty funny, and was in fact being passed out in front of their offices at Sixth Avenue and 48th Street.
The Yes Men were proud of their work, and say they handed out nearly a million copies across the city today.
"This could be, and should be, a real New York Post," said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Men. "Climate change is the biggest threat civilization has ever faced, and it should be in the headlines of every paper, every day until we solve the problem."
"Although the 32-page New York Post is a fake, everything in it is 100% true, with all facts carefully checked by a team of editors and climate change experts," the group said in a statement.
Carefully checked facts? Wait, that doesn't sound like the Post at all!
Check out the Yes Men's video.