By CHRISTIAN MORRISON
In Washington D.C., many people might have been surprised to hear that President Trump unexpectedly resigned from office; however, the news source they received this information from was less than legitimate. Today, several fake editions of the Washington Post were handed out to people from various places in the nation’s capital. The headline of these counterfeits: “Unpresidented.”
A group called the Yes Men, which describes itself as a “trickster activist collective,” is responsible for this spreading of misinformation, according to the Washington Post. This is not the first time this group has pulled such a prank. In 2008, after President Obama’s election, they similarly created a fake New York Times article, which portrayed liberal activists pressuring the then newly elected president’s administration.
The newspapers the group published were hard to distinguish from a genuine Washington Post newspaper. According to CBS news, the imitations copied the Post’s font and layout, and were even “printed on real paper stock.” However, the publication date of the newspapers read May 1, 2019. In conjunction with the newspaper, the group also created a fake website, which has since been taken down, that mimicked that of the Washington Post’s.
The newspapers announced on the front-page that President Trump had just resigned today. According to the story, Trump wrote down a resignation message on a napkin in the Oval Office; subsequently, the president left D.C. for Yalta, which is a Crimean resort where Allied leaders met during World WarⅡ. Of course, this did not occur in any capacity in reality.
The purpose behind this stunt was to offer ideas on how to go about impeaching President Trump- hence the future date printed on the newspapers. “The idea was a newspaper from the future and how we got there — like a roadmap for activists,” said Jacques Servin, who claims to be a co-founder of the Yes Men. The entire thing cost around $40,000, according to Servin, with about $36,000 of it being raised from the group’s mailing list.
The newspaper, besides offering possible courses of action, also criticized the media. According to CBS news, one article was entitled “Major news outlets on Trump’s rise to power: ‘Our bad.’” This is an apparent reference to many liberals’ belief that news media coverage of President Trump led to his success in the 2016 election and his presidency.
One group that was involved in the distribution of the fake newspapers, according to the Washington Post, was Code Pink. The group’s founder, Medea Benjamin, was seen on a video posted to Facebook passing out the newspapers. In the video, she is heard saying, “The crisis is over — Trump has left the White House.” She also states, “You got to believe in The Washington Post.”