Now That’s Fake News: The Ironic Reason Activists Handed Out Phony Washington Post Newspapers

January 16, 2019, 10:07 PM UTC

Fake editions of The Washington Post were handed out at several Washington D.C. locations on Wednesday morning, according to the real Washington Post.

The fake Washington Post editions bore the headline “Unpresidented” and were filled with stories that President Donald Trump was resigning, as well as anti-Trump stories. One story about Trump’s resignation claimed he would leave office because of “massive women-led protests.” (The story may have been a nod to annual Women’s March events that are scheduled for Saturday, January 19.) In addition to the stories, the biggest difference from the real Post was the date on the fake papers, which was May 1, 2019.

The Post‘s public relations team posted a tweet early on Wednesday explaining that the news organization was looking into the matter.

Activist group the Yes Men later took credit for the action. The group’s co-founders, Jacques Servin and Igor Vamos, are artists, academics, and also known by aliases including Andy Bichibaum and Mike Bonanno. With their public, political stunts, they came to prominence in the early 2000s after the election of President George W. Bush. One of their most famous actions was creating a fake website about the World Trade Organization, which many global groups mistook for the real WTO and invited the duo to speak at high-level meetings (which they did many times over many years). Several films have been made about The Yes Men’s work. And yes, they’re made fake newspapers before, too.

Servin told the real Post that the fake paper was meant to provide ideas for how to impeach President Trump. “The idea was a newspaper from the future and how we got there—like a roadmap for activists,” he said.