Rather marvellously, a bunch of pranksters have produced 1 million copies of a fake New York Times giving it out to commuters who believed, until they checked the date, that indeed, war in Iraq is over.
July 4th, 2009, will be a special day if these guys are to be listened to. Their aim is to remind President Elect Barack Obama what he promised throughout his campaign and is essentially the first pushing aside of Dubya as the USA look to the future.
Whether this is actually a wonderfully constructed piece of PR by the Obama campaign, the NYT OR genuinely an independent group, is yet to be revealed. Whoever they are, they’ve gone to serious lengths to present this as a genuine newspaper, even copying the NYT’s website.
What’s Barack to do? He’s not even decided on his Oval office furniture and he’s already being held to account; God only knows what it’ll be like come January.
What would happen if this were to take place in the UK?
Say for example, the Tories win the next general election. Will the Telegraph be parodied in a similar fashion?
This is just another example demonstrating that the media are influencing popular opinion, if this is the work of pranksters. The hype around Barack Obama is such that he is in a no win situation. Succeed, and he’ll be the proud recipient of a pat on the back and a ‘we knew you could do it’. Fail, and he’ll be seen as nothing more than spin, clever oratory and good looks but ultimately a waste of 4 or 8 years.
If it is the work of the NYT, they’ll get a nice brief rise in sales, before they slump again.
What though, if it IS Barack’s team? They’ve played a risky game risking upsetting what will essentially be their mouthpiece (NYT is a particularly liberal paper) But, they have also reminded the electorate why they voted for Obama; his manifesto is as clear as can be and this little reminder won’t hurt a bit come his inauguration. Let’s hope, for all our sakes, that the boy does good.