Pro-Palestinian Group Hands Out Fake NYT to Criticize 'pro-Israel Bias'

The people behind the parodied edition are unidentified, but an organization called 'The Yes Men' reportedly produced something similar in 2008.

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A fake version of the New York Times was distributed in Manhattan on February 2, 2016.
A fake version of the New York Times was distributed in Manhattan on February 2, 2016.Credit: Screenshot

An unidentified group claiming that the New York Times is guilty of bias against the Palestinians and in favor of Israel distributed a fake version of the daily newspaper with parodied content more to the group's liking in Manhattan on Tuesday.

The mock newspaper, which is also available online and has its own Twitter account, is represented as an effort at reconsidering the Times' coverage of Israel and the Palestinians over the past year. Presented in a design strikingly similar to the Times itself, the online version of the "supplement" is labeled "Rethinking Our 2015 Coverage on Israel-Palestine."

The top of the front page in print features a headline story reporting that Hillary Clinton had purportedly dropped out of the race for president and that the U.S. Congress was to debate aid to Israel.

Among the items featured online was a link to "corrections" that stated: " It has come to our attention that the vast majority of articles about violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories have failed to include the names of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces." It then goes on to proceed with what is presented as a partial list.

Although there is no confirmation of who was beyond the effort, the London-based Independent newspaper said there is speculation that a group called "The Yes Men," which was said to have carried out a similar prank in 2008, was behind the Tuesday's fictitious edition.

The Independent quoted a spokeswoman for the New York Times as saying: "We're extremely protective of our brand and other intellectual property and object to this group (or any group's) attempt to cloak their political views under the banner of The New York Times."

The Anti-Defamation League criticized the distributers of the mock issue, saying that while they're entitled to their view, expressing it in a "surreptitious manner, as they have done, is deceptive." 

ADL added that the mock issue printed "false facts and themes consistent with anti-Israel advocates and supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement," and backed the Times' objection to "this assault on their brand."