News in the Future Tense

What a great attention-grabber.

Dated July 4, 2009, the lead story in the edition of The New York Times handed out to commuters in New York City yesterday morning trumpeted in giant type “IRAQ WAR ENDS”—alongside the other above-the-fold headline, “Nation Sets its Sights on Building Sane Economy.”

The fake Times, attributed to a left-leaning group of pranksters known as the Yes Men, even appeared on a Web site that included a virtual wish-list of progressive policy achievements, in the form of articles with headlines like “Maximum Wage Law Passes Congress,” “All Public Universities to Be Free,” and “Labor Department Launches Job Creation Program.”

Maybe these guys are trying to deflate some of the euphoria afoot in the land in the aftermath of Barack Obama’s victory, or to remind us that he’s not a wizard, despite the great expectations of what he can get done once he’s in office.

Still — what a birthday present for the country it would be if the new administration, backed by sustained grass-roots support, made some of these fantasy headlines into reality by Independence Day.

Alice Chasan served as editor and associate publisher of Shelterforce from 2007 to 2008.


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