A remarkably detailed parody of the Washington Post is being handed out near the White House Wednesday morning. It features a banner headline screaming “UNPRESIDENTED” and is dated May 1, 2019. It purports to chronicle President Trump’s last day in office. In a story datelined “THE CAPITAL,” it says Trump left the White House suddenly, leaving only a napkin with the words “Blame Crooked Hillary & Hfior & the Fake News Media.”
Washingtonian picked up a copy from a tall person at the corner of 17th and Pennsylvania Wednesday morning. “Washington Post!” the hawker shouted, handing out copies to passersby.
The immediate authorship of the parody was unclear. The names of the reporters on the front page–Simone Williamson, Alexis Berryhill, Lisa Chung, and others–do not appear to correspond with those of any current Post reporters. A lot of work has gone into the parody, which sports the motto “Democracy Awakens in Action,” a weather report, and edition marks on its masthead, plus a corrections box on A2 and other features that mimic the Post‘s design.
A web version of the paper exists at the URL my-washingtonpost.com, and it, too, closely follows the Post‘s design.
An included “action guide” insert, the size of the Post’s Weekend and Local Living sections, says it is edited by L.A. Kauffman and designed by Cristian Fleming/The Public Society. It also says the paper was “Developed in collaboration with Onnesha Roychoudhuri and Jacques Servin. Servin is a member of the “culture jamming” group the Yes Men, which has distributed fake newspapers before: A New York Times parody in 2008 that claimed the Iraq War had ended, and a New York Post parody in 2009.
On Twitter, Kauffman, an organizer who has written some pieces for The Guardian as well as a book about protest, took credit for the action.
Reached by email, a Post spokesperson said, “There are fake print editions of The Washington Post being distributed around downtown DC, and we are aware of a website attempting to mimic The Post’s. They are not Post products, and we are looking into this.”
The liberal activist group Move On, which recently made a parody ice cream truck to travel around DC, denied it had anything to do with the parody. The Washington Post noted the involvement of activist group Code Pink in its story about the parody, but asked about the degree of her group’s participation, Code Pink cofounder Medea Benjamin tells Washingtonian “We are helping to give them out.” Claude Taylor, who recently placed a street sign honoring murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi embassy in DC, tells Washingtonian he wasn’t involved but that he was “flattered” we thought of him.
The Yes Men did not reply immediately to a request for comment, but in a blog post late Wednesday morning said they had created the paper with Roychoudhuri and Kauffman.