Satirical paper lampoons PR industry

NEW YORK: A coalition of liberal advocacy groups and volunteers distributed copies of a satirical July 4, 2009, edition of The New York Times to New York City commuters on November 12. The issue depicts a President Barack Obama's administration having "enacted" legislation that regulated government agencies' dealings with PR agencies.

NEW YORK: A coalition of liberal advocacy groups and volunteers distributed copies of a satirical July 4, 2009, edition of The New York Times to New York City commuters on November 12. The issue depicts a President Barack Obama's administration having "enacted" legislation that regulated government agencies' dealings with PR agencies.

The groups, including Yes Men, Anti-Advertising Agency, United for Peace and Justice, and Improv Everywhere, distributed more than one million copies of the issue, bolstering it with an Internet version also mimicking the Times' Web site, according to a writer for the issue using the pen-name Wilfred Sassoon. Listed as a writer and researcher on the satirical newspaper's masthead, Sassoon said the publication was created to galvanize politically minded citizens to remain involved in advocacy after Obama's election.

“A main message is that we have voted for change, and to make change happen, we have to remain mobilized,” he said, adding that the groups have other events planned, but declined to go into detail.

Larry Thomas, COO at Medialink, which is mentioned in the issue, said his company is “amused by” the satirical issue.

“It's satire,” he said. “It's not necessarily in good taste, but it's satire.”

Catherine Mathis, SVP of corporate communications at The New York Times Co., said via e-mail that “at this point, we are in the process of finding out more about [the satirical issue].”

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