Tuesday, November 18, 2008

God Bless America!

Of all the things that make me want to be back in the US, this is one. I recently read about a 'pseudo New York Times', of which about 1.2 million copies were circulated in major cities in the United States. The format and printing was exactly like that of the New York Times, and it was dated 4th July 2009. A tag-line read " All the news we hope to print." The lead story suggested the end of the Iraq war, while another suggested that Bush had been indicted on charges of treason. Other stories dealt with ideal solutions to pressing issues, such as the economy as well as health care plans.
The makers claim that this was a result of intensive planning, and required the combined effort of many individuals. They claimed that this was an effort to keep a check on the government, to ensure that they deliver as they have promised. They said that they were looking into the legal consequences of reprinting the New York Times logo without prior permission from the newspaper. Meanwhile, NYT said that they would be looking into the matter.
While I feel that this was a great initiative, and this does establish that ordinary citizens have the power to regulate the functions of the government, it was also unethical. A representation of a leading daily can be misleading and could have established wrong notions in the minds of those who merely glanced at the paper, as opposed to reading it entirely. I feel that this is a great topic for our class as it addresses the issues of freedom vs responsibility, and ethics vs beliefs. While the group that came out with the fake New York Times aimed at the betterment of the country, can their action be deemed ethical? Were they empowering the citizens or did they also mislead them? I feel most of us will have conflicting answers to these questions, it is hard to reach a consensus on this issue.