"Unpresidented," the headline reads, referring to the surprise resignation of President Trump. But the paper imitating an issue of the Washington Post, dated May 1, 2019, is literally fake news.
Fake editions of the Post were handed out at multiple Washington, D.C., locations on Thursday, including at Union Station and outside the White House. They were filled with anti-Trump stories with headlines such as "Celebrations break out worldwide as Trump era ends" and "Pres. Pence begins 'clipped duck' term."
The issue is a facsimile of real editions, imitating the Post's font and layout, and printed on real paper stock. There is also an accompanying website imitating the Post's.
The Post's PR department released a statement on Twitter saying the manufactured editions were completely unrelated to the official paper: "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."
It is unclear who produced the fake editions, although the activist group Code Pink posted a video on Facebook showing founder Medea Benjamin passing out copies in what appears to be an office building. As first reported by the Post, Benjamin tells people in the video, "The crisis is over — Trump has left the White House." Later, she adds, "You gotta believe in the Washington Post."
Some suspected that liberal group MoveOn had organized the papers and distribution, but MoveOn tweeted that "while we love the headline," they were not responsible for the fake editions.
The distribution of the editions came as the national media is consistently criticized by the president and often referred to as "fake news" to undermine factual reporting. Mr. Trump has repeatedly referred to the Post as the "Amazon Washington Post" because of its owner Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, suggesting that the paper is biased because of its ownership.
Many liberals blame the news media for what they see as enabling and "normalizing" Mr. Trump during the 2016 campaign and his presidency. One article in the fake newspaper has the headline: "Major news outlets on Trump's rise to power: 'Our bad.'"
Another headline was more meta: "Fictional Washington Post eerily predicted real events."