As the paper of record for the United States, The New York Times is perhaps held to a higher standard than many other publications. Its readers expect award-winning reporting and news, with remarkable integrity and attention to detail.
That standard of excellence, along with a few recent flubs, has an inverse effect on Twitter, making it ripe for parody accounts.
@TimesPublicEdit, for example, parodies the Times’ Public Editor Arthur S. Brisbane. On Monday, after Anderson Cooper revealed that he is gay, the parody account simultaneously made light of the news, skewered media coverage of public figures’ sexual orientation, and poked fun at Cooper’s employer, CNN (which drew heavy criticism over its handling of the Supreme Court’s recent health-care ruling).
“CNN is reporting that Anderson Cooper is straight,” the account joked in a message that received more than 3,900 retweets.
That misunderstanding aside, @TimesPublicEdit is among the best parody accounts on Twitter.
Looking for even more fake news coverage? Here are the Daily Dot’s top five takes on The New York Times.
1) @NYTOnIt // 15,573 followers
In 2005, then-Public Editor Barney Calame criticized the paper for failing to provide adequate coverage of a scandal surrounding a talk radio network. The Times occasional lack of... er, timeliness, is parodied by @NYTOnIt. The general structure of the tweets goes something like this: “GUYS, there was a big trend going on last week that everyone was talking about then, and the Times is ON IT” with a link to a story about the topic being covered well after a string of competitors wrote about it, like using Facebook to contact former acquaintances.
Either that, or it’s a story that doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things, such as reality TV stars Snooki and JWOWW struggling to understand why they’re famous.
In a strong example of the late-to-the-party and culturally irrelevant stories it makes fun of, the account tweeted: “GUYS, some people spend exorbitantly on doghouses, but their pets don't really care. The Times is ON IT. http://nyti.ms/LDIkpS”
2) @nytimes_ebooks // 393 followers
This one aims to bring you news from the Times in the style of legendarily nonsensical Twitter account @horse_ebooks. The latter posts gems like “and the THERMIC EFFECT OF FOOD!” and the Times parody aims to ape that style. Here are a few recent examples:
“I think we're in power for a look at http://nyti.ms/MrNpRX”
“editing by Anna Willard http://nyti.ms/MrmLbO”
“I helped the hospital http://nyti.ms/MR1B5I”
The last of those refers to a story detailing the deaths of 50 people in Iraq, making the tweet incredibly bleak and dark in its humor.
3) @NYTFridge // 1,505 followers
If you’ve ever wanted to know what really happens inside the Times’s haven for journalism, the paper’s refrigerator has you covered. Its bio states that its “contents reveal all,” and it seems to be run by an insider at the paper, akin to the @CondeElevator account that took off last summer.
4) @NYTChicken // 3,011 followers
There are a couple of specific Times incidents that have sparked their own dedicated parodies. Sexy Chicken, inspired by an unusual image of posed poultry accompanying a story on chicken-skin-as-delicacy, is one.
There’s a little meta Twitter humor as well, with the chicken claiming it was inside the NYT Fridge.
5) @NYTspam // 189 followers
The last entry on our list took the Times to task over an email that was accidentally sent to eight million people, rather than the 300 it was intended for. The apparent spam email asked subscribers of the paper to reconsider their decision to cancel their subscriptions.
The parody asked followers if they wanted a free iPad or to take IQ tests, in the vein of typical spam emails one might receive. The account was reasonably short-lived, with around two weeks spanning its first and last tweets, yet the anti-spam message remains a noble one.
Photo by alextorrenegra