YU NEWS SERVICE
Setting the Standard for Parody Journalism, Literature, Publishing and Other Targeted Professions.
YU News Service was founded in 1980 as a counterpoint to Reaganism. It has since established several publishing imprints dedicated to varied works of social and political satires. It has a particular interest in the influence of religion, politics and popular culture on daily social life. These imprints include, among others: Poor Souls Press / Scaramouche Books, Little City Press, Johnny Get Angry, First the News Press, News From Outer Space, as well as collaborations with other independent presses, including Greydog Press, Wagon Train Books, Smakface, Poems For All Press and Mondo Editions.
Its first imprint, Poor Souls Press / Scaramouche Books (formerly Scarecrow Books) was established in 1976 by poet and satirist Paul Fericano. It was consolidated under YU News Service (Yossarian Universal News Service / YU) and co-founded in 1980 by Fericano and fellow poet and satirist Elio Ligi in direct response to Ronald Reagan's presidency. In 1984, promoting the fundamental beliefs in freedom of the press, with the press and from the press, it registered with Editor & Publisher's Syndicated Services as a legitimate publishing operation. Offering full disclosure and complete transparency, it openly defined itself as "a professional parody news and (dis)information syndicate". Since then, YU News Service has been credentialed by agencies and organizations involved in government, law enforcement, education, religion, the arts and professional sports.
Predating The Onion and The Daily Show by several years, YU launched a series of satiric news stories as a counterpoint to an aggressive and reactionary Republican agenda. In 1982 it began offering its own press card for sale to anyone who applied for one. Throughout the eighties, YU's dispatches were published as bound "Briefbooks" and distributed to hundreds of diverse media subscribers in the U.S. and abroad, including The Los Angeles Times, Inside Joke, The Nation, Soho Arts Weekly, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Realist, Mother Jones, The Progressive, National Public Radio, Saturday Night Live, Punch (London), El Pais (Madrid), La Prensa (Mexico City), El Nuevo Diario (Managua) and Krokodil (Moscow). From mainstream publications to college newspapers to small press journals to throwaway shoppers, YU's unbylined syndicated stories appeared in hundreds of publications from San Francisco to Berlin, from Tokyo to Bueno Aires, and often with with no other explanation to readers other than a notice identifying them as subscribing members of YU News Service.
In 1984, The One Minute President, a Candide-inspired satire on the policies of the Reagan administration, was first published by YU News Service / Poor Souls Press in Germany with a U.S. edition of the book following two years later. In January, 1987, YU News became the first publishing and news organization to coin the term "Nancygate" to describe the Iran/Contra Affair, holding the First Lady accountable for allowing the President to sleep through both his terms.
In the nineties under Presidents George H. Bush and Bill Clinton, YU News continued to report on the growing conservative takeover, publishing a series of investigative reports on such luminaries and lunatics as Jerry Falwell, Charlton Heston, Newt Gingrich, Clint Eastwood, Rush Limbaugh, Pope John Paul II, Frank Sinatra, and the brain of former CIA Director William Casey.
After the theft of the 2000 presidential election, YU News Service issued regular weekly dispatches chronicling George W. Bush's first year in office. Three days after 9/11, YU was the first news organization in the country to identify Bush's crusade against terrorism as his re-election campaign war. Our weekly stories were received by thousands of email subscribers all over the world and posted online at ZNet Interactive. A collection of these stories, I, Terrorist: Dispatches from the Front, and published by YU News in 2004, was initially rejected by over twenty U.S. publishers at the height of Bush's popularity in 2002-2003.
From 2008 to 2016, YU News Service kept Barack Obama's feet to the fire but also had his back, issuing blistering satires on Republican efforts to de-legitimize his presidency and make themselves inconsequential. Our infamous interviews with Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, John Bohner, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and others, will be fully archived and available for access in the future at Universal Times: Interviews with the Departed.
Today, under the fake flag of Donald Trump, Yossarian Universal continues to inspire, confound, entertain and offend. In this golden age of satire we are reminded of the fools who dig for pyrite and offer us vast riches. At a time when Trump's criminal blunderings during the Covid-19 pandemic has cost thousands their lives and millions more their sanity, speaking truth to power, while always a first defense, is not enough. Speaking crazy to crazy must be added to the mix. In an era that many will refer to as the dark and cynical days of American democracy, YU is a zombie hunter. It seeks out the shadowy purveyors of alternative facts with the intent of driving a raw steak through their alternative hearts.
Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant.