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On Oct. 21, an unknown number of D.C. New York Times subscribers unwrapped their Sunday papers to find a message even more shrill than the day’s Maureen Dowd column. “Who Killed Senator Paul Wellstone?” asked the headline of a green flier inserted into the papers’ plastic bags. The flier advertised a reading of American Assassination, a book that purports to reveal that the late Minnesota liberal “was murdered, Cheney’s a suspect, and the FBI and NTSB participated in the cover-up.” Those who might take the ad as evidence of the Times’ liberal bias should take pause: “This is not something we’ve organized,” says Times spokesperson Toby Usnik. Sander Hicks, the book’s publisher, says his Vox Pop imprint didn’t organize the insert, either. Instead, he says, a low-budget marketing campaign may have gone awry: “We found this unemployed guy and we paid him $100 to distribute 500 fliers,” Hicks says. “I would suspect this guy might have unloaded the fliers in someone’s… route.” —Mike DeBonis