April 10, 2016

Today’s edition of The Boston Globe includes a fake front page that imagines the state of America under the presidency of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

Although the cover looks like the front page for the entire newspaper, it’s actually the first page of the Boston Globe’s ideas section, which is tucked inside the daily edition. The ideas section is a Sunday edition of the Globe that combines a mix of reporting and commentary on major intellectual trends.

Scattered with such alarming headlines as “US soldiers refuse orders to kill ISIS families” and “markets sink as trade war looms,” the page is a fictional snapshot of daily news one year from now, about three months into Trump’s imagined presidency.

The front page is packaged with an editorial that urges the Republican Party to disavow Trump’s candidacy, which the Globe calls a “toxic mix of violent intimidation, hostility to criticism, and explicit scapegoating of minorities.”

If Trump were a politician running such a campaign in a foreign country right now, the US State Department would probably be condemning him.

Realizing that the party faces a double bind, a few conservatives have been clear-eyed enough to see the need for a plausible, honorable alternative that could emerge from the likely contested convention. Names like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have come up. If no candidate gets a majority on the convention’s first ballot, such a nomination might be theoretically possible.

The major story on the page, headlined “deportations begin,” describes Trump making good on a campaign pledge to expel millions of immigrants without legal authorization to work in the United States. It imagines the resources required for ousting droves of workers on a two-year timetable, including a “massive deportation force” triple the size of the current Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Elsewhere on the front page is a story imagining the realization of a Trump proposal to impose stringent libel laws in the United States. Underneath the headline “new libel law targets ‘absolute scum’ in press,” the Globe quotes future-Trump calling three-fourths of journalists “totally dishonest people.”

The Boston Globe isn’t the first news organization to imagine a Trump victory. In August, The Atlantic published an article examining a fictional and disastrous term for the GOP frontrunner. Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Obama, recently penned a satirical speech purportedly given after a Trump primary win in Ohio — a state he actually lost to Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

In recent years, an increasing number of newspapers have ceded their front pages — generally considered hallowed territory for straightforward reporting — to editorials. Notable examples include The Indianapolis Star, which gave over its front page to an editorial protesting the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, The New York Times, which editorialized on the front page in favor of gun control and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which ran a front-page editorial pledging transparency in the wake of the purchase of the newspaper by Nevada casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. But few have run satirical front pages on A1 or elsewhere; an exception to this rule is USA TODAY, which in October published a commemorative edition in honor “Back to the Future II.”

Here’s today’s entire front page:


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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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