Life Under President Trump: The Boston Globe's Front Page Satire

One of the media's recurring laments used to explain Trump's success in the primaries, is all the unprecedented attention and coverage the New York billionaire gets for free from the press due to his "shock value." According to NYT calculations, Trump has received about $1.9 billion in free advertising equivalents. As of today, thanks to a curious attempt at satire by the Boston Globe, one can probably round that up to $2 billion.

This morning, in a world where increasingly more media outlets turn to The Onion as a thought leader, the Boston Globe published a satirical front page predicting headlines about a Donald Trump presidency one year from today, alongside a “Stop Trump” editorial.

The fake front page will be the lead of the Globe’s Sunday Ideas section and "is a work of political satire and commentary produced by the Globe's Editorial Board, not the newsroom,” Globe Editorial Page Editor Ellen Clegg wrote in an email.

The banner headline on the fake page, dated a year from Sunday, reads: “Deportations to begin, President Trump calls for tripling of ICE force; riots continue.” The page includes full, realistic articles about Trump’s actions as president (full page below).

The main story includes mentions of an Attorney General Chris Christie, and Fox News’ Megyn Kelly tweeting from a bar because she’s been placed on a White House black list. Other stories on the fake front page include “U.S. soldiers refuse orders to kill ISIS families” and details such as new libel laws targeting “absolute scum” in the press. Another story is about how Trump had offended the Chinese first lady by naming his new dog after her.

An editor’s note at the bottom of the page explains why the paper chose to create it. Here is the video summary:

"This is Donald Trump’s America. What you read on this page is what might happen if the GOP frontrunner can put his ideas into practice, his words into action. Many Americans might find this vision appealing, but the Globe’s editorial board finds it deeply troubling,” the editor’s note reads.

An editorial on the following page urges the GOP to stop Trump.

"The satirical front page of this section attempts to do just that, to envision what America looks like with Trump in the White House,” the editorial states. "It is an exercise in taking a man at his word. And his vision of America promises to be as appalling in real life as it is in black and white on the page. It is a vision that demands an active and engaged opposition. It requires an opposition as focused on denying Trump the White House as the candidate is flippant and reckless about securing it."

The editorial goes on to note the controversy surrounding Trump, including his “winks and nods” to violence at his rallies. "If Trump were a politician running such a campaign in a foreign country right now, the US State Department would probably be condemning him,” the editorial states.

The editorial ends with a warning that Sen. Ted Cruz, who is currently rallying Republicans behind him as the only candidate who could stop Trump from securing the GOP nomination, could be even more dangerous.

And while we commend the Globe's imagination, we wonder how many people actually change their minds as a result of such a media stunt, especially people who may wonder when comparable "hypothetical" headline pages will appear showcasing life under all the other potential presidential candidates and who may wonder if this is not just the latest example of media bias.  And speaking of that, recall this amusing incident from the $70 million 2013 sale of the Boston Globe to billionaire John Henry from the NYT, when as the Boston Herald then reported that a conservative San Diego media mogul alleged that he outbid Henry for The Globe and that the management of The New York Times did not accept his offer because they preferred to sell to someone who would continue the "liberal" editorial slant of The Globe. Mission accomplished?

Here is today's Globe's front page (pdf).