clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The New York Daily News’s war on Trump, in 5 front pages

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

The New York Daily News is not hiding its alarm over Donald Trump's victory in the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday night. The tabloid's front page shows Trump in angry clown makeup and describes his supporters as "mindless zombies":

New York Daily News front page with "Dawn of the Brain Dead" headline
Today's front page.
New York Daily News

But this is far from the first salvo in the New York tabloid's war on Trump — one that's ramped up as he's gotten closer to the nomination. "Our nation is doomed" if Trump wins, the paper warned Tuesday morning:

Wednesday's front page is an echo of the publication's front page on July 17, 2015, the day after Trump declared he was running for president, which portrayed him as a slightly more benevolent clown:

The front page when Trump entered the race.
New York Daily News

And when Sarah Palin endorsed him, the Daily News blared, "I'm with stupid" (leaving it slightly unclear if the epithet referred to Palin or to Trump):

Still, the Daily News has mostly treated Trump like a joke, albeit a very unfunny one. The exception was when Trump proposed a ban on Muslims entering the US. The Daily News went straight for Godwin's law, repurposing the famous quote from Martin Niemöller on speaking out against the Holocaust:

It's not just Trump — the Daily News has been on a liberal hot streak, blasting opponents of gun control, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's comments on black students, and Ted Cruz's attack on New York values.

If you have outspoken liberal friends on Facebook, it can feel like the Daily News is suddenly everywhere. And that's because it's the first newspaper to rediscover the value of the print front page in an era when print is declining.

The front page, the Daily News has realized, is the ideal meme. It's immediately recognizable but endlessly variable. You can understand it at a glance. It's designed to make you feel something or pull you in. And in the age of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, it's easier than ever to pass along. Particularly if it says something about Donald Trump.