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":
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:
Today's front page: https://t.co/25NWISRRyq pic.twitter.com/RLCrt5xONp— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 9, 2016
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:
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.