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Boston Globe satire: More likely to hurt or help Trump?

The Boston Globe has joined other news organizations in scathing criticism of Donald Trump's presidential campaign. But will such efforts injure his candidacy? 

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    A portion of a satirical front page of The Boston Globe published on the newspaper's website on Saturday, April 9, 2016. The editorial board of The Boston Globe used the parody to express its uneasiness with a potential Donald Trump presidency.
    (The Boston Globe via AP)
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The Boston Globe created a stir Sunday when the newspaper ran a caustic editorial and a satirical front page in the Opinion section, depicting what the news might look like under a Donald Trump presidency on April 9, 2017. 

The move drew ire from Mr. Trump himself. He railed against the Globe, calling the paper "worthless" and "stupid." 

This isn't the first time a news outlet has criticized the Republican presidential candidate and pleaded with voters not to vote for Trump. The Huffington Post initially put coverage of his campaign in their Entertainment section, editors at media outlets such as Slate and The New Yorker have come out against him, and a Salon article likened Donald Trump to former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, "in a nicer suit." But does it work? 

Such sharp criticisms may only be fueling the fire. 

"Perhaps, if the noise level gets loud enough, it could sway some voters," wrote Fox News analyst Howard Kurtz. "But I think it underscores Trump's appeal, to his supporters at least, that powerful forces are aligned against him – the same forces that they blame for empty promises and economic anxiety."

"It's a cultural backlash," Steve Schmidt, a Republican political strategist who ran Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, explained to The Associated Press. "Millions and millions of people in this country, blue-collar people, feel that their values are under assault, that they're looked down upon, condescended to by the elites."

And that's where Trump's defiance against political correctness - and the "liberal media" – comes in. Supporters see his brash comments as refreshingly honest, in a way that voices their frustrations.

Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who worked for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, explained that some white, working-class voters were left frustrated in the wake of the Great Recession, and feel marginalized by movements for gay marriage and against racial discrimination. Trump, and some of the other Republican candidates, have given that frustration a voice. 

A poll released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University highlighted that dissatisfaction. As The Associated Press reports, "Nine in 10 [Trump supporters] questioned said their values and beliefs are under attack. Eight in 10 said the government has gone too far in assisting minorities, a view shared by 76 percent of Cruz supporters. But Trump was unrivaled in claiming the largest number of supporters – 84 percent – who agreed that the US needs a leader 'willing to say or do anything' to tackle the country's problems."

As Polly Day, a retired nurse from Wausau, Wisc., who came to a Trump rally last Saturday in nearby Rothschild, told The Associated Press, "Let him be a man with the guts to say what he wants … Should he tone down? He'll figure that out on his own. I like him the way he is."

Often, scathing criticism of Trump has further stoked his supporters' sentiments. 

"Trump has shown an uncanny ability to thrive on bad press, calling out journalists and casting himself as a crusader against media bias," Mr. Kurtz writes.

And, again, Trump has done just that. During a rally Sunday in Rochester, N.Y., he attacked the Globe, saying, "How about that stupid Boston Globe, it's worthless, sold for a dollar … Did you see that story? The whole front page – they made up a story, they pretended Trump is the president, and they made up the whole front page, it's a make-believe story, which is really no different from the whole paper – I mean, the whole thing is made up."

The satirical front page was published online Saturday and ran in Sunday's Opinion section of the print edition of the Globe.

This report contains material from The Associated Press.

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