Free Speech Professor Calls Boston Globe Satirical Front Page Bold, Unusual, Shocking
The line between fact and fiction continues to be blurred when it comes to presidential politics. Most recently, The Boston Globe published a satirical front page story featuring presidential candidate Donald Trump under the headline “Deportations to Begin,” and “Markets Sink as Trade War Looms.” Syracuse University Associate Professor Roy Gutterman, director of the Tully Center for Free Speech, has written extensively on the subject of the use of satire in news reporting, including a Law Review piece titled “New York Times Co. v. Sullivan: No Joking Matter—50 Years of Protecting Humor, Satire and Jokers”.
“The Boston Globe’s front-page satirical editorial was quite a bold move,” says Gutterman. “The satire was biting and poignant and multifaceted. It required quite a level of sophistication for a reader to ‘get.’ Opinion and satire certainly play an important role in critiquing politicians, candidates and public policy. Comedians play a vital role in our democracy and political humor is a staple in many of our favorite shows whether it is ‘The Daily Show’ or the Weekend Update on ‘Saturday Night Live.’
“However, the Globe’s decision to put such a biting piece of editorial satire on the front page of its Sunday newspaper, traditionally, the biggest paper of the week, is unusual. The front page should be dedicated to news and information. Front page editorials in mainstream newspapers are rare. The New York Times ran a front-page editorial in December on gun violence, which I think surprised many readers. Similarly, the Globe’s front-page editorial is somewhat shocking. I could only imagine what readers were thinking when they picked up the newspaper Sunday morning. April Fools’ Day was earlier in the week. Given the nature of this year’s political climate and the level of debate, though, nothing seems too shocking.”
Professor Gutterman is available to speak to media and can be reached by contacting Keith Kobland at 315-443-9038, firstname.lastname@example.org, or reaching out directly to Gutterman at email@example.com.