Democracy Dies in Darkness

Magazine | Perspective

Gene Weingarten: Spot the fake news headline

August 9, 2018 at 9:00 AM

I did a reader poll recently to test my theory that nothing our mercurial president might do or say — however absurd or outrageous — would be truly surprising. So I wrote that President Trump was planning to dismantle the Statue of Liberty — or at least sandblast away Emma Lazarus’s poem on the base — on the grounds that we no longer want to welcome “wretched refuse.” I asked readers if they thought it was or might be true. Twenty-five percent said yes.

One reader suggested a second maybe-believable headline: “Trump considers returning Alaska to Russia.” Sure, why not?

With the help of some friends, I’ve compiled some other disturbingly plausible presidential news stories:

Trump is pressuring Disney to sue The Washington Post’s fact-checking site for infringing on the Pinocchio trademark.

Trump is attempting to have Wyoming, Utah and Idaho each separate into three different states in order to pick up an additional 12 Republican senators and make America even greater again.

Trump has been in talks with the ownership of the Watergate Hotel to rename it Hillary’s Emails.

Trump is planning a state visit to Mexico so they will be forced to build the wall to keep him out.

Trump to rename the White House the Whitest House.

Sources close to Trump reveal that Trump’s friend Jim is black.

Trump to propose revising the Bill of Rights so the Second Amendment is now the First Amendment.

In a benevolent gesture, Trump plans to grant illegal Kenyan immigrant Barack Hussein Obama full American citizenship.

Trump is ordering a major research effort to develop coal-powered cars.

In Helsinki, in a “demonstration of peace and cooperation,” Trump gave Putin the nuclear codes.

Trump plans to rename New Mexico. It will now be New Russia.

Trump is having the inscription on the Supreme Court building changed to “No Collusion, No Puppet.”

Trump is making a deal with Merriam-Webster to rewrite the dictionary. “Covfefe” is in. “Would” and “wouldn’t” can be used interchangeably.

To help keep track of recidivist illegal immigrants, Trump proposes tattooing serial numbers on their arms.

Trump plans to fire Mike Pence and make himself vice president as well as president. That way, if he’s impeached, he is still president. Winning!

Trump says that energy-efficient, environmentally friendly lightbulbs cause cancer, and that the liberal-types who came up with this stuff “don’t care.”

Oh, wait. That last one? It’s true.

Thanks to Robyn Carlson, Robert Schechter, Anne Talley, Lee Mayer, Rachel Manteuffel, Frank Yuen, Jon Ketzner, Dottie Gray, Rob Wolf and Alex Blackwood.

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Gene Weingarten is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writes "Below the Beltway," a weekly humor column that is nationally syndicated.

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