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By Rachel Stoltzfoos

The Washington Post made up an imaginary story about the outcome of President Donald Trump’s budget Thursday, in an amazing decision to publish what is literally a fake narrative rather than deal in facts.

In the fictitious world dreamed up by WaPo reporter Philip Bump, Trump’s budget is to blame for basically everything wrong in the life of a poor (non-existent) American, including but not limited to: a cold house with bad insulation, unaffordable housing, a child’s asthma problem, bad schools and the end of field trips.

The news story is preceded by an incredible disclaimer noting it’s a “worst-case scenario” that is completely made up: “President Trump introduced a 2018 budget proposal Thursday that includes significant cuts to programs meant to bolster lower-income Americans. Below, we imagine a worst-case scenario for one such family, living in southwestern Pennsylvania.”

“The first thing you notice when you wake up is that it’s cold,” the imaginary tale begins. It’s unseasonably cold for March, sure, but it’s also colder in the house than it should be. The winter was long and heating oil is expensive — and although the government used to provide assistance with the heating bills, that support ended …”

Perhaps Bump is taking a page from New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof, who once made up an interview with an imaginary Trump supporter and published the tale. “So let me engage a (imaginary) Trump voter,” Kristof wrote in the piece, apparently unwilling or unable to find one of the tens of millions of Trump supporters to interview.

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