U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media during a Cabinet meeting at the White House Dec. 20, in Washington, D.C. Trump extolled passage of the tax reform package as it nears, called for an end to the immigration visa lottery and celebrated the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate included in the tax package. Trump did not take questions. (Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
Firing the latest salvo in his battle with the mainstream U.S. media, President Donald Trump has announced the ‘Fake News Awards’ for the “very corrupt and dishonest” press, with a report in The New York Times topping the list, writes Lalit K. Jha.
Much of his list, which was earlier scheduled to be announced on Jan. 8, centered around American media’s reporting on the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Trump, 71, had coined the term ‘Fake News’ during his presidential campaign, targeting media houses for “biased” news. The term is now popularly related to news with which one does not agree with.
The president used Twitter to announce “the winners” of the unique awards. The list of “winners” was also displayed on the Republican National Committee’s website, which crashed soon after the awards were announced.
“2017 was a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage, and even downright fake news. Studies have shown that over 90 per cent of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative,” the list said.
The “awards” were presented in list form and specified particular stories about his presidency.
Topping the list was The New York Times’ story by Paul Krugman which claimed on the day of Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover.
ABC News’ story by Brian Ross that Trump directed former national Security Adviser Michael Flynn to make contact with Russia during the election was positioned second.
Ross was later suspended by the network and then moved to a different assignment. General Flynn has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about meetings with Russia’s ambassador weeks before Donald Trump became president.
It “CHOKES and sends markets in a downward spiral with false report,” the Republican website said.
A story by ‘CNN’ that Donald Trump and his son had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks was given third position.
Trump also gave CNN four of his “fake news” awards.
The President singled out The New York Times twice while the broadcaster ABC and the magazines Time and Newsweek were each mentioned once.
The ‘Time’ magazine was place fourth for “FALSELY” reporting that Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office.
The Washington Post’s story was placed last for “FALSELY” reporting the president’s massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty.
“Dishonest reporter showed picture of empty arena HOURS before crowd started pouring in,” it said.
Trump alleged that “the dishonest media” was not reporting about “the true story” under his administration.
“ISIS is in retreat, our economy is booming, investments and jobs are pouring back into the country, and so much more! Together there is nothing we can’t overcome—even a very biased media. We ARE Making America Great Again!” Trump tweeted.
Critics have seen the “awards” as another attempt by Trump to undermine the free press.
Two Republican lawmakers—John McCain and Jeff Flake—rebuked Trump’s treatment of the media.
McCain said Trump s attacks on the media “provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit.”
Flake took aim at Trump in a damning speech from the Senate floor.
“It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies.”
However, Trump after announcing the awards also said despite some “very corrupt and dishonest” media coverage, there are many great reporters he respects.
“And lots of GOOD NEWS for the American people to be proud of!” he said.