Trumped up claims of ‘fake’ news

Donald Trump continues trump up claims of fake news to try to discredit news that he doesn’t like.

CNN Editor-at-large Chris Cillizza: Donald Trump’s chilling escalation of his war with the media:

On Thursday, President Donald Trump escalated his ongoing one-sided war with the media.

He did it, of course, via Twitter. “Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up – FAKE!” Trump tweeted.

Let’s be clear about what Trump is suggesting here. He wants the Senate intelligence committee to open an investigation into the “Fake News Networks” to get to the bottom of why so much of the news is “just made up.” He offers no evidence of this claim. And yet, the President of the United States feels entirely comfortable urging the legislative branch to open an investigation into the Fourth Estate.

No evidence. Playing to supporters who will believe anything he says, but no credibility – or at least substantially less credibility than the media.

The reason? Because Trump doesn’t like what the media writes about him. That’s what he means when he uses the word “fake” — and he uses it a lot. “Fake” for Trump is rightly translated as “not fawning.” (The committee, by the way, is already investigating real fake news targeted by Russians on the US as part of their larger examination of Russian meddling in the run-up to the 2016 US election.)

The truth — as hundreds of fact checks have shown — is that the biggest purveyor of fake news in the country right now is Trump. According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker blog, Trump has made 1,145 false or misleading claims in his first 232 days in office. That’s 4.9 false or misleading statements per day.

Trump’s casual relationship with the truth makes his calls for the legislative branch to investigate the allegedly “fake news” industry all the more outlandish. Yes, the media — including me — do occasionally get things wrong. But, in virtually every case, those mistakes are honest ones — slip-ups made in an honest pursuit of the truth. And, when an error is found, steps are made to publicly remedy the mistake to keep misinformation from seeping into the public’s consciousness.

Can Trump say the same? The answer, of course, is no. He not only spreads falsehoods but does so long after it’s become clear that what he is saying is simply not true.

Why does he do it? For the same reason he has made attacking the “fake news” media his primary daily duty. Because it works — or, at least, it works to motivate his political base, which believes whatever he says (facts be damned!) and is convinced the media is comprised primarily of liberals trying to push their agenda behind the guise of neutrality.

It’s been a deliberate strategy by Trump for a long time. It’s one of the ways he campaigned to get the republican nomination, and to win the presidency.

It’s his latest ramping-up of an ongoing effort to destroy the credibility of the media in the eyes of a not-insignificant number of people in the country. Which is bad enough.

What makes it worse is that Trump knows the media isn’t fake. He is an avid consumer of cable TV and major national newspapers. No president has been so aware of what the media is saying about him at any given minute as Trump.

He is saying and doing these things not because he really believes it but because he knows it works for his base. That cynical ploy may well be a way for Trump to rally that base to him. But the medium- and long-term implications of trying to use the Senate to pressure the media to cover a president more favorably are scary.

Surely the Senate won’t act on trumped up claims.

A likely problem for Trump is that in time more and more people will realise he makes a lot of things up, they will learn that many of his claims don’t stack up.

He is forcing media to sharpen up and to be more accurate and more balanced – that’s a good thing.

But if he continues to trump up fake claims he’s the one who will struggle more with a lack of credibility.

Who can trust a President who blatantly lies so much? His base may always believe him, but most of the world can see through the presidents tatty clothes.

He may become known as the fake president.


  1. lurcher1948

     /  October 6, 2017

    Remember this “fake news”moron has his finger on the nuke button.I hope the men wearing white coats are keeping a close eye on their orange faced patient.

    • Gezza

       /  October 6, 2017

      Impeachment before the end of first term, I reckon.

  2. NOEL

     /  October 6, 2017

    Sorry this one.
    What’s that saying something about if you say something often enough….

  3. George

     /  October 6, 2017

    Just look at our media .
    Unsourced stories.
    Clickbait headlines without a relevant article.
    Pitiful grammar and no use of a spellchecker.
    Fake media is the kindest comment one can make

  4. Rightly or wrongly, Trump is simply using the media’s own tricks: commentary disguised as news, hyperbolic emotive language, stories with unsubstantiated claims, individual reporters with an obvious agenda; and where the highest goal of accuracy has been replaced with reactionary puff pieces designed solely for instant sensationalism.

    • Gezza

       /  October 6, 2017

      True. But he’s supposed to be a President. Not a petty, egotistical, narcissitic, bullying, bombastic, jingoistic brat with a twitter account.

      • Gezza

         /  October 6, 2017

        Sorry, I forgot pig-ignorant.

        • Joe Bloggs

           /  October 6, 2017

          Yass, mustn’t forget that, Gezz… one of the key defining traits of the shitgibbon.

          When he pompously congratulated himself on the “great job” he and his team have done for Puerto Rico, the self-anointed Emperor of PR behaved like a baboon flashing its arse: “Let them eat paper towels.”

          In the meantime over 90% of the population of PR still have no electricity, 80% of cell-phone towers are still not working, and over half the island has no running water.

          Americans may not like the media, but polls are indicating that they trust it more and more — especially compared with 45. The establishment press has been overwhelmingly accurate in its reporting on him and his “administration” (what a joke that word is), and Americans are beginning to realise that:

          A Reuters/Ipsos poll out earlier this week was the latest to tap into the trend. Of the 14,300 people surveyed, 48 percent expressed a “great deal of” or “some” confidence in the press — a figure that was up from 39 percent in November 2016. People with “hardly any” confidence in the media dropped from 51 percent to 45 percent.

          Other pollsters have reached similar findings. Last month, Gallup reported a 9 percentage point increase in “trust and confidence” in mass media from a year ago, rising to 41 percent from 32 percent. And in August, 54 percent of respondents replied to a Quinnipiac University poll that they trusted the media more than Trump to tell “the truth about important issues.”

  5. lurcher1948

     /  October 6, 2017

    My wife stated that his wife who always walks behind him must be so embarrassed with him but lots of money helps with that problem.

  6. I think he will come away with worse than the title of the Fake President.