Tag Archives: fake news

Mr. POTUS, media aren’t the ‘enemy,’ really

Donald John Trump Sr. just can’t stop attacking the media.

He demands that media outlets fire reporters who make mistakes. He calls media organizations he dislikes “fake news.” He tears into reporters at press conferences.

The president has labeled the media as “the enemy of the American people.”

Here is something he needs to grasp: The media own their mistakes; they hold themselves accountable, which is something the president appears to be genetically incapable of doing as it regards his own missteps.

Trump flies off the rails

For the life of me I cannot grasp how this guy gets away with what he says and how he attacks the press with such abandon. The media’s job, according to the often-stated truism, is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

Every president who preceded Donald Trump has had run-ins with the media. Yet they have accepted the media’s role in a free society. Trump, though, doesn’t grasp that reality. His insatiable appetite for positive coverage blinds him. When he doesn’t get the kind of affirmation he believes he deserves — even when he absolutely doesn’t — he flies into rages.

Is that reasonable? Is it rational? Is that the way a president behaves?

It would be easy to pass this all off as so much silliness, except for this key element: Donald Trump is the Fake News Purveyor in Chief.

He is the one who lies incessantly. He makes contentions that have been disproven with regularity. Trump makes outrageous assertions about his foes and boasts of triumphs that are figments of his imagination.

When the media report his lies, distortions, fabrications, prevarications they are merely doing their job.

The truth is something that Donald Trump simply cannot stand.

Turn off the TV, Mr. President

Donald J. Trump told us he wouldn’t tweet once became president of the United States.

“I’ll be too busy” making America great again, building a wall, defeating ISIS and bringing back jobs that had been shipped to “China and Mexico,” the president said.

The president has gone Twitter crazy. He can’t stop tweeting policy decisions, criticism of foes, friends and the media.

He also told us he wouldn’t have time to play golf, that he doesn’t even think he’ll take vacations once he took the presidential oath. How’s he done there?

Trump is set to play more golf in his first year than his predecessor, Barack H. Obama, did during his eight years as president.

He’s now zero for two.

OK, now he says he doesn’t watch much television. No time for that, either. The president says he reads “a lot of documents.” Is he telling the truth on this one? The New York Times reports that Trump watches more than four hours of TV daily; it might be as much as eight hours.

He watches CNN, Fox, a little MSNBC, perhaps a broadcast network news show or two, according to the Times. Then he tweets almost immediately after hearing the news, whether it’s “fake” or whether it comes from Fox — his favorite news network.

So, by my score, the president is zero for three on these promises and declarations.

Oh, but what the heck. He “tells it like it is.”

Trump is ‘talking past the sale’

A former boss of mine had a saying — perhaps he still says it — that overzealous advocates had a habit of “talking past the sale.”

He meant it to suggest that someone who had a point to make could have stopped trying to make it long ago.

Thus, the president of the United States is “talking past the sale” as it regards a network news broadcast journalist’s erroneous report regarding Michael Flynn’s admission that he lied to the FBI about his contact with Russian government operatives.

ABC News suspended investigative reporter Brian Ross for four weeks without pay after he reported erroneously that Trump instructed Flynn to talk to the Russians while he was running for president; in fact, Trump’s instruction occurred after he was elected, which puts the issue in an entirely different context.

ABC News acted. Ross is off the air for a month — or perhaps longer. The network policed itself. Trump, though, is not letting it go. Oh, no. Now the president is urging “investors” to sue the network for reporting “fake news.”

C’mon, Mr. President! Let … it … go, will ya?

The network has taken ownership of its mistake. However, Ross has given Trump plenty of ammo to keep up his “fake news” barrage against all the media outlets that cover the news — except, of course, Fox News, which caters to the president’s insatiable appetite for “positive news.”

Trump is delivering yet another example of how he doesn’t understand curious relationship between the media and the government. Yes, reporters make mistakes. Some of them are grievous errors, which I consider Ross’s blunder to be.

The president of the United States, though, need not spend a moment more of his time on this matter. He’s got plenty of serious issues on his heaping plate to consume his attention.

Network does well to police itself

I am quite certain Donald John “Fake News Maven” Trump is going to crow like a rooster over this bit of news.

Let’s try to put this into a bit of perspective.

ABC News has suspended veteran correspondent Brian Ross for four weeks without pay for reporting erroneously on the Michael Flynn guilty plea in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump transition team.

It might be that Ross will be canned soon. You see, this isn’t the first time Ross has stepped in it on the air. In 2012, he reported that a suspect in the Aurora, Colo., massacre was a member of the Colorado TEA Party; he wasn’t.

ABC takes care of problem

But here’s my point: ABC is doing its due diligence in policing its personnel. It’s what responsible media companies do, despite the howls we’re going to hear from those on the far right about “fake news.”

Ross went on the air to report falsely that “candidate” Donald Trump had instructed Flynn to make contact with Russian government officials. Actually, that instruction came after Trump had been elected president; thus it came from the president-elect, which is a significant difference from it coming from a mere presidential candidate.

ABC said its reporter had failed to check his sources adequately and that he “fell far short” of the standards the network has set for its reporting staff.

I accept that mea culpa as sufficient evidence that the network has taken ownership of its mistake.

As for Ross, who carries the title of “chief investigative reporter” for ABC News, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised — or disappointed — if he is shown the door at the network.

This kind of mistake — and the sanction that has followed it — are going to tar Ross’s work for as long as he continues to pursue what many of us still consider to be an honorable craft.

POTUS declares war on media

It’s been on-going ever since Donald John Trump declared his presidential candidacy in June 2015.

He’s been at war with the media that seek to report the news relevant to his campaign and now, his presidency.

As Steve Schmidt, a longtime Republican Party political activist, has noted: Trump now has all but declared Fox News to be the state’s official news medium. Why is that? Because Trump just relishes the network’s obvious bias in his favor.

Other media outlets? They’re all the “enemy of the American people.” The president, with his alarming and frightening petulance toward the rest of the media, has broken with a couple centuries’ worth of tradition involving presidential relationships with a free press.

Consider, too, the words of a longtime public servant who now works as a “contributor” to CNN. Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden — the former head of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency — laid it on the line.

Hayden fires back at Trump

Hayden wrote this on Twitter: “Until now it was not possible for me to conceive of an American President capable of such an outrageous assault on truth, a free press or the first amendment.”

Think not just of what Gen. Hayden said, but also consider that this man would say it. Michael Hayden served with distinction and honor under presidential administrations of both major political parties.

Hayden was responding to this tweet from Trump: “Fox News is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly.”

I get that Trump gored Hayden’s proverbial ox with that ridiculous message. However, I believe Hayden’s description of Trump’s view of the media is correct. He is conducting an “outrageous assault on truth, a free press” and, yes, on the First Amendment.

This individual, the president of the United States, is a disgrace to the high office he occupies.

Answer to your question is easy, Mr. POTUS

Donald John Trump fired off another in an endless string of tweets.

He writes: “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”

I can answer that one, Mr. President. It’s never appropriate! Especially not from someone in your position!

NBC News reported that Trump wants to increase the nation’s nuclear stockpile, apparently in response to growing threats from North Korea. The president denies it. NBC stands by its story.

POTUS goes on the attack

Trump calls it “fake news,” which has become his favorite throwaway line to disparage anything he deems negative.

What is “bad for country” is for the president to bully the media, to seek to push reporters, editors and assorted news executives around with threats against their profession.

The president needs to layer on some additional skin. It’s tough out there, man. You ought to know that. Moreover, you ought to accept critical reporting as being part of your job.

Ah, yes, more ‘fake news’ from POTUS

Mr. President, you have put forth yet another lie.

Doggone it, sir! I cannot let this one go.

You keep attaching the pejorative term “fake news” to the media and your political foes, but you have turned fake news into an art form.

The terror attack in Spain prompted another careless, reckless response from you, sir. Let me remind you of what you tweeted: Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!

Did you say at that hideous press event the other day that you like to “get the facts straight” before you make a statement? Yeah, you did.

The tweet about Gen. Pershing, Mr. President, is a lie. You defamed the memory of one of our great national heroes all in the name of making some sort of stupid and ridiculous point about the nature of the terror attack that killed at least 13 people in Spain.

That fake story you told during the campaign about Gen. Pershing dipping bullets in pig’s blood and then shooting Islamic prisoners to death is a lie. It didn’t happen. So, you told the lie once again today. You put out fake news. You are a habitual, pathological liar. You, Mr. President, disgrace the office to which you were elected.

You not only defamed Gen. Pershing with that hideous story, you accused him of committing a horrific war crime.

I’ll attach how the National Review reported what you said, in case you haven’t seen it. It’s not often that I agree with the National Review, but we’re on the same page on this one, Mr. President. They can’t stomach you as president; neither can I. Nor can the hefty plurality of Americans who voted for Hillary in the 2016 election.

You keep demonstrating time and time again your total unfitness for high political office.

Fake news? You keep blathering that line at any opportunity.

Well, I got my fill of your so-called “fake news” long ago. The Barack Obama birth issue; the Muslims supposedly cheering the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11; the “millions” of illegal immigrants voting for Hillary; your insistence on voter fraud throughout the nation.

They’re all lies. They’re all “fake news.”

You should be ashamed of yourself. Except that shame requires a conscience. You are sorely lacking in both.

Once more in high praise of the media

The president of the United States has grown annoyingly fond of calling the media that publish and broadcast negative stories about him “fake news.”

The description he uses — and the context in which he utters it — demonstrate that Donald John Trump doesn’t understand what “fake news” really is. “Fake news” are the made up accounts, lies, fabrications … the kind of thing that Trump has done for many years. I’ll get back to that in a moment.

I want to offer another word of high praise for the media for the job they have done in covering the 45th president of the United States.

The world has witnessed a rebirth of sorts of traditional, gumshoe reporting by great print media. The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal — three powerhouse print outlets — all have demonstrated the value of hard-nosed reporting. Were it not for their dogged pursuit of tips the nation wouldn’t know about:

* Russian hacking into our 2016 election process.

* Donald Trump’s presidential campaign’s potential role in that meddling.

* The issues related to the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

* The possible conflicts of interests related to the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution.

That’s just four issues. The media have done their job. They have done what the media always do and what presidents — until the current one — have accepted as part of journalists’ calling.

Donald Trump instead has promoted actual “fake news” all along the way. He has promoted the scurrilous assertion that Barack Obama wasn’t constitutionally qualified to serve as president; he lied about “thousands of Muslims” cheering the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; he has lied about “millions of illegal immigrants” voting for Hillary Clinton in 2016; he lies about the size of his electoral victory; his press office has lied about the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd.

And this man, then, has the audacity to accuse media outlets of promoting “fake news” that in actuality is merely news that doesn’t slather him in glowing praise.

Mr. President, that’s the way it goes. Every single one of your predecessors has gotten beaten up by the media. Have they blackballed news outlets? Have they called the media “the enemy of the people”? Have they called individual reporters “terrible, dishonest human beings”? No. They understand the value of a free press and have welcomed the media’s efforts to hold all public officials accountable for the words and actions.

They have reacted far more professionally and “presidential” than the thin-skinned weakling who occupies the Big Chair in the Oval Office.

As someone who toiled for nearly four decades as a print journalist, I am damn proud of the job my former colleagues are doing.

POTUS remains an angry man

Donald John Trump is an angry old man. The 71-year-old president of the United States marked his 200th day in office with a series of tweets.

He blasted Democrats, the “fake” media, turncoat Republicans, Congress in general. The only folks who escaped his Twitter tirade it seems are his kin and Vladimir Putin.

What gives with this guy? The honeymoon period presidents traditionally get never materialized with this buffoon. Perhaps it was the tone of his inaugural speech, the one that talked about vowing to end the “American carnage” and painted a dark portrait of the world’s greatest, most powerful nation. There was no high-minded prose coming from the president. There was plenty of anger.

It’s gone downhill … from there!

He hasn’t filled a huge number of key staff posts. Judgeships remain vacant. Federal prosecutors need to be named. He’s changed his White House chief of staff, booted out his press secretary, fired the FBI director and the acting attorney general, tossed his national security adviser, kicked out his communications director. Am I missing anyone? Whatever.

My point is that the president is an unhappy man who this morning decided to torch a Democratic senator over an issue for which the senator has apologized. Take a bow, Richard Blumenthal.

Nothing of consequence has been accomplished — legislatively. Yes, he issued those executive orders removing the United States from the Transpacific Partnership and from the Paris climate accords. He tweeted something about banning transgendered Americans from serving in the military, only to get push back from the Pentagon brass at the highest levels of all the military branches.

Trump keeps getting caught in lies and duplicitous comments, thanks to the “leakers” inside the White House who are exposing his countless shortcomings as the head of state and government.

Those “easy” tasks, such as repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act? Not done! The leader of the party that controls the Congress and the White House couldn’t get that one pushed across the finish line. So … he blames Congress for his own failures.

Getting Mexico to build a wall along our nations’ shared border? Forget about it. Tossing out the North American Free Trade Agreement? Pfftt!

Here’s the best part of all of this: We’re at Day 200 of the Trump administration. That means we’ve only got 1,261 more days of this ahead.

Maybe.

When did ‘fake news’ become what it’s become?

Once upon a lifetime or two ago, back before the Internet or even before the rise of some of current contemporary politicians, I used to think of “fake news” as something that bears little resemblance to what it means today.

That was before we even coined the term “fake news” as it has come to be known these days.

If someone were to present an item as “news,” but it turns out to be false, you’d just call it what it was: a fabrication, a prevarication, a lie. Thanks, though, to an adroit politician — who hates to be called one, even though that is what he is — many of us toss the term “fake news” around recklessly. If it’s negative, it’s “fake.” Even if it tells the truth, it’s “fake” in the eyes of those aligned with the target of such truth-telling.

Donald John Trump, the nation’s 45th president, has now turned the term into something of a rallying cry for the shrinking — but still substantial — base of Americans who still believe what he says.

The president’s standing among Americans is around 38 percent — give or take a point or two — who think he’s doing a good job. The rest of us, um, think a lot less of him. The Trumpkins of this nation glom onto the “fake news” mantra to discredit any news report seen as critical of their guy.

They don’t get the irony, though, of what they say about the media. If you want any clearer example of what I used to think of as “fake news,” you need look no further than the man who’s made it the rallying cry it has become.

Donald Trump is the king of fake news. Call him King Donald the Faker. To wit:

He perpetrated the lie that Barack Obama was constitutionally unqualified to hold the office of president; he cited a phony instance of “thousands of Muslims cheering” the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11; he said President Obama bugged his campaign office after the election; he said “millions of illegal immigrants” voted for Hillary Clinton and gave her the 3 million popular vote plurality she scored over Trump, despite losing the Electoral College vote; he implied there might be White House recordings of conversations he had with fired FBI Director James Comey.

What, I ask, do all these instances have in common? They’re all demonstrably false. They’re lies. They are made up events.

They are “fake news”!

Still, the president gets away with it in the minds of those who stand by their man.

I get that Donald Trump changed the rules of politics when he ran for and won the presidency in 2016. Brother, do I ever get it.

What continues to boggle my mind, though, is the very idea that this guy gets away with hanging the “fake news” label on media and news reports while being cheered on by those who ignore his own tawdry record of dishing out lies.