Trump vs. truth
The vitriol and the disinformation in the attacks by President-elect Donald Trump and his spokespeople on CNN represent an ominous signal about the credibility to expect in the new administration. They suggest Team Trump will go to absurd lengths to try to discredit independent reporting.
In a tweet, at his Wednesday news conference and in follow-up interviews, Trump and his surrogates accused CNN of disseminating “fake news” in reporting that an intelligence briefing for the president-elect included a two-page summary of uncorroborated allegations that a campaign representative had contact with Moscow and that the Russians possessed compromising evidence against Trump.
The essence of CNN’s story has been supported by multiple reputable news organizations, which have reported that FBI Director James Comey briefed Trump on the unverified claims. Vice President Joe Biden confirmed that he and President Obama also were alerted to the existence of such evidence collected by a former British intelligence officer.
“Your organization’s terrible ... you are fake news,” Trump told CNN’s Jim Acosta, refusing to call on him at the news conference. Acosta said Trump’s incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, threatened to have him evicted from the session if he persisted in trying to question the president-elect.
What’s especially disturbing is the way the Trump team consistently tried to conflate the responsibly restrained approach of CNN — the fact that a president-elect was given a heads up about such allegations involving a foreign government is news — with the reckless decision of the online site Buzzfeed to publish the full 35-page dossier with all its salacious details and dubious partisan origin.
CNN did not disclose such details and repeatedly emphasized that the allegations were uncorroborated.
Team Trump has served notice that it will take a scorched-earth approach to CNN, fomenting hate and misunderstanding along the way. There is a word for this tactic: propaganda.
Donald Trump falsely accuses CNN of spreading “fake news.”