Fake News Media Says Trump Lied after He Calls Them on a Falsehood

Joe Scudder
Written by Joe Scudder

The media says Trump lied when it is not obvious that what he said was false, let alone a deception.

The media is now doubling down on the accusation that Trump lied in order to save their reputation, but all they’re doing is more damage to it.

First, the New York Times reports something that isn’t true. Then Trump responded:

The media triumphantly replied that they had a source.

Except he never said the Korean Summit was impossible on schedule. It he’s the media source then how can the New York Times explain their fake news?

The media then tried to divert attention from their fake news by screaming that Trump lied.

But it’s not obvious that Trump said anything inaccurate. There was no source who said what the New York Times claimed came from a source.

Secondly, if it is inaccurate, it is not obvious that Trump was deceptive. If he investigated and found no source for the report, then it was logical to conclude the source was made up.

Third, the NYT has offered no evidence that the White House official was their source. They plainly reported something as coming from a source that was never said. Since they never specifically identified the source that they fictionalized, how do we know they didn’t refer to him after the fact, figuring an false report on what the source said is preferable to admitting they made up the whole thing.

I’ll grant that misinterpreting a source is preferable to making him up entirely, but then they should have just said that and moved on. Instead they attacked the president as a liar.

The Federalist reports, “Media Double Down After New York Times Gets Busted Peddling Fake News.”

I’m sure you see the logical failures here, even if President Trump could have or should have said that The New York Times attributed fake news to a real source.

The media, having been outed with benefit of audio tape at being failures at accurately conveying news, quickly moved the goalpost to argue that White House officials exist, as if that was in question. There are countless examples, but The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman is a perfect one:

No source exists who said what the Times claimed he said, so I imagine the background briefer probably feels a lot of anger at The New York Times for being utterly incompetent at its job. He probably is angry that The New York Times claimed he said something he didn’t say. Twitter editorialized as well:

Again, if you for some reason thought that Trump was saying White House officials who give background briefings don’t exist, then this would be a great point. If you expect The New York Times not to invent things that weren’t said and attribute them to these sources, then this is a not good point.

Trump is notoriously imprecise. His sentences — tweeted or spoken — are word salads that can be difficult to diagram. His word choices, run-on sentences, and inconsistent capitalization can be frustrating. It is reasonable to critique the president for his communication style, including that he should have condemned The New York Times for fake news attributed to a real source instead of fake news attributed to a fake source.

A media that desires to hold this president accountable simply must be accurate in its newswriting. It failed dramatically here, and failed to hold itself accountable when caught. This is why the media’s credibility is in tatters and why President Trump and others find it so easy to hold them up for ridicule.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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