The Trump Administration's War On The Press

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

President Donald Trump and his administration are engaged in an unprecedented war on the press, which began during his presidential campaign and continued into the transition period. Trump and his administration’s continued attacks on the press pose a distinct threat to our First Amendment freedoms, and Media Matters is devoted to tracking them. If you know of an attack by Trump or his administration on a journalist or media outlet that should be added to this list, email press@mediamatters.org with a link to the abuse. We will update this list regularly. 

Jan. 20 - 28Jan. 29 - Feb. 4Feb. 5 - Feb. 11; Feb. 12 - Feb. 18

January 2017

January 20

New Jersey Reporter Said There Was A “Blackout On Regional Newspapers” At The Inauguration. Poynter quoted Jonathan Salant, a Washington correspondent for NJ Advance Media who has covered inaugurations since 1989, saying, “The presidential inaugural committee imposed a blackout on regional newspapers with Washington correspondents.” Salant added that he had “never seen such disdain for the media.”

Jonathan Salant, Washington correspondent for NJ Advance Media who has covered every presidential inauguration since 1989, informs me of the following:

"The presidential inaugural committee imposed a blackout on regional newspapers with Washington correspondents. They never returned emails, never responded to requests and denied everyone credentials to cover the Trump inaugural events but never told anyone so reporters had to wait on lines to pick up non-existent credentials."

They wouldn't even let reporters pick up their already-approved Secret Service credentials, Salant said.

"The Regional Reporters Association email list was buzzing the last two days as Washington reporters from papers across the country traded stories of not being told anything about their credentials, and being turned away when they showed up to try to find out anything," he said.

Salant has "never seen such disdain for the media," he said. [Poynter, 1/20/17]

January 21

President Donald Trump: “I Have A Running War With The Media.” During a visit to CIA headquarters, President Donald Trump said he has “a running war with the media” and called reporters “among the most dishonest human beings on earth.” 

The New York Times noted that Trump “unleash[ed] a remarkably bitter attack on the news media, falsely accusing journalists of both inventing a rift between him and intelligence agencies and deliberately understating the size of his inauguration crowd.” Trump accused the media of lying and claimed, “I think they’re going to pay a big price.” From a January 21 New York Times article:

President Trump used his first full day in office on Saturday to unleash a remarkably bitter attack on the news media, falsely accusing journalists of both inventing a rift between him and intelligence agencies and deliberately understating the size of his inauguration crowd.

In a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency intended to showcase his support for the intelligence community, Mr. Trump ignored his own repeated public statements criticizing the intelligence community, a group he compared to Nazis just over a week ago.

He also called journalists “among the most dishonest human beings on earth,” and he said that up to 1.5 million people had attended his inauguration, a claim that photographs disproved.

[...]

On Saturday, he said journalists were responsible for any suggestion that he was not fully supportive of intelligence agencies’ work.

“I have a running war with the media,” Mr. Trump said. “They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth, and they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community.”

[...]

Mr. Trump also took issue with news reports about the number of people who attended his inauguration, complaining that the news media used photographs of “an empty field” to make it seem as if his inauguration did not draw many people.

“We caught them in a beauty,” Mr. Trump said of the news media, “and I think they’re going to pay a big price.” [The New York Times, 1/21/17]

Trump Personally Attacked Time Reporter For Incorrect Tweet On MLK Jr. Bust, Even Though The Reporter "Quickly Acknowledged And Corrected The Mistake." During his CIA visit, Trump also personally attacked Time reporter Zeke Miller for “mistakenly reporting that a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office,” according to The Hill. Miller "quickly acknowledged and corrected the mistake." Trump said the incident demonstrated “‘how dishonest the media is.’” From the January 21 article:

President Trump on Saturday attacked a Time magazine journalist for mistakenly reporting that a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office.

Trump called out the reporter, Zeke Miller, while speaking to staff at the Central Intelligence Agency, even though Miller quickly acknowledged and corrected the mistake the previous day.

“They said that ‘Donald Trump took down the bust — the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King.’ But it was right there. There was a cameraman that was in front of it,” Trump said, standing in front of the CIA’s Memorial Wall honoring the employees who died in the line of duty.

“So Zeke, Zeke from Time magazine writes this story about ‘I took down’ — I would never do that because I have great respect for Dr. Martin Luther King.

“But this is how dishonest the media is,” Trump continued. “Now big story, the retraction was like, where? Was it a line or do they even bother putting it in?” [The Hill, 1/21/17]

Press Secretary Sean Spicer Falsely Claimed Media “Engaged In Deliberately False Reporting” On Inauguration Crowd Size. In his first official statement from the White House press briefing room on January 21, White House press secretary Sean Spicer claimed that “some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting,” again attacking Miller for his “irresponsible and reckless” tweet about the Martin Luther King Jr. bust. He also falsely claimed that media reported “inaccurate numbers involving crowd size” at the inauguration and falsely claimed, “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration -- period.” Spicer added, “We're going to hold the press accountable.” From Politico’s transcript:

SEAN SPICER: Yesterday, at a time when our nation and the world was watching the peaceful transition of power and, as the President said, the transition and the balance of power from Washington to the citizens of the United States, some members of the media were engaged in deliberately false reporting. For all the talk about the proper use of Twitter, two instances yesterday stand out.

One was a particular egregious example in which a reporter falsely tweeted out that the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office. After it was pointed out that this was just plain wrong, the reporter casually reported and tweeted out and tried to claim that a Secret Service agent must have just been standing in front of it. This was irresponsible and reckless.

Secondly, photographs of the inaugural proceedings were intentionally framed in a way, in one particular tweet, to minimize the enormous support that had gathered on the National Mall. This was the first time in our nation's history that floor coverings have been used to protect the grass on the Mall. That had the effect of highlighting any areas where people were not standing, while in years past the grass eliminated this visual. This was also the first time that fencing and magnetometers went as far back on the Mall, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from being able to access the Mall as quickly as they had in inaugurations past.

Inaccurate numbers involving crowd size were also tweeted. No one had numbers, because the National Park Service, which controls the National Mall, does not put any out. By the way, this applies to any attempts to try to count the number of protestors today in the same fashion.

We do know a few things, so let's go through the facts. We know that from the platform where the President was sworn in, to 4th Street, it holds about 250,000 people. From 4th Street to the media tent is about another 220,000. And from the media tent to the Washington Monument, another 250,000 people. All of this space was full when the President took the Oath of Office. We know that 420,000 people used the D.C. Metro public transit yesterday, which actually compares to 317,000 that used it for President Obama's last inaugural. This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration -- period -- both in person and around the globe. Even the New York Times printed a photograph showing a misrepresentation of the crowd in the original Tweet in their paper, which showed the full extent of the support, depth in crowd, and intensity that existed.

[...]

The President is committed to unifying our country, and that was the focus of his inaugural address. This kind of dishonesty in the media, the challenging -- that bringing about our nation together is making it more difficult.

There's been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable. And I'm here to tell you that it goes two ways. We're going to hold the press accountable, as well. The American people deserve better. And as long as he serves as the messenger for this incredible movement, he will take his message directly to the American people where his focus will always be. [Politico, 1/21/17; CNNMoney.com, 1/21/17]

January 22

Trump Team Refused To Send A Representative To CNN’s Sunday Show The Day After CNN Opted Not To Air The Spicer Presser Live. Trump and his team refused to send a representative to appear on CNN’s Sunday political talk show, State of the Union, while booking appearances on the major political talk shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox Broadcasting Co. At the top of the January 22 edition of CNN’s State of the Union, host Jake Tapper said that his show “asked the Trump White House for a member of the new administration to join us this morning, but they declined.” The refusal came a day after CNN chose not to air the live feed of Spicer’s press conference. [Media Matters, 1/22/17]

White House Chief Of Staff Reince Priebus: “There’s An Obsession By The Media To Delegitimize This President, And We Are Not Going To Sit Around And Let It Happen.” Making an appearing on Fox News Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus attempted to spin a question about Spicer’s press conference by lashing out at media reporting. When asked why Trump would bring up crowd size, Pribus replied that “it’s not about crowd size. It’s about honesty in the media.” Priebus continued to lash out at the media, claiming that “there's an obsession by the media to delegitimize this president, and we are not going to sit around and let it happen. We’re going to fight back tooth and nail every day, and twice on Sunday.” Like Trump and Spicer, Priebus also brought up Miller’s mistaken tweet to try to cast blame on the media at large:

CHRIS WALLACE (HOST): President Trump said in his inaugural address that every decision he makes will be to benefit American families. How does arguing about crowd size do that?

REINCE PRIEBUS: Because it’s really not about crowd size. What it’s about is honesty in the media.

[...]

WALLACE: Wait a minute, he could have given a news conference yesterday, talked about the agenda, talked about the signing, the executive actions he's going to sign, his legislative agenda. He talks about crowd size. Let me ask you about one --

PRIEBUS: Wait a minute, wait a minute. Let's back up. We didn't tweet out that MLK Jr.'s bust was removed from the Oval Office. We didn’t --

[CROSSTALK]

WALLACE: Wait a minute, the reporter made a mistake, he apologized. And Spicer sent him a tweet back saying "apology accepted". 

PRIEBUS: Right, so these are the mistakes that are made. A reporter shoots first, aims later. I think the magnitude --

WALLACE: Are you saying there's a conspiracy here? 

PRIEBUS: I’m saying there's an obsession by the media to delegitimize this president, and we are not going to sit around and let it happen. We’re going to fight back tooth and nail every day, and twice on Sunday. [FoxNews.com, 1/22/17; Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 1/23/17]

Kellyanne Conway: If The Press Is “Going To Keep Referring To Our Press Secretary In Those Terms, I Think We're Going To Have To Rethink Our Relationship Here.” Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, speaking to NBC host Chuck Todd, criticized Todd for saying Spicer uttered a “provable falsehood” at his press briefing, saying, “Chuck, if we're going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms, I think we're going to have to rethink our relationship here.” Conway defended Spicer’s press briefing, claiming that he simply gave “alternative facts” about the inauguration crowd size, and she attacked Miller for his tweet about the Martin Luther King Jr. bust. From the January 22 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press:

CHUCK TODD (HOST): You make a very reasonable and rational case for why crowd sizes don't matter, then explain -- you did not answer the question. Why did the president send out his press secretary, who's not just the spokesperson for Donald Trump, he also serves as the spokesperson for all of America at times. He speaks for all of the country at times, why put him out there for the very first time in front of that podium to utter a provable falsehood? It's a small thing, but the first time he confronts the public, it's a falsehood?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Chuck, if we're going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms, I think we're going to have to rethink our relationship here. I want to have a great, open relationship with our press. But look what happened the day before, talking about falsehoods. We allowed the press to come into the Oval Office and witness President Trump signing executive orders. Of course the Senate just confirmed General Mattis and General Kelly to their two posts, and we allow the press in, and what happens almost immediately? A falsehood is told about removing the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office. That's just flat out false.

TODD: And it was corrected immediately. But Kellyanne --

CONWAY: But, Chuck, why was it said? Chuck, why was it said in the first place? Because everybody is so presumptively negative --

TODD: I don't know. Climb into the head of that reporter.

CONWAY: Oh no, no, no, that reporter was writing on behalf of the press pool. That falsehood, that spread 3,000 times before it was corrected. And it's still out there.

TODD: Excuse me, it does not excuse, and you did not answer the question --

CONWAY: I did answer your question.

TODD: No you did not. You did not answer the question of why the president asked the White House press secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a falsehood. Why did he do that? It undermines the credibility of the entire White House Press Office on day one.

CONWAY: No it doesn't, don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. You're saying it's a falsehood, and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point remains that there's --

TODD: Wait, wait, alternative facts? Alternative facts -- four of the five facts he uttered. The one thing he got right was Zeke Miller. Four of the five facts he uttered were just not true. Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods. [NBC, Meet the Press, 1/22/17]

Conway: “No Defense 4 Press Lies About MLK Jr. Bust.” Defending her Meet the Press interview, Conway wrote on Twitter, “Watch entire clip! No defense 4 press lies about MLK Jr. bust; actual facts about women in poverty, w/ no health care, failing schools”:

[Twitter, 1/22/17]

January 23

Conway: “Because Of What The Press Is Doing Now To Me ... We Have Packages Delivered To My House With White Substances.” During a January 23 interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Conway claimed that “because of what the press is doing now to me, I have Secret Service protection.” Conway also accused the press of having “presumptive negativity” about the Trump administration. From the January 23 edition of Hannity:

KELLYANNE CONWAY: The print pooler sent out the pool report that the MLK bust had been removed. It is false. I don’t say his name publicly because I don’t want him to get attacked like I do. Because of what the press is doing now to me, I have Secret Service protection. We have packages delivered to my house with white substances. That is a shame and, yes, I hold into account for it. This guy puts it out, it gets tweeted and it gets reported 3,000 times. You still can't take it back. He apologized to his colleagues in the press, he has not apologized to the president, and the damage is done because then people look at Donald Trump as the R-word. The darn bust was right there. I was standing next to it. It was being hidden by a guard. But why don't you ask us? Why don't you say, ‘Where's the bust?’ It's presumptive negativity. [Fox News, Hannity, 1/23/17]

Spicer: “The Default [Media] Narrative Is Always Negative, And That’s Demoralizing” And “Frustrating.” In his first full press briefing as White House press secretary, Spicer admonished the press for, what he perceived was a “constant theme” in the media “to undercut the tremendous support” for Trump. Spicer complained that the “default narrative is always negative,” calling the coverage “demoralizing” and “frustrating”:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday launched into a lengthy defense of statements made by him and President Trump, and of criticisms of the president.

"The default narrative is always negative," Spicer said Monday during his first briefing in which he took questions. "And that's demoralizing."

Spicer lamented what he called a "constant theme to undercut the tremendous support" that Trump has, adding, "I think its just unbelievably frustrating when you're continually told it's not big enough; it's not good enough; you can't win." [NPR, 1/23/17]

Conway: “Proud” Of Spicer For “Hit[ting] Back” At Media’s “‘Constant Theme To Undercut’ Trump.” On January 23, Conway tweeted a link to a post on a right-wing website headlined “WATCH: Sean Spicer HITS BACK at 'constant theme to undercut' Trump by media,” adding that she was “proud” of Spicer.

[Twitter, 1/23/17]

January 24

Trump Called CNN "FAKE NEWS,", Attacked Them For Inauguration Ratings. In a January 25 tweet, Trump panned CNN for not having the highest inauguration ratings, calling them "FAKE NEWS" and suggesting the "public" was "smart" for not watching the network:

[Twitter, 1/24/17]

January 25

Trump Mocked Reporters For “Groveling” To Get A Story. During a January 25 interview with ABC’s David Muir, Trump falsely claimed that the author of a Pew report on voter registration inaccuracies provided evidence of voter fraud. When Muir fact-checked the president, saying that the Pew author said “they found no evidence of voter fraud,” Trump claimed the Pew author was “groveling again” and added “I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they write something that you want to hear but not necessarily millions of people want to hear, or have to hear.”

DONALD TRUMP: He is groveling again. You know, I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they write something that you want to hear but not necessarily millions of people want to hear, or have to hear. [ABC News, ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, 1/25/16]

Dan Scavino Tweeted “We Have Zero Interest In Sharing Security Measures With The Media” After NY Times Reported That Trump Tweets From An Unsecured Phone. Following a January 25 New York Times story that reported that Trump uses “his old, unsecured Android phone, to the protests of some of his aides,” White House social media director Dan Scavino tweeted, “We have zero interest in sharing security measures with the media- when it comes to various social media accounts.”

[The New York Times, 1/25/17; Twitter, 1/25/17]

January 26

Trump: There's "Nothing Fair About The Media. Nothing." In a speech before congressional Republicans at a policy retreat, Trump criticized the press for "never giv[ing]" anti-abortion activists "the credit that they deserve," adding that there's "nothing fair about the media. Nothing." From the January 26 speech:

DONALD TRUMP: We've reinstated the Mexico City policy, a longstanding policy -- isn't that nice? And by the way, on Friday, a lot of people are going to be showing up to Washington, right Mike? A lot of people. You know, the press never gives them the credit that they deserve. They'll have 300, 400, 500, 600,000 people. You won't even read about it. When other people show up, you read big time about it. Right? So it's not fair, but nothing fair about the media. Nothing. [CNN, live remarks from President Donald Trump, 1/26/17]

Trump's Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon Demanded The Media "Keep Its Mouth Shut." The New York Times reported that Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, attacked the entire mainstream media as “the opposition party” in an interview. Bannon lambasted the media’s “humiliating defeat” in incorrectly predicting Trump would lose the election and demanded that media should “keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile”:

Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s chief White House strategist, laced into the American press during an interview on Wednesday evening, arguing that news organizations had been “humiliated” by an election outcome few anticipated, and repeatedly describing the media as “the opposition party” of the current administration.

“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,” Mr. Bannon said during a telephone call.

“I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

[...]

“The elite media got it dead wrong, 100 percent dead wrong,” Mr. Bannon said of the election, calling it “a humiliating defeat that they will never wash away, that will always be there.”

“The mainstream media has not fired or terminated anyone associated with following our campaign,” Mr. Bannon said. “Look at the Twitter feeds of those people: they were outright activists of the Clinton campaign.” (He did not name specific reporters or editors.)

“That’s why you have no power,” Mr. Bannon added. “You were humiliated.”

[...]

“You’re the opposition party,” Mr. Bannon said. “Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party. The media’s the opposition party.”

While Mr. Bannon mostly referred to the “elite” or “mainstream” media, he cited The New York Times and The Washington Post by name.

“The paper of record for our beloved republic, The New York Times, should be absolutely ashamed and humiliated,” Mr. Bannon said. “They got it 100 percent wrong.”

He added that he has been a reader of The Times for most of his adult life. [The New York Times, 1/26/17]

Trump: "Much Of The Media ... Is Very, Very Dishonest. Honestly, It Is Fake News." Trump took issue with reporting on his trip to the CIA, complaining that the media demeaned his visit and lashing out at how the crowd's support was portrayed. During a January 26 interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, the president stated, "What I'm saying, Sean, is this: the media, much of the media, not all of it, is very, very dishonest. Honestly, it is fake news. It's fake, they make things up." From the January 26 interview: 

DONALD TRUMP: There were like 300, 350 people in the room, over 1000 wanted to come. And if I took a vote right now, I would've won 350 to nothing, believe me, but even that was demeaned as much as they can demean it. What I'm saying, Sean, is this: the media, much of the media, not all of it, is very, very dishonest. Honestly, it is fake news. It's fake, they make things up. [Fox News, Hannity1/26/17]

January 27

Conway: It’s “Dangerous To The Democracy” For The Press To Call Out Trump’s Lies. On Fox & Friends, Conway suggested that “it’s dangerous to the democracy and for those around the world watching what we do and how this president is covered in his early days” for the press to call out Trump’s lies. Conway also agreed with co-host’s Steve Doocy’s claim that the press “would never do that to Barack Obama in a million years.” From the January 27 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): Plus there are some, Kellyanne, there are some reporters who are calling -- Kellyanne, there are some reporters in some newspapers that are just flat out calling the president a liar. They would never do that to Barack Obama in a million years.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Even when he did. You can keep your doctor if you like, you can keep your insurance plan. We have 57 states in the nation. I mean, there were plenty of occasions to call out former presidents on their falsehoods and that was done very sparingly and not so strategically. I think it's dangerous to the democracy and for those around the world watching what we do and how this president is covered in his early days, very dangerous to just throw in adjectives like that, either without evidence, but also without context. And I think some of the coverage, in addition to -- bias is easy to detect. It's really the incomplete coverage that I’m watching very closely. It's, well, what's missing from the story? What was omitted? What's left on the cutting room floor that actually would inform the public factually about what's happening here? What an amazing week.

DOOCY: No kidding. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/27/17]

Spicer Criticized CNN For Calling Demonstrators At The March For Life "Demonstrators." Spicer took to Twitter on January 27 to criticize CNN’s coverage of the anti-choice March for Life, specifically taking issue with their reference to attendees as “demonstrators.” The New York Times’ Sopan Deb responded, “that is literally what they’re doing. Demonstrating.”

[Twitter, 1/27/17]

Trump: The Media Is "A Disgrace" And "The Opposition Party In Many Ways.” Trump told CBN host David Brody, “I think the media is the opposition party in many ways” during an interview released on January 27. The president added, “I’m not talking about everybody, but a big portion of the media, the dishonesty, total deceit and deception. It makes them certainly partially the opposition party, absolutely.” Trump concluded, “yes, the media is a disgrace, and they’ve called me wrong from the beginning.” From the Christian Broadcasting Network interview:

DAVID BRODY: “Steve Bannon, one of your top advisors just the other day, to the New York Times called the media the ‘opposition party.’ Do you believe that?

DONALD TRUMP: “I think to a large extent they’re much more capable than the other side.”

DAVID BRODY: “Other side, meaning?”

TRUMP: “Yeah, I think the media is the opposition party in many ways. And I think that, and I’m not talking about all of them. I know people, like yourself, but I know people in the media that I have tremendous respect for. Respect them as much as anybody, so I’m not talking about everybody, but a big portion of the media, the dishonesty, total deceit and deception. It makes them certainly partially the opposition party, absolutely. I think they’re much more capable than the opposition party. The opposition party is losing badly. Now the media is on the opposition party’s side. And I actually said to myself, I say they treat me so unfairly it’s hard to believe that I won. But the fortunate thing about me is I have a big voice. I have a voice that people understand. And you see it now. We’re bringing back jobs. Ford is making a massive investment now in Michigan, General Motors is going to be making just magnificent investments, so many other companies are coming back in. But yes, the media is a disgrace, and they’ve called me wrong from the beginning. [Christian Broadcasting Network, The Brody File, 1/27/17]

January 28

Trump Called Out "Failing" And “Dishonest” NY Times And Wash. Post For Their “False And Angry” Coverage Of Him. In a series of tweets on January 28, Trump lashed out at The New York Times,­ calling them "failing" and "FAKE NEWS." Trump also complained that coverage about him in the Times and The Washington Post was "false and angry," claiming their reporting was "DISHONEST." [Twitter, 1/28/17, 1/28/17, 1/28/17]

January 29

Conway: Why Haven't Members Of The Media Been Fired For Their Trump Coverage? Conway lamented that journalists have not been "let go" for their Trump coverage, stating: "Not one network person has been let go. Not one silly political analyst and pundit who talked smack all day long about Donald Trump has been let go." Conway added, "we know all their names." This came in response to her being asked about Bannon’s attacks on the press. From the January 29 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Fox News Sunday:

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Who’s cleaning house? Which one is going to be the first network to get rid of these people who said things that just weren't true.

[...]

Not one network person has been let go. Not one silly political analyst and pundit who talked smack all day long about Donald Trump has been let go. They’re on panels every Sunday, they’re on cable news every day. Who’s the first editorial writer, where's the first blogger that will be let go that embarrassed his or her outlets? We know all their names. I'm too polite to call them out by name, but they know who they are, and they’re all wondering, will I be the first to go. The election was three months ago. None of them have been let go. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 1/29/17]

Trump: “Somebody With Aptitude And Conviction Should Buy The FAKE NEWS And Failing @NYTimes And Either Run It Correctly Or Let It Fold With Dignity!"

[Twitter, 1/29/17]

Spicer Defended Statements That The Media Are “The Opposition Party”: "There Are Stories And Journalists Who Start Off With A Negative Disposition" On Trump. Spicer defended claims from Trump and Bannon that the media are the opposition party, stating, "there are stories and journalists who start off with a negative disposition on how they are going to cover the president and his actions." In the same interview, Spicer said it was “absolutely” the case that a media outlet that accuses Trump of lying is acting like an opposition party. [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 1/29/17]

Trump Accused Media Of “Falsely Reporting” That His Executive Order Is A “Muslim Ban.” Trump on January 29 published a statement on his Facebook page regarding the executive order he signed that bans refugees, visitors, and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations, stating, “to be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting.” But on January 28, Rudy Giuliani, who served during the campaign as a top Trump surrogate and is now an informal adviser to the president, bragged that he crafted a legal version of Trump’s “Muslim ban.” [Facebook, 1/29/17; Fox News, Justice with Judge Jeanine, 1/28/17

January 30

Trump Doubled Down On Claim That The Media Are “The Opposition Party.”

[Twitter, 1/30/17]

Spicer: Media Always “Lead With The Perceived Negative.” During a January 30 event at George Washington University, Spicer claimed that with media, "The lead is always the perceived negative." Spicer added, "It's never lead with the positive, it's always lead with the perceived negative." [C-SPAN, Media Coverage of the Trump Administration, 1/30/17]

Spicer Accused Media Of Spreading Misinformation About NSC And Faulty Reporting On Muslim Ban, Ridiculed Some Reporters’ Questions. During the January 30 White House daily press briefing, Spicer repeatedly complained about coverage of Trump’s memo on the National Security Council, saying: “Just yesterday, we called several outlets who were severely misreporting this topic to better inform them about what this memo means,” and later said any reporting that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was being taken off the National Security Council Principals Committee “is a spread of misinformation, plain and simple.” He later criticized American Urban Radio Networks’ White House correspondent April Ryan’s question about how much Trump values input from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other intelligence or military officials as “unbelievable.” When asked a question about the failure to specifically mention Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Trump’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, Spicer dismissed “nitpicking” about this as “pathetic” and “ridiculous,” and accused many reporters of offending Christians in response to a Christmas statement released by the Republican National Committee. And when asked by NBC’s White House correspondent Kristen Welker about comments from former national security officials that the Muslim ban executive order will make America less safe, Spicer criticized people for allegedly not reading the text of the order -- which had not yet been posted on the White House’s website -- and instead getting information about it through “misguided media reports.” [White House Press Briefing, 1/30/17; 1/30/17; 1/30/17; 1/30/17]

January 31

Spicer Blamed NBC For “Confusion” Over Trump’s Muslim Ban And Cast Doubt On NY Times Reporting On DHS Secretary’s Knowledge Of It. During the January 31 White House daily press briefing, Spicer told NBC’s Kristen Welker that NBC was to blame for “confusion” surrounding Trump’s executive order, saying, “I think you have been part of the confusion. You have helped cause this.” Spicer also referred to reporting that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was not fully briefed on the Muslim ban executive order until it was being signed as “misinformation,” and later said of this reporting, “I don’t believe the New York Times’ reporting is accurate.” [White House Press Briefing, 1/31/17; 1/31/17; 1/31/17]

Trump Campaign Text: “The Media Has Waged A Nasty Fight Every Day” Since Trump Was Sworn In, “Fight Back” And “Donate.” The Trump campaign sent a text message to supporters which said, “President Trump took office only 10 days ago and the media has waged a nasty fight every day. Fight back. Donate by the 11:59p deadline,” according to Politico reporter Gabriel Debenedetti.

[Twitter, 1/31/17

February 2017

February 1

Trump Attacked CNN As “Fake News,” Reiterated Claim That Media Are “The Opposition Party.” In a meeting honoring Black History Month that was televised from the White House, Trump said that CNN was a “hostile” place for supporters of his, adding, “I don’t watch CNN. … I don’t like watching fake news.” Trump later repeated his claim the press are “the opposition party”:

DONALD TRUMP: A lot of the media is actually the opposition party. They're so biased. And really it's a disgrace. Some of the media is fantastic and fair. But so much of the media is opposition party and knowingly saying incorrect things. So it's a very sad situation. But we seem to be doing well. You know, it's almost like in the meantime, we won, so maybe they don't have the influence they think. But they really are, they really have to straighten out their act, they're very dishonest people. [CNN, CNN Newsroom, 2/1/17; 2/1/17]

Trump Said “The Press Can Be Very Demeaning,” But Expects Them To Be “Very Dignified” In Coverage Of His SCOTUS Nominee. As he made introductory remarks at a meeting with conservative advocacy groups who support his Supreme Court nominee, Trump said, “We want to have him go through an elegant process as opposed to a demeaning process because they're very demeaning on the other side, and they want to make you look as bad as possible. And, of course, the press can be very demeaning too, so -- but I'm sure the press will be very dignified in this case.” [CNN, Inside Politics, 2/1/17]

February 2

Conway Accused The Media Of "Inciting Mob Mentality If Not Mob Violence" With Its Coverage. According to Mediaite, while appearing on Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, Conway accused the media of "inciting mob mentality, if not mob violence" with its coverage of the Trump administration by “not showing the President and his main spokespeople respect.” Conway added that media coverage “encourage[ed] people to go out there and unpeacefully protest.” As reported by Mediaite:

Explaining that she thought protesters largely had “a very low level of literacy” of the issues they were demonstrating in the name of, Conway explained she felt the tone of the coverage of Trump amplifies that anger of the protesters:

“It never took on the aura of respect that it deserved, and if you are not showing the President and his main spokespeople respect, then you’re not showing the office respect, and you are inciting mob mentality if not mob violence. You are encouraging people to go out there and unpeacefully protest and block airport entrances for people who are going to visit a sick parent and can’t make their flight, or are going for a bereavement call and can’t make their flight.” [Mediaite, 2/2/17

February 3

Conway Complained That Media Failed To Cover A Nonexistent Massacre, Then Criticized NBC Reporter For Noting Her Error. On MSNBC’s Hardball, Conway lamented that there “was very little coverage” of the “Bowling Green Massacre” and that “most people don’t know” about it “because it didn’t get covered.” In fact, the so-called “Bowling Green Massacre” never happened. The next day, on February 3, Conway took to Twitter to call out an NBC reporter for not having “asked what I meant on Hardball before slamming me,” concluding that the reporter's actions were “not cool” and “not journalism.” From the February 2 interview:

KELLYANNE CONWAY: It's the seven countries that were previously identified by President Obama as being high risk, as being states that either harbor, train or export -- and/or export terrorism. These are nations very narrowly proscribed and also temporary.

CHRIS MATTHEWS (HOST): Sure.

CONWAY: I bet there was very little coverage, I bet it's brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.

MATTHEWS: Let's --

CONWAY: Most people don't know that because it didn't get covered. [MSNBC, Hardball with Chris Matthews, 2/2/17; Salon, 2/3/17]

[Twitter, 2/3/17]

February 4

Trump Claimed NY Times Was “Forced To Apologize For Its Bad And Inaccurate Coverage” Of His Campaign, Again Called It “FAKE NEWS.”

[Twitter, 2/4/17]

February 5

Conway Defended Her Attacks On The Media In An Interview With Fox News. In a prerecorded interview on Fox’s MediaBuzz, Conway defended her February 2 claim that the media are “inciting mob mentality if not mob violence” by reporting on how the affected families of Trump’s Muslim ban were negatively impacted by the order. Dismissing many reporters as elitist, Conway told them how to properly report on the Trump administration, saying: “America didn't go to the fancy Ivy League schools like many in the media did. America doesn’t -- there are some people in the media their latte and dry cleaning bill for the year is basically what people earn in some of these districts and counties where Donald Trump won. ... Fast forward, why don't they go and they see who’s actually going to benefit and talk to the people who are [tangentially] going to benefit from Donald Trump keeping the factories here and not in Mexico and China?”

Later in the interview, Conway bashed the media for making errors and then posting corrections, and falsely claimed she “misspoke one word” when bringing up the nonexistent “Bowling Green massacre” on MSNBC which she had previously cited in several other interviews. Conway also used the interview to defend her January 29 suggestion that reporters be fired for their Trump campaign coverage.[Fox News, MediaBuzz, 2/5/17, 2/5/17; Media Matters, 2/7/17]

February 6

Trump: “Any Negative Polls Are Fake News, Just Like The CNN, ABC, NBC Polls In The Election.”

[Twitter, 2/6/17]

Trump: “In Many Cases, The Very, Very Dishonest Press Doesn’t Want To Report” On Terrorist Attacks. In an address to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa, FL, Trump attacked the “very, very dishonest press” for supposedly “not even” reporting on terrorist attacks, adding that the press has “their reasons” for the alleged lack of coverage. From the February 6 address:

DONALD TRUMP: You’ve seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe, it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it's not even being reported, and in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn't want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that. So today we deliver a message in one very unified voice to these forces of death and destruction: America and its allies will defeat you. We will defeat them. [CNN, President Trump’s Address to U.S. CENTCOM, 2/6/17]

Trump And Spicer Ramped Up Criticism Of The NY Times, Called Its “So-Called Reporting” “Literally The Epitome Of Fake News." In a series of tweets from the president and during a press gaggle with Spicer, the administration continued to criticize The New York Times, taking aim at the newspaper for their Trump coverage. Trump tweeted that the Times “writes total fiction” about him, and claimed they were “making up stories & sources!” In a later tweet, Trump added that the Times' “poor reporting” on him had gotten “worse.” Echoing the president’s attacks on the newspaper during a press gaggle on Air Force One, Spicer lashed out over a New York Times report about Trump’s adjustment to living in the White House, calling the report “literally the epitome of fake news.” Spicer told reporters that the Times’s “so-called reporting” was “so riddled with inaccuracies and lies that they owe the president an apology”:

Mr. Spicer denounced The Time's account, published Sunday night, of the president’s turbulent adjustment to life in the White House. In particular, he zeroed in on one detail among a few paragraphs of the story that he insisted were wrong: that the president has worn a bathrobe while alone in the White House residence.

“That is literally the epitome of fake news,” Mr. Spicer told reporters traveling with Mr. Trump. “Start at the top. I don’t think the president owns a bathrobe. He definitely doesn’t wear one.”

The White House staff stocks the official residence with bathrobes.

Within moments of Mr. Spicer’s comment, reporters on Twitter posted photos of a much younger Mr. Trump lounging in a bathrobe.

Mr. Spicer added that the story was “so riddled with inaccuracies and lies that they owe the president an apology.” He went on, “Literally, blatant factual errors, and it’s unacceptable to see that kind of reporting or so-called reporting.” [The New York Times, 2/6/17]

[Twitter, 2/6/17]

[Twitter, 2/6/17]

February 7

Trump: “I Understand The Total Dishonesty Of The Media Better Than Anybody.” While taking questions at the White House, Trump repeatedly claimed the media are dishonest, stating “the media is a very, very dishonest arm,” and adding “there’s tremendous dishonesty. Pure outright dishonesty from the media”:

DONALD TRUMP: I happen to know how dishonest the media is. I happen to know that stories about me that should be good, or bad -- I don't mind a bad story if it's true, but I don’t like bad stories, stories that should be a positive story, when they make them totally negative, I understand the total dishonesty of the media better than anybody. And I let people know it. The media is a very, very dishonest arm, and we'll see what happens. Not everybody. And I have to say that. I always preface it by saying not everybody. But there's tremendous dishonesty. Pure outright dishonesty from the media. [CNN, CNN Newsroom, 2/7/17]

Trump Deputy Assistant Sebastian Gorka: Trump Administration Will Call Media “Fake News” Until "The Media Understands How Wrong" It Is "To “Attack” Trump. Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to Trump, said in a radio interview that the Trump administration is “‘going to continue to say, 'fake news'” because the media has a “‘monumental desire’” to “‘attack a duly elected President,’” according to CNN’s KFILE. Gorka added that the term would only stop being used when “the media understands how wrong that attitude is.” From the February 7 article:

Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, said Monday that the administration will continue using the term "fake news" until the media understands that their "monumental desire" to attack the President is wrong.

"There is a monumental desire on behalf of the majority of the media, not just the pollsters, the majority of the media to attack a duly elected President in the second week of his term," Gorka, a former Breitbart editor who also holds a PhD in political science, told syndicated conservative radio host Michael Medved.

"That's how unhealthy the situation is and until the media understands how wrong that attitude is, and how it hurts their credibility, we are going to continue to say, 'fake news.' I'm sorry, Michael. That's the reality," he added. [CNN.com, 2/7/17]

Trump Claimed The Media “Doesn’t Tell It Like It Is” In Their Violent Crime Reporting Because It’s “Not To Their Advantage.” Trump falsely claimed during a February 7 meeting with a group of sheriffs that “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years,” and alleged that people were unaware of the high murder rate because “the press ... doesn’t tell it like it is,” erroneously suggesting that the media falsifies statistics on violent crime because of ulterior motives. [The Washington Post, 2/7/17]

Trump Again Called Media Reporting “Fake News” And Complained About “The Level Of Dishonesty” In The Media. As part of his pre-Super Bowl interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that aired on February 7, Trump said that each day, “I read the papers, I see what is going on, I take a look. I see the lies, you know, the lies,” before continuing, “I call it, you know, fake news. Some of the networks and some of the papers -- the level of dishonesty, where they'll take a story that should be good ... and they will purposely totally change it. It is fake news.” [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 2/7/17]

Bannon: Media Are “Too Dumb And Too Lazy To Actually Do Any Work.” During a February 7 conference call with New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi, Bannon dismissed reports that he and Priebus have been at odds in the Trump White House, claiming that such suggestions had been made up by the media, which he called "the opposition party," because “‘they’re too dumb and too lazy to actually do any work.’” [New York magazine, 2/9/17]

February 8

Trump To Police Chiefs: “Don’t Let The Dishonest Media Try And Convince You” That America’s Youth Doesn’t Respect Law Enforcement. In February 8 remarks to police chiefs in Washington, DC, Trump again called the media “dishonest,” telling those in the room, "don't let the dishonest media try and convince you that" Americans don't have respect for law enforcement:

DONALD TRUMP: You're the role models to young Americans all across this country, many of whom want to go into law enforcement, many of whom want to be a sheriff or a police chief. Many of whom -- they have great respect for you, tremendous respect. You don't even realize it, but I will tell you, they have great respect and admiration for the people in this room and the people that you represent. And don't let anyone ever tell you different. Don't let the dishonest media try and convince you that it's different than that, because it's not. [CNN, CNN Newsroom, 2/8/17]

Omarosa Manigault “Physically Intimidated” A White House Reporter, Called Report On Intimidation “Fake News.” Omarosa Manigault, who serves as the director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison in the Trump administration, “physically intimidated” April Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks. Washington Post reporter Abby Phillip witnessed part of the exchange. Ryan said that Manigault “stood right in my face like she was going to hit me” and that “she felt Manigault’s behavior was so threatening that it was ‘Secret Serviceable,’ meaning that it rose to the level of law enforcement intervention.” According to the Post, “the argument apparently stemmed from emails that Manigault sent to Ryan during the presidential campaign.” When asked about the story, Manigault responded, “My comment: Fake news!” Hours after the Post story was published, Manigault tweeted, “Thank you for not buying the (sic) all the #FakeNews from MSM!!” [The Washington Post, 2/13/17; Twitter, 2/13/17]

February 9

Trump Lashed Out At CNN’s Chris Cuomo For His Interview With Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Calling It “FAKE NEWS!”

[Twitter, 2/9/17]

Trump Called CNN “Fake News” In Telephone Conversation With The Associated Press. The Associated Press (AP) reported on February 9 that during a recent telephone conversation, “Trump briefly put down the phone so he could turn up the volume on a CNN report. When he returned to the call, he was complaining about ‘fake news.’" [The Associated Press, 2/9/17]

February 10

Trump Erroneously Criticized The Supposedly "Failing” NY Times Over Its “Major FAKE NEWS China Story.” Trump lashed out at the supposedly "failing" New York Times on Twitter, claiming that the paper ran a story which said that Trump and President Xi Jinping of China had "'not spoken ... since Nov. 14,'" despite the fact that they spoke on February 9. However, the story was updated after the call, reading that the leaders spoke "Thursday evening" about the "One China policy." The story also stated that until that call, the leaders "had not spoke ... since Nov. 14."

 [Twitter, 2/10/17; The New York Times, 2/9/17]

Spicer Said The Administration “Continued To Be Disgusted By CNN’s Fake News Reporting.” When CNN reached out to Spicer for comments on its report that multiple U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials had independently corroborated “some” of the details in the 35-page dossier on President Trump’s connections to Russia, Spicer said, “We continue to be disgusted by CNN's fake news reporting." He later called CNN back and added: "This is more fake news. It is about time CNN focused on the success the President has had bringing back jobs, protecting the nation, and strengthening relationships with Japan and other nations. The President won the election because of his vision and message for the nation." [CNN.com, 2/10/17]

February 11

Trump Claimed Daughter Ivanka Was “Abused And Treated So Badly By The Media.”

[Twitter, 2/11/17]

February 12

Trump Falsely Accused “FAKE NEWS @CNN” Of Cutting Off Sen. Bernie Sanders. Trump tweeted: “While on FAKE NEWS @CNN, Bernie Sanders was cut off for using the term fake news to describe the network. They said technical difficulties!” CNN’s communications team called Trump’s tweet “false” and responded by showing a full transcript of the interview with Sen. Sanders, which shows Sanders clarifying he was joking and the interview returning after a commercial break:

[Twitter, 2/12/17, 2/12/17]

Stephen Miller Attacked The Media In His Sunday Show Appearances. White House senior adviser Stephen Miller on ABC’s This Week on February 12 accused “you in the media” of “blowing this thing way out of proportion” when asked about Conway’s ethics violation for promoting Ivanka Trump’s fashion products on Fox. When asked on Fox News Sunday about whether we should “blame President Trump” if something happens to Judge James Robart, the federal judge who put a restraining order on Trump’s Muslim ban who is now “getting death threats” based on Trump’s tweet criticizing him, Miller called this line of questioning “reckless and irresponsible” and “one of the most ludicrous things that the media does.” [Media Matters, 2/13/17]

Sarah Huckabee Sanders Said Most Negative Stories Don’t Have “Legitimacy,” Claimed Jake Tapper’s Interview Of Conway “Wasn’t Journalism.” In a February 12 interview on Fox News’ MediaBuzz, White House deputy communications director Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that some negative stories about the Trump administration“may have a little bit of legitimacy, but as a whole, I really don’t think they do,” and that “it tells you … that the more that President Trump’s opponents go negative, he’s probably doing something right.” She later criticized CNN’s Jake Tapper for an interview with Conway, saying it “wasn’t journalism.” [Fox News, MediaBuzz, 2/12/17]

Trump: “FAKE NEWS Media Refuses To Mention” “Big Crowds Of Enthusiastic Supporters Lining The Road” As He Departed Florida.

[Twitter, 2/12/17]

February 15

Trump: "Fake News Media Is Going Crazy With Their Conspiracy Theories And Blind Hatred. @MSNBC & @CNN Are Unwatchable."

[Twitter, 2/15/17]

Trump Attacked “Failing” NY Times And Wash. Post After They Reported On His Advisers' Communications With Russia.

[Twitter, 2/15/17]

Bannon Lashed Out At Media, Referring To Them As “The Opposition Party.” In an interview with CNN about Spicer’s performance, Bannon claimed that the media’s narrative about Spicer is “‘totally and completely false.’” Bannon also dismissed leaks from the White House, suggesting that “‘the media, the opposition party’ was just making it up.” From the CNN report:

To a press corps frustrated with Spicer's aggressive attacks on reporters and tenuous relationship with the facts, the press secretary's imminent demise is a compelling narrative. But the most senior members of Trump's staff say the rumors are wrong.

"It's totally and completely false," Steve Bannon, the president's chief strategist, told me during a recent interview in the Roosevelt Room. "The President has full and total confidence in Sean."

Reince Priebus, Trump's chief of staff, told me the same: "The President has full confidence in Sean," he said. "What he thinks is that this is a media narrative that's B.S., that's what he thinks."

So where is the narrative coming from? Spicer declined to comment on the record for this article, but Bannon and Priebus dismissed the leaks about his fate as scuttlebutt from lower level staff. Or maybe "the media, the opposition party" was just making it up, Bannon said. [CNN, 2/15/17]

Trump: Michael Flynn Was “Treated Very, Very Unfairly” By “The Fake Media,” And That's "Really A Sad Thing.” During a February 15 joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump claimed ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn had been “treated very, very unfairly” by, “As I call it, the fake media in many cases.” Trump added, "I think it's really a sad thing that he was treated so badly." From the press conference:

DONALD TRUMP: Michael Flynn, General Flynn is a wonderful man. I think he’s been treated very, very unfairly by the media. As I call it, the fake media in many cases. And I think it's really a sad thing that he was treated so badly. I think in addition to that, from intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked. It's criminal action, criminal act, and it's been going on for a long time before me, but now it's really going on. And people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton. I think it's very, very unfair what's happened to General Flynn, the way he was treated, and the documents and papers that were illegally -- I stress that -- illegally leaked. Very, very unfair. [CNN, Joint Press Conference with Benjamin Netanyahu, 2/15/17]

February 16

Trump Demanded Apology From “Failing @NYTimes (And Others),” Claimed “FAKE NEWS Media … Makes Up Stories And ‘Sources.’”


[Twitter, 2/16/17, 2/16/17]

Huckabee Sanders: Trump’s FL Rally Is A Way To Get Around “The Biased Media.” According to a tweet from CBS News’ Mark Knoller, White House deputy communications director Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Trump’s campaign rally in Florida would be a way to get around “the biased media.”

[Twitter, 2/16/17]

Trump Accused The “Fake News Media” Of Undercovering The Current Economy. During a meeting with House Republican supporters, Trump accused the “fake news media” of undercovering the current economy, saying, “The fake news media doesn't like talking about the economy. I never see anything about the stock market sets new records every day, Chris, I never see that.” [CNN, At This Hour with Kate Bolduan, 2/16/17]

Trump Attacked The Media At Least 30 Separate Times In One Press Conference. At a spontaneous press conference on February 16, Trump attacked, blamed, mocked, and shut down the media, reporters, and coverage of his administration in at least 30 separate instances. In what was described as a “combative, grievance-filled press conference,” Trump claimed that reporters “will not tell you the truth” and speak “for the special interests,” attacked individuals like CNN reporter Jim Acosta and CNN CEO Jeff Zucker, and told a reporter that she was going to ask a “bad question” before she asked it. Trump also called various unfavorable stories “fake news,” “a joke,” and “disgraceful.” [Media Matters, 2/16/17]

February 17

Trump: "The FAKE News Media (Failing @NYTimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) Is Not My Enemy, It Is The Enemy Of The American People!"

[Twitter, 2/17/17]