President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday night to make something clear: he doesn’t think all media is the enemy of the people.
Yet his commentary didn’t exactly clear things up. Trump still attacked “CNN and others” in his evening tweets while trying to explain his words from earlier in the day.
Per previous reporting from Inquisitr, Trump had tweeted Monday morning about how the “fake news” was hurting the nation.
“The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony. Fake News Must End!”
During a White House press briefing today with Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, however, members of the media tried to ask Sanders a simple question: who exactly was the “fake” media?
CNN’s Jim Acosta tried to ask Sanders to narrow down who the president was referring to, but the press secretary wouldn’t budge. “I’m not going to walk through a list but I think those individuals probably know who they are,” she said, according to reporting from the same network.
“Would that include my outlet, which received pipe bombs last week?” Acosta inquired.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily specific to a broad generalization of a full outlet, at times, I think there’s individuals that the President would be referencing,” Sanders responded.
— CNN (@CNN) October 30, 2018
Hours later, on Monday evening, Trump went online to Twitter to try and clear things up. Except, his tweets didn’t exactly do that.
“CNN and others in the Fake News Business keep purposely and inaccurately reporting that I said the ‘Media is the Enemy of the People,'” Trump wrote in a tweet. “Wrong! I said that the ‘Fake News (Media) is the Enemy of the People,’ a very big difference. When you give out false information – not good!”
Trump refers to CNN as being in the “Fake News Business,” so does that mean he thinks they’re the enemy of the people?
Trump went on in a second tweet.
“Check out tweets from last two days. I refer to Fake News Media when mentioning Enemy of the People – but dishonest reporters use only the word ‘Media.’ The people of our Great Country are angry and disillusioned at receiving so much Fake News. They get it, and fully understand!”
It’s hard to follow along, however. Sanders wouldn’t name who the president considers “fake news,” and punted on the question of whether CNN is “fake” or not. But later on, Trump seemingly says that CNN is part of a group of “fake news” companies, but tries to correct CNN by saying he was referring to “fake news” as being the “enemy of the people.”
It’s enough to make your head spin, and it’s possible that’s the president’s plan. By muddling the issue up, it becomes impossible to pin where he stands…which allows him to make dissonant statements later on.
Trump can, for example, describe “fake news” to his supporters, with the full implication being (in their minds) that CNN is among those he considers fake. At the same time, the president can plead the case that he’s not calling CNN “fake news,” because his press secretary and he himself never explicitly say it.
In either case, it’s important to remember that Trump himself is wrong about the concept of “fake news” altogether. He’s bastardized the term to mean something completely different, to mean any news reports that he doesn’t like reading or hearing about.
Trump seemingly admitted as much in May, according to reporting from Vox, when he complained about “fake news” reports being mostly negative about him. Rather than suggest those reports were “wrong,” Trump’s only complaint at that moment was that the reporting was mostly critical of his actions.
There is such thing as real“fake news.” It’s the type of stuff that’s peddled as real news by unreliable websites, but actually pushes a message forward that is not based in fact. It is not, however, the idea that news organizations make editorial decisions that are questionable or exaggerated, as Anthropology News explained.
It’s best to remember that when Trump says something is “fake news,” it’s usually because he’s upset about the report itself. It’s not the authenticity he’s concerned over — more often than not the reporting he’s mad about is accurate — but rather the fact that it makes him look like an ineffective leader.
Presidents have to know that their decisions will be criticized. Unfortunately, Trump’s skin appears to be too thin for him to understand that and to conduct himself appropriately.