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Trump Doubles-Down on "Fake News" Claims to Counter Reports of Dysfunction in the West Wing
02/08/2017 Donald Trump Lesley F
keywords: Fake News

In an effort to dismiss the emerging narrative of dysfunction inside the West Wing, President Donald Trump is increasingly relying on claims of "fake news" to call into question the credibility of the media's reports. The President's Twitter activity on Monday is only the latest in his efforts to undermine suggestions of turmoil within the White House.

In one instance, Trump took umbrage at a New York Times article that highlighted his administration's early stumbles and the increasing friction within its ranks. Despite the fact that the newspaper quoted a number of the President's top advisers by name, Trump issued a negative tweet while traveling on Air Force One: "The failing @nytimes writes total fiction concerning me. They have gotten it wrong for two years, and now are making up stories & sources!" 

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has been enlisted in Trump's "fake news" claims. In a meeting with reporters the same day, Spicer--despite being quoted in the Times' piece--sharply criticized the paper's "so-called reporting," calling it "literally the epitome of fake news" with "blatant factual errors."

Suggestions by the press that his chief strategist Steve Bannon is the true White House decision-maker appear to have particularly infuriated Trump. Less than an hour after Joe Scarborough suggested on his MSNBC morning show that Bannon might be "calling all the shots," Trump let off a scathing tweet: “I call my own shots, largely based on an accumulation of data, and everyone knows it. Some FAKE NEWS media, in order to marginalize, lies!”

Even traditionally Republican-friendly news outlets such as Fox News are increasingly calling into question some of the Trump administration's claims--and are being accused of being "fake news" by Trump for their efforts. In an interview that aired last Sunday, Bill O'Reilly repeatedly probed Trump about his evidence-less claims of illegal votes in last year's presidential election, only to be dismissed by Trump's assertion that O'Reilly should "forget" the data. 

Trump's doubling-down on his "fake news" claims continued even as his White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, became embroiled in a "fake news" controversy of her own after making up a terrorist attack to support the administration's travel ban. The negative response to Conway has not deterred Trump, who took to Twitter again to address his poor approval numbers emerging in recent polls: "Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting."


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