President Trump floated an idea last month for a contest to determine which news network is the most dishonest, and now he's making it a reality. In a Thursday email to supporters, the Trump campaign sent out "Fake News Trophy" candidates, listing stories from top publications that required a correction. The email said Americans "are sick and tired of being lied to, insulted, and treated with outright condescension," so "President Trump is crowning the 2017 KING OF FAKE NEWS before the end of the year," The Hill reports.
The email linked to a poll listing candidates such as an ABC News story that incorrectly said Trump ordered Michael Flynn to contact Russian officials while a presidential candidate (Trump was already president-elect at the time of the conversation); a CNN story that initially stated Trump and his son had private access to WikiLeaks documents when the files were public; and a Time magazine report that claimed a statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. was removed from the Oval Office, which wasn't true.
All three stories were quickly corrected, and both Time and CNN issued statements explaining how the mistakes were made. "The President and White House aides have cited this mistake as an example of 'deliberately false reporting.' It was no such thing," Time's statement read.
The Trump campaign email invited supporters to rate the "most fake news stories of 2017" to determine which news organization should receive the "Fake News Trophy," boasting an illustration of a gold trophy that read "King of Fake News." The options under each story sounded like they were written by Trump himself, including "fake news," "faker news," and "fakest news." The poll also had a section to "let the President know if there is another story you think should be crowned as the 2017 KING of Fake News."
The president first mentioned a Fake News Trophy in November when he tweeted, "We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me)." He added: "They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!"
Although Trump asserted Fox News should be left out of the contest, a Rasmussen poll following the November tweet found that about 40 percent of Americans think Fox News should receive the "Fake News Trophy." CNN came in second place with 25 percent of votes, followed by MSNBC with 9 percent.
Trump's continuous use of the phrase "fake news" has even made its way around the globe, and Myanmar officials used the same tactic to deny the existence of the Rohingya people being persecuted and driven out of the small nation. Authoritarian leaders across the globe have also begun using Trump's "fake news" chant for their own gain.
The president has stuck by his claims that the mainstream media spreads "fake news" since taking office, and has tweeted about it more than a 150 times by The New Yorker's count. "Judging from the President’s tweets, his definition of 'fake news' is credible reporting that he doesn’t like," The New Yorker's Steve Coll wrote. "But he complicates the matter by issuing demonstrably false statements of his own, which, inevitably, make news."
His campaign doubled down on the phrase in its latest email to supporters, claiming journalists are trying to dupe the American people. "The FAKE NEWS has utterly abandoned their duty to fairly report the news to the American people," Thursday’s email said. “Some journalists and liberal pundits think that Americans are too stupid to see through their amateur efforts to manipulate public opinion, but THEY’RE WRONG."
If you're interested, you can visit the poll website here.