Trump’s Fake News Awards

Stephen Colbert refers to them as the Fakies.  He was hoping his comedy show would win one of these awards.

Fact checkers have been working overtime, as the White House produces one false statement after another.   It is wonderful to have politifact.com,  factcheck.org and other fact checking websites, drill down on the many statements made by politicians.  Trump now has a historical low rating of 4% true and 12% mostly true statements, so 84% of his statements are Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire according to Politifact.

The media is not 100% accurate.  Mistakes are made.  What really differentiates a mistake from a lie, is whether the news organization corrects itself, in a timely and public manner.    The awards were given out for 9 mistakes which were quickly corrected.  Even Paul Kruger’s  opinion on the future of the economy was rescinded a couple of days later when he changed his mind.  No facts were in dispute, so it is hardly reason for a fake news award.

The White House does push back, as it should, when incorrect information is released.  For example, the tweet from Times reporter Zeke Miller stated  that a bust of Martin Luther King was no longer in the Oval Office, was corrected within an hour.  A picture of the statue was tweeted the same day by the White House.  Another pretty silly mistake was made by Dave Weigel who posted a picture of a Pensacola rally, showing the room to be only partially filled, however the picture was taken before the rally began.  Weigel works for the Washington Post, but this tweet came from his personal account, and was never published in the Washington Post.  But, it qualified for a fakie award – go figure!

Then there is the silly  fish food dumping incident.  CNN broadcast a clip showing Trump shamelessly dumping an entire box of food for the ritual feeding of Koi fish during his visit in Japan.  It was Politifact, which caught the error, after examining the entire video, which shows Trump was only following the lead of the Japanese Prime Minister.   The video clip went viral, but so did a host of retractions very soon afterwards with a clip of the Prime Minister also doing the same thing –  dumping the entire small box.   This clearly demonstrated that Politifact will back the president when the reporting is unfair as occurred in this case.  Koigate and the subsequent retraction all occurred on Nov 6, 2017 with the initial mistake occurring two minutes after midnight from a tweet by a CNN reporter, Veronica Rocha.  Glad to see she survived Koigate and is still tweeting (up to 9600 tweets!) for CNN.

I particularly enjoy Gizmodo’s comment, “In the wide world of media mistakes, Koigate is probably somewhere between a spelling error and posting the wrong hyperlink. But you can be sure that we’ll be talking about Koigate for some time as an example of what’s wrong with the media.” It does qualify as a mistake because they quickly admitted the error.     If Koigate can qualify as one of the top ten mistakes made by CNN in 2017, then you really have to give CNN credit for some pretty accurate reporting.

What the awards actually show, is the mainstream media is very concern about accuracy, and has no problem admitting their occasional mistakes.  In fact, when CNN really screwed up by incorrectly stating Antony  Scaramucci,  had  links to a Russian investment fund supposedly being investigated by the United States Senate.  CNN quickly issued a retraction and forced the resignation of three reporters. CNN  suspended Brian Ross for four weeks, without pay, after the Scaramucci mistake.

CNN also reported that according to their sources,  Comey’s testimony would contradict Trump’s on the critical issue of whether he was under investigation.   He did not contradict Trump’s statements on this issue, and CNN reported their original expectation was wrong.   Their sources were wrong on what Comey was going to say.  So what? Stock analysts make hundreds of wrong predictions every day.

The last Fake Award (#11) is really just a Trump’s attack on the Russian investigation in general.  It reads as follows:

And last, but not least: “RUSSIA COLLUSION!” Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!

The GOP.com website, adds this tweet by Donald Trump:

Well, now that collusion with Russia is proving to be a total hoax and the only collusion is with Hillary Clinton and the FBI/Russia, the Fake News Media (Mainstream) and this phony new book are hitting out at every new front imaginable. They should try winning an election. Sad!

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, appointed by the Trump administration, continues his investigation, as do congressional committees led by Republicans.

The fakies awards missed  their target 11 to 0.   In fact,  if that is the best the White House has,  CNN and the others should feel pretty good.  (“hit me with your best shot, fire away”, Pat Benetar, still a classic).  On petty, silly and absolutely non consequential mistakes, I still find Koigate as # 1,  followed quickly by the Martin Luther King bust as # 2, and the Polish first lady non-handshake mistake  (see link from GOP.com) as # 3 and the Pensacola half empty stadium as #4.   See links.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Politifact: Fact-checking Donald Trump’s ‘results’ from his fake news awards

Washington Post Fact-checking President Trump’s ‘Fake News Awards’

GOP.com The Highly-Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards

Donald Trump and the fish food dump: How early reports got it wrong

Steve Colbert: Fake News Awards (Youtube)

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Lawsuits against Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS

There is going to be a lot of media coverage on Trump dossier / Buzzfeed / Fusion GPS / Congressional Investigation.  It is way more than this subject deserves.  So why would I want to add to it?  I’ve already posted one blog, with the conclusion that the media in general, has shown incredible restraint in not making the dossier public because the sources of the information were not revealed in the dossier and salacious information on Donald Trump could not be confirmed.

Trump Dossier – Nov 2017

The Trump Dossier could not have affected the elections because the details had not been made public until January 11, 2017 when  Buzzfeed decided to post it on the internet as they have the legal right to under the First Amendment of free speech.   As I reported earlier, they were sued one month later, as follows:

Aleksej Gubarev, chief of technology company XBT and a figure mentioned in the dossier, sued BuzzFeed for defamation on February 3, 2017.

Today,  Michael Cohen,  who is one of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, filed  lawsuits against Buzzfeed and Fusion GPS for defaming him.   Why now and not a year ago when the Trump dossier was first posted on the internet.  The lawsuits are frivolous and will go nowhere.  There is just a one year limit on filing lawsuits after material has been published.    Michael Cohen has strongly denied a visit to Prague in the summer of 2016 and offered a copy of his passport as proof.  However if is possible his passport would not be stamped if he entered by way of other EU countries.   However,  for those who like to  believe the whole Russian scandal is one big witch hunt, and the Democrats did stuff far worse, these lawsuits give Michael Cohen free air time, particularly on Fox News, which is something his boss (Donald Trump) will appreciate.

Stay tuned,

Dave

— There are way too many links on this topic to list here.    One is a bit misleading, from the New York Times, entitled “I’m Proud We Published the Russian-Trump Dossier”  however if you click on the link,  the “We” refers to Buzzfeed, and not the New York Times. It is written by Ben Smith, CEO of Buzzfeed, and is offered an independent opinion piece.   All the mainstream media (CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many others) and conservative focused media outlets, including Fox News refused to publish the dossier in either print or electronic form.    I believe it is to their credit, that they refuse publication because several of the allegations have no corroboration.

Defaming the President of the United States

You have certain rights that President Trump does not, because he is a public figure.   You have the right to sue for character defamation in civil court.   Someone suing must prove the information published  was false and as a result, there was monetary loss.   Further,   the information can’t be in the form of a joke or cartoon, as this is not considered factual information.  This issue arose yesterday, when a new book was published about President Trump, entitled:  “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”   President Trump has threatened the publisher with a lawsuit based on libelous statements.

I ordered by copy today from Amazon:

Michael Wolff:  Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House  from Amazon 

Wikipedia:  Fire and Fury book on Trump

New York Times vs Sullivan (1964)

***  Update:

Did Michael Wolff have access to the White House?

Donald Trump has responded in a tweet saying he had no access to the WH.  Politifact concludes that Trump’s denial is False.

See link below:

Politifact – Access to WH by Wolff

They can’t verify that Wolff had as much contact as he claims,  but he was often inside  the White House.

Stay tuned,

Dave