It will come as no surprise that Donald Trump’s latest media stunt turned out to be just another narcissistic waste of time and energy. Back on January 2, Trump posted an announcement on Twitter that he would be hosting what he called “The Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards of the Year.” It was an ironic choice considering his well documented proclivity for lying. But undeterred by facts or shame, Trump eventually went ahead with his award ceremony.
Having been forewarned that this gala affair would run afoul of ethics laws if it was produced by the White House, Trump handed it off to a compliant Republican Party Politburo. The list of “honorees” was posted on the GOP website Wednesday afternoon and then immediately crashed the site. When the awards eventually became available they were presented with this introduction:
“2017 was a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage, and even downright fake news. Studies have shown that over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative.”
That’s the perfect lead in to these phony awards because it is itself demonstrably dishonest. The claim that “over 90% of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative” came from the ultra-rightist Media Research Center and was aired on Fox News by his his favorite show, Fox and Friends. It is a thoroughly biased and utterly false study that fails to back up its conclusions with facts. And to the extent that there were negative reports on Trump during the year, it’s because he did so many negative things. It isn’t the media’s fault if they accurately cover that.
The winners of Trump’s Dishonest and Corrupt Media awards all shared at least one thing in common: None of them were either dishonest or corrupt. They were mostly minor errors that were quickly corrected. No evidence was offered to prove that there was any deliberate intention to deceive or mislead. Here, for the record are the awardees:
- The New York Times’ Paul Krugman claimed on the day of President Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover.
- ABC News’ Brian Ross CHOKES and sends markets in a downward spiral with false report.
- CNN FALSELY reported that candidate Donald Trump and his son Donald J. Trump, Jr. had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks.
- TIME FALSELY reported that President Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office.
- Washington Post FALSELY reported the President’s massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty. Dishonest reporter showed picture of empty arena HOURS before crowd started pouring in.
- CNN FALSELY edited a video to make it appear President Trump defiantly overfed fish during a visit with the Japanese prime minister. Japanese prime minister actually led the way with the feeding.
- CNN FALSELY reported about Anthony Scaramucci’s meeting with a Russian, but retracted it due to a “significant breakdown in process.”
- Newsweek FALSELY reported that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake President Trump’s hand.
- CNN FALSELY reported that former FBI Director James Comey would dispute President Trump’s claim that he was told he is not under investigation.
- The New York Times FALSELY claimed on the front page that the Trump administration had hidden a climate report.
- And last, but not least: “RUSSIA COLLUSION!” Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!
Trump led off with the “failing” New York Times, whose two mentions gave it a second place to the four that CNN received. But conspicuously, most of the items were ridiculously trivial. Crowd size, feeding fish, and hand shakes hardly seem worthy of recognition for most dishonest and corrupt. Others weren’t even news stories, but opinions or other trifles. And this was, sadly, the best they could do.
Contrast that with the sort of awards that Trump might have been given if he were the recipient of similar trophies. They would include his purposeful lying about voter fraud, the firing of FBI Director James Comey, accusations that Hillary Clinton lied to the FBI, and his relentless assertions that inquiries into his collusion with Russia were a hoax. That was actually PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year for 2017.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
It’s fitting that these fake awards flopped so badly. Trump has been making dubious and dangerous allegations about the media throughout his presidency. The purpose is to damage the credibility of the one non-governmental institution that can hold him accountable for his despicable, and criminal, behavior. But clearly this phony spectacle failed to hit its target. It was petty and transparently self-serving. And it will be quickly forgotten after the requisite mockery that it deserves.