US President Donald Trump has faced backlash including from some of his own party members after he released the “Fake News Awards” list which highlighted journalists’ error
Trump announced the release of the list on Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018, via his preferred medium, Twitter. The “awards” were revealed on the Republican National Committee’s website (gop.com) which swiftly crashed as a result of the traffic.
The fake news awards list ranged from minor errors by journalists on social media to news reports that later invited corrections. The New York Times and CNN were the most frequently named fake news winners.
Much of the list centered around reporting on the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. The president has repeatedly dismissed the inquiry as “fake news”, despite the consensus of the US government and its allies that Moscow worked to sway the presidential election in Trump’s favor.
Shortly after making the awards public, Americans and people all over the world criticized Trump for his decision to hold “Fake News Awards”. People said this action marked a bizarre spectacle even by the standards of an impulsive president.
In reply to Trump’s Fake News Award tweet, Alex Conant, a Republican, tweeted: “10 years ago I was press secretary for @GOP. Lots of good people working there today. I’m working hard to help them elect Republicans in 2018. But these tactics by @realDonaldTrump are not helpful to anybody except Chuck & Nancy.”
Two prominent Republican lawmakers rebuked Trump’s treatment of the media leading up to his “Fake News Awards”. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both senators from Arizona pleaded with the president to retreat from his war against the press.
In an op-ed published Tuesday, McCain said Trump’s attacks on the media “provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit”.
“The phrase ‘fake news’ – granted legitimacy by an American president – is being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny and mislead citizens,” McCain wrote.
“We cannot afford to abdicate America’s longstanding role as the defender of human rights and democratic principles throughout the world.”
Flake, who is retiring from the Senate at the end of the year, took aim at Trump in a damning speech from the Senate floor.
“An American president who cannot take criticism, who must constantly deflect and distort and distract, who must find someone else to blame, is charting a very dangerous path,” Flake said. “It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies.”