Fake News Awards
The Fake News Awards was created by U.S. President Donald Trump to highlight the news outlets he said were responsible for misrepresenting him or producing false reports both before, and during, his presidency. On January 17, 2018, a post to the blog of the GOP website announced the winners. They included errors by journalists on social media and news reports that later issued corrections.
Creation[edit | edit source]
President Trump first proposed an award—then called the "Fake News Trophy"—in a November 2017 tweet, stating "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)." At the time, it was unclear whether he intended to actually create the award. In late December, Trump's re-election campaign sent emails to supporters with a link to an online poll asking them to rank three nominated stories as "fake," "faker" or "fakest" news. Trump next mentioned the awards in a January 2, 2018 tweet. At this time, he called them the "Most Dishonest & Corrupt Media Awards of the Year", and wrote they would be awarded for "dishonesty & bad reporting in various categories". The awards were scheduled for January 8, 2018 at 5pm CST. In a January 7 tweet, Trump changed the date to January 17, citing increased interest in the award.
Several late-night talk show hosts, including Samantha Bee and Jimmy Kimmel, satirically campaigned for an award. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert displayed a billboard doing such in New York City's Times Square, with categories including "Least Breitbarty" and "Corruptest Fakeness", and Trevor Noah's The Daily Show bought a full-page ad in The New York Times. The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon aired a sketch satirizing the Fake News Awards on January 16.
Awards[edit | edit source]
The ten stories awarded were from CNN (four times), The New York Times (twice), The Washington Post, ABC News, Newsweek and Time. An eleventh bonus award was given to reports about Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections in general, which was called "perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people".
The initial announcement of the winners was described by media pundits as a flop, because the Republican Party's website experienced technical difficulties and displayed a 404 error, along with a note that stated "we're making it great again". Eventually, a link to a working blog post was supplied.
|1||Paul Krugman||The New York Times||Short op-ed by NYT columnist which predicted if markets would recover from Trump presidency, "first-pass answer is never".||Krugman's piece was not a news report, but an opinion piece about what he thinks a Trump presidency would bring. Krugman changed the claim three days later and wrote that the budget deficits under Trump might actually strengthen the economy briefly.|
|2||Brian Ross||ABC News||Bungled report on former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.||ABC corrected the error when it was pointed out and Ross was suspended for four weeks and then reassigned by ABC. The report was also linked to a temporary drop of 350 points in the Dow Jones, but stocks recovered quickly.|
|3||Manu Raju, Jeremy Herb||CNN||Report claiming Trump campaign had early access to hacked WikiLeaks documents.||The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and NBC News soon caught the error and CNN corrected it.|
|4||Zeke Miller||Time||A tweet claiming a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office.||Tweet, not a news story, correction issued after 40 minutes. Apology issued by TIME.|
|5||Dave Weigel||The Washington Post||Tweet with misleading photo suggesting a rally for Trump in Pensacola was not 'packed to the rafters.'||Photo was taken while the audience was still entering the arena. Tweet, not a news story, deleted after 20 minutes. Apology issued by reporter.|
|6||Veronica Rocha||CNN||CNN published a video giving the impression Trump carelessly overfed fish in a koi pond during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.||Tweet, not a news story. Full video showed that Trump was merely copying what Abe was doing; the report accompanying the video actually portrayed Trump's actions in a positive light.|
|7||Thomas Frank||CNN||Report claiming then-White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci had ties to Russia.||Report later retracted. Three CNN staff members – Pulitzer-Prize nominee Thomas Frank; assistant managing editor Eric Lichtblau (who had recently joined from The New York Times and is a Pulitzer winner himself); and Lex Haris, the executive editor in charge of investigations – resigned.|
|8||Chris Riotta||Newsweek||Article claiming Polish first lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake Trump's hand.||Correction issued three hours after publication.|
|9||Gloria Borger, Eric Lichtblau, Jake Tapper, Brian Rokus||CNN||Report that former FBI director James Comey would dispute Trump's claim that he was told he was not under investigation.||Story later corrected by CNN.|
|10||Lisa Friedman||New York Times||Report that scientists were afraid of the Trump administration planning not to publish a climate-change study.||The study had actually been available to the public for seven months. In a correction, the New York Times stated that the report "was uploaded to a nonprofit internet digital library in January but received little attention until it was published by the New York Times", though the study had been previously reported on by the Washington Post.|
|11||Various||Claims that the Trump campaign "colluded" with Russia.||The Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections report has been finished. See 2017, 2018, 2019, and the Mueller Report.|
The three stories on the online poll previously offered to Trump's supporters were ABC's reporting on Michael Flynn, CNN's reporting on Trump access to WikiLeaks documents, and Zeke Miller's erroneous report on the Martin Luther King Jr. bust.
Reception[edit | edit source]
Reaction to the "awards" was strong from different sources. Trump's supporters view the "awards" as a tongue-in-cheek approach highlighting media bias against the president, while critics view them as what they believe to be an attempt to undermine freedom of the press.
In response to the Fake News Awards, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced on January 8, 2018, its "Press Oppressors awards". The group gave Trump the "Overall Achievement in Undermining Global Press Freedom" for inspiring cries of "fake news" in China, Syria, and Russia. Other awards went to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Xi Jinping, and Aung San Suu Kyi. The "awards" were called an assault on a free press and the First Amendment by 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin. It was described similarly by The Guardian, who called it "a bizarre spectacle". Trump was also criticized for the awards by Republican Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain. McCain, in an op-ed in The Washington Post, commented that Trump's use of the phrase "fake news" is "being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny, and mislead citizens". Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy called the awards "fascist propaganda".
On Twitter, some media commentators congratulated the "winners", and others mocked the awards. The Twitter account for the New York Daily News expressed disappointment that it did not win an award. The journalist Chris Riotta joked that he was "honored and humbled" to be included in the awards.
References[edit | edit source]
- Siddiqui, Sabrina (January 18, 2018). "Donald Trump faces backlash as he reveals 'Fake News Awards' winners". The Guardian. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Borchers, Callum (January 17, 2018). "Trump's 'Fake News Awards' were a huge flop". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Grynbaum, Michael M.; Flegenheimer, Matt (January 17, 2018). "Trump Hands Out 'Fake News Awards,' Sans the Red Carpet". The New York Times. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Anapol, Avery (December 28, 2017). "Trump asks supporters to help award 'Fake News' trophy". TheHill.
- Borchers, Callum (December 28, 2017). "Trump’s ‘fake news trophy’ contest is now an actual thing". Washington Post.
- Watson, Kathryn (January 2, 2018). "Trump tweets he will announce awards for most 'dishonest' and 'corrupt' media of the year". CBS News. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Stewart, Emily (January 17, 2018). "John McCain to Donald Trump: stop attacking the press". Vox. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Serjeant, Jill (January 16, 2018). "'The Fakeys': Comedians turn tables on Trump's 'fake news' awards". Reuters. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Greenwood, Max (January 17, 2018). "Fallon parodies Trump’s ‘Fake News Awards’". TheHill. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Riley-Smith, Ben; Graham, Chris (January 18, 2018). "Fake News Awards: CNN 'wins' taking 4 out of 11 'accolades' announced by Donald Trump". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Krugman, Paul (November 9, 2016). "Paul Krugman: The Economic Fallout". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Kessler, Glenn (January 17, 2018). "Fact-checking President Trump’s ‘Fake News Awards’". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- "ABC News apologizes for 'serious error' in Trump report and suspends Brian Ross for four weeks".
- "A Note to Our Readers". Time. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Rocha, Veronica (November 5, 2017). "President Trump feeds fish with PM Shinzo Abe in Japan, then pours the entire box of food into the koi pond.pic.twitter.com/CQjGGf5k0J". @VeronicaRochaLA. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- "The "winners" of Trump’s fake news awards, annotated". Vox. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- "3 CNN staffers resign over retracted Scaramucci-Russia story". POLITICO. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- "Donald Trump's handshake was expertly rejected by the Polish first lady". Newsweek. July 6, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- Hafner, Josh (January 9, 2018). "Trump takes top 'honors' in Press Oppressors awards". USA Today. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
- McMullin, Evan; Finn, Mindy (January 17, 2018). "The Fake News Awards are another escalation in Trump's assault on press freedoms". Los Angeles Times.
- Bredemeier, Ken (January 18, 2018). "Two Republican Senators Assail Trump for Media Attacks". VOA.
- Anapol, Avery (January 18, 2018). "Connecticut governor: Trump 'Fake News' awards are 'fascist propaganda'". The Hill.
- Anuradha, Gayathri (January 17, 2018). "President Trump's Fake News Awards Leave Non-Winners Feeling 'Robbed'". International Business Times. Retrieved January 18, 2018.