SPECIAL REPORT: The Eight Worst ‘Fake News’ Stories of the Trump Years
1. The Imaginary Pee Tape: Ten days before Trump’s inauguration, CNN tried to rain on his big moment by unveiling “exclusive” information that top intelligence officials, including then-FBI Director James Comey, had briefed the President-elect about a 35-page dossier crammed with supposedly damaging information.
2. Fake News About a Flynn Deal with Mueller: During live “Special Report” coverage on December 1, 2017, ABC News chief investigative Brian Ross made the jaw-dropping claim that former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn would testify that during the 2016 campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump had “ordered him — directed him to make contact with the Russians, which contradicts all that Donald Trump has said to this point.”
3. CNN’s Botched WikiLeaks E-Mail ‘Exclusive’: A few days later, on December 8, 2017, CNN.com published an early-morning story by correspondents Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb claiming Trump’s campaign team received an e-mail from WikiLeaks on September 4, 2016 with “a decryption key and website address for hacked WikiLeaks documents” that would not be publicly revealed until September 13.
4. Donald Trump, Secret Russian Agent: After the President, at a post-summit press conference, refused to contradict Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of election meddling, journalists leaped to offering wild theories that the performance was evidence the Trump was a Russian agent. “We don’t know if Putin is his handler, his hero or his co-conspirator, but it’s obviously where his loyalty lies,” New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg declared on ABC’s This Week on July 22, 2018.
5. Liberal TV Nets Trumpet Phony CNN “Exclusive”: On July 26, 2018, CNN’s Jim Sciutto and Carl Bernstein appeared on Cuomo PrimeTime to drop the “exclusive” bombshell claim that Michael Cohen would tell federal investigators that President Trump knew of the infamous Trump Tower meeting before it took place. It was exactly the sort of smoking gun that Trump-haters in the media had been yearning for since the Russia investigation began, and it quickly filled up liberal airwaves.
6. O’Donnell’s Reckless Deutsche Bank Scoop: MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell began the August 27, 2019 edition of his 10pm ET Last Word program by teasing 9pm host Rachel Maddow as her show was concluding. “I may have some information,” he promised, pertaining to Donald Trump’s business dealings with Germany’s Deutsche Bank.
7. Blaming Trump for Racist Mass Killings: Grotesquely seeking to exploit horrific tragedies for political advantage, some in the media actually accused the President of inspiring or otherwise supporting brutal mass killings in 2019. “The President needs to at some point look in the mirror and understand that the rhetoric…. give[s] permission to the most craziest people in America,” ABC’s Matthew Dowd charged after a synagogue shooting that left eleven dead in April of that year.
8. The Coronavirus “Hoax” Hoax: As the coronavirus spread in the U.S., so too did the fake news that President Trump had called the disease a “hoax,” when in reality he used those words to talk about Democrats’ attempt to exploit the crisis. The butchering of reality began just a couple of hours after the President spoke at a February 28 political rally, with Politico’s bogus headline: “Trump rallies his base to treat coronavirus as a ‘hoax.’” That earned Politico a “false” rating from CheckYourFact.com the next day. The left-leaning fact-checker Snopes.com soon agreed, writing on March 2: “Despite creating some confusion with his remarks, Trump did not call the coronavirus itself a hoax.”