Donald Trump has apparently made an irrevocable choice—the die has been cast—where the relationship between him and the press are concerned. Trump’s vocal invective at his first press conference in six months directed at news outlets—particularly CNN and Buzzfeed signaled the explicit start of a war between the pending Trump administration and reporters.
The hot subject was CNN’s watered-down report on Trump’s alleged salacious affairs involving hookers, “golden showers” and sexual rendezvous in Russia. The source of the leak is allegedly traced to a 52-year-old former M16 officer Christopher Steele, who co-founded the London-based firm Orbis Business Intelligence.
Trump said it “was all fake news—phoney stuff” that his political opponents whom he denounced as “sick people” had “put that crap together.” Trump blamed the intelligence agencies for lending credibility to the leaks. “It was disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that proved so false and fake to get out. That’s something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do. That information was false and fake,” he said.
CNN had merely reported that “Trump and Obama had been briefed about a summary of a memo on Trump’s alleged links with Moscow but BuzzFeed went a step further in publishing extensive details of the document that claimed Russian operatives had gathered compromising material against him,” the Guardian reported.
The BBC reports that Trump was filmed or taped in the presence of prostitutes and that intelligence officers indicated “that there was “more than one tape”, “audio and video”, on “more than one date”, in “more than one place” – in the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow and also in St Petersburg – and that the material was “of a sexual nature”.
OUR FREE OPINION
Trump called Buzzfeed “a failing pile of garbage.” Some say the piece in Buzzfeed was legitimate: Mathew Ingram, a senior writer at Fortune Magazine, said many news organizations write stories that contain information that is not verifiable. He added that the source of the Trump story was credible and that intelligence agencies reported it in a briefing. We don’t find the reporting, in either of the outlets, particularly disturbing mainly because the President-elect is the ultimate example of a public figure in the world. It is not the type of information that is uniquely harmful because it is unsubstantiated and not believable by the average person. This is particularly true given the regularly openly expressed hostility directed towards President Trump in the liberal writings and broadcasts of CNN and Buzzfeed. These organizations do not like Trump, and the public knows this. Naturally, had the subject of the reporting featured a private individual, severe issues of libel would emerge. We expect similar stories throughout the president’s terms.