Breitbart News has reported that President Donald Trump, with the blessing of his White House staff, has encouraged staffers to “fake news” in a way that will make it harder for people to trust him and his administration.
In a message to staffers, Trump urged them to “create fake news,” adding, “It’s time for you to fake it!”
The president also said that the media “is very good at it,” saying, “You don’t have to fake news, but you do have to be very good about it.”
Trump’s message to the White House’s staff came as a bombshell report published Monday in The New York Times detailed a series of conversations between White House officials about how to handle the fake news that had emerged following the election, and how to fight it.
The revelations, which were first reported by The Hill, show the Trump administration was deeply concerned about the “fake media” — and it was in fact working to stymie it by creating fake news stories to discredit the administration and other Trump-friendly organizations.
In one instance, the White Senate Office of Public Liaison, the agency that oversees the White Houses press office, said it was “preparing for a crisis” after Trump was forced to respond to an allegation that he had committed a crime by allegedly assaulting a reporter at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer and National Security Council press secretary Ned Price were also briefed on the development of fake news during those meetings.
But the Trump White House did not take the White house’s concerns about the fake media seriously.
Spicer said in a March 24, 2017 briefing that he “wouldnt be comfortable” with the fake coverage, telling reporters, “If it was real news, I would be concerned.”
But Spicer later added that, “There is fake news out there, and it has a negative impact on our country.”
On May 10, 2017, the day after Trump won the presidency, Trump told reporters that “fake” media outlets are “totally fake news.”
Spicer said he didn’t believe that the “birthers” conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama’s birthplace were fake news at the time.
In the Whitehouse, Trump also encouraged staffers, “Fake news is going to get you in trouble,” adding that he wanted them to create fake stories “so that you can have a more negative narrative about the president and the presidency.”
The Trump administration also has been working to undermine the credibility of a number of mainstream media organizations.
On May 18, 2017 — nearly a year after Trump became president — Spicer said that “journalism is dying.”
Spicer added, “What’s happening now, with fake news and the other things, is really important.”
A month later, in a White House briefing, Trump continued to blame “fake and fraudulent news outlets” for hurting his presidency.
Spicer later said that he believed that the administration had been working “very hard to counter” fake news in the WhiteHouse.
Spicer’s remarks, which echoed the comments of Trump’s national security adviser, Lt.
Gen. H.R. McMaster, were widely criticized by journalists and politicians alike.
The Trump WhiteHouse did not respond to Breitbart News’ requests for comment.