In a fit of Twitter rage on Thursday morning, President Donald Trump suggested that Congress buck the First Amendment and begin investigating American media outlets, which he blanket labeled as “fake news.”
The president’s latest tirade against the media follows Senate Intelligence Committee leadership announcing that its investigation confirms the intelligence community assessment that Russia’s government attempted to influence the 2016 election.
Trump, who has a hostile relationship with the free press, in his latest barrage of attacks, seemed to be referring to an NBC News report that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson considered resigning earlier this summer–something he denied– and called the president a “moron.”
“Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!” Trump tweeted, an hour later adding: “Rex Tillerson never threatened to resign. This is Fake News put out by @NBCNews. Low news and reporting standards. No verification from me.”
Why Isn't the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2017
Rex Tillerson never threatened to resign. This is Fake News put out by @NBCNews. Low news and reporting standards. No verification from me.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2017
The Senate Intelligence Committee is one of several federal entities investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian operatives.
In a roundabout way, Trump is actually getting his wish. The Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating real fake news (not the “fake news” Trump calls every story he doesn’t like). The committee is reviewing ads purchased by Russian-backed Facebook accounts that spewed misinformation on social media–where many Americans seek news–in the run-up to the election.
Trump constantly bashes the press—he infamously called the only vocation explicitly protected by the Constitution the “enemy of the American people”—but his war against the media seems to be losing its cache.
A poll by Reuters and Ipsos found 48 percent of Americans have a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the media, up from 39 percent in November following Trump’s election. Meanwhile, the percentage of Americans who had “hardly any” confidence in the press fell from 51 percent in November to 45 percent now.