President Trump took aim at “one-sided Fake Media coverage” and “bad journalism” Saturday in tweets referring to coverage of former adviser Roger Stone’s indictment and arrest and to reports that layoffs had struck news outlets such as BuzzFeed and Huffington Post.
The tweets came a day after the Trump tore into “Fake News CNN,” which had a camera crew outside Stone’s home as he was being arrested by the FBI on obstruction and other charges in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.
Trump on Saturday also mocked CBS News, asserting that its reporting on Stone neglected to include details on the “Fake and Unverified ‘Dossier,'” which Trump described as “a total phony conjob, that was paid for by Crooked Hillary.”
Faulty journalism has been a constant theme of Trump’s for a long time, and the president suggested Saturday that recent job cuts at news organizations — which have left around 1,000 journalists jobless, according to reports — were an indication that he was accurate in his assessment.
“Ax falls quickly at BuzzFeed and Huffpost!” Headline, New York Post,” the president wrote. “Fake News and bad journalism have caused a big downturn. Sadly, many others will follow. The people want the Truth!”
BuzzFeed announced this week that it was letting go 220 employees — or about 15 percent of its staff — in a restructuring move. The news came just days after the outlet published a since-discredited report that Trump had directed his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to lie to Congress about a potential real estate deal in Moscow.
The office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller took the rare step of issuing a brief statement saying the story was “not accurate,” further escalating Trump’s claim that most news outlets are not to be trusted. BuzzFeed has stood by its reporting.
The Huffington Post, meanwhile, laid off 20 reporters as part of job cuts at Verizon, whose media division also includes AOL and Yahoo News. The parent company’s media cuts represented a 7 percent workforce reduction. Other media organizations that laid off workers last week included Gannett – the nation’s largest newspaper chain, which owns USA Today.
In response to Trump, BuzzFeed’s Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith tweeted that the president’s remarks were “a disgusting thing to say about dozens of American workers who just lost their jobs.”
HuffPost Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen also chimed in. “1,000 journalists lost their jobs last week,” Polgreen wrote. “Ordinary people with rent to pay, families to support, student loan bills coming due. They are workers like any other who do not deserve this cruelty.”
Many of the journalists left jobless received death threats online and anti-Semitic messages, the Hill reported.
Trump often accuses the media of unfair coverage and not highlighting his “accomplishments” enough. On Thursday, for example, the president complained about a lack of coverage of corporate earnings.
Trump’s tirade followed a storm of criticism against the media from many conservatives, particularly over coverage of the Catholic high school students from Covington, Ky., who were vilified online for allegedly harassing a Native American man — until additional video footage showed that the MAGA-hat-wearing kids were not the aggressors they had been made out to be.