On Friday morning, President Donald Trump said hostile news sources “literally make up sources” in order to attack him. Due to this hostile treatment, the president announced he would skip the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for the second year in a row.
“I sort of feel that the press is so bad, it’s so fake, it’s so made up,” Trump said on the “Bernie & Sid Show” on 77 WABC radio. “‘Sources say’ and they have no sources.”
Ever the inventor of of clever nicknames, Trump declared, “They’re like novelists, I call them novelists and they make up the sources.”
The president admitted that some sources were not invented — author Michael Wolff, for example, almost certainly had real quotes from Steve Bannon, for instance — but even then Trump said the press manages to screw up the story. “Now, in some cases, there are sources, but they won’t do it correctly, either.”
“In many cases, they literally make up sources,” the president reiterated. “‘Nine sources within the White House said…’ There are no nine sources.”
While speaking on the radio, Trump sounded unsure as to whether or not he would appear at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, but he suggested he would likely avoid the event.
“I just think that I want to get it straightened out with the press before I do it,” the president said.
Trump’s remarks seemed limited to the mainstream liberal outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN, as opposed to the wide spectrum of conservative outlets that often defend the president. Trump previously gave out “Fake News Awards” to the liberal outlets.
One of those “Fake News Awards” went to CNN for a story based on an anonymous source. The source had misreportedly said that former Trump Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci had met with a Russian official. After Scaramucci threatened a lawsuit denying any such meeting, three CNN staffers resigned, effectively admitting that the source had either lied or did not exist.
Trump has long criticized outlets for citing anonymous sources, but oftentimes reporters must engage in this practice because they have been given important news from sources who need to remain anonymous. This does not make journalists “novelists,” but when the anonymous sources in question are proven wrong, the public has little reason to believe the source in question actually existed.