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Donald Trump calls CNN 'fake news' at today's press conference

This was posted on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

President-elect Donald Trump refused to answer a question from a CNN reporter during his press conference today, angry with the network's coverage regarding unverified intelligence briefing materials. (Buzzfeed published the full 35-page document full of allegations that news publications have not been able to verify and many in the media found that irresponsible.)

He told CNN’s Jim Acosta: “Your organization is terrible, and I am not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”

CNN released this statement soon after:

CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than Buzzfeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiated memos. The Trump team knows this. They are using Buzzfeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations. We are fully confident in our reporting. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case, briefing materials prepared for President Obama and President-elect Trump last week. We made it clear that we were not publishing any of the details of the 35-page document because we have not corroborated the report’s allegations. Given that members of the Trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.

Shephard Smith of Fox News today defended CNN:

President-elect Trump today told CNN's Jim Acosta the his organization amounts to fake news. CNN's exclusive reporting on the Russian matter was separate and distinctly different from the document dump executed by an online news property. Though we at Fox News cannot confirm CNN's report, it is our observation that its correspondents followed journalistic standards and that neither they nor any other journalists should be subjected to belittling and delegitimizing by the president-elect of the United States.

A former CNN news producer and former Atlantan Pamela Sellers posted this defense of CNN as well on Twitter:

@CNN has shone light on struggling democracies and corruption globally for 37 years. You saw the Berlin Wall fall thanks to CNN. CNN was the first news org to have a bureau in Cuba; its international teams have shown you the destruction by and of dictators from North Korea, the Balkans, China, Latin America, Africa, the Mideast and other Arab regions, and Southeast Asia. The media is protected by the 1st Amendment, too. America needs an aggressive press to expose everything and anyone who threatens our Democracy, even Donald Trump.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.