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Trump calls media 'stain on America,' but he keeps lying

By Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

The president of the United States is a liar.

That is, to any person with even the loosest grip on reality, a fact.

So it is with staggering hypocrisy that President Donald Trump tweeted his most recent media critique Sunday: "Very little discussion of all the purposely false and defamatory stories put out this week by the Fake News Media. They are out of control -- correct reporting means nothing to them. Major lies written, then forced to be withdrawn after they are exposed ... a stain on America!"

There have been two significant mistakes made recently, one by an ABC News reporter and one by reporters at CNN.

Brian Ross, ABC's chief investigative correspondent, falsely reported that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn planned to testify that Trump had instructed him to make contact with officials from Russia during the presidential campaign. Once the network realized Ross's report was wrong, a correction was issued and Ross was suspended for four weeks without pay.

More recently, CNN reported that Donald Trump Jr. received an email offering access to hacked Democratic National Committee documents before they were released by WikiLeaks. The story was confirmed by two separate sources.

 

After learning that the email actually came after WikiLeaks had published the document, CNN corrected the report but said its reporters were not being suspended because they followed the network's editorial process.

These were big mistakes, no question. But in journalism, as in any business, mistakes happen. There's no evidence these were lies or anything remotely malicious -- just bad reporting and, in the CNN case, bad information from sources.

Most importantly, the reports were corrected and the journalists who made the mistakes were held accountable. (Even though the CNN reporters weren't suspended, you can bet they were held accountable according to the network's editorial policies.)

Journalists who lie or fabricate do not remain journalists for long. You can choose not to believe that if you wish, but that would be an exercise in willful self-deception.

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