The headline was a grabber.
“Trump says media is ‘Enemy’ after shooting, bomb plot,” the Associated Press reported around 9 a.m. Monday morning. The article said:
President Donald Trump on Monday accused the media of being “the true Enemy of People” in the wake of a mass shooting and a mail bomb plot.
Trump tweeted: “There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news.” He added that the media “must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly.”
But something jumped out right away. Why the partial quote? Why did the AP edit Trump’s posts on Twitter? And why didn’t the news service include the tweet itself?
The answers were quite simple: Because what Trump said and what the AP wanted to say Trump said were two completely different things.
Here’s what Trump said (and we’ll run the two tweets he posted, too):
“There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame…” the first tweet said. The second finished the thought: “….of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony. Fake News Must End!”
So Trump never “accused the media of being ‘the true Enemy of the People.” Instead, he said, “The Fake News Media” is “the true Enemy of the People.” There’s a big, big difference. But for some reason, the AP decided to omit that and instead claim that Trump said all media are the enemy.
In the piece, the Associated Press never runs the full tweets from Trump, but does, at the end of the article, seek to connect the president to a bomb mailed to the liberal news network CNN.
Throughout his campaign and presidency, Trump has been an unrelenting critic of the media. Last week, the New York offices of CNN, the cable network frequently attacked by Trump and his supporters, was evacuated after receiving an explosive device and an envelope containing white powder.
While stopping short of blaming Trump’s rhetoric for inspiring the attacks, Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, contended there was a “total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media.”
Mark Twain once said, “There are only two forces that can carry light to all the corners of the globe … the sun in the heavens and the Associated Press down here.”
But those days are long gone. And to badly misquote Twain, the death of the unbiased Associated Press is not greatly exaggerated.
Late Monday evening, Trump said as much.
“CNN and others in the Fake News Business keep purposely and inaccurately reporting that I said the ‘Media is the Enemy of the People.’ Wrong! I said that the “Fake News (Media) is the Enemy of the People,” a very big difference. When you give out false information – not good!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Then he said:
“Check out tweets from last two days. I refer to Fake News Media when mentioning Enemy of the People – but dishonest reporters use only the word ‘Media.’ The people of our Great Country are angry and disillusioned at receiving so much Fake News. They get it, and fully understand!”
Thanks for filling out my story, Mr. President!