President Trump's News Conference 02.16.2017


I normally do not provide articles on presidential news conferences. However, the one President Trump gave on February 16, 2017 is slightly a different matter.

During the news conference he offered a list, of sorts, of things promised during his campaign for which he has made good - at least the attempts to do so.

Later in the briefing, and this is the point of this article, he pointed out at great length his perception of a dishonest media.

Before proceeding with my comments, should you like, you can view his entire news conference by Clicking Here.

Trump kept eluding to fake news. He was especially hard on CNN.

Why has fake news become highlighted recently? Fake news has been with us for a long time - it's just that now it has a name. In times gone by it was simply called lies.

So, before investigating how all this fake news we hear about these days applies to Trump, perhaps a definition and example is in order.

I am going to add the phrase "Alternative facts" in this discussion. "Alternative facts" was not mentioned in the news conference. So, why am I mentioning it? Sometimes the two are related and hard to distinguish one from the other. I have read media stories equating "alternate facts" with fake news - they are not necessarily the same. Fake news is always meant to mislead. "Alternative facts" sometimes are meant only to provide clarity - other times also to mislead.

Let's get "Alternative facts" out of the way first.

Here are examples of "Alternative facts":

Background: I am 5' 7" in height - Slightly shorter than the average for men in the US (i.e., 5' 9.5").

Stated Fact #1: He (meaning me) is short.

Stated Fact #2: He was at a wedding and was the tallest person in attendance.

These two are "Alternative facts"; and both are true facts.

Yes, I am shorter than the average. And, the wedding was for a Vietnamese couple attended by Vietnamese people (except for my wife and me). In fact, I WAS the tallest person there.

The above are examples of "Alternative facts" that could seem to be in conflict, but, in fact, are both true. The phrase "Alternative facts" does not, as a standalone, imply or denote falsehood or truth. As with most things, context is everything. One must look a little deeper to find the real truth.

Now, fake news is altogether different - it is always a lie.

In the media one can see it as out-and-out lies, as half-truths, as selectively editing a video clip, as having a headline imply something the story does not report, as being totally out of context with what actually happened, as well as many other forms. But, it is always a lie.

As we are still in the definition/example phase of this article, let's look at something not related to President Trump.

There is a gentleman, Geert Wilders, who is running for the office of Prime Minister of the Netherlands (i.e., Holland). Mr. Wilders offered the following: "There is a lot of Moroccan scum in Holland who make the streets unsafe." Later in his statement he further offered: "And that should change...not all are scum."

However, here's a headline from a news source, "The Observer": "Far-right leader Geert Wilders calls Moroccan migrants ‘scum’". The implied message one gets from this is that Wilders said ALL Moroccans were scum. Clearly a lie. Now if people were to actually read the article, especially the 3rd paragraph, Wilders' actual intent was revealed .

Further the article states, "The MP, who has also vowed to ban the Qur’an should he be voted into power, was convicted of discrimination in December over previous comments he made about Moroccans living in the Netherlands."

This news source also failed to report that, despite his "conviction", he was cleared of "hate speech" and no punishment was imposed.

This is a great example of fake news that damaged a politician. It reported news out of context and offered half-truths.

And, as with most fake news, the media is almost guaranteed that the vast number of people will accept their articles as fact without doing any research into the actual facts of the matter. Unfortunately the media is correct in their assumption.

Now, on to Trump and Fake News as perceived by him.

In his news conference Trump offered that news stories not favorable to him which happend to relate true facts, were OK. However, fake news aimed at discrediting him (or any fake news for that matter) was not OK.

Now, for some examples of what he may have been talking (as no specific examples were mentioned in the news conference):

We've all seen or heard reports of Trump being a racist, Islamaphobe, a Fascist and the like. Not only are there absolutely no facts to back up these slanderous accusations, Trumps actual actions do not even fit the definitions of the words used.

1. This link by the Huffington Post, details 16 examples of "Trump Being Racist". You'll notice that most of the article deals with Trump's actions/views toward Muslims and Mexicans. I hate to break it to the "progressive true believers", but neither being Muslim nor Mexican denotes a race.

2. This has to do with Trump's "immigration ban". Many in the news media initially reported that it was a "ban on all Muslims". But, negative feedback caused the media to update their stories to reflect actual facts. That didn't stop certain politicians from spreading the initial false narrative - and even worse.

3. Article specific to CNN spreading fake news.

4. Specific fake news stories affecting Trump.

Oh, the list could go on. But, the true point of this is that news sources in general are doing what they are paid to do - make money for the owners of news sources. But, wouldn't it be better for all of us, if they took the advice of "Sgt. Joe Friday" of 'Dragnet'; you know the guy whose badge number was 714? His oft repeated and applicable line here was "Just the facts!".

If one thinks it's naive of me to expect Trump to NOT act as normal politicians do and just roll over for the press, my answer is: THIS. And, here's why!