Donald Trump and his transition team used the president-elect’s first press conference to launch an all-out offensive against the media, calling outlets that published adversarial stories “fake news,” “disgusting” and “a failing pile of garbage.”
Sean Spicer, Trump’s spokesperson, kicked off the president-elect’s press conference with a full-throated denial of allegations of compromising personal and financial information alluded to by several major American news organizations.
Calling BuzzFeed “a left-wing blog,” Spicer dismissed the publication of a 35-page dossier that contained unverified allegations as a “sad and pathetic attempt to get clicks.” He dismissed a claim, included in the dossier, that Trump surrogate Michael Cohen met with Russian officials overseas to participate in some kind of hacking scheme.
BuzzFeed is a global news organization that employs hundreds of journalists around the world and published adversarial journalism regarding candidates on the left and right during the campaign.
A spokesperson for BuzzFeed told Poynter that BuzzFeed is standing by its decision to publish the dossier in full, citing Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith’s staff note advocating transparency in journalism as its primary justification.
Vice president-elect Mike Pence took the stage after Spicer departed and also took aim at the press. Calling himself a press freedom advocate, Pence charged that “some in the mainstream media” sought “to delegitimize this election.”
During his remarks, Trump took questions from reporters but got into a shouting match with CNN’s Jim Acosta after refusing to take his question.
“You are attacking our news organization, can you give us a chance to ask a question, sir?”
“You are fake news,” Trump responded.
— CNN (@CNN) January 11, 2017
Later during the press conference, Trump called BuzzFeed “a failing pile of garbage,” prompting reporters at the news organization to tweet photos mocking the accusation:
— Bim Adewunmi (@bimadew) January 11, 2017
Pleased with our new tag line pic.twitter.com/sFCMrX91qO
— Luke Lewis (@lukelewis) January 11, 2017