“BuzzFeed is failing pile of garbage,” Trump said almost an hour into the conference, which covered a wide variety of subjects, including healthcare, his cabinet, and Russian hacking.
“I think they’re going to suffer the consequences,” Trump said of BuzzFeed. “They already are.”
From the crowd of reporters, Jim Acosta, CNN’s senior White House correspondent, began to press Trump for a question: “Since you’re attacking our news organization, will you give us a question?”
“Not you,” Trump replied. “No, I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”
CNN later released a statement in response to Trump’s cries of “fake news,” saying his team is “using BuzzFeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations.”
“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.”
The New York press club also weighed in with a statement addressed to Trump. “The New York Press Club respectfully calls on you to end this practice of exclusion,” wrote the club’s president, Steve Scott. “We urge you to accept and answer questions from all journalists.”
Trump’s comments come after BuzzFeed published an unsubstantiated report that included salacious details about Trump’s behavior in Russia. BuzzFeed’s CEO Jonah Peretti sent an email, acquired by Variety, to staff on Wednesday after the press conference, to explain that the media company would not respond to Trump’s recent comments, and would stand by the decision to publish the dossier.
I wanted to make sure you all saw Ben’s email about BuzzFeed News’ decision to publish the dossier alleging Trump’s ties to Russia. We stand with Ben on his decision to publish this newsworthy document, which was reported on by multiple news outlets and seen by high level government officials including the president and president-elect.
As a result of this decision, we were criticized by the incoming administration. We are not going to respond to these divisive comments, which put us in great company by the way — The New York Times, CNN, and The Washington Post have all been attacked. So has Meryl Streep and the cast of Hamilton, but we’d never compare ourselves to people that talented. ;)
We are going to keep doing what we do best, which is deliver impactful journalism.
Thank you for your ongoing hard work.
“BuzzFeed Runs Unverifiable Trump-Russia Claims #FakeNews” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
Wednesday morning he followed up by tweeting, “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”
When asked during the press conference to expand on his tweet that referenced Nazi Germany, Trump said that publishing an unverified report is “something that Nazi Germany did and would do.”