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Trump faces heavy criticism as he reveals his 'Fake News Awards' winners

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House is to be adapted for TV.

Image: Olivier Douliery via PA Images

DONALD TRUMP UNVEILED the winners of his much-touted ‘Fake News Awards’ last night, hours after a maverick senator from the president’s own Republican party accused him of employing Stalinist language to “slur” and undermine the free press.

Arizona lawmaker Jeff Flake levelled the broadside in an address from the Senate floor earlier in the day, delivering a one-two punch after veteran Republican John McCain penned an op-ed assailing Trump’s spoof awards.

The brash Republican president announced his top-ten list – which included his regular targets CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post – using his preferred medium of Twitter, linking to a list published on the Republican Party’s website that crashed minutes after his big reveal.

Flake slammed what he called the president’s dangerous disregard for the truth, and his designation of the mainstream news media as an “enemy of the people”.

“Mr President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies,” said the senator, an outspoken Trump critic who is not seeking re-election this year.

When a figure in power reflexively calls any press that does not suit him fake news, it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press.

‘Dishonest media’

At loggerheads with much of the US news media since his election, Trump finally doled out his Fake News Awards after weeks of speculation, recognizing what he had called “the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media”.

Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman, who writes a regular opinion column – not news articles – for The New York Times, nabbed the number one spot.

The administration said he merited the award for writing “on the day of President Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover”.

Following the former reality star’s stunning rise to power, Krugman had written that Trump’s inexperience on economic policy and unpredictability risked further damaging the weak global economy.

The list also pointed to an error from ABC’s veteran reporter Brian Ross, who was suspended for four weeks without pay after he was forced to correct a bombshell report on ex-Trump aide Michael Flynn.

In follow-up tweets to his “Fake News” announcement, the commander-in-chief posted that “despite some very corrupt and dishonest media coverage, there are many great reporters I respect and lots of GOOD NEWS for the American people to be proud of”.

“Together there is nothing we can’t overcome – even a very biased media. We ARE Making America Great Again!”

‘Reflexive slurs’

Quoting figures from the International Federation of Journalists which reported the deaths of more than 80 journalists last year, Flake said Trump’s “reflexive slurs” were an affront to their sacrifice.

From his longtime questioning of Barack Obama’s birth certificate, to his dismissal of what US intelligence agrees was a Russian effort to sway the 2016 election as a “hoax,” Flake accused Trump of weakening trust in American institutions – while emboldening despots around the world.

“This feedback loop is disgraceful, Mr President,” Flake said. “Not only has the past year seen an American president borrow despotic language to refer to the free press, but it seems he has now in turn inspired dictators and authoritarians with his own language.”

Fire and Fury 

Meanwhile, it has been reported in US media that Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House - the tell-all President Donald Trump has said is “full of lies” – is to be adapted for television.

Rights to Michael Wolff’s book, an explosive behind-the-scenes account that questions the president’s fitness for office, have been snapped up by Endeavor Content, according to The Hollywood Reporter and Variety.

They said Wolff would be executive producer of the series.

Trump has declared the book “phony” while White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders dismissed it as “complete fantasy” and a Trump attorney has sought to halt publication of the “libelous” tome.

© AFP 2018

Read: Could you pass the cognitive fitness test taken by Donald Trump this week?

More: Steve Bannon refuses to answer lawmakers’ questions following ‘White House instructions’

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