Trumpwatch: Fake News, Soft News, and Non-News




One of Donald Trump’s most bitter and constant complaints is mainstream media reporting of his election campaign last year, and his first couple of months in the White House.

Any reporting of Trump which shows him in a negative light is referred by him as “fake news“. This, despite  the actual definition of fake news being closer to Wikipedia’s opening statement on the issue;

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Fake news is a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation, be it via the traditional news media or via social media, with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically.

Trump’s mis-use of the term “fake news” – to attack and dismiss as untrue, actual news stories – is a corruption of the term for his own purposes.

Trump’s actions, statements, tweets, and behaviour has all received media attention – and quite rightly so. Trump is no longer a private individual and his actions and words are no longer unimportant. As the elected leader of the United States, much of what  he says and does will be reported.

Often, that reporting will be highly critical.

Sometimes, it will be damaging to his reputation.

It goes with the ‘territory’.

Attacking various msm such as CNN and labelling it as “fake news” because he is thin-skinned and upset by their stories  does not make the news outlet “fake”;



It simply makes him look petulant, unprofessional, and unable to cope with the rigours of his Office.

This, is fake news;



So is this;



Mostly likely this;



And maybe even this;



(Loving that blue dress, by the way…)

And yet, on at least two occassions, Trump has had valid justification to attack and criticise the msm over stories published.

The first, in late February. There was faux-outrage when the media reported that – SHOCK! HORROR! – Donald Trump’s senior  advisor, Kellyanne “Alternative Facts” Conway, was caught in a series of photos kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office of the White House;





For some inexplicable reason (actually, not so inexplicable at all), this was considered “newsworthy”, and the planet’s media went nuts;



I had no desire (or spare time) to check the remaining 309,000 results.

This was not so much “Fake” News as Non-News. There was nothing remotely informative, insightful, or politically meaningful about that (non-)event.

As many pointed out, it was not so different to former President Obama putting his feet up on the Oval Office desk, after a hard day running the American Empire;



(Tough day at the office.)

The next instance of Non-News reporting by the msm was this incident;



The News Corp story above (re-published in the NZ Herald) went on to describe Donald Trump’s speech at Congress;

While her father President Donald Trump spoke about saving American jobs, Ivanka stood at his State Of the Union address in the expensive frock, which costs about NZ$4238 (US$2995).

There was no mention of what Ms Trump’s father wore on the day.

Yet again, the mainstream media appeared to run out of real stories, as the ‘net filled with millions of words written about ‘that dress’;



As referenced briefly above, it is not totally ‘inexplicable’ that the msm have gone barking mad on the two Non-News ‘stories’ above.

There is an on-going war-of-words between Trump – aided and abetted by his faithful White House minions – versus the mainstream media. The animosity has never been so bitter since the days of the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s secret list of enemies.

The Conway Shoes-on-Sofa and Ivanka Dress “scandals” were a petty attack on Trump. It was a mis-use of media power for no reason except journalists, editors, newsroom producers, et al, have a dislike of Trump.

The media need to get over themselves. Non-News stories like these only add to Trump’s hysterical fear and rage against media institutions. They also add to his narrative that the media are “out to get him”. In these two cases, that ‘paranoia’ might well be justified.

If the media are to regain the trust and credibility that has been badly dented in last year’s presidential campaign, pathetic Non-News “stories” like the ones above cannot continue.

The media are supposed to hold truth to power. Shoes on sofas and fashion critiques simply don’t cut the mustard.

We, the people deserve better.





Wikipedia: Fake News

Politico: Trump calls CNN ‘fake news,’ as channel defends its reporting on intelligence briefing

Linked In: Pope Francis endorses Donald Trump

The Independent: What is Pizzagate? The Hillary Clinton conspiracy theory that led to a man opening fire in a restaurant

Global Research: U.S. Coalition Intelligence “Operations Room” Inside Syria, Destroyed by Russian Missile Attack: Thirty Israeli, American, British, Turkish, Saudi, Qatari Intelligence Officials Killed, Report

Google: Search – Kellyanne conway shoes on couch

NZ Herald: Ivanka Trump wore a $4000 off-the-shoulder dress to Congress

Google: Search – Ivanka Trump dress at father’s speech

PBS: Nixon’s Enemies List


The Guardian: What is fake news? How to spot it and what you can do to stop it

Previous related blogposts

Trumpwatch: The Drum(pf)s of War

Trumpwatch: “… then they came for the LGBT”







= fs =


  1. “There was no mention of what Ms Trump’s father wore on the day.”

    You kind of hinted at it, Frank, but the media’s reporting of Ivanka Trump’s attire could best be described as sexist misogyny, belittling a woman for her dress.

    Kind of the same thing the media took Trump to task for (misogyny) when he was caught bragging about grabbing women’s genitalia or walking in on naked women in Miss Universe changing rooms.

    Double standards for sure!

  2. Frank,
    We do recognise you hate Donald Trump – and we get that.

    Tell us how good Hillary Clinton would have been for us please???

    Bill and Hillary Clinton were now today found as being in close company with Russian Diplomats during the Election!!! – but who now will say anything about this?????

    “Clinton contacts also met with Russian ambassador, Putin aide says”

    Trump is being investigated as illegally discussing stuff with Russian Diplomats now so will Hillary and Bill Clinton, Chuck Schumer and his partners also need to be investigated now wouldn’t you say???

    • Hi Cleangreen,you make a very good point when you ask how good it would be with Hillary Clinton as President, she forwarned us that she would make Syria the focus of her foreign policy straight away then her focus would turn to Killing Russians, Chinese and Iranians, so at least with Trump we have a small chance of change, it is getting very tiresome to read the likes of Frank and company trying to defend their bias by continually attacking Trump, if Frank thinks that CNN is anything but fake news he displays his ignorance and the bubble he lives in,Thinking about CNN’s and the NYT’s cheerleading the Weapons of Mass Destruction propaganda, the Saddam can strike the UK in 48 minutes story, the connection between Saddam and Al Queda, all totally fabricated LIES bullhorned straight out of CNN and the venerable NYT Frank!
      please read some real credible news sites and cease with the Trump bashing it makes your stories read like FAKE NEWS!

        • Attacking various msm such as CNN and labelling it as “fake news” because he is thin-skinned and upset by their stories does not make the news outlet “fake”;
          It simply makes him look petulant, unprofessional, and unable to cope with the rigours of his Office. Frank please give a concrete example of Trump being THIN SKINNED and not simply refuting CNN’s fake news about him? He has been on the public stage for many years now and shows himself to be his own man, not the empty head full of Bannon which you displayed in the piece, I love how every critic of Trump calls Bannon Trumps brain and alter ego, no one here even heard of Bannon six months ago but as I said Trump has been around a long time, you display your bias with every cartoon you show!

          • Only, Frank also wrote critical stories of John key. Was he d in that? Frank and others here on .TDB are bloggers, not paid impartial journalists.

            It seems the trumpistas are out in force after each blogpost criticising trump.

  3. We, the people deserve better.

    Abso—lutely Frank.

    But may I advise NOT holding your breath?

    The MSM seem very intent on lowering themselves to the same level as the Brat-in-Chief…

  4. While a lot of people’s mistrust of journalists and the media is way over the top, journalists’ inability to do their job properly for many years helped sew the seeds. Reagan got an easy ride from the media as did George W Bush and John Key in this country. When the wolf finally comes calling, it is too late to call woolf. One also gets the feeling the press in the US would still be nice to Trump if he only behaved a little bit better. This is illustrated by how many of its members fell over themselves in praise simply because he made one reasonable speech in Congress.

  5. Excellent, balanced piece Frank. The MSM has no insight in being the purveyor of false news. Their definition of false news, excludes them ever being guilty.
    Trump has no credibility, so nothing to lose.

    Glenn Greenwald has an excellent article on the Washington Post being rewarded for false news.

    • Thanks for that link, David. I’ve read it, and the Washington Post’s fake news debacle reminds me of our own incident a couple of years ago when the NZ Herald published a series which I refer to as the Donghua Liu Affair.

      It turned out that much of Liu’s allegations were either false or could not be proven or corroborated.

      A complaint to the Press Council found;

      … when reporting the paper failed to adhere to a basic tenet of journalism…the need to have confirmation from a second source.

      The Herald published retraction (of sorts) of much of Donghua Liu’s allegations;

      “At the weekend, the Herald on Sunday reported from a signed statement by Liu in which he appeared to claim he spent $100,000 on wine at a Labour fundraiser and $50,000-$60,000 hosting former Labour MP Rick Barker in China. The paper verified the document was from Liu and put its claims to Mr Cunliffe and the Labour Party.

      On Wednesday, Liu provided the Herald with another statement, after being pressed for more detail, in which he corrected his previous implication that $100,000 was paid for a bottle of wine and limited his total spend on Labour and its MPs when it was in power to “close to $100,000”.

      The Herald immediately published his clarification, with prominence on our website, where it remains, and amended the Herald on Sunday story online. The Sunday paper will publish a clarification this weekend.

      Liu’s mis-statement, however, has been grasped as proof of Herald complicity in a plot against Labour. The claim is risible, across the range of political coverage but also explicitly over the Herald’s investigation of National and Labour and their damaging cosiness with Donghua Liu.

      We regret having reported inflated and conflated dollar figures.”


      So it happens here in New Zealand as well. Sometimes the politician is the “victim” and the media is the purveyor of untruths or exaggerations.

    • By the way, David, in future I will most likely avoid Washington Post
      as a source for information,

      As with the NZ Herald and the apalling Donghua Liu Affair, I believe the Washington Post’s reputation has been badly tainted by the “hacked-Vermont-power-grid” non-story.

      A media outlet can only publish so-many false stories before their reputation suffers accordingly and readership/viewing number fall away.

  6. Yeah, did you notice, Bill English has a new, tidier hair cut, wears new blue ties and flash new other attire. And he has hinted tax cuts.

    That is all the populace deserves to know, as I note, when following much of MSM reporting.

    Are we really much better here in little ole NZ Inc, I wonder?

    Fake news and biased news and trivia are the staple diet of most now.

  7. Horrible cartoons, very biased writer,Trump has done more in his short time in office than Obama did in 9 years,whats your problem Mccasy.,you hate so easily ,just like Democrats.

      • The ugly picture of the gaps in Trumps face was enough to see how you hate Trump.Yes i read your article,not immpressed.

        • “Not impressed” doesn’t really answer the issue of two msm non-stories presented as “news”, but were of dubious value. Do you think those two stories had any “merit”, or not?

          The image with the “holes in the face” is stock imagery from TDB’s files and not my choosing.

          The top image of a faux-“Clark Kent” should have set the tone of my criticism of the msm.

          I do not “hate” Trump any more than I “hate” John Key. I am highly critical of their neo-liberal capitalist policies, actions, and words.

          • Glad you removed the ugly cartoon.If those ugly cartoons are stock pictures it dosnt say much for T D B.
            Most of the old commentators on this site have long gone,like me, tired of the nasty portrayal of Trump.

            • Are you for real, Elle?? If you read Frank’s piece with an OPEN MIND, you’ll see he was actually taking the msm to task for bad reporting on trivial things relating to Trump. In other words, he was on Trump’s side!!

              You need to take off your blinkers, they are serioiusly affecting your judgement.

            • So you’re more concerned at cartoons that have a dig at your dear leader, Elle, rather than his actions? That sounds as superficial as those who voted for Key because he seemed like “such a nice man”. Bull faeces! Once a capitalist, always a capitalist! Trump is no hero of the working class.

          • You’re wasting your time with trump groupies, Frank. Nothing than total slavish devotion to their beloved fuhrer will satisfy them.

            Your piece was balanced and looked at media crap from trump’s point of view (and still the trumpistas aren’t satisfied, lol!!)

            Trump is a capitalist and he is as establishment as they come. Anyone who thinks trump will overturn the established capitalist order is delusional.

  8. And yet you’re letting the mainstream media off the hook here by presenting non news from the anti Trump brigade and then showing fake news from a few right wing nut jobs, although the non news can be equally damaging. How about the Martin Luther King bust removal (mainstream), the pollsters giving trump a 1.6% chance of winning (mainstream), Anderson Cooper misquoting woman knocked over at Trump rally (mainstream) and Donald Trump mocking disabled reporter (mainstream). These are all fake news stories from the mainstream media. I’ve said before I have my concerns about Trump, his temperament not being the least, but more shocking is the double standards on display from the media

    • I would label most of those as Sloppy News, not Fake News. Fake News has a deliberate intent to decieve whereas the stories you’ve referenced are closer to sloppy journalism. The one regarding the so-called removal of the Martin Luther King bust removal perhaps being the worst in terms of a journalist rushing to print.

      The story regarding Trump’s mocking of a disabled journalist was, in my view, valid.

      • Non news, fake news, sloppy journalism. It’s all deceptive deliberately. The constant non news and slop is more damaging than a fake news story of HRC holding an alien baby, I would say it’s in fact satire.
        I take it you’ve seen the compilations of Trump mocking people in the same flapping of arms treatment he gave that reporter, including himself. The fact he had a gammy hand was irrelevant.

  9. I think the Trump strategy of publicly finger pointing and calling out reporters as being part of the “fake” news has been brilliant. It stunned the Clinton News Network aka CNN and others until they gathered in a huddle to work out a different route. Tweets are tweets. Can’t be anything else. No twisting and rolling into anything played out by a “war correspondent” standing in a studio in front of a green screen.
    Words out that Obama used British “Intelligence” to wire tape Trump.
    Now I ask you Frank….who else but Trump could ride this Helter Skelter that Soros has set up while sitting in his very own house of horrors?

    • It’s an interesting theory, Helena, but Napolitano got it wrong when he claimed;

      “Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command,” Napolitano said. “He didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI, and he didn’t use the Department of Justice.”

      “He used GCHQ.” Napolitano explained.

      “What the heck is GCHQ? That’s the initials for the British spying agency. They have 24/7 access to the NSA database.” The Judge explained.

      Napolitano noted that this was done to secure plausible deniability. In other words, even if the Obama administration did spy on Trump, there may never be a way to prove it.

      Even if the GCHQ – as part of the Five Eyes Network spied on Trump by bugging Trump Towers – any info gleaned would’ve been passed on to the NSA, not to Obama direct.

      So yes, there would be a paper trail.

      Of course, if that’s what happened, and the NSA denies it with a lie, the truth would eventually come out when another Edward Snowden-type whistleblower from the Agency releases the information to the media and/or Wikileaks (as Snowden has done). Such a revelation would be explosive. It would bring down the British government, for starters. It would make Snowden’s revelations pale by comparison.

      However, there is no evidence; no whistleblower; nothing to give credence to Judge Napolitano’s theories.

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