Washington, Jan 18: US President Donald Trump has announced the winners of his so-called “Fake News Awards” for 2017 in a gimmick to escalate his attacks on major media outlets, with the top prize going to a New York Times article.
The article by renowned economist Paul Krugman, which won two awards, about the adverse fall outs of Trump’s win in the US presidential election topped the controversial list.
On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, “And the FAKE NEWS winners are…”, along with a link to the Republican National Convention website with a list of ten winners.
“2017 was a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage and even downright fake news. Studies have shown that over 90 per cent of the media’s coverage of President Trump is negative,” said the GOP-hosted website.
The awards link was unavailable immediately following their announcement by Trump due to a traffic overload. “The site is temporarily offline,” it read for nearly an hour after Trump sent out a tweet to the site.
The second winner on the list was ABC, for a news piece — that it later retracted — in which it claimed that the controversial former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was asked by the President to establish contact with Kremlin.
The third winner was CNN news — which received four of the 10 awards — for a news article where it claimed Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., had exclusive access to hacked documents from Wikileaks.
The Washington Post, TIME Magazine, Newsweek and ABC news also got an award each.
The list mentioned the Post for reporting that “the President’s massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida, was empty”. Other entries included TIME’s mistaken report about Martin Luther King Jr.’s bust being removed from the Oval Office.
The awards blamed Newsweek for reporting that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake the US President’s hand. A video that appeared to capture the missed handshake went viral on social media at the time.
Finally, the “Fake News Awards” noted that “Russian collusion was perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!”
Republican senators John McCain and Jeff Flake harshly criticised Trump for the awards.
“No longer can we compound attacks on truth with our silent acquiescence. No longer can we turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to these assaults on our institutions,” said Flake.
Earlier in the month, several experts had also warned that the announcement of these awards could violate federal standards of government ethics and would embarrass officials, who collaborated with Trump, although not the President himself.
Trump had proposed in late November, the idea of granting a “fake news trophy” to the television network that was “the most dishonest or corrupt in its political coverage” of his presidency.
The page also listed several accomplishments of the President.