President Trump, former star of “The Apprentice,” knows how to put on a show. Yet his “Fake News Awards” are shaping up to be a total flop.
Trump will name “the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media” on Wednesday, according to a Jan. 7 tweet, but he appears to have done little preparation for the event — if there even is an event.
“We’ll keep you posted on any details around that potential event and what that would look like,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Tuesday, when asked about the awards.
“Potential” event? What happened to the president’s tweeted claim, nine days earlier, that “the interest in, and importance of, these awards is far greater than anyone could have anticipated”?
Heightened interest was Trump’s stated reason for pushing back the awards, which he initially said he would give out on Jan. 8.
“Subjects will cover Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media,” he tweeted early this month. “Stay tuned!”
Reporters stayed tuned, but the White House offered nothing to pay attention to. At a Jan. 3 news briefing, journalists asked Sanders about the number of awards, about judges, about whether there will be a televised ceremony or a live audience.
“I certainly don’t want to spoil anything,” Sanders replied. “But my guess is that there are quite a few individuals that could be up for those awards. . . . We’ll certainly keep you posted. It might be hard for him to present trophies if you guys aren’t there. But I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
More and more, it looks as if Sanders wasn’t trying to avoid a spoiler. Rather, it looks as if there was nothing to spoil because there was no plan — and still wasn’t on Tuesday afternoon.
Trump first proposed the idea of a “FAKE NEWS TROPHY” in a tweet on Nov. 27. He originally envisioned picking the television network that “is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me).”
In December, Trump’s reelection campaign announced a variation of this contest, asking supporters to vote on “which mainstream story in 2017 was the most deceitful, embarrassing — and most of all — FAKE!”
The campaign presented only three nominees, a rather small number, considering Trump has tweeted about “fake news” more than 150 times since taking office. One of the three — supposedly one of the absolute worst examples of fake news — was a Time magazine story that wrongly reported that Trump had removed a bust of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from the Oval Office.
Surely Trump could come up with something more outrageous than that, no? He seemed to think so, when he later said that his awards would cover not merely a single report but “various categories.” On the day of the planned presentations, however, the awards still appear to be a loosely formed idea.
At this point, Trump might have to settle for firing off a few angry tweets about his least-favorite articles and news outlets.