To Trump, “fake news” is just about any news that he doesn’t like. So what should we make of his comment to Stahl, that he goes after the media for cynical political reasons? There are more than a few takeaways.
One is that he doesn’t understand that, in a free country, we need not only a free press but also a press that has the trust of the American people. Yes, journalists have done their share to discredit themselves. But we don’t need the president contributing to what is already an unhealthy situation.
Another takeaway is that he does understand but doesn’t care. All that counts, as far as Trump is concerned, is that Trump looks good. And if that means yelling “fake news” whenever a story pops up that puts him in a negative light, he’ll yell “fake news” all day long.
And here’s the worst part: Even if there were incontrovertible proof substantiating what Stahl says, even if there were a videotape of Trump saying he attacks journalists so the public at large won’t believe them when they report something negative about him, the president’s most devoted fans almost certainly wouldn’t care. They love him and they hate the media. And if the president lies about journalists to cover his own lies — well, that, I’m confident, would be no big deal as far as those who adore him are concerned.