Earlier this month, President Donald Trump announced that he would soon have an announcement: on Monday, January 8, at the highly unspecific time of “5:00 o’clock,” he would unveil what he called, “THE MOST DISHONEST & CORRUPT MEDIA AWARDS OF THE YEAR.” He promised that the “subjects” would span the vast landscape of journalistic errors and deceit that have victimized him during his brief political career: “Dishonesty & Bad Reporting in various categories from the Fake News Media.” He added, “Stay tuned!”
But one day before the awards, he announced that there had been a change of plans. In a tweet, he said, “The Fake News Awards, those going to the most corrupt & biased of the Mainstream Media, will be presented to the losers on Wednesday, January 17th, rather than this coming Monday. The interest in, and importance of, these awards is far greater than anyone could have anticipated!”
It feels almost useless to wonder how it might have been received if any previous U.S. president made a similar declaration; why not waste time guessing how a blobfish would’ve handled the Cuban Missile Crisis? As the days passed without any word from the White House on the logistics of this alleged ceremony, it seemed to go without saying that the Dishonest and Corrupt Media Awards or Fake News Awards were a Trumpian invention, which is to say that they would never exist.
But in the interest of real news, we still asked. New York Magazine sent several requests to various officials in the White House press office, asking for additional information. We received no response.
Other reporters mentioned that they’d been asking questions, too, and with similar results.
During the White House briefing Tuesday afternoon, a reporter asked the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, what was up; Sanders had no information, but seemed to reveal herself when she referred to it as a “potential event.” In his newsletter that night, CNN’s Brian Stelter said that he’d “suspected for a few days that the idea has fizzled,” adding that his overtures to the White House had been met with silence.
And then, at 8:00 o’clock, Trump shared a link to the Republican National Committee’s website, gop.com. “And the FAKE NEWS winners are …” he said.
The link was broken, like everything else.
But a capture of the web page from the Internet Archive revealed that the first-place winner of the Fake News Awards was Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist; nine other awards were bestowed upon various other mainstream networks and newspapers.
The eleventh and final award went not to a news publication but to the topic of “RUSSIA COLLUSION!” which is false, according to whoever wrote the list (it reads like the president penned at least the final item). “Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people,” the author declared. Why? Because “THERE IS NO COLLUSION!”
As of 9:30 p.m., the GOP’s website was finally functioning as intended.
Happy Fake News Awards day to all, even the haters and losers, and especially to tonight’s biggest winner, Donald J. Trump.