President Trump's claim that he's been the subject of false and "fake news" stories has been mocked by an eye-rolling media, but a Secrets analysis of Trump coverage reveals that Team Trump have been hit with an average of one false, distorted or denied story a day.
Starting on the eve of Inauguration Day, there have been over 30 often widely reported false stories about the president and his team.
They range from spokesman Sean Spicer denying a CNN report that he got a bunch of Super Soakers from staffers after being impersonated on Saturday Night Live by a squirt gun shooting Melissa McCarthy, to a CBS report that the president packed a CIA audience with cheering staffers. Wrong.
"It never ceases to amaze me the lengths to which the mainstream media conjures up fake news," said White House spokesman Sean Spicer.
At the CPAC conference Friday, Trump added, "we are fighting the fake news."
In our list below, a majority were false stories. Another four were denied, like a New York Times report about the president hanging out in a bathrobe in the early evenings watching TV. And six were distorted reports, like a Washington Post report on how Trump violated the "sacrosanct" CIA Memorial Wall in giving a speech there. So did President Obama.
Of course the president has been fact challenged too, like when he suggested his Electoral College victory was the widest since former President Reagan's 1984 blowout of Democrat Walter Mondale. NBC White House correspondent Peter Alexander tweeted, "Not true. Pres Obama won 332 in 2012."
Our list doesn't even include the transition period or presidential campaign, but media critics said the same thing happened then.
And they hope that the media can learn from the series of missteps.
"Ever since Election Day, the so-called 'news' media have been huffing and puffing about 'fake news' supposedly ruining American democracy," said Rich Noyes, director of research for the center-right media watchdog, Media Research Center. "
"This list shows that false and fabricated information is an epidemic in the snooty liberal newsrooms that would silence those who fail to live up to their 'standards.' Instead of throwing rocks at others, the establishment media need to clean up the smelly mess in their own house," he added.
THE 'FAKE NEWS' LIST
1 — Politico reported that a company overseen by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had foreclosed on a 90-year-old woman for due to a 27-cent payment error. The Competitive Enterprise Institute determined that there was no foreclosure and a different company was involved.
3 — The New York Times and others reported that on Inauguration Day, Trump's team scrubbed climate change and references to LGBT from the White House website. Actually, there was a broadcasted plan to shift the Obama website to a different site and that the Trump team would use a skeleton site for the first few days.
4 — The Washington Post hit Trump for giving a speech in front of the "sacrosanct" CIA Memorial Wall. It didn't mention that Obama had done the same thing.
5 — CBS, reporting on the same event, said that the applause for Trump came from the first three rows of guests, stacked with Trump campaign and White House aides. In an embarrassing pushback, Spicer at a subsequent press briefing said there were no aides in the first four rows, that they were standing in the back.
6 — A Time reporter tweeted that Trump removed the Martin Luther King Jr. bust from Oval office. The reporter soon corrected the tweet.
7 — Several outlets reported that a firing bloodbath was taking place inside the top ranks of State. Most who left were Obama political hires who work at the pleasure of the president.
8 — Several outlets reported that Team Trump issued a "gag order" on the EPA and other agencies. In fact, the memo asking them to refrain from tweeting and issuing news releases is standard operating procedure between administrations.
9 — His immigration order was hit for not targeting terror-sponsoring nations where Trump had business interests, denied by the White House. The countries were the same targeted by former President Obama.
10 — The AP reported that Donald Trump's voter fraud expert was registered to vote in three states. He was registered in only one.
Fun headline, but his registration was only active in one state. Inactive in other two. Shows states can identify outdated registrations. https://t.co/iVXPbStJfT— Kyle Blaine (@kyletblaine) January 31, 2017
11 — CNN reported that Trump's runner-up for the Supreme Court came to Washington as a decoy. They caught him at a gas station near Pittsburgh. Turns out he was just driving around and not to D.C.
12 — CBS New York said that first lady Melania Trump and son Barron might never move to the White House. The plan to move to Washington when he finishes school.
13 — Reports said that Trump demoted Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford in a national security council reorganization. Trump actually reverted to George W. Bush's set up for the principals committee which said the JCS should join when issues impacting him were to be discussed.
14 — TMZ and BET reported that Trump had renamed "Black History Month" to "African American History Month," considered a slight. But other presidents, notably former President Clinton and Obama, had used "National African American History" month too.
15 — Many media outlets described the president's immigration orders as a "Muslim ban." It targeted anybody from seven nations, including Christians, not just Muslims.
16 — The Washington Post's Josh Rogin said chief White House strategist Steve Bannon pushed Department of Homeland Security secretary John Kelly to not issue a waiver for green card holders from Trump's immigration orders.
17 — The New York Times reported that Trump's staff bumbles around in the dark in the Cabinet room because they can't find the light switch.
18 — NYT reported that Trump hangs out in the early evening in a bathrobe watching TV. Spokesman Sean Spicer said the president doesn't own a bathrobe.
19 — CNN tweeted that Sean Spicer received from staffers several Super Soakers after Melissa McCarthy's impression of him on Saturday Night Live. Spicer called it "fake news" and untrue.
A senior White House source tells CNN's @SunlenSerfaty that staffers gifted @SeanSpicer with "several" super soakers this week pic.twitter.com/X62i0nYNXE— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) February 10, 2017
The failing @nytimes does major FAKE NEWS China story saying "Mr.Xi has not spoken to Mr. Trump since Nov.14." We spoke at length yesterday!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2017
20 — The New York Times reported that Trump had not talked with Chinese President Xi Jinping since Nov. 14, drawing an angry Trump tweet. The story published right after Trump had spokesmen with Xi.
21 — Longtime Hillary Clinton advisor Sidney Blumenthal wrote up a story in the London Review of Books about a racist political ad by Trump's father. It was widely spread in mainstream media social accounts. It was a fake.
22 — Reports said that a Muslim-American Olympic female athlete was detained at an airport under Trump's immigration orders. She was briefly detained in December under former President Obama's policies.
23 — Several reports said that Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed classified info at dinner table at Mar-a-Largo. They were discussing press conference plans for next day.
24 — Most mainstream media outlets have sneered that there was little or no voter fraud in the election. But a university analysis and separate poll indicated that 2 million "non-citizen" immigrants may have voted.
25 — The Wall Street Journal reported that intelligence officials were keeping information from Trump to make sure it wouldn't be compromised. Not true, said the White House.
26 — NBC and others said that 10 members of an Asian American Council quit in protest over Trump policies. Spicer said that they were all Obama appointees with terms set to expire.
27 — MSNBC said that Trump's choice to replace ousted national security director Mike Flynn declined the job because he didn't get staff control and saw something he didn't like at the president's East Room press conference last week. In fact, Adm. Robert Harward cited family and financial issues and offered to come in at a later time.
28 — The Associated Press reported that the president planned to mobilize the National Guard to remove illegal immigrants. White House called it "100 percent wrong."
29 — The New York Daily News reported that Trump domestic policy adviser Stephen Miller called Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers at home to explain how to defend the immigration executive order in court. Both however said they did not speak.
30 — It has widely been reported that Team Trump coordinated with Russian intelligence during the campaign. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said U.S. intelligence authorized him to say this never happened.
31 — Crowd size reports of a February anti-Trump protest in London ranged from 300,000 to 2,000. The Hill started at "hundreds of thousands" and the final story update was 7,000.
32 — Trump was accused by multiple outlets of ignoring anti-Semitic acts despite stating his position several times. Even Hillary Clinton hit him. Said Spicer, "I think that it's ironic that no matter how many times he talks about this, that it's never good enough."
An earlier version included a Feb. 18 CBS report that Trump's pick for Navy secretary was on the verge of withdrawing. The White House denied and he didn't pull out. But on Sunday, Feb. 26, the withdrawal was announced.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org