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Donald Trump attacks 'fake news' as Polish President responsible for press crackdown smiles

The President of South Korea has also told Mr Trump that he 'suffers' from fake news 

Alexandra Wilts
Washington, DC
Thursday 06 July 2017 16:49 BST
Trump and Polish president Duda connect over disapproval for 'fake news'

Donald Trump tag-teamed with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda to criticise their respective countries’ domestic media outlets, making Mr Duda the latest world leader to bond with Mr Trump over a dislike of “fake news”.

During a joint press conference in Poland, Mr Trump again condemned CNN when asked to respond to what has happened since he tweeted a doctored video of himself body-slamming a person whose head had been covered with the network’s logo.

In the days since then, news organisations discovered that the Reddit user behind the video had a history of creating memes that were racist and anti-Semitic. In a statement, CNN said that the network “reserves the right” to publish his identity in the future if he continued to create offensive content – resulting in allegations by Trump supporters and some journalists that the network was trying to blackmail him. CNN has pushed back against these claims.

Standing next to Mr Duda, Mr Trump said “what CNN did was unfortunate for them. As you know now, they have some pretty serious problems.”

“They have been fake news for a long time. They’ve been covering me in a very dishonest way,” he added.

He then turned to the Polish President to ask if he had this problem, to which Mr Duda responded by smiling and nodding his head.

After the right-wing Law and Justice Party assumed office in 2015, the government has been accused of significantly clamping down on press freedoms. Mr Duda also signed a law allowing the government to take political control of state media outlets, resulting in claims that the government is turning public news organisations into mouthpieces for the party.

“What we want to see in the United States is honest – beautiful, free – but honest press,” Mr Trump said. “We want to see fair press. I think it’s a very important thing. We don’t want fake news. By the way, not everybody is fake news, but we don’t want fake news. Bad thing. Very bad for our country.”

The US leader has frequently criticised media outlets that he views to have published unfavourable work about him or his administration.

Last week, about an hour after MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski accused him of “lying every day”, “destroying the country” and having “teensy” hands, Mr Trump claimed on Twitter that Ms Brzezinski was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” when he saw her last year at his Mar-a-Lago resort, sparking a feud.

During the press conference, Mr Trump added that “NBC is equally as bad” as CNN, “despite the fact that I made them a fortune with 'The Apprentice', but they forgot that.”

Mr Duda, meanwhile, railed against some of Poland’s news networks, accusing one of refusing to cover his recent trip to Croatia.

He claimed that he is “permanently criticised by that broadcaster” because it doesn’t like him as President of Poland.

“But I believe this is just the reality,” Mr Duda said. “This is the right of the media. In Poland we've got an absolute liberty and freedom of the media.”

Mr Duda is not the first leader that has bonded or attempted to bond with Mr Trump by condemning “dishonest media”.

Last week, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in told the US leader in the Oval Office: “I also suffer a bit from fake news, as you do.” The two laughed and sat smiling next to each other before Mr Trump began to address the people in the room, according to the White House pool report.

People close to Mr Trump have also suggested that the US President will connect with Russian President Vladimir Putin over their disdain for “fake news”.

The pair will have a highly anticipated bilateral discussion on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany on Friday.

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