Donald Trump has launched a fresh attack on the “crap” news media, telling a military veterans’ convention that “what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening”.
In a meandering rant taking in “unfair” trade practices by the European Union, his policy of imposing tariffs on incoming goods and big companies “ripping off the United States”, the Republican accused a major US network of manufacturing an interview in cahoots with “lobbyists”.
His tirade against “fake news” was greeted with cheers that turned quickly to boos as he gestured repeatedly towards news cameras and claimed his presidency was being misrepresented.
Mr Trump said: “Just stick with us. Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news.
“I saw a piece on NBC today, NBC, not just CNN, CNN’s the worst, but I saw a piece on NBC, it was heart-throbbing. They were interviewing people, they probably go through 20 and then they pick the one that sounds like the worst, but they went through a group of people, in fact I wanted to say, ‘I’ve got to do something about this Trump!’ Terrible.
“And that piece was done by the lobbyists and by the people that they hire, it was a total set-up. This country is doing better than it has ever done before economically.”
He added in his speech to the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Missouri: “It’s all working out. And just remember, what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.”
Mr Trump provided no evidence for his claim the unspecified NBC interview was a “set-up”.
The billionaire has frequently used journalists as foils to rally support amid coverage that puts pressure on his administration.
Reporting on Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and images of migrant children held in cages after being separated from their parents are among the stories to have provoked his ire.
He has cast journalists as “enemies of the people” a number of times, including just before flying to Helsinki to meet Vladimir Putin earlier this month.
Mr Trump’s attempt to impose his version of events on his supporters recalled the first ever press conference held by his initial press secretary, Sean Spicer, who claimed, against the evidence, that the crowd at Mr Trump’s inauguration had been “largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period”.
Mr Spicer said the Trump administration would “hold the press accountable”, setting the tone for a strained relationship between the White House and the fourth estate.
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