Published: Wed, January 17, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Trump's 'fake news awards' condemned by Republicans, fodder for comedians

Trump's 'fake news awards' condemned by Republicans, fodder for comedians

The US President teased last week that he would be dishing them out to sections of the press he thinks are the "most dishonest".

In the op-ed, McCain criticized Trump's "fake news awards" that are scheduled to be announced on Wednesday as a threat to global press freedom.

Arizona Senator John McCain wrote a Washington Post op-ed, mentioning efforts against the White House press corp in the context of press-stifling efforts worldwide.

Far from silencing these critics, US President Donald Trump's announcement that he would hand out awards for what he calls "fake news" has fired up comics and media commentators - and has them competing for a "prize". Trump's constant criticism of the media "has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit", McCain wrote.

The senator cited a Committee to Protect Journalists report that said 2017 set a record for the number of journalists that had been imprisoned around the world.

He has threatened to continue his attempt to discredit the free press by bestowing "fake news awards" upon reporters and news outlets whose coverage he disagrees with.

A day ahead, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, responding on Tuesday to a reporter's question at a news briefing, said on she had no details on what she called a "potential event". He then postponed the event until 17 January, saying on Twitter, "The interest in, and importance of, these awards is far greater than anyone could have anticipated!" By nightfall, the mysterious was absent from the President's public schedule Wednesday.

McCain, in his op-ed, referred to countries like Russia, Turkey, China and Egypt as examples of countries in which the "assault on journalism and free speech" persists, adding that the attack on press freedom in "traditionally free and open societies where censorship in the name of national security is becoming more common". For they are shameful, repulsive statements.

Late-night TV hosts, who have mocked Trump since his 2016 election win, swiftly dubbed the awards "The Fakeys" or "The Trumpies". And, of course, the president has it precisely backward - despotism is the enemy of the people.

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