President Donald Trump says the Washington Post published yet another false story about him Wednesday night when it reported that he asked Attorney General William Barr to hold a press conference saying he broke no laws in the Ukraine phone call and that Barr refused.
In a furious tweet on Thursday morning, Trump called the report a “con job” based on an “‘anonymous’ source that doesn’t exist.”
Bill Barr did not decline my request to talk about Ukraine. The story was a Fake Washington Post con job with an “anonymous” source that doesn’t exist. Just read the Transcript. The Justice Department already ruled that the call was good. We don’t have freedom of the press!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 7, 2019
In a follow-up tweet, Trump added, “The degenerate Washington Post MADE UP the story about me asking Bill Barr to hold a news conference. Never happened, and there were no sources!”
Fake and faker
Remember when newspapers wouldn’t publish anything that was based on anonymous sources? Those were the days. Given the lack of courage in Washington, some newspapers would have very little to print if those standards still applied today.
But should anonymous sources really be considered credible? It has become nearly impossible to know what’s really true and what’s made up in today’s press reports.
Hot Air‘s Ed Morrissey posited that “neither side comes out well” in a credibility contest and said that the truth was probably somewhere in between the Post report and Trump’s tweets.
Morrissey’s take on the report is that the idea of a Barr presser may have been brainstormed by Trump’s team, with Barr explaining why it would not be an appropriate thing for him to do. Pure speculation, but it would explain where a source would get such a story from and why Trump would deny it so vehemently.
Morrissey also pointed out that when previous Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia collusion probe, Trump complained about it bitterly on Twitter for months. Why would he not have complained similarly about a Barr presser refusal? It’s a good point.
No holds barred
Sometimes I wonder why some of these seemingly small things are such a big deal to Trump, but part of his charm for voters is that he takes on the press in ways that other Republicans have been terrified to do.
He seems to see it as a daily battle to beat back the lies and the truth-twisting and to expose the press’s bias and underhanded tactics.
I can’t blame him for that. The conservative press does a similar duty, but with much less reach than the president with his more than 66 million Twitter followers.
If not for Trump’s daily relentless pushback on the press, I wonder if he would have even survived the Mueller investigation, let alone maintained his approval numbers in the face of an impeachment inquiry, even if it is trumped up.