- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President-Elect Donald Trump gave his first news conference since winning the election — and it was epic.

If pundits and the Washington elite think Mr. Trump is going to change his tone or style going into the White House, they’re sorely mistaken. He’s a fighter. He’s accomplished too much in his life, overcome too many obstacles to bow down to anybody.

Including the press.

“No, I’m not going to give you an answer,” Mr. Trump told CNN’s Jim Acosta. “You are fake news.”

The exchange came on the heels of an explosive CNN report that said the intelligence community presented a briefing to both President Obama and Mr. Trump “including allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.”

Except no one knows if that’s true — or has verified the contents of the report on which it was based.

NBC News on Wednesday contradicted CNN’s report, saying Mr. Trump was never briefed on such information, and that “intel and law enforcement officials agree that none of the investigations have found any conclusive or direct link against Trump and the Russian government period.”

So yes, hold CNN responsible, Mr. Trump.

He also called Buzzfeed News a “failing pile of garbage” for printing an unsubstantiated, salacious and untrue memo, which was clearly a hatchet job on Mr. Trump. Buzzfeed noted the memo was compiled by anti-Trump operatives, and that some parts of it were false.

Then the president-elect praised those in the industry who showed restraint.

“I have great respect for the news, great respect for freedom of the press and all that,” Mr. Trump said, thanking those who didn’t run the unsubstantiated story, saying his opinion of them may have “gone up a notch.”

Mr. Trump admitted one of his advantages is he has the bully pulpit, and isn’t afraid to use it to stand up for himself, whereas others targeted by faulty reports in the mainstream media aren’t as lucky.

“I have a platform to fight back,” Mr. Trump said. “But I’ve seen people absolutely destroyed [by fake news reports].”

This is the essence of Mr. Trump’s allure: his voters see him as their champion, as their fighter. As someone who will stand up for himself — and, by extension, them — and not let the media get away with setting the agenda or narrative, it’s something GOP voters feel has been missing from their leadership for a long time now.

Mr. Trump’s supporters were pleased — and proud.

“They [media] just got schooled, shut them down!,” Tiffany @1tiffanyl wrote on Twitter.

“That was awesome, guess CNN better come clean and tell the truth,” Darreld Dedafoe, penned.

The mainstream media? Not so much.

Mr. Acosta whined that incoming press secretary Sean Spicer threatened to toss him out of the press conference after he repeatedly interrupted the president-elect demanding to get his question answered.

“The journalist whom Trump called on should have yielded to CNN. Don’t allow him to refuse to answer Qs from certain news outlets,” Politico reporter Peter Sterne wrote, siding with CNN.

Some reporters’ evens stood up for Buzzfeed.

“I don’t agree with Buzzfeed’s decision, but if Trump insults the media, the media should walk the [expletive] out,” wrote Clara Jeffery, the editor and chief of Mother Jones. Ed Espinoza, a political commentator for CNN retweeted her colorful opinion.

Interesting to note: The mainstream press never rallied around Fox News or its journalists when it was repeatedly singled out and attacked by President Barack Obama.

It seems the support within their own industry, is constrained along partisan — not ethical — divides.

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