- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 30, 2017

White House press secretary Sean Spicer clashed with reporters over ‘fake news” Tuesday, saying President Trump and his staff are frustrated with news reports that are “patently false.”

Asked to name a “fake news” story, Mr. Spicer noted a tweet by a BBC reporter about Mr. Trump disrespecting the Italian prime minister during the Group of Seven summit in Sicily.

“The president did a great job at NATO, building stronger bonds with the G-7, increasing America’s presence around the world and that’s the kind of thing the BBC and ultimately a reporter who has now joined The New York Times will push out and perpetuate without an apology,” he said.

The tweet said that Mr. Trump was disrespectful because he wasn’t wearing headphone to hear a translation of Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni’s remarks. However, Mr. Trump was wearing an earpiece.

A New York Times reporter objected to Mr. Spicer using the tweet as an example.

“It’s true. You did it,” responded Mr. Spicer. “That is just fake.”

The reporter defended his colleagues by saying the mistake was only in a tweet and didn’t appear in print.

Mr. Spicer said that Mr. Trump is “rightly concerned” with disinformation spread in the news media.

“The problem is the president gets frustrated when he sees fake stories get published, things that are not based in fact,” Mr. Spicer said.

Mr. Trump has railed against the news media and what he considers “fake news” since the presidential campaign. The president’s dissatisfaction with the news media has only intensified amid unyielding negative coverage, including a focus many news organizations have placed on allegations of collusion with Russia.

Mr. Spicer could have pointed to major news stories that have been discredited, such as front-page reports that Mr. Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey after he requested more money and resources for the Russia investigation.

The story was presented as evidence that Mr. Trump was attempting to obstruct the investigation.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a House panel earlier this month that he was unaware of such a request.

“Moreover, I consulted my staff and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and none of them recalls such a request,” he said.

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