President Says He Tweets to Bypass 'Dishonest' Media

President Donald Trump says that he tweets to "get around the dishonest media," and if he felt all or most of the media were honest, he wouldn't do it.

That came in an interview on Fox News Channel's Fox & FriendsTuesday, one of the few media outlets he has praised. The President also explained why he is skipping this year's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.

Asked if there was a method to his tweeting or whether he was just letting off steam, the President suggested it was neither.

"No method, really. It's just—it's not venting either…" he said. "But it does allow me to go around dishonest media. I don't have to go around you folks. I don't have to go around a lot of the media. But I do have to go around some media. And it does allow me to do that because the following is so large, between Twitter and Facebook and all of the different things. I have so many millions of people, it allows me to give a message without necessarily having to go through people where I'm giving them a message and they're putting it down differently from what I mean." 

As to why he was not going to break bread with the White House press corps at the April banquet, he said: "I haven't been treated properly," then added: "[W]hen they make stories up, when they create sources—because I believe that sometimes they don't have sources, you know, the sources don't exist, and sometimes they do exist. I'm not saying all sources, but I believe that a lot of the sources are made up, a lot of the stories are made up. I believe a lot of the stories are pure fiction, they just pull it out of air. I just thought, in light of the fact of fake news and all of the other things were talking about now – I thought it would be inappropriate."

The President has branded various news outlets purveyors of fake news, including the New York Times, which he calls a failing operation, and CNN, which he has elevated to "very fake news," most recently over stories about investigations into allegations of communications between his campaign and Russia before the election.

On Monday, the head of the News Media Alliance, representing almost 2,000 media outlets, called the President's attacks on the press as "enemies of the American people," which he has made repeatedly, more like something a "terrorist" would say, and others have likened it to the view of the press by totalitarian dictators like Stalin and Mao.

In an interview this week on NBC's Today, former President George W. Bush called the press indispensable to democracy and necessary to hold him and others to account.

President Trump did say that his not showing up at the dinner this year "doesn't mean I'm not going to do it next year…"

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.