At an 11 January 2017 press conference, President-elect Donald Trump had caustic words for BuzzFeed and told CNN’s Jim Acosta: “You are fake news.”
The comments came against the backdrop of BuzzFeed‘s publication the previous day of a controversial memo which asserted that the President-elect had engaged in atypical sexual activities while visiting Russia. Questions about the memo occurred throughout the lengthy conference, but the tail end of the event included Trump’s biting critique of BuzzFeed and his refusal to acknowledge CNN’s Jim Acosta. A clip of the critique circulated on Twitter that included Trump’s assertion that BuzzFeed was a “failing pile of garbage” and CNN was “fake news”:
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 11, 2017
Immediately after Trump dressed down BuzzFeed down over the controversial memo, CNN’s Acosta adversarially posed a question to the President-elect. A loud and tense exchange ensued, also shared immediately via an online video clip:
In the segment, Trump repeatedly refused to speak to Acosta and described him as “fake news.” In response to Trump’s “fake news” claim, Acosta asserted the President-elect’s refusal to take his question was “inappropriate” and tweeted about what he had attempted to ask Trump:
Fortunately ABC's Cecilia Vega asked my question about whether any Trump associates contacted Russians. Trump said no.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 11, 2017
CNN also issued a statement asserting that the Trump team was deliberately attempting to lump them in with BuzzFeed in order “deflect” from CNN’s “carefully sourced reporting”:
CNN’s decision to publish carefully sourced reporting about the operations of our government is vastly different than Buzzfeed’s decision to publish unsubstantiated memos. The Trump team knows this. They are using Buzzfeed’s decision to deflect from CNN’s reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations. We are fully confident in our reporting. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case, briefing materials prepared for President Obama and President-elect Trump. We made it clear that we were not publishing any of the details of the 35-page document because we have not corroborated the report’s allegations. Given that members of the Trump transition team have so vocally criticized our reporting, we encourage them to identify, specifically, what they believe to be inaccurate.
Full videos of the livestreamed conference are available on YouTube: