Fact Check

Trump Blasts Media for Reporting Things He Says?

Satire positing that Donald Trump claimed the news media are biased for accurately reporting his statements sailed over the heads of many social media users.

Published Aug 11, 2016

Donald Trump lamented that the news media are biased for accurately reporting his words and actions.

On 11 August 2016, New Yorker humorist Andy Borowitz published a short piece riffing on the notion that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump had "blast[ed]" the media for "reporting things he says":

The Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, tore into the media on Thursday for what he called its “extremely unfair practice” of reporting the things he says.

“I’ll say something at a rally and I look out and see all these TV cameras taking every word down,” Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “No one in politics has ever been subjected to this kind of treatment ... It’s unbelievable and, frankly, very unethical,” he added.

The piece also poked fun at Trump's propensity for ejecting people from his rallies:

At a rally in Florida, the candidate lashed out at a TV cameraman whom he caught in the act of recording his words for broadcasting purposes.

"Look at him over there, picking up everything I'm saying, folks," Trump shouted. "Get him out of here."

" ... if the media keeps recording everything I say, word for word, and then playing it back so that everyone in the country hears exactly what I said, I would consider that very, very unfair."

The article was published during a period of concurrent controversies over comments made by Trump, and readers were somewhat understandably confused by the subtlety of Borowitz's satire.

Borowitz also managed to mimic Trump's speech patterns quite effectively, further obfuscating the satirical nature of the item. Like all of the humorous fiction written by the New Yorker satirist, the piece simply used current events as inspiration in a manner intended to amuse (not fool).

Content from the well-known Borowitz Report is occasionally mistaken for genuine news on social media. Some previous instances of such crossover involved claims George W. Bush cited Bob Denver as a role model, Fox News said they would "shut down for routine maintenance" on 21 January 2013 (the date President Barack Obama was inaugurated for his second term), and that Chris Christie retaliated against Trump's selection of Mike Pence as his running mate by refusing to retrieve his friend's dry cleaning.

Most "satirical" outlets exist solely to entice social media users into sharing fake and often offensive stories, and Borowitz is one of the few genuine satirists currently using humor as commentary on news and politics.

His New Yorker bio reads as follows:

Andy Borowitz is a New York Times best-selling author and a comedian who has written for The New Yorker since 1998. In 2001, he created the Borowitz Report, a satirical news column that has millions of readers around the world, for which he won the first-ever National Press Club award for humor. The Borowitz Report was acquired by The New Yorker in 2012.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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