Three years after Donald Trump burst onto the political scene with his ride down the gilded escalator at Trump Tower, the well of ideas for stories about him is running dry, fake-news writers complain.
“I’ve made up stories about affairs he’s had with porn stars and Playboy models, following beauty contest contestants into their dressing rooms, and grabbing women without their consent, and now I’m just depleted,” says Tucker Gretz, senior fake-news writer for The New York Times.
Terry Carter, a fake-news writer for The Washington Post, says she thought she had the ultimate fake-news story with Trump questioning U.S. intelligence on Russian interference in the 2016 elections, but then she came up with the idea of having Trump take the side of Russian President Vladimir Putin on the accuracy of his own government’s intelligence assessment.
“That was hard to pull off, because Trump himself made the decision to stand next to Putin in Helsinki and say he sided with Russia,” she said. “So when he called his remarks fake news, I was afraid people would say, ‘It can’t be fake, because he said it,’ but as it turns out, many people still believe it’s fake. Thank god.”
But that was yesterday. Today, Carter says, she and other writers she talks to are “simply depleted” when it comes to coming up with ideas. “Obama tapping Trump’s wires? Been there, done that. Trump making fun of a disabled person? Been there, done that. Theresa May blowing Brexit? Been there, done that. I mean, you can only make so much stuff up before you start repeating yourself.”
Dan Flannigan, president of the Fake News Association of America, says he’s holding a live webcast next week to help reporters and editors get fresh ideas for stories.
“We’re close to a crisis but I think we’re catching it early enough that Americans won’t see a diminishment of fake news in the media,” Flannigan says. “Are there stories that aren’t quite as believable as earlier stories? Maybe. But people can differ about that. The idea that Trump is a traitor to his country is a pretty exciting story, I think. I didn’t expect many people to believe it, because it’s so outlandish. But as it turned out, millions of people bought into it, which tells you how much appetite people have for fake news. I think that’s our ace in the hole. Knowing Americans have a bottomless appetite for fake news gives our members motivation to keep cranking out stories, no matter how outlandish they seem. I would look for some really crazy stories coming out in the weeks ahead, maybe even more stories on Trump-Russia collusion, because that seems to be an idea that some Americans really believe. As long as they believe, we’ll keep making up stories about it.”
This is a work of satire. It is a fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: pd, and cc. Creative Commons and public domain. Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is accused of withholding fees last week from the team of lawyers defending him from bank and tax fraud charges so he could buy a $2.1 million home in McLean, Va. The charges, filed today by Kevin Downing, Manafort’s lead defense lawyer, says he and six other lawyers were due to be paid $57,000 for their legal work on Manafort’s behalf for the last two weeks but the money instead went to American Title Company as an earnest money deposit on the 2,000-square-foot house, which would be Manafort’s 14th. Downing says he hopes to settle the dispute amicably outside of court, but he’s filing the charges to put Manafort on notice that the long-time political operative and international campaign consultant must pay his legal bills. More.
Thousands of supporters of President Trump say the investigation of Russia-Trump collusion by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is actually a sophisticated cover-up for a secret investigation into a global conspiracy led by Mueller to make people believe Trump never released his taxes, went bankrupt in the 1990s, and appeared on TV saying he thinks his daughter Ivanka is a piece of ass that he’d like to date. The theory has been circulating on what’s known as the dark web for months but has only recently come to light now that Mueller’s team is prosecuting former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. More.
President Donald Trump said no one respects freedom of the press more than he does but if outlets such as CNN and NBC continue to produce fake news, he’s going to be forced to take action to ensure the news Americans receive is real. “It’s not something I want to do,” he said at a press briefing today. “Believe me. I want our press to be so free and so good. In fact, I think my policy on the press is more fair than Obama’s. I’m not sure what his policy was, but I hear it wasn’t so good, frankly, And mine is better. That’s what I’m told. I’m just saying.” Trump said he’s looking into how to “open up” the press so it’s more accountable to truth. “Are they running fake stories about Russian collusion?” he said. More.
The New York Times sent teachers of English into a tizzy when it split an infinitive on its front page this morning. “Clinton Team Starts to Cautiously Look at Running Mates,” blares the headline in the April 24, 2016, morning edition of the Times, widely considered the newspaper of record of the United States. Reaction from teachers of English was swift—and harsh. “We spend hours each quarter teaching students not to split their infinitives,and what does The New York Times do? It splits an infinitive!” says Mabel Goldsmith, an English teacher in Public School 371 in the Bronx and chair of the school’s English Department. “We expect better from The New York Times.” More.
Kellyanne Conway, one of the most visible defenders of Donald Trump’s presidency, says photos of her in a bikini are “alternative facts” that are being spread on the Internet to try to take the focus off the things the Trump administration is doing, like accusing President Barack Obama of wire tapping Trump Towers, using the presidency to spread accusations about Muslim attacks in Sweden, and saying immigration curbs are needed because of a massacre in Bowling Green, Ky. “I have clearly been photoshopped into images of other women to hurt Donald Trump by demeaning me as a person,” said Conway, 50. “It’s a personal attack on my character that’s been put forward without regard to the truth and without regard to the long-term impact this will have on our democracy, our shared trust in our institutions, and our credibility as a nation.” More.
The American Association of Game Animals released a statement today calling Antonin Scalia a “titan” of American jurisprudence, but because the Supreme Court justice, who died earlier this week, was an avid hunter, the group does not mourn his death. “Had Justice Scalia engaged in a hobby that did not involve the hunting and shooting of birds and anaimals, we would be as saddened by his death as anyone,” the group said in its statement. “But because his hobby involved the hunting and shooting of birds and animals, we instead breathe a sigh of relief that there is one less person in this country who will be coming after us with rifle in hand with the sole purpose of felling us to the ground.” More.
WASHINGTON—The Republican National Committee is sending shockwaves through the United States by releasing clearly undoctored photos of President Barack Obama romping with young, scantily clad women in the Oval Office. “It is with a heavy heart that we release these genuine and authentic photos depicting our president acting in a way that can only be described as unpresidential,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said at a hastily called press conference today. More.
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology released a paper yesterday cracking the physics behind the combover of Republican presidential nominee frontrunner Donald Trump and say the famous hairstyle stands as one of the most complex creations of mankind. “An amazing piece of work, a testament to the beauty of complex systems and of the world around us,” says Reynolds Aimsworth, professor of physics and mathematics at MIT and the lead author of the paper. Aimsworth says the combover is based on an inversion of a positive tangent-secant radian, something scientists didn’t believe was possible.” More.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said today he believes the moon landing in 1969 was real but “many people” believe the whole thing was orchestrated by the federal government to impress the world and scare the Soviets. “I’m not saying I believe that, but many people have questions about it,” Trump said at a campaign appearance here. “There are people who know about these things who say they saw the interior of a warehouse in Los Angeles converted to look like the surface of the moon, complete with fine dust and craters and the whole thing. Lot of tinfoil lying around. More.
NASA today released a stunning image of the famous “Martian face” rock formation in which the “mouth” appears to be turned upward, as if smiling. The image was taken about 12 hours after a previous image of the mouth-like crevice is shown expressing no particular emotion in a way that’s similar to thousands of previous pictures of the formation that have been taken. “It’s really a remarkable image sequence,” says Kristin Rogers, NASA chief of geological imaging. “We are starting with the assumption that the change in appearance is simply a change in the angle of light on the surface features. But we’re not prepared to say that with certainty, because it’s a shift we haven’t seen before.” More.
NEW YORK CITY—One of the top art critics in the United States today said abstract art, from Jackson Pollock to Pablo Picasso to Willem de Kooning, is “just plain dumb” and people are “morons for buying into this crap.” Richard Bartley, the Richard Colby Distinguished Professor of Art and Art History at Harvard University, whose books are widely considered the gold standard among critics, is raising an outcry with his remarks, which he gave at a gallery opening here. Bartley called today’s art industry a “total con game” in which people are suckered into buying “meaningless brush strokes of paint” on canvas and other media that have no worth outside of the market that artists, dealers, curators, and investors have created. More.
After seven years of investigation, a United Nations team of researchers has concluded that Iran does not have homosexuals, as former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserted at Columbia University in 2007. In his statement seven years ago, while he was speaking in New York City, Ahmadinejad told his audience of mostly students and faculty that “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We do not have this phenomenon. I do not know who has told you we have it.” At the time, the comment elicited laughter and some boos among the 700 people in the audience. But according to the U.N. team that has just delivered its comprehensive report to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Iran in fact has no homosexuals. More.
A tribe of nomadic goat herders from a remote desert region say their jealous, spiteful, and misogynist God is the one true God for all the universe and for all time even though He might seem an odd fit for today’s world. “I know it is hard for you in the technologically advanced West to believe that you should be ruled by our God, who had nothing to say to anyone in the world until He chose to speak to our ancestors 2,000 years ago. But that is the fact of the matter,” says Lazarus Ben-ammi, leader of a tribe of desert goat herders who claim a direct line with God. The tribe is in New York City on the first stop of a world tour in which they explain why theirs is the one true God of all the universe. More.