Stephen Colbert and other late-night hosts experienced real disappointment Wednesday night when President Trump revealed the winners of his inaugural Fake News Awards: The "honors" went to the New York Times, CNN, ABC, the Washington Post, Time, and Newsweek. In a list of 10 winners posted on the GOP website, which promptly crashed, the No. 1 award went to a New York Times opinion piece in which Paul Krugman "claimed on the day of President Trump's historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover." The Times won two awards, with four for CNN and one apiece for the other outlets. More:
- Other winners. The runners-up included the erroneous Brian Ross Russia-Trump story that caused ABC to suspend him, and CNN's claim that Trump and Donald Trump Jr. had access to hacked emails from WikiLeaks. Time was at No. 4 for "falsely reporting that Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. from the White House."
- The 11th winner. The "last, but not least" final prize went to the topic of "RUSSIA COLLUSION!" "Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!" the GOP site states, listing the things Trump accomplished while "the media spent 90% of the time focused on negative coverage or fake news."
- Fake news? The New York Daily News notes that some of the awards contain claims that appear to be "alternative facts"—including the assertion that Trump's win was a "landslide." The Washington Post was at No. 5 for reporting that "the president's massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty," though the reporter had mistakenly tweeted a photo of the empty venue and immediately deleted it and apologized, according to the News.
- Late-night reaction. In a spoof ceremony, Jimmy Kimmel gave a "Fake News Award" to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, played by Kimmel's father, Billboard reports. Colbert received a standing ovation after telling the audience: "I am proud to say, The Late Show won fakest in late night." He then added: "I would say I'm humbled, but I think we deserve it, because I’m lying right now. We didn't win."
- Backlash. Some of the backlash to the "Fakies," and to Trump's treatment of the media in general, came from members of his own party, the Guardian reports. Former GOP press secretary Alex Conant tweeted that while he is working hard to get Republicans elected in 2018, Trump's "tactics are not helpful to anyone except Chuck & Nancy."
- "Sinister subtext." The awards have the "sinister subtext" that Trump has spoken of having libel laws changed to make it easier to punish "fake news," writes Albert Hunt at Bloomberg. Legal experts, however, say that "if Trump were correct that mainstream news outlets deliberately published false information with the intent of making him look bad, he could successfully sue them without any changes to existing law," Hunt writes.
- Corrections and retractions. The Washington Post fact-checks the winners and notes that retractions or corrections were issued in eight cases, and two resulted in suspensions or resignations. Two were tweets that didn't result in news articles. "If the president admitted error as frequently, he would earn far fewer Pinocchios," the Post says, referring to its grading system for false claims.
(Republican Sen. Jeff Flake compared Trump to Joseph Stalin in a speech Wednesday