President Donald Trump told an overflowing crowd in Pennsylvania that the media “deserves a very, very big, fat failing grade” for their “dishonest” coverage of his administration today, and especially for their work during the past election.
As the nation’s top political reporters and their Hollywood friends meet in Washington D.C. at their annual self-congratulatory dinner, Trump went to a rally for regular Americans in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, instead of hobnobbing with the rich and famous as so many past presidents have done.
Trump spent a lot of time ribbing the elites meeting in Washington at the outset of his speech.
“As you may know, there’s another big gathering taking place tonight in Washington D.C. Did you hear about it?” Trump said as his audience booed those elites. “A large group of Hollywood actors (crowd boos again) and Washington media (more boos) are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now. They are gathered together for the White House Correspondent’s Dinner — without the president!”
“Media outlets like CNN and MSNBC are fake news, fake news,” Trump told his enthralled audience.
Trump joked that the White House Correspondents Dinner being held in D.C. the same evening would be “very boring” and joked that he might make it more fun for them next year by showing up. “But we have a good chance of showing up here again next year, too,” he slyly added.
Trump referenced his first 100 days in office, but before telling the crowd about his own accomplishments, he jibed, “Let’s rate the media’s 100 days, should we do that? Because as you know, they are a disgrace.”
Trump proceeded to point out how so many Americans distrust the media:
According to a Morning Consult poll, more than half of Americans say the media is out of touch with everyday Americans, and they’ve proven that. According to Media Research Center, 89% of the media’s coverage of our administration has been negative and purposely negative. And perhaps, that’s because according to the Center for Public Integrity, 96 % of journalists who made donations in the last election gave them to our opponent. … Finally, according to a poll last year from the Associated Press, only 6% of Americans have a lot of confidence in America, that’s very bad. That’s much lower than Congress, by the way.
Trump next went into a list of failures by The New York Times.
“So, just as an example of media, take the totally failing New York Times,” he said as the crowd booed the paper. “Pretty soon they’ll only be on the Internet — the paper’s getting small and smaller. You ever notice? It’s starting to look like a comic book, it’s getting small,” he joked to cheers.
Trump ridiculed the Old Gray Lady for having to sell her “beautiful New York Times building in Manhattan” for only $130 million while the company that bought the building later sold it for $500 million. He also slammed the Times for wasting $1.3 billion to buy the Boston Globe, only to later unload it at a massive loss.
“And then the write nasty editorials and Od-Eds telling me how I should be handling world events and our country, tell me,” Trump quipped:
But that’s what we have. They’re incompetent, dishonest people who after an election had to apologize because they covered it, us, me, but all of us, they covered it so badly that they felt they were forced to apologize because their predictions were so bad, do you remember their predictions? They lost a lot of people because of the way they covered.
“So, here’s the story. If the media’s job is to be honest and tell the truth, then I think we would all agree the media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade,” Trump thundered.
The president then noted that his first 100 days have been quite successful, but he finished his remarks on the media reminding the crowd that the media’s agenda is not the same as that of the people of the United States.
“The Washington media is part of the problem,” Trump told the crowd as he warmed up to speak on his successes in his first 100 days. “Their priorities are not my priorities, and they’re not your priorities, believe me. Their agenda is not your agenda, and I’ll be making a big decision on the Paris accord over the next two weeks.”
The mood of the crowd was ebullient, and Trump was interrupted repeatedly with chants of USA, USA. His remarks skewering the media were also very well received.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.