“I'm starting to think that the president is a bit insecure about the results of the election,” tweets the Washington Post’s Philip Bump. Last night, his colleagues Abby Phillip and Mike DeBonis reported that, Without evidence, Trump tells lawmakers 3-5 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote (27,000+ shares). To which Ali Winston of the Center for Investigative Reporting asks a practical question: “The White House has a psychiatrist on call, right?” While CNN’s Chris Cuomo says, “Here we go again. Another claim to boost legitimacy,” the WaPo’s White House Bureau Chief Juliet Eilperin calls it “More proof '16 election never dies.”
No alternative facts here. With the headline Trump Repeats Lie About Popular Vote in Meeting With Lawmakers (32,000+ shares), Michael Shear and Emmarie Huetteman over at The New York Times are calling it like they see it: “a lie, plain and simple. very glad we are calling it what it is,” as the paper’s Mike Isaacs points out. CNN’s Brian Stelter also takes notice, tweeting, “NYT going with the L word on this one.“ Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing puts a finer point on it: “Trump Falsely Blames Brown People for His Failure To Win Popular Vote.”
“You can outright lie, but just as insidious is starving off the places that create facts,” says FiveThirtyEight’s Jody Avirgan. BuzzFeed’s Dino Grandoni reveals that USDA staff and scientists at the agency’s main in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), have been told to stop communicating with the public about taxpayer-funded work. Kate Sheppard at The Huffington Post finds a similar scenario unfolding at the EPA, reporting, “•No new grants •No new press releases •No new tweets (seriously).”
“Believably unbelievable,” tweets NBC News’ Josh Sternberg of the news that Trump will keep James Comey on as FBI Director. “I’m sorry, WHAT,” asks DNAinfo’s Danielle Tcholakian, on the New York Daily News story that top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway allegedly punched a man in the face at the inaugural ball. Meanwhile, Axios explores Trump’s substantial media appetite in “Trump 101: What he reads and watches.” Tweets Mike Sacks of E.W. Scripps Company: “Take note, he takes notes.” As Recode’s Edmund Lee explains, it’s a diet of “60 Minutes, Time mag, Page Six. (he's still living in the '80s).”
“An affront to the First Amendment and journalistic freedom.” That’s how representatives from Vocativ describe journalist Evan Engel’s arrest while covering the inauguration. As reported by Jon Swaine in The Guardian, Engel, on assignment for Vocativ, and Alex Rubinstein of RT America, have been charged with felony rioting. They could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of $25,000 each if convicted.
Finally, as the Washington Post’s Ashley Parker, Philip Rucker and Matea Gold reveal the tumultuous first days inside Trump’s White House, Dan Fierman of MTV News asks, “Have there ever been this many leaks in any administration, let alone this early?”