Donald Trump's staff feeds him fake news from internet trolls

Claudine Rigal
Mai 16, 2017

Trump is a scary combination of ignorant and impetuous.

A White House official defended the mistake as an accurate reflection of the message she was trying to get across, however.

A White House official defended McFarland, who is set to become USA ambassador to Singapore.

The fake global cooling story has about as a happy an ending as is possible in this White House.

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, they said, has attempted to set up a system that tracks which documents cross Trump's desk to comply with record-keeping laws. The warning came after a telling incident just days earlier that had almost escalated into yet another public relations issue for an administration already widely disliked. The cover, purportedly dated 1977, read "How to Survive the Coming Ice Age", and was paired with a (real) 2006 cover with a report on global warming.

Although Trump was quickly incensed by what he saw as the media's dishonesty, the 1970s cover was apparently fake - the result of an Internet hoax that's been circulated for years. The fake cover attempts to discredit scientists by suggesting scientists in the '70s were fixated on the idea of global cooling and are now hypocritically switching to argue the importance of fighting global warming. Nonetheless, Trump was all fired up about media "hypocrisy" and was preparing to tweet his anger, but someone managed to tell him the truth before all hell broke loose (again).

A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about the allegations made in the Politico article. Nevertheless, the room for error or manipulation when it comes to influencing the president remains alarmingly large. According to reports, Trump, 70, rarely navigates the internet alone and didn't check out the the source of the images. On one of the most pressing, if not the single most critical, issues in the world, an unqualified deputy national security adviser directly provided the sitting president of the United States with bogus information, apparently meant to persuade Trump not to trust (a) climate science; and (b) major news organizations.

"You know that people are going to go around the system. [That] made us look like amateurs", said the senior White House official. "You need the president to say "thanks, I appreciate it" [when he receives stories] and to hand it off to get it into a process". If he is left with incomplete or biased information, it's safe to assume that he would not have the wherewithal to seek a more complete picture before launching into a Twitter rant or making monumental policy decisions. Sure enough, the next Wednesday Trump's economic team was rolling out a tax plan that echoed the op-ed. But some of those news reports are fake - and that's by design.

Rumors that Trump was planning to get rid of embattled White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer have been circulating for some time-increasingly so over the last week after Spicer's briefings were handled by Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. "I've probably written 1,000 op-eds in my life but that might have been the most impactful".

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