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Trump unveils 'fake news awards' as senators decry press attacks
[WASHINGTON] President Donald Trump announced the recipients of his so-called Fake News Awards, on Wednesday, his latest attack on the press that has drawn objections from within his own party.
In a tweet, announcing "And the FAKE NEWS winners are . . ." Mr Trump directed readers to the GOP.com website, which is run by the Republican National Committee.
The New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC News and CNN were among the "winners" cited by Mr Trump.
Mr Trump, who has singled out individual reporters by name calling for them to be fired over minor mistakes, also posted a tweet saying that he respected some reporters.
"Despite some very corrupt and dishonest media coverage, there are many great reporters I respect and lots of GOOD NEWS for the American people to be proud of!," Mr Trump wrote a few minutes after posting the initial tweet about the awards.
Mr Trump's announcement came as two senators from his own party excoriated him for his incessant attacks on the free press.
Mr Trump is emboldening authoritarian leaders around the world by dismissing media coverage of his administration as "fake news", Arizona Republican Jeff Flake said in a Senate floor speech on Wednesday.
"It is past time to stop excusing or ignoring or worse, endorsing these attacks on the truth," Mr Flake said. The president's tweet in February 2017 that news outlets are "the enemy of the American people" uses words "infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies", said the senator, who has been a vocal critic of the president in recent months.
Mr Trump said in a Jan 7 Twitter message he planned to give out awards on Wednesday to media outlets he claims are "the most corrupt & biased". In a Washington Post opinion article, Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, said Mr Trump's attacks on the news media is harming press freedom around the world.
"Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy," Mr McCain wrote.
Earlier this month, the Post found that Mr Trump had made more than 2,000 false or misleading claims since taking office.
The link to the list on the GOP.com site was not working on Wednesday night.