Accuracy in Media

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman won first place in the inaugural Fake News Awards unveiled Wednesday by the Republican National Committee.

Krugman has been relentlessly critical of the president. His latest piece Friday, headlined, “Republicans Simply Want to Hurt People,” insisted that “making low-income Americans worse off has become a goal in itself for the modern GOP, a goal the party is actually willing to spend money and increase deficits to achieve.”

But he won the award for a statement he made the night of the election after it was announced Trump would win and that futures markets were down overnight.

“It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging,” Krugman said. “When might we expect them to recover? If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”

Krugman wrote a blog post that predicted the precipitous election night drop to represent “a new permanent reality” in the U.S.

“We are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight,” he said. “I supposed we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened.”

Nine hours later, the market was rebounding and headed toward what would be the first of now nearly 80 days of record finishes. The stock market topped 25,000 for the first time ever and now has topped 26,000, with no apparent end in sight. Consumer confidence is at a near-30-year high, and black unemployment is the lowest that has ever been recorded.

The stock market also figured into the second-place finisher. “ABC News’ Brian Ross CHOKES and sends markets in a downward spiral with false reports,” read the list released by the RNC. In December, Ross reported that the president told a campaign aide to make contact with Russians. The network later had to correct the report to say it was during the transition that the contact was ordered – a common practice for incoming administrations.

Ross was suspended for a month for the mistake, but not before it sent markets into a tailspin, causing billions of dollars in losses, after which the president joked people should sue Ross to recover their money.

No. 3 was a claim, also by CNN, the president and his son, Donald Trump Jr., had access to hacked documents from Wikileaks. CNN had to correct that story as well.

At No. 4 was a report in the early days of the administration from Time that President Trump had removed a bust of Martin Luther King Jr., from the Oval Office. The bust was never removed, and Time had to apologize.

At No. 5 was the misleading picture posted on Twitter by Dave Weigel, a Washington Post White House reporter, from a rally the president held in Pensacola, Fla. After President Trump tweeted, “Packed to the rafters” about the huge crowd at the rally, Weigel tweeted a picture taken hours before the event began showing only a handful of people in the arena that mocked Trump’s claim.

The reporter claimed he had been “confused” about shared images. But Trump’s tweet came out after the event had begun and the arena had been filled to capacity, which means Weigel’s response – a picture taken hours earlier of a near-empty arena – was misleading from the moment he sent it.

The awards recognized CNN both for its misleading story that claimed Trump “defiantly overfed fish during a visit with the Japanese prime minister,” only to discover Trump had copied the prime minister in dumping his box of fish food at the end of a photo op on the president’s Asia tour.

And it recognized the piece, based on one anonymous source, that claimed Anthony Scaramucci met with Russians. The piece not only had to be pulled and corrected but also left three CNN employees dismissed.

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