Sean Spicer admonished reporters who quote anonymous sources in their stories just hours after the president himself retweeted an article that cited a single, anonymous source in defense of his son-in-law.
The press secretary ended his first on-camera briefing in 15 days after he took questions for nearly 20 minutes Tuesday. As he answered the last one, Spicer said President Trump is “rightly concerned” by anonymously-sourced reports.
“He is frustrated, like I am, and so many others, to see stories that come out that are patently false, to see narratives that are wrong, to see ‘fake news,'” Spicer said. “When you see stories get perpetrated that are absolutely false, that are not based in fact, that is troubling.”
Pres. Trump “is frustrated because there’s a perpetuation of false narratives, a use of unnamed sources,” Spicer on alleged fake news pic.twitter.com/VU9lgz9DPy
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 30, 2017
Spicer even volunteered an example of what the administration considers to be fake news — a tweet from a BBC News reporter that claimed Trump was not wearing a listening device as Italian Prime Minster Paolo Gentiloni delivered remarks during his foreign trip last week.
“Friday, the president was having a great discussion at the G7, and someone from the BBC — and ultimately an incoming reporter for the New York Times — said he was being rude by disrespecting the Italian prime minister,” Spicer said. “That’s the kind of thing [they] push out and perpetuate…It’s true.”
“That’s just fake. That is a fake.”
— James Landale (@BBCJLandale) May 27, 2017
“The president gets frustrated when he sees a fake report about things that aren’t based in fact. When you see instances like that, that is frustrating. There is a lot of this stuff that has gotten pushed out on unnamed, unaccountable sources that is very troubling. When you see the same kind of thing happen over and over again, it is concerning.”
However, Trump retweeted a Fox News article Tuesday that claimed Jared Kushner did not attempt to establish a covert line of communication with Russian officials during a December meeting. The story cited an anonymous source.
Jared Kushner didn’t suggest Russian communications channel in meeting, source says https://t.co/nF6bM1FEt1
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) May 30, 2017
Quoting anonymous sources for articles is a practice Trump has criticized in the past.
“Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names…it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers,” Trump tweeted.
….it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2017