Yesterday President Trump invited a bunch of network anchors to lunch and told them he was open to a comprehensive immigration bill that included a path to legal status—but not citizenship—for undocumented immigrants. The anchors were permitted only to source this to a “senior administration official,” and they did. This fed a round of positive news coverage in the hours leading up to Trump’s address to Congress.
Today, however, CNN reports that Trump was deliberately lying to them. Mediaite has the story:
CNN reported Wednesday on a senior administration official admitting that the White House intentionally misled reporters ahead of President Donald Trump‘s congressional address in order to get generate positive press coverage as part of a “misdirection play.”
….Host John King wondered why reporters should even trust the White House going forward. “It does make you wonder; so we’re not supposed to believe what the senior-most official at the lunch says — who then they allowed it to be the president’s name says — we’re not supposed to believe what they say?” he asked. “Maybe we shouldn’t believe what they say.”
What are reporters supposed to do the next time Trump tells them something on background? Or any other White House official? Given their track record, can reporters believe anything they say?