Mimicking Trump, local officials use 'fake news' as a weapon

Fake news graphic by MGN.
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WASHINGTON (AP) – President Trump's campaign to discredit the news media is spreading to officials at all levels of government. Many of them are echoing his use of the term "fake news" as a weapon against unflattering stories.

The term has become a signal to a politician's supporters to ignore legitimate reporting and as a smear of the press corps.

In Idaho, for example, a state lawmaker has urged her constituents to submit entries for her own "fake news awards."

The Kentucky governor tweeted #FAKENEWS to dismiss questions about his purchase of a home from a supporter.

Experts on the press and democracy say the cries of "fake news" could do long-term damage by sowing confusion and contempt for journalists. It also undermines the media's role as a watchdog on government and politicians.

Editor’s Note: This is Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide observance to highlight the public’s right to government information.