Trump unleashes on 'Lamestream Media,' demands end of anonymous sources

After weeks of battling media over coronavirus coverage, president offers some advice about anonymous sources.

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President Donald Trump
Evan Vucci/Associated Press President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, Friday, March 20, 2020, in Washington.
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Last Updated:
March 28, 2020 - 9:26am

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President Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to lecture a favorite nemesis, declaring it was time for the "Lamestream Media" to end its reliance on anonymous sources.

Trump blamed the industry's reliance, especially in Washington, on unnamed interviewees as the reason for stories he has claimed were fake or wrong. He even suggested reporters might make up some of the sources they don't identify.

"One of the reasons that Fake News has become so prevalent & far reaching is the fact that corrupt 'journalists' base their stories on SOURCES that they make up in order to totally distort a narrative or story," he tweeted.

"When you see, 'five sources say', don’t believe the story, it is very often FAKE NEWS," he added. "Lamestream Media should be forced to reveal sources, very much as they did in the long ago past. If they did that, the media would be trusted again, and Fake News would largely be a thing if the past!"

Trump's attacks on made-up news hits a target in current American sentiment. 

A Pew Research Center poll last summer found that 68% of American adults believe made-up news is eroding confidence in government institutions. They blamed political leaders first, activists second and journalists third for the problem.

But 79% said they wanted action to be taken to stop the spread of fake news, and 53 percent said the solution started with journalists.

Trump's attack drew a media defense from former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart, who suggested anonymous leakers were a Trump problem and not one for journalists.

"Here's another take on the situation," Lockhart responded. "There are people who work for you who can't take all the lying from you. People close to you who think you're not very smart and are not up to the job. People who praise you to your face and laugh at you behind your back. Just a theory."