Front Page Headlines Fall For Trump’s Press Conference Trap

Following a press conference featuring many questions about ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and whether President Donald Trump’s campaign was in frequent communication with Russia, front page newspaper headlines the next day hyped “ringmaster Don” and his assertion that he “inherited a mess” while de-emphasizing unanswered questions and new reporting about the Flynn and Russia controversies.

Trump Gets Questions About Flynn, Russia At Press Conference

Majority Of Questions At Press Conference Related To Flynn, Russia. President Donald Trump faced a series of questions during his February 16 press conference, many of which were about the recent resignation of ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and whether anyone connected to Trump’s presidential campaign was in communication with Russia. [NPR, 2/16/17]

Front Pages Of Newspapers Overlooked Narratives About Flynn And Russia In Favor Of Echoing Trump’s Questionable Claims

Headlines Focused On Trump’s Spurious Assertions And The “Rowdy” Nature Of The Press Conference. Most major U.S. newspapers’ front page headlines the next day echoed questionable claims from Trump that he “inherited a mess,” and that his administration was “fine-tuned.” Other headlines chose to focus on the chaotic and “rowdy” nature of the press conference. What was largely missing, however, were headlines that focused on the many questions asked about Flynn and Russia. [Newseum, “Today's Front Pages,” 2/17/17]  

NY Times: “Trump Delivers Heated Defense Of First Month”

WSJ: “Trump Lets Loose Against Critics”

NY Post: “Wildest Show On Earth. Ringmaster Don Whips Media In Epic Rant”

USA Today: “Trump Assails Media, Denies Chaos. Obama Handed Him ‘A Mess,’ He Declares”

LA Times: “Rowdy Rebuttal. Trump Responds To Setbacks With A Fiery News Conference Reminiscent Of Campaign”

Chicago Tribune: “Trump Touts ‘A Fine-Tuned’ White House. He Bemoans ‘Mess’ He Took On, Media, ‘Fake News’”

Newsday: “Trump: ‘I Inherited A Mess.’ Says White House Is ‘Fine-Tuned Machine’”

NY Daily News: “The Wrath Of Don. Prez Rips ‘Fake News’ And Real Leaks; ‘I’m Not Ranting And Raving’”

Boston Globe: “Trump Hits Back At ‘Chaos’ Portrayal. Attacks Media, Says ‘I Inherited A Mess’; Probe Planned On Leaks”

Sacramento Bee: “‘I Inherited A Mess,’ Trump Contends”

Denver Post: “Trump: Leaks ‘Criminal,’ Media ‘Out Of Control’”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Trump Defends His Work So Far. President Attacks Press, Dismisses Reports Of Chaos.”

Tampa Bay Times: “Trump Punches Back”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Trump Lashes Out In 80-Minute Spectacle. President Slams News Media, Hillary Clinton, Many More”

Baltimore Sun: “Trump, In Full Flow, Takes On The Press. President Uses Conference To Attack Familiar Targets”

Dallas Morning News: “President Denies Report Of White House Turmoil. Despite Early Setbacks, He Says Administration Is ‘Fine-Tuned Machine’”

Boston Herald: “Trump Brawls With Media In Heated Press Conference.”