Donald Trump takes credit for ‘fake news’, but dictionary disputes

Donald Trump said he hadn't noticed other people using the term 'fake news'.

Donald Trump said he hadn't noticed other people using the term 'fake news'. Photo: TBN

US President Donald Trump appeared to take credit for coining the word “fake” in his fight against the media, saying it is “one of the greatest of all terms” he has come up with.

In an interview with former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on Christian television network, TBN, the President was criticising coverage of his response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico when he briefly became sidetracked and praised himself for using the word ‘fake’ to describe the media.

“I think one of the greatest of all terms I’ve come up with is ‘fake’,” Mr Trump said. “I guess other people have used it perhaps over the years, but I’ve never noticed it.”

But the Merriam-Webster dictionary interjected on Twitter, and said use of the term “fake news” dates back to the late 1800s.

“Our research traces ‘fake news’ back to at least 1890. But we won’t be adding the term to the dictionary … yet,” it said.

One of the examples on their website is a headline from 1890, which reads: “Secretary Brunnell Declares Fake News About His People is Being Telegraphed Over the Country.”

The term “fake news” became mainstream during the US election campaign, when hundreds of websites that published falsified or heavily biased stories sprung up to capitalise on Facebook advertising revenue.

Mr Trump and his supporters then adopted the term to describe media coverage critical of the President, especially that of The New York Times, The Washington Post and CNN.

“I win an election easily, a great ‘movement’ is verified, and crooked opponents try to belittle our victory with FAKE NEWS. A sorry state!” he once tweeted.

“Wow, so many Fake News stories today. No matter what I do or say, they will not write or speak truth. The Fake News Media is out of control!,” was another.

Earlier this year Mr Trump also claimed in an interview with The Economist that he invented the phrase “priming the pump”, an economic term that originated in the 1930s.

The US President has been under fire for his administration’s disaster response in Puerto Rico, which was devastated after being hit by Hurricane Maria.

In the TBN interview with Mr Huckabee, who is the father of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, Mr Trump was asked if coverage of his response to the natural disasters was “frustrating” given that people on the ground thought his response was “pitch perfect”.

“We’ll say this, it’s fake news, there’s nothing else you can say about it,” the President said.

“We did a great job and we weren’t treated fairly by the media because we really did a good job.”

Watch the TBN interview below

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