On Saturday, April 1, 2017, President Donald Trump returned to the social media platform Twitter to yet again publicly blast a news media outlet for reporting real news over fake news. This time, NBC News was given the president’s full attention with an 8:43 a.m. tweet where he asked why one of the nation’s news sources was so focused on the recent story about ties between the Trump Administration and Russia instead of his story about the Obama Administration wiretapping Trump Tower. Twitter users were quick to point out that this tweet proves that the the president still believes, or at least wants others to believe, a tall tale that FBI Director James Comey confirmed recently is not in any way true: The Obama Administration was not found to be actively wiretapping Trump Tower.
From a business perspective, tweets like these can have a huge impact on the people and companies involved, but not perhaps in the way that Trump hopes. For example, Trump has repeatedly tried to say that “The New York Times” was losing subscribers for spreading fake news. These statements are also untrue. The NYT claims that Trump’s repeated talking about the newspaper resulted in an uptick in subscribers. Experts believe that NBC News will receive similar benefits in the form of more viewers and higher ratings. In light of recent revelations about the Trump Administration’s ties to Russia and confirmation of those revelations by trusted intelligence analysts, Trump’s tweets actually reinforce in the minds of many people the news outlets are trying to get to the truth and the pass it to the public.
That said, one expert, Clint Watts, pointed out to the Senate Intelligence Committee this past week that uninformed Trump followers might believe what he called “Russian active measures” performed perhaps unintentionally by President Trump. The Russian government has historically tried to destabilize Western governments. In business and politics, fake news can do this in different ways. For example, if Trump tweets negatively about a specific company or person, his supporters might pull their business interests away from that company or individual.