Welcome to WHAT NOW, a morning round-up of the news/fresh horrors that await you today.
President Donald Trump is so susceptible to maliciously fake news items that White House staffers are scrambling to put safeguards in place to keep internet hoaxes and other internet chum out of his hands, according to a Monday story from Politico.
The site claims that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was forced to issue a stern warning that aides stop trying to secretly slip fake news clips to the president.
The warning reportedly came days after K.T. McFarland, the deputy national security adviser, personally gave Trump two Time magazine covers: one, purportedly from 1977, which warned of an impending ice age, and a 2008 cover about how to survive global warming, four aides familiar with the matter told Politico.
Trump got all up in arms over what looked like classic liberal media hypocrisy about the threat of climate change. But the ice age cover is fake, an internet hoax that’s circulated the web for so long that Time published a piece about the fake cover nearly four years ago. White House aides were apparently able to unravel the truth and get to the president before he tweeted or publicly raged about it.
Politico also reported a far more insidious example of how one piece of fake news—put in the president’s hands at just the right moment—can dramatically reshape the administration’s agenda.
That is what happened in late February when someone mischievously gave the president a printed copy of an article from GotNews.com, the website of Internet provocateur Charles C. Johnson, which accused deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh of being “the source behind a bunch of leaks” in the White House.
No matter that Johnson had been permanently banned from Twitter for harassment or that he offered no concrete evidence or that he’s lobbed false accusations in the past and recanted them. Trump read the article and began asking staff about Walsh.
Walsh, a close ally of Priebus, was soon out.
The whole story is a fascinating look into how easy it is to influence our president—you can literally hand him a piece of paper to get what you want.
- The aptly named WannaCry cyberattack is still ripping through Microsoft networks around the globe. Experts are calling it the largest randomware attack ever.
- A government scientist working for U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who was also the reigning Miss District of Columbia, was crowned Miss USA last night. She told the crowd that health care is a “privilege,” not a right.
- North Korea’s state media released a video of its latest successful missile test.
WHAT FRESH HELL?
- Mika Brzezinski, Morning Joe co-host and betrothed to Joe Scarborough, said Monday morning that Kellyanne Conway (remember her?) used to finish her appearances on the show and say she needed a shower from talking about Trump. How funny!