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Where does Trump get his news?

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BuzzFeed News analyzed all the links Donald Trump tweeted since he launched his presidential campaign to determine where the president-elect gets his news.

BuzzFeed News reviewed 26,234 of Trump’s 34,062 tweets, which we received through the Twitter API and developer Brendan Brown, who has archived Trump’s tweets beyond what is accessible via the API (a stream of data that includes information like tweet text, time, and date). We filtered that data down to the 2,687 hyperlinks tweeted by Trump’s personal Twitter account since he announced his candidacy in June 2015. By programmatically expanding the shortened links in his tweets we were able to group and count them to generate a rudimentary portrait of the news and opinion he publicizes and, presumably, consumes.

A few things to note before the data: The analyzed tweets were broadcast between June 1, 2015 — the month Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign — and Nov. 17, 2016. The majority of links tweeted by Trump’s account were retweets. Sites that were categorized as “media” were broadly defined as organizations that publish content regularly. Campaign-related links include links to President-elect Trump’s own website as well as links to sites related to the GOP.

On fake news:

Trump rarely shares the kind of flagrantly concocted fake news stories promoted by Macedonian teens. Yet the president-elect does seem to have an affinity for factually murky stories bolstered by opinion, circumstantial evidence, and hearsay that appear generally supportive of his most controversial statements. Frequently throughout the presidential campaign Trump tweeted stories that seemed to back up his claims that “thousands” of Muslims cheered from New Jersey rooftops as the World Trade Center towers fell on 9/11, despite no evidence from police or confirmed news reports. Other Trump-tweeted stories include a Breitbart piece with the headline, “Trump 100% Vindicated: CBS Reports ‘Swarm’ On Rooftops Celebrating 9/11” and a New York Post piece about Orlando Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen allegedly celebrating on 9/11.


Like a number of the stories Trump shares via Twitter, strong headlines and flimsy evidence are touted as vindication of a controversial claim, but leave the vigilant reader with the daunting task of proving a negative.

BuzzFeed News’ analysis shows that, despite Trump’s repeated claims of a deeply biased mainstream media, the president-elect shares news stories from a high number of traditional media outlets. Throughout the course of the campaign, Trump frequently tweeted from mainstream organizations like the Washington Post (26), New York Post (22), The Hill (21), Politico (15), CNN (12), USA Today (10), Bloomberg (7), Forbes (7), CBS News (6), ABC News (5), and NBC News (5) among others. In nearly every instance, the stories shared were news items about polls that favored Trump (many from the primaries) or negative articles about Hillary Clinton — many of them aggregations of WikiLeaks emails.

It’s hard not to look at the the frequency and demeanor of Trump’s tweeting of mainstream outlets and not see a desire for validation from the nation’s biggest traditional newsrooms. When covered positively, Trump’s response is effusive — in one response to an article from the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, Trump remarks “it is a true person of character that can change his opinion & do what is right.”

But such accolades are often supplanted — if not eradicated — at the first sign of adversarial coverage. In July 2015, for example, Trump fired off a tweet praising a “great article” in Politico Magazine by Rich Lowry. Nine months later, Trump’s tune had changed. “Wow, @Politico is in total disarray with almost everybody quitting,” Trump tweeted. “Good news — bad, dishonest journalists!”

Top headlines Trump has tweeted:

Where Does Trump Get His News - BuzzFeed News

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