An unverified report that Beijing was negotiating a secret deal with Pyongyang, published on Tuesday by the Washington Free Beacon, and syndicated by the Washington Times newspaper, has not gained much traction beyond that spattering of conservative American news outlets, garnering only a healthy dose of skepticism.
Not surprisingly, China was also not interested.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang responded Wednesday to a Chinese-language question on the report with two words – in English.
“Fake news,” Geng was quoted as saying in the official transcript of Wednesday’s regular press breifing. Next question, please.
The “top secret” document published in the report was purported to be from “a person who once had ties to the Chinese intelligence and security communities,” whatever that means, but the author also said he could not independently verify the document.
The question we posed yesterday is whether conservative media’s reporting of the document as newsworthy will pique Trump’s interest, regardless of its veracity. If the report was true, it makes Trump look like he was played like a fiddle, so he might be careful not to draw attention.
We might also see if the US president buys the “fake news” line — which he uses exclusively to lambast hostile liberal media — when it is used against conservative media supportive of his administration.