BOISE - An Idaho legislator has taken a note out of President Donald Trump's playbook by calling for an Idaho version of the Fake News Awards.
Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R- White Bird, posted a YouTube video Saturday claiming that 95 percent of Idaho's newspapers report negatively on conservatives. She later clarified her video does not apply to all news agencies stateside.
"They target us with skewed language, misleading information and biased attacks instead of focusing on important issues that Idahoans really care about," Giddings said in the video. "Meanwhile they pass off the fringe liberal agenda by calling it mainstream."
Giddings was the subject of a report that was critical of her at the end of last year regarding back property taxes and her primary place of residence. She later went after the author of the article in a Facebook post. She accused veteran Idaho reporter Betsy Russell of "scheming" with politicians and questioning how the reporter would "spin this one to attack conservatives."
When asked about her claim that 95 percent of Idaho's newspapers put conservatives in a negative light, Giddings told EastIdahoNews.com she did not mean Idaho newspapers as a whole but those in the Treasure Valley.
"A handful of conservative legislators went to three different news outlets and searched their names," Giddings said about how she came up with 95 percent. "They looked at the articles and - was this a plus, positive article, a negative article or just a totally neutral article presenting information."
She said she tallied up the results and came to the conclusion that 95 percent of the reporting in these news outlets was negative toward the conservative legislators. She admitted the number was generic and based on rough science.
She said in the video some conservative legislators will be taking nominations from the public via email for the Idaho Fake News awards.
Giddings explained that in determining fake news, she is following Trump's definition, which she said was "the most corrupt, the most biased or providing misinformation."
Trump announced the winners of his Fake News awards in a Jan. 17 tweet that linked to an article on gop.com. The winners ranged from stories posted in The New York Times to CNN to The Washington Post.
The Poynter Institute said in an article that Trump's Fake News awards "is perhaps the most tangible representation of Trump's attempts to delegitimize the media by calling them 'fake news.'"
Google Trends shows that searches for the term "fake news" in the United States spiked in January leading up to Trump's Fake News Awards. Idaho is one of the top places to search for "fake news."
"We need your help," Giddings said in the video. "If you have read heard or seen fake news reports by Idaho news outlets, send us an email with the details. We really look forward to having a fun event at the end of March."
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