When President-elect Donald Trump said on Fox News this week that he wouldn't kick the media out of the White House, after all, he added a word of warning: “Some people in the press will not be able to get in because there's just too many.”
“We'll have to just pick the people to go into the room,” Trump said before turning sarcastic: “I'm sure other people will be thrilled about that.”
One person who actually is thrilled is Jim Hoft, founder of the Gateway Pundit blog, who claimed at Thursday night's DeploraBall (get it?) in Washington that Trump's team has awarded a coveted White House credential to the website.
I say “claimed” because Hoft is an appallingly unreliable source of information (more on that in a moment) and because Trump folks have not responded to my request for confirmation. To be fair, they've been kinda busy.
“During the election, I had a million readers a day at the Gateway Pundit,” Hoft told DeploraBall attendees at the National Press Club. “Thank you. And the reason was because I was telling the truth. We've been in contact with the Trump administration, and they're going to do something different, and we got their word that the Gateway Pundit is going to have a White House correspondent this year.”
“Telling the truth” is not, by any objective measure, what the Gateway Pundit does. If you have a conspiracy theory or a hoax you want to spread, Hoft is your guy.
Just last week, the Gateway Pundit published the absurd, social media-generated claim that the Washington Post's Doris Truong had sneakily snapped cellphone photos of notes belonging to secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, during his confirmation hearing. Truong was not at the hearing; it made no sense to think she would have been at the hearing, since she is an editor of The Post's website.
Yet Twitter trolls saw video of an Asian American woman on her phone, near Tillerson's notes, and decided without evidence that it must have been Truong, who also is Asian American. That was good enough for Hoft.
During the presidential campaign, Hoft fell for an Internet hoax about a postal worker in Ohio who was supposedly destroying absentee ballots cast for Trump. No such thing happened.
A week before Election Day, the Gateway Pundit published the false claim that Michelle Obama was deleting tweets supportive of Hillary Clinton, even though a simple Twitter search could have debunked the notion.
After the election, Hoft relied on a social media rumor to report that an anti-Trump protest in Austin was “fake” because demonstrators had been bused into town on George Soros's dime. That was completely bogus. The man who started the rumor later told the New York Times that he had connected a lineup of buses to the protest without any knowledge. The buses had actually transported attendees of a technology conference.
In short, the Gateway Pundit would bring a record of reckless unreliability to the White House.