Vanessa Trump Both ‘Ill’ And ‘Safe’ In White Powder Fake News Fiasco


Donald Trump is a foaming, racist idiot. But he’s right about at least one thing – ‘fake news’. It’s a thing, and mainstream media, including in Australia, very much engage in it.

Of course, they always have, but for the proof look no further than the news out of America this morning that Trump’s daughter-in-law, Vanessa was “hospitalized” after opening an envelope addressed to her husband, Donald Trump Jnr, which contained a “mysterious white powder”.

All of those statements are true… and so here’s how the Sydney Morning Herald reported it.

Notably, the Herald yarn is a ‘subscribers only’ story… hence, a quick pro tip to Fairfax: 1. You’re not supposed to troll your own subscribers; 2. You’re supposed to make clickbait free. That’s the point of clickbait. Fake news isn’t going to viral if you put it behind a paywall. got it right in some of its reporting: “She was taken to a local hospital as a precaution. It was not immediately clear what the substance was.”

But like the Herald, in one iteration of the story, it also couldn’t resist the ‘ill’ word in the headline.

Granted, Fairfax and News are based in Australia, so popping down the road to Trump Tower to check for yourself takes organisation. But a simple check of Donald Trump Jnr’s Twitter account would have solved the mystery.

But where’s the fun and fake news in that?

American media responses to the story were mixed, although notably NBC – which Trump consistently claims is a ‘fake news’ outlet got it right.

Most interesting of all, Fox News – which ordinarily speaking genuinely is a purveyor of ‘fake news’, but which also happens to be Trump’s favourite news service (irony overload) – did not stoop to the levels of News and Fairfax.

It’s a brave new fake news world.

Oh, and the ‘mysterious white powder’?… Cornflour.

Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.