Just seconds after Donald Trump appeared at his new hotel in Washington on Friday, it dawned on many of the reporters in the room and others watching the live coverage on every cable news channel that they had been conned. When you sign into the WiFi at this Trump "press conference," immediately directed to book a room at his new hotel pic.twitter.com/bGkmkjdGzB — Nick Corasaniti (@NYTnickc) September 16, 2016 Trump starts off speech: "Nice hotel. Under budget and ahead of schedule." This is something. — Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) September 16, 2016 Trump’s hotel wasn’t actually completed ahead of schedule. https://t.co/OugmRhzsHE — Philip Bump (@pbump) September 16, 2016 Trump’s campaign had led the national press corps to expect a major announcement, in which he would retract his support for the racist conspiracy theory he has promoted for years, that Barack Obama was not born in the United States, making his presidency illegitimate. That expectation led to wall-to-wall coverage even of Trump’s plane arriving in Washington on Friday. Um, it is not an "issue," it is a racist lie he has spread for years – try that headline pic.twitter.com/JR5fbU1JoG — Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) September 16, 2016 Fox headline at least calls racist conspiracy theory Trump has endorsed for years a "controversy" not an "issue" pic.twitter.com/j3NC1zzaHe — Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) September 16, 2016 Instead, Trump promoted the opening of his hotel and then handed over the platform to a stream of retired military officers to praise him in glowing, and incorrect, terms. “Mr Trump has never failed at anything," medal of honor winner says. Now let’s all go out for a Trump steak at his casino in Atlantic City. — Tom McCarthy (@TeeMcSee) September 16, 2016 One after the other, reporters for major American news organizations complained on Twitter that Trump had gamed the media, ensuring live coverage of an event that, for at least 20 minutes of speeches by military men singing his praises, looked and sounded like a do-over convention he had staged for himself. ok maybe we just got rick-rolled into a Trump Hotel commercial. — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 16, 2016 Once again Trump manages to guarantee live cable coverage of a promotion for his new hotel — Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 16, 2016 Can’t believe Donald Trump would perpetrate a scam for his own enrichment it’s so terribly out of character. — Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) September 16, 2016 Leveraging five years of birtherism into a branding opportunity for his hotel. — Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) September 16, 2016 Donald Trump Games The Media: 1. Tease Major Announcement. 2. Get All Cameras on You. 3. Tout Your Hotel / Get Army Vets to Tout You. — Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) September 16, 2016 Pretty big crowd for Teachout/Sanders in New Paltz. How’s the cable news-sponsored Trump infomercial going? pic.twitter.com/6gmIdgwrG0 — daveweigel (@daveweigel) September 16, 2016 But even as the press corps quietly rebelled — venting its spleen on Twitter for their followers to read — the cable networks continued to broadcast the infomercial for Trump and his hotel live to the nation. If only there were a way to monitor for news without carrying said infomercial live… https://t.co/5Adf9Rj5hO — Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) September 16, 2016 Does this mean @NBCNews knew the Trump event wouldn’t be about birtherism? https://t.co/URNEFWWrMc pic.twitter.com/iNGXzif71r — Kia Makarechi (@Kia_Mak) September 16, 2016 Reporters knew they were being had, and said so on social networks, but the event continued to stream live on the airwaves in real time, with the carping confined to the safe space of social networks. The press corps stayed in their seats, or glued to their screens, waiting for the big reveal of Trump new position on the long-settled question of where President Obama was born. There was no way MSM could NOT cover his "press conference" today — no matter HOW many times he’s pulled same trick on them. And he knew it — Billmon (@billmon1) September 16, 2016 When he finally returned, in the closing seconds of the event, Trump used the free air time to lie directly to the American people. “Hillary Clinton, and her campaign of 2008, started the birther controversy,” he said, falsely. “I finished it. I finished it, you know what I mean.” Trump: “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it” https://t.co/wvGR7pToXq — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) September 16, 2016 There are two big lies here. First, Clinton and her campaign aides did not start or endorse the anti-Obama smear — it was cooked up by an anti-Semitic Republican crank and spread along the chain email network that gave birth to the Alt Right, as Chris Hayes reported in 2007. Reporters who covered her campaign have attested to that, even as the myth has become an article of faith in the right-wing blogosphere. Second, Trump did not end any controversy by promoting the theory and falsely claiming to have evidence he never obtained. .@realDonaldTrump the birther arsonist, now says he has put out the fire of hatred he started. Way to play the press. — Timothy Egan (@nytegan) September 16, 2016 As Buzzfeed has documented, Trump has, in fact, continued to cast doubts on Obama’s birthplace over the past five years, since the president’s long-form birth certificate was released in 2011. An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that @BarackObama’s birth certificate is a fraud. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2012 Wake Up America! See article: "Israeli Science: Obama Birth Certificate is a Fake" http://t.co/f7esUdSz — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 13, 2012 How amazing, the State Health Director who verified copies of Obama’s “birth certificate” died in plane crash today. All others lived — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2013 Attention all hackers: You are hacking everything else so please hack Obama’s college records (destroyed?) and check "place of birth" — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2014 John Harwood of CNBC pointed out that even after he launched his campaign last year, Trump refused to stop pushing the wild claim. Trump repeating birther question – 4 years after Obama proved him wrong. https://t.co/AoaSxW6Oz9 h/t @JohnJHarwood pic.twitter.com/KCDh5U8z2D — CNBC (@CNBC) September 16, 2016 At the end of the event, as political bloggers heaped scorn on their colleagues for playing along, the press corps in the hotel was left to shout helplessly for Trump to actually take questions at what was sold as a news conference. Donald Trump once again urinates on the cable nets, and once again they hold out cups to catch the precious fluids. — Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) September 16, 2016 Press is standing on chairs screaming at trump to take questions — Sam Stein (@samsteinhp) September 16, 2016 After Trump left the room, the ABC News producer Candace Smith, who was designated to follow him on his tour of the new hotel on behalf of her colleagues in the press pool, reported that she was physically restrained from accompanying her camera operator. So Trump is taking cameras ONLY on a hotel tour.There is no reporter with Trump as he gives "the press" a tour of his brand new hotel. — Candace Smith (@CandaceSmith_) September 16, 2016 As the designated pool producer; attempted to go on pooled tour, as is customary. Was physically restrained from accompanying the camera. — Candace Smith (@CandaceSmith_) September 16, 2016 That led to a decision to delete footage of Trump giving his hotel the kind of inspection viewers of North Korean state television would find familiar. A source says Trump broadcast pool just erased tape of his tour of the hotel in protest of bait-and-switch w no editorial access. — Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 16, 2016 Sadly, none of that was stated in the first post-event “fact-checks” provided to cable news viewers on MSNBC and CNN, the two networks that are not pro-Trump. Hosts on both of those channels immediately responded to Trump’s naked lie by saying that it was true that some of Clinton’s supporters in 2008 had suggested Obama was not a natural-born citizen. That, of course, did not make what Trump had just proclaimed to their viewers in any sense true. A few minutes later, CNN did bring in Jake Tapper to make it clear that no one in Clinton campaign’s had raised Obama’s birth certificate in 2008. .@jaketapper fact-checks Trump’s claim that Clinton starting #birtherism https://t.co/SWep8WaHBT https://t.co/zTqs5gjDnt — The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) September 16, 2016 When the networks got around to hearing from some of the reporters in the room who objected to the con in real-time, the issue of how Trump had bent the news media to his will was finally raised. “I think objectively the press corps got completely played,” Huffington Post’s Sam Stein told MSNBC, about an hour after Trump’s lie was beamed coast-to-coast. Top Photo: Reporters raised their hands in vain, waiting for Donald Trump to call on them just after he finished lying on Friday in Washington. Sign up for The Intercept Newsletter here.The post Reporters Complain About Donald Trump Conning the Media, Even as They Help Him appeared first on The Intercept.