President Donald Trump’s crusade on “fake news” and the real news media is fake, a prominent Washington insider said Monday. 

Daniel Lippman, co-author of POLITICO Playbook and a POLITICO reporter, gave a "Lunch and Learn" talk Monday afternoon hosted by the DeWitt Wallace Center of Media and Democracy and the POLIS center. Lippman said that despite Trump's repeated criticism of the media, the White House is fairly docile and friendly towards the media. 

“We in the media were worried that they would force us out of the White House,” Lippman said. “That hasn’t happened—we have more access than ever before. It’s ironic.”

Trump has repeatedly denounced negative press coverage of him and his administration as “fake news” and memorably tweeted a video of him body-slamming a man with a CNN logo overlayed on him. Trump has also said that the media is the “enemy of the American people.”

Lippman and his POLITICO Playbook, a daily morning newsletter that provides news and scoops intended for elite Washington influencers, would seem to be part of the establishment media that Trump would say he despises. But Lippman said the rhetoric is a facade. 

“It’s a huge show,” Lippman said. “Obviously, the rhetoric is concerning. But Steve Bannon will send emails to reporters saying 'great job with the story, you killed it.’ They all consume their media—it didn’t used to be the case with past administrations.” 

Lippman has long followed politics intensely—he first gained notoriety at the age of 15 in a New Yorker profile because he frequented “Ask the White House,” a blog on the White House website. There, he asked dozens of questions to “mid-level Bush Administration bureaucrats” and caught the attention of a New Yorker freelancer. 

Once he began school as a political science student at George Washington University, he said he took up a peculiar hobby—correcting typos for Washington reporters. He would send thousands of emails to reporters informing them of their mistakes. 

While most were grateful for spotting their errors, some told him to get a life.

Now, he has a very busy one working for POLITICO, waking up at 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning in order to push out his Playbook newsletter by the time political influencers start their days. The newsletter covers everything from top quotes by politicians to the biggest stories of the day to details of the D.C. social scene—one recent newsletter said that former vice president Joe Biden was spotted greeting children on Amtrak. 

In addition to discussing Trump's treatment of the media, Lippman said that Trump staffers have also become disengaged with the social scene in Washington. The president’s outsider approach to his presidency and politics have left some staffers isolated from those they used to call friends—simply because they joined the administration. 

“If you had some friends that did not like Trump, they shunned you for going into the administration,” Lippman said. “I have friends who work in the White House that have lost friends because of their work for President Trump. When White House staffers have birthday parties and such, sometimes they only invite fellow White House staffers. It’s like District 13 in the Hunger Games.”

That isolation certainly hasn’t been limited to just lower-level staffers and has reached the Oval Office itself. 

“Trump feels pretty isolated,” Lippman said. “He told a friend after eight months, 'A lot of people f*****g hate me.' He didn’t realize it until after months of negative press coverage."

Consumers of journalism have also become isolated—but in a different way, Lippman said. 

In an ever-changing media landscape, Lippman has long predicted that subscription-based journalism that targets a niche audience with specific interests is the future—something like what the Playbook does now. But Lippman thinks that this sort of transformation has and will continue to isolate consumers of media from others that think differently than them. 

“If you’re a liberal, how many times do you go to Breitbart or Fox News?” Lippman said. “The filter bubble is something you should fight against. When I write, I want to include more news from a variety of news outlets…If you’re a liberal or conservative, you should know the other side’s arguments so you have a better way of arguing yourself.”

But Lippman certainly isn’t a pessimist about the future of journalism. After fears that journalism was on the brink of death a few years ago, Lippman said he believes it has come back to life—but still has many needs. Specifically, he pushed for increased support for local news organizations through non-profits—a business model that he thinks can succeed in holding local officials accountable and preventing corruption. 

Lippman noted that a Gallup poll showed that trust in newspapers has jumped since 2015, rising from 24 to 27 percent. Still, he said local reporters can do more to improve their work. 

"Journalists...have to get out into rural areas and rebuild trust, and not be condescending to people," he said. "You don't want to make it feel like you feel sorry for people that aren't of the same economic means."