President Donald Trump's fake-news pivot isn't subtle. First he benefited from fake news stories during the campaign; then as president-elect and now president, he has constantly used the epithet against mainstream media outlets that dare criticize him.
Any negative polls, he has proclaimed, are "fake news." So are news stories that put him in a bad light - even if they are corroborated by Trump's own officials, as with reports that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch termed comments about the judiciary "demoralizing" and "disheartening."
What's happening here is more than the simple continuation of Trump's well-documented tendency as a candidate to lie flagrantly and refuse to back down. It is more than his narcissistic incapacity to receive bad news.
It is more dangerous. Trump is deploying a strategy, used by autocrats, designed to completely disorient public perception. He's not just trying to spin the bad news of the day; all politicians do that. He seeks nothing less than to undermine the public's belief that any news can be trusted, that any news is true, that there is any fixed reality.