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Don’t Take the Bait From Trump, Journalists Say

Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2017May 2-3, 2017: San Diego, CAAt our inaugural Brainstorm HEALTH conference, we focused on the best and brightest ideas in the digital health care revolution. In May, we’ll tackle how to speed up this disruption and seize tFortune Brainstorm Tech 2017May 2-3, 2017: San Diego, CAAt our inaugural Brainstorm HEALTH conference, we focused on the best and brightest ideas in the digital health care revolution. In May, we’ll tackle how to speed up this disruption and seize t
David Sanger at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech in Aspen, CO. on July 19, 2017.Stuart Isett for Fortune Brainstorm Tech

President Donald Trump has continued to attack the media, with his latest Twitter broadside on Tuesday calling recent stories of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin “sick” and “fake news.”

But journalists and media organization will have to walk a fine line to ensure they are not seen as the “resistance” to Trump and his policies, and lose their credibility in the process, longtime New York Times reporter David Sanger said.

“The biggest single mistake we could do in navigating our coverage of the Trump administration would be to let ourselves become the resistance to the government in place,” Sanger said, speaking on a panel about the issue of “fake news” at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo. on Wednesday.

But Sanger and other experienced reporters on the panel had no answers for how journalism could better combat actual fake news, such as the propaganda that flooded social media networks during last year’s presidential campaign.

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NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent at the network, acknowledged reporting on illegally hacked materials detrimental to Hilary Clinton’s campaign last year.

“We were just trapped during the campaign,” she said of covering the contents of emails stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. “We have not figured out what to do with this and it’s turned everything upside down on its head.”

Sanger, too, sounded at a loss for how to address the problem, which he described as an “old Stalin-era technique on steroids.”

“We have a lot of thinking and self reflection to do on this point,” Sanger said.