As Times columnist Paul Krugman noted this week:
Memo to newspapers: if Trump says something false, and headline reads "Trump says X," it doesn't matter if u say later it's false
Another problem is that the timid mentality behind "Trump says" headlines often leads to timid reporting.
Note that last week Trump made news when he claimed responsibility for Sprint bringing back 5,000 jobs to the United States. Trump insisted that the jobs were coming back "because of me."
That boast immediately produced a rash of Trump-friendly headlines. And yes, it produced plenty of "Trump says" headlines:
WSJ: "Trump Says Sprint Bringing 5,000 Jobs Back to U.S."
New York Post: "Trump says Sprint is bringing 5,000 jobs back to US"
Reuters: "Trump says Sprint to bring 5,000 jobs back to U.S."
But those Sprint jobs were part of a previously announced, pre-election jobs initiative by the telecommunications giant. Which means this Bloomberg headline was perhaps the most accurate: "Trump Seeks Credit for 5,000 Sprint Jobs Already Touted."
By choking off access with the press, Trump has produced a media thirst for presidential pronouncements and tidbits of news; tidbits that now arrive on the form of inaccurate tweets. The press needs to stop rewarding Trump's strategy with passive and misleading "Trump says" headlines.