The press corps were confused by doctored footage appearing from sources said to be quietly linked to the White House claiming that Trump was incapable of meeting with flood-victims without industrial strength hand sanitizer and rubber gloves.
"The press-corps has plenty of photos of Mr. Trump meeting with flood survivors without hazmat gear or rubber gloves," said CNN's Douglas Wherther. "It appears that with criticism directed at Trump for what many saw as a tin-eared response to flood-victims, sources in what might be the White House press office are trying to create a narrative that the media is unfairly attacking the president."
In fact, the White House reported disappointment that CNN accurately reported on Mr. Trump's planned donation of 1MM of his personal money to the flood victims (possibly through his foundation, as was later clarified). They also were upset that aired video showed Mr. Trump hugging a small child.
"If the press is just going to show these images," said Sarah Huckabee Sanders, "it makes our job that much harder. When the president lies about witnessing first hand destruction--or makes a trip but won't interact with actual flood victims and talks about it like a campaign rally, we have a real problem. We need to get back on the hashtag-fake-news-narrative!"
Sources expressed frustration with what appeared to be mostly accurate reporting on the destruction in Houston with a focus on civilian rescues--some of which were performed on video by the press.
"Mr. Trump noted--plainly--that the heroes in the coast guard are willing and able to go into places the mainstream media will not--and perform rescues," said Sanders. "If the media gets a reputation for being heroes out here how does that play with the base? They're capturing this stuff on camera and we need to prevent any of that. This show--the Hurricane Harvey Show--is about Mr. Trump and Mr. Trump hates to be upstaged."
This last was read as a pointed warning to Vice President Pence who had, earlier in the week deleted a tweet which staff feared made him look "overly presidential."
Sanders finished: "We think that if we can get some images out there that falsely make the president look bad, we can pivot the narrative away from his lack of empathy and back to attacking the press where we feel most comfortable."
Additional sources noted that the president was considering announcing a preemptive strike on North Korea if super-storm Irma were to make landfall as the ratings would be guaranteed huge.