It was a big night for CNN on 17 January after the news channel was named the winner of four of the 11 categories in US President Donald Trump's 2017 Fake News Awards list. Other mentions included The New York Times, Newsweek and The Washington Post.

This latest attempt at attacking the free press is part of the US president's ongoing war against the media and their alleged attempts to manufacture controversies and untruths.

Trump announced the winners of "The Highly-Anticipated 2017 Fake News Awards" via his Twitter account with a link to the Republican National Committee's website. However, minutes after his tweet, the site crashed, reportedly due to the surge in visitors, with a spokesperson stating that "traffic was off the charts".

"2017 was a year of unrelenting bias, unfair news coverage, and even downright fake news," the introduction of the awards list mentioned. "Studies have shown that over 90% of the media's coverage of President Trump is negative."

Soon after his winners' list tweet, Trump softened his stance, claiming that "despite some very corrupt and dishonest media coverage, there are many great reporters I respect and lots of GOOD NEWS for the American people to be proud of!"

Both Republican and Democratic senators criticised the president for going after the press with his Fake News Awards and called it an example to other international leaders on how to "shutter one of the key pillars of democracy".

"He has threatened to continue his attempt to discredit the free press by bestowing "fake news awards" upon reporters and news outlets whose coverage he disagrees with," Arizona Republican, Sen. John McCain wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

"Whether Trump knows it or not, these efforts are being closely watched by foreign leaders who are already using his words as cover as they silence and shutter one of the key pillars of democracy."

McCain's fellow state senator Jeff Flake echoed a similar sentiment as he spoke on the Senate floor.

"An American president who cannot take criticism, who must constantly deflect and distort and distract, who must find someone else to blame, is charting a very dangerous path," the retiring senator said.

"It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Josef Stalin to describe his enemies."

Check out the complete list of winners of Trump's Fake News Awards below:

The New York Times' Paul Krugman claimed on the day of President Trump's historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover.

ABC News' Brian Ross CHOKES and sends markets into a downward spiral with a false report.

CNN falsely reported that candidate Donald Trump and his son Donald J. Trump, Jr. had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks.

Time falsely reported that President Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office.

Washington Post falsely reported the President's massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty. Dishonest reporter showed the picture of empty arena HOURS before the crowd started pouring in.

CNN falsely edited a video to make it appear President Trump defiantly overfed fish during a visit with the Japanese prime minister. Japanese prime minister actually led the way with the feeding.

CNN falsely reported about Anthony Scaramucci's meeting with a Russian, but retracted it due to a "significant breakdown in process."

Newsweek falsely reported that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake President Trump's hand.

CNN falsely reported that former FBI Director James Comey would dispute President Trump's claim that he was told he is not under investigation.

The New York Times falsely claimed on the front page that the Trump administration had hidden a climate report.

And last, but not least: "RUSSIA COLLUSION!" Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump has released a list of Fake News Award winners REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst