"Since you're attacking us can you give us a question?" a reporter from broadcaster CNN called out as US president-elect Donald Trump took questions at a rare press conference.

"Not you. Your news organization is terrible," Trump told the US broadcaster's White House correspondent, Jim Acosta. "Don't be rude," he repeated several times when the reporter persisted.

"You are fake news," came Trump's final line to Acosta as he turned to another reporter.

The shouting contest came after various US news outlets reported that Russia might have compromising information about the incoming president.

It also epitomized the abrasive approach to the mass media that has been Trump's hallmark throughout his presidential campaign and even after his victory.

Trump benefited during the presidential race from widespread coverage of his unconventional campaign, but he also banned media outlets from attending his rallies and pledged to tighten libel laws.

Minutes before the exchange with Acosta, Trump had began on an entirely different note.

"I want to thank a lot of the news organizations here today," Trump said pointing to those who did not publish the document. "They came out so strongly against that fake news."

"I have great respect for the news and freedom of the press and all of that," he said.

CNN reported late Tuesday, just 10 days before the presidential inauguration, that Trump had been briefed that the Russian government had potentially compromising information about him as part of its interference in US presidential elections.

Website BuzzFeed meanwhile published a leaked opposition research document in full, containing scandalous allegations about Trump. The document compiled by an outside researcher for Trump's opponents was used as the basis for the intelligence report, but contained information that could not be verified by the media.

"Are we living in Nazi Germany?" Trump said, venting on his Twitter account.

Buzzfeed's decision to release the dossier, while admitting the information was "unverified and potentially unverifiable," prompted questions about journalism ethics from across media organizations.

"As far as Buzzfeed, which is a failing pile of garbage, writing it, I think they're going to suffer the consequences," Trump said, dismissing the report as a "sad and pathetic" effort to get clicks for their website.

Trump, who frequently lashes out at the "dishonest media," went on to bash CNN for "going out of their way to build it up."

CNN did not publish the details of the document and issued a statement distancing its "carefully sourced reporting" from BuzzFeed's publication of "unsubstantiated memos."

Trump's team was "using Buzzfeed's decision to deflect from CNN's reporting, which has been matched by the other major news organizations," it said.

"We are fully confident in our reporting. It represents the core of what the First Amendment protects, informing the people of the inner workings of their government; in this case, briefing materials prepared for President Obama and president-elect Trump last week," it said.

After the event, CNN's Acosta told his broadcaster that spokesman Sean Spicer had approached him to warn that he would be thrown out of the press conference if he shouted out again.

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