Kellyanne Conway was asked to grade President Donald Trump’s relationship with the media, and gave it an “I” for “incomplete.”
The president’s top adviser and frequent spokeswoman talked to journalist Michael Wolff at an event on “The President and the Press” at the Newseum in Washington, DC on Wednesday.
“I think it’s way too early to render a specific judgment, let alone a grade, on the relationship between this president, this administration, and the press,” she said. “I think it’s very important in a healthy democracy to have a free and fair press. Part of that democracy, too though, is to have a presidency — no matter who the occupant — that is shown respect, and is shown an openness to really cover all the items that he has put forth.”
Conway said she doesn’t think “biased coverage” in the press needs to change, because Americans recognize when it’s unfair.
But she does want to change what she called “incomplete coverage” and “presumptive negativity.” She said she’s heard from Americans who are upset that the economy under Trump isn’t getting the same amount of coverage as the FBI and congressional investigations between Trump’s team and Russian operatives, or as Trump’s controversial executive order temporarily banning people from six Muslim majority countries from entering the US.
Wolff asked her how she felt about The Washington Post’s frequently cited new slogan, “Democracy dies in darkness,” given that the implication is that she is “the darkness.”
“I’m not the darkness,” Conway said. “Just because somebody says something doesn’t make it true.”
Michael Wolff tells Kellyanne Conway: “When they say democracy dies in darkness, you’re the darkness.” https://t.co/lScxpthUZt
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) April 12, 2017
She then lamented how cable news interviews now seem to have the goal of going viral, instead of educating people. “You can turn on the TV and people can say things that just aren’t true,” she said.
The crowd laughed at that, presumably because in February, Conway cited a nonexistent “Bowling Green massacre” as justification for Trump’s temporary immigration ban. She later had to clarify she meant to say “terrorists” instead of “massacre,” and apologized for her mistake. CNN has since passed up the opportunity to interview Conway in part over “serious questions about her credibility.”
She said she didn’t think most journalists have adequately made the effort to understand why Americans elected Trump president, and haven’t started talking to those people, either.
“Don’t keep getting it wrong by covering the president the way you covered him as a candidate,” Conway said. “What’s the noise vs. what’s the news? … Remember, he’s taken dozens and dozens of executive actions, and there’s one that’s gotten coverage.”