I have been wondering when there was going to be a good, strenuous airing of grievances between Trump’s camp and CNN.
The relationship between Trump and the press has been prickly, in kindest terms.
Other than Breitbart, Drudge, Fox News, and the National Enquirer, Trump doesn’t have a lot good to say about the media.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor and cat-wrangler to the president, appeared on CNN’s “The Lead,” with Jake Tapper.
They hashed out everything from the “fake news” claims from Trump, to his claims that the media was not covering terrorist attacks.
The tense interview comes after CNN says it declined to have Conway on Tapper’s Sunday show, “State of the Union,” because of concerns over her credibility.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Tuesday that CNN had retracted its statement, but the network fired back, saying it stood by its concerns about Conway.
Tapper repeatedly sought to hold Conway accountable for the Trump administration dismissing press reports it doesn’t like as fake news.
“It is difficult to hear criticism from the White House, which has such little regard day in, day out, for facts, for truth and who calls us fake news for stories that they don’t like,” Tapper said.
And that’s a valid concern.
I’ve said several times that it’s dangerous to have a leader seek to diminish the need for a free media in a free nation.
Conway, to her credit, didn’t lose it. She kept calm and attempted to mend some of those fences that have been brought down by the continual clash over coverage.
According to Conway, the media has not been kind to the Trump administration.
Welcome to politics.
“Think about how small our staff was and how small our budget was for a presidential campaign, Jake, that succeeded and saw things other people didn’t see,” Conway said. “We breathe each other’s oxygen in the foxhole. We are all very close. All the stories for a White House that is constant action, constant movement — they’re just not true.”
Tapper went on to ask Conway if she actually thought they (CNN) were “fake news.” She broke with her boss and admitted they were not.
“I don’t think CNN is fake news,” she responded. “I think there are some reports everywhere, in print, on TV, on radio, in conversation that are not well researched and are sometimes based on falseness and are actually hurtful.”
Again, welcome to politics.
Tapper pressed her about the claim that the media has ignored terrorist activity, pointing out that CNN has reporters in dangerous areas now, reporting on attacks as they happen.
Conway agreed that CNN has covered those activities, but added that some networks still act as if there is no threat and national security is a done deal.
You can hang on to that exchange, because tomorrow Trump will likely tweet something else about “fake news” and rile up his base, fresh.
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) February 7, 2017