There Is Debate Over Whether Networks Should Stop Interviewing Kellyanne Conway Altogether
Kellyanne Conway is a very polarizing figure in the media landscape. She is both renowned and reviled for her ability to spin absolutely anything Donald Trump does into a positive. Saturday Night Live regularly guts her for it, but now, so, too, does everyone else. What was a semi-respectable skill during the election is now a terrifying White House reality for reporters who value the truth.
Today, GQ reported that New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen has suggested simply not interviewing Conway anymore. During a recent podcast appearance, he said this:
[T]he logic is, this is a representative of the president. This is somebody who can speak for the Trump administration. But if we find that what Kellyanne Conway says is routinely or easily contradicted by Donald Trump, then that [rationale for interviewing her] disappears. Another reason to interview Kellyanne Conway is, our viewers want to understand how the Trump world thinks. But if the end result of an interview with her is more confusion about what the Trump world thinks, then that rationale evaporates … No, it’s not just lying or spin or somebody who is skilled in the political arts of putting the best case on things or not answering a question, which is a pretty basic method of doing politics. It’s that when you are done listening to Kellyanne Conway, you probably understand less. That’s a problem.
Lots of journalists are on-board with his suggestion.
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) January 23, 2017
I agree 100 percent. Until they stop lying, shun them. https://t.co/hhAUXhA5sk
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) January 23, 2017
If we know she’s lying and we know she’s going to keep lying, why even ask her questions anymore?https://t.co/WdTXhfv8Cu
— Mikel Jollett (@Mikel_Jollett) January 22, 2017
What value do we find in more lies https://t.co/cu4nzjowb3
— Jenny Kutner (@jennykutner) January 23, 2017
— Jeff Bercovici (@jeffbercovici) January 23, 2017
There is dissent…
Not interviewing administration officials is not the answer. Interviewing them fairly and toughly is.
— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) January 23, 2017
…but the various articles aggregating Rosen’s idea are gaining pretty rapid traction, which could mean that though the idea is totally unprecedented, it could conceivably happen.
To stop interviewing her would mean, though, that another channel into Trump’s administration has been closed off. When she lies, no matter what she says about “alternative facts,” there are still statistics and old soundbites with which to fact-check her and hold her accountable, whether she wants to be or not. Removing her from the media landscape leaves us only with Sean Spicer and Trump tweets. Journalists will really need to think hard before going ahead with this unprecedented move.
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