Kellyanne Conway tangled with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on media coverage of President Donald Trump’s administration at the end of their marathon exchange on New Day Monday morning. With so much conflict and animus between the White House and CNN of late, this felt less like a standard morning show tête-à-tête, and more like ground zero of a much larger cultural divide.
The marathon interview took over thirty minutes — much of which you can see here — but the last third focused on the ongoing conflict between the administration an media itself.
At the core of the the debate are White House claims that CNN is obsessed with continuing a Russian collusion narrative without any evidence. On the other side, CNN has taken heat from an angry and passionate base of Trump supporters who have embraced the president’s “fake news” allegations in an attempt to undermine CNN’s credibility.
Conway opened by protesting that the media should be covering serious issues, like the opioid crisis, as opposed to the Russian meddling story: “you want to talk about Russia, I want to talk about the opioid crisis,” she said, to which Cuomo replied that he has a documentary coming out about the opioid crisis in the fall, and tried to wrap the interview up.
“Tell whatever six vs. one anti-Trump panel we’re sorry that we cut into their time,” Conway quipped.
“Tell the American people something else while you’re here,” Cuomo replied. “That they shouldn’t believe all of the White House and the surrogates and your alt-right friends that want to destroy the responsible media. Tell them that they shouldn’t listen to that stuff, that the media matters and they should judge stories on their face and that they shouldn’t think that there’s some type of agenda out to get the president on behalf of the fake press.”
“Okay I know you’re trying to go viral here,” Conway shot back, adding the administration respects the first amendment.
“But you compromise my ability to reach people with information, when you say that whatever you don’t like is fake,” Cuomo responded.
Conway claimed she doesn’t “use that word,” before accusing Cuomo of “doing an infomercial.”
“We believe the press has a great role in this country,” she continued. “You’ve got to treat this guy more fairly. You’ve got to treat him more openly and honestly. The snarky looks, the furrowed brows, the rolling eyes from so many people on your panels. And you know it. You guys have made a business decision to be anti-Trump.”
Cuomo replied that the administration has also made a decision to be antagonistic towards the media and “rally your followers to think that we’re bad people and attack us online.”
“You don’t want to have said that we rally people to attack, you don’t want to have said that,” Conway responded, noting she’s under Secret Service protection.
The two then went back and forth over retracted stories, with Cuomo noting that CNN has owned its mistakes, and should be seen as “a symbol for accountability in this country.”
Conway concluded by saying that CNN’s panels should be more balanced and feature more pro-Trump guests, and Cuomo took that opportunity to snipe at a rival:
“If you want flattery there’s another channel that can give you that. We try and keep it straight, we go with both sides and test power,” he said, before finally managing to end the interview.
Watch the exchange above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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