This morning, Chuck Todd sat down with Kellyanne Conway. Over the course of 13 minutes, Chuck Todd asked her a variation of the same question 11 times: Why did Sean Spicer use the occasion of his first press conference to lie about something as petty as crowd-size numbers during his inauguration.
He asked 11 times. She never once answered the question, although at one point, she did suggest that they were using “alternative facts,” which is a euphemism for lies.
Chuck Todd did as best as can be expected given the circumstances. He didn’t let Kellyanne Conway knock him off his point. He kept returning to same question, hoping to get an answer.
However, he never got an answer to that question, while Kellyanne Conway used about 11 of those minutes not only to deflect the question, but to spin “alternative facts,” ridicule the press, treat the media as demons, and play the victim.
Most reasonable minded people could see right through it, but reasonable-minded people aren’t who got us into this mess. The people who cheer Kellyanne Conway for bashing the media are why we got here, and to that end, Conway scored a victory for Trump and his supporters.
Not only that, but while dodging the one question on the board, she managed to slip in the biggest lie of them all: That the Women’s Marches yesterday were a protest against the policies of President Obama.
“Everything we heard from these women yesterday happened on the watch of President Obama. He was here for 8 years. Trump has been here for 8 hours.”
The largest protests in the history of our nation were a reaction to President Obama’s policies.
But then, not two minutes later, she sought to delegitimize the concerns raised by the Women’s Marches, tying them to Hillary Clinton. The issues raised at the protests, she said, were the same ones that Hillary raised during the campaign, and she lost, ergo, the American people already sided with Trump’s positions vs. issues advocated in the Women’s Marches.
In other words, she suggested, what happened yesterday doesn’t matter, because Trump won, therefore, the American people side with Trump’s policies, the 3 million protestors notwithstanding.
And herein lies the problem with Kellyanne Conway. She doesn’t provide news. She doesn’t provide information. She doesn’t answer questions. Her only position is that Trump is right, Democrats are wrong, and the media is evil. She will never stray from this line of thought, so the press has to start asking themselves this question: What value does Conway provide? Why should she even be allowed access to the millions of mainstream media viewers? The media has nothing to gain by having her on — in fact, given her attacks against the media, there is zero upside.
In fact, Conway’s disinformation campaign actually gets in the way of the truth. Rather than report on the facts, the media has to devote much of its resources and attention to untangling the lies.
Look: Donald Trump may control the White House, but the press still controls the airwaves (save for Trump’s Twitter feed). The press doesn’t need Trump or Sean Spicer or Kellyanne Conway to report the news, because they are not providing any actual news. The actual news seems to come largely from people on the inside — anonymous sources who are probably risking their jobs by revealing the truth. As we have seen, outlets like The Washington Post and The NYTimes, Buzzfeed and even CNN, has done a fairly good job at uncovering the truth without Trump’s middlemen, who only confuse the truth.
The media is being manipulated, and as we learn every time Kellyanne Conway gives an interview, that manipulation is unavoidable no matter how good a journalist is at his job. A reporter can asks all the tough questions she wants, but it doesn’t do a damn bit of good if she never gets any answers. Donald Trump is using the media to control the agenda. The only way to stop it is to take their access to the media away. They under no obligation to disseminate lies. The media needs to do more than correct the record; it needs to stop allowing it to be distorted in the first place.