If all press is good press, Kellyanne Conway is a superlative spokesperson for the Trump administration. Her every public appearance provides a new soundbite, and even a photo of her at work are cause for global outcry. She was put on the bench by President Donald Trump for a few weeks in late February and March due to several bizarre television appearances in which her messaging conflicted with White House messaging. Today, Conway is back.
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She spoke at D.C.’s Newseum during an all-day examination of journalism in the Trump era. Other speakers included recent Pulitzer winner David Farenthold of the Washington Post and press secretary Sean Spicer. What does Conway, the woman who coined the term “alternative facts” to describe the information that President Trump relayed to the country regarding his inauguration crowd size, have to say about honesty in the media?
“You can turn on the TV—more than you can read in the paper because I assume editors are still doing their jobs in most places—and people literally say things that just aren’t true,” Conway said with no trace of irony. The crowd at the Newseum promptly laughed in her face, to which she nodded and smiled as if to note she was in on the joke.
Conway also complained about the words journalists use to discuss Trump on Twitter. “I think we have to have a conversation about the use of Twitter among the media, too, because there are things said about this president on Twitter that would never pass an editor’s desk,” she said. “I see people live-tweeting at Spicer during his press conference [sic].” Again, Conway skimmed over the irony of President Trump’s own Twitter feed, a veritable graveyard of name-calling and insults.
Perhaps the most memorable moment of her long interview, though, came when moderator Michael Wolff of the Hollywood Reporter quoted back to her the Washington Post‘s new tagline, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” “I’m going to tell you, when they say democracy dies in darkness, you’re the darkness,” Wolff said. Again, the audience laughed.
Conway paused before responding. “I’m not the darkness,” she said.