In a recent Reliable Sources e-mail from CNN Money, Brian Statler asked for feedback on whether journalists should continue interviewing Kellyanne Conway or not. Here is the response I sent him:
Networks should *absolutely* quit interviewing Conway. While it is common for most politicians and their surrogates to try and spin anything negative or controversial to minimize any repercussions, Conway – and to a great extent Sean Spicer – take it to new levels of malignancy, creating false scenarios and impressions that will far outlive any effect a correction might have.
The problem with giving Conway more airtime is that she never contributes anything to understanding a situation, policy or action. Her comments serve only to mislead the American people. Given that the goal of journalism is to expose and clarify the truth, journalists have an obligation to avoid spreading information that seeks to confuse or mislead the public. Since this is essentially the only think Conway does, interviewing her actively thwarts the purpose of journalism and violates the duty of the journalist.
I have little doubt, for example, that within a couple of months – if not sooner – well be hearing from conservative extremists (a better description of what they are than ” alt-right” which really doesn’t mean anyrhing) about the Bowling Green Massacre and how it was so thoroughly covered up to avoid making “Muzzies” look bad that you can hardly find any coverage of it at all.
The proffered excuses for her “mistake” make no sense. The first one I heard was that she meant “Bowling Green terrorists,” but she had called the two men the “masterminds” of the massacre – saying they were the “masterminds of the Bowling Green terrorists” makes no sense, since they were the only two involved. Calling someone a mastermind implies that the person came up with the idea for a larger group. You just don’t call *every* member of a group the “masterminds.” And aying, as she said later, that they were the masterminds behind a Bowling Green massacre plot is even more ridiculous since no such plot existed.
Continuing to give Conway a platform only rewards her for her lies and gives Trump’s followers an excuse to dismiss concerns about his actions, policies and beliefs. Given the administration’s complete disregard for the truth, journalists should be doing all they can to counter the spin, not help spread it.