A penchant for self-pity and a demand that others be held to standards to which they refuse to hold themselves are identifying markers of the Trump administration so far.
Kellyanne Conway, the Trump counselor and infamous spokeswoman for “alternative facts”, is blaming “haters” for all of the flack she’s getting for making up a fictional massacre to justify Trump’s Muslim ban.
In a Fox News’ Media Buzz interview airing Sunday, Kellyanne Conway defended her “misstatement” in which she referred to a fictional “Bowling Green massacre” which “didn’t get covered.”
Conway “… called some of her critics ‘haters’ and said she corrected her error as soon as she learned about it.” Conway told Howard Kurtz, “I should have said plot or I should have just called them terrorists. … I clarified immediately. I should have said terrorists and not massacre.”
“I misspoke one word. The corrections in the newspapers that are attacking me are three paragraphs long every day.”
Conway’s fictional terrorist attack in Bowling Green by Iraqis used to justify Trump’s Muslim ban didn’t go over well because… there was no Bowling Green massacre.
Here’s Conway’s original claim, “I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalised and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.”
The difference between “plot” and “massacre” is pretty significant. One is a plan, the other is an event that happened. Let’s plug in Conway’s claim of what she meant to say, and see if it makes sense.
“… they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green
massacre plot.” The problem here is the Justice Department literally wrote in 2012, “Neither was charged with plotting attacks within the United States.”
Now “terrorists”: “… they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green
massacre terrorists.” No, this inaccurately implies a terrorist attack or plot on Bowling Green.
Remember, this phrase was being used to justify a Muslim ban, so the wording is crucial. Conway is even now conflating “massacre” with “plot” and “terrorists”, suggesting something did happen, something that justifies a ban on Muslims because they are domestic “terrorists”.
This nefarious conflation isn’t a new tactic. See “weapons of mass destruction” being used to justify an invasion of Iraq.
So even this correction, this moving of the goal posts so as to suggest a clarification, is not accurate. Is it really wrong that the media is focused on the President’s adviser citing imaginary history to justify an unconstitutional ban? No, it’s not. And it’s not “haters.” Facts matter. Accountability matters.
CNN’s media expert Brian Stelter asked on Friday if networks should still have Conway on. My thoughts were that they should do so only if she agreed to concede to reality regarding her past lies, without deflecting, as a show of good faith. Because that is what someone would do who was actually committed to being more accurate in the future.
That is not what Conway did in this Fox News interview.
Kurtz reported that when he asked if the White House “should be equally forgiving of mistakes by journalists, she said: ‘That is not what the president means when he says fake news on his Twitter. He is talking about things that are invented and just inaccurate.'”
Things that are invented. Like, say, a fake massacre.
The only real fake news around is coming from Donald Trump and his administration. These people threw a fit over a pool report that the bust of MLK was missing in Trump’s Oval Office, a report that was corrected within the hour. They threw a fit over accurate reporting of Trump’s relatively small crowd sizes.
Kellyanne Conway is whining about haters and claiming that the White House doesn’t need to allow journalists to make honest mistakes, but she should be forgiven for her pattern of outright fabrications.
So that’s a sorry, not sorry if you’re keeping track, which CNN seems to be. Conway intends to rock on with her alternative facts, and bury herself in self-pity over the haters, aka, people who value reality.
Any attempt to adhere to reality is seen as a personal attack by Trump conservatives.
Riddle me this, what’s the difference between calling a group of people “deplorables” versus “haters”? If the first was wrong, why isn’t the second.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.