Kellyanne Conway gave some damning insight into how the Trump administration views the role of the free press by claiming they only want the American people to see, “relevant news.”
Transcript via CBS’ Face The Nation:
KELLYANNE CONWAY: The president wants people to give information, news they can use. And I’ve got to tell you there is a large- a growing swath of reporters, all of whom, or most of whom I feel like I have a decent relationship with, that are sitting in the press briefing room who have contracts on cable TV where they say things and they say things on Twitter they would not get away with in print. It would not pass even the most virulently anti-Trump editor’s desk. And so, I think those standards are much lower on Twitter for these journalists- certainly on TV. I have been talking about this for two straight years now since the campaign. I think the temperature needs to be dialed down overall.
MARGARET BRENNAN: And you don’t believe journalists–
KELLYANNE CONWAY: Sorry if I can’t get–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –are the enemy of the people?
KELLYANNE CONWAY: I don’t believe journalists are the enemy of the people. I think some journalists are enemy of the relevant–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you.
KELLYANNE CONWAY: –and enemy of the news you can use. And I think that most of- most of the sins are sins of omission not commission- meaning–
What Do Trump And Kellyanne Conway Mean By Relevant News?
Kellyanne Conway and Trump are trying control what the media write and report on by imposing a standard of relevancy, but a president and his administration deciding what relevant news is runs contrary to the definition of a free press. Conway was arguing that the only relevant news is pro-Trump news. Stories that might be bad for the president like the Mueller investigation or Michael Cohen investigation should not be covered because in the view of the White House they are not “relevant.”
Relevant news equals pro-Trump news that is the heart of Kellyanne Conway and Trump are demanding from the press.
Who decides what is relevant news
In a free press/free market systems, consumers decide what is relevant news. In Conway and Trump’s model, which echoes authoritarian censorship of the press, they decide what the American people get to see, hear, and read.
The administration is arguing for the press to abandon its role of holding power accountable to function as PR agents for the White House.
The White House is sending the message that Trump, not the people, in a free market of information should decide what is relevant news.
Trump wants to control the information that is provided to the American people.
Some will focus on Conway’s obvious statement that not all journalists were the enemy of the people when the more sinister message beneath her statement was a presidential desire for censorship and authoritarian media control.
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