Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway sparred with Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace on Sunday over recent media criticisms expressed by President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Stephen Bannon.
Wallace described Bannon’s comments as “offensive,” adding that “a lot of us [in the media] reported on [Donald Trump’s presidential campaign] fairly.”
Conway backed Bannon’s rebuke of the news media, claiming that an “anti-Trump screed” was widespread across the media landscape.
Below is a partial transcript:
WALLACE: And chief strategist Stephen Bannon went much further. Quote, “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”
But Bannon wasn’t finished. “The media has zero integrity, zero intelligence and no hard work. You’re the opposition party. Not the Democratic Party. You’re the opposition party.”
Kellyanne, do you understand how offensive that is?
CONWAY: I understand how offensive it was to never be taken seriously that Donald Trump could be elected president. On great days, we were ignored. On most days, we were mocked.
WALLACE: A lot of us — a lot of us reported on it fairly, and that’s a different issue.
CONWAY: No, no, no, it is the issue, because it extends into this presidency, Chris. You can’t put a piece of tissue paper between the way Donald Trump was covered as the Republican candidate, the Republican nominee, the president-elect, and the president. It’s all the same. It’s an anti-Trump screed. It’s completely disrespectful to the Office of the President.
Why — look at what happened this week. Nobody is interested in learning the policies. It’s just —
WALLACE: I’ve been asking about policies today. I asked you about the vetting.
CONWAY: Well, look —
WALLACE: I asked about Mexico. I asked you about the Supreme Court.
WALLACE: Those are legitimate questions, are they not?
CONWAY: Look, not every network and every press outlet is created equally in this. But if you read people’s Twitter feed, that crap would never pass editorial muster in a newspaper or on your TV show and your the network here, nor should it. And so, the idea that tweets are my own, really, at 10:45 a.m. when you’re walking out the place where —
WALLACE: All I would say —
WALLACE: Much to the dismay of some of the people at Fox, I don’t tweet.
WALLACE: Let me get if I may to the real point, politicians complain about bad press. I think you have some legitimate complaints about bad press. The First Amendment protects the press. We are in the Constitution.
And it’s offensive, quite frankly, that have folks — any politician, but folks who have been in the White House for a week lecture us about what we should and shouldn’t do and that we should keep our mouth shut.
CONWAY: But no, I think —
WALLACE: That is not the role of the press to keep our mouth shut.
CONWAY: — what my colleague Steve Bannon is saying is, why don’t you talk last and listen to America more. Let me tell you something, I know what he meant. I worked with him everybody. The media failed to learn America. Donald Trump prove something that the media failed to do, which is he understood America. The idea that we were never taken seriously —
WALLACE: — we have zero intelligence and zero integrity, and that we shouldn’t keep our mouths shut is offensive.
CONWAY: I think it’s called listen more.
And let me just say something else happens. It’s the way that everything is cherry picked. Bias media coverage it’s easy to detect. It frankly helps us because this was such an elite rejection of election, where the establishment, the elites were all rejected by the voters.
It turns out they’re a heck of a lot more of them than us, Chris. And that’s how we won. Why is that relevant? It’s relevant because people — who is cleaning house? Which one of the first network to get rid of these people who said things that just weren’t true.
Talk about fake news, talk about alternative facts, what happened last week? I went on three network Sunday shows. I spoke for 35 minutes on three network Sunday shows. You know what got picked? The fact that I said alternative facts, not the fact that I ripped a new one to some of those hosts for never covering the facts that matter to America’s women, 16.1 million women in poverty as we sit there, the 12.4 million who have no health insurance. Everybody should feel outraged.
The billions of dollars we have spent as a nation on public education, only to have millions of kids trapped in schools that fail them and never really promote and protect their intelligence and prepare them for the world that they all deserve. They shouldn’t be restricted by the zip code where they live. They should be lifted up.
This has all been a colossus failure, and nobody wants to talk about that. They want to talk about it’s always zing. It’s always playing gotcha.
There’s no question that when you look at the contributions made by the media, money contributions, they went to Hillary Clinton. We have all the headlines, people should be embarrassed. Not one network person has been let go. Not one silly political analyst and pundit who talked smack all day long about Donald Trump has been let go. They are on panels every Sunday. They’re on cable news every day.
Who’s the first editorial — the first blogger that will be left out that embarrassed his or her outlet? We know all their names. I’m too polite to call them by name. But they know who they are, and they’re all wondering, will I be the first to go?
The election was three months ago. None of them have been let go. If this were a real business, if the mainstream media were a thriving private sector business that actually turn a profit, which is not true of many of our newspapers, Chris, 20 percent of the people would be gone. They embarrassed, they failed to protect their shareholders and their board members and their colleagues.
And yet we deal with him every single day. We turn the other cheek. If you are part of team Trump, you walk around with these gaping, seeping wounds every single day, and that’s fine. I believe in a full and fair press.
I’m here every Sunday morning. I haven’t slept in a month. I believe in a full and fair press. But with the free press comes responsibility. And responsibility is to get the story right. Biased coverage is easy to detect. Incomplete coverage impossible to detect. That’s my major grievance, is the media are not — they’re not giving us complete coverage.
President Trump has signed all these executive orders this week. He’s met with these heads of states. He’s done so many things to stimulate the economy, to boost wages, to create jobs. Where’s the coverage?
Watch the segment below (relevant portion begins at 12:15):
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