CNN anchor Jake Tapper went on the offensive in an interview with Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway in a 25 minute interview after refused to have her appear on his Sunday show ‘State of the Union.’
The interview contained several heated exchanges between the pair with Conway seemingly backtracking much more than is normal for her.
The heated interview comes after CNN said that it had declined to have Conway on Tapper’s Sunday show because of concerns over her credibility. During his daily press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that the network had retracted its statement. However, the network was quick to shoot back by saying that it had not, in fact, retracted its position, and that it actually stood by its concerns about Conway.
While that subject did not come up during the interview, there were plenty of fireworks regarding the White House and the President, himself, lying, dismissing the press as ‘fake news,’ and claiming that the press purposely does not cover terrorist attacks.
Tapper repeatedly went after Conway for the administration dismissing press reports that it does not like as ‘fake news.’ Noting that Conway had apologized for claiming that a massacre occurred in Bowling Green, Kentucky, he was also quick to point out that based on the number of times that Conway had made the claim, it was not credible that it was simply a mistake.
“It is difficult to hear criticism from the White House, which has such little regard day in, day out, for facts, for truth and who calls us fake news for stories that they don’t like,” he said.
While claiming that she was extending an “olive branch” to news outlets like CNN which the administration has repeatedly attacked, Conway kept venting her frustration with coverage of the White House, insisting that it is always negative and that what she called “palace intrigue” stories about the power struggles within the administration are almost always false.
Tapper also directly confronted Conway regarding the repeated claims by Trump and his White House that CNN is fake news. “I don’t think CNN is fake news,” she responded. I think there are some reports everywhere, in print, on TV, on radio, in conversation that are not well researched and are sometimes based on falseness and are actually hurtful,” she responded.
Tapper was also aggressive in tackling the claim by Trump during his first speech on a military base that the press has failed to cover international terrorist attacks because it harbors a secret agenda, arguing that CNN — and other outlets — literally has reporters active in terrorist hotspots and war zones around the world putting their lives at risk to report on those incidents.
“He was saying the media does not cover these stories because we don’t want to cover them because we have some sort of agenda,” Tapper said. “That’s what he was suggesting and it’s offensive given the fact that CNN and other media organizations have reporters in danger right now in war zones covering [ISIS]. And I just don’t understand how the President can make an attack like that.”
The CNN anchor also confronted the Trump adviser regarding the claim by Trump on Tuesday in a meeting with various local sheriffs from around the country that the crime rate was the highest it has been in nearly half a century and that the press is failing to report it. Tapper said that it is true that the press does not cover it because the claim that crime is at a 50 year high is a lie.
Conway was very much on the defensive throughout the interview, being very careful to exclude the network from any of her claims of bad, fake, or false coverage, but pointing fingers at unnamed other sources.
“There seems to be some coverage these days, maybe not [on CNN], but definitely elsewhere that somehow terrorism is not a big problem, or somehow national security is all taken care of and that’s just not true,” she said at one point.