Accuracy in Media

Kellyanne Conway pushed back on CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday morning because of a question about tweets Conway’s husband has sent or retweeted critical of President Trump.

On the show “State of the Union,” Bash asked Conway about a tweet her husband, a prominent Republican lawyer, that said the way the president frequently contradicts statements of aides is “absurd” and “why people are banging down the doors to be his comms director.”

Conway hit back at everything in sight.

“No.1 … that woman who lost the election whose name I never say on TV anymore is wrong that women – I think she said white women have to listen to … the men in their life to form their own political opinions,” Conway responded. “Wrong again lady.

“No.2, it’s fascinating to me that CNN would go there. But it’s very good for the whole world to have just witnessed … that it’s now fair game what people’s spouses and significant others may differ with them.”

BizPacReview reported that this was a reference to Bash’s own divorce from CNN chief national correspondent John King six years ago.

“By definition, spouses have a difference of opinion when one is, I don’t know, draining the joint bank account to support things that maybe the other disagrees with,” Conway said. “So this is a fascinating cross-the-Rubicon moment. And I will leave it at that.”

Bash insisted she would have asked Conway about the tweets even if she had been a man and they had come from the wife. “No, you wouldn’t,” Conway said. “A thousand percent, I would,” Bash responded. “No, no, no, no, no,” Conway responded.

Bash said her question was not about gender but rather “public questioning what you are doing for a living and with regard to your boss. And it has nothing to do with your gender.”

Conway concluded by saying the question was meant to “harass and embarrass” and later tweeted “Mission accomplished.”

“CNN chose to go there,” she added. “I think that’s going to be fascinating going forward.”

The mainstream media jumped in to defend her. Ryan Lizza said on a CNN panel that followed the exchange that her talk of it being fascinating going forward sounded to him like a threat and that she ought to know the difference between a public official and a media person.

Vox said it was hypocritical for a Trump administration official to answer in this way after the way President Trump attacked not just Hillary but Bill Clinton on the campaign trail and that Trump had goaded fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe about his wife Jill’s loss in a Virginia state senate campaign.

Also, Vox noted, the Trump administration had made it known fired FBI Director James Comey’s family had strongly supported Hillary Clinton – Comey, in fact, had said his family had a “passion” for Clinton. It also noted Comey’s bizarre response — that his family’s passion for Clinton “illustrates to people that I really wasn’t making decisions based on political fortunes.”

Another Vox writer said Conway had it all wrong.

“The argument Kellyanne Conway seems to be making is that asking questions about her husband that are obviously built on the idea that a woman can’t disagree with her husband, on the antiquated notion that women only can have the same opinions that their man holds,” this writer said. “Which I agree is a totally offensive concept. Except that’s not at all what Dana was doing in her questions.”

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