Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser and TV surrogate for President Trump, told CNN’s Jake Tapper in a contentious interview Tuesday that she does not consider the network to be a purveyor of “fake news.”
“I don’t think CNN is fake news,” Conway said during an appearance on The Lead. “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 falsehoods.”
Though her criticism of the media at large was in keeping with the Trump administration’s fractious relationship with the press, Conway’s assessment of CNN marked a rare break from her boss. Trump has repeatedly accused the network and other mainstream outlets of peddling fake news, often without offering evidence to back the allegations.
During a press conference last month, while he was president-elect, Trump lashed out at CNN over its reporting about an unverified dossier of opposition research on him and his relationship with Russia. Shouting down CNN reporter Jim Acosta, Trump said, “I’m not going to give you a question. You are fake news.”
Days after his inauguration, Trump called CNN “fake news” again in a tweet congratulating rival network Fox News on its ratings.
Last week, the president bashed CNN at a Black History Month event, saying he doesn’t watch the network because “I don’t like watching fake news.”
On Monday, Trump tweeted that “any negative polls” about him are fake news.
The same day, Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to the president, said the administration will continue using the term “fake news” until the media eases up on Trump.
Elsewhere in Conway’s interview, she said she “felt really badly” about her inaccurate comments last week regarding a “Bowling Green massacre” that never happened. Despite her blunder, Conway told Tapper she was “happy to have raised awareness” about the real incident she was apparently referring to: the 2011 indictment (and eventual conviction) of two Iraqi citizens on federal terrorism charges in Bowling Green, Kentucky.