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Friday, January 27, 2017

Kellyanne: "That’s irresponsible, and by the way it’s not journalism."

Readers know that I like Kellyanne Conway and admire her work. A chapter in my upcoming book, "Trump the Establishment," explains why.

But many people admire her and Joe Heim of the Washington Post scored a nice interview.

Originally she worked for a pro-Cruz PAC.

I liked this exchange:
HEIM: In the early part of last year, you were very critical of Donald Trump. You called his supporters “downright nasty.” You said Trump built his businesses on “the backs of the little guy.” You said he should release his tax returns, said his language was unpresidential. So why did you decide in July to join his campaign?
CONWAY: Well, those are cherry-picked comments. There’s also an entire body of evidence that I always have supported him, thought he added a great deal to the political conversation and to giving people more hope and the freshest alternative to conventional politics that they told pollsters for 30 years that they wanted.
HEIM: Yes, but when you said —
CONWAY: Yeah, those were situational. You have to understand something. I grew up around Atlantic City. My mother worked there for 21 years, and that was our sole source of support. She was left with no alimony, no child support whatsoever when I was 2 or 3. When the casinos came to Atlantic City, and that included Donald Trump and others, it revitalized an entire corridor between Atlantic City and Philadelphia. People then had jobs and benefits and opportunities, and I benefited directly from that through my mother and other family members.
And I don’t think he should release his tax returns now that I know more than I knew when I made that comment, which is that he’s under audit. And he has been advised by his accountants and his lawyers to not release them. And I know firsthand as a pollster that Americans are much more interested in knowing what their tax returns will look like when he’s president than in seeing his tax returns.
She can take care of herself.

But here is what should be the news:
HEIM: You pointed out early on last year that Hillary Clinton wasn’t doing well with women and that women were not going to vote for her simply because she was a woman. Would Hillary Clinton have won if you had been her campaign manager?
CONWAY: [Long pause.] No, Hillary Clinton could not have won this election cycle for a few reasons. One is she could never really escape the fact that, including according to The Washington Post polling, that persistent, nagging majorities of Americans find her to be dishonest and untrustworthy and didn’t particularly like her, either. Two, it’s not clear to me that this woman who has surrounded herself with talented professionals — I’m very fond of Robby Mook, her campaign manager, for example, and I have a cordial relationship with Huma Abedin — had ever surrounded herself with people who would actually tell her no. Or that this isn’t a good idea. Or that this isn’t working. Which every leader needs. The other thing is that the question for Americans was not, Would you vote for a woman? But would you vote for this woman? It wasn’t a hypothetical; it was Hillary.
But the media had insisted that Trump surrounded himself with yes men, right? Turned out the real prima donna was Hillary, not Trump.

We knew better, right?

The readers and I saw him as a CEO, not as a Clownface Von F-bomb.

Heim asked her about the Billy Bush tape. He had to. It went fine, till this.
HEIM: You have four kids. Did you have to explain to them why it was okay that someone who said this would be president?
CONWAY: It’s a little bit of a cheap shot to raise my kids into a question like that. I just want to say that because people do it all the time.
HEIM: Let me explain why I don’t think it’s a cheap shot. A lot of people with kids had to explain that to them.
CONWAY: Right, but I already had to explain to my children many times why Hillary Clinton lied so many times and, frankly, why she made a different choice when faced with a cheating husband than my mother did. That was to my older children. I had to explain many times why the media were so unfair to Donald Trump. “Why would they say this about Donald Trump, Mom, if you’re working for him?” Because kids and others unfortunately think if it’s on TV it’s true. That probably is no longer the case because people realize that no one on TV is under oath and anything can be said in a screaming chyron or, in the case of The Washington Post, unfair and untrue headlines that are just there for clickbait.
HEIM: Have we had unfair and untrue headlines?
CONWAY: Oh, yes, yes. It’s been discussed with Marty Baron and Fred Hiatt and Jeff Bezos because I just saw [Bezos] last week. In any event, it’s tougher to explain to my children why people who don’t know me would say I’m stupid or ugly or even worse online. It’s tougher for them to listen to people on TV laugh at me or Donald Trump, ridicule us and never allow us to really get our message across. That’s tougher.
Can we have a Barron Trump Rule, please. No negatives about the kids.

Speaking of clickbait....
HEIM: The president-elect yesterday called CNN fake news. Is that helpful?
CONWAY: Did he do it gratuitously or did he do it in response to the fact that they had published an article online and then talked about it on air that basically gave everybody a GPS and a map and instructions on how to find the BuzzFeed dump of a 35-page document that is not an intelligence report, that was an Internet report assembled by anti-Trump operatives?
HEIM: Presidents and politicians have always criticized news stories, but not —
CONWAY: This is historic and you know it. No one has ever faced the deluge of negativity and criticism that Donald Trump has. It’s just a fact. But by the way, we have to say thank you to many in the mainstream media because it helped us win.
It was an elite rejection election in that, fundamentally, it was us versus them, and it turns out there are a heck of a lot more them than us, us being people in politics or media or the donor class. Or in the consulting class, which is nothing short of embarrassing. These non-creative non-thinkers who haven’t come up with a creative or original idea in 30 years are telling us who can win, who can lose three years before an election? That’s over.
Donald Trump would say one thing or someone would say one thing about him, and it would literally be breaking news for 10 days. And everybody would dissect it. And I know he’s much better for ratings and clicks, because Hillary Clinton was neither particularly liked nor seen as animated or engaging, but some journalists took leave of their senses and surrendered what they learned in journalism school.
If you look at Twitter feeds of some folks, what they write about Donald Trump would never pass editorial muster. And if you’re Joe Blow from The Washington Post and you say tweets are my own and you’re tweeting at 10:15 a.m. as you’re walking in to a presidential press conference or a Trump rally, then your tweets are not your own. You just tweeted in your suit and tie at 10:15 a.m. when you’re clearly in your professional capacity. And it’s zing, zing, zing, zing, zing against Donald Trump. That’s irresponsible, and by the way it’s not journalism.
It's not journalism.


And it does not help anyone.


Please read "Trump the Press," in which I skewer media experts who wrongly predicted Trump would lose the Republican nomination. "Trump the Press" is available as a paperback, and on Kindle.

It covers the nomination process only. The general election will be covered in a sequel, "Trump the Establishment."

For an autographed copy, email me at

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  1. I'm so old I can remember when reporters kept their personal opinions a secret. Back then the essence of journalism was being factual and objective. Just the facts, ma'am.

    1. Better to have it out in the open. It's always advantageous for me when people play poker with their cards facing up.

    2. Walter Cronkite was the one who, in very publicly coming out on the air against the Vietnam war, made it all right for the journalists to become "Democrats with bylines" as our friend the Instapundit calls them.

    3. I'd sure like a list of those journalists who "kept their personal opinions a secret". Because in my 62 years, I've rarely come across one.

  2. Maybe she should negotiate with Putin. She would eat him alive!

  3. Kellyanne is an awesome woman. If I hadn't met my awesome wife I would have married her if I had a shot.

    1. Nah, you wouldn't have had a shot...standing second in the line of marriage proposers behind ME. ::rimshot::

    2. Hahahaha! I would have challenged you to a duel. Like Burr and Hamilton.

    3. How do you know she wouldn't have responded with "Guys, guys, there's plenty of Kellyanne to go round..."

  4. Don, it occurs to me we need to come up with a new unit of time measurement: Trump Time. For example, it takes me 90 seconds to make microwave popcorn, or one full day in Trump Time.

    1. What we need is a Trump Work Unit, TWU. For reference, 1 TWU = 2922 OBWU, where OBWU stands for an Obama Work Unit and 2922 = 8 x 365.25 days.

  5. " It's not journalism.
    And it does not help anyone." It helps me keep up my resistance to the media. I bet it helps others in that way, too.

  6. If Kellyanne were a Dimocrat she would have been person of the year for being the first woman to run a successful presidential campaign. Donna Brazille and Susan Estrich eat your hearts out.

  7. As I've said before, I don't believe Trump would have won w/o Conway.