Kellyanne Conway went on CNN. Then she wouldn’t get off
President Donald Trump calls CNN “fake news,” and White House press secretary Sean Spicer seldom takes questions from the network’s journalists, but counsellor to the president Kellyanne Conway could not get enough of CNN on Monday.
For 35 minutes, Conway sparred with anchor Chris Cuomo, mostly over press coverage. A standard TV appearance lasts five to 10 minutes, and Cuomo tried several times to wrap up the interview, saying that producers were telling him through an earpiece that the White House wanted to end it.
But Conway kept going, and CNN blew past one commercial break after another to let her spirited exchange with Cuomo play out.
“Your people say you have to go, by the way,” Cuomo told Conway at the 28-minute mark. “So you make sure that the White House press office doesn’t yell at me ... I’ve got people yelling in my ear you have to go.”
The whole episode made for riveting TV, largely because of the interpersonal dynamic. Cuomo told viewers after the interview finally concluded that he and Conway have known each other for many years. Although each grew heated at times, neither became nasty; their mutual respect was apparent.
Conway’s chief argument, which she has articulated before, is that the media devotes too much time to Russia-related developments and not enough time to other stories that she says are more important. Here’s one brief but representative back-and-forth:
CONWAY: You want to talk about Russia. I want to talk about the opioid crisis in this country.
CUOMO: We talked about it on this show. I have a documentary coming out this fall.
So it went. Conway would criticize the media; Cuomo would reject the premise.
Coverage priorities are somewhat subjective, of course, and the White House and the press are unlikely to agree on them.