Kellyanne Conway went on CNN. Then she wouldn’t get off

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - CAL­LUM BORCHERS

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.

C.B. SCHMELTER, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Kellyanne Conway

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