Some news programs have said they will no longer interview Kellyanne Conway because she isn't credible.
Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager for 2016 Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump, speaks to the media following the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Bloomberg via Getty Images
News Outlets Wrestle With Whether to Stop Interviewing Trump Advisers
react-text: 220 Almost every day we get new evidence that the relationship between the Trump administration and the mainstream media is becoming strained almost to the breaking point, whether it’s the aggressive approach of press secretary Sean Spicer’s media briefings, or tweets from the president /react-text react-text: 222 taking shots at /react-text react-text: 223 the “failing /react-text New York Times react-text: 225 .” /react-text
react-text: 227 Amid that fractious environment, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway /react-text react-text: 229 has increasingly become /react-text react-text: 230 a lightning rod for criticism from a number of media outlets because of what they say is her lack of credibility and penchant for making inaccurate statements. /react-text
react-text: 232 On Wednesday, Mika Brzezinski, one of the hosts of /react-text Morning Joe react-text: 234 on CNBC /react-text react-text: 236 ( /react-text react-text: 237 cmcsa /react-text react-text: 238 ) /react-text react-text: 239 , /react-text react-text: 241 said that Conway /react-text react-text: 242 would no longer be welcome on the show because “she’s just not credible any more.” Co-host Joe Scarborough said that Conway “goes out and lies, and you find out about those lies a couple hours later.” /react-text
react-text: 244 CNN /react-text react-text: 246 ( /react-text react-text: 247 twx /react-text react-text: 248 ) /react-text react-text: 249 at one point said it would not book Conway for interviews /react-text react-text: 251 because of what it called /react-text react-text: 252 “serious questions about her credibility,” although it appears to have relented since. And other networks have said they /react-text react-text: 254 are reluctant to book /react-text react-text: 255 Conway for similar reasons. /react-text
Morning Joe react-text: 261 ‘s decision reignited the debate over whether news outlets should interview Conway at all, a debate /react-text react-text: 263 that initially sprang up /react-text react-text: 264 after she referred to the administration’s use of “alternative facts” on topics like the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration. /react-text
react-text: 266 Conway has since added fuel to the fire by referring in an interview to the “Bowling Green massacre,” an alleged terrorist incident that never occurred. Conway said that her reference to this non-event was a slip of the tongue, but observers pointed out that she /react-text react-text: 268 had spoken about it /react-text react-text: 269 a number of times before. /react-text
react-text: 273 Get Data Sheet /react-text react-text: 274 , Fortune’s technology newsletter. /react-text
react-text: 276 The debate about having Trump spokespeople on news programs isn’t confined to Conway. Margaret Sullivan of the /react-text Washington Post react-text: 278 /react-text react-text: 280 made a similar argument /react-text react-text: 281 in a recent column about Trump’s senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, who went on a number of talk shows and repeated the administration’s dubious claims about voter fraud. Sullivan asked: /react-text
Should proven liars continue to be given these platforms, especially on the Sunday-morning talk circuit? At what point are some administration officials no longer welcome in these influential national forums?
react-text: 286 As both John Dickerson of CBS’s /react-text Face the Nation react-text: 288 and George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s /react-text This Week react-text: 290 noted in interviews with Sullivan, however, having Trump spokesmen and advisers on their programs is a crucial part of their journalistic responsibility in reporting on the Trump administration and its policies and behavior. /react-text
react-text: 292 “If they are representatives of the White House, then the bias should be for taking them on the air,” /react-text react-text: 294 Dickerson said /react-text react-text: 295 . A journalist’s job, he suggested, is then to challenge their statements and provide context, and allow viewers to make up their own minds. /react-text
react-text: 301 Stephanopoulos, who challenged Miller on his statements about voting fraud, also argued that having him on was worthwhile because it’s important for viewers to see and hear the president’s advisers. “Miller was elaborating on the president’s own assertion,” he said. “It’s critical for us to hold the president accountable.” /react-text
react-text: 303 As seductive as Sullivan’s advice might be for those who see Conway and Miller as the enemy, however, the problem for news outlets that choose to ban them from being interviewed is that this approach /react-text react-text: 305 will only help convince /react-text react-text: 306 Trump supporters and critics of the mainstream media that the press is biased against them and the president. /react-text
react-text: 308 In other words, this approach might soothe the pride of media outlets who feel they have been cast out by the White House and are trying to recapture their former glory, but it won’t help reach those who put Trump in the White House in the first place. And it plays into Trump strategist Steve Bannon’s /react-text react-text: 310 claim that the press /react-text react-text: 311 is “the opposition party.” /react-text
react-text: 313 There’s also an argument to be made that if Conway and Miller and other Trump associates are speaking untruths or making up facts, it’s better to have them say so publicly in a forum where they can be challenged and where viewers can see them being challenged, rather than shunning them. As the old saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.