It's all about the “feigned pained look, the furrowed brow, the curled lip.”
Or comments such as, “That makes no sense” or “You must be lying” that anchors make anytime an advocate of President Trump goes on television to defend him.
Kellyanne Conway said that's what television anchors and hosts have resorted to — all in the pursuit of going viral.
“They think it's the job of the news media now, which it's not, of course,” the White House counselor said Sunday during an interview with Fox News host Howard Kurtz.
Conway doubled down on her criticisms of the media, specifically on the level of negative coverage of the Trump administration and how the president's surrogates are treated on air. The harshness and combativeness of TV interviews, she suggested, are attributable to “the quest to go viral,” especially “when there's nothing else to say.”
“It really doesn't help democracy and it doesn't help the body politic because people are looking for the news,” Conway said. “They're not looking for conjecture. They don't care that something goes viral and a late-night host gets a couple of laughs out of it. The idea that people are so presumptively negative toward so much that's going on.”
Her comments, it appears, were inspired by her combative interviews with CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Chris Cuomo last week in the aftermath of Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James B. Comey. Cooper rolled his eyes in response to a statement by Conway, inevitably paving the way for a viral GIF of his eyeroll. Cuomo, on the other hand, berated Conway throughout the interview.
Cooper's eyeroll is “possibly sexist,” Conway said, and “definitely what I'd call Trumpist,” a new term that apparently describes anything anti-Trump.
She added that the media — without naming any news outlet or individual reporter — has largely focused on criticisms while ignoring “the news reports or the facts.”
“It feels like there's this conclusion in search of evidence,” she said, adding later: “No good comes out of it … having to hear all the blather and having to hear all the nonsense and the negativity and the falsities.”
Toward the end of the congenial and largely uninterrupted interview, Kurtz asked about Trump's tweets and what the media is supposed to do when the president says or tweets something controversial, such as this tweet last week: “James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
“How do you not cover that as a story?” Kurtz asked.
Conway did not comment on the tweet and instead further criticized media coverage — specifically the media's “obsession with every tweet and every comment,” while ignoring things such as job growth and the “amazing trade deal” with China.
“That'll impact more people. It's like, 'Trade deal on beef with China. Yawn!' " Conway said as Kurtz chuckled. “That's news. That affects people. That's significant movement.”
Conway was probably referring to a recent government report stating that the U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February and that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent, compared with 4.8 percent in January. A report the following month had lower numbers. Employers added 98,000 jobs in March, the lowest gain in nearly a year.
The jobs market rebounded the following month, with 211,000 jobs added in April. The unemployment rate also dropped to 4.4 percent, the lowest in 10 years.
The Trump administration also recently reached deals with China to ease market access for a variety of sectors, including beef and financial services.
Conway was a constant presence on cable news interviews in the months immediately after Trump's victory in the 2016 election. Her appearances on Cooper and Cuomo's shows this past week aren't the first combative interviews she has had. The now-famous “alternative facts” comment was made by her during a tense back-and-forth with NBC's Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”
Her TV interviews have become less frequent in recent months. The hiatus has prompted rumors that she had been sidelined, and it led to a “Saturday Night Live” sketch mocking her prolonged absence.