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Feb 07 2017

Why Networks Should All Uninvite Kellyanne Conway

It seems that Kellyanne “Con Job” Conway has spouted one too many alternative facts for CNN after she totally blew any remaining credibility she might have had over the repeated claim that there was a terrorist massacre in Bowling Green, Kentucky that the media didn’t report. The reason they didn’t report it was that it never happened. Since then, CNN declined to have her as a guest on Sunday because of “serious questions about her credibility.” NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen is calling for all networks to ban her.

In her attempt to defend Trump’s Muslim ban, the non-existent Bowling Green Massacre wasn’t the only lie Conway uttered in that one paragraph to MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who like the uninformed dolt he is, let it all slide right past him.

“I bet there was very little coverage, I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered,”

According to Politifact, this is what President Obama did and what really happened in Bowling Green.

Obama’s suspension was in direct response to a failed plot by Iraqi nationals living in Bowling Green, Ky., to send money, explosives and weapons to al-Qaida. The two men were arrested by the FBI in May 2011 for actions committed in Iraq and trying to assist overseas terrorist groups.

Both had entered the United States as refugees after lying about their past terrorism ties on paperwork. One man worked as a bombmaker in Iraq, and the FBI even matched his fingerprints to an unexploded IED discovered in 2005 in Iraq, raising questions about the thoroughness of the vetting process. [..]

the scope of the two policies is slightly different. Obama’s 2011 order put a pause on refugee processing, whereas Trump’s halt in entries applies to all non-U.S. visitors.

It should also be noted that Iraqi refugees were still admitted to the United States every month in 2011, though there was a significant drop after May of that year.

According to the Justice Department in 2013, when they announced the sentences of the two Iraqis, “neither was charged with plotting attacks within the United States.”

Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald sums it up:

This is a deeply unsettling time. The messages being communicated by the president and his team of either the ignorant or the lying are this: The entire American electoral system is rigged, with millions of fraudulent votes being cast for Democrats in a year when Republicans scored victory after victory. Any information reported that doesn’t agree with the opinions from the White House is “fake news.” And there are also big, secret events that the media isn’t reporting because…reasons. Uncomfortable news is false, reality is hidden, voting is rigged. It is hard to imagine a greater assault on the foundations of our democracy than the promulgation of this three-pronged invitation into government-controlled, Soviet-style illusion.

Unfortunately, this is the natural outgrowth of the argument conservatives have been spinning for decades about media bias, and now no conspiracy theory seems too absurd. (Is there bias? On social issues, probably, since so much of the national news comes from reporters who tend to be less religious than those in more conservative parts of the country, and who live in big cities, working and living with segments of society that might not be as prevalent elsewhere. But the media broke the Clinton email story, Whitewater and a host of other scandals in Democratic administrations. Reporters want the lead story, the important one that will have a lasting impact, and will go after either political party to get it.) [..]

This mindset has evolved over the evolution of Trump from reality-TV star and businessman to president. According to a CNN producer, the network throughout the election struggled to find Trump surrogates who wouldn’t lie and frequently had to drop those who repeatedly said literally anything, factual or not, to defend their positions. One tactic, though, was used relentlessly: whining. Go back and look at all of the Trump team’s statements when confronted by some difficult news regarding their candidate; the go-to response was consistently along the lines of “Why don’t you cover this same thing about Hillary” or “It’s certainly no surprise that the media is ignoring that Hillary did…”

When Trump was caught on tape making his “pussy grabber” comments, these people actually complained that no one was pointing out that Bill Clinton was caught in an affair almost two decades ago. The fact that the recording was new information about a man who was running for president—while the second was the topic of impeachment proceedings, TV news broadcasts and books about a man who can never be president again—did nothing to counter the irrational comparison.

The relentless, childish message from the White House playground has been this: “That’s not fair.” Trump complains about Saturday Night Live, saying its portrayal of him is not fair. (When did fairness become an element of satire?) CNN isn’t fair. The New York Times isn’t fair. The Washington Post isn’t fair. Any publication or TV show that reports demonstrable facts isn’t fair.

The second whine from our kindergarten debaters is, essentially, “Billy did it first.” During the campaign, the nyah-nyah finger-pointing was at Hillary Clinton, and it took some time after the election for Trump and his team to let go of that reflexive argument. Now it’s about Obama. (Ultimately, the self-pity party is a two-part argument: It’s not fair to report this negatively because Obama did it first.)

Take the bogus Bowling Green massacre story, with the underlying wailing about how the evil, evil press didn’t report that Obama banned Muslims from Iraq afterward. The horrifying question: Is Conway just a liar, or is she so uninformed that she doesn’t know everything she said was untrue? [..]

The more shocking comments about the Obama action came from Trump. He claimed in a printed statement that Obama banned visas for refugees for six months. That the president is so ignorant of immigration procedures while simultaneously issuing orders on immigration is stunning. Obama could not have banned visas for refugees because refugees don’t travel on visas. That is about as basic a fact in immigration as there is, and not only did Trump not know it but his staff actually typed it up and sent it out to the press, either with no knowledge that their statement was contrary to law or in an attempt to deceive the public. And they spewed their ignorance or mendacity time and again on television. No wonder CNN has essentially banned Conway from appearing on its programs; viewers gain no benefit by listening to someone vomit up fantasies.

This White House, from the supposed president on down, has absolutely no credibility. They lie and then whine and deflect with more lies when caught. The press, the networks and social media should continue to report the facts.