President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on the “fake media” Wednesday but the media was fighting back, objecting to a presidential news conference that avoided tough questions and, in the case of one MSNBC program, banning presidential aide Kellyanne Conway from the air.
NEW YORK (AP) - President Donald Trump stepped up his attacks on the “fake media” Wednesday but the media was fighting back, objecting to a presidential news conference that avoided tough questions and, in the case of one MSNBC program, banning presidential aide Kellyanne Conway from the air.
Trump tweeted and voiced complaints about the media’s treatment of his ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and the “criminal” leak of details on Flynn’s discussion with Russians. Flynn is out after less than a month, with White House saying Trump lost confidence in him for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about talks with the Russian ambassador.
The president held a news conference prior to meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As he did during the past week following meetings with leaders of Canada and Japan, Trump called on reporters from friendly news outlets.
On Wednesday, he chose David Brody, a columnist for the Pat Robertson-founded Christian Broadcast Network, and Katie Pavlich, editor of the conservative web site townhall.com.
Brody invoked Flynn, asking if the national security job vacancy would affect the administration’s attitude toward the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran. Trump used that question to complain about unfair media treatment of Flynn. He blamed people upset with his victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton for being responsible for media leaks.
Pavlich asked Trump about compromises he would seek from Israel and the Palestinians to achieve peace.
The questions left other reporters frustrated by a lost opportunity to ask about reports that the Trump campaign had been in contact with Russian officials before his election. Trump smiled and walked away when one reporter shouted out if he could ask about Flynn.
“I wanted to jump up and say, ‘You fired him. Why did you fire him?’” said ABC News’ Jonathan Karl.
CNN’s Jim Acosta said the administration was clearly trying to avoid questions, adding that Trump could “only be shielded for so long.”
Conway, meanwhile, won’t be answering questions on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, at least for a while. Show co-host Mika Brzezinski said Wednesday that Conway wouldn’t be allowed on the three-hour public affairs program, which has had a love-hate relationship with Trump over the course of the campaign.
Brzezinski said she won’t book Conway, “because I don’t believe in fake news or information that is not true. Every time I’ve seen her on television, something’s askew, off or incorrect.”
It’s been a rough stretch for the presidential counselor. She said on MSNBC Monday that Trump had “full confidence” in Flynn, hours before he lost his job. A government ethics panel urged the White House to discipline her for urging Fox News Channel viewers to buy Ivanka Trump’s products. NBC’s Matt Lauer admonished her, “Kellyanne, that makes no sense,” during a “Today” show interview on Tuesday.
Then there was Kate McKinnon’s portrayal of an unhinged Conway on “Saturday Night Live.”
CNN said last week that it had turned down a chance to book her on Jake Tapper’s Feb. 5 program because she had credibility issues; Conway has said she told them she was unavailable that day. Tapper then interviewed Conway on his weekday program two days later, although she hasn’t been on the network since. The White House has banned its officials from appearing on the network.
NBC News said Brzezinski’s statement reflected the views of one program, not the network as a whole. The decision is potentially confusing for both viewers and NBC executives, said Mark Feldstein, a journalism professor at the University of Maryland. What are viewers to think if a source is deemed not credible enough to be on one show but appears on the same network three hours later?
While she wasn’t on “Morning Joe,” she was on NBC News’ higher-profile “Today” show on Tuesday.
She’s not the only Trump administration official who has clashed with the media over facts. Trump aide Stephen Miller was scolded by an angry George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday for not giving evidence to support a claim of voter fraud. White House press secretary Sean Spicer was criticized after his first White House briefing for giving untrue statements about the inauguration.
“Where do you stop?” Feldstein said. “Conway isn’t the only member of the administration who has a truth-telling problem. It starts at the very top. Can you stop putting Donald Trump on the air if what he says is false? You can’t. He’s the president of the United States.”
CBS News “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson, while emphasizing he’s not talking about the “Morning Joe” decision, said it’s important to get the administration’s views on the record, whether or not they prove accurate.
“Part of my job is allowing the administration to explain itself to people and not interrupt them so much they can’t ever get their point of view across,” Dickerson said. “They say what they believe, and then you interrogate them.”
He said he wished he could ask questions that came with a dose of the truth serum sodium pentothal “to get the perfect, truth-filled answers, but that is not going to happen.”
- For GOP, a dimmed zeal for investigations in Trump era
- Law allows Donald Trump to strip visas from countries who won’t take back deported citizens
- Senate votes to undo Obama administration Social Security gun rule
- Trump says intel officials, media unfair to Flynn
- Trains, not drains: New Jersey lobbyists on way to swamp DC
- Donald Trump clumsiness may be his best strategy
- 20 books to enjoy reading with your children
- Graham ready to subpoena for Trump wiretap information
- Federal judge to hear first lawsuit against new travel ban
- Spicer attacks 'double standard' in response to WikiLeaks dump
- Secret Marines group is still sharing nude photos amid scandal
- White House privately backing earlier rollback of Medicaid expansion
You might also like
- 20 books to enjoy reading with your children
- Joe Nathan joins the Nationals, where everyone is wondering if Joe can be Joe
- Shawn Kelley willing to do whatever is asked, including close
- Dusty Baker feels anything but ‘lame’
- First spring training workouts underway for pitchers, catchers
- Dusty Baker doesn’t want a closer by committee
- 5 things to watch when Nationals start spring training
- Huston Street welcomes competition for job as Angels’ closer
- Astros build team, and new complex, for the future
- Healthy Zack Greinke aims for better Year 2 in Arizona
- Day faces big challenge to stay at No. 1
- Somalia: 'People are dying..there's no water'
- Powerful South Carolina political consultant implicated in indictments of a veteran state senator
- Will Donald Trump get a second Supreme Court nomination?
- "Hazing" rituals await Supreme Court's "junior justice" Neil Gorsuch
- The hunt is on for Planet Nine. Here's how to join it
- Trump approves controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline
- Trump praises 'Fox & Friends,' renews old feuds in early morning tweets
- Rex Tillerson finally answers question from NBC News' Andrea Mitchell
- First Read's Morning Clips: The Latest in the Russia Investigation
- Spicer: 'I've let the president down'
- Russian President Vladimir Putin met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday
- OMB Diriector Mick Mulvaney: Washington's 'a lot more broken' than Trump thought
- Trump attacks conservatives over failure of health care bill
- A very consequential week didn't go well for President Trump
- Health Care Showdown: Republicans look to go big or go home
- No deal on health care bill after conservatives meet with Trump
- CA gov on those supporting health bill: 'Their name is going to be mud'
- Give it to me straight, doc: Is Obamacare dying?
- First Read's Morning Clips: Waiting for CBO
- 14 People Share What's It's Really Like to Have An Ex Who Is Now Their In-Law
- The Internet Is Freaking Out About The Way This Chef Cuts Pizza
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia rethinks the use of his closer in tight games
- Chemistry onstage makes Faith Hill and Tim McGraw a top tour
- I’m Taking A Break From Social Activism And OMG I Need Like Everyone I Know To Read About This
- 5 'Fate Of The Furious' Moments So Unnecessary, They're Necessary
- Noah Cyrus Reveals Her Next Tattoo & Dishes On Her Famous Family
- The Lonely Island Tell The Story Of How 'Dear Sister' Came To 'SNL'
- 'Marketplace' is America's most popular business show. Now it has ambitious plans to expand
- United fiasco shows airlines' power over passengers — and how it might change
- 'I really did it for my daughters': L.A. radio host Wendy Walsh on why she spoke out against Bill O'Reilly
- Trump backs Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, but advertisers keep fleeing
- IFC swings for the comedy fences with Funny or Die's 'Brockmire'
- MGM to spend $1 billion for full control of the Epix movie service
- YouTube TV launches today. It has some cool features and some big drawbacks
- 'Boss Baby' to sack 'Smurfs,' and other box office predictions
- Meet the new faces aboard 'Mystery Science Theater 3000's' Satellite of Love
- Werner Herzog wouldn't live anyplace other than Los Angeles, 'the city with the most substance'
- 'A blemish on America': The arts world reacts to proposed cuts in Trump's budget
- Brian Grazer and Ron Howard's Imagine Entertainment is getting into the booming, competitive animation business
- Fox News faces another sexual harassment claim as Mercedes and Hyundai pull ads from 'O'Reilly Factor'
- Roman Polanski is denied latest bid to resolve 40-year-old statutory rape case