In a very contentious interview on CNN Tuesday, Jake Tapper spent about half of his hour-long show to demand Kellyanne Conway answer for President Trump's attacks on the media.
Tapper took exception to the recent accusation from Trump that the media was hiding terror attacks from the American people out of some hidden bias.
CNN and other media organizations cover terrorism all the time," Tapper stressed, "saying that we don't cover terrorism - that's just false."
"What the president was saying there, Jake, is that there are other attacks that don't get as much coverage. Obviously the very sad incidents that you related, where frankly, CNN did amazing coverage, for weeks at a time, I saw you all there on the ground, doing that and telling the human interest stories and the tragic stories, and frankly he involvement of the terrorists in those brutal attacks. Those get coverage, the others on the list, not-so-much. I think his point is two-fold."
"Those ones were on the list," Tapper interrupted, "but the ones I just recited to you were on the list!"
Absolutely, oh no, what I'm saying, the ones that have high casualties, like Nice and Brussels, certainly Paris and the like, those are covered extensively by all media outlets, as well they should be. It's the other ones on the list, I think he's making two points here. One is that we just can't allow ourselves to become inured to terrorist attacks, to see it as the new normal. And so if we're not covering all of the many different attacks, that they're all ISIL-inspired attacks, in this case, the ones that he was referring to in the list that was generated as I understand, Jake. Then we want people to realize that then that's what leads him to want extreme vetting from seven very narrowly prescribed countries in a very temporary way.
When Kellyanne later mentioned a mistake she had recently made, he asked her to clarify, saying, "you're referring to the 'Bowling Green Massacre'?"
Yes I am because I felt really bad about that. I apologize and I rectify, but I want to say something else about that. I'm very happy to have raised awareness, I'm told by colleagues at ABC that on Friday the highest trending article there was an article from three years ago on ABC.com because it was what I was referring to. Two Iraqi nationals who came to this country, and are still in jail, they were part of al-Qaeda. I'm glad to have raised awareness, I'm sorry that I did it in-artfully.
"You cited a massacre that didn't happen," Tapper responded, "you said the media didn't cover it."
"No, no," Conway disagreed, "what I meant was that the media didn't cover the masterminds, the massacre happened in Iraq. The masterminds were here."
"The media did cover the masterminds," Tapper interjected.
A little bit at the time," she admits, "but again, we're not covering it in terms of the extreme vetting, in other words, the judge - this is an important point. Yesterday the AP had a factcheck story, I thought it was really well done. And I'm sure CNN covered it, Jake. But it's really important because the judge in the Seattle case, Judge Robart, asked the attorney, 'hey how many people have been arrested since 9/11 from these seven countries, um, y'know, would have been subject to this extreme vetting?' and she said, 'I don't know' and he said, 'I'll tell you the answer: zero.' That's false! It is not zero. The two guys at Bowling Green qualify, a guy in Texas, it's not true."
Tapper eventually asked her to address a statement Trump has made against CNN many times, asking, "Are we fake news, Kellyanne? Is CNN fake news?"
"No I don't think CNN is fake news," Kellyanne responded, "I think there are some reports everywhere, in print on TV, on radio in conversation that are not well researched, and are sometimes based on falsehoods."
Here's the full interview courtesy of CNN:
Kellyanne Conway had been pilloried in the media for claiming that a massacre at Bowling Green had precipitated former President Obama's travel ban, when it was planned by Iraqi refugees but never actually happened. Trump had recently accused the media of hiding terrorist attacks and produced a list with heavily covered attacks when pressured to confirm his claim. The list also had many spelling errors that were ridiculed on social media.