How Kellyanne Conway stymies reporters

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she doesn’t stymie them at all, her purpose should always be to keep talking so getting kicked off shows ends that, so fail.


I think people are giving KellyAnne Conway way too much credit. What she does isn’t magic, and it isn’t special. It’s what all spokespeople and press secretaries and candidates do: They answer the question they wish they had been asked. She isn’t some expert at verbal kung fu, or whatever. That’s just silly. People ask her simple questions, she doesn’t answer, they ask the question again, she doesn’t answer again, and they give up. That’s all there is to it.

Let’s stop feeding the narrative of the Conway mystique, okay?


Since the start reporters have been arguing that there was no point in having her on - she was never able to accurately represent the administration’s positions, as she was frequently contradicted by others in the administration. That’s really becoming obvious now. The larger problem is that no one in the administration seems able to represent the administration’s positions, even the president (or perhaps especially the president). Listening to the press conference with Netanyahu, it became obvious there’s no value in having actual reporters there - they just need someone to hold a camera to catch the gibberish Trump spouts. He’s only calling on right-wings news outlets, and he is unable to answer basic questions because he clearly doesn’t know anything (I now question if he even knows what is meant by the “two state” or “one state” solutions with re: to Israel).
It has become incredibly clear: journalists need to focus on investigative work, and trying to curry favor with the administration to get access is a pointless task for a worthless payout.


That was painful to watch. And truly scary. The guy is in so far over his head.


There are ways to deal with her but I’ve yet to see a host do it (correct me on this if you’ve seen it), for example if she tries to change the subject from the crowd at the inauguration to health care the host should offer “OK, so now you want to talk about health care instead of the inauguration, I promise you we will move on to health care next, but first you have to answer the question about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration.” And if she then tries to switch to another topic like terrorism the host does the same thing “OK, now it’s terrorism, so we can talk about that after health care, and after you answer my original question.”

The host can also counter her “I don’t know” tactic with “but I thought you were the President’s spokesperson, why does he send you out to the press if you can’t answer questions?”

Rather than stop interviewing her, make her be the one who finally refuses to go on CNN or NBC.


That’s the problem right there, they move on to the next question instead of nailing the evasion down. All it takes is a simple, “We understand you don’t want to answer this question, let’s move on to the next one.” to make it clear to the less intelligent members of the audience that the evasion is happening and there probably is something we should know about but are being stonewalled on.


Which has always been the case to a greater or lesser degree, we just happen to be seeing the extreme end of the curve right now.


Chuck Todd was that level of persistent during his Meet the Press interview in which Conway infamously introduced the phrase “alternative facts.”


I don’t disagree, about the pain and scariness of watching that, but my over-riding reaction when first watching the Netanyahu press event with 45 was that of incredulous laughter. Just how long can it be before someone in the assembled press audience is no longer able to stifle the involuntary laughter? Laughing at him would probably trigger a full-blown meltdown. On camera.


We got a great big Conway, rockin’ through the night.


Sad to say, in a very literal sense there is some truth to that!


I often make the mistake of thinking that he has some incredibly basic knowledge about a situation - the kind of thing the average person might be expected to know. But it becomes clear that any level of competence can’t be assumed with him. The fact that he has strong opinions and is vehemently criticizing something indicates nothing about his knowledge - he frequently demonstrates he has no idea what the thing is, on the most basic level.

That would be great - although I wonder if horror and shock are too prevalent in the audience for laughter to creep in. I keep thinking I can predict his responses - I did for most of that press conference - but then we get his response to something like the question about the spike in antisemitic hate crimes, and I’m flabbergasted. He followed that up with an equally amazing press conference today, where someone tried, yet again, to ask the same question, and had the president angrily cut him off and tell him the question was insulting, that he wasn’t antisemitic, etc. Even though the reporter spent all his time making it clear he wasn’t accusing the president of being antisemitic, but wanted to know what he was going to do in response…

So extreme. It helps make it all undeniable.


“OK, so now you want to talk about health care instead of the inauguration, I promise you we will move on to health care next, but first you have to answer the question about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration.”

I don’t have kids, but you’d think she’d eventually run into a journalist who does.


Even KaC looked like she threw up in her mouth right before she said “alternative facts.”


We need Jeremy Paxman to interview her:


Or get Billy Eichner, who would just talk over her and keep asking questions.

Baghdad Bob popped into my head too. The only difference is that BB was benign.


This is nothing new for mouthpieces. In fact, it’s pretty much standard training for anyone who takes a job in DC. When I went to work for an environmental lobbying advocacy group in DC, I went through media training where we were specifically instructed how not to answer questions directly, how to insert our own agenda in to the conversation, and how to get out of a line of questioning if it wasn’t going your way or you messed up. That last strategy was basically to swear like a sailor because then whoever was interviewing you wouldn’t be able to use the tape. Needless to say, that strategy is not a good one nowadays; it has a tendency to bite you in the ass when you forget you’re on live TV, and also “hot mike” clips end up getting released in other ways…

What makes Kellyanne so good at stymieing reporters is both how transparent she is about it, her effective use of lies (“you can’t fact check 'em as fast as I can make 'em up!”), and how obtuse she can be. It’s not predictable as it is with many others because it’s so tangential. I think it’s because she’s not that bright, but I’m sure others would say it’s proof that she’s brilliant.