On “Meet the Press” this morning Kellyanne Conway argued that Sean Spicer’s press briefing/lecture on Saturday afternoon did not contain any falsehoods. When pressed by NBC’s Chuck Todd to answer the question why Spicer’s first encounter with the Press was riddled with lies, Conway responded with a phenomenal example of doublespeak:
“You’re saying it’s a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,” claimed Conway.
Todd immediately asked for clarification calling her out and saying that “alternative facts” are really nothing more than lies.
The Press needs to figure out how to address these kinds of blatant falsehoods uttered and then wholeheartedly supported by senior administration officials. And, more importantly, the Press needs to figure out how to hold Donald Trump and his administration accountable while staying out of nasty exchanges. Trump’s hard core supporters believe firmly that the Media is invested in a liberal agenda and hope to bring President Trump down. Testy exchanges with administration officials only galvanize his support among his followers.
One interesting example of how to address the challenge is to avoid live television with senior Trump administration officials. CNN yesterday afternoon chose NOT to cover the Spicer briefing live, electing instead to treat it as a news item moderated by their journalists. This allows news outlets to preface the event with an introduction and fact check the presentation of “information” along the way.
Another alternative would be to fact check what Trump representatives are saying under the screen as they are saying it.
Chuck Todd did an admirable job holding Conway to account. After 20 months of dealing with these “alternative facts,” the media should have solved this problem by now.