CNN Confirms Network Passed on Kellyanne Conway Interview
The cable news network and Trump's senior adviser took to Twitter to dispute their sides of a New York Times report.
CNN took to Twitter Monday morning to confirm a report that the cable news network turned down a Sunday interview offer with Kellyanne Conway.
After a New York Times Sunday story reported the network has “serious questions about her credibility” and declined to have her on as a TV guest, the senior adviser to President Donald Trump took to Twitter to deny the report.
"False," she wrote on Monday morning in response to an article about the Times story. "I could do no live Sunday shows this week BC of family. Plus, I was invited onto CNN today & tomorrow. CNN Brass on those emails."
False. I could do no live Sunday shows this week BC of family. Plus, I was invited onto CNN today & tomorrow. CNN Brass on those emails https://t.co/LVOUWIytLK— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 6, 2017
Twenty minutes later, however, CNN confirmed they passed on the White House's offer to bring Conway on Sunday's State of the Union.
"@KellyannePolls was offered to SOTU on Sunday by the White House. We passed. Those are the facts," tweeted CNN from its public relations handle.
. @KellyannePolls was offered to SOTU on Sunday by the White House. We passed. Those are the facts.— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) February 6, 2017
The Times reported the White House offered Conway in place of Vice President Mike Pence for the news show, and that the network declined the offer in part because of the substitution, as well as due to Conway's "credibility" factor. The CNN tweet did not mention the alleged credibility issues.
The Twitter back-and-forth came after a Monday report that Conway again referenced the nonexistent "Bowling Green massacre" in a second interview with Cosmopolitan.com. Conway was mocked on cable news and on social media for referencing the "massacre" on MSNBC's Hardball last week when defending Trump's travel ban. She similarly came under fire for describing press secretary Sean Spicer's inauguration attendance comments as "alternate facts."
Amid Trump's crusade against "fake news" and feud against CNN — a network he memorably referred to as "fake news" during his first press conference and has continued to do so many times on Twitter — the network appears to be taking to the social medium more aggressively to hold the Trump administration accountable.
Last week, as her "Bowling Green massacre" error began to trend on Twitter, CNN posted to its Twitter account: "Kellyanne Conway is right. We did not cover the Bowling Green massacre -- because it never happened."
On Monday, the cable news network also responded to Trump's Monday tweet aimed at a CNN weekend poll over the weekend. The survey found the majority of Americans view Trump's travel order as an attempt to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
"Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting," Trump tweeted Monday morning.
CNN responded with a story (headline: "No, President Trump, negative polls are not 'fake news'") explaining how "professional polling is scientific, not political, in nature."
During Tuesday's White House press briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer said that, to his knowledge, CNN had retracted the story about passing on Conway.
"My understanding is they retracted that, they walked that back or denied it, however you want to put it, I don't care," he said when asked if the White House would provide alternate representatives to networks. "Kellyanne is a very trusted aid of the president, for any characterization otherwise is insulting. If they choose not to work with someone that's up to them, but I think we're going to continue to put out key leaders of this administration, including Kellyanne, that can articulate the president's policies and agenda."
The CNN Communications team was quick to respond, taking to Twitter to clarify the network had not retracted the story with a direct response to Spicer's comment.
"CNN was clear, on the record, about our concerns about Kellyanne Conway's credibility, to the New York Times and others," reads the statement. "We have not 'retracted' nor 'walked back' those comments. Those are the facts."
Feb. 7, 2:30 p.m. ET: Updated with Spicer, CNN Tuesday comments.