After a succession of false facts plaguing the media, it was time to settle the score.
The tension between the White House and CNN has been mounting, and finally everything came to a head in a live, epic showdown.
President Donald Trump's top aide appeared on CNN and was challenged by Jake Tapper about a series of unsubstantiated claims.
The 25-minute interview covered everything from "Bowling Green Massacre," to the media not reporting on terrorist attacks.
Conway started off by saying that the administration has a "high regard for facts," despite Trump's obdurate stance in accusing CNN "fake news." She said:
I don't think CNN is fake news. 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 falseness.
Tapper questioned the relationship between the president and Vladimir Putin, and Conway responded that the two world leaders are not "BFF's," and that Trump "hardly knows Vladimir Putin."
Tapper confronted Conway about Trump's claim of terrorist attacks' lack of coverage. Trump brought up his gripe with the news media when he visited Florida's MacDill Air Force Base on Monday:
You’ve seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe, it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons, and you understand that.
Tapper played CNN clips of reporters at various scenes of attacks and said:
I spent two weeks in Paris in 2015 reporting on the attacks. We also see on the screen dozens of my colleagues, Alisyn Camerota, covering the bombings in Brussels. Chris Cuomo and Anderson Cooper reporting on the super market attack in Paris. Brooke Baldwin covering the attack in Nice. Victor Blackwell reporting on the shootings in San Bernardino. Kellyanne, CNN and other media organizations cover terrorism around the world all the time. Saying that we don't cover terrorism, that's just false.
What the President is saying there, Jake, is that there are other attacks that don't get as much coverage. Obviously the very sad incidents that you related were, 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 the involvement of the terrorists in those brutal attacks. Those get coverage. The other ones on the list, not so much. I think his point is twofold --
Those ones were on the list. But the ones I just recited for you were on the list.
Absolutely. And I'm saying the ones that have high casualties, like Nice and Brussels and 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.
Tapper continued to elaborate on his point:
He was saying the media does not cover these stories because we don't want to cover them because we have some sort of agenda. That's what he was suggesting, and it's offensive given the fact that CNN and other media organizations have reporters in danger right now in war zones covering ISIS, and I just don't understand how the President can make an attack like that.
Conway's response was that the White House's list of unreported attacks was meant to elevate awareness of terrorist threats.
There's no question about that. First of all, I want to tell you, I don't intend to spin. I'm crediting the coverage of CNN and your colleagues across the media gave to these high-profile and high-casualty, very sad, very vicious attacks.
But Tapper had to make himself more clear:
They were on the list of under-covered attacks.
As were dozens and dozens of others.
Of course, the fabricated "Bowling Green Massacre" that was repeatedly mentioned by Conway was not easily dismissed.
I was misquoting, I should have said masterminds, and I’ve talked about all that. But let me just say this on the broader point, we have a high regard for the facts.
Tapper was emphatic about reporting on important issues facing the nation, and the constant attacks towards news media from the White House makes it very difficult.
I would much rather be talking to you about veterans issues. In fact, when it comes to the Trump administration, I would much rather be covering immigration, I would much rather be covering trade and I would much rather be covering draining the swamp and counter terrorism.
But instead, every day there are these sprays of attack and sprays of falsehoods coming from the White House. It would be better if they were not coming from the White House, for me and for you.
Conway replied that it has to go both ways.
I sincerely don't see a lot of difference in coverage from when he was a candidate and when he became the Republican nominee, the president-elect and indeed the president. Some outlets, some people cover him the same way and it doesn't have a great deal of respect, I think, for the office of the president and its current occupant.
Because of the contentious relationship between CNN and the administration, the White House ordered a freezing out of the network. But, when the administration offered to have Conway appear instead of Mike Pence, the network declined, citing "serious questions about her credibility."
Conway fired back anyway, saying she wasn't available for a Sunday appearance because of a family commitment. CNN's communications team tweeted that "we passed" on an offer to have her appear. And that, "Those were the facts."
Tapper continued laying into Conway, and he let her have it.
How about the president's statements, Kellyanne, that are false? Like the murder rate is the highest it's been in almost half a century? False! How about the fact that the media doesn't report on terrorist attacks? False! I mean, you can talk about some jerk with some website making a mistake or almost making a mistake... I'm talking about the president of the United States saying things that are not true, demonstrably not true. That is important and arguably more important than whoever reached you at your daughter's play.
Are they more important than many things that he says that are true that are making a difference in people's lives?
You can watch the entire interview by clicking over to the next page.