Kellyanne Conway says she doesn't believe journalists are the 'enemy of the people'

  • White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday she doesn't think the press is the "enemy of the people," differing with President Donald Trump's often-used phrase.

  • Conway is the latest in the administration to be pressed on Trump's attacks against the media.

  • After his daughter Ivanka Trump distanced herself from the accusation, Trump tweeted that he means the "FAKE NEWS" is the "enemy of the people."

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday she doesn't believe the press is the "enemy of the people" as President Donald Trump often says.

CBS's "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan asked Conway about Trump's Sunday morning tweet blaming the media for sowing "division and distrust" and that they have the ability to "cause War."

Conway said Trump wants the media to give people "news they can use", and that she thinks many journalists say things in the White House press briefing room and on Twitter that they "would not get away with in print."

She said Trump's comments can't be read with a "broad brush," and though she didn't agree with casting the media as the "enemy", she offered a measured defense of journalists in general.

"I don't believe journalists are the enemy of the people," Conway said. "I think some journalists are the enemy of the relevant, and enemy of the news you can use. And I think that most of the sins are sins of omission, not commission."

When Brennan asked about the possible danger facing journalists after Trump's escalating comments against the press, Conway pointed her disapproval to an increasingly fierce media atmosphere, saying "the temperature needs to be dialed down overall."

On Thursday, the president's eldest daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump said at an event hosted by the news website Axios: "No, I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people."

Afterwards, Trump tweeted he meant only the "Fake News" — not the entire media, but a "large percentage" of it — qualifies as an "enemy of the American people."

In a February 2017 tweet, Trump took aim at some of the most prominent American outlets, saying "the FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!"

Other White house officials get grilled on Trump's 'enemy of the people' claim

Conway is the latest Trump administration member to be questioned over the president's labeling of the media as an "enemy."

"Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace asked national security adviser John Bolton about the same tweet on Sunday, saying though measured media criticism is valuable, Trump's ramped-up attacks are "taking it to a completely different level."

"That's the president's view, based on the attacks the media has made," Bolton said. "I think this kind of adversarial relationship is typical."

The White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sparred with CNN's Jim Acosta in a press briefing last week, not denying Trump's use of the word "enemy", but trashing the state of American media, saying outlets "frequently lower the level of conversation in this country."

The day before, Sanders said the press puts lives in danger by reporting on leaked classified information, referring to a decades-old myth regarding coverage of the Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

At an Ohio rally Saturday night, Trump followed up chants from the crowd of "CNN sucks!" to praise Fox News and attack MSNBC by calling them elites.

"They're more elite than me? I have better everything than they have, including this," Trump said, pointing to his head.

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