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."

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White House counselor Kellyanne Conway winks and waves at the news media as she goes to make a TV appearance at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Senior advisor Kellyanne Conway (L) attends as U.S. President Donald Trump (behind desk) welcomes the leaders of dozens of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2017. Jonathan Ernst: "We're often asked how much access we have to the Trump administration, and the answer is we have an awful lot. President Trump himself is very comfortable in the spotlight, and his aides are similarly unfazed by cameras. In this instance, senior advisor Kellyanne Conway was so comfortable in our presence she seemed not to consider the optics of kneeling on a Oval Office sofa to take pictures with her phone." REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo SEARCH "POY TRUMP" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
First Lady of the United States Melania Trump and Kellyanne Conway listen as doctors from Cincinnati Children Hospital talk about children's health at the hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, February 5, 2018. REUTERS/ John Sommers II
White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (C) departs as she and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway (L) stand on the sidelines while U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway (L) laughs with other aides before U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered joint statements from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway whispers to Senior Advisor Jared Kushner before U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered joint statements from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway arrives for a meeting with the President's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis in Washington, U.S., June 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Vice President Mike Pence and White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway leave after attending a Republican party policy lunch meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. July 11, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway holds up a memorandum from the Justice Department's Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein critical of Comey's position as director of the FBI at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 10, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
(L-R) Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Senior Advisor Stephen Miller walk on the South Lawn of the White House upon their return with President Donald Trump to Washington, U.S., May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway arrives at Newark International airport in Newark, NJ U.S., with President Donald Trump, June 9, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway and Keith Schiller, deputy assistant to the president and director of Oval Office operations, follow U.S. President Donald Trump to Marine One as he departs for a day trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin, from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway takes part in a strategic and policy CEO discussion with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Eisenhower Execution Office Building in Washington, U.S., April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
White House Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway waves as she arrives to speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Senior advisors Stephen Miller and Kellyanne Conway watch as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway leaves after attending House Republican conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, attended the joint press conference of President Donald Trump and President Klaus Iohannis of Romania, in the Rose Garden of the White House, on Friday, June 9, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 05: White House Senior Advisor, Kellyanne Conway (L), stand with White House Communications Director, Hope Hicks, during a news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump and King Abdullah II of Jordan, at the White House April 5, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump held talks on Middle East peace process and other bilateral issues with King Abdullah II. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, listens as US President Donald Trump speaks at American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan on March 15, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to US President Donald Trump, walks to a House Republican conference meeting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2017. US President Donald Trump held last-minute negotiations with fellow Republicans to avoid a humiliating defeat Thursday in his biggest legislative test to date, as lawmakers vote on an Obamacare replacement plan which conservatives threaten to sink. / AFP PHOTO / NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 21: Kellyanne Conway, aide to President Donald Trump, arrives in the Capitol for Trump's meeting with the House Republican Conference on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 10: Counselor to the President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway attends the swearing in ceremony of Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) to be the new Health and Human Services Secretary., on February 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Conway has been under fire for her comments about Ivanka Trump's clothing line during a TV interview. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway poses with a guest prior to a "celebration of America" event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 5, 2018. The event was arranged after Trump canceled the planned visit of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Leader Award by the Susan B. Anthony List, listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Susan B. Anthony List 11th Annual Campaign for Life Gala at the National Building Museum in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway speaks with a guest before U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks regarding the Administration's National Security Strategy at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington D.C, U.S., December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
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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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SEE ALSO: Trump clarifies that only a 'large percentage' of media is 'enemy of the people' after rebuke from Ivanka

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