Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway gives ground on "fake news" in CNN showdown


Top White House advisor Kellyanne Conway backed off the Trump administration's attacks on CNN as a purveyor of "fake news" in a stunning appearance on the network Tuesday afternoon. 

In the interview, Conway expressed regret for some of her recent missteps but pleaded with the press to show "respect" for the presidency.

The face-off between Conway and CNN anchor Jake Tapper capped days of back and forth between Team Trump and Tapper's network, which declined to have her on Sunday's State of the Union, citing concerns about her credibility.

"Are we 'fake news,' Kellyanne? Is CNN 'fake news'?" The Lead host asked.

"No, I don't think CNN is 'fake news,'" Conway replied, going on to say she thinks "there are some reports" by various news outlets that "are not well-researched and are sometimes based on falsehoods."

Her words were in direct conflict with President Donald Trump's demonization of CNN and other media outlets, which he has deemed untrustworthy for airing or publishing unflattering reports.

Conway in recent days has been assailed for her reference to a massacre in Bowling Green, Kentucky, that never happened in order to prop up Trump's claim that the media has deliberately refrained from covering terrorist incidents.

"Saying that we don't cover terrorism — that's just false," Tapper protested as the two discussed a list of incidents the White House released as proof of its argument that the press doesn't give terrorism enough coverage.

Conway, an architect of Trump's upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election, responded with praise for coverage of major incidents by CNN and other media.

Still, she defended Trump, whose controversial ban on travel to the United States from seven nations with majority Muslim populations has sparked widespread protests

"We just can't allow ourselves to become inured to terrorist attacks, to see it as the new normal," Conway said. "That's what leads him to want to have extreme vetting from seven narrowly proscribed countries in a very temporary way." 

Earlier Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended Conway over the CNN flap, calling her a trusted aide to the president.

The Tapper-Conway exchange was just the latest instance of parrying and spin-doctoring over the travel ban, which is now being contested in court.