Kellyanne Conway and the Bowling Green Massacre
On Thursday, Kellyanne Conway, the senior advisor to the President, released the latest in a string of “alternative facts” on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” In the full statement she said, “I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”
Perhaps, the reason that the “Bowling Green Massacre” did not get covered, could have something do with the fact that there is no such thing as the “Bowling Green Massacre.” Conway tweeted on Friday, that she meant to say “Bowling Green Terrorists,” but the damage was already done.
Social media was lit up with memes about the fake “Bowling Green Massacre,” and Conway did not take kindly to it. These are the facts. There were two Iraqi immigrants living in Bowling Green, Kentucky who were charged with trying to send weapons to Al Qaeda, but there was no actual attack. Conway was trying to use this terrorist “attack” as evidence for why Trump’s travel ban is a good idea. She has admitted to having misspoken, but still claims that she is receiving unfair treatment from the media for her mistake.
In an administration known for calling out “fake news,” it is surprising how defensive they get when they release blatant lies or “alternative facts.” Conway routinely goes after news sources that she believes are reporting “fake news,” and berates them for it. When she was defending Sean Spicer’s “alternative facts” presented during his first day as Press Secretary, she berated the media for releasing falsehoods about the removal of the MLK bust in the Oval Office. This was quickly corrected, but Conway wanted to reevaluate the White House’s relationship with the press. She blew this issue way out of proportion, but when the media catches her in a bold-face lie, she feels like she is being treated unfairly.
This is an example of a dangerous double standard that the media will need to navigate moving forward. The Trump administration has demonstrated to us several times that being called on blatant lies has no effect on them, in fact they will go as far as to call the media source calling them liars and “fake news.” Donald Trump repeatedly calls out the “failing” New York Times, but does little to show evidence that they are lying in any way. He has publically called CNN “fake news,” for reporting stories that make him look bad. He is undermining the press and media, and in doing so continues to make many Americans uncertain of what to believe.
With so much uncertainty in the world, Conway’s supply of fake news stories has only added to the overall chaos of the Trump administration. This double standard will continue to be in effect, but hopefully the press will find a way to navigate it more successfully in the future.