CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash was harshly criticized by Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple after glorifying White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
The column occurred the day after Bash featured Conway on CNN’s “Badass Women of Washington” series.
“Conway, as we all know, is one of the steadiest faces of the Trump administration, forever appearing on cable TV — including CNN — to deflect the president’s often offensive, often mendacious statements and activities,” Wemple noted.
He pointed to one of Bash’s lines in particular.
“Fighting for Trump on TV is valuable currency for a cable news-obsessed president but sources say she wields more power than people know in private,” Bash said.
Wemple thought the statement was absurd.
“What a ridiculous instance of puffery: What, exactly, is ‘more power than people know’?” he wondered.
“When it comes time to address Conway’s critical role in the Trump White House — which is to say, enabling the world’s greatest liar — Bash includes a formulation worthy of the Studied Neutrality Hall of Fame: Though Conway is known for staying on message, ‘she is heavily criticized for sometimes taking it too far, entering the realm of ‘alternative facts,'” the column continued.
“That the Conway profile sparked a backlash on Twitter shouldn’t surprise anyone. There’s a problem with including Conway in a series that celebrates feminism,” Wemple noted.
The problem for Wemple, in short, is that Conway simply is not a badass.
“The problem is that Conway shatters the ‘badass’ template. You can do an inspiring portrait of Pelosi’s ascent to power,” he argued. “You can do inspiring portraits of that sort for many other Democratic and Republican women.”
“You cannot do likewise for Conway, because there’s nothing inspiring about her role in defending presidential racism, misogyny and dishonesty,” he concluded. “The old rules of balance, both-siderism and bipartisanship don’t work with this crew, a lesson that CNN has been slow to grasp.”
Read the full column.