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Journalists should stop interviewing Kellyanne Conway

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway
Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway

After the November election, Donald Trump's campaign strategist Kellyanne Conway has stayed in the picture — the spin-master of Trump's muddy words, Conway is a frequent and often provocative visitor to TV news.

That should probably stop, journalism professor Jay Rosen says.

"I don't think the people interviewing Kellyanne Conway know why they are doing that," Rosen said on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka. "The journalistic logic of it is growing dimmer with every interview."

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That's because Conway goes beyond spin. Frequently, Trump's and Conway's statements to the press will directly contradict one another.

"If the end result of an interview is more confusion about what the Trump world thinks, then that rationale evaporates." -Jay Rosen, NYU professor

"The logic is, this is a representative of the president," Rosen said. "This is somebody who can speak for the Trump administration. But if we find that what Kellyanne Conway says is routinely or easily contradicted by Donald Trump, then that rationale disappears."

"Another reason to interview Kellyanne Conway is, our viewers want to understand how the Trump world thinks," he added. "But if the end result of an interview is more confusion about what the Trump world thinks, then that rationale evaporates."

TV stations that do still want to talk to spokespersons like Conway or incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer should transparently explain why those people are on the air, Rosen said: To avoid criticism, or for entertainment value.

"Just be real about it and say, 'This isn't actually of journalistic value,'" he said. "'It has a different value and that's why we're putting it on the air.' Just don't pretend that this is a normal interview, with the normal rationale."

Eric Johnson is a producer at Recode.net radio.

CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.

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