Kellyanne Conway bullies a Washington Examiner reporter over a story mentioning she was being considered to become WH Chief of Staff.
This is a transcript of the telephone conversation between Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president of the United States, and Caitlin Yilek, breaking news reporter at the Washington Examiner.
[This portion of the call was off the record. When Conway came onto the line, without any agreement that a conversation with her would be off the record, the conversation reverted to being on the record, as per Washington Examiner policy and standard journalistic practice.]
Conway: Hey, Caitlin. Kellyanne Conway. So I just am wondering why in God’s earth you would need to mention anything about George Conway’s tweets in an article that talks about me as possibly being chief of staff. Other than it looks to me like there’s no original reporting here, you just read Twitter and other people’s stuff, which I guess is why you don’t pick up the phone when people call from the White House because if it’s not on Twitter or it’s not on cable TV, it’s not real. I’m just wondering why you would have, A — why or what ever would give you the idea that I’m, quote, caught in the middle of some of these Twitter feeds and the president of the United States, B — who would be able to tell you that except for me? We’ve never talked, as far as I know.
Yilek: We have never talked. I did cite the Bloomberg News article. And the reason I didn’t pick up the call was because it said it was from Egypt, and I called it right back. In terms of mentioning George Conway, it’s relevant context.
Conway: I know it’s just for clicks, but you’re going to have to give me, like, a journalistic reason here, especially if you admit that you just are repeating what another news source said and the president disputed that anyway. So, it’s sort of, like, doubly embarrassing. There’s no original reporting. If you’re going to call yourself a reporter, let’s see some reporting. There’s no original reporting, and then, it’s just lazy. Respectfully, of course, it’s just lazy to talk about somebody’s Twitter feed. Do you talk about other people’s spouses in your pieces, ’cause I’ve been looking around, I haven’t learned a single thing from any of your pieces, and I’m just wondering if you routinely talk about people’s spouses.
Yilek: Uh, yes. My editor requires us to put in context about people’s families or spouses when it’s relevant.
Conway: Why is it relevant here? George’s position is what?
Yilek: That he’s against the president and the president has attacked him back.
Conway: Uh, well, the president is supportive of me. You mean last March?
Yilek: If that’s when —
Conway: You mean seven months ago?
Yilek: If that’s when he last attacked George Conway, then yes.
Conway: You don’t know when that was?
Yilek: I don’t know the date off the top of my head.
Conway: Is this forever going to be relevant? You’re the, quote, breaking news reporter, is what it says here. And I’m just trying to understand what the breaking news was there.
Yilek: I’d be happy to have you talk —
Conway: So far, I don’t see breaking news, and so far, I don’t see reporter. So, I’m just trying to understand either one, let alone all three together.
Yilek: I would be happy to have you talk to my editor.
Conway: Um, yes, so, always, right, exactly. You’re really going places. Let me tell you something, from a powerful woman. Don’t pull the crap where you’re trying to undercut another woman based on who she’s married to. He gets his power through me, if you haven’t noticed. Not the other way around. And if these are the, quote, standards, unquote, at the Washington Examiner, then yes, I’d be happy to talk to your editor. But I’ve known your editor since before you were born. So, I can call your editor either way. I’m just trying to give you a chance to explain why you think what you wrote qualifies as breaking news or reporting.
Yilek: I don’t know that I have to explain that to you.
Conway: You don’t have to explain that you’re actually a non-reporting reporter?
Yilek: I’m just trying to do my job and what my editor tells me to do.
Conway: OK, then let’s talk about your job. What is your job exactly? Is your job to rely upon derivative reporting without picking up the phone and trying to ask questions or write things that are relevant? In other words, you characterize me as being caught in the middle of something that I’m not caught in the middle of. So, why would you do that? Are you an expert on my marriage? Are you an expert on my job? Are you an expert on the way this White House works? Are you an expert on Twitter? I mean, what exactly are you an expert on that would qualify you to say, to characterize the way I feel?
Yilek: Would you like to dispute that on the record? I would be happy to put that in my story.
Conway: Nobody read your story. I’m just making the point — I’m just asking you how you do your job, and you’re telling me you don’t have to explain yourself to me? And that this is what your editor asks you to do? I’m trying to decide what that is. Does your editor ask you to characterize other people’s feelings? Because that’s weird.
“‘I have news for everybody: Get over it.’ So saith acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. …
“Well, if that’s what he thinks, I have news for him. Get over it: Your boss is going to be impeached. And he has nobody but himself (and Rudy Giuliani) to blame for it.” https://t.co/Q5cfQV1GhG
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) October 24, 2019