Before his live show last night, Anderson Cooper pretaped a nearly 26-minute interview with Donald Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway. It was revealing, illuminating and exhausting.
Here are eight takeaways to start your Thursday, and the next four years.
1. It depends on what your definition of the word “presented” is. CNN’s early reporting was that Trump had been “presented” with the 2-page synopsis. NBC News later reported that “it was never discussed” with Trump during that meeting. COOPER: NBC has said it was not verbally presented and CNN never said it was verbally presented. In fact, we said, CNN, in their reporting, based on multiple sources, said we don’t know if it was verbally presented. CONWAY: Anderson, your sources are not correct.
2. The heat is on. CONWAY: Excuse me, but, Anderson, if you want me to talk, I know CNN is feeling the heat today. But I’m gracious enough to come… COOPER: I think you guys are feeling the heat.” CONWAY: “What heat do we feel? That you got this raw information, this complete ridiculous fake news…
3. “CNN is not BuzzFeed” COOPER: We’re not reporting that raw material. We’re not reporting that this person — we’re not basing our reporting on what this person did. Of course, it was opposition research. CNN is not BuzzFeed.
4. Chyrons, consultants and pundits, oh my: Conway, who is a veteran TV news pundit going back to the earliest days of the three cable news channel universe, reminded AC360 viewers of how a 21st century cable news story is told:
“Will heads roll because they didn’t after the election when all the polling was wrong, all the pundits were wrong, all the chyrons were wrong, all the consultants were wrong, all the anchors were wrong.”
“The implications and the chyrons and the consultants and the people who have been anti-Trump since the beginning and continue to be as he becomes president.”
“How are we going to move forward and have a relationship with major news organizations if everything just sounds and looks and seems the same? The chyrons, the pundits, the website.”
5. Stay on message, or not. CONWAY: CNN and BuzzFeed have a lot in common. You both were absolutely convinced and told your viewers Hillary Clinton would win this election. That’s why… COOPER: You can’t stick to what we’re talking about now? CONWAY:”Oh, no, no, this is what we’re talking about because the excitement, the fury about hacking reached a fever pitch after the election results. If cybersecurity was such a big priority to this administration and the Democratic Party and its apologists in the media, then why didn’t we do more about it over the last eight years? COOPER: I know you like to pivot, I get it. CONWAY: I’m not pivoting. This is — that’s actually real news. That actually happened.
6. Using a “fancy French word” like dossier doesn’t give a story any more credibility.
7. R.E.S.P.E.C.T. COOPER: To be honest, my job is not to have a great relationship with you. My job — I mean, I like you personally and I respect you and I respect anybody who is in the public arena and putting themselves out there and is a public servant as you all are. And I respect the president-elect enormously for all he’s done and all I hope he’s going to do. But the job of the press is not to be buddy buddies and hang out socially.
8. Cooper does not attend the annual springtime D.C. meets L.A. politi-celeb fest. “I don’t go to the White House correspondents dinner. I went once. I’m like, I’m never going again. I don’t want to hang out socially with these people. That’s not my job.”
We’ve also got the full transcript below. Reading it and watching it, are two different experiences.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Kellyanne, at today’s press conference, Sean Spicer conflated the unsubstantiated claims that BuzzFeed released with what CNN reported. And I was surprised by what he said because he said BuzzFeed and CNN made the decision to run with the unsubstantiated claim. That’s simply not true. I mean, what CNN said is that CNN is not reporting on details of that memo, as it is not independently corroborated the specific allegations.
Do you acknowledge CNN did not release the 35-page unsubstantiated claims against Donald Trump and it was misleading and untrue for Sean Spicer to suggest otherwise?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP: No, our incoming press secretary, Sean Spicer, was exactly right, as was the president-elect, Anderson. CNN went first yesterday and BuzzFeed went second.
COOPER: We didn’t report what BuzzFeed reported.
CONWAY: I didn’t say that you did but you linked to it in your story.
COOPER: But Sean Spicer said we did.
CONWAY: Let me just tell you, Anderson, let’s back up. I know CNN must be feeling the heat today of having a headline yesterday at around 6:30 p.m. that said, quote, “Intel chiefs presented Trump with information that Russia could compromise — Russia had information to compromise him.” That is just false.
And as you saw through NBC News reports today, tweets from people at “Politico”, no friend of Donald Trump’s, and a lot of — frankly, a lot of outlets, print and electronic outlets, so reluctant and hesitant to go forward with anything close to what CNN or BuzzFeed did.
COOPER: Again, you’re conflating what Buzz —
CONWAY: You went first. No, I’m conflating nothing.
COOPER: You’re conflating what BuzzFeed —
CONWAY: I just know what CNN did.
Anderson, you know, you are responsible journalist. You’ve gone all over the world. You’re widely respected.
COOPER: What’s inaccurate about what CNN reported?
CONWAY: Oh, my goodness, the whole headline. Go read the entire story. Four bylines and a story that’s just not true that the president-elect was presented with this information that it was appended in a two-page document to the briefing. NBC has said it was not. Other people have said it was not. They’re now receiving —
COOPER: NBC has said it was not verbally presented and CNN never said it was verbally presented. In fact, we said, CNN, in their reporting, based on multiple sources, said we don’t know if it was verbally presented. What CNN said was and I quote, “classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump. Multiple U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN.”
CONWAY: Anderson, your sources are not correct. And the fact is that —
COOPER: So, you’re saying in that intelligence briefing there was no information in any of the documents that — of that two-page summary?
CONWAY: Two things on that. Number one, we don’t discuss the classified information that is presented in intelligence briefings —
COOPER: Well, you just said it wasn’t true.
CONWAY: Excuse me, but, Anderson, if you want me to talk — I know CNN is feeling the heat today. But I’m gracious enough to come —
COOPER: I think you guys are feeling the heat.
CONWAY: — on and discus it.
We feel — what heat do we feel? That you got this raw information, this complete ridiculous fake news, actually just fake is —
COOPER: It’s actually been backed up by not only multiple sources but other news agencies, “New York Times,” Washington —
COOPER: So, go ahead.
CONWAY: I’m surprised you’re arguing with me. It has not been backed up by credible news source us and you know as well as I do that these rumors were running around for months. Every news outlet was chasing these rumors.
COOPER: We’re not reporting rumors.
CONWAY: Anderson, because CNN went first and had this breathless report, everybody said it was a bombshell, earth-shattering report last night.
COOPER: We didn’t say it was a bombshell.
CONWAY: BuzzFeed then went ahead — yes, you did. Yes, it did. It says right here: Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian effort to compromise him.
COOPER: Where’s the word bombshell?
CONWAY: That’s not true. Your headline is wrong.
Then Seth Meyers said that he continue fronted me on the bombshell. None of it is true.
CONWAY: I think a day later — can you tell me that you would — can you tell me would you run the same story today knowing what you know, everything that’s happened?
CONWAY: Because it seems — you would, wow, because the executive editor of “The New York Times” said they saw this information and they couldn’t corroborate. They couldn’t verify it.
COOPER: They were talking about the BuzzFeed story. They’re talking about the BuzzFeed story.
CONWAY: And so were you. You linked to —
COOPER: No, we said —
CONWAY: Why do you linked to the BuzzFeed story in your report?
COOPER: We said we cannot corroborate. We’re not reporting what they released. In fact, Jake Tapper has been very critical of what BuzzFeed has done.
CONWAY: If you couldn’t corroborate it, why would you even link to it? Why are linking to fake news?
COOPER: We did not link to it.
CONWAY: Why are linking to this stuff? You know the Michael Cohen — you know the Michael Cohen who is mentioned in that report is not the Michael Cohen who works at the Trump organization. This might —
COOPER: We never said he was.
CONWAY: You’re linking to the BuzzFeed report.
COOPER: We’re not linking to the BuzzFeed report.
CONWAY: It’s mentioned in here. I’m looking at the updated CNN report. I read it right before we came on air. And absolutely you know people — why did you — why did you run a story, why run a story based on anonymous sourcing that now has been rebutted about a two-page appendix that may not be true?
COOPER: So, you’re saying there was no two-page summary that was included in briefing material?
CONWAY: The president-elect was asked that question today. You should refer to his answer. But I will tell you —
COOPER: No, you can answer it. He said — he said — he —
CONWAY: No, I wasn’t in the briefing.
COOPER: OK. So you can’t say whether or not — you’re saying it’s not true but you’re saying also you can’t say —
CONWAY: What did the president-elect say when he was asked?
COOPER: I don’t know, you tell me.
CONWAY: Well, then you didn’t pay attention to the press conference. You’re relying on CNN’s unverified sources —
COOPER: I just watched the press conference. I just don’t want to misquote the president-elect. I assume you know what the president-elect said today.
CONWAY: I sure do.
COOPER: He said he doesn’t want to talk about —
COOPER: He said he doesn’t want to talk about — he won’t talk about what happened in the intelligence briefings.
CONWAY: Right. He shouldn’t. It’s called an intelligence briefing. Anderson, are you comfortable that —
COOPER: If this didn’t happen in an intelligence briefing, then you can talk about it. If this wasn’t a part of the briefing —
CONWAY: Are you comfortable — were your four journalists in the intelligence briefing? Were the officials who leaked to the media in the intelligence briefing? No, no, no, no, no. There were four intelligence officials and the briefer.
COOPER: So, on the one hand — but, Kellyanne, what you’re saying doesn’t make sense. On the one hand you’re saying our reporting is inaccurate. On the other hand, you’re saying you don’t know if it was in the intelligence briefing and you can’t say even if you did know, right?
CONWAY: I can tell you that credible news reports today say that it was not in there.
COOPER: An NBC News report based on one source, an NBC News report based on one source.
CONWAY: What is your based on?
COOPER: Multiple sources and “The New York Times” and “The Wall Street Journal” as well say that.
CONWAY: No. Excuse me. You know who put this collection of raw material is, right?
COOPER: We’re not reporting that raw material. We’re not reporting that this person — we’re not basing our reporting on what this person did. Of course, it was opposition research. CNN is not BuzzFeed.
I just wish you guys would acknowledge and just be straightforward. I get why politically it makes sense for you to link CNN with what BuzzFeed did, but as Jake Tapper has repeatedly said on the air, he doesn’t approve. He’s one of the reporters on this. He certainly doesn’t approve of what BuzzFeed did. I certainly would not have dumped all this unsubstantiated allegations. I think it’s unfair.
CONWAY: But now that it’s out there, CNN is all too happy to refer to it, aren’t you?
COOPER: We’re not reporting it. No, we’ve mentioned none of it on the air. We have not talked about any details on the air.
CONWAY: It’s on your website. But anyway, it’s on CNN.com. But here’s the thing, now, you’ll get lots of clicks. But here’s the thing, Anderson —
COOPER: Well, I encourage people to go online.
CONWAY: CNN and BuzzFeed — CNN and BuzzFeed have a lot in common. You both were absolutely convinced and told your viewers Hillary Clinton would win this election. That’s why —
COOPER: You can’t stick to what we’re talking about now?
CONWAY: Oh, no, no, this is what we’re talking about because the excitement, the fury about hacking reached a fever pitch after the election results where neither what was expected or desired by CNN, President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the whole crew. OK?
If cybersecurity was such a big priority to this administration and the Democratic Party and its apologists in the media, then why didn’t we do more about it over the last eight years? Why when 21 million personnel files were hacked of innocent Americans to the Office of Personnel Management by China, President Obama basically gave them a slap on the wrist? Now, we’re all talking about —
COOPER: I know you like to pivot, I get it.
CONWAY: I’m not pivoting. This is — that’s actually real news. That actually happened.
CONWAY: That’s not unsourced, unnamed —
COOPER: I guess what you still have not answered — I guess what you still haven’t answered, though, is what is inaccurate in our reporting? Because you said you weren’t in the briefing, you don’t know if what we’re reporting is true or not. You weren’t in the briefing. And I guess you haven’t heard anything about what was in the briefing from anybody who was there.
Can you deny that what we reported, not what BuzzFeed, all that unsubstantiated stuff, which we’re not reporting, what we reported, how can you say it’s not true?
CONWAY: I think if you link to something on your website, you’re reporting it.
COOPER: Again, you’re not answering the question. How can you say it’s not true?
CONWAY: No, no, hold on. You can’t say you’re not reporting it if it’s on your website.
COOPER: You can’t answer this question. What is inaccurate about our reporting?
CONWAY: Sure, I can. Here’s the answer, here’s the answer — if the four intelligence officials that gave the top secret briefing last week that some fools think they should leak to the media when it’s a top secret intelligence briefing for a reason so they we’re all protected, everybody, then why according to your own report last night — “report” used as a loose word here — why do they not tell the president-elect about it?
Because your own reporting says that there’s no confirmation that they briefed him orally. If it was so darn important —
COOPER: Right. I appreciate you acknowledging that.
CONWAY: And it’s worthy — well, hold on. If it’s worthy of a CNN screaming headline that became this huge fake news story, then why did they not brief him? They had an opportunity. They were here in Trump Tower. Why didn’t they tell him if it was so important? You know it’s important —
COOPER: I don’t have the answer to that. We don’t have —
CONWAY: — politics not intelligence. I have the answer.
COOPER: We report on what we know and —
CONWAY: It’s important to politics, not intelligence.
COOPER: We report on what our sources are telling us and what our sources said. We could not get any confirmation whether or not this was verbally discussed. And we acknowledge that.
CONWAY: Why run with it? Why release it first and report it sometime in the future?-
COOPER: Because if it’s significant enough to be — if it’s significant enough to be in the briefing documents, then it seems significant. The fact that whether it’s not — for whatever the reason, they decided to have it be in the briefing documents, that is news.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: If it’s significant enough to be in the briefing documents it seems significant. The fact that whether it’s not — for whatever the reason they decided to have it be in the briefing documents, that is news, no?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP ADVISER: What if it’s not in the briefing documents, Anderson? What will CNN do?
COOPER: Well, if our report is wrong, we’ll acknowledge that.
CONWAY: Really? Will heads roll because they didn’t after the election when all the polling were wrong, all the pundits were wrong?
COOPER: Are you telling me right now — but you’ve yet to say —
CONWAY: All the chyrons were. All the consultants were wrong. All the anchors were wrong.
COOPER: You’re talking about polling during the election, which, yes, all that data —
CONWAY: No, I’m asking — I just don’t think that you’ll clean house if the report is wrong, if there wasn’t a two-page appendix because you haven’t cleaned house yet. Not as the outlet —
COOPER: What you think and what is true are not necessarily the same thing. So, I’m trying to figure out from you what you can say is true and what is not. And you cannot — you cannot take issue with any specific that we have reported. I’ve yet to hear you say specifically that is not true.
CONWAY: It’s not true.
COOPER: It’s not true that those were briefing documents?
CONWAY: Here’s what is true.
COOPER: It’s not true that that was in any of the briefing documents? You’re saying that categorically? How do you know that?
CONWAY: It’s true you have no evidence of it. Other than unnamed sources, you don’t have the briefing documents. That’s what’s true, because they would not have access to the briefing documents.
COOPER: You don’t know who the sources are, but we have multiple sources. And again, this is something also that “The New York Times”.
CONWAY: Tell them to come forward. Tell them they can have this chair anytime. Tell them to come forward. Why are these unnamed sources — who are they protecting, except Democrats —
COOPER: This is a red herring. You’re just it’s like you got — you’re trying to distract from my question which is you do not have information whether it’s true or not.
CONWAY: Anderson, you can use words like pivot, distract, red herring all you want. The fact is that the media have a 16 percent approval rating for a reason. It’s been earned. And it’s crap like this that really undergirds why Donald Trump won. In fact, you’re doing him a favor again. This was an anti-elitist election. It was rejection of everybody thinks they know better than people.
COOPER: I’m trying to get a sense of —
CONWAY: This report is very concerning, very concerning.
COOPER: You say it’s not true but you can’t say whether it’s true or not. I get the anger over the BuzzFeed stuff. I thought that was — when I read that, it was totally unsubstantiated. We’re not reporting that. I guess I don’t understand — I guess actually, I think because I think it’s politics for you to try to link all the reporters together. It seems unfair and frankly disingenuous.
CONWAY: No. Actually, very few people came to CNN’s defense today. I’m sure you’re aware of that.
COOPER: Actually, Shepard Smith on FOX did which I thought was interesting and actually pretty —
CONWAY: That’s a cherry pick. Great.
Well, anybody else on FOX or anybody else? I don’t see people rushing to CNN’s defense. I saw a lot of pushback, frankly.
COOPER: I don’t know. I haven’t talked to Sean Hannity today. I’m sure you guys have a couple times. But —
CONWAY: Well, you can pick on FOX all you want, but I’ve been on other networks today. Sean Spicer has. The president-elect gave a press conference in front of over 400 journalists, credentialed journalists who wanted to cover this, and they’re not out there saying, linking to CNN’s report. And there’s a reason for that, because it is unnamed, unsourced folks.
And you can — so, if you say — let me ask you a question because you’re a journalist and I’m not.
COOPER: I should point out “The New York Times,” “The Wall Street Journal” actually matched what our reporting was.
CONWAY: If you say that CNN’s not reporting on something but it’s on your website, does that mean CNN is not reporting on it? Because I think they are.
COOPER: BuzzFeed is not on our website.
CONWAY: OK. The BuzzFeed report, the BuzzFeed story is not linked on your website, it’s not mentioned in the story?
COOPER: I don’t know. I don’t know all of what’s on (INAUDIBLE) programming. I’m told it’s not, but I don’t believe that it is.
I find it weird that CNN and frankly if CNN linked to the BuzzFeed stuff, that seems to me inappropriate. And if CNN does that, I would not — I would not support that.
But as far as I know, that is not the case. I’m going to check out our website and I urge people to go to our website right now and check it out for themselves.
CONWAY: Anderson, do you think that BuzzFeed or anybody else after months of deciding against publishing specious, scurrilous, unverified, uncorroborated junk in a Democratic opposition research document, do you think they would have released it last night had CNN not preceded it with its own report? I doubt it. There was a nexus here.
COOPER: The last time I read BuzzFeed, I saw a headline that said like ten top sex toys that was going to improve your sex life. I don’t read BuzzFeed.
CONWAY: OK, now, you’re insulting BuzzFeed.
COOPER: I’m just not interested. I don’t read BuzzFeed, so I am not going to speak for them or defend them. I don’t think they should have published unsubstantiated allegations against the president-elect of the United States. I think that’s inappropriate —
CONWAY: Maybe they would not have, maybe they would not have had the imprimatur of CNN, the vaunted name of CNN, gone first. You went first. They were second.
COOPER: So, your problem is that we reported something based on multiple sources, that then co-corroborated also by “The New York Times” and “The Wall Street Journal” and others, you’re saying —
CONWAY: No, not about the two pages. It’s been pushed back by NBC News and others tonight. We know that.
COOPER: NBC News based on one source and what they said is that it wasn’t verbally presented, and we never said it was.
CONWAY: Anderson, do you think it should have been, though? I mean, if it’s worthy —
COOPER: I don’t know. I can’t speak —
CONWAY: Do you think it should have been verbally presented?
COOPER: I can’t speak —
CONWAY: No, no, I’m asking you as a smart person who loves America.
COOPER: I’m not going to speak for the intelligence officials and what they chose to brief or not brief.
CONWAY: OK, but then it’s not important, right? Because they were in the room. They could have told him. Why not brief —
COOPER: I have no idea. That’s for your judgment. I have no idea.
We stand by our reporting which was we don’t know whether it was actually verbally briefed. We don’t have reporting on that. All we have based on multiple sources, which CNN stands by 100 percent, was that this was in the material. Not the 35-page, salacious, unsubstantiated document that BuzzFeed later put out. But some sort of a summary about it. That’s what our reporting was.
CONWAY: So, just so we’re clear and we have good relations with the press here in the Trump White House, if it turns out that the two pages are not true, do not exist somehow, then CNN will take corrective measures about that? Because you released first and —
COOPER: I certainly think they should. I certainly think they should.
COOPER: I think everybody in this business who stands by their reporting, if they do it wrong — if they get it wrong, they should acknowledge that right away.
CONWAY: And I think the point that Sean Spicer —
COOPER: And I think that’s important.
CONWAY: The point that Sean Spicer and the president-elect were trying to make today is very simple. It’s that many outlets refuse to go where CNN went and separately —
COOPER: No, many outlets refuse to publish a 35-page unsubstantiated document, which is what CNN also did.
CONWAY: They’ve also refused to say that CNN had this “report”, quote/unquote. I’m using the term liberally. Had this report that there was a two-page appendix that somehow said something that was so important to the security of our nation that nobody bothered to brief the president-elect and perhaps even President Obama that —
COOPER: Not everybody has the same sourcing, obviously. You know that. Some people have better sourcing than others. And CNN is standing by their reporting.
CONWAY: I’ll tell you, everyone has unnamed sourcing, though.
COOPER: OK. My only point —
CONWAY: Unnamed. This is political. It’s political.
COOPER: I respect you coming on and talking about this. But my only point I want to get across is I just don’t understand — I think it’s unfair to conflate the two and whether whatever the reasons y’all are doing that, I’m not sure. You know, I have ideas but I just don’t think that’s professional. It’s not true.
CONWAY: You should take that up with other journalists because those who mentioned this issue at all today mentioned both CNN and BuzzFeed together, in print, on Twitter, on Facebook.
COOPER: Right. Well, those people — anybody who conflated it as the same reporting, that’s inaccurate reporting.
CONWAY: Wasn’t conflated as the same reporting.
COOPER: Just like what Sean Spicer said is inaccurate.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP: Those who mentioned this issue at all today mentioned CNN and BuzzFeed together, in print, on Twitter, on Facebook.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Right. Well, those people — anybody who conflated it as the same reporting, that’s inaccurate reporting.
CONWAY: Wasn’t conflated as the same reporting.
COOPER: Just like what Sean Spicer said is inaccurate.
CONWAY: It wasn’t conflated as the same reporting, Anderson. It was conflated as the same series of events that have led to this conversation.
But, look, the fact is that Donald Trump last week, the president-elect, after he received the intelligence briefing, he came out with a statement — your viewers, I hope at CNN, I’m sure they have. I commend them to read it again and again because he says something that’s very clearly about who has attempted to hack us and they continue to attempt. They did successfully attack — hacked the DNC and that he, the president-elect, in moving forward, wants to meet with his own security intelligence team and ask them for a plan within the next 90 days of taking office, Anderson, to come up with a plan that will improve cybersecurity enhancements. Because it doesn’t seem like it was a priority until after people didn’t like the election results.
And the idea that innocent people had their names dragged through the mud last night is very — should be disconcerting to everyone. These folks who have never been in Prague. People we don’t even know. People —
COOPER: Again, we didn’t report that.
CONWAY: People who aren’t associated with the campaign.
CONWAY: So, you got the party started. A lot of your journalists today feel that way because they were at the press conference and we hear from them.
So, I just want to give you a friendly piece of advice. Many people feel that CNN went first and BuzzFeed went second, and that with the imprimatur of CNN going first and posting this and then making it a huge centerpiece of TV coverage, that then it allows a news outlet to go ahead and publish the rest of this “story”, quote/unquote, and it’s fake news — as Donald Trump said last night. And I also agree it’s a political witch hunt.
COOPER: So, if CNN reports something and people on Twitter, you know, shady organizations or BuzzFeed or, you know, reputable organizations start then reporting other things, we’re not — you cannot hold CNN responsible for what other people are doing. They’re responsible for what they do. We stand by our reporting 100 percent.
And I guess — I mean, I think we both made our points but I really do appreciate —
CONWAY: I can hold CNN accountable for having the screaming headline that he was briefed on something if he wasn’t. That’s what it says. It says intelligence chiefs presented Trump with information that Russia efforts to compromise him.
COOPER: Right. Well, it doesn’t say he was briefed. It says he was presented with information, that there was information in there, in the documents.
CONWAY: In a footnote or sliding it under a gum wrapper? I mean —
COOPER: You said briefed. That’s not what the headlines just said. So, I’m just —
CONWAY: Well, the implications and the chyrons and the consultants and the people who have been anti-Trump since the beginning and continue to be as he becomes president — I mean, look, Anderson, I think the more important conversation, maybe it’s for another time, but let’s start it tonight briefly — a more important conversation is we’re at an important inflection point about journalism.
What are the standards here? Are we — how are we going to cover the president of the United States? Because I took a little peek at what the headlines about President-elect Obama were eight years ago — whew, talk about the world’s biggest disconnect. It was basically how (INAUDIBLE) was excellent. Should President-elect Obama go to Oslo now and pick up his Nobel Peace Prize or should he wait until after he’s sworn in?
We get nothing like that. We get no forbearance. We get nothing. We get no respect. We get no deference.
COOPER: We actually Donald Trump’s allegations against Donald Trump —
CONWAY: This man is president of the United States.
COOPER: — against President Obama quite frequently and interviewed actually Donald Trump about his allegations, completely unproven and fake, against President Obama.
CONWAY: I don’t know what that has to do with this. I’m just merely saying —
COOPER: You’re talking about old headlines about President Obama. We ran with that story a lot.
CONWAY: At this time before he was president-elect, it was basically what will they wear to the inauguration and how historic — in other words, what with will his inaugural address be? Why don’t we have that conversation? I’m happy to talk about that, but we can’t, when CNN and BuzzFeed and others are trying to release information sequentially on the same night, and it all gets picked up and gets looped together, and you know that.
I was on several shows this morning. Our incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, was. We had a press conference today with the president-elect, and it all gets conflated together. You may not like it.
COOPER: I understand other people loop things together but we are not —
COOPER: — we are not discussing the details of what BuzzFeed dumped onto the Internet. That’s not — you haven’t heard that on —
CONWAY: That’s what CNN did today and I guarantee they will tonight probably on the show that runs after yours. They probably —
COOPER: We have been very conscientious in not discussing the details, the completely unsubstantiated and, you know, increasingly false apparently details of what was being reported by BuzzFeed or what was not only being reported, just being dumped onto the Internet by BuzzFeed and we’re not going to do it tonight, certainly not on my program. But we want to —
CONWAY: And it’s all fake news. And let me just say, Anderson —
COOPER: Well, it’s not all fake news. I mean, that’s just disingenuous.
CONWAY: Well, in that report, yes, it’s all fake news. And people keep using the word “dossier” like some fancy French word is going to imbue it with credibility. It’s an Internet report. It is not an intelligence report. It’s a collection of stuff that came from political operatives.
COOPER: Yes, I agree.
CONWAY: — who wanted a different candidate to win.
COOPER: We agree on this.
CONWAY: But, Anderson, look, you know, if a business doesn’t do well some year, they usually clean house. They usually get rid of the people who embarrass them, who didn’t meet their projection goals, who said things that just weren’t true and made no sense.
I just don’t see that at CNN and other places. I mean, how are we going to move forward and have a relationship with major news organizations if everything just sounds and looks and seems the same? The chyrons, the pundits —
COOPER: Right. To be honest, my job is not to have a great relationship with you.
CONWAY: The website.
COOPER: My job — I mean, I like you personally. My job — and I respect you and I respect anybody who is in the public arena and putting themselves out there and is a public servant as you all are. And I respect the president-elect enormously for all he’s done and all I hope he’s going to do.
But the job of the press is not to be buddy buddies and hang out socially.
CONWAY: How about be fair?
COOPER: I agree. To be fair and be accurate.
CONWAY: Well, that certainly has been the case for President Obama. He’s —
COOPER: I’ve never been to the White House.
COOPER: To hang out socially —
CONWAY: A lot of folks have.
COOPER: Listen, I agree. I don’t go to the White House correspondents dinner. I went once. I’m like, I’m never going again. I don’t want to hang out socially with these people. That’s not my job.
But, look, this is a larger conversation. I’m happy to have it to you because I do —
CONWAY: Well, it is, and — you know, Anderson, just briefly, you know, that’s right, but Mike Pence put it best today, our vice president-elect. He said in introducing our President-elect Donald Trump, he said, that we all support a fair and free press.
But with freedom comes responsibility. And he’s absolutely right. I think people should not do this rush to judgment, have conclusions in search of evidence.
COOPER: Well, look, we agree with that.
CONWAY: That then really confuse the viewers and the readers.
COOPER: I totally agree. I totally agree with that. We’re on the same page.
And, Kellyanne Conway, as always, appreciate your time.
COOPER: We agree. Thank you.