Trump aide Kellyanne Conway.

Conway Alternative Facts: Donald Trump Aide Kellyanne Conway Uses Orwellian Doublespeak About Presidential Inauguration [Opinion]

As reported by CNN, yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press Kellyanne Conway – a principal member of Donald Trump’s White House team and his former campaign manager – characterized obviously incorrect statements by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer as “alternative facts.” This nice bit of Orwellian doublespeak didn’t go unnoticed by the press or the internet.

Sean Spicer White House press conference presenting Conway alternative facts.
Sean Spicer White House press conference presenting Conway alternative facts. [Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]

Gaffe Management À La Conway

“Alternative facts” may well enter the lexicon of American politics, making Kellyanne Conway famous in perpetuity – or infamous, depending on your perspective. Unfortunately for Conway, her attempt to deal with the fallout from Sean Spicer’s recent disastrous press conference seems to have only made things worse. Her bumbling comment to Chuck Todd of Meet The Press about Sean Spicer’s statements to the media threw gasoline on the fire.

“You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving- Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”

To which Todd replied, “Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.”

The question Conway must be asking herself at this point is whether this kind of obfuscation and spin doctoring will be a daily activity for her. Given the fact that many of the things Donald Trump said during the campaign were themselves far from the truth, the answer to this question would be a resounding “yes, indeed.”

A Press Conference/Tirade

Many prior White House press secretaries – not to mention members of the media – have commented on the fact that they have never seen a press conference quite like the one just presided over by Sean Spicer. It was an event in which he took no questions from the press but instead launched an attack on the news media for reporting unflattering things about the size of the crowd that came to Donald Trump’s inauguration.

According to CNN, despite virtually irrefutable evidence – photographic and otherwise – suggesting that there were fewer attendees at Donald Trump’s inauguration than for either of Obama’s two inaugurations, Spicer insisted that not only was this not true, the Trump inauguration drew more visitors than any inauguration in history.

Almost screaming at times, Spicer insisted that reporters were not reporting the news correctly and should focus on other stories, presumably using some of the “alternative facts” Conway later referenced. It was clear that Spicer, perhaps at the prompting of Donald Trump, was implying that the president of the United States should have the right to dictate the scope and slant of media coverage.

The Devil Is in the Alternative Facts

Spicer went to the trouble of posing with a photograph of the inauguration ceremony taken from the perspective of Donald Trump, which seemed to show a large number of people. He then suggested that the photos showing a sparse crowd at the ceremony were taken from an unfair position and didn’t take into account unusual conditions and circumstances. Of course, the same could be said about Spicer’s photographic alternative facts.

According to Spicer, the photo of the mall taken from above – showing what looks like a fraction of the number of people who came to Obama’s inauguration – overlooks the alternative facts that metal detecting equipment was used by the Secret Service and that this made it more difficult to fill the area with a large crowd. But as a number of news organizations have pointed out, the Secret Service itself has indicated no such equipment was used.

And when Spicer suggests the Trump inauguration enjoyed the largest audience in history – by which he presumably meant via television as well – he was once again delivering Conway alternative facts.

As noted by the Sky Valley Chronicle, Nielsen ratings taken of Obama’s inauguration and Trump’s inauguration make it quite plain that 7 million fewer people watched Donald Trump take the oath of office as president of the United States. Unfortunately for the Trump administration, the difference between Conway alternative facts and real ones is that the latter can be confirmed.

[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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