Kellyanne Conway has a message for media covering last week’s New Zealand mosque shootings: dial back the scope of coverage.
During a Fox News appearance on Saturday, the White House counselor chided reporters for what she said she viewed as a politicization of the Christchurch massacre in which at least 50 people were killed by an alleged attacker who appears to have shared a manifesto online about his hatred for Muslim immigrants.
“They insert themselves ― ‘I must speak! I must say something!’” she said of journalists. “No, you don’t. You can actually shut up and pray for people and wait for the authorities to make their judgments.”
Doubling down on her routine criticisms of the press, Conway told the media to “look at what the president said right away, condemning violence, condemning hate, standing with the people of New Zealand.”
Those Trump comments were reported and broadcast, though news stories also took note of the president’s record of Islamophobic and xenophobic rhetoric. Also reported were criticisms that his response was inadequate and that he should give a speech explicitly denouncing anti-Muslim bigotry.
While there are no indications the alleged gunman was inspired to embark on his killing spree by Trump, his 74-page manifesto pointed to the president as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
Trump also spurred criticism by claiming during a White House press conference hours after the New Zealand attacks that he didn’t see a rise in white nationalism that poses an increasing threat of violence in many nations.
He downplayed the threat, speculating that the white nationalist movement involved only “a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.”
Earlier this month, Anti-Defamation League data showed that in the U.S., white supremacist propaganda skyrocketed by 182 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.
Those efforts include “the distribution of racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic fliers, stickers, banners and posters,” with 1,187 such cases reported last year ― a sharp contrast to the 421 reported the year before.