Speaking with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Friday morning, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway explained the terror threat of immigrants from Iraq. She attacked the media for not covering the “Bowling Green Massacre.” Conway later clarified that she was referring to two Iraqi refugees living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who were convicted of terrorist activity.
But you wouldn’t know that from the headlines. “Trump advisor cites non-existent massacre defending ban,” CNN reported. “Kellyanne Conway cites ‘Bowling Green massacre’ that never happened to defend travel ban,” echoed The Washington Post. “Kellyanne Conway Cites ‘Bowling Green Massacre’ That Never Was to Defend Trump Travel Ban,” ABC News reported. From Britain’s Daily Mail: “And here’s the alternative news… Kellyanne Conway ‘invents Bowling Green massacre’ to defend Trump’s immigration ban on live TV.”
USA Today’s original headline was “Kellyanne Conway invents ‘Bowling Green massacre’ to defend refugee ban.” They, at least, had the good sense to alter the headline to “Kellyanne Conway on Bowling Green ‘massacre’: I meant ‘terrorists.'”
Many media outlets acted as though Conway specifically invented a false historical event to justify what is in their eyes an unjustifiable ban.
Some even compared the “Bowling Green massacre” to the Nazi fake news blaming Jews for the Reichstag fire. (Totally uncalled for.)
“This is an administration that is posing a great challenge for journalism, in that it is willing to stretch the boundaries, and sometimes barrel right past the boundaries of truth on a regular basis,” said CNN’s Ron Brownstein.
Huh. Does that remind you of anyone? Remember how the Benghazi attack was started by a video? Oh, and the media did an excellent job of debunking those claims, and other lies of the Obama administration, right?
But I digress. Luckily, Americans don’t have to guess at what Conway was doing.
“READ: Bowling Green Terrorists: Al Qaeda in KY: US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country as Refugees,” Conway tweeted, with a link to a story about Iraqi refugees arrested for plotting to send weapons back to their home country, in an effort to support terrorism.
READ: Bowling Green Terrorists: Al Qaeda in KY: US May Have Let 'Dozens' of Terrorists Into Country as Refugees https://t.co/nB5SwIEoYI
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 3, 2017
Granted, this is no “massacre,” and the mistake is embarrassing. It was compounded by Conway saying, “I bet there was very little coverage, I bet it’s brand new information to people, that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.”
Perhaps this explains why the media took so much offense — Conway was attacking them for not covering Obama’s six-month stay on Iraqi refugees, and she connected that to this “Bowling Green massacre,” a clear misstatement. This came right after she explained that the Obama administration already targeted the countries involved in Trump’s immigration ban “as being states that either harbor, train, and/or export terrorism. These are nations very narrowly prescribed and also temporary.”
Obama’s immigration stay and his administration’s prior designation of the countries involved in Trump’s order are facets of Trump’s order — vilified as a so-called “Muslim ban” — that tend to be under-represented in recent coverage, especially among liberals who condemn the order.
The “Bowling Green massacre” freakout obscures the fact that Conway gave a rather strong interview, and that Trump’s order — while rightly attacked for applying to green-card holders — is indeed defensible. Still, there were a few tweets mocking Conway that were too good to ignore.
Beryl Cook's depiction of the Bowling Green Massacre is particularly moving. pic.twitter.com/AuoaY0xxB4
— Andrea Mann (@AndreaMann) February 3, 2017
— Keith Barber (@KeithDB80) February 3, 2017
Here’s Conway’s interview.