What To Do When Kellyanne Conway Talks About Microwaves

Kellyanne Conway Talks Surveillance Techniques

Making headlines again this week is White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway.  This time however, it might be a little unjustified.  

In an interview with Record columnist Mike Kelly, he questioned Kellyanne Conway about Trump’s wiretapping claims.  Without directly answering the question, Conway then listed several ways that technology is manipulated to spy on others.  She stated “there are many ways to surveil each other now unfortunately… You can surveil someone through their phones… certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. Microwaves that turn into cameras et cetera. So we know that is just a fact of modern life”.  And it didn’t take long for this answer to take over the news cycle.

Given her recent criticism, it seems like an easy launch point.  Conway’s time in the spotlight certainly has been a bumpy one. But are people jumping to criticize her just because she is any easy target? 

Watch the segment of the interview below:

History of Conway Criticism

Since the Trump administration came into power, Kellyanne Conway has been the eye of a hurricane of criticism. The first wave making landfall just two days after the inauguration, when she cited alternative facts when referring to the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration ceremony.  She has also previously landed herself into some factual trouble when referring to the Bowling Green Massacre, which in actuality did not happen. Needless to say, Conway’s time as senior counselor to the president has not been easy. But is this latest backlash really warranted?

(Read a more complete list of some of Conway’s flubs and gaffes here.)

Confirmation Bias

This latest interview started making its way around the news wire, and left Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinksi fairly upset. (Watch Mika and the panel discuss the interview here.) Morning Joe wasn’t alone. By mid-morning on Monday, a quick Google search brought up 23,600 articles for “Kellyanne Conway microwaves”.  And that’s just from the News section. You get 87,600 results in the regular old Google search containing all sections. Clearly, this is something the internet is just devouring.

Now, it’s easy to understand this reaction and basic mockery.  But that by no means makes it justifiable. Conway is an easy target for disapproval given all her mishaps thus far in the
Trump administration.  However the current reactions aren’t truly based on what Conway is saying or doing.  Her words are arguably being taken out of context, and she has become the scapegoat for those who are just looking for somewhere to place their anger regarding current political atmosphere.

This is the result of confirmation bias, or the tendency to only look for evidence that supports one’s current beliefs. Combine Conway’s previous missteps with the liberal outrage over the Trump administration, add in some quirky comment about spying microwaves, and you get a situation that gets bigger than it really should.

 

What Really Matters?

Now if the issue here is that she didn’t directly answer the interviewer’s question, then fine.  That is certainly a valid point. But in trying to deflect such questioning about the wiretapping, Conway was speaking much more generally.  If you really listen to what she is saying, she never implied microwaves or televisions were used to spy inside Trump Tower. In fact she didn’t give any new insights regarding these wiretapping claims at all. Listen even more closely to the interviewer’s response, and he seems to understand that she is speaking in broad terms when talking about the televisions and microwaves.

This isn’t the first time that Conway received harsher criticism than she was due. The reaction that followed the release of a photograph of Conway crouching on an Oval Office couch with her shoes on is the direct result of confirmation bias as well.  People were outraged with the disrespect and immaturity coming from Conway, judging her before they understood the picture in the rightful context. This latest incident with the spying microwaves is no different.

kellyanne conway twitter postAs a result, Kellyanne Conway has had to take to Twitter in order to defend
herself, which only opens the door for this issue to manifest itself further.

Let’s all make sure we are arguing about things that truly need to be discussed.

Thoughts?