IT was not media that compared Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar to White House senior counsel Kellyanne Conway. Two congressmen, Tom Villarin and Edcel Lagman, did.
For Andanar’s claim that Senate reporters were offered $1,000 each to cover a retired police officer Arthur Lascañas’s news conference accusing President Duterte’s role in Davao Death Squad’s murders, Villarin and Lagman said that was “Kellyandanar Conway with alternative facts.”
Apparently, Kellyanne, Conway’s first name morphed into “Kellyandanar.” Aside from the chance for word play, both have little else in common.
Conway has had a long history of dodging, attacking, lying and otherwise spinning issues about her boss Donald Trump, from the 2016 campaign until now. Andanar is a virtual newbie, playing his role as communication officer only after Duterte won.
Andanar’s notable lapses are only two: he accused the Malacañang press of misreporting Duterte’s statements on martial law and, the recent one, he slammed Senate reporters for having been offered bribe to cover an anti-Duterte press-con. In both instances, he was wrong about his facts and journalists collegially denounced him.
What did that Andanar “trick” involve?
He apparently lied about the facts on Duterte’s remarks about martial law but it’s not known yet if he knew the bribery tale was false or was just victim of a prank.
Conway’s use of “alternative facts,” disregard of evidence and rules of rational talk, her ability to meet questions with anything that distracts or strays: Andanar has not done any of that yet.
As one media critic noted, Conway can be “cool, girlish, schoolmarming, mothersplaining.” She can look hurt or outraged. She can mix falsehood with reality or belt out a pure lie, such as a massacre that didn’t happen, and if caught, ignore or flick it away.
Andanar can’t to be compared to Kellyanne. His missteps, chastening as they are, don’t even come close: Martin still has to learn skill and antics that drive journalists nuts.