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Kellyanne Conway Gets More Free Media Than Mike Pence and Paul Ryan

Emily Stewart

Repeats story published March 7.

If it feels like you've seen a ton of Kellyanne Conway on TV lately, it's because you have.

Conway, former Trump campaign manager and current counselor to the president, has received millions of dollars in free earned media since the start of the year, according to data from analytics firm mediaQuant. Last month, she got more airtime than Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. And the month before, she edged out Vice President Mike Pence. The only figures who have consistently beat her in free media attention in 2017 are Donald Trump, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

"I'm the face of Donald Trump's movement," Conway said in a January interview with The Hollywood Reporter. And she appears to be right.

Conway, 50, got $15.9 million in free earned media in February, her boss' first full month in office, and $13.1 million in January. Over the past year, she has gotten more than $100 million in unpaid press attention.

Unsurprisingly, broadcast television is where she's gotten the most play, with about 60% of free media attention coming from there. She is also prominent in online news and Twitter.

She far outpaces other White House figures such as Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon in free earned media. She appears to be making a relatively equal splash to Pence, who got more media than her in February but less in January and December.

"Pence just hasn't got his own voice out there," said Paul Senatori, chief analytics officer at Portland-based mediaQuant. "Maybe it's hard in the shadow he's operating under, but Kellyanne Conway hasn't had that problem."

To be sure, Conway's free media prowess falls far short of her boss'. Trump rode $5 billion in free earned media to the White House, per mediaQuant's calculations.

To arrive at its estimates, mediaQuant tracks the coverage of each candidate and calculates dollar values based on advertising rates of the media in which the article or news broadcast appears. It weights mentions by the reach of the source (meaning how many people are likely to see it) and includes various mediums, including print, broadcast, online news, blogs and social. It makes adjustments based on sentiment, segment and search metrics.

Since joining the Trump campaign in August 2016, the former pollster has become a prominent figure on the media circuit. She is one of the most talked-about figures in the Trump White House, for bad and for good.

A heated interview with CNN's Jake Tapper went viral in February, and before that, Conway drew attention when she told NBC's Chuck Todd that the White House's claims about the president's inauguration crowd size were "alternative facts."

Conway took a step back from the airwaves late last month after a series of missteps, including offering an impromptu "free commercial" for Ivanka Trump on "Fox and Friends" -- a maneuver that earned her a letter from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics that the White House eventually rebuffed. She also appeared to be out of the loop with regards to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's communications with Russia prior to his departure from the Trump administration.

Pop culture has caught onto Conway as well. SNL's Kate McKinnon has spoofed her several times, sometimes in a relatively lighthearted light, other times, less so. A photo of Conway kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office swept social media last week.

In an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. last month, Conway, a mother of four, discussed her rise in prominence. She said it is hard for her to consider herself a feminist in the "classical sense" but spoke of being a woman in power.

"I don't have any special advice for America's women, except to know who you are and to put your priorities in order and not to worry about the naysayers and critics," she said.

Love her or hate her, she's got thick skin and needs it, given her media presence.

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