tv Reliable Sources CNN August 5, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PDT
26% of the world's population does not have regular access to electricity, according to the world bank. most of those people are in sub-saharan africa and the poorer, more rural parts of asia. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." when an aide to mitt romney tells reporters to kiss his backside, you know there are serious strains between the candidates and the press. when fox's greta van us isternsays romney's press corps is being treated like a petting zoo you know there's a dysfunctional relationship. now romney and his allies are suggesting that the media ruined his international trip with a focus on gaffes. >> now the reporters are harassing romney, trying to create gaffes. >> can that be true, or are conservatives just blaming the messenger? nbc gets trashed for its
coverage of the olympic. especially after complaints to twitter led to retaliation against the british newspaper critic. what were these companies thinking? a freelance reporter exposes new yorker writer joan elyra as a serial fabricator who made up quotes from bob dylan. and lara stonewalled him the whole time. >> he lied to me in that conversation, actually. he lied to me in his confession. >> we'll talk to michael moynihan about how he feels about costing lehrer his job. talk about lying, the former editor of "the new york times" is the victim of a hoax perpetrated by wikileaks. bill keller on that bizarre episode, media bias, and feelings about fox news. i'm howard kurtz, and this is "reliable sources." now if you had to pick a moment, a snapshot, a glimpse of the tensions between romney and the press corps, it would have to be this. at the tail end of a foreign trip consumed by negative
headlines, the republican candidate was walking toward his car after a wreath-laying ceremony within earshot of reporters. >> governor romney? >> can you comment on the mishaps during your trip? >> governor romney, do you have a statement for the palestinians? >> what about your gaffe? >> governor romney, do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip? >> this is a holy site for the polish people. show some respect. >> we haven't had the opportunity to ask questions. >> this is a holy site for the polish people. show some respect. >> all right. the press doesn't look great in poland, but the reporters were a model of decorum compared to rick gorham. who's to blame for the deteriorating relationship with the media? joining us, debra sanders, columnist for "the san francisco chronicle." and here, michael sheer, "the new york times." and bill press, host of current tv's "full court press." michael sheer, that was the last stop of the trip.
reporters weren't going to have another crack at romney. they had the shot. was that the symptom of a deteriorating relationship? >> i think it was definitely a symptom of a problem on the trip in which the campaign had made the conscious choice t put romney in interviews with television anchors but to keep him away from the reporters that were traveling with him. and what they i think discovered in the send if they had taken a few minutes with the reporters, done a little press, 15 minutes every day, they probably would have avoided that scene. >> on friday perhaps in responding to the criticism, romney did hold a press availability in las vegas. debra saunders, when he goes to three different countries and -- and news organizations are spending all this money to send reporters on the trip, and they get three questions, does that in your view effect the tone of the coverage? >> yes, it does. in fact, governor romney was in california recently.
he went to solyndra. i was on the press bus. they had this order that we couldn't tweet before we got to solyndra. it's sort of silly stuff that they do. people pay a lot of money to follow these things, to be on the road with him. and they get angry. it's not a smart way to deal with the press. having said that, i think we in the media look ridiculous the way we're covering this race. we're doing so many gaffe. we ought to talk about the real reason we're doing. we're understaffed, and we're overworked. if we can get him to do something we call a gaffe, we can just write a really quick, easy story. doesn't require a lot of research. it's like a rewrite job. there's a big demand, our editors are asking for more and more stuff from us. they whapt we call content. it isn't really. we keep looking for gaffes. and the romney campaign knows it. and so you've got this level of distrust on both sides. journalists who feel that they're being overhandled. and the romney people feel they can't get a fair break from the pack. >> the romney press says he took
150 questions from television reporters on that trip. and gloria borger of cnn interviewed him yesterday. but the print reporters can barely get a break here. >> first of all, this is nothing new. i mean, this -- you, howie, have written about a hostile relationship between mitt romney and the press corps way back in the primary days. >> but it's getting worse. >> i think it is getting worse. this is not the first time. a continuing problem with access to reporters. guys that i know, friends of mine who were on the trip. they didn't go on this trip to write a negative story about romney. they went to write the news. and some -- my advice to the romney campaign, if you don't want negative press, stop saying dumb things. but i want to pick up on what debra said, as well. i think -- i agree her. and i agree with you, debra. and with -- but i would add something else. i think there's a laziness on the part of the press corps, particularly some of us in cable television that it's easier to talk about gaffes than to talk about serious policy stuff. somebody says something maybe unintended that out of context
could be taken a wrong way, and then the media do nothing but report and talk about that for two days. you know what, it's easy to do. >> michael shear? >> i mean, i think that's a -- a good indictment of the current situation with the press. i think that's true. you know, i -- i do think, however, that, you know, this is a symbiotic relationship in the campaigns, both the obama campaign and romney campaign. they understand this situation. and so you know, there's not a lot of policy coming out from there either. because they don't want us to spend the time to investigate. >> i want to circle back. i first want to ask something specific. i spoke with stuart stevens, top strategist. he called the associate ed press extremely irresponsible in the handling of the palestinian flap, that mitt romney while in israel at a jerusalem fundraiser, talked about how the palestinians' culture was hurting its economy. the romney camp's complaint is that no effort to get comment after that. that the quote was partial because he mentioned other countries besides israel and the
palestinian territories. then took the quote to a palestinian official who said it was racist. legitimate complaint about how that was handled? >> look, i read the piece. and i think their main complaint and their main, you know, where they really get indignant is the sense that what they say the a.p. did was to present a kind of paraphrase and not the actual transcript to the palestinian official who then reacted in a really -- using the word racist. i don't know. i wasn't there. i didn't see what happened. i think as you pointed in your piece, the a.p. defended itself -- >> the a.p. said that it was proud of reporter casey hunt for seeing news in the political comments where other reporters in the room didn't and hadn't reported it initially. >> look, howie, the romney campaign said if only she had waited three or four hours until they got the poll in, they could have clarified this remark for her. i'm sorry, in today's news cycle, you don't wait three -- nobody is going to wait three or four hours to get a story out there. so these guys have to get realistic and -- and they have to provide more access.
and they've got to be more on the job. >> i want to get debra in on this. let me play something that mitt romney said earlier this week to a fox correspondent that i think suggests that he believes and certainly i know the people around him believe that he is simply not getting a fair shake from the media. let's play that. >> realized that there will be some in the fourth estate or whichever estate who are far more interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the economy, to geopolitics, to the threat of war. to the reality of conflict in afghanistan today. to a nuclearization of iran. >> debra, does romney have a point? but you have to lay that against the point that was made earlier at this table which is how much of substance or specificity or new proposals has he had to say on any of this that would provide news for the people covering it? >> well, the romney people put out a 59-point plan a while ago
on what he wanted to do for the economy. that didn't get a lot of coverage. what i'd like to see the romney people do -- i don't want to sound like i'm defending them. i don't have good access with that campaign. i've never had a sit down with mitt romney. i'm not -- i'm real unhappy about it -- >> you don't live in a swing state. >> yeah. but they ought to put out a 59 gaffes and see how many stories that gets. there week, mitt romney put out a five-point -- i guess 59 points are too many, right? they come out with the five-point plan. there have been stories about it. face it, everybody wants to talk about the gaffe. they don't want to talk about his policy suggestions. he's had some good interviews. the gloria borger interview, that was a good interview for him. i think that they've decided that that's their strategy. they'll give interviews, they'll say things. but we're just going to cover what -- the gaffe. they think that's what tv's going to do, and that's what print people will do. >> howie, the last time i was on, i checked the transcript. we were talking about gingrich. i said then, i'll say it again
-- politicians have to stop whining about the media, just do their job and put the facts out there. it works with the base. everybody wants to hate the mead extra. but that's not a substitute for substance. >> no worse than david brooks from the new york times who said this is the most campaign ever because it's so much focus on gaffes and polls and tactics and attack ads. says that neither candidate, barack obama or mitt romney, is putting on a lot of substance or having a specific proposal in the area of economy, education, you name it. 59-point plans notwithstanding. and that i think maybe helps highlight the gaffes. they're news, at least in the narrow way that we in the press define it. >> i think when we -- when everybody looks back on this as we inevitably do at the end of these campaigns, they're going to find fault with both sides. the dumbing down of the way we cover it and the dumbing down of the way the candidates are presenting -- are holding back information. and not engaging in the kinds of
debates because they don't want -- they don't want to engage in the debates. they want the debates to sort of fade to the background. and they can just send out press releases. >> i would argue it is our job to push these issues to the forefront and not just be on a perpetual gaffe control. >> when i think about newt gingrich and michele bachmann and herman cain, the one word i would not put on this campaign is dull. certainly not in the primary. and the other thing -- >> you're living in the past. i've got to go break. coming up, how should journalist treat an unsubstantwaited charge by a top senator? ♪ there is no relief for the brakes. we'll put them to the test today. all right, let's move out! [ ross ] we're pushing the ats brakes to the limit. going as fast as we can down the hill. we are making these sharp turns, slamming on the brembo brakes. [ derek ] it's like instant response, incredibly consistent. this is the challenge, machine vs. mountain. [ male announcer ] the all-new cadillac ats.
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a question for journalist -- what do you do when the senate majority leader makes an explosive charge and has nothing to back it up? >> the word apes o's out that ht paid any taxes for ten years. let him prove that he has paid taxes because he hasn't. >> majority leader harry reid reiterated an unsubstantiated charge he made in recent days. >> talking about mitt romney's secret tax returns. and harry reid is now the one that has to put up or shut up. when mitt romney could shut up harry reid. >> harry reid has to put up or shut up. harry, who are your sources? >> the last comment at romney's press conference in vegas on friday. michael shear, you're co-author of a piece in which you said it was hardly out of character for the cantankerous harry trooed hurl a taunting accusation at romney. took several days, but you made
reid the issue. >> and i think -- i think when people make unsubstantiated -- charges with absolutely no proof behind them, you know, one option is to ignore them. and -- for the media. that's not really an option here. he goes to the senate floor, as you saw. i think the best we can do is to, a, demand that he give us the proof. and if he doesn't, clearly say as we did in the piece in the first sentence, it's unsubstantiated. >> now harry reid said that he had gotten this from some unnamed person, used to work at bain. won't reveal it. he thinks it's true. he told use -- an original interview with the "huffington post" which reported it straight except for saying it's impossible to verify because they won't give us the source. is that the correct way to handle it? who should be the issue here? >> there's only one guy who can here this up. it's not harry reid. i'm sorry, it's mitt romney. >> that's a democratic talking point. that's a democratic talking point. what i'm asking is how journalists should handle an unsubstantiated charge. >> i'm going to actual. journalists should handle it by
going to mitt romney and say why only two years, why not 23 years? why -- you gave 23 years of it to mccain -- >> it's perfectly okay in your view for harry trooed throw this out -- reid to throw this out, unnamed source -- >> harry reid is not a journalist. harry reid is a democratic politician who doesn't want mitt romney to get elected. what he is doing may be diabolical, but it's brilliant. what's mitt romney been talking about for the last two days? he's been talking about his freaking tax returns. so harry reid is playing hardball. >> maybe diabolical, but -- >> we should not be helping him here. i think -- >> absolutely. >> it their reminds me of when michele bachmann said she met a mother who said her daughter got the hpv vaccine and got mentally retarded afterward. the media jumped on her rightly and said, show us this woman. we're not even sure that this person exists. you know, candy crowley's a great journalist. but she earlier said that harry reid wouldn't reveal his sources. how do we know he has any
sources? the accuser, the burden of proof is on the accuser. and harry reid has absolutely not met that burden in any way. i thought frank rooney's piece in "the new york times" today was on the money >> debra, when you say that we, meaning the meadia, shouldn't be helping harry reid with the charge, you're not suggesting that we don't are the it at all. you're suggesting that we challenge him, be skeptical of him? >> until there is proof, the focus is that there's no proof. the focus should be on him, not on someone else. i mean, he's the -- he's the leader of the senate. he has anon gas stati obligatio institution ton make unsubstantiated claims. until he can prove what he's saying, we have to focus on him. >> what is about is an assessment would say that are you right in this narrow sense. worked because it's all over the sunday shows today. still talking about romney's tax returns based on what reid said even though he produced no evidence as you pointed out. >> right. it worked friday when he held
the press conference. >> a reporter asked the question -- >> of course. mr. romney wanted to talk about the jobs numbers and attacks that he was leveling on the president. but yet, this got in the way. it's working. and i think debra's right. >> got to go. >> still working today. >> you seem to be enjoying it. bill, debra, michael, thanks for joining us this morning. next, jonah lehrer was riding high at the new yorker until he published a book with suspicious quotes from bob dylan. the journalist who exposed his fabrications in a moment. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multi-vitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. ♪ it has more of seven antioxidants to support cell health. that's one a day women's 50+ healthy advantage. by what's getting done.. measure commitment the twenty billion dollars bp committed
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the first sign of trouble for "new yorker" writer joania lehrer is when he admitted plagiarizing himself. then his chapter on bob dylan came under scrutiny. after weeks of digging, he admitted that "the toyotas in question either did not exist or unintentional misquotations or represented improper conversations of pre-existing quotes. the lies are over now. i want to apologize to everyone
i have let down, especially my editors and readers." layerer are has resigned. to find out how moyer cracked the case, i sat down with him in new york. welcome. what made you want to spend time looking into the book and the bob dylan quotations? >> the first thing is that i am a bit of a dylan freak myself. so when i saw -- >> nerd, perhaps? >> i am a bit of a nerd. when i saw these things and -- considering the previous difficulties he had had with the plagiarism charges and other things that people had accused him of, taking a passage from malcolm gladwell, and i decided to read his book. i read the first chapter and stopped at the first chapter. i still haven't gotten beyond it, incidentally. the first chaptd was about bob dylan. a few smelled fishy. the sourcing was a bit off. so i looked. >> and when you first contacted
layer er a lehrer he insisted the quotations were real and tried to convince you that there was nothing there? >> when first contacted he said he couldn't account for them because he was away from his notes. eventually he tells me that -- did concede that a few were franken quoted, hybridized, taken from here and here, different subjects to put together to make a "super quote." there were others, three couldn't be accounted for. two couldn't be accountsed for. that's when the -- accounted for. that's when the sort of deception began. >> whether but realize this was not just perhaps a case of sloppy not or inadvertent errors, but there was actual fabrication? when did you become convinced that there was real journalistic sin here? >> two things. i suspected very early. i realized about halfway through the process, and it was about a three, 3 1/2-week process when i was pointed toward sources that were very, very difficult to track own. this is three sources that i was
given. all of which are very hard to come by. and then, you know, when you realize that, mixed with the other errors, mixed with the sort of previous problems that he's had as a journalist, you know, that's when i said, okay, something is definitely up here. and i -- i kept pushing, and -- >> what were these conversations like? was he combative? was he -- hostile conversations? >> no, never. never hostile. you know, contrite on the hybrid quotes, which he admitted that he shouldn't have done. and told me that these will be fixed in a paperback version, future versions of his book. but you know, it was never hostile. it was -- i mean, to convince someone of something that isn't true, it's best not to sort of punch them and -- you know, get them angry. he said, look, i understand the job that you're trying to do here. and i'm trying to help you. and here are the sources. >> even in the conversation that you had with him the day before you published, last sunday night -- >> yeah? >> he started to confess to
having done certain things wrong. >> yeah. >> did he completely come clean? >> no. >> he continued to lie to you? >> he lied to me in that conversation actually. he lied to me in his confession. >> how so? >> he discovered that i had gotten in contact with one of his fake sources. and his fake source told me that i had never talked to this guy. i had never read his book. i'm unaware of any of this. >> the manager of bob dylan? >> it manager, jeff rosen. when i asked, how did you know that i had been talking to this guy, he said, well, i talked to one of his assistants. and, you know, he doesn't have an assistant. even to this point, there was lying. and when confronted with that, once all of this came out and it was -- it was sort of pouring out of him at this point, i said, you know, you're lying about that, too. and he admitted that he was lying even at that point. >> there were layers here. this is a tissue of lies that you to peel back one at a time? >> no, it is. when you pull that thread, it starts coming apart, i mean, i
was sort of horrified by it. i mean, the consequence of me reporting this, which is my job, is going to end up with him losing his job. and not even so much his job, but his livelihood. that's an uncomfortable situation to be in. >> the next day you published your piece. he resigned, apologized. he admitted he had not just lied but made up quotes. this is a full -- >> he apologized direction three me, which i appreciated. >> full-blown fabrication scandal. >> yeah. >> how does the impact of your work make you feel? in other words, how do you feel about what happened to jonah lehrer? >> not good at all. look, it is the job that one has to do in this situation. you get all of this material and you say,his is quite a scoop, isn't it? this is a rather well-known journalist. when you're piecing it together and you realize the sort of long-term ramifications of what this is going to -- the ramifications and the consequences this will have for jonah lehrer, that's hugely
uncomfortable. >> what i'm hearing is that he lied to you repeatedly. >> repeatedly. >> yet you kind of feel sorry for him. >> most certainly. yeah. yeah. >> why? >> how -- he did this to himself. and there is -- that i think is a separate issue. it's -- there is no doubt in my mind that he deserved i think a heavy amount of punishment, high degree of punishment. and there's no doubt that he brought this upon himself. and had this been -- you know, it's the watergate thing. sort of the cliche about watergate thing. the cover-up in some ways was worse than the crime. this was all his own doing. that said, you would have to have sort of no feelings whatsoever to think that somebody who has a child and is -- has this fap tantastic caree journalism, 31 years old, at the end of this, what does one do? there are few professions such
as ours that when you make one egregious mistake, you're done forever. >> right. >> there's second chances. we don't give second chances very much in journalism. >> i continue to be amazed why talented journalists and jonah lehrer is clearly one, sdoifl sdrubl -- self-destructed by plagiarizing. good to see you. after the break, nbc and twitter team up to silence a critic of the network's olympic coverage. why the online world is outraged next. e guard, take a right. do you have any idea where you're going ? wherever the wind takes me. this is so off course. nature can surprise you sometimes... next time, you drive. next time, signal your turn. ...that's why we got a subaru. love wherever the road takes you. anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? yeah.
the olympics has spawned a trending topic on twitter. nbc fail. the network has been getting buried under critical tweets for the way it's been handling the london games which are aired during primetime on a tape delay basis. the critics turned on twitter itself when the social networking site shut down the account of guy adams, reporter for britain's "independent." who had the temerity to slam nbc's coverage. >> like to think that twitter can't at the behest of
commercial organization simply shut down a journalist without warning them. >> that's what happened. twitter, which has an olympic partnership with nbc, invited the network to file a complaint about adams. twitter is now apologizing and restored his account. ahead, buzz machine's jeff jarvis on the olympic and social media. one is for a clean, wedomestic energy future that puts us in control. our abundant natural gas is already saving us money, producing cleaner electricity, putting us to work here in america
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it can keep pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is rudy. who switched to aleve. and two pills for a day free of pain. ♪ [ female announcer ] and try aleve for relief from tough headaches. joining us to talk about why he's been slamming nbc's olympics coverage on twitter is jeff jarvis. runs the enepreneurial journalism program at the city university of new york and blogs at buzzmachine.com. jeff, how serious a blunder was it for twitter to suspend the account of the british journalist, guy adams, who had been critical of the olympics coverage? >> twitter has done some amazing things when it's come to political fights. they kept twitter up during the arab spring, refused to hand over accounts involving occupy wall street. when it came to the first time when they had a test of their commercial relationships and priorities, twitter failed and failed badly. it sided with the commercial special over just this one user.
but the truth is, all user. this case, fetching about the olympics is a minor thing. twitter is a platform used not only by journalists but revolutionaries to communicate. it's important for all of us. and a platform has responsibilities. and so i think twitter has to learn similarly from newspapers and organizations about the separation of church and state. they have to have a discussion of principles here. >> executive at twitter did apologize saying the behavior in suspending the account was not acceptable and undermines the trust our users have in us. nbc sports also issued a statement of regret. i'll put it on the screen. "our interest was in protecting our executive, not suspending the user from twitter. we initially didn't understand the repercussions of our complaint. now that we do, we've rescinded it." that's a reference to the fact that guy adams of london's "independent" posted the e-mail address of an nbc executive during his carp being the olympics. >> twitter's policy is you shouldn't put up personal e-mail addresses. this was a corporate address published on the net. twitter should have come to adams first and given him the
chance to do something. instead they just took him down. it was the commercial side that actually drew the attention of nbc. there's a lot of mistakes there on twitter's behalf. i think the bigger issue is what are the principles under which twitter operates? we depend upon these platforms. if we do not trust the platforms, they lose their value to us. >> in a broader sense pause you started this crusade even before the guy adams incident, why did you -- have you become so critical? is it because you don't like nbc tape delaying these olympic evts? you want to see them when they happen? >> in this day and age, the tape delay is ridiculous. nbc's argument, of course, is the economics say they've got to put everybody into primetime where the advertisers still buy mass adyentses that have more money. -- advertisers that have more money. >> but the argument goes beyond that. yes, it spent more than $1 billion to carry the games. it's got to make money back fro advertisers. it is also making available on line more than 5,000 hours, every minute of coverage. if you want to see it, you have
a cable or satellite account, you can see it on line. what's wrong with that? >> give nbc credit for putting this -- line. the good news to nbc ought to be that people still care about an old-fashioned tv channel and actually want to sit on their couch and see the important stuff as it happens. the fact that nbc did not show america michael phelps' final race until hours later and played a charade of guess what's going to happen, twitter is a gigantic spoiler network. even so, nbc's ratings are up. i move that if nbc -- i believe that if nbc showed the stuff live there would be even more chart chatter on twitter and more audience. i understand that's a gamble. >> poor editing by nbc, cutting out of the opening ceremonies. the commemoration to the victims of the london subway bombing. then showing missy franklin winning her swimming race after announcing she was the gold medal winner. that is kind of adding insult to injury in your view. >> nbc's done that a couple of times.
i think cutting out the tribute was unconscionable. the idea that nbc said that we needed their expert commentary to understand the opening ceremonies was an insult to all of us. i think it's fairly simple, and i think that the bbc has shown an example it how to really cover this. of course the bbc is paid for by its viewers. numbers s paid for by advertisers. that gets to the twitter issue of advertiser importance here. i think it's possible to do a really good job and be supported by advertisers and be free. i hope so at least. >> but as you noted a moment ago for all of the complaints on line, a lot of people on twitter like beating up on people, becomes a trending topic, record-breaking ratings. record-breaking ratings for nbc for the olympics. they must be doing something right. >> yeah. but we can't know how much pigger it would be if they did it right -- bigger it would be if they did it right. can nbc say we're serving the fans with everything they want when they want it? no, they're not. they also have to recognize that in this new world where there is -- a friend said on twitter, there is only one time zone --
now. the idea you that could control content and control information in the internet age where boreders are shut down by the technology is living in the past. we'll see what happens in four years. >> all right. we'll all live in that time zone. thank you very much. it's interesting that 15-year-old katie ledecki, one of the youngest winners of the olympics, went on twitter and said i need to get more followers. pretty popular. next, the former editor of "the new york times" finds himself a target of a hoax. next. a sausage link. mermaid. honey!? driftwood. come on, you gotta help us out here a little. [ male announcer ] febreze eliminates odors and leaves carpets fresh. ♪ [ male announcer ] febreze. eliminates odors and leaves carpets fresh. ♪ and sounds vying
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as the former executive editor of the new york times, bill keller is hardly a stranger to controversy. as a columnist he knows how to pick a fight. this week, keller found himself in the strange position of being slammed for words he never wrote. talk to see talk about that and issues facing the media i sat down with him earlier in new york. bill keller, welcome. >> thank you. nice to be here. >> a column went out under your biline that said you were in the
awkward position of having to defend wikileaks. what happened? >> well, actually i did defend wikileaks in a -- an online exchange with a media reporters. but what happened, what you're referring to was a fake. it was -- which wikileaks itself took credit for the end of the day. of course with everybody faking things, you can't really be sure whether the wikileaks tweet claiming credit was a fake or not. >> what was it like? i mean, even some of your colleagues were re-tweeting or sending out this clent thomment they thought this column was by bill keller. what was it like to be on the receiving end of this forgery? >> you know, initially it was annoying. then it seemed silly and -- you know, i guess my -- part of me felt like it was a waste of a good sunday afternoon because it generated so much discussion and buzz and kerr ffuffle. by the end of the day i managed to extract a few discussions on it. one, it was fascinating to see
how the social media community gathers and does friendsiorensi something. by the time i saw the fake odd ed, the twittersphere knew of it fake. they were talking about the domain name, how did they do it. by the end of the day they had done advanced diagnostics, explained how it was pulled off. contacted me for reaction. passed judgment on it. at the end of the day people were saying, which to me is the second takeaway from this, wait a second, wikileaks is this organization which has been trying to desperately to escape credibility as a source of information. so they're doing hoaxes? i mean, you know -- >> you were obviously targeted because who you and the "times" work with wikileaks on that massive document dump, you had a contentious relationship. >> we've had a fractious relationship over a couple of issues. the two main ones being we had a -- a disagreement with wikileaks on whether or not they should redact the names of innocent
sources identified in these -- >> the u.s. agents -- >> yeah. the u.s. agents or northern afghans, iraqis, people in oppressive regimes who talked to a diplomat and whose names were out. the other was at some point wikileaks and julian assange became a story. we began write being them. they didn't like much what we wrote about them. >> i wonder if the baby-boomers like what you wrote in a recent column. and would -- you describe them as a selfish and self-indulgent, by the way, does that include us? >> yeah, probably. >> you went on to talk about the subject of entitlement programs which obviously a lot of that money going to -- will be going to the retiring boomers. you said at least the republicans have a plan, the democrats generally recoil from the subject of entitlements. why don't i see that reflected in the news coverage that you say the gop has a plan, obama and democrats don't really have a plan? >> i mean, i think you do. i mean, we've certainly -- the "times" has written and cnn has reported on numerous occasions about the sort of politics of social security as the third rail. and so on.
that's not particularly a new thought. but there's a limit to how many times you can write about what the democrats are not saying, you know? >> but he said -- is it a problem in this campaign generally that with both candidates, mitt romney and president obama, playing it safe, cautious, dealing with a lot of tactical moves and attacking the other guy, that substance get removed from what we all cover and it ends up being a campaign it warfare? >> yes, absolutely it is. i mean, my colleague on the op-ed page, david brooks, wrote a column saying that this is the most boring campaign in history. at the same time, potentially the most important. and that -- >> the most covered. >> the most covered. one of the reasons is that the candidates are playing it safe. they're using attack ads. talking about issues at the margins, talking in bumper sticker slogans. they're not talking about detailed plans that could be picked apart by opponents. part of our job certainly on the
opinion pages and also on the front pages is to try and push the issues under the table for discussion. maybe the debates will accomplish some of that. >> i'd like to see the press do more of that. you have been an outspoken critic of fox news and in a column you describe it as rupert murdoch's most toxic legacy. fox, of course, would say it's providing balance to the left leaning mainstream media. why do you feel so strongly against what fox news does? >> i think they -- they didn't invent the idea of partisan news. i mean, there's a long history of that in our country. but they perfect, they refined it and perfected it and brought a degree of cynicism. the sort of we are the fair and balanced network, when they are the opposite of the fair and balanced network. they're -- if they came out and said we're the right wing network, we're going to favor republicans, and we're going to present talking heads who are ideologically to the right or the far right, that's fine. that's -- it's a free country. but what i object to is that
they've abandoned the discipline, the journalistic discipline of trying to be fair. >> you mean they -- >> they have not abandoned that. >> even with the reporters, even with the anchors who were not >> there are some very good reporters. in my column from time to time, you know, they also have, if you turn on fox and friends, one of their morning shows, the equivalent of the "today" show -- >> it's a very informative show. >> you do not get that from the morning shows on cnn or nbc or cbs. >> in that same column, though, you said this about the mainstream media. we have too often been condescending to those who don't share our secular urban vantage point. we are too easily is he abused by access. so it's not like you're letting
the rest of the press off the hook. >> no, i think that's absolutely true. you know, i hate it when you quote my words back to me, but i'm happy to stand by those words. >> you became executive editor of "the new york times" after the jayson blair debacle. and one of the many things that you did was to hire the first public editor or ombudsman. at the time you said it was an experiment. do you feel in retrospect that was something that the newspaper needed? >> at the time it was certainly something that the newspaper needed as one of a number of things that we did to try and restore the paper's credibility. i mean, we had traditionally resisted the idea of an ombudsman whereas papers like "the washington post" had done that for years. we resisted it because the argument was, well, you know, editors are the surrogates for the reader. we're the ones who look out for their interests. readers don't always see it that way. and having an independent voice to interview people i think was
a necessary palliative at the time. >> the newspaper industry, as we know, has really been battered, layoffs, not publishing every day in certain markets. what's been the effect of all this shrinkage in america's newsrooms? >> i think there's been a decline in the public's access to what's being done with their tax dollars, what's being done in their name. i hope that that will be repaired. i mean, there are also some start-ups online, a number of them investigative start-ups. if they can find a business model and grow, then, you know, then we'll be okay. where you're really feeling it already is like in state capitols, local city halls that are just not getting the intensity of coverage that they used to get. and that's a real loss. >> certainly not getting it from local television which doesn't have the setups to do this sort of thing. bill keller, thanks very much. >> you're welcome. it's a pleasure. still to come, a rare white
house apology to a journalist, a cnn reporter gets results and how many ways can you screw up an obituary? "the media monitor" is next. throughout our entire lives. ♪ one a day women's 50+ is a complete multi-vitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. ♪ it has more of seven antioxidants to support cell health. that's one a day women's 50+ healthy advantage. there it is ! there it is ! where ? where ? it's getting away ! where is it ? it's gone. we'll find it. any day can be an adventure. that's why we got a subaru. love wherever the road takes you.
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time now for "the media monit monitor," our weekly look at the hits and errors in the news business. when congress recently voted to crack down on insider trading by lawmakers by requiring greater financial disclosure of stock trading, there was a loophole for family members, one that was uncovered by cnn correspondent dana bash. >> it specifically says that members of congress do not have to have their spouse or their children file. >> i think it's wrong. >> on thursday both the house and senate voted to close that loophole by extending the law to close relatives of the members. that was a bit of sharp-eyed reporting. to" washington post" columnist it was a simple factual statement made after mitt romney got into that diplomatic flap in london.
obama started his presidency by returning the bust of winston churchill that had graced the oval office. they labeled his column 100% false, insisting the white house had never returned the bust to the brits. kra krauthammer was not amused. >> it's astonishing. he doubled down. all he had to say was we got it wrong the first time. he should have honorably said, we made a mistake. >> pfeiffer eventually did just that saying he had confused a copy of the churchill bust with the original. he wrote, "i take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology. there was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive. i clearly overshot the runway in my post." overshot the runway and the airport. krauthammer had the virtue of being right. finally, the death of gore vidal has brought a flood of commentary, but "the new york times" botched a few key details. "an earlier version misstated
the term mr. vidal called william f. buckley jr. in a television appearance during the 1968 democratic national convention. it was crypto-nazi, not crypto-fascist." they both sound insulting. here's more. "it also described incorrectly mr. vidal's connection with al gore. although mr. vidal frequently referred jokingly to mr. gore as his cousin, they were not related." i thought everybody knew that. and finally, "and mr. vidal's relationship with his longtime companion was also described incorrectly. according to his memoir, they had sex the night they met but did not sleep together after they began living together. it was not true that they never had sex." so they only did it, well, you get the point. "new york times" certainly determined to correct the record. that's it for this edition of "reliable sources." i'm howard kurtz. if you miss a program, go to itunes eve
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