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tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  July 21, 2013 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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was born in 1894, his great grandmother, queen victoria, was still on the throne. indeed she still had seven years left in his reign. edward is the monarch who facebookously an dikated the throne in 1936 to marry the love of his life, mrs. wallace simpson. let's hope history doesn't repeat itself in that respect and that an dication isn't in this baby's future. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." a verdict in florida provokes questions about race, the criminal justice system and gun rights and leads the president to weigh in. we'll talk about how the media affects what we think about trayvon martin and george zimmerman. a sympathetic photograph of a young man accused in the boston bombings appears on the cover of "rolling stone" magazine, a spot usually rese e reserved for pop culture stars. and the magazine's choice sparks
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an outcry. we'll explore the journalistic impulse behind the decision to publish that image. and a path-breaking figure for women political journalists dies at the age of 92. helen thomas asked presidents and press secretaries inconvenient questions for nearly five decades, only to be sidelined for her increasingly outspoken views later in life. a look at her career in full. we're bursting at the seams today. stick around, i'm david folkenflik of npr news, and this is "reliable sources." protesters marched in cities across the country this weekend in the wake of george zimmerman's acquittal in the shooting death of trayvon martin. pundits took sides as though it were a super bowl. we'll consider whether the coverage of trayvon martin's death and the zimmerman verdict has illuminated the nation's racial divide or exacerbated it and what role president obama's
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remarks have played. to help us explore that very question, we're joined in boston by cally crossly, host of "under the radar" on wjbh. and in tampa, florida, by eric deggans, the media critic for the "tampa bay times" and author of the book "race baiter." here in washington, d.c. we have cnn contributor ron brownstein, a columnist and editorial director for national journal. ron, the president surprised reporters when he came into the briefing room on friday. why did he address the trial and why did he do it at that time? >> you know, it was an extraordinary moment and an extraordinarily personal moment. i think the media coverage is fully reflected the unique and historical nature of this statement. my colleague at the atlantic in a piece last fall noted the university of pennsylvania study that showed during president obama's first two years, he talked less about race than any president since john f. kennedy. so for him to come out and address this in these intensely
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personal terms i think was very much an historic moment and reflected, i think, his kind of personal investment, you know, the predicate for this was his remarks earlier that if i had a son, it would look like trayvon martin. he took it one step further when he came out on friday and basically said i could have been that person 35 years ago. >> eric deggans at the "tampa bay times," you've written a number of times that you feel the press does a poor job of writing about issues of race and questions of conflict except when the nation seems to be in a moment of conflict or a moment of crisis. how has the press done in this circumstance and how much do you think the president's remarks may influence media coverage going forward? >> well, what we've seen is what we always see, which is in the heat of this verdict, there's been this explosion of commentary about race. what was interesting to me about the trial is there wasn't much talk about race because there
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wasn't much evidence that race was involved in how george zimmerman targeted trayvon martin. but the minute the verdict came in, the racial implications of it produced this explosion of coverage. and we saw -- i saw personally as a journalist the mass slip from some people. i got some of the most awful e-mails from people saying that i should go back to wherever my ancestors came from if i disagreed with the verdict, which i didn't even necessarily do. people assuming that i had a position on the trial because of my race and because i've written a lot about race in media. and now in the wake of obama talking about his personal experiences we've had people like sean hannity suggest that he identifies with trayvon martin because they both smoked pot. we've had charles krauthammer saying that obama has reracialized the zimmerman trial. >> well, you make an interesting point. race was not identified throughout the trial as a key yet you say it served as a nd
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tinder on this discussion that explode once the verdict was in. briefly, why do you think that discussion erupted if, as you say, it wasn't a vital element of the trial? >> because i think the implications are that we've had this young african-american male, 17 years old, unarmed, lawfully where he was supposed to be, minding his own business presumably, who was then embroiled in a conflict with someone who assumed he was up to no good and killed him. and the implications of that, that that person was not convicted of a crime leads people of color to wonder i can be in a place -- i can be minding my own business, someone can come up to me, we can have a conflict, i can be killed and that person doesn't serve any jail time. so even though there's no evidence that he targeted trayvon because of his race, the implications of what it means for people of color in their intersections with law enforcement and their intersections in daily life is profound for people. i think that's something that
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the president was trying to talk about. >> callie crossley, we know by now, we can predict how things will break out on fox news and msnbc, but on msnbc, a very interesting and distinctive role on both sides of the camera played by the reverend al sharpton. you can see him on camera opining about this case and the parties in this case. you can find him off camera being photographed with the mother of trayvon martin. what do you make of that dual role, a man both commenting and trying to shape the news in the streets and outside the court houses? >> well, we've seen this before. i mean in fact when reverend sharpton was hired by msnbc, this came up because he was in the middle of doing what he does. he is an activist. he is a professional activist, that's his job. an he's also connected to a lot of high-profile cases, so that's going to continue, as he made clear, and he made clear to the network and the network said that's okay to them. what i make of it is i think
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it's tough when you have a case like this, and i think it muddies the water for a lot of people who would like to see some commentary from someone who is not so clearly identified with the case. i mean obviously he has some insight that some others can't get because he's close to the family and that's valuable in one way, but, you know, he's got to show where every day he's sort of opining from both sides. it's a little bit confusing. i just want to take a step back and comment on something that eric said and that about race not being identified in the case. >> briefly. >> whether or not it was articulated, it was there the whole time. i think that what president obama spoke about was the context by which african-americans understood race to be there the whole time, from the beginning and in the courtroom. and what he asked in his heartfelt comments was acknowledge our experience. acknowledge our experience. you don't have to agree with me, but this is my experience and acknowledge that it happens a lot. >> sure.
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ron brownstein, briefly, when you think about the president's comments, obviously race not the only question here, question of gun rights and gun ownership, how much can the president affect the conversation as it takes place in the media? >> was he said, there's a limit how much he move it. the backdrop of this is we're living through the most profound demographic change. 37% of the population is nonwhite. a majority of the under18 population is expected to be nonwhite in this decade. we're having intense racial polarization. not so much on issues of crime but the basic role of government. white/nonwhite voting patterns moving sharply apart. that is a reality that we don't discuss very much in the media except in moments like this. >> and one the media has to pay attention to. up next we'll take a look at the life of a white house reporter who blazed a trail for the women in the washington press corps. helen thomas, dead at 92. my conversation with several women journalists who followed her path. engi rolling...take 13. geico's dedriver, good student and multi-policy discounts
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we're revving people up to take a lap around the legendary nascar race track with drivers from the coca-cola racing family. coca-coca family track walks give thousands of race fans the chance to get out, get moving, and have fun... all along the way. it's part of our goal to inspire more than three million people to rediscover the joy of being active this summer. see the difference all of us can make... together. i'm david folkenflik of npr news. the last thing you may have heard about helen thomas, who died yesterday at the age of 92, was her comments about jews in israel, which effectively ended her career in washington. but thomas should be known for much more than that. she covered the white house beat for nearly five decades and was never afraid to ask the impertinent question. thomas also fought to ensure women had an equal role in the washington press corps. here in studio we've assembled a
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lineup of formidable political reporters to help reflect on the life and career of helen thomas. we have judy woodruff, co-anchor of the news hour on pbs, ann compton, white house reporter for abc news, and of course cnn's candy crowley. thank you all for joining today. talk to me a little bit about that spirit of impertinence, the ability to ask the slightly barbed question. how do you remember that? >> well, helen never thought there was anything disrespectful about what she did, but she asked the uncomfortable questions. kind of speaking truth to power. and because she was a woman and because she did it to the president of the united states and because she did it from a wire service, she became the dean of the press corps, not because she was a woman or because of the question, because she worked for united press international and she spoke for all of us. and through the years, the many years all of us have known her, she never lost that edge. she was always the first one in there in the morning. >> why was it important to be
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able to do that? we praise it and say it's a vital thing, but at the same time what does it yield to us as voters, as citizens? >> well, she was able to get people to say things they might not otherwise have said. i personally came to the white house to cover jimmy carter in january of 1977. nobody went more out of their way than helen thomas did. she made sure that if i had any questions -- she said if you ever have a question about how things work around here, come to me. you know the story about helen. first one in the white house in the morning, the last one to leave at night. but the thing i have to tell you is what i remember best about her is i went to a briefing early on. they said it was deep background. i didn't quite know what that meant. i came out and my friend, helen, who had done me all those favors was standing there and she said, well, what did you talk about. so i told her and of course she went on and reported it. they were furious, they said it was deep background but i figured that was the least i could do for my friend. >> and that was you, i've heard that anecdote before.
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candy crowley, talk a little bit about her role as a model, a mentor, a path breaker for women in this city. >> she was all of that. i had the exact same experience. judy was gone from the white house by the time i got there. ann was there and still is. but, you know, i was working for the a.p. she was working for upi. no one -- no one was nicer, reached out more, made me feel like i belonged with all these big-name journalists that were there when i'm thinking what do i know. she was great at that. so it wasn't just, yes, she was the first woman correspondent to cover a president for a wire service, the first this, the first that, broke down the barrier here. i mean look -- google her. and it's just nothing but first and the word "pioneer" is always there. but more than that, she walked the walk. i mean she helped with scholarships for young women, she was always there. and i did a piece about her and one of the things i mentioned was that last year i won an
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award at the american newswomens club and helen showed up. over the years i had always talked to her. honestly, she was so frail, it just touched me deeply that she even -- the effort to get there was amazing, i thought, and she just said, oh, i wouldn't have missed it. i'm so proud of you. like this isn't -- this is like across the years. she was -- she was there. >> it was almost like all the -- i mean she was a good friend of many, many journalists, but i think women in particular, she took pride in what women did. she reached out to young women. i know she gave me courage, because i showed up as this brightened, intimidated reporter. i had come from atlanta covering carter for nbc and before that for local news. and she gave -- frankly, she gave me the guts to stand up and do my job. and i know she did that for so many other people. >> the news business changed on helen. and one of the reasons, nobody lasts as long as helen did.
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remember, she resigned from united press international when it was taken over by reverend moon's organization. and she said i'm not going to work for them. and hearst gives her a columnist job. so for the last 13 years she has been an opinion columnist, which it's the wrong note to end an obit on her because her years of pushing so hard to be the best of the best and really define the way white house reporters asked. >> briefly, i do want to touch on this. i don't think you can ignore entirely, what are we to make of the comments she made, i happen to be jewish but there are many nonjews deeply offended by what she had to say. how do we evaluate that? it doesn't seem to be against what she thought. she was very skeptical of the u.s. alliance with the israelis and the israeli policy in the middle east. how do we evaluate her in that way. >> she know she was of lebanese descent. her parents came from lebanon to the united states. they struggled, grew up in a
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very middle class family existence. you know, i don't think -- you certainly can't set that aside. that was part of who she was. there's no question that she let her beliefs, i think, interfere sometimes with her journalism. but it's not what defined her. and i think as ann suggested, if helen had decided to step back five, ten years earlier, i don't think that would have ever been an issue. >> candy, i think white house reporters at least in this day and age are never able to do the scoops. james ricin says he'll go to jail rather than reveal sources involving iran and yet she played a very vital part. how would you characterize the role she played as white house reporter all those years? >> a, she was the pioneer of the tough question. b, she was a pioneer for women. c, she really -- she -- people might not have liked her questions. they were loaded, oftentimes,
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but she got amazing answers and that's what a reporter does. one vital lesson helen taught me, and that is you didn't get in this business to be liked. >> candy crowley, judy woodruff, ann compton, the most impressive assembly of female journalists since katherine -- coming up next a new inside the beltway and below the belt look focuses on the zero degrees of separation between the people who run washington, d.c., and the people who cover them. be afraid, be very afraid. [p [clicks mouse] there's doughnuts in the conference room. there's doughnuts in the conference room. automatic discounts the moment you sign up.
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when i was a young congressional reporter here in washington in the 1990s, i was friendly with a veteran political reporter who had dined out for years on having once jogged one on one with president george h.w. bush. when some news story exposed a particularly outrageous development, she would just shake her head knowingly and say this town. it was her way of showing she was astonished by the news and yet not surprised at all because she was a member of the club. the new book "this town" by mark
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leeb vich writes the city par from being hopelessly divided is hopelessly interconnected. water may not serve the country well but has worked splendidly for washington itself, a city of beautifully busy people constantly writing the story of their own lives. joining us today three busy people writing the story of their own lives but very well versed in the ways of the washington press corps. carlos lozada, molly ball and jim warren, washington bureau chief for the "new york daily news" all join us on this discussion. carlos, how fair would you say that last characterization is of the way in which the washington press corps, the political press here in d.c. operates? >> i think he makes the case well enough. part of what he's saying applies more broadly to -- part of it applies to the washington press corps in particular but if he's taking that criticism broadly to
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the press corps, i think there might be some problems with it. the book came out at a time when the administration is aggressively pursuing leak investigations. when the press is revealing surveillance programs that are top secret. >> national security things. >> exactly. so i think his criticism applies to a certain kind of reporter. the fre nettic political blogger, perhaps, but not necessarily to the press corps as a whole. >> molly ball, there's a real criticism of politico in here. politico at one time was a relatively new entry. now it seems like part of the establishment here in d.c. mark salter says they have taken every worst trend in reporting, every single one of them and put them on rocket fuel. mark salter, of course, the famous senior aide to senator john mccain. he said the trivialization of the news, has politico fueled that microattention here for political coverage? >> in the spirit of this town, i must make a disclosure as people are constantly doing in
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washington to show how important they are. i once worked at politico, i worked there for a year. and i think they are more of the symptom than the disease. we have an accelerated culture. at one time it was the news networks, the 24/7 cable news like cnn that were the problem. and then it became the internet. but it's really people's attention and the things people want to know. it's the audience, i think, that drives all of these things. i think that actually politico and this book have something in common, which is sort of earnest conviction that people on the outside want to know what's on the inside. that this -- whether it's the incestuousness that leibovich writes about that there's some -- in the political flyover country. >> jim, you were describing it as though you were a foreign correspondent discovering certain things anew. this was in the 1990s.
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and yet it seems as though almost it was ever thus. you dispagered journalists who seemed to seek the ability to opine because they saw that as a measure to fortune or fame. what's different about the current age? >> first of all, david, wonderful tie. i think in d.c. fashion we must be flattering one another. anyway, upon my rip van winkle return after 11, 12 years, no, not much as changed which is why i found the book interesting. i think leibovich captures a slice of a particular cultural and media movement. i think he's also spot on with the sort of hollywood-like vanity and self regard and greed and ambition. and some, not all, of the outrageous conflicts of interest which you could detail still these days of a lot of elite media. his profile of one of the new icons of the internet age, michael en, a whirling dervish, walter winchel-like columnist at
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politico is terrific. if i do have some qualms, there are a lot of wonderful journalists who don't get any mention here and they probably don't because their profiles are low. they don't -- they are not in sync with the sort of high decibal, cable-fueled punditry that a lot of folks like and they still do wonderful work. a bastion of old media, "the new york times," which still sets the agenda and for which mark works for is really just a parenthetical and an organization that i really think is sort of a baby huey, an 800-pound gorilla doing fabulous work not being respected as they like. bloomberg news gets no attention and they are an important player. >> carlos lozada, very quickly, what has the harm to journalism done if people are pursuing their own careers, pursuing their own fame. you say that's an incentive for them to get known for breaking good stories. briefly, what's the harm done to journalism by the kind of
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rhythms being described in this town? >> i think if the pursuit of self branding and selfing arun diesment gets in the pursuit of aggressive reporting and aggressive stories, that's the harm mark leibovich is writing about in this book. >> first i want to thank molly ball, carlos lozada and jim warren for joining us on this. next up, "rolling stone" magazine gives star cover treatment to the man charged in the boston marathon bombings. what were they thinking? we'll take a look, coming up next. land than probably anyone else. we've had this farm for 30 years. we raise black and red angus cattle. we also produce natural gas. that's how we make our living and that's how we can pass the land and water back to future generations. people should make up their own mind what's best for them. all i can say is it has worked well for us.
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"rolling stone magazine put dzhokhar tsarnaev on its cover that made him look every bit as appealing as a young bob dylan or bruce springsteen. >> an iconic magazine under fire. retailers pulling "rolling stone" from the shelf saying it's one thing to seek out controversial covers, but should they draw a line on accused terrorists? >> we're right here where the bombing happened and months later, as you can imagine the pain is still fresh. >> in boston and throughout america, a perception that "rolling stone" is equating dzhokhar tsarnaev with the likes of america's biggest stars. >> the cover called him a monster but sparked an outrage, especially in boston, and prompted a police photographer to release pictures taken of a
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bloody tsarnaev as he was captured. to discuss this we're joined by keith jenkins, a senior photo director for "national geographic." and in boston we have kevin cullen, a columnist for the "boston globe." kevin, talk to me a little bit, i assume you first saw this cover online as it's for the august 1st issue. what did you think about that picture when you first saw it? >> well, i'll state right off the top that as a journalist i'm very uncomfortable criticizing other journalists' decisions. >> that's what i do for a living. go for it. >> but it struck me as i wouldn't have made that choice. i think the cover was deliberately provocative. i think it was aimed at, you know, increasing sales for magazines. that's what magazines do, they try to sell. so i saw it from that context. but i very -- as soon as i saw it, i thought about some of the victims that i know and how they would react. and i thought about sean collier's family, the police
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officer who was shot to death allegedly by these two clowns. so that's what i thought. and then when i read the piece, i thought it was well written. i think it was about 11,000 words. i would have liked to see at least in those 11,000 words the names martin, richard, lou lindsay and crystal campbell, some of the victims that survived the bombing. i thought they could have been a little bore balanced. >> those three names of the people who died in those bombings. keith jenkins, you're now at "national geographic" and worked at other major news organizations. to start, take us through the thought process that leads to the selection of that picture taken, as i understand it, by mr. tsarnaev himself. >> yeah. i think what's really key to this is that you always start with the words and you start with an article, but you also start with trying to paint a picture. i think the editors in this case started with a very strong, i almost say a forensic look at that photograph.
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>> forensic? >> forensic in the sense that we want to know what was in this kid's mind. and using the photograph as a jumping off point to try to analyze that. so i see the article as really trying to do that. and then the photograph really becomes the image that we look at to try and get that explanation. so it's really important for that photograph to be there and for that photograph to be tied directly to that story. >> to understand, you're both explaining what they did, but in a sense it sounds like you've saying this was an appropriate choice. it mayo fend people of boston and massachusetts and new england, it may offend people who were personally heart broken that day. but this is not a reasonable choice but the right choice. explain that. >> i worked with kevin actually at the "globe" and my stomach turned when i heard what had happened. but i think that journalists have an interesting responsibility. part of that is to tell the truth and part of that is
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sometimes to tell truth that hurts. and i think, you know, we talk about minimizing harm, but not eliminating harm in some of the things that we do. i think that in this case this was necessary in order to get at the explanation of how could this happen to somebody who seemed to be so perfect? not a monster. >> kevin cullen, you know, what about this, from a journalistic standpoint, you're in boston, with the "boston globe." what might be right for the globe right not be right for a national publication. will dane is the managing editor of "rolling stone." he talked to my colleague melissa block a few days ago and he said, look, we wanted to show this person didn't look like a monster and those who knew him growing up, in fact he's a young man, those who knew him growing up say he seemed like he was full of promise. why shouldn't this be a reasonable choice for a national audience. why should the sensibilities of the people of greater boston determine what's right for "roll stone"? >> i don't think they should. like i said, i'm very
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uncomfortable criticizing other journalists' decisions in things like this. and i'm absolutely opposed to censorship. i think the stores that are pulling "rolling stone" from their shelves should be ashamed of themselves. there is something called the first amendment. i think people are intelligent enough to know whether they want to buy the magazine or not. like i said, i read the piece and it was a fine piece of journalism. i have no problem with that. but i do think that things are raw here. we still have people who are in rehabilitation hospitals. we still of little kids who lost legs. i think it is different here. and i covered the troubles in northern ireland for many years. and, you know, you can print things in the boston globe and "the new york times" and "the washington post" that you couldn't post in the "belfast telegraph." >> a testament to the power of images and boston magazine is intent on releasing some of those magazines taken by that police photographer.
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next on "reliable sources," one local news station promises it will no longer hype breaking news. we'll see whether the news can survive when it's not broken.
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what you're about to hear represents the promise of a new way of presenting local tv news. it's a promotional spot from the fox affiliate in louisville, kentucky. >> is seldom actually breaking and quite often isn't even news. at wdrb we never use that term. we believe the relationship you have with your television station shouldn't begin with a deception.
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>> managers at wdrb drafted a ten-part packed with viewers six years ago but only started to advertise it last month. bill lamb is president and general manager of wdrb and joins us from louisville. bill, welcome. thanks for joining the show. >> glad to be here, david. >> what do you mean with this promise, we're not going to do breaking news anymore? >> well, i don't think breaking news has a whole lot to do with journalism. and i don't think most journalists really like being put in the position of having to claim that everything is breaking news. a kidden in a tree is suddenly breaking news. we believe that it's a marketing gimmick and to be honest it's probably a pretty hourful marketing gimmick but it's not about journalism. so we just decided that a relationship between a station and its viewers shouldn't begin with a deception and we think it's deceptive.
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>> you think it's deception and yet there are a lot of events, if you look at the entire landscape of cable news, that chirons are telling you forever things are breaking, whether it's the zimmerman trial, a statement by the president, presumably the announcement of a new royal baby in london. why shouldn't people call that breaking news? >> well, some things are breaking. most things are not. many things are old and they're still labeled as breaking. we asked our viewers to ask themselves when they see that some television station is breathlessly claiming this is breaking news, ask yourself is this really happening now? is it really breaking? is it really news? and even if it is, is this even important to me? >> so take us back a little bit and tell us how you decided, even though it was six years ago, only recently publicized in this way, how you decided to dispense with that label. >> well, we decided based on many of the things i'm telling you now. the pew research center tracks
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the perception that the community and the esteem that the community holds for several different occupations, from the clergy to doctors, lawyers, artists, the military, and journalists. none of those occupations that they track have lost more esteem in the public's eyes than journalists. now, is that because journalists have sudden ly started to becom deceptive? no, i think it's because consultants have been telling people for years we need to give our viewers more of what they want and less of what they need. if you give them what they want, they watch. if you find them what they need, they find that to be too hard. so we're giving them cotton candy instead of meat and potatoes and that isn't nourishing in the long term. the second thing is we're trying to tell them everything is breaking news. if that's your slogan, if that's your marketing campaign, it's like the guy that only has one tool, a hammer.
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if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. >> you and i first met last month when i did a story for npr about this campaign that you've run. you said there was a story about an off duty bus driver across the river in indiana who was arrested on a dwi. you said that wasn't breaking and you didn't think it was news. for some people when you think about somebody who takes schoolchildren to a bus to school her driving habits, her safety, a dui might be news. why wasn't that story newsworthy? >> well, it might have been newsworthy, but was it breaking news? it happened the night before. we were talking about it the next morning. we called it breaking news. so not only was it not happening as we were telling people, which i thought was a little bit deceptive, but, frankly, she wasn't driving a bus. she was driving her own car. she was a private citizen, and she made an error in judgment but it didn't have anything to do with her work. >> so in a sense news, but labeled wrongly as breaking
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news. bill lamb of wdrb in louisville, kentucky, thank you so much for joining us to talk about this topic. >> it was my pleasure. coming up next, the president says he doesn't want a national conversation on race in the wake of the zimmerman verdict. but what does the media do next? "i'm part of an american success story," "that starts with one of the world's most advanced distribution systems," "and one of the most efficient trucking networks," "with safe, experienced drivers." "we work directly with manufacturers," "eliminating costly markups," "and buy directly from local farmers in every region of the country." "when you see our low prices, remember the wheels turning behind the scenes, delivering for millions of americans, everyday. "dedication: that's the real walmart"
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president obama's remarks on the death of trayvon martin raised questions about how black men are depicted in the media and the president's own ability to influence public conversation on that very topic. we're joined here in cnn's washington studios by clarence page, long-time political columnist for the "chicago tribune" clandton yates, a local columnist for the "washington post." i think back 20 years ago and president clinton embarked on a national conversation with race. what do you think about the idea of a conversation per se? i mean is that the right response to what we're experiencing now? >> ask anybody what happened to that conversation back in the '90s and they came out with a very interesting report. i feel like the only guy in america who actually read it, because these things kind of peter out in public interest. the media has forgotten about it, they have moved on. i think president obama is aware of that and referenced as much in his speech the other day.
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the real conversation has to be local with people in their own communities. >> well, he did say that conversations led by politics end up, these are his word, being stilted and politicized and folks are locked in the positions they already have and yet he seemed to be trying to spark that very conversation. >> and he did. and just like trayvon martin's tragic death did, unfortunately i think you and i have talked about this before, these racial eruptions pop up every so often that force americans to talk and think about race and then half of us at least are very quickly trying to bury it again rather than have a continuing conversation. so i'm glad president obama game forth because having the president, no matter who the president is, raises this to a different level. >> clinton yates, when you think about it, talk to me about the depiction that you see of black men in the media, particularly i mean the news media. how fairly does it reflect the . >> i'd say it reflects it
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poorly. the criminalization of black men in the media and the sexualization of black men in the media is everywhere. you live with it when you walk around. people assume one of those things are the case about you and that is something that we have to unravel on a basic presentation level in order to really get somewhere within the conversation. >> talk to me about that for a moment. president obama talked a little bit about how, look, he's felt it when people lock their doors or women clutch their bags or people look at him when he goes into a store and perhaps something nefarious might unfold he he . how is that something that the media can address? >> it's something i think in advertising is one big place you can see it. the way black men are portrayed in commercials, subliminal things that passively look at. those have big messages that a lot of times people don't realize they're as important as they are.
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if people don't take it seriously, they will see a change in the way they look at black men. >> does this focus on rage evident in comment has have sprung up on social media, does it nonetheless obscure other elements that were part of the trial that just played out? after all on this network, not so many minutes ago, senator mccain said the nation should review the stand your ground laws in states across the country including his own state of arizona. how much does this consume all the oxygen about the result of that trial? >> i'm glad eric holder and the president once they got past the focus on the image of young black males on the street went directly to something the government can do and that's reevaluate your stand your ground laws. of course florida law was signed back in 2005 and the following five years, the amount of justifiable homicide cases about
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tripled. and it's the kind of thing that the number of states with similar laws, 20 or 30 more states, now finally it took the tragic death of trayvon martin to get everybody to focus on this and even allow people who voted for it initially are having second thoughts. >> much like race itself, not raiseded in t eed in the trail, it more attention. >> a lawyer was right when he said it wouldn't have been a big story in the race element was not there. >> sure. quickly, i want to address something eric has said, he talked about the need to look at race in complexity when there isn't a crisis. where do you look for things that you think are doing it right, where do you see promise? >> i've seen a couple different blogs recently that have stated this, the i am not trayvon
8:53 am or people indicating they have been on the advantageous side of what is the race relation factor in america and have indicated that they have lived with that bridge and th privilege. >> thank you both very much. a tough topic that no doubt we'll return to. up next, final thoughts on the white house reporter helen thomas.
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the life and career of helen thomas who died yesterday at the age of 92, but her story has four distinct chapters. there was helen thomas the classic american success story, the daughter of lebanese immigrants who settled in the u.s. with less than 20 bucks to their names. she made it good as a young female reporter in washington for the united press news service. then there was helen thomas the legendary white house reporter, a woman so integral to the washington experience that political movies cast her to
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give a touch of reality. she did not land many enduring scoops. few do. but she embraced her job asking presidents from john f. kennedy to barack obama the inconvenient questions that many americans want their leaders to face. there was helen thomas the path breaker. time and again prying open doors for women in the notoriously clubby washington press core by demanding equal status. she became bureau chief. not just the first female member, but its president. she forced open those doors because such recognitions would validate women reporters in the eyes of politicians and their journalistic peers. she mentored hundreds and inspired countless more. and then there was helen thomas the liberal gag fly, her beliefs fully surfacing as she left to become a columnist in 2000. along with skepticism toward
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israel. president bush neglected to call on her. when he finally did, thomas asked him why he took the war to iraq at all. there is a principle that you can don't remember someone solely by the worst thing she did, but a roert as sharp as thomas would notice meaningful omissions. late in life, helen thomas called on jews living in israel to return to the european lands in which millions of jews were murdered amid world war ii. it was an astonishing and offensive remark. it effectively ended her career. any honest rendering of her career must acknowledge that moment, but any such account must alsoecognize the path she blazed, the battles she fought, and the spin she exposed. you'll have to click online at sources to find my interview with louise mench,
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the british lawmaker who helped investigate the phone hacking scandals be setting the media and rupert murdoch. and then she went to work for him. this has been "reliable sources". up next, a familiar face, candy crowley brings you you the state of the union. trayvon martin, george zimmerman, and barack obama. today black, brown and white in america. the conversation on the streets and in the briefing room. >> we're becoming a more perfect union. not a perfect union, but a more perfect union. >> perfecting the union with our power panel including one time member of the black panthers in the turbulent '60s. and