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tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  September 8, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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that's the beauty of your smile. bring out the best in it with crest 3d white. crest removes 95% of surface stains... in just three days. hey. i'm brian stelter and this is "reliable sources." our weekly look of the story behind the story. of how the media really works, how the news gets made, and how all of us can help make it better. this hour, a legend is retiring from 60 minutes. steve kroft will join me to talk about cbs, politics, and why he's stepping down. plus, biden and trump. how these two men are covered, it's very different depending on which media you're watching. and a milestone, something we've been missing for the past six months. but first, a reality check. to understand why the president is posting cat videos, actually celebrating his own ignorance about alabama and hurricane dorian, we have to go back to
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the beginning of the week, when the president gave away a key line from his re-election playbook. he said here, our real opponent is not the democrats, it's the fake news media. everything comes back to that. we're going to be talking about this every week until the 2020 election. and it is exhausting. it's exhausting the way trump smears the press day in and day out. but it's obvious why he does it. it is key to his re-election campaign. the less you believe real reporting, the more you might fall for his unreality. so that when he says 2 plus 2 is 5, you'll believe him. now, 2 plus 2 is 5, that is, of course, a reference to george orwell's "1984." it's a book that came to mind this week as trump tried to convince people that his faulty dorian forecast was right. this whole embarrassing episode has me thinking a lot about language. as nbc's al roker said, where will this end? where will this end? trump has even politicized the weather report, so where will this end? this daily attempt to deny reality, to destroy trust in
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media, all while manipulating the levers of government to make a lie retroactively true. that's what's going on here. the alabama mess was not a small story, some trivial distraction. no, the letters on screen should say, the president misled the public about a hurricane for a week. much of the news coverage actually helped trump. a lot of the coverage minimized how serious this episode was. i see this happening all the time. the words we use, the framing we choose treats the absurd and the aberrant like it's reasonable, like it's normal. take the term sharpiegate. it's a funny term, i admit. but it indicate that trump getting the facts wrong in an emergency is just a joke. and his campaign agrees. you saw they're selling official branded markers now. but this was not a joke to the folks in alabama who saw trump's tweet that said, alabama will much likely be hit much harder than anticipated. they started calling the national local weather service office, because they were concerned. that's according to the
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"washington post," who has a great front page story this morning all about this. so now we know why the birmingham office sent out a true tweet saying alabama was safe. they did the right thing. they warned the public not to take trump's tweet seriously. this is not sharpiegate. forget about the sharpie. this is lying about a hurricane gate. he shared incorrect information about dorian's path once, twice, three times last sunday. and when tv networks pointed this out, he wasted the week trying to prove he was right. and we said things like doubling down, tripling down, quadrupled down. it sounds strong, like he's winning a fight, but this mess really exposed his weakness. instead of doubling down, we should say, he continued to confuse people spreading bogus information. that would be a lot more accurate than saying sharpiegate day six. no matter how much trump complains about the media, we
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have to make sure we're getting these frames right, making sure we're getting this language right. this was not a controversy the way these websites said. that's another word that helps trump by flattening everything into a debate. there was nothing to debate here. this was not a controversy. here's how i would frame it. this alabama story was about the president failing a basic geography test. at the time he warned alabama that alabama might get hit, at the time of that tweet, this is the forecast his own government released at 11:00 a.m. this is the most up to date forecast at the time of trump's tweet. and look at this track. it turned out to be spot-on with hurricane dorian, right up the coast, just as forecast. fantastic work by government forecasters at the national weather service. anyone who can read a map knows what this shows. no one looked at this and thought that alabama was going to be at risk. now, i don't want to suggest that trump isn't capable of reading a map. but isn't that the obvious
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question here? did he see these maps, did he understand what they showed? when you think about it that way, the media actually lets trump off pretty easy. most of the coverage is not showing this spasm of tweets through the frame of his instability, questioning his critical thinking skills. most of the coverage is not conveying just how appalled scientists and forecasters are. most of the coverage is not asking, as al roker did, where will this end? most of the coverage is not asking, who the heck misinformed the president. how will this end? hopefully not like the end of "1984." the party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. it was their essential, final command. now, in real life, we are not going to ignore what our eyes and ears are telling us. trump wants us to follow his sharpie. he wants us to think he's doubling down. that's why reporters have to think so carefully about the words we use and the frames we choose. because by the time the damage is fully known and quantified by like a week long embarrassment
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like this, most people have moved on to the next storm. in this case, afghan peace talks. but trump proves every day that his words can't be believed. so how are we supposed to evaluate his claims about, say, negotiating with the taliban, when his comments about a hurricane emergency imply that he couldn't read a map correctly? well, hopefully here with some answers are the nation's national affairs correspondent and cnn political analyst, joan walsh, cnn contributor, bianna gold degr golodryga. joan, am i overstating what this week is about? >> no, not at all. and i hope every journalist everywhere has been listening to you. you're right, the way that we use language repeatedly let's him get away with this kind of thing. i don't want to sound shrill, but this is the way totalitarian regimes behave. you are told to believe what the leaders say, not what your eyes tell you. and, you know, the thing about "the washington post" story today that was so important is,
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this is about people's safety. so if you -- you have the national weather service coming out with their tweet saying, no, no, alabama, it's okay, because they were getting questions from anxious parents, you know, people with older family members. should we evacuate? should we board up our houses? >> and now you have meteorologists having to ask for anonymity, because they're afraid of retribution, in order to talk about what the heck happened this week. >> exactly. and to talk about how it potentially hurts public safety, when you can't -- >> it's a great story on the "washington post" website. it quotes a forecaster saying, this is the first time where i felt like maybe i wasn't supposed to tell the truth about the weather. bianna, is this kind of authoritarian? does it have that kind of feel? that the institutions of government are trying to be used to prove trump's lie right? >> it could be. it's not just the president that's saying something, it's the agencies that now work for him that he oversees that have experts employed there for these specific purposes, to get the truth out.
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it's something we see in banana republics around the world. something you expect out of russia, something you expect out of china. not here in the united states. and you see how something, as you mentioned, this started out with a tweet last weekend. the bar is so low when it comes to this president's tweets, had he just moved on, we wouldn't even be talking about it. but here we are, so many days later, because he doubles down. the administration says, we are not letting up. well, he wasn't letting up either. so if he's willing to continue fighting for this, having his government agencies effectively lie for him anonymously, what -- and hurricanes are out of his control, what's going to be happening when there's an issue that comes up on something that he will be playing for? and that's if we see a recession. what if we can't start to believe government data and statistics and figures and what if we start to see anonymous economists and advisers question whether or not they can handle relaying the truth to the president or if he's going to want to fudge those numbers, as well. we hear this happening now with the taliban. there are so many geopolitical and economic issues that could
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pertain to what we've seen transpire just this week. >> and at the same time, all of this is actually happening in real life, over on the pro-trump shows on fox, your former home, julie, you've got the sean hannities and lou dobbs of the world saying, trump is right, the media is right. they're making this about the media, saying we spend too much time fact checking the president. you think the president wants those fights? >> that's right. the one institution less trusted by his base is the media. fox and other networks have done a very good job discrediting that doesn't go along with any world view. bianna and i have both been born in the former soviet union. so it's very concerning that not the leaders are saying this, but institutions are falling in line, scientific institutions. there's no debate here. there is empirical data that scientists provide. and that now you have shows and media who are falling in line with the president's world
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views, though this is a debate. there's no debate here. what we're saying today on this show is not a debate. it's not the opinion of a democrat. >> no. >> it's empirical data. >> this is not left or right. he's insulted another government agency, this time it's noaa, and insulted all of our intelligence. >> worse than that, noaa has followed in line to insult all of our intelligence, not just ours, but the scientists who work for them for decades. these are people who are supposed to be scientists. they're not politically motivated, they're scientifically motivated. and when noaa falls into line with what an erratic president says, that means that scientists who do critical work are no longer to be believed, they're just another cog in this back and forth between partisan media that's trying to take down the media in the eyes of his supporters. >> here's another example to bring this back to russia. look at what just transpired two weeks ago. we know there was another nuclear accident. to what scale, we don't know, because we haven't heard officially from russia. they obviously have nuclear agencies that work for the kremlin, but they are told to stay in line with what the actual kremlin language and response to this is.
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so imagine if, god forbid, we had an incident like that in the united states and we didn't know whether we could rely on the department of energy to give us the truth. so that's where you can see things really spiral out of control. we're not there, but you can sort of get an image of why this is so dangerous. >> let's take a quick break here. panel, stay with me. after the break, an interview with james know anywozick about his new book, "audience of one." and joe biden's flubs on the campaign trail. the hypocrisy about this issue, next. s. skyrizi may increase your risk of infections... ...and lower your ability to fight them. before treatment your doctor should check you for infections and tuberculosis. tell your doctor if you have an infection... ...or symptoms such as fevers,... ...sweats, chills, muscle aches or coughs... ...or if you plan to or recently received a vaccine. i feel free to bare my skin. visit spokesman: fraudsters - they're out to get
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take a look. your tax dollars at work. the white house spreading misinformation on your dime. trump and his aides have been blasting "the washington post" in video and in print all week. they've been drawing actually more attention to this unflattering post story from last weekend, entitled "trump's lost summer." basically how he wasted the summer month. the white house made a rebuttal video, "summer of winning," and the press office penned an op-ed in the "washington examiner," denouncing the paper. on saturday, trump says the writers shouldn't even be allowed on the grounds of the white house. this reminded us of something a former presidents -- former president once said. >> i want it clearly understood that from now on ever, no reporter from "the washington post" is ever to be in the white house. is that clear? >> absolutely. >> this is like a game of who wore it better, but instead, who said it worse. nixon was talking in secret.
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trump's doing this out in the open. but right now trump is just talking. back with me to discuss, joan, bianna, and julie. joan walsh, the president has tried twice to kick reporters out of the white house. jim acosta last year, brian karim this summer. he's zero for two, but he's still talking about wanting to boot reporters. >> he's still going to do it. >> you think so? >> i do. i do. i'm not saying that this week for sure, these reporters will not be allowed in the doors. it's possible monday they won't. but we've seen him lose in the courts on so many fronts. and he just doesn't let it phase him. he just keeps pushing until he finds a way to do what hep wants to do, a judge who will let him do it. so i don't think this is over by any means. but i really do, i think the nix oncomparison is amazing. and that op-ed in the "washington examiner," trashing "the post," mocking "the post," it's just unthinkable. even that the nixon white house would have done something like that. that what they did, they did in
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secret. but now stephanie grisham and hogan gidley wrote this scathing piece about one of america's great newspapers. it's just so trashy. it was just hard for me to believe that our actual official press secretary and her deputy did this. >> our taxpayer-funded white house press office. >> yes. >> let's turn to the democratic field. and bianna, the front-runner, joe biden, a couple days ahead of the next presidential primary debate on abc, biden continues to have missteps, what he calls gaffes, what i would call falsehoods or flubs. there's been a lot of attention around this on fox and elsewhere, but first, is it fair game, the way you view coverage of biden. is the press right to be pointing out all of these errors he's making? >> this brings back memories of how hillary clinton was covered and some of the treatment she received and her camp said it wasn't fair. the journalists said this is what their jobs were to do, right? she was the front-runner, he is the front-runner. look, for many regards, people
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would say, if you want to bring up joe biden's age and compare to it gaffes, he's been prone to gaffes throughout his career, right? this may not necessarily have anything to do with his age, per se, but just who the man is. with regards to coverage on multiple networks, he's come to accept it. his campaign says that it's a bit too hard, but look at where the poll numbers stand. americans for the most part at least still view him as the front-runner, so this may be more of an inside baseball conversation being had right now as opposed to the conversation being had across the country. >> let's keep fact checking and voters can see if they care or not. julie, we looked at your former network, fox, and how they've been talking about biden. take a look at the tone, the way they're talking about biden. watch. >> the fact that he mis-remembered that, that's not a gaffe. that's a -- that's the kind of memory problems that people his age, and indeed, my age, have all the time. the feeling that he's -- that senility is overtaking him, and i think it is. >> geez. but you make a compelling case
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for it. >> his daily gaffes are a constant source of embarrassment. he doesn't seem to have a basic understanding of key issues and simple facts. >> he gets the details wrong and he gets the decisions wrong. >> when he misses the beat, it really seems organic to me. it doesn't seem like he's going to get sharper going forward. >> is senility overtaking him? >> just asking questions, there, right? although they're giving a lot of answers. i suppose i look at that and say, definitely cover biden's flubs and missteps, but doesn't everything they just said apply to president trump as well? >> that's what's interesting about this, right? if i were still there, i would have been very fleet to point this out. everything that sean hannity and everybody else, melissa frances, everything they have just said about biden applies to trump times a thousand. and yet, that's never pointed out. >> they freak out every time i try to bring up trump's instability. every time i question if there
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is something truly sad going on with the president. if he's in some kind of decline. the hannities of the world can't stand to hear that asked. >> the hannities of the world can't stand it and others have to twist themselves into pretzels to try to imply that there is absolutely a difference between what biden is doing and trump is doing. you're absolutely right. look, i'm a fan of joe biden, but he absolutely should be covered the way he's being covered by the press. his gaffes should be pointed out. if they are gaffes or misstatements or outright lies, however you want to frame it. but if you're cognizant that that should be pointed out, there's no reason why this can't be pointed out against donald trump, who's lying -- what's the average? multiple times a day. that's never pointed out. and that's the sad thing about where we've gotten to the media ecosystem, where we've got an entire media complex that refuses to be honest about the fact that everything they just said about joe biden can apply to donald trump. >> can apply to donald trump as well. to our panel, thank you. a quick break here. and then a "60 minutes" legend.
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the interviewer steve kroft will join me live, talking about his extraordinary career and what's next for him. my insurance rates are probably gonna double. but dad, you've got allstate. with accident forgiveness they guarantee your rates won't go up just because of an accident. smart kid. indeed. are you in good hands?
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500 stories. that's how many stories steve kroft filed for cbs' "60 minutes" in an incredible 30-year career. croft is known for his high-profile interviews, including 17 sit-downs with former president barack obama, and his famous 1992 interview with then-candidate bill clinton about his alleged affair with jennifer flowers, hillary clinton by clinton's side. 34 million people tuned in then and these days, "60 minutes" remains the highest rated news program on american television. but now the news mag's longest tenured correspondent is retiring and he's here with me now. steve kroft joining me. for his retirement day, this is the evening that "60 minutes" is paying tribute to you later today. thank you for joining me. >> my pleasure. my pleasure. how has "60 minutes" changed over your three decades and how has television changed over your career? >> how has everything changed? i mean, i look at now and every industry, every walk of life has
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changed. but mostly, i think that "60 minutes" has probably changed the at least of almost anything in the culture in terms of it's, you know, some people say it's still a little old fashioned, but it's still doing good journalism and still basically following the bankrulueprint thn hewitt set 50 years ago. >> and still the most watched. >> yeah. >> i mentioned your obama interview, certainly in recent years, that's what you've been best known for. what do you think it is about that kind of interviewing, presidential interviewing that people should learn from or people should take away? >> well, that's a good question. when i first started doing the interviews with obama in 2008, there was sort of a canvas for doing presidential interviews that people had followed for years and years and years. there was a -- there was a certain politeness to it. the president was treated with respect. you tried not to interrupt him unless you absolutely had to.
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and now, it's kind of evolved to the place with this particular president, where almost anything goes. and when he does sit down with somebody besides his "fox & friends". >> would you like to interview president trump? have you tried? >> i have not tried. i took a pass on that one. and leslie and scott pelley have both interviewed him. he's a very hard interview, very hard interview, because he just goes where he wants to go and takes -- it's particularly, live. but i think leslie did a pretty good job and exposed -- i don't want to say exposing, but letting him reveal himself and his personality the way he thinks. i think that lester holt did really a good job with him. and other than that, most people just can't get a handle on him. it's hard. i wouldn't know how to do it. >> really? >> well, i would come up with an idea and some strategies, but i think you have to really be on your toes. >> and beyond the presidential interviews, what stories are most important to you?
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what are the kinds of stories that we would need to have more on television news? >> i think we ought to have more 12 1/2-minute stories. i think that's the biggest advantage that the show has. and we shoot normally 13 hours of tapes for 13 minutes of product. and you have a lot to choose from. and also, you're doing an interview live, you've got five minutes, maybe and we've got an hour to sit down with somebody and we can go and find the best parts. >> and go in every direction. >> we're going to add a couple more minutes for our, steve. you're leaving at a time of turmoil. for the last year at "60 minutes," there's been a lot of turmoil, allegations against the former executive producer, jeff fager. he stepped down under pressure and now there's a new cbs news president. we all remember the upheaval. does that relate to why you're leaving now? >> not really. and i say that -- my wife thinks i'm crazy when i say that, but it had very little to do with it. i made the decision really about
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a year ago, that this was going to be my last season. and my staff -- >> right about that time all the drama started to unfurl. >> and i said, unless something really happens to change my mind, this is my last season. and nothing happened to change my mind. >> what's it been like inside cbs news during this period? >> well, you know, it's -- anytime you have an organization that has leadership change and as you pointed out, we had it at three different levels with corporate cbs, with cbs news, with "60 minutes," it creates a lot of uncertainty, it creates a lot of stress. but in the end, we came through and turned out a lot of good stories last year. the ratings weren't affected. and it was really as soon as joe aionola and bill owens to fill those vacancies, things settled down and have settled down. >> and that's what valued in the
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newsroom. you don't want that kind of turmoil. what do you recommend to journalism students who want to have your job some day? what do you tell them? >> be prepared to work hard. and it's not going to be very high paying at the beginning and you have to really love it, like anything. and it's a commitment. and just stick with it. >> stick with it. >> a lot of it's attrition, you know. >> are you -- >> you start out with a bunch of young people, half of them drop out or go get into public relations or something like that, not that there's anything wrong with it. but the ones that stay, you know, learn a lot. >> and how about you? what's next for you? >> i'm going to do -- i hope to do some hours. i want to experiment a little bit in a different form. i've done 30 years i've been in the same job. i would like to be able to do something that's a little bit different. hour documentaries, nonfiction television, maybe a series of documentaries. and i'm working with some former colleagues and friends on a
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number of projects. >> is there anyone you have not interviewed yet that you're going to still try to interview? >> you know, i haven't thought about that, but if i wanted to interview them and i haven't with, there's a reason. it's because they don't want to do it. and sometimes you hit people at the right time and you can change their mind, but there are people out there that don't like to be interviewed. i like to have a crack at jeff bezos. >> jeff bezos. >> that's interesting. yeah, he almost never talks. >> certainly not in the last four or five years. there are lots of people in the technology field that i would love to talk to and they don't really talk to either. >> some of the most powerful people in the world are the ones that only post little tweets. >> yes. >> steve, thank you very much for being here. great to see you, congratulations on your retirement from "60 minutes." >> thank you very much, brian. quick break here on "reliable sources." when we come back, the first tv interview with james poniewozik, the tv critic of the "new york times" who's out with a brand-new book about our tv junkie president.
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mytill he signed up for atunitedhealthcareealth medicare complete.
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♪ now, it's like he has his own health entourage. he gets medicare's largest healthcare network, a free gym membership, vision, dental and more. there's so much to take advantage of. can't wait till i'm 65. a few more chairs, please. unitedhealthcare medicare complete plans, the only plans with the aarp name. free dental care and eye exams, and free designer eyewear. go ahead, take advantage. donald trump became president because television changed. that's the these of this brand-new book by james poniewozik. it's entitled "audience of one: television, donald trump, and the fracturing of america." the book is due out on tuesday and it takes a look at trump over the years. from peddling the art of the deal as a braggadocious businessman to his role as host on "the apprentice" for years and years and on to a recurring segment on "fox & friends."
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all of it meant to shape trump's public persona into something resembling, well, a president. so i sat down with poniewozik ahead of the book's release. >> because the guy on tv became president. that's the nutshell. our society had reached this place where it was possible that you could go pretty much directly from hosting a reality game show in prime-time on nbc to becoming the most powerful person in the world. and that happened that happened because of tv through tv. one change along with tracing television and tracing the history of trump as a tv character is that tv went from a three-network mass medium where you were to reach a broad audience and be broadly palatable to a fragmented mish medium, where it was about building intense audiences.
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and, you know, servicing very intense, often polarized subgroups. and you know, the evolution -- a lot of the evolutions of politics that we've seen over the time and the evolution of trump as a pop culture character, from the '80s through "the apprentice" years, through the fox years, that all reflects that and was enabled by that. >> to me, jim, this book explains so much about trump, about his psyche, and about his relationship with this entirely powerful medium. you're basically making us think about what it was like for president trump once he was elected, once he has these 24/7 tv shows that are all about him on cnn, fox, and elsewhere, and what that was like for him. >> donald trump is somebody who has not just been a performer on television or somebody who's used the medium, but, you know, he has long been an avid consumer of it. he is the fox audience, as well as, you know, a person who appeared on fox. as an '80s celebrity and '90s
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celebrity, he was always obsessed with his media coverage, working the local new york media, et cetera, et cetera. he had, you know, one of his biographers said back in trump tower in his offices, an aide would keep a shelf full of tapes of his tv appearances that he'd watch as, i think the term he said, was an ego substance. someone who's always wanted to know what are people saying, what's going on? and suddenly you are the president of the united states and there are 24-hour news channels and the news is a show in which the president is always the star. and people are always talking about you and what you are doing, what you are thinking, and how you are feeling, and what you just tweeted and what people said about the tweet and what you tweeted in response to the tweet. it's you, you, you, all the time. why would ever do anything else. >> why would you ever turn the channel. >> it's irresistible. >> you're saying you drop a tv junkie inside the television set
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and what we're seeing right now is the result. >> yes. and basically, people start reaching that person through the tv. they start booking themselves on tv to send message s to him, because, apparently, people that he sees on tv are more real to him than people, you know, he sees in front of him in the flesh. he, in have many ways, used television to become president. but then, tv kind of became the president. because what he was seeing on tv set his agenda. and controlled his mood and, you know, determined the world that the rest of us would live in. >> could i make the case that trump's dependence on television, his obsession with watching tv has really hurt his presidency. because it does distract him. because it does dismay him. because he does lash out and act in unpresidential ways as a result of what he sees on tv. i wonder how this would have gone differently if he wasn't watching? but maybe your point is that's impossible, because he was a tv junkie. >> it's a package deal. >> it's a package deal.
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>> i just think, in taking the tv and, you know, the tv outgoing, like, it's all part of the same ecosystem with him. >> in your book, you bring up reporting from your colleagues with the "new york times" towards 2017, this is towards the end of the first year of the trump presidency. trump told top aides to think of each presidential day as an episode in a television show in which he vanquishes rivals. that is really key. and i think we should remember that now a year and a half later. that's maybe still what's going on. >> it is. and you know, it's a very effective tactic if all you want is all the attention to be focused on you every day. it's not necessarily a strategy for the long-term, because what you need to get the news focused on you is another new outrage all the time. >> shiomething shocking. >> but it's not necessarily building towards anything. and another key difference on doing this in reality and on a reality tv show, on a reality tv show, you have mark burnett
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producing it. you have something that can take the raw footage and go back to the editing room, as they said they often had to do on "the apprentice" with some of donald trump's decisions and edit it to reimpose logic on what happened. >> so maybe that's been trump's problem. he hasn't had a mark burnett. he hasn't had a strong producer. >> he's just got sean spicer and mike pence. >> yes, imagine that. all right. check out the rest of our interview on the reliable souers podcast at "reliable sources".com. excellent book, "audience of one." quick break here on "reliable sources." in a moment, a brand-new report on online harassment and how it poses a threat to press freedom. leave no man behind. or child. or other child. or their new friend. or your giant nephews and their giant dad. or a horse. or a horse's brother, for that matter. the room for eight, 9,000 lb towing ford expedition.
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imagine you just published a big story. you're feeling good after weeks of hard work. then you peek on your social media accounts and you are suddenly inundated. insults as far as the site can scroll. a troll army saying you're wortless, biased, dumb, sick, evil. attackers are trying to get you fired. anonymous accounts are telling you to kill yourself or offering to do the job themselves. the committee to protect journalists is out with a new report on this issue, this shall of online harassment. showing how big this problem is, how pervasive it is, especially for female reporters. cbj has updated its site as a result, giving an update on removing personal data.
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also shared information about the psychological impacts of online harassment and threats. here to discuss this new report in detail is courtney raj at cpj, the advocacy director of the organization. the report is up on why was it important for your group, that focuses on press freedom, to take a look at online harassment specifically. >> i think what we've seen with online harassment, it is the g biggest safety concern facing female journalists in america and canada. if there is a perception it's the biggest safety threat they're facing, we've got to address that. that could have a silencing and chilling effect. >> and many people on social media, of course, not just reporters, but people in lots och different professions, individuals who just try to share their political opinions get harassed on social media all the time. what makes it specific about reporting that people should
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think about? >> i think we have to think about journalists as really serving a public interest. they're there to help inform the public to dig out facts, to follow up stories. i mean, so much about what we know wlb we're talking about, you know, economics, politics, you know the scandal in usa gymnastics, it came because journalists were digging, they were reporting. so when we hear that journalists, especially women journalists, are being faced with online harassment as an endemic part of their job, that is problematic and we need to address it. we don't want journalists to be fearful of reporting on issues. and we know that our respondents said that reporting on extremism as well as national politics were some of the most concerning beats for them. >> right. where people end up getting harassed even more than others, by virtue of covering these important subjects. so your message is partly, i think, to newsrooms, right, to editor who is take this seriously. and also to the tech companies, right? they have a responsibility here. >> yeah, so both of those are
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important constituencies. we can't rely on just journalists. yes, they need to take steps to protect their digital identity, to, you know, do social media hygiene, but we also need newsrooms to take this issue seriously and realize that it is endemic to certain beats. it's very likely in retaliation for certain stories and that they need to address this proactively with their reporters, both staff and free lance. and we need the technology companies to do their part, because this is pervasive on their platforms. and it's not enough to mute or block somebody. you need to know if those threats are coming through. and we need more proactive responses from the tech platforms. >> i agree. courtney, thank you so much for being here. and please, everybody, check out the report on the committee's website at quick break here. much more "reliable sources," including an unfortunate milestone at the white house in just a moment.
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well, we are fast approaching the six month mark. six months since the last formal on camera white house press briefing. what has been a staple for decades, gone.
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now there's been two briefings total this year. one was in january. there were no briefings in february with sarah huckabee sanders and then she did have one briefly in march. but then april, may, june, july, august, lots of news but no briefings. stephanie grisham is now the press secretary, she's not had a briefing yet and this wednesday will be the six month mark. so i suppose the press briefing is dead, buried, gone forever. you know, some people say the briefings don't matter because president trump holds clopper talk sessions where he stands in front of marine one and asks questions or at least avoids questions asked by the press. what do you think of that explanation briefings don't matter anymore? >>ets this is taxpayer funded job. a mageb part of that job is to meet the press. that is literally what the first and foremost responsibility of this description is. >> she would say why can't her job description change.
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what's wrong with that? >> because someone in this white house needs to answer questions from the press corpse. someone needs to be accountable what the president is doing on a daily basis, whether it's her, a deputy of hers, but someone needs to do that. it's enough for chopper talks where the president pontificates for a mew minutes and gets on his chopper to the next rally. they need to answer questions whether they want to or not. that is the functional role of a democratic government with a small "d," that we need to have somebody who addresses these issues and speaks to the press. the fact you have a tire press corpse sitting in a white house to a briefing that has not come in six months -- putting out propaganda pieces on twitter saying "the washington post" never covered the fact tat the president was the first american president to set foot in north korea. of course google search shows
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that he did. and lows lies and the reason for those lies is the rest of us tweet out corrections which in fact amplifies the g&a do gooding the president has done. her function is to troll. she's basically being paid by the taxpayers to be a troll on behalf of the president. i worked with the former press secretary under bush was somebody who was a colleague of mine a long time. i haven't spoken to her about this but i suspect she would find this unexcusable. whether it's pleasant for them or not, their role is to get up there and answer questions from the press, good, bad or indifferent. >> one more story on "reliable sources" on the other side of this break.
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with hep c behind me, i feel free... ...fearless... ...and there's no looking back, because i am cured. talk to your doctor about mavyret. welcome back to "reliable sources." i'm brian stelter. one more note before we go, this is about the pittsburgh gazette. you'll recall the paper received a pulitzer prize for its coverage of the deadly mass shooting at the tree of life synagogue. when you win a pulitzer prize you get about $15 million. the newsroom wasn't sure what to do with it. they didn't want to split up the money among the staff so they're donating the money to help the synagogue. it's important to recognize moments like these where journalists recognize their role in a community. i mean, at the end of it day newsrooms are just collections of people reporting on people,
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part of a community looking out for each other. so thank you to the pittsburgh post gazette for that reminder. that's all for this televised edition of reliable sources but we'll see you online. make sure to sign-up for our nightly newsletter. and we'll be back here this time next week. secret talks. president trump says he called off a secret meeting at camp david with taliban leaders after the latest attack in afghanistan. where does that leave the peace talks and u.s. service members in america's longest war? secretary of state mike pompeo joins me next. and alabama rebuked. a government agency backs president trump over its own scientists before the president misstates the hurricane's threat to alabama last sunday. >> that was what was originally projected. >> as people in the bahamas grow more desperate, why is the president still talking about