tv Reliable Sources CNN December 22, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PST
i'm brian stelter. it's time for "reliable sources". in this hour we have not one but two of america's top editors joining me. marty baron and david remnick are here. plus us si cup and others are here. i'm going to propose a new diagnosis for the whoas of the news media. are we all experiencing memory loss? and later, with the movie "bomb shell" in theaters, i'll speak to the director to see why he decided to make a film about the darkest days in fox news history. first, looking back at the
week that was, the impeachment flat line. this is one of the times when a line graph can tell a story best. impeachment is a fact that president trump cannot deny. even in the age of alternative facts and even though some of his surrogates are trying to spin it in his favor and see he hasn't been impeached, the front remembered for decades to come. while the house and senate are squabbling over the terms of a senate trial, it feels like the fog over washington is only becoming thicker and denser. an impeachment really is a thought line. look at this. this is from tracking autopolll patrols looking at whether people support moving trump from office. there's been barely any movement throughout the hearings and the debates on the floor of the house. and then to the vote. people are exactly where they were. basically a 50/50 country.
so when you hear hype about movement and individual polls or when you hear trump claim he's gaining tons of support, just remember that it's a flat line. one of the many reasons why is because the fox news talk radio fire wall is holding strong. let's look at the banners from fox from impeachment night. the left's impeachment lies exposed as a sham hits a new level. talking about democrats walking off in impeachment. delusional democrats walk off impeachment cliff. you know what? trump couldn't write the banners be better if he tries, but he does try on his twitter account. he's been screaming in all caps earlier in the week. but there's no way to tweet yourself out of impeachment. my question this sunday is what did we learn if anything in the past week? with me to discuss that and much more is the editor of the new yorker, david remnick. he's been running the new yorker since 1998.
the last time there was an impeachment all over the news. david, thank you for being here. >> great to see you. >> did anything change this week? >> i'll tell you what i think i hope changes. that i think is more important. because we've seen the republicans stuck where they are. they're illusions about trump remain, and you're right to describe it as a flat line. here's what i hope that we understand. that the -- the stakes here are immense. it's just -- it's not just about the political future of one man, donald trump. it's about the future of democracy and democratic process and this is a -- a trend throughout the world. it's about the future of the earth. we have a party that has decided to be disbelieving about climate change. it's about issues as essential as that. and right now you have a country that is split, and to great
frustration of people like you and people like me, we don't somehow understand. we don't understand why the evidence of things, why facts don't penetrate so many of our brothers and sisters in the united states of america. and this is a source of great frustration for the press. >> for the press. >> and for anybody who is thinking about these issues that are so important. >> and in your new column in new yorker.com you write the shock of trump's -- it trumped reason fact and ethical judgment in the republican party. >> it's not as if reason and fact and truth telling were pervasive in any political party much less the republican party. but things have gotten markedly worse. lindsey graham during the campaign called donald trump unfit for office. a bigot, a xeonophobe.
ma marco rubio, the bushes. so much of the republican party, their candidates, their lobby know the score. everybody in the senate and the house knows this is a man of low character, of ethical -- ethics run amuck. this is not -- nobody in the republican party thinks this is a good and decent man. these are people who are looking to their political advantages. they think if they act or speak against them, they'll lose their seats. the only people speaking against him are people set to retire. >> 40 %. it's republican. >> this is not exactly profiles and courage time. and john meacham is right to point out that if you look historically at the cost of opposing your president within the party, the price is not that
high. people are -- people are themselves lacking character and courage. it has to be said straight up. >> what about this week's letter from president trump to nancy pelosi in advance of the impeachment vote. it was described as unhinged and crazed by commentators on cable television. >> what's in it? what's new? >> does it speak to the broader question that's been in effect for the past three years about fitness for office? is that what the conversations are about? >> brian, nothing has changed. i've lived in new york a long time. donald trump is who he is. when he was a businessman, he cheated contractors and employees, and he behaved the way he behaves. you know, i thought that adam schiff's speech on the floor of the house was eloquent. and he called donald trump a cheat. that is at the nature of his behavior throughout his business career, throughout his political career. >> but if nothing has changed, can you blame people for being trump fatigue?
>> look, i think the press has done in total a terrific job of putting together the sum of particulars against trump, whether it's through character, business behavior, political behavior and on the story of ukraine. we know what's what. >> trump supporters say the media creates hoaxes, the russia hoax, the ukraine hoax. that's the business we're in. how do we disprove that smear. >> the question is how you reach people and change minds in the current environment. it's gotten increasingly hard. but cheating is also rampant here, and i think a lot of people in the media are not showing courage. first and foremost, an organization like facebook. facebook refuses to consider itself what it is. it's a publisher. and it's coming around to this maybe slowly because of the criticism, but first and foremost the value is money, money, money. >> this was the first social media impeachment. i feel like we don't know the
ramifications, the consequences of everyone being in their own bubbles. >> this is not a question of the behavior of the washington post or the new yorker. however flawed we may be in a given moment. this is a question of larger technological trends that have an effect. even fox news, fox news is not reaching 150 million people a night. it's reaching several million. i don't know what the number is. >> 4 million, 5 million viewers. >> it's held through social media and influences other outlets but something like the leadership of facebook, if you're talking about this year and the last couple of years, needs to look itself in the face and take responsibility for the role here. >> when we're talking about how lies and disinformation spreads, so much is about information spreading. in an effort to be seen as neutral, journalists time after time fell into the trap of presenting facts and lies as
roughly e kwi lent and then blaming political tribalism for not seeming to know the difference. do you agree? >> it happens. it happens, but i think there's been a greater effort not to do so. we certainly go to great thengts not to do it at the new yorker. i don't see it happening at other news outlets. occasionally it does. you look at the evening programs at cnn. are they sitting there swallowing lie after lie? i don't think so. in fact, the effort has been in the other direction. the real problem is what we're discussing now. the kind of universe of manipulated social media, social media companies not owning up to their responsibilities and getting rid of the fakery that they are putting out. >> i know it's a strong word, but we're in a poisoned information eco system. all of us are in it even if we try to rely on magazines and other sources. >> one of the biggest problems, something we may never have
anticipated. i'm not saying the predecessors are innocence and honest at every moment, but the degree of dishonesty sitting at the oval office. the power of the pulpit that he has is immense. and even though a degree of incompetence has been one of the breaks on total disaster in every area, donald trump's ability to shift the argument, shift the dialogue, and the need for us to pay attention to what he says because the tweets cannot be ignored. i disagree with people who say they should be left alone. they are presidential utterances. they reflect his quote, unquote, ideas, resentments, and they have to be reported on. they have to be properly analyzed and debunk first dochk that's required. but they have to be reported on. >> he's putting so much out.
>> you mean on the level of you describe it as a matter of mental health or a matter of just volume? >> volume. >> the idea that a president would take the time to tweet 300 times in a given week should begin to tell you something. >> david remnick, thank you for being here and starting us off. >> good to see you. after a quick break, media memory loss. is the media missing out ? we'll discuss it next. may your holidays glow bright and all your dreams take flight. lease the c 300 sedan for just $399 a month at the mercedes-benz winter event. hurry in today. i'climate is the number 1ove priority.sage.
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welcome back to reliable sources. i'm brian stelter. are we all suffering from media memory loss? two years ago today trump signed a tax cut and reform bill into law promising americans a giant tax cut for christmas. as we know the tax cut was weighted heavily toward corporations. corporations benefitted. and many of the promises that president trump made with regard to the tax cut have not been fulfilled. now, today also marks one year since the month-long government shutdown. remember, this was in the news last christmas, last holiday season. trump was demanding money for border wall funding. president trump has been trying to forget about his things. he said he wouldn't sign another bill like last winter and he signed two of them over the weekend. let's talk about this idea of memory loss, how to make sure the media follows up on these stories. let me bring in three experts with me.
katherine rampell, and also the author of "winter is coming". garry kasparov. and s.e. cupp. katherine, your brand new column is about the tax cut two years later. broken promises. is it fair -- are you seeing enough followups in the press about the milestones? >> i think there has been insufficient followup. every single promise that trump and republicans by the way other republicans, other members of his party have made has been broken. he said the tax cut would pay for itself. it has added or is projected to add $2 trillion to the deficit. trump said we would get to 6% growth. we're at 2 %.
that's what we had when obama was president. he said it would result in big raises. he said americans would be grateful and rush to the republican party because they'd be grateful for getting this boost to their paychecks. none of that is the case. the tax cuts are deeply under water, and we've just kind of let it go. we know it's to be expected. of course republicans would lie about tax cuts paying for themselves. they've always lied about it. and i just think that's incredibly disappointing that they're getting away with breaking tons of promises. >> president trump is not the only one who misleads about the economy and tax cuts. mark meadows made b.s. statements about the impeachment debate the other day. >> we've lowered the bar to impeach a president that continues to give us an economy that not only is growing but
growing at levels that we have never seen in the history of our country. is that true, katherine? >> none of that is correct. not a a strong economy should be a get of impeachment free card. it's not. but as i said we're growing at about 2 % this year. we grew at about 2% on average during obama's second term before we had the 2 trillion tax cut. that's below the long term post war average of about 3%. it's below what it was when bill clinton was impeached. when bill clinton was impeached we were growing at 4 %. >> is it trump fans are exaggerating the growth? >> yes. >> all i hear is the economy. >> the economy today is not substantially different from the economy before trump took office. it's not like you can point to a point in the decline of unemployment where you can see that trump took office and the red sea parted and people gained job. these are basically the same trends we saw before despite the
fact that there's been fiscal stimulous trump has pumped into the economy through higher spending. we're not seeing payoff. because the economy has not crashed, for some reason trump gets to claim credit for the fact that things are okay. >> the bigger picture here is something you wrote for cnn.com. you said i lived in the post soviet world i hear the echoes in trump's america. is this the echo? >> it's worse. in the soviet union we had to struggle to find alternative sources of information. here i just push a button. so swipe your finger on the phone. it's amazing that trump succeeded in just separating people. it's like red state reality, moose state reality. for instance the senator from canada lied about ukraine interference in elections on fox and then apologized to cnn. we see it -- >> that's right. yes. >> cnn anchorman could attack
him demanding that he would apologize on fox. that's what he did, and unfortunately it's very little response from media forcing them to actually to bring truths to the fox audience. >> that's an interesting term. red state reality and blue state reality. is it that simple? >> i think there are two different realities, and two different sets of, quote, unquote facts. that's how propaganda works in a book i won't new england that's famous by a person i won't mention who is very awful, you know, he said propaganda works by appealing to feelings. and not our reasoning abilities. so to that extent, the propaganda is working. i'd like to push back on something katherine said and the piece that she wrote, stringing all of these lies and broken promises together is really important and really good work. but i'm not sure he's getting away with it. i think the media is really
holding him and republicans accountable. for example, she wrote about it yesterday. you're talking about it today. i talked about it on my show yesterday. the media at large employs people just to fact check now. the president has broken promises. his lies. if you compare that, i think, to obama's media, for example, i think they were a lot more helpful in sort of the more subtle misleadings that obama participated in during his administration. >> obama never made claims like this. >> well, his lie of the year which was if you like your health insurance, if you like your provider, you can keep your doctor, that was parroted by a lot of people in the press. they wanted to believe it was true. i think trump gets more scrutiny. deservedly so, but i think to say that trump and republicans are getting away with a lie is where the media is concerned is
just not true. now, where voters are concerned, will voters hold trump and republicans accountable? we'll have to see in 2020. it was not a great midterm election for republicans in 2018, and i think a lot of the lies and broken promises probably had something to do wit. >> katherine? >> look, on the point about obama's claim about you can keep your -- if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. actually, a lot of health writers pointed out that was incorrect at the time. but leaving obama aside -- >> but a lot of news personalities did not. >> i can't account for -- >> i don't know that's the case, but whatever. we're not talking about bauchob. the point is about trump. >> okay. >> that's the point of this. right? trump keeps repeating the lies. he and mark meadows and others have figured out a lot of times the media won't call them out.
it's about how great the economy is. the economy is quite good. >> right. i think it's the news overload. when there's 100 things going on at all times and 100 crazy claims, it feels like an overwhelming situation. >> i think the problem is that the way people process information is when you repeat the lie, even if it's to debunk the lie, people remember the lie. they remember it about the economy. they remember it about whether or not ukraine was interfering with the 2016 election in the case of the john kennedy quote you're talking about. what happens is the news cycle becomes about the crazy thing that was said, and even if the media, which i think has not done a sufficient job at debunking things. even if members of the media attempt to debunk them, we amplify the thing that needs to be debunked. it's a difficult challenge for people covering the claims. whether it's about national security or electoral int
interference. >> this was the year the white house press briefing died, the on camera press briefing. it's been 28 6 days since a formal press briefing. does this kind of thing matter, this transparency, this symbolic transparency that goes away in the united states. does it matter? >> i made the prediction in 2016 after trump's elections. it doesn't happen overnight. people have the wrong impression about tidictatorships being bui. it happens in many places, day by day, night by night. >> this is not a dictatorship. >> no. but it's a road to perdition. it takes time. looking at 2016 and now, 2016 elections value dated trump's style. god forbid he's elected in 2020.
that's validation of his methods. you say it's trump. trump has a family. that's why if those within the trump world will be gone by 2020, i can remind them he has a daughter and son and it's no longer gop. it's trump's body. even worse, there are people who will be following trump's successful technique. look at the republicans. they keep repeating the greatest economy, huge. it's amazing this -- the republicans today are just -- no longer reliable sources. >> you can say that. >> the only reliable puppets. >> one more example before a break for se. one more example of the road. steven miller is revealed to be sending links to white nationalist websites. it was exposed and this week 25 jewish members of congress called for trump to fire miller. it's getting skipped or missed.
>> yeah. it's a huge story, and a lot of us had been pointing out steven miller's odiousness by virtue of how close he was to the presidential right wing circles. this is a big problem if you look at the raise in hate crime and anti-semitism and right wing nationalism and terrorism, domestic terrorism, it's coincided with a lot of trump's empowering of people like steven miller. so you're right. it's a big story, and it should be getting more coverage, and around this time of year, and with all of these other big stories like impeachment in 2020 elections, it might not get the importance and attention that it deserves. >> all right. everybody please stand by. more with the crew in a few moments. next, inside "the washington post" news room with marty baron. hear from him next. up here at the dewar's distillery, all our whiskies are aged,
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page gets the right. the right side of the front page is about trump's makeover to the courts. the left is the democratic race. the middle, a story about a husband and wife married for 63 years forced apart by a desperate search for health care in nebraska. it will have you in tears. stories about real people affected by political decisions. that is what we need more of. that's what the post has been doing through the investigations of things like the opioid crisis and the afghan war. so you can understand why the post's editor marty baron doesn't get worked up about the critiques of the paper of the political coverage. there's more going on at the post. he pointed out in an interview, the post takes incoming from both sides. >> we're not just a target for people on the right but also sometimes for people on the left as well. i think it's important to remember that. and so people find it convenient
to attack us, because they want people to just believe them and not believe any independent arbiter of facts. >> we have to advocate for open mindedness in every direction. it seems like some of the politicians and their surrogates want to close people's minds and get people not to think at all. not be critical thinkers. >> yeah. i keep thinking back to a supreme court ruling by the supreme court justice robert jackson in 1945 where he said that every person must be his own watchman for the truth, because our forefathers didn't trust any government to separate the truth and the false for us. i think that still holds obviously today and perhaps even more so today. >> yeah. >> where every person needs to use their own judgment, their independent judgment and evaluate the facts in front of them. but actually, look at the facts. >> marty, wen i look at "the washington post" websites and i look at red lists, i see articles about trump and a lot of opinion, but also
investigative stories. most recently the afghanistan papers. this was a project years in the making by the post. i wonder how you've made room and time in the budget to pay for this investigative reporting. >> we think it's central to our mission to do investigations, to hold government to account, to hold all powerful individuals and powerful institutions to account. that's why we have a free press in this country. that's why james madison in crafting the first amendment talked about freely examining public characters and measures. that's the whole idea behind having an independent press. so it's really important that we dedicate resources to those kinds of efforts. this was an incredibly important one. we've been at this war for more than 18 years now. obviously we became aware of a trove of interviews with over 400 individuals about their assessment of the war and what was known about the war as it was unfolding.
and we wanted to get access to that. we thought it was important for the american public to know about that. and so we were certainly willing to expend all the resources necessary, reptorial resources and editing and legal resources to obtain that information. >> when you look back at the past 12 months, what other investigations have moved the needle? >> we spent a lot of time looking at the opioid crisis this past year. we also went to court for that to obtain data that would show how wholesalers distributed opioids across the country and areas of the country that received a disproportionate amount of that, of opioids as well. and so that's a very serious matter, and it's something that we also devoted an enormous amount of time to. >> that pain pills investigation was incredible. you know, you obtained this data and opened it up to the news outlets across the country. could also dig into the files and do their own reporting. tell me if i'm wrong, that feels like the kind of collaboration
or cooperation that wouldn't have happened a couple decades ago. >> i think it's really important that we be more transparent about how we go about our work and make our work available to other news organizations and individuals in general so they can see what we've been able to gather. they can look at it for themselves. other news organizations should be able to produce stories based on that data. we can't do everything here at "the washington post." we have about 850 journalists in the news room. our resources are limited nonetheless. to the extent that we can make data available to other news organizations so they can pursue the stories in their own communities, i think that's an important role for an organization like ours. >> i liked how when the gan papers with published by the post, you sent an email to subscribers that said this is what we do with your subscriber support. this is what we pay for. going to court. looking for documents.
it's not just enough to ask people to subscribe. you have to keep telling them why it matters and why it's useful and why they should stay subscribed. >> it's true. i think it's important that we keep reminding readers where their money goes. it's also important that we keep reminding readers how expensive it is to practice this sort of journalism. it is expensive to have a news room of 850 people. it is expensive to have to go to court twice over the course of three years to obtain information like that which was part of the afghanistan papers, and investigations take a long time. and with an uncertain result at the end of time. if readers want us to pursue those kinds of stories, clearly they're going to have to pay for it. >> marty baron, thank you so much. >> thank you, brian. you can hear more from marty on this week's reliable sources podcast available at reliablesources.com or wherever
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parks of the me too movement. back in 2016 when gretchen carlson sued ailes, that was the beginning of the domino effect that continues to fall to this day. "bombshell" is getting buzz. it's nabbed four sag awards and it's out in theaters nationwide. joining me now is the director of the film. why did you decide fox news? >> well, it was an interesting place for this to happen. this was a year before the harvey weinstein news launched the me too movement to another level. it was sort of astonishing that these women who doesn't look at themselves as a feminist, megyn kelly, ended up being the ones to take down this major media titan sexual predator, roger ailes. it seemed like an incredible
predigment. it w -- predicament. it was emotional talking to them. i thought it would be a good forum to get some of the issues out. >> absolutely. the film also looks beyond the final days of the roger ailes era. what fox news is and what it does. let me play a little clip from the film. >> you have to adopt the mentality of an irish street cop. the world is a bad place. people are lazy morons. minorities are criminals. sex is sick but interesting. >> ask yourself what would scare my grandmother or piss off my grandfather. that's a fox story. >> the screen writer addressing that's the fox formula. is this just another liberal hollywood takedown of fox? >> you know, we have talked very much about how it's not a partisan issue. your colleague on your show, s.e. cupp wrote a piece about this is an issue of men who have power turning this -- i love her
phrase, turning it into a sort of sexual harassment industrial complex. an interesting way of looking at it. that it's about ego centric men who get addicted to power who require people often women to show them loyalty in this case, with sexual favors. like, that doesn't seem like -- it's something that happens in my industry and in news and it happens in everywhere across companies. >> yeah. i'm thinking to myself, where's the matt lauer movie, or leless moon vez. are those coming? >> there's a great documentary about harvey weinstein. and a story about a journalist who trying to just get that story out and how a corporation can try to suppress that. that certainly, i hope, i would happily make that movie.
>> i saw you saying you would love to do something on the ukraine scandal, something on the news. >> i heard someone call this the year of the whistleblower. i think that's an incredible story. our story is about whistleblowers too, gretchen carlson was a whistleblower. sort of saying hey, this bullying in our company has to stop. again, a year before people were around to support her doing that, you know, she sort of took that on alone. i am always going to root for people who take on especially powerful men. >> that's a great point. jay, thank you so much. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me, brian. a holiday gift giving gift reliable sources style when we come back. regnant now. reliable sources style when we come back. ui reliable sources style when we come back. d reliable sources style when we come back. e reliable sources style when we come back. reliable sources sty come back. reliable sources style when we come back. and remove it at any time. filling prescriptions could take longer. an iud is more reliable than this...
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let's have fun now that the end of the world is approaching. h hanukkah starts tonight. christmas is this week. if you could give one present to the media, what would it be? humility, honesty, a magic wand to stop mistakes from being made. let's ask our experts for their gift ideas. the panel is back with me. s.e., your gift for the media? >> yeah. i think sometimes when we think about the media, we think about cable news or big institution
cal oal outlets. what i loved about marty baron's interview is he talked about how expensive it is to do good stories. i'd like to talk about the other media, local news. and to local news, i wish i could give the gift of more jobs. more resources. more money. and more attention to do the good work that we need and rely on them for. >> yeah. more attention. garry, your gift for the media? >> a supply of strong coffee. stay awake and be vigilant. >> katherine? >> a vacation. a real vacation. that means in the next week you know, there's no major breaking news. no incendiary trump tweets at 4:00 a.m. no trade wars or hot wars. a little bit of a break. i think we could all use it. >> a short vacation, please. >> enough to rejuvenate.
>> 2020 is around the corner. a new year's resolution for the media. resolution. >> i think we need to spend more time covering what the government is actually doing and a little less time about what members of the government are saying about each other and who's ahead in the horse race. the goal is not to win more elections, it's to elect people who will do things that will change people's lives whether we're talking about health care or paychecks or anything else. i think there needs to be more coverage of those issues. >> garry, what about you? >> used to be hear from both sides, democrats, republicans, conservatives, liberals. now it's simple. it's truth versus lies. and i think this is what should be done is just keep repeating the facts. stop giving equal times to lies and also just remember that outdated sense of fairness is
killing governments. >> steve, to you, it's 2020. we're going to be in primary election season, caucuses. what's your new year's resolution. >> i would like all of us to resolve to be just as scruitinous of the 2020 candidates as we have been of trump. i think we give trump a lot of attention. he requires a lot of attention and scrutiny but i don't think that means we can ease up on the gas when it comes to paying as close attention to all of these candidates. they deserve just as much scrutiny and analysis and reverse journalism as he does. >> happy hanukkah, merry christmas. more "reliable sources" in just a minute. that's why we go beyond the numbers. t. rowe price. invest with confidence.
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thank you all. please send us all your feedback. tell us what you want to see on this program in the months and year ahead. i'm @brianstelter on twitter. make sure you check reliablesources.com for our nightly newsletter. sign up for reliablesources.com for the nightly newsletter. coming up, "time magazine" owner mark benioff. before we head off to "state of the union," set your dvr. this is remarkable new film. linda ronstadt, the sound of my voice. happy holidays and i'll see you all here next week. i'm always in competition with myself. what can i do better? i'm your curious cat,
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the sparks that make america shine. signed, sealed, undelivered. the house votes to impeach donald trump setting up an angry presidential response. >> you're declaring open war on american democracy. >> and now critical of the senate process, house democrats throw the president's trial into limbo. >> frankly, i don't care what the republicans say. >> a member of each party's leadership, republican senator roy blunt and democratic senator dick durbin coming up. and angling for a top finish in iowa, the top 2020