tv Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter CNN July 4, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT
take the savings challenge at xfinitymobile.com/mysavings or visit an xfinity store to learn how our switch squad makes it easy to switch and save hundreds. i'm brian stelter live in new york and this is "reliable sources "where we examine the story behind the story and try to figure out what is reliable. this hour we are going live to kabul for anna coren's notebook where america's longest war draws to a close. can you spot the difference between these two men? is tucker carlson the new alex jones? we'll get into that. and later, what needs to change in the coverage of climate
change. david singer, david epstein, all coming up. but first declaring independence from the virus. that's probably more of a question than a statement. noting traveling is surpassing pre-covid levels. it signals the return of the city's air show. a roaring comeback, the best kind of story to tell. but you know what i'm going to say next, right? other headlines from the region reflect the pandemic's continued grip, specifically its grip on americans who are not vaccinated. on this holiday weekend, it's true, many communities are able to declare independence from covid-19, but others still are not. only 20 states have reached president biden's july 4th goal of having 70% of americans vaccinated with at least one dose. and let's be clear, they're mostly blue states.
a brand new "washington post" polling shows a huge divide that exists between political parties. quote, 86% of democrats have received at least one shot of the vaccine compared to only 45% of americans. a 40-point spread. of course, the government is still trying to persuade unvaccinated people. apparently their new efforts are going to kick off this week, but it's not too soon to ask, what went wrong? what's to blame for these disparities? i mean, the answer is there are dozens of reasons. it has to do with media and film bubbles. i count five f's that contribute to rejections. fox is obvious. they stoked the vaccines but it didn't have to be this way. many studies show that fear is a more powerful liberator than
fear. you might think fear of the virus would motivate red state strongholds, but it's the opposite. in the words of the uc newspaper, distrust of media sources actually countermanded responses that reflected people's underlying personality traits. the uc findings suggest, quote that, americans would have been more careful had their media environment encouraged them to do so, plausibly saving many thousands of lives and preventing scores of long-term health problems related to covid infection. the media clearly had a role here. positive as well as negative. and fox and media aren't alone in this. there is also facebook with the
d.c. mishandling covid on the site. it may take a long time to see the reason for these disparities. but these competing realms of information about covid, we see some nations willing to recover so quickly. this is where diet is not theoretical, it is not something taught in the classroom, it is affecting all of us in our daily lives. let's talk about that with three excellent guests beginning with john reiner. d dr. darcy is also here. the overall picture of this pandemic has never looked better in the united states. >> happy, independent state, brian. >> yes.
>> this is really one of the greatest american success stories. think about it. in january, in the darkest days of this pandemic, you know, we were having -- we were seeing about a quarter of a million new cases per day, 250,000 new cases per day to about 90%. deaths are down 90%. we've given over 3 million vaccines, vaccines given in astonishing record time, vaccines that work better than we ever could have hoped. this is really a day for independence. for folks in the united states who are vaccinated, this is really a holiday that celebrates our independence from the fear and the death and the hardships that so many people in this country have faced. it's a story of heroes and a lot of good news. >> the media is not always great at emphasizing the great news, so that's why i wanted to start the program with the positive.
but what could have happened differently in the last 16 months to prevent so much death and disease? >> as you said, we developed a red/blue divide now in this country. so if you look at the top 20 adults that have been vaccinated, they all voted for joe biden. if you look at the bottom states, they all voted for donald trump. and we've developed a sort of dishonesty amongst a lot of political leaders representing some of these vaccine-hesitant states. over 100 congressmen refused to disclose whether they had been vaccinated. we've seen a repeated disinformation campaign particularly coming out of fox news. and it's a campaign that really targets the most vulnerable. as you said in the open, only about 50 or so percent of republicans have been vaccinated. only 54% of people who live in rural areas have been vaccinated. only 58% of evangelical voters
have been vaccinated. this is the audience that fox news delivers their vaccine denial message to almost on a nightly basis. >> of course, they say some shows have been really responsible, but tucker carlson, the biggest star of all, he's the one pushing the most vaccine skepticism stuff that's totally baseless, and he's not booking expert doctors to talk about it, he's booking his friends. that's fox. what about facebook, sarah? you cover the big tech every day for "axios." how much is facebook responsible here? it was said, facebook has been a driving force of optimism. when they talk to people who haven't been vaccinated, they bring up lies to tell on facebook. how responsible is facebook? >> they have a lot of responsibility in this conversation, but not all of it. facebook is part of a media diet that impacts how people mistrust
the vaccine process. they're removing posts and they connect people with 2 billion resources, but it doesn't matter because there will still be misinformation on the platforms. facebook is partially to blame, but to your point at the top of the show, there are other factors combined with facebook that combine hesitancy. you can't let them off the hook, but they're not totally to blame here, brian. >> right, and these things, they amplify each other. so if you see something on facebook and you hear tucker express skepticism, it goes back and forth. that's really the definition of an echo chamber. >> exactly, brian. and i do think a lot of this flows down from fox. if you have a fox host setting the agenda and saying, what if the network had thukically backed the vaccines, i think a lot of those right wing blogs and the fox news ecosystem
probably would have done the same thing online, on facebook, or they wouldn't have gone so far in the vaccine rejection coverage mode. but because you have the people like tucker carlson who really set the agenda on the right getting so hard in vaccine coverage, it really sensitizes these other platforms to go that direction as well. >> right, that's interesting. i want to bounce back and forth from negative to positive. back to positive. you wrote this week, oliver, that sometimes you think the positive gets the short shrift, that perhaps there is more on the variant and not the bigger thing that's going on. >> i think the delta variant is a serious story and deserves serious coverage. but it's not the only story, and i think the hypercoverage on this variant is they miss the
forest for are ththe trees. look at that graph. it has plummeted in the last six months. deaths have plummeted. there were several days in the last few weeks where there have been no deaths reported in major cities like new york. so there is a very positive story to tell, but if you were to just watch cable news, you might think, my goodness, the delta variant causing this surge in the u.s. and not looking so good. >> doctor, do you agree with oliver? >> absolutely, there are so many wonderful stories to tell. i want to hear from the nurses who ran into hospitals filled with people, not knowing whether they were going to bring virus home. i want to talk to the people who vaccinated almost a third of a billion people in this country in only six months. i want to talk to the scientists and the clinical trial participants who made this really life-changing, life-affirming vaccine available.
there are so many good stories to tell. people really stepped up, and many people in this country really pulled together to make this happen. that's really a great story. delta is a threat, but it's primarily a threat to the folks in this country who have not been vaccinated. and largely, with the exception of children under 12 where the vaccine is not yet available, those are people making a very affirmative choice not to get vaccinated. but the big story over the last six months is really a revolutionary medical success. >> absolutely, and that's the chart oliver was talking about about the average of new cases. by the way, everybody, wednesday morning, huge parade in new york city, the heroes parade. that is going to be another moment where we can all recognize the success story that you were talking about, dr. reiner. thank you, doctor, oliver, sara, please stay with me. coming up, the surprise story about bill cosby this week and the question for television
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here we are. we are back. i'm brian stelter and this is "reliable sources." choose your own reality culture is pervading every corner of american life. choose your own reality. if you want to believe that the pro-trump
riots january 6 were instigated by the feds, you can choose a show that claims that is true. you can choose a movie star that claims that is real. if you want to believe a tv star is reading your e-mails, go ahead. for tucker carlson's fans,
that's just further proof of the plot. car carlson is a conspiracy monger, but he's far from the first. he is sounding more and more like info wars host than conspiracy theorist alex jones. you can hear the similarities. >> i have to say he's been reading our e-mails. >> it's not that i think the government spies on me, it's been admitted that they do. >> there is a risk in everything, including in getting a vaccine. >> everybody has got family that got killed or sick from a vaccine. >> so fbi operatives were organizing the attack on the capitol on january 6, according to government documents. >> it is overwhelming the evidence that criminal elements the federal government provocateured and staged january 6. >> oliver darcy is back with me.
i think the sound speaks for itself. is it a stretch to say tucker carlson is the new alex jones? >> it's ain't stretch, brian. tucker carlson is alex jones. if you watch each of their programs, they may deliver a little differently, but the message is pretty identical whether it's talking about vaccine conspiracy theories, deep state conspiracy theories, the messages that tucker carlson and alex jones are send rging a the same. they seem to see eye to eye on the big isi issues they talk ab every night. >> do we know if they have a relationship? one has alex jones basically saying, i'm going to let tucker present this january 6 conspiracy theory first. i'm going to let tucker present
the inside job theory because he's going to do a great job with it. when i heard that i thought are these two guys in cahoots? are they friends? do they talk about it? >> i'm not going to say anything about this until tucker did. i knew he would do a great job on this. he did. >> it does sound like they're talking to each other, right, brian? tucker is saying he doesn't think alex jones is out there, that they're crazy. he thinks they are up for debate and he talks about them on his show. they used to be confined to the war on the internet. you used to have to seek them out. i'm not that old, but i remember
when the republican party mocked fox news and said, that guy is crazy, we're not going to touch that guy. but now tucker's face is alex jones. they are touting the same things that jones says on his show. >> and if the nsa is actually reading tucker's e-mails, then that's really disturbing. but for some reason
fox hasn't condemned the nsa, they haven't called for congressional inquiry, fox hasn't said anything. it's like they don't believe him. let me bring in sara fischer back into the conversation. tucker carlson's news show is down like it was last year. you said in your article, boring news cycle deals blow to partisan media.
>> the media that represents the other idealogy explodes because they have so much they want to say to sort of take down the new administration. that's not happening this time. this time around the opposition media, which is sort of the far right media, is seeing some dec declines in engagement. year after year, some outlets are still doing okay meaning they're bigger now than they were last year. but they're far, far smaller than they were since president biden took office, which means they don't have a lot to grasp onto at this point. you're also seeing declines on the left. the far left media is also not getting as much engagement. it could suggest that partisan media does not have a big audience right now. >> interesting. in the meantime, in some cases, oliver, news max is getting a big ratings bump. it's not five to ten people, but there is kind of a base audience for trump's events and fox is
not airing them, which is notable. to me it's like the moment where the magician reveals how he does his tricks. he reveals how he pulls the rabbit out of his hat. this is what trump said at the rally. >> they said today, i heard a word disinformation. if you say it enough and keep saying it, just keep saying it, they'll start to believe you. we can't let that happen. >> wait, oliver, did he just give up the whole game? >> that's obviously what trump does, he repeeats and repeats falsehoods and it's difficult for the media to fact check him. you fact check him once when he makes a claim again and again and again, but it becomes difficult when you repeat disinformation so many times to fact check, and it becomes this state of fact in this ultra universe that trump leads. >> "politico" has a story with 22 anonymous sources about kamala harris, about dysfunction inside the vice president's
office, but 22 anonymous sources. sara, this reminds me of the trump years when we had all these news about chaos in the trump white house. i think it's important to note that those stories are still being reported out when reporters find dysfunction. >> absolutely. i think folks on the right would argue there is some disparity about how reporters cover the biden administration and how they covered the trump administration. in reality, especially reporters like kaitlan collins have been adamant about challenging the biden administration when they haven't been transparent with the press. the same thing is happening when you see that "politico" story. they are putting pressure on vice president kamala harris' office to be more transparent about what's going on. is there chaos? is there not? it kind of pours cold water from the argument on the right that the mainstream media isn't covering this administration with as much rigor as the trump
administration. >> sara, let's both be honest, on both of our beats, people demand anonymity. this is a constant daily issue. anonymity is incredibly common, unfortunately. >> yers, it is, but i will say yes. there is a numbers game here, brian. if you have 22 sources that are coming to you, even if anonymously, that carries a lot of weight than just one or two. obviously you want to strive to g get it on the record, but "politico" is an outlet, and if they say there are 22 anonymous sources, to me that leads me to believe it potentially is true. did america lead a chronicle of the afghan war? we'll have "the reporter's
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♪ xfinity is here to inspire your biggest dreams ♪ history is truly in the making in afghanistan this summer with the u.s. unwinding its presence, bringing an end to the so-called longest war. let's look at how the press is covering the end of this war and what's to come in afghanistan. we're going to take you to two places where the story is playing out. cnn's anna coren will join us live from kabul in just a minute. he bristled with what happened on friday. he brifstled and then honestly, he snapped. >> i want to talk about happy things. i'm not going to answer any more
questions on afghanistan. look, it's the fourth of july. i'm concerned that you guys are asking me questions that i'll answer next week, but on this, the holiday weekend -- >> of course, questions about afghanistan are fair game, and it's not a good look for any president to bristle when being asked, but did he have legitimate reasons? is he going to hold a press conference about the afghanistan withdrawal? with me now are two reporters that biden was speaking with, david singer, contributor to the white house and national correspondent for the "new york times," and jennifer epstein, reporter for the bloomberg news. great to have you both here. david, you were on the receiving end of biden's annoyance, perhaps. how big a deal was it? >> i didn't think it was a big deal. he did, in fact, answer four questions on afghanistan. brian, a couple things to note here. first, i've covered five presidents. every one of them has a message of the day. his was recovery from coronavirus and the jobs report,
and here we were asking him about afghanistan. i can understand why he didn't want to answer those questions. on the other hand, my job is not to go follow the message of the day, it's to ask what needs to be asked, and that morning the united states had left bogram air force base, a place that had been the center of the war for 20 years. i think his central problem, brian, is this. he's got two different messages, one to americans that we're getting out, and one to the afghans that will always be with you. my question to him, are you willing to go save kabul if it's about to go fall, and he gave a fascinating answer. he said, we'll only be in support of the afghans. they've got to do the job. >> jennifer, what about you? what was your reaction to that interaction, and do we think he's going to hold a press conference? he kind of intimated he'll deal
with those questions next week. he doesn't hold big press conferences often, so do we know if he's going to talk about afghanistan? >> i think he wanted to focus on the message of the day, beating the virus, the economy doing better right before the holiday weekend. he wanted to keep things upbeat. we've seen this from him before where he sort of gets frustrated about what he calls the negativity of the press's questions to him. if it rises to the level of asking the president about, it's not please tell me what a great job you're doing, it's please tell me something about what the administration has fallen short on, a problem around the country or around the world. that's what the questions were about this week, they were about afghanistan for the same reasons david mentioned, just being an extremely relevant issue. for 20 years, hundreds of thousands of american troops were there, 2200 american lives were lost in the military. there were plenty of valid
reasons for this to be the discussion. i don't have visibility of expecting a press conference this week from him. i think what he really meant was he'll take more casual questions. he did it again yesterday when he was in michigan at an ice cream shop. >> that's right. i guess the bigger picture, question i have for you, david sanger, is how would you assess -- i know it's a huge question and we could take hours on this, but how would you assess the evolution of coverage of the afghan war? is it fair to say that the media lost interest and the public lost interest? is there a chicken and egg to that? >> it's a really fascinating question. so the first years of the afghan war, and i was covering the bush administration at the time, i think there was huge interest. we built up a very big bureau there. we still have one and will have one after the american withdrawal happens. but it took a while, i think, for americans and american
reporters to recognize that something very fundamental had happened, that we shifted not only our focus but our resources away from afghanistan toward iraq after the iraq invasion in 2003. and in 2007, my colleague, then-colleague david rhodes and i, wrote a very lengthy piece called "how the good war went bad" that examined that question. i think in the 13, 14 years that have followed, you see more of that, which is americans came to recognize that our regional reason for going into afghanistan, which was to route out al al qaeda had been achie because we had shifting objectives. i think biden just didn't believe we could go reconstruct the country. he's now hit the moment where he
can act on his belief, but the country has really moved on, moved on years ago. >> david and jennifer, thank you both for that perspective. let's go to kabul now. the cnn international correspondent anna coren who has been covering it in recent days. i'd like to know from a more personal perspective, how does it feel to be there lighright n to be witnessing history? >> brian, this is my fourth trip to afghanistan. i first came here in 2012 and something about this country got under my skin, whether it be covering women's rights, whether it be vetting with u.s. special forces and now to be witnessing america pulling out of afghanistan. when those planes pulled out of bagram air base friday morning with u.s. forces on board, that really was the end of a chapter
for america. yes, they still have troops in country, and yerkss, the drawdo isn't complete, but it's a tiny, tiny footprint compared to the 100,000 troops that they had here at the height of the war in 2011. i think it's a very, very important time to be here, particularly considering the level of fear and uncertainty among local afghans about what the future holds. >> how challenging is it to report from the country and to get around outside kabul? >> reporter: certainly it's more difficult, there is no denying. i've noticed that trying to get around, it's just harder and i think that's because of the heightened security situation. obviously the tealiban launchin huge offenses in the country, particularly in the north, and we've been watching districts fall basically on a daily basis, the taliban sending through its
propaganda videos of claiming bases and u.s.-funded equipment that they've seized from the afghan national forces. the optics of that are extremely alarming. so i think as a journalist covering it, we are still getting out and about and are hoping to sort of travel around the country during exiting on the ground. we were interviewing the head of peace talks between the afghan government and the taliban a few days ago, and we were at his residence and we heard a car bomb explode outside. this is something that is commonplace. i think the fear amongst certainly people here in kabul is that there is going to be a serious uptick once american forces fully withdraw. >> for local reporters who live this every day, the state of press freedom is dire. >> absolutely, and it's such a
thriving industry. that's what's so sad. people talk about the legacy of america's war, what has america done for this country? well, one of the amazing things that it has done for afghanistan is introducing press freedoms, the freedom of speech, human rights, women's rights. these are all, you know, big positives that people do not want to see evaporate, but certainly journalists have been targeted. and since 1992, the committee to protect journalists say that 53 journalists have been killed during this war. the most recent, brian, was last month, the 23-year-old female news anchor was targeted with a car bomb here in kabul. >> in the capital of the country. there is no words. that is the threat to press freedom in the darkest of ways. anna, thank you very much for the report from kabul. up next, a bold front page
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visit restasis.com to learn more. ♪ meteorologists and reporters are running out of words. they are running out of words to describe the impact of climate change. unprecedented just doesn't cover it anymore. from droughts and heat waves out west, the fires raging in california and canada, the heat waves in detroit, these are just a few of the stories linked to climate change. but how much has that context been included in reports on extreme weather events? how much do you feel you know about the climate crisis, and is there enough devoted, rigorous attention from national news
outlets? let's talk about that with emily rogan. and david is here. thank you for being on. david, we heard from the governor this week talking about climate change as a permanent emergency. how does the news outlet cover a permanent emergency? >> i think being honest that we're already living in a state that would have once seemed to us to be a state of alarmism and that our story-telling tools need to be commensurate with that fact. we can't shy away from scary rejections about the future or the scary facts as we're living them today. we also need to think a little harder, be a little clearer about this story-telling, which will probably get considerably worse from here, is not going to just require decarbonizing, although that's very hard, it will also require us to build out more measures of adaptation
and hopefully doing that in a way that promotes some amount of social and climate justice. it's not just about cutting c ca carbon, it's about defending ourselves against the impacts of nature. >> that's a stark way to put it. what i noticed, emily, ten years ago versus today, there was a lot more climate change covered on tv. there were a lot more reporters assigned to this beat. there's been progress, but is it enough, in your view? >> i think it's great we've had progress on this issue, but the fact is we're not treating it like the planetary emergency that it is. we're not learning the lessons that the covid-19 pandemic taught us where we have a global crisis and the entire newsroom mobilizes to cover that crisis. we understand it infiltrates every single area of our life. there is no excuse of being a reporter today who doesn't
understand the basic science of covid-19. why isn't it the same for climate change? right now everyone should be a climate reporter, and if you're not a climate reporter right now, you will be, whether you realize it or not. >> let's go back to both of you on this. what's it mean to you, david, that everybody has to be a climate reporter today? >> it means climate is spread through every aspect of our lives through the very highest level through geopolitics of nations, not just energy resources but over land and military relationships, trade relationships, all the way down to the individual where many people's mental health is being eroded as we speak, not to mention physical health today. air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels kills about 10 million people every year, which is larger than the holocaust every single year. yet we don't see many public health stories, we don't see many moral crises stories addressed to that issue.
we need it to be talked about in absolutely everything. >> emily, this means reporters can't be sign particularly illiterate. we have to have the basic knowledge of how these stories are link and harelated. >> you don't have to include something in your story that says, this story is linked to climate change and is part of our climate change story. you should also have a sentence in there that says it's caused by climate change fuels. it is an injustice, and it is an injustice due to a 40-year campaign to lie and prioritize short-term profit over the health of vulnerable people. >> what you're saying it's an accountability beat. >> it's always been that way. i think for too long journalists -- and i've been guilty of this, too. i've been covering this for
eight years. in the beginning i approached it as a desire to be fair as this environment science story, trying to tell all these sides, and really, when you start looking at the history and everything that's going on right now, it's a corruption story, and that makes it sexy, to be honest, it makes it a good story to tell. there is a myth that it's a hard story to tell. it's a very exciting story if you don't think about how awful it is. >> and therein lies the challenge, yes. emily and david, thank you both for being here and breaking it down for us. after the break, salon.com is predicting a bill cosby media redemption tour. and to that i say, really? 100% milk chocolate and crispy rice. crunching makes me extreme. crunching made our breakup easy! i'm in the friendzone! anyone can do it, even anyone. ♪ ♪ life can be a lot to handle. ♪this magic moment,♪
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pennsylvania supreme court overturned his conviction. the question now, is brill cosby going to speak, give interviews? if so, should you interview him? there was an interview posing the question the other saying to interview or not to interview. sara, people don't know this, you used to be a production assistant here on "reliable sources." let's go to you first on this. is this actually a dilemma for television networks? >> absolutely. you always want to hear both sides of the story, brian. in this case bill cosby's case was dismissed because of procedural things, not because they're arguing he didn't do the stuff he did. you're looking at a situation where you have 60 women who have accused bill cosby of sexual misconduct, rape, even drugging women. they'll receive a lot of
backlash from some of these accusers who might be arguing that you're giving this guy a platform when we know he did something really, really bad. >> i'll go to you, oliver. we interview murderers, drug dealers, everybody in order to understand them. is cosby any different? >> i don't know if we need to understand him. look, i think what sarah said, we know the things he's done, the really heinous things. an interview with him, i'm not sure you can hold him accountable given that we know he did these things. i'm not sure i understand the editorial value in having an interview and the idea of scoring ratings off someone like that just seems, frankly, kind of gross. >> interesting. i suppose he's not going to speak anyway. he has nothing to sell. he has very few fans, it seems. i would be surprised even if he's trying to say he's completely innocent.
i would be surprised if he did that. you know who i want to see an interview with? britney spears. cosby free, britney under this conservatorship. she fights for what she says is her freedom. this is the ultimate media story, brian. so much of what led britney into the situation she's was actually the treatment of the media against her when she was in a rough state, having mental health issues. now you see it come around 180 where the media is trying to defend britney. trying to help publicize her side of the story. it comes to show, whether or not you're the victim, you're always going to be dealing with the media when it comes to your personal life if you're a celebrity. >> absolutely. so much more to come on that. thank you both for being here. tonight, wurn one of the best n of the year on cnn.
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