tv Call-in with Katy Tur Unbelievable CSPAN December 25, 2017 3:04pm-3:31pm EST
>> i'd like to thank you, mr. khan, on behalf of miami book fair and on behalf of miami-dade college every here. thank you for gracing us with your presence and inspiration. >> thank you very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> joinings news on our book tv set here on the campus of miami-dade college, katy tur of nbc. her book, "unbelievable: my front row seat the contractseest campaign in american history." katy tur, reading this book, there didn't seem to me much of a filter on it. is that a fair assessment? no that was on purpose. this was not coverage of the political campaign that i was
following. it's not what happened in the donald trump orbit for every decision they made. this is a book about what it was like at a journalist to be there and to see it up close, to show america what we do for a living, the hardships we go through, the long days, the longer nights, the interactions with the campaign and supporters. it has humerous, light-heard moments and then also very dark moments and very trying moments, because this was -- i mean, how do you be filtered about what happened in 2016? it was so unbelievable. >> host: one thing you say during the -- throughout the book is, don't count him out. that you were sensing something out there in the country. >> guest: i don't think you -- anybody should have, and that's why i don't think anyone should count him out even today.
yes, i his poll numbers are historically low for a president this early in his first term, and he still says outrageous things and plagued be negative headlines and scandals and a federal investigation, but donald trump enjoys support like nobody else has. people like him not despite all of the many controversies but because of them. they like that he is fighting. they have a puigistic nate noor themselveses that donald trump represents and that was discounted very early on and it was pervasive. people were discounting him the night of election night. november 8th. even when the momentum was swinging to his direction, people were saying, oh, no, the urban vote is going to come in and it's going to kill him. and it just dent -- didn't
happen that wayy you thank the trump supporters who were nice to you. you thanked the trump officials who gave you access to information. did you experience that throughout the campaign? we all know kind of the bad side. >> guest: i don't think anyone should paint anybody with a broadbrush, and that guess for the campaign and also for trump supporters. there are campaign staffers who i have a very good relationship with. there are campaign staffer us don't have a very good relationship with. that's normal for a reporter covering anybody in politics. politicians don't like the journalists that are covering them because we expose things they don't want exposed. we fact-check them when they don't want to be fact-checked. we correct them and contextualize. our coverage is not always fawning. not supposed to be fawning. always going to be that push-pull. i had some really lovely and
positive inter, as with donald trump supporters, who helped me curl my hair in the bathroom at one rally. so bizarre and surreal because at the same time so many supporters who were calling members of the media liars, screaming at us at the top of their lungs, give us the finger, threatening our lives. i had death threats during the campaign because donald trump riled them up and told them what liars we were, and they took out anger they had pent up on the press, anger towards the establishment, toward the status quo, anger towards congress and washington and the way things always were, and they were able to take it out on those in the media who are penned in at each one of these rallies. >> host: 202 is the area code if you want to talk to katy tur about her beliefable.
>> you talk about the press pen. it is a pen. >> guest: yes. an area that is usually in the center of the rally that is cordoned off by bicycle racks which come up to your waist, and you would have them in the center of a basketball arena in grand rapids, michigan, with five, six thousand people surrounding us on all sides. they would be in the center but up against the wall witch supporters on all side of us in the belly of a world war ii battleship. we could come and go as we pleased when donald trump wasn't there but for some reason, which was never fully explained by the campaign, they would force us to be inside the pen and not to leave when donald trump was in the room. the secret service for reasons we don't understand abided by
this. they're paid by the public and didn't make sense they were following directions from the campaign for how the press behaved. i think was probably at least partially because donald trump didn't want reporters asking questions on the rope line, but then there was also a theory that was positive after the campaign which is actually very interesting, that basically we were there as part of the act, part of the show. donald trump brought in members of the elite, the establishment, and caged them up in the middle of the rally so that when he turned on us, he allowed everybody in the room to turn on us, to get -- i think get their aggression, their frustration out on this little slice of what was wrong with politics and in america in his mind their mind, he brought in to show his rallygoers. >> host: two questions. is the press a legitimate target, and was there a legitimate argument in there
that donald trump was making, in your view? >> guest: the press is a target if you don't want to trust what they're saying, but i don't think we're -- no, i think that's -- we're not a legitimate target. without journalists, it's just propaganda. politicians telling you whatever they believe, whatever they think you should hear. they're doing it because it's their -- not their in their own self-interest but their interests they're preserving. i don't think you should just trust whatever a policy, says on face value. i don't think that's healthy and not the way our democracy was set up, not what our funders envisioned. there's a fourth estate to put checks and balances on lawmakers, on our politicians. so you need a free press for a healthy and functioning democracy. we're a cheap target, not a fair target. we're a cheap target for politics who don't want to be held conditionable. did he have some merit to say we
were a bunch of liars and scum? no. >> host: katy tur is our guest, and the first call comes from will, will's calling in from powells point, north carolina. will, you're on booktv. >> caller: hello. >> host: state your question or comment. >> caller: yes, can you hear me? >> host: we're listening. . >> have a question in regards to something she mentioned at the miami book deal earlier, and it has to do with the difference between fact checking as such and building a context for those facts. my question is, do you think that it would be fair that at times the media can contextualize facts that may or may not be true to the point they either become false or true? that would be a valid criticism of the media, the contextualization 0 of facts or nonfacts rather than stating things to be factual or not.
>> guest: well, hearings the thing about facts. they are facts. an apple is an apple and an orange is an orange, gravity exists. facts are facts. they're not subjective. so you can't contextualize a fact and make it true or not true. i'm trying to understand your question. i think maybe what you're saying is, can we sway opinion by the way in which we describe something? that's not our intention. we try to put donald trump in context for those who had come before him and for what most politicians had done, and also when he would say something that wasn't true, you can fact-check it and say that's not true but maybe it wasn't -- maybe part was true and part wasn't true so you contextualize and say, donald trump is calling a federal judge unfair because he is mexican, well, the context
there is he is of mexican heritage, and we should point that out, and the context is, this is a man who is presiding over the trump university case, and to there are rulings he doesn't like and context is donald trump has always pushed back on things the doesn't like, and he is trying to sway public opinion to push back on the idea that his university was a fraud, which was what prosecutors were saying about it and what defendants -- not defendants -- the people who participate need it were saying about it, trying to get their money back of that's just one example. i'm curious to find -- to give me an example where you thought we were tipping the scales in one way or another. >> host: will is gone unfortunately, but we will talk to bob in maple springs, new york, you're on with katy tur. >> caller: i'm very glad to bone
moisture wife read the book, i'm thread book, we feel like we know you, we spend a lot of time with you and we feel you have been very honest in your book. have you gotten in the negative feedback from people, the way you portrayed them in the book, things they said or things that you attributed to them? any negative feedback? >> guest: no. not surprisingly, but no, i have not. i've talked to a number of people who appear in the book or they're the source of information for a lot of my reporting in the book, and so far i've only gotten positive responses. i haven't gotten anything negative. donald trump, although he didn't name the book, the tweeted about it the day it came out and basically subtweeted. said fascinating to see journalist who know nothing about me, write major books. that's man the most negative response i've gotten. he didn't read the book. came out that day. >> host: have you seen him truck
to him since the election. >> guest: i have not spoken to him since the election no. >> host: why didn't you go to the white house? isn't that the usual path? sunny didn't go to the white house because -- there's a number of reasons. one, i was very personal. i wanted to have a life. you do this a plot in this business where you blow up personal relationships in order to pursue your career, and order to pursue this campaign i blew up a relationship i had overseas. and i had one -- i'd developed one here and got serious and i wanted to get married so i stayed in new york. >> host: did you get married. >> guest: i did. >> host: three weeks ago. >> guest: we eleaped. >> host: congratulations. >> guest: thank you. secondly i believe that what was really beneficial to me during the campaign was that i was an outsider. i wasn't part of the washington, swamp quote-unquote, not to say it's a quote.
but reports who live there have a certain set of preconceived notion, a bit of baggage how washington works and what i was able to do on the campaign trail was take a look at it with a pair of fresh eyes and really judge and engage with the support without all of the rules of washington behind me. i wanted to maintain that. especially going into 2020. >> host: next call is ronald down near hollywood, florida. hi, ronald. go ahead. >> caller: yes. my question is about the american voters. as you traveled around, do you think that the american voters are educated enough or do they follow the issues? is this a popularity contest now? i can remember -- i'm in my 60s and i can remember we, prior to an election, people were more concerned with issues and they read stuff, the media was a positive thing, but now it seem to be a publicity -- a
public thing where i'm popular, i don't like this candidate but we don't deal with the issues. that's my concern. what is your assessment? >> host: thank you, ronald. that's a really good question. i think that we as a country need to be more educated in the process of our politics and our elections, the process of journalism, of policies and the issues. i think there can be a bit of tunnel vision at times to just deciding you like somebody, you like the way they speak, and so you're not going to hear anything else. that's on both sides of the oil and you decided to the other candidate is evil or a liar or all of the negative attributes you can think to attribute to that person. i don't think we are as issue-based as we could be, and part of that is just the american culture, part of that
is the advent of television, they talked about when tv was invented and when they first started airing debates and politicians' lives that suddenly we saw people who are more tv friendly than politicians in the past. that's a failing. but you are right. policy took a back seat during this campaign, especially -- donald trump did not have a lot of policy behind him, didn't talk about policy a lot. he talked about building a wall and deporting illegal immigrants, and having a muslim ban, but these were mostly having to do with immigration and they were really broad strokes. it wasn't the nitty-gritty how i'm going to get things done, and i think that is to our -- the fact we didn't talk about is more is to our detriment. >> host: michael, laughlin, nevada. >> caller: hello, congratulations on your wedding. >> guest: thank you very much. >> caller: i would like --
you're welcome. i would like to know, how difficult was it for you to get access through sourcing or through sources, to the campaign to the trump campaign people? i seen you were treated viciously through the rhetoric, and i got to commend you on your bravery. how difficult was it for you to get interviews for your sourcing? was it really that tough on you? and -- >> guest: um -- >> caller: go ahead. >> guest: it always difficult to get to know a group of people to build sources. that's part of the job, and you become more skilled at it as you go along, and what it is is a series of relationships and a building of trust. can we speak in an honest and direct man center are you going
to tell me the truth when i ask you questions? are you going to be honest when you really don't know something? and can source trust when we say something is off the record o. background, which means we won't name you, that it remains that way you. don't reveal sources. they're able to talk freely. that's just a -- that's a process that takes time, takes getting to know people. every campaign is difficult for a reporter to penetrate. this campaign was more difficult than most. i think it was difficult for all of us, not just me. you learn who you can talk to and who you can't talk to who you can trust, even off the record or an -- on background and who you can't trust. and when they don't give you access, don't tell you thinks, that can be very illuminating in itself because you learn to -- you start to figure out why they don't want to talk about a certain thing or might shut down at this certain time who are
they talked to. so it's all just about -- you get a feel for it and learn how to navigate. >> host: where was that point that you were truly frightenedded to your life? >> guest: it happened -- the most obvious answer to that question is the day of the muslim ban. it happened even earlier than that. i did a sitdown interview with donald trump in the -- in trump tower in july, and it got really contentious, and he was going to phoenix right after that, and at this point i had very few followers on twitter, so when somebody would tweet me, i would see it immediately and there is one man who was saying very aggressive things, are you going to arizona? i'm going to find you. i'm going find you. i'm going to tell you what i think, and i'm paraphrasing, but stuff that made memer obvious. when i was in arizona, in july, i was really cognizant of who
was around me and i was on edge. the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. i didn't go to the press pen because i was scared of the guy. er in experienced anything like that before as a reporter. i covered fives and shootings and terrorism and natural disasters and happy stories, human interest. i'd never covered something with such firey and sensitive emotions, so early on, but i got kind of used to that pretty quickly but the day of the muslim ban, when he called me on stage after he tweeted i should be fired for reporting he -- factual reporting he didn't like, in that room, at that moment in time, i felt super nervous, and the campaign felt nervous for me.
one staffer ranged fourscoreses at the to walk me to my car. >> host: next is allegra. >> caller: i've been watching you since the beginning of the campaign. i remember when barbara walters wanted to discuss politics. she was on nbc, and i believe that "the today show" and was told to stick to fashion, hollywood, but she was ambitious and she was going to do this, and i started watching msnbc at the beginning of the campaign because of you and the other young women who were going around the country during the campaign. i worried about you, really. i worried that someone was going to abuse you. i went to the wharton school
also later than donald trump and i got my mba, and he came up to me once at a function in new york, and said, i didn't know women can get their mbas, and i said, mr. trump, yes, they can. nowdays. but let me tell you in 1976, it was really tough, and i wish that once in a while you would have older women on your show. we can explain to you why there are men like donald trump. harvey weinstein, bill clinton. we admire you so very, very much. i watch you every day, and my father -- >> host: allegra, we're going to leave your comment there thank you very much for calling in, katy tur. >> guest: thank you very much. >> host: was there in your view something sexist in calling you out? >> guest: i'll leave that for
individuals to decide. he does use different language for women than he uses for men. he called me out a lot. but he called me out from the very first day i was ever at a rally, early on in june of 2015, and that continued throughout the campaign, and i think that it needs to at least partially be attributed to the fact i was the first network correspondent to be assigned to his campaign full-time show, knew me early on and for a while i was the only correspondent that he would recognize in a crowd of people so he had a lot of one-on-one interaction. and nbc news, he worked with nbc on "the apprentice" so he wanted and probably expected nicer coverage from us and wasn't getting it. i'm youngish now. i guess i'm young. younger when this started. i had not covered politics.
i'm a small woman. i'm 5'2". and maybe he thought he could either charm me into being friendlier or steamroll me and intimidate me into being friendlier. that doesn't work. not with me. >> host: st. louis, one minute left, go ahead. >> caller: i wonder if anyone from your network, any executive, ever approached the campaign or the candidate about his calling you out in public and the concerned it raised and if so, what was the campaign or the candidate's response. >> guest: the network actually did a number of times -- we said we don't think this is appropriate, you're endangering our reporter. i had to have armed guards -- i guess body guards with me during almost a good half of the campaign, after january or, and all the other cub reporters as
well, wherever we went. so they were not happy about that. thought that was completely inappropriate for a political journalist to be targeted for covering a political campaign. the campaign's response to them, i don't know. i wasn't privy to it but i will say i was talking to a staffer about the way he was talking about reporters in general and the danger he was putting reporters in, and the serious concern that anybody in the press corp, me, anyone else, might get hurt outside of a rally, inside of a rally. someone might decide to take it out on us or take it one step too far. i asked a staffer if donald trump knew what he was doing, and the staffer said, yeah. i said does he care? and the staffer said, no. maybe justing didn't think it was as serious as we were saying it was.
i don't know. >> host: katy tur, ever hear from brian roberts? >> guest: as in the contest? >> host: yes. >> guest: during the campaign? no. but i've talked to him afterwards. >> host: katy tur's book is "unbelievable" about the 2016 election. my front row seat to the craziest campaign in american history. where was the picture on the front of his taken? this is very interesting. in the trump hotel while it was under construction, tried to give the press a tour of the hotel and we wanted to talk about what was happening at that moment, which was escaping me. i think it's -- honestly i think it's around the time he was saying that the families of terrorists should be targets as well, should be killed as well. i think i'm asking him about that in that photo. >> host: thank you for being our guest on book tv.