tv Martha Raddatz and Chris Wallace Discuss 2016 President Debates CSPAN December 6, 2016 5:26am-6:43am EST
because i heard a great quote the other day on schumer being the republican leader. given his relationship with donald trump, republicans should be more scared than the democrats or equally as scared as the democrats, in terms of that relationship. so i think there's some truth to, you know, what kind of dialogue could happen between the white house and senate democrats in a way i think could open up some possibility for coalition. steve: i'll let ben answer this or maybe aaron. but i will point out real quickly. in fact, mark, i'd call you and ask you that question. you would obviously have great thoughts on that. the issue to me, is in a normal world, we would perhaps passed dodd-frank as it was and gone back and revisited it in at least a four-year time frame, maybe a five-year time frame. that if senator schumer can't possibly be a bridge between the extremes on the left -- and tell
me if i'm speaking naively here -- who don't want it touched at all and the extremes on the right that want to get rid of it, i think i think he can play an amazing and constructive role here. where i don't think schumer wants to be seen as the guy who is coddling wall street, but i also think there are a lot of smart people i talked to on wall street who are very convincing on some of the negative macroeconomic effects of dodd-frank that argue for loosening it in some regards that normal, reasonable people might have done. that's my answer. maybe there's a -- ben w.: no. i think you basically got it right. it's a very different dynamic for schumer as minority leader than obviously would have been if democrats had taken the senate and were in position to block republican efforts to change financial regulation. now, he can cast himself as the broker who protects the most important pieces.
is reasonable on things that maybe need tweaks and changes that have some bipartisan support. and it's going to be one of these finally delicate political balances, and schumer is better than anybody at figuring them out and playing them to the best way to his political advantage. i do think that steve is absolutely right. he could play the deal as broker between the left that says don't touch anything, scream and yell and fight all the way, and schumer is saying if there are going to be changes, let's make them as painless and positive as possible. that is a hopeful view. i do not think it is unreasonable he could do that. aaron: i agree that he is in a key role. he'll have warren on one side, and he'll have trump on the other, and like you said, they are both new yorkers, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them do a deal on certain things or for schumer to say, ok, i'll deal with you on one item. but we're not touching this
item. and it might work. on the other hand, he has to keep in mind the midterms and he will want to do things that will add to the democrats' standing in the house and senate, even if it is seeming pretty hopeless at this point. he'll have to keep an eye on that four years from now. it's a great question. steve: i just want to offer one idea. there is a constituency of senators in the middle. schumer, corker, warren. -- warner. if these guys are kind of looney on each end -- and i don't mean that perjoratively. [laughter] >> passionate, committed. steve: spin it any way you want. could you see a scenario -- i am sort of taking your job as moderator. candida: that's fine. steve: where these middle senators gain power and there's a certain sanity that would overtake? ben w.: yes.
and i think "politico" had a good story the other day. not to toot my own word. steve: did you use the word looneys in there? ben w.: no. we used passionate progressives versus -- but, yes. no, absolutely, there will be that group of moderate senators from swing states who will want to have some accomplishments to get some stuff done, seen as brokers on, you know, in the senate that is pretty closely divided. again, it will depend on trump's popularity, how he is seen by the public, whether there's a lot of public support for his agenda, how he's behaving and performing in office. if it looks like he is doing well and has put together reasonable legislative packages on taxes and spending, there will be democrats who will want to cross the line and not filibuster and get this stuff passed. but gaming out exactly how
they'll feel and what they're going to do, we'll see how the rest of the transition process plays itself out, how the early days of the administration plays themselves out. if it's some chaotic mess and trump is tweeting nasty stuff 24/7 and his popularity going from 42%, which is not particularly high for an incoming president, although which is much better than when he was running, down in the 30's, you will see people running left and right. i hate to keep saying wait and see, but you have to wait and see. candida: questions? anyone else from the audience? all right. prerogative of the moderator. >> we can talk about sports. we can talk about the redskins and the cowboys. candida: but we need to talk about trade. >> i'd rather talk about sports. [laughter] candida: yeah. so probably the one challenge -- and i'll look to aaron and ben m. here. you've got all these exuberance in the marketplace around certain policies, but we also know that when it comes to trade there's questions of renegotiating nafta, that the
trans-pacific partnership he's withdrawing, wants to list china as a currency manipulator. so there's a lot of potential policies early on. and then a number of, you know, enforcement mechanisms to use commerce to bring actions on unfair trade. so, you know, for many in the room -- i can put my citi hat on, and we look at the anti-globalization trend that's been going on around the world, and whether we look at the brexit vote or current elections in france or potentially in germany are all of the other stories around this anti-globalization that helped elect trump. the anti-trade message was what was incredibly strong as we look out to the rust belt states. what should we be thinking about? what should business be thinking about from a trade perspective? and what do you think the markets are sort of thinking and doing going forward? because i think one of the
challenges is you can have all this potential stimulus on the tax side, and then we'll have questions about trade that's going to really pull down the -- potentially can lead to, you know, a lack of growth in the economy, if there's tariffs and things that are sufficiently high? so i'll throw open a question. ben m.: wilbur ross paid a visit to the sec recently. assuming he is the nominee. the trade stands for the u.s. will rapidly change. it will be unashamedly america first. he wants to, of course, tear up nafta, which he knows flipped the surface of mexico in an instant deficit almost overnight. he wants to have automatic reopeners in any deal after five years, just to take a step back, perhaps dodd-frank should have had, just to see if it's working. he also wants each side to go into negotiations with firm estimates of the impacts on the industries and jobs, and it's going to be a complete change, assuming he does get the job.
aaron: historically, the problem with tariffs and protectionist trade policies is you might get a better slice of the pie but the overall global economic pie is not as big or growing as fast. i think he wants the economy to grow, and he wants america to grow first and foremost. so i think it's going one of the most important areas, in terms of how the market reacts to that. i mean, in putting on the rosy-colored glasses, if he goes in and negotiates better trade deals for america that other countries can live with, that's probably a good thing. but if they retaliate, and why wouldn't they retaliate? it could be sort of a vicious cycle sort of situation. so i think there's a lot of risk there. you know, in the markets, that maybe is not being priced in at the moment. steve: >> if donald trump goes to his briefings -- [laughter] steve: i was letting that sink
in for a little while. it was intended as a joke, but maybe a little too subtle. [laughter] steve: he'll get two briefings. one is he'll learn about the whole ufo thing in area 51. [laughter] steve: that is the first thing. the second briefing he will get, and hopefully this will sink in, is how america runs the world through its trade agreements. and through the different ifi's and organizations. and he'll be like, "oh, that's why we do that." and he'll get the briefing that will tell him that there's a couple reasons why we maybe want to help mexico. there may be reasons why we may want to have the current set of agreements that might be ingendered in tpp. and they may be much about military security as they are about economic security. and there may be a reason why it doesn't necessarily add up for the u.s. in the ledger, because
it has an asset over here that is not counted in security. one of the things i thought in post-brexit is we created economic agreements so we wouldn't kill each other, and i think we have forgotten that entirely. it's impossible to measure some of these trade agreements the way donald trump and wilbur ross, if i'm not mistaken -- we have a deficit with them, and, you know, to some extent that's a negative for u.s. growth, depending on how you measure the added value of the import. but i think what he'll find is that there was some sense behind the obama foreign policy. and trade policy. and it was -- on a numbers basis -- and just don't be too shocked by this -- america is less great than it was.
as a percentage of total gdp, the u.s. percentage has declined. so the question is, how do we maintain our greatness or being great and essentially authority over the world trade system in a world where other countries, somewhat to our benefit, are getting wealthier. and we do that through -- somebody -- i think it was mike made this point. globalization is a reality. our trade agreements are simply the rules by which we live in that reality. so i think he'll get the ufo briefing and then he will get the trade briefing. ben w.: i wish i could get that ufo briefing. [laughter] ben w.: this is another one where it's a matter of which advisors around trump wind up having the most influence. there are the zero sum trade game people like wilbur who believe when other countries win, we lose. and there are free traders like kudlow and steve moore and others who say, you know,
generally speaking, more global trade is better for the world and ultimately better for us. i think tpp is history. i think it's an unfortunate fact that that's the case, because we could have stood to benefit greatly from that. i don't know who's going to ultimately win the argument. i think he'll look for individual instances where he can say he kept x u.s. jobs in the u.s. by browbeating a company not to move or making some small move that does that. like massive tariffs on mexico and china, it would be insane, and so i don't think he will do it. ben w.: -- steve: he moves on china to import tariff, something like that. china decides that it's next big order for planes, it goes to -- ben w.: airbus. steve: airbus, right? ben w.: that is why he cannot do it. steve: boeing knocks on the door, and says mr. trump, mr. president, look what happened? and then he will understand that ou dynamic by which -- i
remember when i was overseas. you could -- for better or worse, and we can argue about this, u.s. foreign policy was boeing foreign policy. or it was bank opening up foreign policy. that's were the things u.s. put on its list. we want the banks on here, billing on here. that's what foreign policy was all about. well, some of our policy. ben w.: i don't think he will start trade wars, because the results will be politically disastrous, but who knows? he could be so temperamental that he gets irritated by something china's done and he does start one. i think the ramifications would be such and he'll have enough people around him to say, "dude, you can't do this." just don't. [laughter] candida: all right. i think on that note, we have reached our allotted time. i want to thank you aaron and ben and steve and ben and thank you for joining the panel. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] .c-span's washington journal
live every day with news and policy issues that impact you. this morning, north carolina republican congressman walter jones is joined by california democratic congressman ted lieu to discuss their bipartisan efforts to overturn a supreme court a decision overturn that allows super pac's to make political donations. the electionws and cycle with clint watts. be sure to watch "washington journal was quote live at 7:00 a.m. this morning. join the discussion. is the official lighting ceremony for the u.s. capitol christmas tree. the animal sermon from the west lawn of the capital is live at have a clock p.m. eastern on
p.m. easternt 5:00 on c-span 3. institute posts media specialist on free speech. at 6:00 p.m. eastern, also on c-span 3. >> often when you look at a project, you look after it see what the have achieved your objectives and at what cost. so i wanted to see, through this last half century of military interventions, partisan politics aside, morality aside, what happens after the party's over. what are the after effects of war. and what are the human and financial costs on both sides. brainday night on "q&a," gruber discusses his book which chronicles his travel through countries
involved in u.s. conflicts. >> i went to all of these places with an open mind, trying not so much to understand what a partisan point of view might be, but to look at was the mission accomplished? and what was the cost on both ends of the gun? >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." the cochairs of the commission on presidential debate sat down with two of this year's moderators, debate chris wallace off fox news and martha raddatz of abc news to talk about lessons learned from the election. they also looked at potential changes of how future debates are structured. this is one hour and 15 minutes. ♪ from the national press club in washington dc this is the kalb , report with marvin kalb. [applause]
marvin: welcome to the national press club and to another addition of the kalb report. i'm marvin kalb. our topic tonight, democracy in action, the presidential debates of 2016. with a few exceptions during the height of the vietnam war we , have these televised presidential debates since 1960, and they have always added to our understanding of the candidates and their policies. perhaps not as much as we would have liked, but enough to be put on a must-see list during any presidential campaign. this last one of 2016 was special in many ways, and we shall discuss the presidential debates of 2016 with two of the moderators and the two cochairs of the commission on presidential debates. first, the moderators.
martha raddatz, who is chief global affairs correspondent with abc news, where she has been 20 years. to that, she worked for npr. this year, she co-moderated the second presidential debate. four years ago, she moderated the vice presidential debate. the other moderator, chris wallace of fox news, where he has been for the last 13 years. after long stints with abc news and nbc news. in fact, chris has been a broadcaster for 50 years, following a distinguished family tradition. the two cochairs of the commission are frank fahrenkopf. firstwho helped set up the debate commission in 1986, a democrat. with he is a washington lawyer who was president of the american gaming association.
the other cochair, the democrat, is mike mccurry, a communication specialist and professor of theology was late theology seminary here in washington, d.c. he was also the spokesman at the white house and the state department under president bill clinton. martha, we start with you. the two candidates of the 2016 debate, donald trump and hillary clinton, were not your run-of-the-mill candidates. they were, in their way, very special. so i am asking you, how did that specialness affect the way in which you prepared for the debate? martha: well, i think whenever you prepare for the debate, you approach it -- i approached it in the same way i approached the vice presidential debate. first of all it is the super , bowl of debates. without question. we have done primary debates,
all of the major networks they primary debates. but when you go into a general election debate and the candidates, as you said, are special, i do think you have to think about that. you have to think about how you ask the question. but that is the same thing i would have done, no matter who the tickets were. marvin: no special preparation? martha: the special part of the preparation is that you prepare for that candidate. you look at that candidate over the campaign. you look at both candidates over the campaign. you want to ask questions in a way you think will get answers. it was a town hall debate, so we looked at the questions that the people were presenting to them and decided amongst ourselves, and with anderson cooper, which ones would be best for the candidates. i do not mean, "i will trip you up with this" or that. but there are questions the town hall members had for particular
candidates, and we can follow up. i am sure chris does the same thing. when you follow up and you think you might get a certain kind of question, you follow up in a way you hope you get even more of an answer. marvin: chris, you seemed, at least in my judgment very , surprised by donald trump's response to your question about respecting the end result of the election. that was a very special moment. and i am wondering what your feelings were at that time. were you prepared for his answer? chris: well, i did not know what his answer was going to be. but i thought it was a great question, because whatever he answered, i knew it was going to make news. it was very much out there. his vice president said of course he will respect the results. and his daughter, that day, had said he would respect the results. but as we learned, until donald trump says it, it does not matter what anybody else says. when i asked the question and -- martha is exactly right.
there are a lot of debates, but the general election debates are different. and there is just a level of seriousness, a level of tension. you say what is different about these debates? donald trump was different about these debates, and because of donald trump, the audiences were enormous. the first debate was the most-watched first debate ever. ours was the most-watched third debate ever. so i knew that whatever he said, it was going to be a big deal. when he said it, even though i was certainly prepared for it, i was still kind of shocked in the moment. 20 daysn three weeks -- before the election -- here is a presidential candidate saying, "i will have to think about it." ofut accepting the results this election. and purely ad lib, i just thought, i want to put this in an historical perspective. there is a long tradition in the peaceful transfer of power.
we grow up. we know what nixon did in the 1960 race. after the supreme court ruling. i wanted to put it into historical perspective, and he then said, "i will keep you in suspense." marvin: well, he did. frank fahrenkopf, you have been a cochair of the commission since it was started in the late 1980's. in your judgment, what makes a good moderator? frank: the hardest job that we have on the commission is determining who the moderators are going to be. in my experience, and we have done 30, now, presidential and vice presidential debate since the commission was created, and the hardest thing is to who you are going to pick for moderator. you must think about diversity. we examined, as much as we can, the work product of the would-be moderators to see whether or not this is a person who has not gone far left or right with regard to any particular candidate.
so they can be a fair moderator in asking of questions. and we spend a lot of time on it. it has to be something -- and there was a great deal of debate before these debates as to what martha and chris and anderson, etc., were going to be with regard to "fact checking." there were people who wanted us to have a trailer along the bottom of the television tube saying what they said was wrong or right. our view is that is not the job of the moderator. moderators facilitate the discussion and get out of the way. if one of the candidates says something that is wrong -- it is a debate. the other candidate is supposed to be the one that corrects them. marvin: would you say ground rules for what they do? frank: no. when people ask us what we are looking at in a debate, that is what we are looking at. someone who can take ruling do the job. marvin: ok.
mike, in selecting moderators, do you have to clear your selections with the presidential candidates? mike: no. marvin: and has there ever been a time when a candidate has said, i do not particularly like that reporter, i do not want to go up? mike: in the past, maybe yes. but not in the last two or three cycles. frank: in 1984, i think it was, before the commission started, the league of women voters were doing this. and the league of women voters gave both campaigns the veto right. i believe over 90 reporters were asher nixed or zeroed out moderators or panelists, as there was a moderator along with a panel of reporters. marvin: marching orders. what were the marching orders you gave to these two moderators? frank: be yourself. ask good questions. that was it. we do not know what the questions are going to be. we trust their journalistic
integrity, and they rewarded us. particularly these two. mike: the two that we picked here are pretty good examples of why we do the work the way we do it. we pick qualified, intelligent journalists who will ask good questions. we do get lobbied by a of different people. marvin: lobbied by whom? mike: mostly the networks. marvin: and the networks would like to push that anchors? mike: correct. there were five networks we collaborate with, and they are very aggressive in pushing for their favorite correspondents, and we sometimes have examples of where we do not necessarily follow the networks. >> i want to give you an idea of how much we do not follow. the executive director calls me up, and it is a little bit like becoming a made man in the mafia. [laughter] >> what chris meant to say was --
[laughter] like "do you is accept?" and it is quite formal and quite moving, actually, when you get that phone call. and she said, you are going to get to ask all the questions. we do not want you to share them with us, the commission, or with either campaign, obviously. and she said about a week before the debate, you will have to come up with six topics. and the sixth topics that we will tell the campaigns, these are the six topics -- immigration or foreign policy, whatever. i said, "who decides those?" she said, "you do." and i went, "well." i did decide the six. the point is a week ahead of time, you tell the campaign what are the six topics going to be in the camp -- in the debate. supreme court, economy,
immigration. when i said who decides what my six topics will be and she said, , "you do," and it is completely left up to you. >> and those are publicly announce. martha: there really is a purity to the process. when you get the call, you are on your own, you hit the books. marvin: what happened to your relationship with the network? i mean, mike was talking before about network big shots wanting to push certain anchors. what kind of relationship did you have? martha: i am not involved in that. my network could not have been better at backing me every step of the way. but, hey, i that need time to do that. the message to me was, at some point, when you want off world news or good morning america, and you are coming up against the debates, just tell us. they gave me time to prepare. they helped me prepare. marvin: what do you mean they gave you time?
in other words you did not have , to do your regular assignments? martha: my biggest assignment became this. marvin: did you have people helping you with the research? martha: you bet. marvin: so they knew the questions? remember the town hall again. did they know the follow-ups? we worked on that for weeks. marvin: tell me, for both of you, what was the most gratifying part of being selected to this job? you soto touched on it already. but also the most challenging? chris: well, as i say, it is an enormous statement of trust on the part of the commission, and i hope in the course of this we talk about the commission, because it is a national treasure. i remember in 1980 and 1984, when i was covering reagan, and the debates were basically decided by their campaigns. and jim baker for the reagan campaign and jim johnson for the
mondale campaign, they would get together and they would negotiate everything. by this time, and i think frank and mike would say this, the power of commission has grown over the years so they now dictate. they say we will have a debate in las vegas on this day and it will be this kind of a debate , town hall or one-on-one, and so-and-so will be the moderator. and they dictated. and because of it, it has taken out the politics and it is taken up by an independent body not interested in electing either one of them. the most challenging thing for me, the good news, i'm getting a debate. the bad news, and i love the way frank said it -- he would the a good salesman -- he said, you are batting cleanup. this was about september 3, and the last debate was october 19, which meant i had a month and a half to stew about this.
it was horrible. my wife is sitting in the front row, and she will tell you. [laughter] chris: and the funny thing is basically you want to , immediately get to work and prepare. you cannot prepare. i had to wait until their debate was over i wanted to see what october 9. had been asked, what issues were, what the scandals were. it was only the last 10 days are prepared. -- i prepared. marvin: martha, the most challenging moment for you? martha: i would say the most challenging moment for me was friday evening after the access hollywood tapes were released, and we had already prepared for the debate, which was sunday, and we really had to reconfigure everything. and think about what our responsibility was because of that, how we would deal with that. between our teams -- again, a
was a town hall -- we did not know whether people would be asking about that. whether they would want to ask about that in a national debate. the most gratifying, if -- the moment you get that call, you are part of history. you are part of presidential history, and it is a profound moment. you know you have a huge responsibility. and part of that responsibility is what we have talked about here. it is not about you. you facilitate the conversation. you certainly want answers and i , know chris and i tried very hard to get answers and i think we did a good job of that, but it is a profound sense of responsibility and an honor. and i really do not say that lightly at all. it is an honor to do these debates. marvin: have you ever interviewed a president of candidate like donald trump? martha: nope. [laughter] marvin: do you think -- martha: and i think everybody in the press would answer that the same way.
marvin: i understand. but as you are approaching not sunday and you had not ever interviewed anybody like him, you could not anticipate what his response is going to be. martha: you absolutely couldn't. i had done a primary debate with him, and i think we were down to maybe seven republican candidates at this point. i had the advantage of watching the debate with lester holt. so you had a little clue of how he may handle it. and lester had the most challenging being the very first and not knowing how the debate would proceed. so you look at that. i mean, i have done an interview with donald trump before. so i knew in that sense. but again, whatever you think or
how unusual a candidate he was, you do it the same way. you study, you figure out how they will answer. it might just be a little bit more difficult with him. marvin: we talked about this a little while ago. the first debate attracted 84 million people and probably 100 million if you were to throw in heard werech i -- that got you up to about 99. that did not count people on their computers and streaming on their ipads. what i am trying to get out is, we have heard from the moderators what an awesome responsibility it is. no question about that. the idea of interviewing somebody who could be president is a big deal. a big deal. you have all of these people out there and it strikes me that it
could be seen as mass entertainment as opposed to a very large classroom of civics. when yourtainment and have that many people and that this's andsion that's, well you are in entertainment. you guys are putting together the best show that you could. if you guys did it as well as we do -- [laughter] how do you prepare for a show? that is what you did. >> that is not true. our job is to take the leading candidates and give them a place where they can present their best argument. what more do you want us to do than to present good moderators who ask good questions and let the candidates do whatever they
want to do? we saw what they did in 2016. can i say i thought that was the most substantive serious, sober discussion about the country i have ever heard? no. that is what the candidates gave us. >> i felt one of the difficulties we had, and i do not remember martha having to deal with it, but chris had to deal with it and lester did, we had audience participation. in the past, we tell the audience, this is not the primary debates where i felt watching the primary debates that the networks were holding up applause signs. it got wild. our debates have always been, we have a white house feed, no
interruptions, no commercials. the networks take what we put out and we go for 90 minutes and we hopefully think the candidates will answer smart questions asked by smart moderators. one of the things -- and i have done 30 of them -- someone said to me, you've done 30 of these things, what is the thing that gets you? i have learned that the american people do not necessarily vote for the smartest person. they want to like their president. that was a challenge when you have both candidates with negative approval ratings by the american people. that is what made this a little bit more dynamic. mike and i both said, you should have had a button where you
press where you could shut off the microphone of the other person. you learn a lot about a human being when they are on the stage. if they are interrupting or not being courteous. so you learn about character. it is not just about the answer, you are seeing a person. >> absolutely. to the moderators, jim lehrer says the best approach is just ask your questions, do not fact check, let the candidates say what he or she wants to say, and move on. do you buy that? chris: i had lunch with jim before my debate and talk to him two or three days before the debate. 12ause if they guy's done
know.s, he's got to not entirely to i agree with that. i will give you an example. one of the hardest things, the way the debates were structured, i am doing a segment on immigration. i will ask a single question to both candidates and whoever gets to go first gets two minutes to answer uninterrupted. there are -- you will necessarily interrupt because you will not let one person go for 10 minutes. have were times when you to interrupt. one of the more difficult judgment calls you have to make as a moderator, i was asking about the controversies they both faced. emails and women making allegations and i wanted to ask about the clinton foundation. i asked secretary clinton if
this was pay-to-play. she says, thanks so much. it has not been proven, but i would love to talk about the clinton foundation. i thought, here she goes. she will talk about the good work they do all over the world. not the interesting but the worlding in to say to the secretary of state, i do not want to hear about what you are doing for the poor children in africa. marvin: that is different from saying what they are saying is wrong. if you know that the candidate is saying something that is inaccurate, that is a lie, is it your responsibility as a moderator to tell the american people, what you just heard is wrong? martha: i do not think that is
my responsibility. one of the ways i approach it is, here are your words -- it is what frank said. mr. trump, do you have anything to say about what secretary clinton just said? i think at one point on the iraq, the public pronouncements of being against the iraq war, that had been litigated so many times. at one point, when he said that again, i said, i know critics say otherwise. period. should i just sit back? if they say to me, a no-fly zone is really easy to do. i might say, actually, what so-and-so says about a no-fly zone is it would take 10,000 troops. it is not me debating trump or clinton. it is me trying to get answers from the candidates.
and let the other debate. again, am i prepared with things to come back at them and say, but you said on july 19 this? you want to have a follow-up that is tough. but it is not my job to say, you are wrong about that. it is my job to find evidence where they said something else. candidate.he other marvin: but there was something very distinctive about these debates and about the entire campaign. chris said before, the central element in it was donald trump. if it were not for donald trump, you would not have had these astronomical ratings. >> i agree. marvin: what i am trying to get into here, the whole idea of a candidate saying something that
is undeniably a lie, if you do not feel it is your responsibility to challenge -- then the lie stays there. martha: i am not saying, don't challenge. saying you are wrong about that is not the way to do it. you have follow-ups, you have material. thein: i don't either, by way. martha: then you shouldn't have said it! you have stuff you can talk about with that candidate and bring it up to the other candidate. chris: can i also add a point? the other person on that stage told untruths as well. it was not just donald trump who told whoppers. it was hillary clinton. it is a slippery slope. if you are going to do it on
this level, what you consider an outrageous whopper, what about a medium whopper? i do not want to sound like burger king. you run into -- at what level do i intervene or not intervene? at some point, it stops being a debate. marvin: i want to take a moment to remind our radio, television, and web audiences that this is the kalb report. and i'min kalb debates.g the 2016
i am picking up the point which has been working in the underbrush. to discuss a relatively new phenomenon in our public discourse. it is called post-truth. the oxford dictionary defines it as denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion that appeals to emotion and personal belief. journalists are supposed to be in the truth business. we tell the truth how best we know it. how did we start to get into this post-truth business? chris: there have always been appeals to emotion. visceral gut-level
reaction. ronald reagan won the debate i saying, there you go again. my point is, it was an appeal to emotion. i am a reasonable guy and you can trust me to be president. >> he was cracking a joke. think so. comment.e was making a >> where's the truth in that? there are different views of this. >> what i'm trying to get at something more serious than that. the post truth phenomenon is a very important thing that does affect our politics. i think it does affect our journalism. it does suggest that if you play with things in a skillful way, you can win over a public
without even letting your cards on the table. you don't have to do that because you are somehow or another going beyond the responsibility of just laying out the truth as best you know it. do you feel that -- maybe you don't at all -- but do you feel that there is any danger that would make the approaching a post-truth world? >> that is a first time i ever heard of post truth. i look at this differently. what is the responsibility of chris or martha doing their sunday shows where they are interviewing and it is one-on-one and chris is asking the question or martha is and they give an answered that his post truth or is working with the facts in such a way. then i view their job as moderators, one-on-one, to correct and go after them. wait a minute, you said
this last week. or, that's not true. the debates are different in my view. a debate is a debate. the reason that we changed the format for years ago and got away from this ask a question to candidate a and then candidate b has a minute to respond and that you move on. we divided it into six segments where we can get down and drill down and get facts. it's not the job in our view of the moderator to do what they would do on their sunday shows one-on-one. that is a vast difference. martha: the questions are different. we often say this is not an interview, this is a debate. the questions are going to be a different way you approach those. >> so among the four of you here, the concept of post truth is in no way a disturbing
phenomenon? >> i think politicians have been doing that for years. i don't think there is anything new. if you're talking about a politician taking a set of facts and trying to come out with an approach to or result of those facts that you don't agree with or that other people do agree with, that is as part of politics. maybe i don't understand. >> i think your question is about the crisis that exists in journalism, the fact that there is no economically viable model to support the kind of excellent journalism that we have been accustomed to for a long time. i think the challenge to journalists -- i am not a thought of though i --ng one early in my career
is how you take truth, post truth is just a silly phrase, there is truth that journalists have to uncover and report and aggressively go after, and they have to do it with creativity and inspiration, and they have to work hard to make it compelling to the audiences that need it to get the truth. the failure of journalists to do that is why we are in this quandary, and why we have allowed content to go off to fake news and social media and other places. it is the responsibility of our established respectable, verifiable, accurate news
depend on.ns that we >> how you guys both feel about the quality of the journalism, not individually, but the industry itself at this point? how well do you think it did in the coverage of the 2016 campaign? martha: chris? [laughter] chris: i thought -- i don't think the fact checking was a big problem. i think we did a lot of that. i think to the degree that people cared that the record was set straight on things that all the candidates said, but our focus was particularly on hillary clinton and donald trump. generally speaking, people knew the truth or falsity of what they were saying. i think particularly during primaries was the over coverage of donald trump's rallies. that was i think a business decision -- and i'm talking particularly now about cable news. and frankly, we were not the
worst offenders. that if donald trump was giving a rally and you did not have him on and your competitor did have him on me you are going to lose eyeballs to your competitor. it was not only that they would carry the rally, but we all know they would show the podium for the rally for 45 minutes as they were waiting for the long-term rally -- for the donald trump rally. that drove the other campaigns in the primaries nuts. that was a terrible mistake and we should not have done it. with 17 candidates, you're not going to cover everybody the same. there were candidates that were more viable than other candidates, and we always do process. of winnowing it was good for money online, but it was a mistake. people say that we were trying to push trump.
weren't leading public opinion, we were following public opinion. he was driving ratings, entegris -- cavedg ratings, and we into it. martha: i think we as journalists have to take a hard look at 2016. we want to move on and cover the administration, but i do think we have to be self reflective of things exactly like chris is talking about, and how we covered it. i think when you are in the moment and you're in a campaign that is one of the most unusual in history, i think there are some very, very good journalism. caught up sort of
with what was happening. >> forgive me. where was the good journalism? >> how about the new york times breaking the fact that hillary clinton had a private email system? >> people forget about it. that was a huge breaking story. that drove campaign coverage. >> or the washington post on trump and the charities. there was a lot of good journalism. >> another point -- the polls. >> i think you have to give donald trump a tremendous amount of credit for changing maybe journalism in the future. what i mean is -- when has that been a candidate who would get up in the morning and call morning joe or cbs morning news? >> is a good thing for journalists? >> i don't know. i'm not a journalist.
you makejournalist, the decision. >> i'm saying what he did to you was this. it had maybe to do with the profit margin you're talking about. if you are morning joe and you don't have to go through desert to go away had to do in the old days going through a press secretary and so forth. you would get that call and say yeah, i will go on an interview. >> and let us say he made that call to fox or whoever, and he had absolutely nothing to say. it was just a repeat of what he had said before, except he was utterly outrageous in what he said. >> but they put him on. >> that is fascinating.
buy that analysis of the media and the relationship with trump? >> my role at the white house was to be kind of a human piñata for the press corps to get beat up. day in and day out. no, that is skin cancer from california growing up. i like the fact that donald trump made himself accessible and called in to shows, but i scrutiny ande accountability that he needed to have who would then have the opportunity to talk to him should happen more aggressive, more akin to what i was familiar with at the white house. >> i think they were pretty aggressive. >> did anyone ask him -- oh by the way, are you going to try to
upset and unroll all we have done in asia the last 25 years? >> i was asking kellyanne conway about it. my competitors were asking reince priebus about it. he got hammered for his opening statements about the immigrants crossing the border and mexicans being rapists and criminals, or saying that john mccain -- it was not for lack of coverage. >> thank you for raising that. in the past week, his spokesman was trying to explain the way in which he used words, and the way in which he would present ideas. but she was saying was that he was saying these things, but the american people should not have really taken that seriously. it is just the mood he was striking. you can't go with the facts, she
said. mood.ve to go with the >> she can say anything she wants. that is her spin on it, but we did not take it that way. >> hillary clinton didn't hold a press conference for how long? it was months. >> 250 days. >> here's a guy saying, i'm available. here i come. >> marvin, can we talk about during a debate, is difficult to ask questions to donald trump? it is also difficult to ask questions to someone who is just giving you talking points. you have to have a different approach with that as well. secretary clinton is very good at those talking points. >> i totally agree. if the commission in its wisdom were to ask you to come back in
four years and be moderators again, what would you have learned from the 2016 experience that could be profitably put into a 2020 debate environment? >> i would us to do the first -- ask to do the first debate so i didn't have to stew over it. >> do you think you benefited? >> i actually do think that benefited. oftook about eight inches colon out of me, but i did benefit. >> he was the first moderator the first pick your. >> whenever topics it in like him allude say that chris would do it. >> i had some topics. near the end of the debate, i
was hoping there be some clear of for me. >> one thing i've been asked a lot is why did you not have an conversation about global climate change and some of the issues were left off the table. that thinking to you because you had a chance of the last debate to add more substance in. i've gotten that question a lot, some asking both of you. martha: because chris was going to ask about it. >> it didn't come up in the 2012 debate. it is arguably one of the most important things we have to think about. >> when you asked public opinion polling. concerned't really about it. >> so what? it matters. >> of course it matters. >> obviously it is a really important topic.
i will tell you about our debates. we probably lost a lot of time. >> poverty and hunger and homelessness in this country or no questions. >> absolutely things we thought would come up in the town hall debate. or you could guide the conversation in that way. >> were you waiting for the candidates to raise that, or did you think you have the responsibility to put those questions? >> again, i had a town hall debate. >> so you are relying on the people. >> i can go back to 2012. you have topics that you read about that you have covered talk day, that people youut, that people send ou messages about.
we tried to vet topics. is there something behind that generating was social media so we will talk about it? i think you have to be very careful in choosing those topics. >> my point is the candidates will talk about the issues that they think the broad swath of the middle income average taxpayer cares about. those who are marginalized in our country need to have someone who will voice their concerns in these debates. i think that is a role that the moderators need to play. >> was the point of what you have just asked? >> that we have questions that come from the moderators that data -- >> these are smart moderators. >> we do try to get beyond those points. i mean, we do. >> i know. >> these are really important issues and we never get into those. >> by the time i got to my debate, the supreme court had never been asked. they talked about it very
briefly. immigration had never been asked. you have to do those i thought, because they had never been asked. you had to do something on the economy. you have to something on foreign policy. and then my national enquirer segment which was about -- stuff. [laughter] but i did but it for five minutes into the debate. >> we on the commission leave it to the moderators best judgment for what they need to ask. then it is incumbent upon the candidates to engage in the subject of they think are most important. they will follow whatever their political people tell them or whose the persuadable voter. i'm just try to think about ways in which in these debates we can elevate the subjects that are truly important.
>> that is truly subjective. >> no it isn't, global climate change is not subjective, and neither is poverty and homelessness or hunger. [applause] >> i agree. they are. the question of whether it is number one or number three or number five. you have a limited amount of time -- 90 minutes and a hell of a lot of subjects. >> if you just follow what the pollsters say, we won't get to the stuff. >> these people have the toughest job to go in front of 100 million people for 90 minutes and try not to screw up. frank and i really disagree in anything.disagree on
>> ok, we have covered that point. thank you. i want to talk about where journalism is today, and so i'm directing it at the two of you. there are a lot of people who feel that journalists are having a very difficult time. there are economic reasons for that, but it is not just that. we brushed aside the post-truth idea a moment ago. let that sit along with other changes like climate that we should have discussed. what i'm interested in is this idea that if journalism has reached a point in our society were a lot of people for whatever reason don't believe what the journalists are saying, they believe that the journalists are using facts that
they do not recognize as facts. it has reached a point where the language of journalism is inadequate to meet the responsibilities of journalism in a society under phenomenal change, and where the tweets that all of the modern names of communication seem to have overwhelmed so many of us. we're living with too much information perhaps. i'm wondering whether both of you think about questions of journalism's role these days, where it is, where could be better? is it being overwhelmed by this general suspicion? i remember in my time -- granted that is a couple years ago -- an awful lot of what we said was
accepted if not as truth, then as an effort to get at the truth. i don't sense that now. if i am wrong, correct me. if i'm right, help me understand where we go? >> first of all, i think you have to divide what journalism is and what online hits are, or what rumors of the internet are -- i mean, that is the real problem. you have fake news and social media that is throwing stuff up there that is not true, that is a real challenge. as far as journalism goes, there are people in journalism today who have not changed from the
time you were a journalist. there are people who are fighting to get the truth, who will continue to do that every day. one of them is sitting right here next to me. i certainly pride myself on trying to do that as well. the thing that was heartening here for me tonight is people who want to be like that journalist you talk about. but the social media element of this and a public that does not know the difference between a journalist and someone who just write something or make something up online is a real issue. >> you remember walter cronkite. on that show -- >> i'll have to ask you to cool it. i'll come back to you. i want to stick with this idea with the role of journalism. >> the role has always been -- it is a special role in a vibrant democracy. we're supposed to serve as a
kind of watchdog. on government, public policy, all of that. we are always delighted to quote our founding fathers. we say that they placed the concept of freedom of the press right up there in the first amendment of the bill of rights of the u.s. constitution. it was not an afterthought when they did that. it was fundamental. thomas jefferson said famously that he had newspapers without government or government without newspapers, he would take the newspapers. when i hear many colleagues -- maybe not the two of you, but many i know -- fear that a trump administration may in one way or another cut back on freedom of the press, they also feel that many americans are so distrustful of the media they would raise no meaningful objection that the government attempted to crack down. do you share these concerns? i'm asking all of you.
give me no more than 30 seconds. with yournot sure soliloquoy there what the question wsa. as. about the role of the press? marvin: if you were listening, i said there were a lot of people who are concerned that journalists may be losing their way, or the people are not trusting the way longer. >> i think competition in journalism based on speed and how fast you break the news is one of the real dangers, and we have to develop a new economic model for the journalistic economic enterprise that is based on substance, debt and thoroughness.
that would develop a whole new type of journalism where people are not scrambling to try to report facts which sometimes they get wrong, which jeopardizes the integrity of the journalistic enterprise. >> when i was talking about walter cronkite, a gym and come on. on cbs, it said commentary. you knew it was his commentary and his opinion. it was not necessarily the news. and that is where the big change has been. too many times reporters are reporting a story, and then tagline to determine what it is
going to be. my candidates were always complaining that the press is biased. assumed that the press will not be with you. i think it is more so after this last campaign. >> i certainly want the press to continue to have access. the traditional media as well in a trump administration. i think we will fight to make that happen and try to be tough and fair. chris: there is certainly more noise now that there has ever been. people seem to find their way to the truth. the numbers, the audiences are astronomical. people are drinking the news -- opinion news, not the -- out of a fire hose. my job is as it has always been god to be the cop on the beat. keep them honest, tell the facts. there may be a fascination right now with certain phenomenon, but people will find their way back to core values.
>> the clock tells me that we are quickly running out of time , so my thanks to the wonderfully attentive audience. super thanks to our two terrific moderators and the cochairs of the commission of presidential debates. i leave you with a thought from winston churchill -- democracy is the worst form of government, except for all of the others. that is it for now. ed moreau kalb and as ago, goody many years night, and good luck. [applause] >> and that's the way it is.
>> we have about 15 minutes, and are happy to take your question. there are microphones on either side. stand up, go to the microphone, ask a question, and please identify yourself and ask a question, because if you do not, i will cut you off. mean that i am. over there, in the darkness do i see somebody? hello? >> hi, i'm from central florida. my question is i read an article about how a failure of this last round of election season is that we did not focus enough on policy and focused on personality. the i go back and look at debates i see a lot of questions
but candidates answered questions the way they wanted to. do you just answer the way they wanted to, or was it is not enough of a focus on policy? >> an anchor team for the 21st century. martha: yes, we definitely wants to talk about policy. you definitely want to guide it back to the policy questions when you're in the middle of a debate, and it does not always work. exactly what you said happens. they are going to answer and take it into whatever direction they want.
this was a pretty personality driven campaign, without question. we tried to move to the issues and try to just not just in the debates, but general news coverage as well, talk about the issues. >> i agree with that completely about the debates. in terms of news coverage, we do talk about the issues. i will say, and this is nothing true ass has been long as i have been in journalism. the horse race is always fascinating. it is especially enlightening, but you can't ignore it. if a candidate is either soaring or sputtering, that is part of the story too. we do try our best to get to the issues, particularly in the debate. they answer and sometimes they don't. to a limited degree we have the power. when i was asking hillary clinton about pay to play as an e.