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CNN RELIABLE SOURCES
New NSA Revelations About to Release; "The New York Times" Under Fire; The Chris Christie Scandal
Aired February 9, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Good morning, from New York City. I'm Brian Stelter. And it's time for RELIABLE SOURCES."
A big show ahead. Here's what's coming up:
STELTER (voice-over): "The New York Times" under fire, questions of fairness as a family tragedy plays out in the headlines.
Chris Christie, the media swarming, new stories breaking. We asked the reporter who got the biggest scoop of them all. Can this governor still run for president?
Which brings us to Hillary Clinton. She's a target for Republicans, but is her husband fair game?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you call him an unsavory character?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Yes. I mean, a predator, a sexual predator basically.
STELTER: Those are strong words and we will get to them later in the program.
Plus, I've got Christiane Amanpour joining us about the outrageous treatment of reporters in Egypt and Bill Carter on Jay Leno leaving "The Tonight Show."
But, first, are we about to see a new and explosive release of NSA information? And here's an ever bigger question, has another source come forward possibly inspired by Edward Snowden?
Let me back up a moment and clarify. Glenn Greenwald is the reporter who broke the Edward Snowden surveillance story and who helped Snowden publish all of the NSA revelations that have shaken U.S. relationships around the world and revealed to all of us just how extensively the government is collecting our personal data. He will be joining me in a moment as he prepares to release material we have not seen yet before on his new Web site.
Meanwhile, Greenwald is preparing to come back to the United States, in spite of the fact that he could be arrested as soon as he lands. Several lawmakers have said that he may be guilty of aiding and abetting a felon.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald joins me now from Rio de Janeiro.
Glenn, thank you for being here.
I'm not sure if I can hear Glenn but I think you can hear me.
I'm going to try to ask him my first question, and it involves your new Web site, which is going to be coming online in a couple of days. Will you be revealing new information about these surveillance stories on the site?
GLENN GREENWALD, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Sure. There's a lot more really significant stories about to reveal as we've said for quite some time, that continues to be true, and a big part of why this appeals to us so much, namely, the opportunity to build a new Web site, a new media outlet really, is to be able to continue aggressively reporting on these materials that have informed democratic debates around the world.
STELTER: And are all of the stories you'll be publishing starting this week all based on the Snowden documents or have new source comes forward?
GREENWALD: Well, I can't really talk about the stories until they're published including their bases, but I would say just in general, that before the Snowden reporting began, one of the recognitions I think on the part of the American media was that the Obama administration has been particularly aggressive, some have said and I would agree, vindictive, in going after sources and even journalists themselves.
James Goodell, the former "New York Times" general counsel, said that President Obama is more hostile to basic press freedom than any president since Richard Nixon.
So, I think one of the things sources need to know if they come forward, they're going to be defended and protected and also that whatever they come forward to reveal is going to be aggressively reported by media outlets and by journalists even if the government doesn't like it. And I think journalists know that about us and I think that some will be willing to work with us.
STELTER: Some sources you mean? Sounds like you do have other sources that you're protecting.
GREENWALD: Yes. I just -- you know, until the stories are revealed, I just can't really address that.
STELTER: Is it fair to say you've heard from people inside the NSA or inside the government who have been inspired by Edward Snowden, who are also feeling uncomfortable with what's going on inside the government and also want to share information with you? GREENWALD: I definitely think it's fair to say that there are people who have been inspired by Edward Snowden's courage and by the great good and virtue that it has achieved and, you know, I think there were people before Edward Snowden like Chelsea Manning and Thomas Drake and before that Daniel Ellsberg who were incredibly heroic. I think Edward Snowden was inspired by them. I have no doubt there will be other sources inside the government who see extreme wrongdoing inspired by Edward Snowden as well.
STELTER: At the same time, I've gotten the sense you want this new news organization that you're building with your colleagues to be broader than just what Edward Snowden has provided document-wise to you. Is that right, that you want to broaden out on this new site beyond what you wrote for "The Guardian" and for more sources like NBC more recently?
GREENWALD: Oh, definitely. I mean, before Edward Snowden was my source, I wrote about a whole range of topics, civil liberties abuses and secrecy abuses, inequality in the United States, and we're certainly going to continue to focus on issues like that, as well as broader issues. We have journalists who have been at the top of their field reporting on criminal and civil justice abuses and a whole variety of other topics.
To us, what we're really about is this journalistic ethos, that people in power, more than anything else, need adversarial checks from those in the media. That's why the First Amendment guarantees a free press. We believe that kind of transparency brings accountability and that's really been missing from the American political class, which is why there's been so much not just in ineptitude but corruption and that's something that we hope to contribute to rectify.
STELTER: You're coming to us from Brazil. You haven't been back to the United States since the first stories were published last summer, but you've hinted that you're going to come back this spring. And I want to bring that up because there's been claims in recent gas days from some government officials that they might hold you accountable and might try to prosecute you in some way.
Let's play the exchange between the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers and the FBI Director James Comey from earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R-MI), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: There have been discussions about selling of access to this material to both newspaper outlets and other places. Mr. Comey, to the best of your knowledge, is fencing stolen material, is that a crime?
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: Yes, it is.
ROGERS: And would be selling the access of classified material that is stolen from the United States government, would that be a crime? COMEY: It would be. It's an issue that can be complicated if it involves a news gathering, a news promulgation function, but in general, fencing or selling stolen property is a crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Glenn, your blood must boil when you hear that. What was your reaction to that? What do you think they're trying to do by saying those kind of things?
GREENWALD: Extraordinary aspects to that attempt by Mike Rogers to suggest that journalists such as myself are engaged in criminal conduct or selling documents and the like.
The first is that he's not only lying and he is lying, but he not only is lying but knows that he's lying. You know, this what is Mike Rogers is notorious for in Washington, literally making things up and smearing political opponents and journalists he doesn't like. He recently did it when he said there was indications that Edward Snowden was working with Russian intelligence and every major newspaper in the country said not only is there no evidence of that, but that investigators have said it's not the case, that he acted alone.
But I defy Mike Rogers, if he wants to make that accusation, to come forward and present actual evidence that any journalist has stolen -- has sold documents or stolen material or engaged in any kind of criminality. He has no evidence. He's making things up.
But the second extraordinary aspect of it is that what he's talking about, that process has always in the United States been called journalism, where you go to media organizations, when you have something to report, you get paid for your reporting, and report what the public should know.
What this is, is nothing less than an attempt to criminalize journalism like all petty tyrant tried to do when reporters and other journalists expose that which they want to hide. And I don't think anybody should mistake what this is really about.
STELTER: And yet every time we talk, every time you're on television, people on Twitter call you a traitor. What is that like to hear the word "traitor" at the same time you hear the word "hero" from other people?
GREENWALD: Yes. You know, I think that it's always the case that if you are adversarial to the U.S. government, there are certain people who view criticizing the government or exposing bad acts that are done in secret of the government, as being treasonous.
If you go back and look at what was said about one of my political heroes, Daniel Ellsberg, who everybody now regard as a hero, but 40 years ago, you had the Mike Rogers and James Clappers of that era calling him a Russian spy and a traitor and engaging in treason and endangering the United States.
It's really just a very similar pattern. And I knew a long time ago when I went into journalism it wasn't the profession to go into if you want to be universally loved. If you do it the right way, it means that you're going to make a lot of powerful people and their loyalists unhappy -- and I'm perfectly OK with that.
STELTER: Glenn, I hope to see you here in New York in a couple months.
GREENWALD: Thanks very much, Brian. Appreciate it.
STELTER: Thanks for being here.
We have to take a quick break. But in the moment, we will look at the awful story of Woody Allen and his step daughter and accusations that "The New York Times" treated Allen unfairly even as another newspaper decided not to go with that story at all. Two reporters who know a lot about this will be here in just a moment.
Don't go away.
STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES.
This weekend, there are new allegations by both sides in the ugly family battle between Woody Allen and his step daughter Dylan Farrow. This would normally be a private matter, but instead, it's being bitterly fought out on Web sites and newspapers.
Dylan's claim that Allen sexually assaulted her first arose in the 1990s when she was 7 years old. But it hit the headlines a week ago when "New York Times" columnist Nick Kristof published an open letter from Farrow in full on the Web site and in part in the newspaper. Some critics and Woody Allen himself have faulted "The Times" for publishing it without a full response from Allen.
Well, yesterday, Allen did get his say. "The Times" published his lengthy rebuttal, blasting the allegation as false and blaming former girlfriend Mia Farrow for manipulating Dylan.
"I love her," he writes of his daughter, "and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter's well being."
Dylan immediately fired back, this time in the "Hollywood Reporter" writing this, "Once again, Woody Allen is attacking me and my family in an effort to discredit and silence me. But nothing he says or writes can change the truth."
So, here's the question I will like to explore this morning, should "The New York Times" have originally published Dylan's charges without a response from Allen? "The Los Angeles Times" after all says it passed on publishing Dylan's letter.
Joining me now are two reporters who have been covering this, Dylan Byers, a media reporter for "Politico" and Robin Abcarian, a columnist for "The Los Angeles Times".
Thank you both for being here.
And, Robin, I want to ask you first. You wrote a column where you said, Nick Kristof, this spectacle is on you.
You clearly feel "The Times" did not exercise proper journalistic judgment here. Spell it out for me.
ROBIN ABCARIAN, COLUMNIST, L.A. TIMES: Yes, I want to say, first, there are no winners in this situation, and while I think that Nick Kristof's work is very admirable, I think his judgment was clouded by giving over his column and his very valuable journalistic real estate to essentially a friend of his family as he described the Farrows.
Giving his column over to this really a cry of pain and anguish on the part of this woman who says she was abused and who many agree with, but whose father was never formally charged or prosecuted, I think has sewn maximum confusion, rather than clarify, and I'm not sure really what purpose was served.
STELTER: Well, why do you think your newspaper "The L.A. Times" granted the other's -- you know, another part of the paper, not the part that you worked for, but why do you think they passed on publishing this open letter?
ABCARIAN: I mean, anything I say would be speculation, of course, because I don't have any correspondence with the editorial pages but I'm assuming for the reasons that I found it somewhat objectionable which is that when you have such a contentious issue between two people that really can't be resolved except in the court of public opinion and what is that, what good does it serve allowing one party to castigate the other in public without getting a response from the other party.
And now, you see with "The New York Times" being forced to publish Woody Allen's long, you know, denial of molestation, basically back to square one.
STELTER: You know, Dylan, as you know, I used to work for "The New York Times". So, that's my skin in this game. But some feel like this was more becoming of "The National Enquirer" than of "The New York Times."
Well, what have you heard about what "The Times" did to try to reach Woody Allen ahead of time and about why they ultimately decided to publish this long rebuttal in the paper this weekend?
DYLAN BYERS, MEDIA REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, it's important, Brian, for the sake of context, it's not just "The Los Angeles Times" that didn't want to publish this, it's also actually "The New York Times" editorial board -- or, sorry, the editorial page itself did not want to publish this --
STELTER: Yes, you broke this news on Friday, that they received the letter as well and decided not to publish it, right?
BYERS: Right. So, what our sources at "The Times" told us is that what happened is they wanted to pass on it and essentially Nick Kristof, a friend of the family, stepped in and said, OK, I'm going to publish it. I'll publish the full letter on my blog and I'll address it in my column.
And Robin's point is absolutely right, is that really the place for this battle between playing out, this sort of personal family drama to be playing out? And now, it's forced "The New York Times" to address this issue and to say, OK, if we let Nick Kristof publish that piece, then we have to let Woody Allen publish this piece.
STELTER: Is there an argument to be made "The New York Times" should have waited until they had a publishable response from Woody Allen? Or, Robin, does that put "The Times" in a very difficult place? Because -- well, this is a person alleging sexual assault, if the alleged assaulter isn't going to comment, that's not their fault?
ABCARIAN: Yes. I mean, exactly. I think what you see in Dylan's letter she is inviting opinion and debate on an issue that for her there is no other opinion or no debate on it. This is what she calls her truth and facts. And, of course, Woody Allen, I have to say I'm not sure what favor he did himself with his long essay in "The New York Times" the other day.
I think, you know, a really mature human being would have simply said, "I love my daughter, I wish her the best, I did not molest her." Instead, he used it as an opportunity to attack Mia Farrow.
So, now, you've got the whole family involved again. "People" magazine got in on the act, interviewed Moses Farrow, Dylan's Farrow's response to that was, "My brother is dead to me."
You've got this just extraordinary scene of family dysfunction and meltdown playing out really for the prurient interests of the public.
The important thing is that Dylan Farrow's family believes her, and they support her and that's all really that matters.
STELTER: My producer pointed out before the show the kind of thing that would normally be playing out in a therapist's office. It's so strange to see it playing out in newspaper columns. But I wonder if this says something about our age we're in. Robin, do you think there's a broader takeaway to all this?
ABCARIAN: No. I think it's very simple. I think the fact that you've got two high profile people --
STELTER: Very isolated?
ABCARIAN: --Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, involved guarantees the public will continue to have prurient interest in their sex lives, the dysfunction of their lives, their personal family meltdown, and that's unfortunate, but that is the world that we live in? BYERS: Brian, if I may.
BYERS: It's important to remember there are two other things going on at the same time that this is happening. The -- and these allegation, these charges are not new. These are she old. So, why are they cropping up right now?
Two reasons: one, Woody Allen is obviously in the limelight for the Golden Globes honor, as well as the forthcoming Oscars.
I'd also just point that Ronan Farrow has a new show on MSNBC. We know that Ronan Farrow was the one who actually that mitigated the meeting between Dylan Farrow and "The Los Angeles Times" editorial page. You sort of have to wonder why is this coming up now, and does it have anything -- I'm not saying, I'm not siding with one side or the other, I'm just saying, does it have anything to do, (a), with an attempt to sort of take down Woody Allen, and (b), with an attempt to sort of cast more light on another member of the family who has a new show coming?
STELTER: As we wrap up, Dylan, I wonder if you've sensed any idea that there's any regret at "The New York Times" about how this went down? Of course, Nick Kristof has declined to comment, he's declined interview requests about this in the weeks since his first column came out.
Have you sensed regret over there at the paper about this?
BYERS: Of course. The way I sense regret is through silence. I reached out to Andy Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, and Nick Kristof on Wednesday, on Thursday, on Friday, and didn't hear back from either of them. There's clearly some sort of tension going on over that decision.
STELTER: Dylan, thank you so much. Robin, thank you for joining me.
BYERS: Thank you very much.
ABCARIAN: It's my pleasure.
STELTER: In just a moment, one of America's most legendary reporters, one half of Woodward and Bernstein, is here to talk about the Chris Christie bridgegate scandal. This weekend, there's new developments and I'll ask Carl Bernstein -- is this going to bring Christie down? You'll want to hear what he has to say.
STELTER: Welcome back.
You know they just keep coming -- drip, drip, drip -- new disclosures in the so-called bridgegate scandal. Of course, that's the George Washington Bridge scandal. And the key question is still, was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie involved in closing some of those access lanes to the bridge last year to paralyze the town of Fort Lee?
Just this morning, "The Newark Star Ledger's" editorial page editor weighed in, with the big headline, "We Blew It". They're expressing regret for endorsing the governor last year.
Meanwhile, reporters are still digging, digging, digging for new scoops. And here's the latest, the mayor of Fort Lee says he believes the lanes were closed in retaliation for his endorsement of Christie's democratic rival in the governor's race. Up until now, he's been a little skittish about saying that, but now, he says although he was not directly asked to endorse the governor, he was showered with political favors from the Christie campaign right until the day that he endorsed Democrat Barbara Buono.
The governor, of course, has denied having knowledge of the lane closures while they were happening. The other question is this, at what point does this become big enough to sink Chris Christie as the 2016 presidential contender, or has it already?
I can't think of anyone better to ask than my next guest, Carl Bernstein, one half of the legendary Woodward and Bernstein team that broke the Watergate story, leading to the resignation of President Nixon.
CARL BERNSTEIN, JOURNALIST: Good morning. Good to be with you.
STELTER: Now, of course, always differences with every scandal. But do you see similarities in the way news has trickled out about bridgegate and the way slowly news trickled out about Watergate.
BERNSTEIN: Let's start with bridgegate. It's a terrible term. It's unfair -- it's unfair to Governor Christie and we in the media ought to abandon that term right away.
STELTER: No more gates at all, huh?
BERNSTEIN: First of all, it trivializes Watergate by calling everything gate. But in the case of Christie, it's plain unfair. We don't know all the facts yet. Let's wait until the facts are in.
The New Jersey legislature needs to do an important bipartisan investigation such as was undertaken in Watergate and we'll learn more. What we have here is a huge national story on many levels, not the least of which is that it has thrown the Republican presidential sweepstakes wide open. Christie was the presumed nominee among the commentating class and many others. He no longer is under any circumstances.
This means there's going to be a huge fight for the presidential nomination in the Republican Party, other candidates are going to enter, maybe people like Joe Scarborough, Rob Portman, many others, this is wide open.
STELTER: You think Scarborough would actually do it? He always flirts with this stuff. Do you think he'd actually run for president?
BERNSTEIN: I can't be inside his head. I think, though, that he certainly would think about it and if he saw that there was a way and a path that was a possibility that he probably would.
STELTER: Your point is now there are these paths opening up.
BERNSTEIN: This can go anywhere.
STELTER: Right, right.
BERNSTEIN: Christie was the ideal candidate, moving to the center, somebody who supposedly could work with Democrats, who had gotten a lot accomplished in his state, very popular, so-called truth teller who got right out there and said things others are afraid to say and now what we have is an implosion of sorts.
STELTER: It sounds like you don't think he's too thoroughly damaged to be the nominee. We don't know yet?
BERNSTEIN: I think it's unlikely he will be the nominee. If he's going to be the nominee, he has to prove that this was all invented against him. That he really had very little to do with the aura of his office, that made this possible -- in other words his top aides, regardless of whether he said close down the damn lanes, his people closest to him did it. And they did it in a cynical, horrible way, that endangered people's lives. This is no prank as Rudy Giuliani has put it, claimed.
This is a terrible offense against the citizens and endangering them of his state. So, unless he can show that he has somehow been ambushed by the press, had nothing to do with this, that his assistants were independent operators --
BERNSTEIN: -- who kept things from him, it's a pretty rough thing to accept for most people, I think, that he's that far removed and if he's then shown to be that far removed he didn't know what the hell was going on in his office, then that's another problem.
He -- we have no idea what's going to happen in an investigation. You know, he might have to worry about being the governor of New Jersey. We just don't know.
STELTER: Here's a Twitter message from a viewer when I said you were going to be on with me today. They wrote, "Without more proof than we now have, is this whole Chris Christie thing starting to feel like press overkill?"
BERNSTEIN: No, because we need to know what happened and we have very little evidence, hard evidence, so far that has been made public. The governor's office has failed to make it public. There are many subpoenas out there. The governor could open up his books if he wanted to say this is invented by the press.
I'll give you everything we're giving to the investigating committees. Here it is. Come on in, reporters, come on in, everybody.
BERNSTEIN: I haven't seen that kind of willingness to open up the idea -- look, just like in Watergate, there are those who are going to say, let's make the conduct of the press the issue here, not the conduct of the governor and his office.
STELTER: Isn't that always the world's most boring story, making the press the story?
BERNSTEIN: No, it works. It worked in Watergate for a good while. If you remember, we were kind of out there by ourselves. Nixon tried to make the conduct of "The Washington Post" the issue in Watergate, not his and not those of his assistants.
At a certain point, it stops working if the facts are compelling enough and if the reporting is good enough. So far the facts are compelling and the reporting is pretty good.
STELTER: It's pretty good.
We're about to talk in the next block about Hillary Clinton and, you know, the presumed candidate for 2016 and how Rand Paul has been criticizing her husband, even calling Bill Clinton a sexual predator.
Do you think that's a fair line of attack that we're hearing in all of these interviews Rand Paul has been doing?
BERNSTEIN: I've written I guess the standard biography of a woman in charge, of Hillary Clinton; came out as she was running for president the last time.
Look, there was something of a co-presidency in the Clinton years and if she were to be president, it would be another co-presidency in some ways. So Bill Clinton's actions, it seems to me, are perfectly fair game, particularly that his principal defender, including his legal defense, his defense in impeachment, was his wife, Hillary Clinton. So it's fair game.
At the same time, we ought to remember that he, Clinton, is about the most popular political figure in this country today, for all kinds of interesting reasons.
I'm not one, incidentally, based a little bit on what I'm hearing and a little bit of instinctual notions, I'm not convinced she's going to run for president. I think the Christie thing might have made it more likely, but she's looking at every aspect of this, including her health, her husband's health. They both have to be healthy if she's going to undertake this run. She's not going to undertake a run if it looks to the Clintons as if there's a real big chance that she could be beaten.
So it's not a sure thing she's running. And people I know who know her well, and there are very few who she talks to about this question, if any, beside her husband, in terms of what she's really going to do, but there are some doubts among those who know her well that she's really going to do this.
And she's not going to make a decision until we get much closer to the event.
STELTER: Yes. It is only February 2014.
Carl, thank you so much for being here.
STELTER: Thank you.
When we come back, I want to talk a little bit more about that, about Rand Paul and why is it that, in interview after interview, he keeps bringing it up, Bill Clinton's last scandals. That phrase "sexual predator" has gotten a lot of press this week.
Could it have anything to do with his own presidential hopes for 2016?
We'll be back with that in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KY: -- not enough and that it isn't different from what we're doing --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Welcome back.
When Bill O'Reilly interviewed President Obama last weekend, the president had some sage advice for FOX News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's what you guys are going to have to figure out, what are you going to do when I'm gone?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: I think we already know the answer. Her name is Hillary Rodham Clinton.
A few hours after the presidential interview, Clinton had a little fun at FOX News' expense on Twitter. Here's what she wrote.
"It's so much more fun to watch FOX when it's someone else being blitzed and sacked, #Super Bowl."
Of course FOX is not the only voice of opposition to Obama and wouldn't be the only voice of opposition to a Clinton candidacy, either.
Senator Rand Paul keeps bringing up Bill Clinton in interviews and then he keeps playing the Lewinsky card. Listen to what he said about Bill Clinton in an interview with the conservative website, Newsmax.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you call him an unsavory character?
PAUL: Yes, I mean, a predator, a sexual predator, basically, repetitive.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
STELTER: Strong stuff, very strong stuff and very controversial stuff. In several interviews, we've heard Paul call the Clintons a package deal.
He's implying it is fair game. So I want to see what our guests think.
Is it fair to use Bill to go after Hillary?
Let's bring them in: Sally Kohn, CNN's political commentator and the same as well, Will Cain from the Left and the Right here.
And Will, let's start with you. You just heard Carl Bernstein say he thinks it is fair game to be bringing up Bill Clinton's past.
Do you as well?
WILL CAIN, POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I do think it's fair game. Look, I get it. I get it from the Democratic side of the aisle. I get, my God, Bill Clinton again: this is 20 years old.
However, I don't actually think this is a political maneuver on Rand Paul's behalf. I think it's about hypocrisy. The Republicans have endured this false war on women for years now. And after a while, you just choke on the hypocrisy of Bill Clinton being the spokesman, the keynote speaker of the Democratic Party.
I think if you ask most Americans, Brian, regardless of party affiliation, here is your avatar, here is your person putting this message out there, a cardboard cutout, no party affiliation, no name, most of them look at them and go, yes, the guy who had an affair with an intern in the workplace, this is a little hypocritical.
STELTER: Sally? SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This cracks me up. I mean you have a legitimate policy-driven war on women that Republicans, including Rand Paul, who in the same remark said, hey, actually, I think women are winning; I'm more worried about what men are going through in America, who refuses to acknowledge wage gaps, the real pressures on single moms, on working mothers, all of these things that Republican policies make worse, not to mention of course the attack on abortion and contraception.
And they want to deflect from this war on women, they have this sort of idea that, oh, we can do this by suggesting that the Democrats have all these candidates and political leaders who are pervs so that we don't actually have to talk about Republican policies, as though there's some kind of equivalency between those.
CAIN: Do you really see no hypocrisy in Bill Clinton being the spokesman of the Democratic Party's war on women, to be someone who's advanced that argument, the man who had an affair with a 20-year old in the Oval Office? You see no hypocrisy there?
KOHN: Listen, I didn't like the affair with Lewinsky. I still don't like the affair with Lewinsky. I don't like what, you know, Spitzer did. I don't like what any of them have done.
But to equivocate that with the policies that Republicans are continuing to pursue that make it harder for women to control their own bodies and control their own economic justice, that's what Rand Paul is trying to deflect away from.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: (INAUDIBLE) that keep asking Rand Paul about this. I wonder if the press is ginning this up more than anything because they want to be able to bring these stories back into the news?
CAIN: Well, conflict makes for good TV.
STELTER: We saw that with Bill O'Reilly and President Obama last week.
KOHN: That's right.
CAIN: Yes. I think, in the end, we have a true and real policy difference that on whether or not women should be able to ask someone else to pay for their contraception, on when life begins; but these have nothing that amount to a war on women. And, again, when you do this you expect this kind of rebuttal.
Excuse me, Bill Clinton is your spokesman. Look at yourself in the mirror.
KOHN: Oh, let's also be clear; there's a -- you know, the Republicans got this training, right. They ran trainings for the Republican men running against women because they need training on how to run against women without saying offensive things. And clearly I guess the new arsenal in the toolbox that Rand Paul is trying out is, oh, let's not actually have a sensible, respectful debate with women running for office about their policies and their ideas. Let's just attack their husbands. Let's -- I'll go that route. Come on.
STELTER: (INAUDIBLE), I want to ask you about the Obama-O'Reilly interview. We just played a clip from it. And some people were calling it disrespectful.
Did you all feel that the tone was appropriate?
KOHN: I did not think the tone was appropriate.
Look, in 2011 --
STELTER: Shouldn't the president be able to take --
KOHN: In 2011, O'Reilly interrupted -- I mean, this is who Bill O'Reilly is. Let's be honest; he's an aggressive interviewer. I have a great relationship with Bill, I respect him; in 2011 he interrupted the president 48 times. This time he, by some counts 42 times; of a 2,500 word interview, Bill O'Reilly spoke 1,000 of those words. It's more of a debate really than it even is an interview.
CAIN: And that's what makes it great.
KOHN: (INAUDIBLE) TV now, right?
CAIN: He's aggressive. He's also one of the best interviewers. I have no reason to curry favor with Bill O'Reilly. I neither work at FOX nor know the man.
However, I will tell you this, the number one tool of politicians, Brian, in an interview, the number one tool is filibuster. Speak as long as you can, you expose yourself to as few questions as possible.
Bill O'Reilly moves it along, makes it a conversation, makes it a back-and-forth. You get something out of his interviews you do not get out of eight out of other 10 interviewers.
STELTER: I have to give him credit; he covered his own interview five nights in a row afterwards. You got to give him credit for milking that very well. One more topic in the minute we have left, the Olympics now going on over in Sochi, Russia, and saw we in the opening ceremonies NBC edit out part of the anti-discrimination statement from the head of the IOC.
Let me read part of what was taken out.
It says, "Yes, it is possible to strive even for the greatest victory with respect for the dignity of your competitors. Yes, yes, it is possible, even as competitors, to live together under one roof in harmony with tolerance and without any form of discrimination for whatever reason."
Did NBC make a mistake by editing that part out of the opening ceremonies?
CAIN: They definitely made a mistake. Sally and I talked about this ahead of time. It's definitely a mistake. The question is whether or not it's an intentional mistake.
STELTER: So you agree on that.
And do you think it was intentional?
CAIN: I don't. I think you're looking at one of the most boring aspects of the Olympics, not only the opening ceremonies, but the speech by the IOC president. You cut four minutes out; the paragraph back to that, he did talk about tolerance. He did go on and talk about diversity. They did cut out the most pointed aspect, but I don't think they meant to.
KOHN: First of all, this is the gayest opening ceremonies in the history of an Olympics ever. I just -- that has to be said. So this was not the most interesting moment; I agree with Will on that one.
But you know, you have this subtext of NBC taking heat -- as they should be -- for broadcasting these Olympics that are happening in a country that has these incredibly vicious, atrocious anti-gay laws, and a lot of people -- myself included -- don't think we should even be having the Olympics there at all.
So they have that heat; cutting this, incidental, accident, on purpose, it certainly is a convenient way to avoid having to talk about it.
STELTER: Right. NBC said it was for time reasons. But the fact that these questions get asked shows why it's such a hard position.
Well, Sally and Will, thank you both for being here.
CAIN: Thanks, Brian.
KOHN: Thank you very much.
STELTER: After a quick break, CNN's Christiane Amanpour joins me. She is angry and you want to hear why. Stay tuned. (MUSIC PLAYING)
STELTER: Welcome back.
When hundreds of thousands of Egyptians filled Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring, many dreamed of democracy, but the latest news coming out of Cairo is very troubling. Egypt's military leaders have now formally charged 20 journalists with aiding terrorists.
Our own chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, says journalists everywhere should be angry about what's happening there. I spoke with her a short time ago.
STELTER: Christiane, thank you for joining me.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: My pleasure.
STELTER: The head of Al Jazeera English says that this current situation is a threat to journalism itself.
Do you agree it's that serious?
AMANPOUR: Look, I really do agree. I mean, look, we have an unprecedented number of journalists in Egypt, foreign and domestic, who have been charged with -- get this -- terrorism. I mean, give me a break. It is the last refuge of an authoritarian dictatorial regime, whether it's in Egypt or wherever it is, who simply doesn't want the truth told.
And what's happening in Egypt is that journalists, whether they be from Al Jazeera, CNN, BBC or, indeed, Egyptian journalists, are being forced into partisan positions. If you do not follow slavishly the military government line in Egypt, you are deemed a terrorist.
If you try to be objective in your coverage, you are deemed a terrorist. I mean, it is terrible what's happening there. It is silencing the truth.
STELTER: Well, to hear charges of aiding terrorists you know, in Egypt, that must have a chilling effect on the journalists who are still there trying to cover that story.
AMANPOUR: Precisely, and that's why you've seen very little objective, truthful journalism coming out of there. As I said, people are being forced into camps. I said two camps, but, actually, it's really one camp right now. People are being forced to take sides in order to be safe and not to go to prison. And, wherever you look, journalists are in the cross-hairs more than I have ever experienced, ever in my career. STELTER: For viewers at home who don't think about this stuff all the time, why does it matter that the journalists are in the cross-hairs?
AMANPOUR: Well, it matters a lot because, although we may be viewed as pesky, unwelcome intruders, whether in -- in Western democracies or in dictatorships, we are the people who go out there with a mission to tell the truth. It is actually as simple as that. We are the people who go out there and uncover corruption, uncover injustice, and try to tell the world what's going on. We are the eyes and ears, the eyewitnesses to what's going on in the world at the time.
STELTER: One of the Al Jazeera journalists who is in prison right now in Egypt -- he used to work here at CNN, Mohamed Fahmy -- did you ever cross paths with him?
AMANPOUR: Yes, I did. He's done a lot of producing work for me, for my program, as well as when I was on the ground -- on the ground in Egypt.
And again, for 38 days, he was held in jail, along with some of the others, and was not charged -- no access to family or lawyers. He apparently has an injury in his shoulder, and he has not been able to even have any medical care.
I mean, by any standards, this is a violation of every law and of all decency. And this is just a journalist. It is not somebody who's out there with a weapon other than his camera and his pencil. And it is just utterly unacceptable, and these people must be released. And our governments, particularly those who have major dealings with Egypt and upon whom Egypt relies, ought to be reading the Egyptian authorities the riot act over this.
STELTER: Christiane, thank you for putting the spotlight on this for us.
AMANPOUR: Thanks, Brian. Thank you.
STELTER: Bill Carter up next with Leno to Fallon. We'll be right back.
STELTER: Welcome back. Here's a question. Why in the world would any network fire its number one star twice?
I'm talking about Jay Leno and NBC. This was his last week hosting "The Tonight Show."
So I talked to the guy who literally wrote the book, my friend and colleague Bill Carter of the New York Times, about what went wrong.
STELTER: Welcome, Bill.
CARTER: Nice to be with you, Brian.
STELTER: NBC tried this once before. I mean, a few years ago, when you wrote about this, it backfired so badly. Why do you think they're trying this again?
CARTER: Well, it really is the same motivation, which is find another generation of host. And I think they jumped the gun on Jay the last time. When they -- you know, they took Jay and they said "We're going to give you five more years," back in -- when he was 54.
STELTER: Yeah, it was 2004.
CARTER: And, you know, that looked like, five years, by then, he's bound to be wrapping up. Maybe he won't be number one anymore. But he was. And that, sort of, defied expectations, and so they were stuck. They'd already guaranteed the show to Conan and they were in a box. And they went ahead with this, sort of, crazy idea, which was invented by your present boss, Mr. Zucker...
STELTER: Jeff Zucker.
CARTER: ... to put him in prime time, to try to keep both talents. And it wound up not working, obviously.
STELTER: Do you think there's a difference now with Jimmy Fallon versus Conan O'Brien? Is Jimmy a better talent than Conan was?
CARTER: Well, "better" is obviously relative. People like comedians for certain things. I mean, I think both guys are funny. Conan always made me laugh. Jimmy makes me laugh. There's a feeling, certainly at NBC, that Fallon is a broader talent, that he has a broader appeal. We'll see if it's true. I mean, they certainly felt Conan could do it. And, you know, Conan's people will tell you, if he'd had more time, he would have done it. But I think there's more confidence at NBC that Fallon has a broader-based appeal than Conan did.
STELTER: So maybe they've learned from the mistakes five years ago?
CARTER: Well, you know, how do you learn until you see what happens? We don't know. We can't tell. I think they feel more confident than they did. I think, at the time, there was a sense -- by the way, Jay was younger then, too. He was 59. Now he's 63. It does seem like a time for, maybe, that decision to be made.
I mean, I can remember another time the number one guy was taken off. Walter Cronkite was number one. And they forced him off the air because he had hit 65. So it has happened before.
STELTER: Was that the right choice, in retrospect? CARTER: Well, actually, Dan Rather did win for a while. But, you know, it certainly has always been a difficult decision to make, when does a guy need to be replaced just because of his age, not because of his appeal or his talent?
STELTER: Well, let's put this into perspective about being number one. It's so hard to get to first place, isn't it? And once you're in it, you want to hold on to it as long as you humanly can?
CARTER: Yes. Yes. And the one thing you can always say about Jay is that that was his goal, to stay number one, and he did it; he did it all the way to the end. And I think, you know, as much as he gets criticism for certain things about his act, you have to say he succeeded at what he really wanted to be, which was the top guy in late night.
STELTER: So then, for NBC, why not wait until his popularity starts to wane?
CARTER: Well, who says that will ever happen?
I think they -- they didn't know when to make -- you don't want to make the move after he's starting to slide because then you're liable to be losing the audience. It -- Johnny was number one when he left. That was on Johnny's own terms, but he was number one. Johnny Carson was number one. I think you have to make the move before the guy starts to fade.
STELTER: You're making television network executive life sound very difficult here.
CARTER: Well, it's never easy, but they're well paid.
So this is what they -- they get all the big bucks for.
STELTER: This is what they sign up for.
STELTER: And you really are -- you're the world's authority on this. You've written two books about late night. So do you think this is a good move?
CARTER: I do think it's a good move. I think Fallon is a good talent, the right talent. Jay has said the same thing. I think -- I do think he's the right guy.
STELTER: He has been very generous to Jimmy in interviews.
CARTER: But he was generous to Conan. He was -- that was -- he's not going to say something foolish. I knew at the time that Jay was uncomfortable with that. I think he's more comfortable with this because of the timing. Would he stay if he was asked? Of course he would. Jay never wants to stop working. But I do think he recognizes, OK, this makes sense; they've done it the right way. He's supportive of Fallon. And I do think Fallon has a very good chance to be the number one guy.
STELTER: That's all for "Reliable Sources."