Return to Transcripts main page


Trump on SNL: Playing to Mixed Reviews; NBC: Highest Rated SNL Since 2012; Next GOP Debate on Tuesday in Milwaukee; Ben Carson Confronts the Press; "Spotlight" Hits Theaters This Weekend; Jon Stewart Signs with HBO. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 8, 2015 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:22] BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Hey, good morning. I'm Brian Stelter and it's time for RELIABLE SOURCES -- our weekly look at the story behind the story of how news and pop culture get made.

And ahead this hour, verbal combat between reporters and Republican candidates with Ben Carson firing back as the press looks into his past.

And the new movie spotlight. It is one of the best movies ever made about journalism. But it has us wondering, are the days when a local paper could uncover a huge scandal just another Hollywood memory now?

The editor of "The Washington Post" is here. The CEO of HBO is here. We have jam-packed show for you.

But, first, the merging of politics and pop culture is complete.

There he is -- Donald Trump on the "SNL" stage.

So, did he get the last laugh? You know, this is the first time NBC has handed a candidate the keys to Studio 8H.

Trump didn't just make a cameo like so many politicians have before. He hosted the whole show. And expectations were huge.

Now, the show was just OK. It's getting panned by some critics. But, of course, Trump wasn't playing for critical acclaim.

Watch this. This was the first sketch he was in last night.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They've done so much to ridicule me over the years. This show has been a disaster for me. Look at this guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great, great, it's going to be fantastic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're doing great job. In fact, I think this show just got better by about 2 billion percent. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think you're this terrific person. You think

you're this. You think you're that, ba ba ba.

LARRY DAVID, COMEDIAN: Trump's a racist.


TRUMP: It's Larry David. What are you doing?

DAVID: I heard if I yelled that, they'd give me $5,000.


STELTER: Now as always, Trump's appearance was surrounded by controversy. That's what Larry David was references there. There were protesters outside 30 Rock led by Latino groups angered by Trump's anti-immigrant.

So, let's have some serious analysis of last night's silly show, beginning with CNNMoney media reporter Frank Pallotta who was at 30 Rock last night, and CNN contributor Bill Carter who knows "SNL" better than anyone. His most recent book about late night TV is titled "The War for Late Night".

Gentlemen, the ratings just came in.

Frank, how well did Trump do last night?

FRANK PALLOTTA, CNNMONEY MEDIA REPORTER: It was the biggest ratings since 2012 for "SNL" and it was 50 percent higher than it was on the premiere of the show this season --

STELTER: With Hillary Clinton --

PALLOTTA: With Hillary Clinton. Val the bartender.

And it really stood out last night.

STELTER: Bill, what do you make of those numbers? Trump obviously expected to get high ratings, so did NBC. Are they going to be happy with this?

BILL CARTER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think they'll be happy. I've been using huge-ish. Not huge. Big -- I think, you know, I have to see what it does after a day, because it will be replayed.

Look, it's as big as you can do. And Saturday night isn't watched on TV anyway. So, they had --

STELTER: A lot of people watch on-demand, instead of live nowadays.

CARTER: Exactly.

STELTER: They're seeing clips of the first time here on this show. But these ratings are certainly above average.

CARTER: And I'm sure their advertisers are thrilled.

STELTER: So, the reviews not as thrilled.


STELTER: We're seeing words like "weak", "timid", "soft", "gentle", "unfunny". Vox said it was worse than bad. It was boring.

So, what do you make of that, Bill.

CARTER: Well, I think it didn't hit the expectation. I mean, people wanted fireworks on the show because of all of the build up. And they steered clear of that. I mean, they used that Larry David thing I think to diffuse the whole notion that there was a Latino protest.

STELTER: Because there was this group that did call for $5,000 to anybody who actually interrupted the show.

CARTER: Exactly. And the biggest joke is that Larry David would get $5,000.

STELTER: And the group does say they're going to pay Larry David, right?

CARTER: Well, he needs the money.

STELTER: Right. So, OK, so, it was mixed. There were some unfunny moments.

But, Frank, where do you think was the best part?

PALLOTTA: The best sketch by far was the hotline bling where --

STELTER: This Drake parody.

PALLOTTA: Yes, Drake parody. Donald Trump comes out, wearing these glasses and dancing. I loved it. The only thing I didn't love about it is that it made me realize I dance exactly like Donald Trump.

STELTER: Exactly like Donald Trump?

PALLOTTA: Exactly like him.

STELTER: It was the most humanizing moment, I thought. It was the most humanizing moment on the show for Trump. And that was one of the values for him. Let's play another piece of the show.

This is the White House sketch. This is 2018, Trump as president.


TRUMP: General, how are we doing in Syria?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, ISIS is completely eliminated, sir. The country is at peace, all the refugees have returned and they have great jobs as blackjack dealers in the Trump hotel and casino in Damascus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, the president of Mexico is here to see you.

[11:05:01] TRUMP: That's great. Send him in.


TRUMP: Enrique.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I brought you the check for the wall.

TRUMP: Oh, it's so wonderful.

I'm so proud of you and changing Telemundo to all English for me, you changed that to on all English.


TRUMP: Great thing.

Jimmy, how is the economy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazing, sir. In the words of our new national anthem, it's huge. I have no idea how you did it, sir.

TRUMP: Well, you know what? I don't have to get specific. With me, it just works. You know? It's magic.


STELTER: So, I ask you, Bill, if this presidency thing doesn't work out, does Trump have a future in comedy?

CARTER: Well, you know, he's not a performer. So, you have this -- all the non-performer were on Saturday night will be grade definitely. He can pull off certain things. What struck me about that sketch was they didn't have any Latino actors. So, the Mexican president had to be played by an Anglo, and that's one of the things that people said about the show. And that's sort of brought it on full relief. They didn't have someone to put on that was really Hispanic.

STELTER: Is this a jump the shark moment for presidential politics, to have a presidential candidate not just having a cameo like everybody else has had, but actually hosting a late night show?

CARTER: I don't think so, because I don't think --

STELTER: I think some viewers at home recent this. You know, recent the idea that politics has become so soft and silly.

CARTER: Yes, except it doesn't, everybody does -- he did sketches on late -- on "The Tonight Show". And Hillary did a sketch on "The Tonight Show".

STELTER: True. CARTER: It's not really anything out of the ordinary for a presidential candidate. And I don't think it affects the race. I really don't.

PALLOTTA: And I don't think it changes anything he hasn't been this entire campaign.

STELTER: It's the same Trump we've always seen, you're saying?

PALLOTTA: It was very strangely meta. They were like deconstructing this character, or who Trump maybe that we've seen over these last couple of months on the campaign trail.

CARTER: The only shot they took on my opinion was having drunk uncle be his audience. They sort of suddenly said, are these the people who like him? That sort of was a subtle point they made, I think.

STELTER: We're going to get into that actually in a couple of minutes. Trump is tweeting during the show here. He says, "The ratings are out. They were great". And then he says, "Very few protesters." That was his comment on Twitter a couple of minutes ago.

Bill, Frank, thank you so much for being here.

PALLOTTA: Thank you.

CARTER: Great to be here.

STELTER: We're going to hear from a protesters in just a few minutes. But, first, let's go out to Jay Mohr. He's a comedian, actor and author who wrote about his own experience on "SNL" in the book "Gasping for Airtime". And his new comedy album is called "Happy. And A Lot".

Jay, thanks for being here.

JAY MOHR, FORMER SNL CAST MEMBER: Hi, Brian. Thanks for having me, man. What a pleasure. This is my treadmill show, 8:00 a.m. Sunday. This is my treadmill show.

STELTER: A treadmill show. I love that. I wanted to hear from a former "SNL" comedian this morning. We need your review of how The Donald did.

So, what did you think? Did you think he was flat?

MOHR: Yes. No, I didn't he was flat at all. I thought he was game. He played along.

But I will say this about The Donald, I got to give him credit. In one show last night, he was actually in more sketches than I was in two years.


MOHR: Kudos -- STELTER: It's funny you say that because --

MOHR: -- to Donald Trump.

STELTER: -- because according to "Variety", he only appeared for like 12 minutes. That's a lot less than a lot of the hosts oftentimes appear. There's suspicion this is due to NBC's equal time concerns, the idea that other Republican candidates for president will be allowed to have equal time because Trump was on. I haven't heard back from NBC about that this morning by equal time --


MOHR: Having been on "Saturday Night Live" --


MOHR: Having been on "Saturday Night Live", that is absurd and that is patently false. There's no way on God's green earth Lorne Michael's had a stopwatch and was timing Donald Trump's airtime. I promise you that's not true whoever said that.

As far as the protesters and Donald Trump --


MOHR: -- if Donald Trump is so against foreigners, why did he marry two of them?

STELTER: I have heard people ask that question. But I don't think he would say it against foreigners, right, Jay?


MOHR: I thought that would get a much better laugh. I thought that was my closer. I thought I was going to get a big laugh.

STELTER: Well, this isn't Sunday morning live, Jay. But I do appreciate the attempt.

MOHR: It's pretty amazing Donald Trump. You know, he was game. Really when you're a host on "Saturday Night Live", you have to surrender. You have to give in.

And he did. He was the star of the show. He made fun of himself. He didn't it too much. People make fun of his hair.

Who cares? You know what? He's been traveling the country as Don Rickles essentially just being an insult comic, and now, he gets to say -- introduce an R&B group that he has no idea who he is, like an old white guy should.

STELTER: Yes, let me ask you about what it was like for the writers and the producers last night, because you've been there at 30 Rock for this. Let me play a part of weekend update where I thought some of the comedians were getting to make the jabs they have wanted to make. But they didn't do it to his face. Here's a clip.


TRUMP: I hate to break it to you guys, but I'm not going to be in the next sketch. I'll do the next best thing. I'll live tweet it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tomorrow, it's back to Cleveland. Wah, wah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I scream, you scream. We all scream at my husband!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he ripping us apart?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, he definitely is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where? What do you think he just tweeted? Man, probably something with like Kennan and Kenyan (ph), right?

[11:10:05] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly.


STELTER: OK, that was actually the sketch involving Twitter, Jay. But it gets to your point about insults, Trump known for being insulting toward people he doesn't like. Do you think that was an effective sketch?

MOHR: No, it actually helped the sketch. In my eyes, it's a really interesting way to go about the sketch because it's a new millennium. You put everybody on social media. I checked his Twitter at that moment, even though I'm on the West Coast, like a dummy, I'm checking his Twitter to see if I can get it live. I imagine how many people went over to Twitter to see if he was live tweeting those things.


MOHR: The guy gets the millennials. He gets it.

Look, I don't know if he's going to be president. What's he going to do? You know, he's a billionaire, he's poor. He's a billionaire, he's poor. He's a billionaire, he's done that his whole life.

But when you're president, you only get four years. So, you know, let's hope it's an uptick if he does get it. Look, I thought it was pretty good.

You know, it wasn't bad. Anybody saying he bombed, he didn't bomb. Deion Sanders, Charles Barkley, they -- Joe Namath -- they bombed. You know, this guy, he played ball. He did OK.

STELTER: I'll tell you, if Trump has taught us two things about politics, it's the power of television and like you said, the power of Twitter, his audience on Twitter.

Jay, thanks so much for being here this morning. Great talking with you. MOHR: Brian, I'll watch you all the time. You're my treadmill show


STELTER: All right. Get back on that treadmill. Thank you.

MOHR: All right.

STELTER: We'll have more on Trump's "SNL" appearance right after the break. Did the show successfully diffuse those anti-Trump protests? And how will comic Trump play on the stump?

Political analysis from two experts, next.


[11:15:15] STELTER: Welcome back.

We mentioned the protest against Donald Trump in the last segment. Now, we'll hear from a protester directly, one of the leaders against the movement of Trump. As chairman and co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, Felix Sanchez was -- has been calling on NBC to never let Trump on the stage in first place. In fact, he's been protesting Trump for months. And he's live with us this morning in Mexico City.

Felix, thanks for being here.


STELTER: I know you caught some parts of the show. I want to play one sound bite. This is referring to the offer for a $5,000 reward to any person in the audience who interrupted Trump last night. Now, no audience member actually interrupted, but Larry David pretended to. Let's watch.


LARRY DAVID, COMEDIAN: You're a racist!

TRUMP: Who the hell -- oh, yes. I knew this was going to happen. Who is that?

DAVID: Trump is a racist!


TRUMP: It's Larry David. What are you doing, Larry?

DAVID: I heard if I yelled that, they would give me $5,000.

TRUMP: As a businessman, I can fully respect that.


STELTER: Felix, NBC was trying to diffuse the controversy with that joke. Did you feel it insulted your organizers who were trying to raise the alarm about Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric?

SANCHEZ: You know, the entire approach that NBC has had has been to completely dismiss the complaint. And the preemptive strike was an effort to diffuse, as you said, any attempt to disrupt the show. Now, I mean, the issue is really a very genuine and honest opinion about whether Trump should have ever hosted the show.

And the very fact they did not allow any kind of communication really speaks volumes about their desire to really connect and respect the Latino community. I mean, it's really about choosing ratings over respecting a community.

STELTER: Let me ask you about your efforts to Trump and to call attention to his rhetoric. What will you be doing to hold media outlets accountable in the future?

SANCHEZ: We're going to call for a Latino media summit and we're going to invite Lorne Michaels and Steve Burke and so many other Latino intelligentsia and people in the entertainment world to come and have an honest conversation about what's appropriate and what's not appropriate.

And we hope to have people like Nina Tassler from CBS and Isaac Lee from "Fusion" and Albert Ciurana from Univision and Cesar Conde from NBC, and so many other thought leaders like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and Guillermo del Toro, Robert Rodriguez -- I mean, all of these voices who opened and were really involved in this kind of conversation, but bringing it forward so that the mainstream media can understand what we were really opposing here.

And I don't -- I think we would love to have the party chairmen there, Reince Priebus and Debbie Wasserman, to both understand that the extent to which this kind of rhetoric is really hurting Latinos.

On the one hand --


SANCHEZ: -- we have to deal with rhetoric on the right. And on the other hand, we have to deal with the mentality on the left of being right and knowing best.

STELTER: I appreciate you being here this morning and previewing your plans when it comes to that Latino media summit. Thanks. Thanks for being here.

SANCHEZ: My pleasure.

STELTER: Let me now bring in Michael Medved, a nationally syndicated conservative radio host and long time observer of politics and pop culture. He's in Seattle this morning.

Michael, I wanted to get your take on Trump's performance as politics. What it means for his campaign. Do you believe last night on "SNL" helped or did it hurt? MICHAEL MEDVED, HOST, "THE MICHAEL MEDVED SHOW": Well, originally,

when it was announced, I thought -- oh, this is going to be a terrific thing for him, because it's going to boost ratings. And, obviously, people are going to be a lot more excited about seeing Donald Trump as co-host than they would for instance than seeing Ted Cruz as co-host of "Saturday Night Live".

But, actually, watching the entire thing, I found it almost painfully unfunny. And there was one sketch in particular, which was actually the most amusing sketch, which showed Trump as president in 2018. When you're treating the idea of Trump in the Oval Office as a joke, and they were, I don't think that helps his credibility at a time when he's trying to move into the mainstream as a serious candidate who belongs on the stage with Rubio and Cruz.

[11:20:00] STELTER: This morning, some TV critics are suggesting that maybe the writers, the liberal writers of "SNL" purposely tanked the show, wanted to make it unfunny. What do you think?

MEDVED: No, I don't think -- no one who is a professional ever tries to be unfunny. I think the difficultly was basically trying to use Trump in way that he would accept.

By the way, late in the show -- I mean, Trump has to appeal to evangelicals in order to have any hope of winning primaries, particularly in Iowa. But late in the show, there was a segment which was a dummy add for Trump, a made up ad for Trump featuring two porn star who is were sort of regulars on "SNL", and it was so over the line in terms of being "R" rated, the kind of thing that used to not be able to do on TV.


MEDVED: I think Trump's association with that is going to count against him. I don't think he did himself any favors. And it goes along with the other big mistake he's made over the weekend --

STELTER: What's that?

MEDVED: -- which is piling onto attack Dr. Carson. In other words, one thing that conservatives don't like, I think, and this speaks for myself and 99 percent of the other conservatives, is all of these nonsensical attacks on Ben Carson.

I'm not a Carson supporter. I don't think he will or should be president. However, to attack him for saying that he was offered a scholarship to West Point when no one knows whether that's true or not, whether someone mentioned that to him. The fact is everyone who goes to West Point, in effect, get a scholarship because their living expenses and tuition are paid for by the government.

And again, it's such a double standard because obviously, there is so much else from other candidates, including Democratic candidates. Bernie Sanders -- I mean, I think it's fairly well known, his only biological child is a child out of wedlock. That's received no attention in the press. None of the aspects of Bernie Sanders' or Hillary's past indiscretions and, by the way, misrepresentations of their own background.

STELTER: I would say that we know -- I would say that we know about Sanders, know about that point you made, because of the press.

But I understand what you're saying about that and actually, we're going to talk about that a little later in the show.

Michael, thank you for being here this morning. Hope to have you back again soon.

MEDVED: I appreciate it. Thanks a lot, Brian.

STELTER: Thank you.

Up next here, we've seen Trump trying to capitalize on Carson's fight with the media. Is that a preview of what we're going to see at Tuesday night's debate? Or can we expect more of candidates attacking the moderators like they did in a much maligned CNBC debate? News about that right after this.


[11:27:01] STELTER: Last week, revolt. This week, everybody's falling back in line. I'm talking about the GOP debates and the fierce fight about the debates that we covered here on last week's show. All the campaigns huddled at a hotel last Sunday night and talked about how they needed to change the future debates, maybe to avoid tough, uncomfortable questions.

They seem to cut out the Republican National Committee, and they had lawyer type up a letter to the TV networks. Some of the campaigns even wanted approval over the graphics that appeared on screen.

But then the rebellion fizzled out. Why? Because every campaign had a different agenda. It seems like we're back to where we were last week with the RNC in charge.

So, with two days until the next debate, let's bring in Sean Spicer, the party's chief strategist and communications director.

Sean, will there be anything different about the FOX Business debate on Tuesday night?

SEAN SPICER, RNC CHIEF STRATEGIST: In that, it actually will focus on business and the economy, yes. I think that when you look at the debate that FOX Business is going to put on, the host Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo, you're going to actually have a debate about the economy, about taxes, about trade, about veterans unemployment, things that the CNBC debate was supposed to be about.

But I think you're going to see a level of professionalism from FOX Business that was lacking last time.

STELTER: Let me talk about who's going to be on stage. There's no surprise which candidates are on the main stage like Trump and Carson. But it is surprising who's left out. To make the stage, candidates had to have an average of 2.5 percent in the last four national polls. So, that means that Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie are off the main debate stage, are going to be part of the earlier debate. And then, notably missing from either debate, Senator Lindsey Graham.

What do you make of this sort of winnowing of the field? Is it what's the most to be expected in November of primary season, Sean?

SPICER: Well, the standards that are set are actually still low historically. So, these individuals, Governor Christie and Governor Huckabee will be on the first debate. I think they both are doing very well in Iowa and New Hampshire respectively, and they have an opportunity to jump back onto the main stage come the next debate in December.

And that's what the process is all about -- is maintaining these folks in the process, giving them an opportunity to get their voice out, explain their solutions to the problems that America is facing. And if they meet the threshold for the next debate, they're back. And I expect that we'll continue to see a little bit of volatility in the field as we move toward both Iowa and New Hampshire in the beginning of February.

STELTER: Are you relieved we are at the point where the candidates are no longer fighting about the debates? Because there were two or three or four days where the news cycle was chewed up about these complaints, and to some people, especially some Democrats, it felt like complaining about the rules as opposed to talking about policy.

SPICER: Well, look, I mean, I feel better. This was always and should always be about the candidates in the format that best allows them to express their vision for this country. What we saw at the Democratic National Committee is that on the day of their first debate, there was literally a protest outside the DNC headquarters.

What you saw on our side was a discussion among our candidates about areas where they can agree on the format and that they wanted to have a discussion with networks. That's the way it should work.


And, so, I'm pleased with the way our side dealt with this situation. I think the way that the other side dealt with it, where they limited the number of debates, tried to stack the deck for Hillary Clinton, is exactly the wrong way to deal with it.

STELTER: And there is a plan for a conservative grassroots debate in January? Anything you can tell us about that?

SPICER: Well, I mean, we have said from the beginning, when we issued that schedule last January, that we put a placeholder for a grassroots debate.

It will be an opportunity for us to solely have conservative media be -- allow them to question our candidates to express the concerns and interests of our grassroot voters and activists. We have -- as has been sort of leaked out, Liberty University in

Lynchburg, Virginia, is the front-runner to host that debate in the beginning of January.

And we hope to have additional announcements in the next few weeks.

STELTER: Sean, thanks for being here. See you in Milwaukee on Tuesday.

SPICER: You bet. It's going to be a great debate.

STELTER: By the way, Republicans are not the only ones who think they can do a better job producing cable news.

Here is what Bernie Sanders said about his dream job to Rachel Maddow at Friday night's Democratic forum.


RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Dream job that you would like to have right now if you could not be a politician?




SANDERS: And, if I was president of CNN, trust me, the way media deals with politics would radically change.


STELTER: So, CNN president Jeff Zucker actually had a response for Sanders. Here it is. "Can he start Monday?"

I have a feeling Mr. Sanders is busy on Monday.

Now, coming up next, Ben Carson confronting the press, as the GOP front-runner rising in the polls right next to Trump and also facing additional media scrutiny. The question for us, is Ben Carson having a Brian Williams moment?



STELTER: Ben Carson has been telling his life story for years, in books, speeches, interviews, even in a made-for-TV film.

But now that he's running for president, his life story is drawing closer scrutiny. One example? These claims about his violent temper.


BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would go after people with rocks and bricks and baseball bats and hammers. And, of course, many people know the story when I was 14 and I tried to stab someone.


STELTER: Two CNN reporters, Scott Glover and Maeve Reston, examined that specific part of Carson's backstory in an investigation called "A Tale of Two Carsons." And they couldn't corroborate or confirm any of the violent outbursts that Carson has described ever happened.

Now Carson is pushing back against the media. Watch this.


CARSON: I would say to the people of America, do you think I'm a pathological liar, like CNN does, or do you think I'm an honest person?

This is a bunch of lies. That's just what it is. It is a bunch of lies. Attempting, you know, to say that I'm lying about my history, I think it's pathetic.

And let me just say one other thing. I do not remember this level of scrutiny for one President Barack Obama when he was running. My job is to call you out when you're unfair. And I'm going to -- and I'm going to continue to do that.


STELTER: Joining me now is Maeve Reston, CNN national political reporter.

And, Maeve, I want to ask you just the most basic of questions, because I think this question gets lost in all of the controversy. What is the point for a journalist like yourself to go and retrace Carson's steps and try to vet his story?

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I just want to take a step back and explain how we, Scott Glover and I, approached this story from the beginning.

Dr. Carson had been out on the trail telling these stories, as you mentioned, over and over again about his violent temper in the past, talking about trying to hit his -- attempting to hit his mother over the head with a hammer, hitting people with bricks and bats, some very serious attempt -- and attempting to hit a classmate with a lock.

And so these are parts of a candidate's background that we thought were -- deserved further scrutiny. So, being very transparent with the campaign, we set out to find people who knew him during this pivotal period of his life.

This is a big part of his story of spiritual redemption, that God intervened and helped him to never have a violent episode again. So, Scott went to Detroit and talked to neighbors and friends of Carson. We also went all through the yearbook, finding as many classmates who went to school with Carson to talk to them. And none of them could recall this violent side that he has described. We also had asked... STELTER: But supporters of Carson -- supporters of Carson would say, why are you even bothering? That's what I'm trying to get at. Why even bother doing it?

RESTON: Because any -- any presidential candidate that describes episodes like this in their past is going to have to expect an amount -- a certain amount of scrutiny on those incidents.

When you're talking about someone who is going to be president of the United States, you want to know as much as possible about their temperament, how they dealt with earlier incidents of their temperament.

I mean, this is my fourth presidential campaign. We constantly look into these issues for all of the candidates who are running for president. And I think it's absurd that Dr. Carson doesn't expect that reporters would look into this aspect of his past.

We are still waiting for the Carson campaign to connect us with people who can tell us more about these incidents. So...

STELTER: Yes. And I think you made an important point there, that you all were trying to get the campaign to help you find those people, and they didn't.

So, when he calls this an attack, you say it's just journalism.

RESTON: It's just journalism.

And I understand that Dr. Carson is not a politician. He's not run for office before. That's obviously a huge part of his appeal. But there are going to be many questions for all of these candidates to answer. And the burden of proof is on them to show us that these incidents happened.


And, at various points, the other thing that was troubling to us was that his version of events has changed. So, we're trying to get more clarification from the campaign on what the timeline of these incidents was and learn more about this part of his life.

STELTER: I'm so glad you were here this morning, Maeve, because I do think that there's a misunderstanding sometimes among viewers and readers about why we do what we do. I want every single candidate, Democrat and Republican, vetted, vetted, vetted, even though it's uncomfortable sometimes.

So, I appreciate you being here, sharing that side of the story.

RESTON: Right.

And I just would make it clear that everyone should read our story at to understand what we're saying here.

STELTER: There's going to be much more of this for all the candidates for the next 12 months.

Maeve, thanks for being here. Great to see you.

RESTON: Thanks.

STELTER: Up next here, talking about an investigative reporting, could a movie inspire kids to want to become journalists? We will put the spotlight on the new movie "Spotlight" with two of the real-life players next.



STELTER: In the 1970s, millions were inspired by the movie "All the President's Men." Some young people even went to journalism school because of it.

I think the same thing is about to happen thanks to this new movie "Spotlight." "Spotlight" focuses on "The Boston Globe" investigative team that exposed a decades-long abuse sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church and the people who helped cover it up.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We need to focus on the institution, not the individual priests. Practice and policy. Show me the church manipulated the system, so that these guys wouldn't have to face charges. Show me they put those same priests back into parishes time and time again. Show me this was systemic, that it came from the top down.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Sounds like we're going after Law.


STELTER: So, "Spotlight" is in select theaters this weekend. It's going to be nationwide in the next few weeks.

And at its core, it highlights the very best that journalism can offer, what it can do to protect the public interest.

But it also begs the question, is that kind of investigative journalism still possible today?

Let's ask two of the journalists that are depicted in the film, first, in Washington, Marty Baron, the current executive editor of "The Washington Post." He was the new editor of "The Boston Globe" at the time of this investigation. He's played by Liev Schreiber. And here in studio with me in New York, Sacha Pfeiffer, a columnist and reporter at "The Boston Globe" who was part of the "Spotlight" investigative team that won the Pulitzer Prize for this project.

Now, you're played in the movie by Rachel McAdams. I'm curious, 15 years later, do you feel that the journalism industry of today can still afford, can still sustain the kind of investigative work that you and your colleagues did that's depicted in the movie?

SACHA PFEIFFER, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": I think that's the key question. Anybody who follows this industry knows that the newspaper business is in pretty tough shape.

"The Globe" "Spotlight" team still exists. It's six people, instead of four when I was on it. So, it's bigger and better than ever. But that's not always the case at all newspapers.

And you mentioned -- you sort of anticipate young people going into reporting. I think that probably will happen. My sort of explicit sales pitch is I hope that this movie makes people buy newspapers, subscribe to, support your local newspaper, because that's how we get the revenue to do what we do.

STELTER: Either in print or online, you can subscribe to the paper.

PFEIFFER: You can get it your doorstep. You can get it on the computer. But that's the revenue for us to do this kind of investigative work.

STELTER: Marty, what does it mean to have this part of your career depicted on film? You were a brand-new editor of "The Boston Globe." You were an outsider. The church made you very much feel like an outsider when you began this investigation.

MARTY BARON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, that's true. I was entirely new to Boston. I didn't know anybody in Boston and didn't know anybody at "The Boston Globe."

But this was a story that confronted us, really. I had read a column by Eileen McNamara, a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist at "The Globe," saying that the truth of this case may never be known.

And when you say the truth may never be known, that should be a red flag to journalists to go after something and really find out what the truth is. So, I'm very proud of this -- of the work that we did and I'm very proud of this movie as well.

STELTER: Sacha, one of the points that's made in the film is that "The Boston Globe" could have looked into this scandal years earlier and maybe did not do enough. What are your reflections on that? Because you were there for many years before this 2000-2001 investigation.


I think Marty coming to "The Globe" was a great example of what a pair of fresh eyes can do. There had been court files against priests sealed for years. And no one at "The Globe" had really questioned them or thought to unseal them. Marty showed up new to town and he asked, why haven't we tried to seal them?

And he sent "The Globe" lawyers to court to do that? And he put the investigative team on the project. And we did it. STELTER: I guess one of the points is, to go looking for what's not

being covered, to go find what's in the darkness, that so many reporters that all focus on the same stuff, like Donald Trump today, but go find what is in the darkness instead.

PFEIFFER: Exactly.

STELTER: Now, Marty, in the moments I have left, I do need to ask you about Jason Rezaian, your "Washington Post" reporter who remains held in Iran.

We have had you on the program here before talking about Jason. Is there any news, any status about how he's doing?

BARON: Sadly, there's no news on what is happening with him.

He's been in prison in Iran now for about 16 months, well longer than the American hostages were held in Iran starting in 1979. And we're not hearing anything. He appears to be a pawn in factional fighting in Iran. And it's a huge tragedy that persists.

STELTER: Even at the New York premiere of "Spotlight" -- I saw you there a few weeks ago -- people were asking you about Jason.

Even at this moment where we're celebrating great investigative journalism, there's this very sad news, very tragic news in Iran.

Marty, Sacha, thank you both for being here. Great talking with you.

PFEIFFER: Thanks, Brian.

BARON: Thank you.

STELTER: Up next here, while you won't see Jon Stewart on TV in a few months, but you will see him online.

Will digital be the next, greatest thing to happen to TV since cable? The CEO of HBO talks about his plans to stream into the future in just a moment.



STELTER: Remember when Jon Stewart signed off "The Daily Show" three months ago? He said it wasn't goodbye; it was just a pause in the conversation.

Well, that pause is coming to an end. Stewart is following his "Daily Show" colleague John Oliver over to HBO. The network just struck a four-year deal with Stewart. He might produce TV shows and movies for HBO in the future, but he's going to start by making Web videos about current events.

So if you're an HBO subscriber, you will be able to watch them online. It is definitely a sign of the times, Stewart taking his act to the Web.

Streaming services like HBO and Netflix and Hulu are changing the way we watch TV.

And that's why we're exploring in a new series called "NewTube: How Digital Is Transforming TV."


Our first episode is actually all about Stewart's new home. I spent some time with one of the most important men in all of media, HBO CEO Richard Plepler.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Streaming video is going to be, I think, the forefront for a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether it's coming through your television, whether it's coming through your laptop, whether it's ultimately coming through your phone, all video is ultimately going to be streamed over I.P.

JENNI KONNER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "GIRLS": I just want everything to be available to me immediately the second I want to see it.

STELTER (voice-over): There's a big threat to the cable TV bundle, streaming.

Companies like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are changing the way we watch TV, giving us more options than ever.

While cable is taking a hit for the first time ever, altogether losing half-a-million customers this spring. Everything must be just a click away, so the giants of old media have to adapt.

The question is exactly how they should keep up with this rapidly expanding and hugely popular shift in media. Take HBO. It's been on cable boxes for over 40 years. But instead of holding on to its old model, it's shaking things up, becoming the first staple of cable to offer all its programming with an online subscription, no cable box needed.

RICHARD PLEPLER, CEO, HBO: I think is the most exciting inflection point in the modern history of HBO.

STELTER: And this is history in the making. We're on the set of HBO's new show "Vinyl." It's a drama about the music business in the 1970s. It's the kind of program that HBO CEO Richard Plepler needs to be a success both online and on cable.

But he says the two businesses do not have to be mutually exclusive.

PLEPLER: There was an implicit criticism that we were going to cannibalize our core business.

Less than 1 percent of our core businesses left to get HBO as a stand- alone streaming service.

STELTER: HBO and CNN are both owned by the same company, Time Warner.

The company doesn't release the number of subscribers HBO has in the U.S., but analysts estimate around 30 million subscribe via cable and now close to one million subscribe online.

Combined, that's still a smaller number than Netflix's 40-plus million in the U.S. And making the competition even stiffer, HBO now costs twice as much.

(on camera): How do you justify that more expensive cost?

PLEPLER: Listen, we think it's a premium product. We have four Hollywood movie studios. We have, you know, 3,000 hours of library programming. We think that's more than a fair price. It's a movie ticket and a bucket of popcorn.

STELTER: Are we at the point where HBO is a streaming service, an on- demand service that happens to have a linear television network?

PLEPLER: No. No. No.

It's -- as we say, it's multilateral. People are enjoying the network in myriad different ways. We just want to give them the flexibility to do so however they want, whenever they want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go. Ready. And action.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I think you're overreacting.


KONNER: It's so fun to write. Our actors are so good. It's like heaven to write something for Lena and have Lena say those words.


STELTER (voice-over): Jenni Konner is an executive producer of "Girls." She's just a few months away from releasing the show's fifth season in an ever more crowded space.

(on camera): Do you look at Amazon and Hulu and all these companies that are trying to get into TV and say that's a good thing for the industry? Or is it maybe too much of a good thing?

KONNER: I don't know. I can see all sides of it.

I think there's more good television than there's ever been, so there's got to be something working about it. But sometimes I will see -- I hear about a show and I'm like, what was that? I had never even heard of that. I had barely heard of that network it was. There's so much that it can be overwhelming.

STELTER: What's been the biggest change, you think, for the industry in the time that you have been working in the industry technologically?

Is it the creation of those iPads and other screens to watch?

KONNER: Yes. It's streaming. It's streaming. It's on demand. It's a fantasy.

STELTER (voice-over): A fantasy that cries out for something very old-fashioned, curation. HBO's high-quality brand is supposed to be a signal to subscribers in 2015, just as it was in 1995, that you're going to enjoy this hour of TV, whether you're streaming it or watching it through your cable box.

KONNER: Good performances and good storytelling is still dominant.

PLEPLER: It's a very exciting time for people who make and own great content. We have more people lined up at our door, more talent lined up at our door who want to work with us than ever before. And the net result of that, I think, is great, great content.


STELTER: Now, in the coming weeks, we will take you to the headquarters of YouTube, BuzzFeed, and the virtual reality company Oculus.

Now, for a closer look at who digital video is changing what we watch, or you can actually stream those stories right now at

That's all for this televised edition of RELIABLE SOURCES.

But do sign up for our daily newsletter. It has all the biggest media news delivered to your inbox every afternoon. And it's that URL I just mentioned,

Let me know what you thought of today's show, what you liked, what you disliked. Tweet me. My handle is @BrianStelter on Twitter. You can also look me up on Facebook.