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Trump Secretly Loves the Media; Trump Attacks the Press, Again; Can Clinton Stop Trump's Media Domination?; White House and Fox News; Remebering Muhammad Ali. Aired 11a-Noon ET

Aired June 5, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:07] 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.

This hour, Bernie Sanders warning the media, do not declare Hillary Clinton the nominee until the convention in July. Does he have a point, or is he ignoring the facts?

I'll take you behind the scenes of the network decision-making and talk with Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks, the pro-Bernie Young Turks. He says I'm part of the problem, part of anti-Bernie bias.

Plus, with Hillary Clinton calling Donald Trump every name in the book this week, even dangerously incoherent, I'll ask her press secretary about the Trump strategy and why she hasn't shown up for a press conference in months.

And later, remembering Muhammad Ali and his savvy use of the media, intimidating opponents and leaving a lasting legacy.

But, first, some straight talk about Trump. He says you can't trust us. He attacks the media constantly. He says he wants to even loosen up libel laws so it's easier to sue news organizations.

Meanwhile, his campaign blocks news outlets from even receiving press credentials. "Politico", for example, said it was denied access. And as you know, at almost every rally, every event, he attacks reporters.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's a sleaze in my book. You're a sleaze.

Sit down. Sit down. Sit down.

Are you ready? Do you have your pad?

They do whatever they can to make you look bad.

They're disgusting.


Totally dishonest. Dishonest.

The most dishonest people.

Scum, scum.

They're worse than lying Ted Cruz.

Horrible press.

Horrible people. Some are nice.


STELTER: It's almost -- it's hard for me not to laugh because, welt, truth is he loves the media. Yes, I said loves.

Trump craves media attention. He courts it doggedly. He consumes coverage of himself voraciously. He pays super close attention to ratings.

If I had to sum it up in one line, I'd say the media is his lifeline. Trump acts like his own publicist and behaves like a TV producer, producer of "The Trump Show".

It was on full display this week when Trump made time for "The Hollywood Reporter", that's the entertainment trade magazine, a must- read in Hollywood. Interviewer Michael Wolff came away saying that Trump is "vague on all subjects outside himself, his campaign, and the media. Everything else is mere distraction."

And Michael is a columnist with "The Hollywood Reporter." He joins me now back in New York.

Great to see you.


STELTER: Is Trump -- is he acting? Is it how we sort of view his media critiques when he gets up at a press conference and calls a reporter sleazy?

WOLFF: Yes. Does he really think the reporter is sleazy? Does he really care that the reporter is sleazy? No.

What he does is understand that the moment of attention has arrived. His goal is to use the media to focus that attention on himself. So -- and this is not a small thing here. This is -- I mean, I think -- and it is not that the media is so much his life. Think of it as the media is as his party.

STELTER: His party.

WOLFF: So, this is -- he's not really a Republican. He's certainly not a Democrat. He's not of Washington. He's not of Congress. What he is, is a person of the media. He's grown up in it. He knows

everybody. Everybody who's important in the media, he has an intimate relationship with.

STELTER: I was just pulling up your line about that from the magazine article. Let me put it up.

You say, Trump "has a long, intimate relationship with nearly every significant player in the media and, indeed, lavishes copious praise on almost all of them. He may know few people in Washington, and care about them less, but he knows his moguls and where they rank on the modern suck-up-to list."

You say he calls Rupert Murdoch a tremendous guy. CBS CEO Les Moonves the greatest. He says he knows Roger Ailes, the head of FOX, and Jeff Zucker, the head of CNN, very well. Even said Andy Lack, the head of NBC News, is doing a very good job, even though he doesn't know him as well.

WOLFF: And --

STELTER: Are there any moguls or any executives he doesn't like?

WOLFF: I don't think so, no. Why would he not like them? They have the power that he needs and the power that he admires. This is --

STELTER: The megaphone, you mean.

WOLFF: The megaphone, the literal mechanism to tell his story.

STELTER: But even though so much of the coverage is negative. We just saw Jake Tapper's interview with Trump. Trump also with John Dickerson this morning. Very tough questions.

WOLFF: But this negative for him converts to positive. You think and the people he's calling sleazy --


WOLFF: -- think it's negative. But it's not negative.

STELTER: Because we're talking about him?

WOLFF: Well, because you let him talk. So, he's talked. So, he is able to use the media in such a way to speak to people who are not interested in politics.

[11:05:08] STELTER: Yes, you came away thinking he's not that interested in politics either.

WOLFF: I don't think he's interested in politics at all.

STELTER: Maybe that's a very wise position --

WOLFF: Obviously.

STELTER: -- given that most people don't care as much by the election as I do.

WOLFF: Certainly most people -- I think most people -- not most people, a -- we understand that there is a portion of the electorate which has heard about policies, policies, policies and no longer believes in that. No longer believes those policies are getting them what they want.

Therefore, they now have the opportunity -- I mean, we've heard about this. People inside the beltway, people are sick and tired of politicians. And so -- and we've had other politicians who have said, I'm an outsider politician.

But now we have Donald Trump, who really isn't a politician at all. He is something that we have never seen before. As a matter of fact, if he is elected -- I mean, I think that he will continue to rule by media.

And in a broader sense, we might be able to think about that. You know, there have been leaders, you know, historically -- think of them. Napoleon ruled with an army. Donald Trump will rule with the media, with knowing how to use the media exactly as Napoleon knew how to use the military.

STELTER: You say if he wins. If he loses in November, let's go the day after the election. Do you think he'll use the media then as well as a weapon? Will he delegitimize the results? Did you come away from your interview worried about what would happen the day after the election if he loses?

WOLFF: Well, I -- firstly, it depends how big the loss is.

STELTER: That's what John Podesta said this week when I asked him the same question. Yes.

WOLFF: But I think that he will -- is it possible he goes on from this election, which I actually continue to think he will lose, though I've been wrong about this entire year.


WOLFF: I think he will try to -- he will take this and constitute this new sort of political movement, political party.

STELTER: Media party.

WOLFF: As I say, I think it's the media party.

STELTER: Do you think he would end up on fox or CNN or having a reality show again?

WOLFF: Quite possibly.

STELTER: It would be the logical move, I suppose.

WOLFF: Yes, yes. STELTER: And one more thing before you go. The relationship with Ari

Emanuel also came up in your article. For viewers who don't know, he's one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, powerful talent agent. What stood out to you about that fact? He did say Ari would program his convention for him, right?

WOLFF: Yes. Also, as importantly, Ari Emanuel is from one of the great Democratic families in the country. His brother Rahm, who's the mayor of Chicago, was Obama's chief of staff.

But I think you look at this in as -- don't look at it in a political circumstance. Ari Emanuel runs the biggest talent agency in the world. He makes money off of famous people. Donald Trump, as he told me, is the most famous man in the world. So, obviously, Ari Emanuel would have a relationship with the most famous man in the world.

STELTER: I thought that was revealing, though, the idea that maybe he'd program the convention for him. I think he then came out -- Emanuel came out and said, no, we will not be doing that.

WOLFF: Well, he said actually, we have no plans to do that now.

STELTER: OK. Good to keep that in mind. The convention is good in six weeks away, isn't it? We'll see --

WOLFF: And it will be, if he does it, it will be about creating fame rather than creating -- rather than showing off policies.

STELTER: Right. Michael, great to see you. Thank you for being here.

You can read the full interview on

And coming up next here on RELIABLE SOURCES, has the press reached a turning point in the coverage of Trump, or is that just wishful thinking on the part of some columnists?

And later, Bernie Sanders saying the media will be wrong on Tuesday if it calls the nomination for Hillary Clinton. What is the truth behind that? I'll share my reporting with you right after the break.


[11:12:38] STELTER: Welcome back.

What is it exactly that prompts Trump's attacks against the media? I feel like we pay close attention to his insults, his critiques, his tweets. But what actually triggers his vitriol?

Let's take a look now not just at his answers, but to the questions reporters asked at that press conference on Tuesday about his donations to veterans groups. Here's how he interrupted and then seemed to insult CNN's Jim Acosta after Acosta tried asking a question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: To follow up on that, you keep calling us the dishonest press, the disgusting press --

TRUMP: Well, generally speaking, that's 100 percent true. Go ahead.

ACOSTA: I disagree with that, sir. It seems as though you're resistant to scrutiny, the kind of scrutiny that comes with running for the president of the United States.

TRUMP: I like scrutiny, but you know what --


ACOSTA: You raised money for veterans --

TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me. I've watched you on television. You're a real beauty.


STELTER: I don't think he meant that about being a real beauty.

Let's take a look at another clip. First, everything seemed OK for ABC's Tom Llamas when asked Trump this question.


TRUM: Yes?

TOM LLAMAS, ABC NEWS: Mr. Trump, writing a million dollar check is incredibly generous, but the night of that Iowa fundraiser, you said you had raised $6 million. Clearly you had not. Your critics say you tend to exaggerate, you have problem with the truth. Is this a prime example?

TRUMP: No, I raised almost $6 million. Some of it didn't come through, but more money is coming through than didn't come through. The number probably is going to be, when we finish, probably going over the $6 million.

LLAMAS: But why exaggerate?

TRUMP: Yes, go ahead.


STELTER: So Trump answered, ignored the follow-up, and moved on to the next reporter. It was clearly bothering him. About three minutes later, he said this about Tom Llamas.


TRUMP: I'm not looking for credit. But what I don't want is when I raise millions of dollars, have people say, like this sleazy guy right over here from ABC. He's a sleaze in my book.

LLAMAS: Why am I a sleaze?

TRUMP: You're a sleaze because you know the facts and you know the facts well.


STELTER: The insults are what got afterwards. But we should pay attention to the questions as well, because the journalists here are trying to hold Trump accountable. Let's talk about what it is that provokes him, what causes him to criticize the media, and whether any of it is legitimate or not.

Let me bring in a super panel to talk about this, beginning with Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the editor and publisher of "The Nation" magazine, David Zurawik, media critic for "The Baltimore Sun", and Elizabeth Harrington, a staff writer at "The Washington Free Beacon."

Katrina, I was talking in the last block about Donald Trump's love for the media, how he knows all the moguls, knows all the bosses, and takes advantage of the press.

[11:15:00] And yet at the same time, he bullies and attacks journalists and sometimes blocks them from attending his events.

Do you think that, in this case, Trump is showing how he would act if he does become president next year?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION MAGAZINE: Absolutely. Donald Trump wants to delegitimize the media that isn't giving him a wet kiss. He doesn't understand the fundamental role of free media in a democracy. It's about asking tough, probing questions. He was angry about being held accountable.

Holding people accountable, exposing abuses, holding the powerful accountable, Donald Trump doesn't believe in a media like that. He -- we saw this past week, Brian, his assault on free press, rule of law, First Amendment. This is the first step on the road to an American authoritarianism.

Donald Trump wasn't created by the media. We've tussled about that. But he was certainly enabled by a media which until recently hasn't given enough scrutiny.

Now that he's getting it because he's the presumptive nominee, look how he treats it. That's a measure of the danger we confront in Donald Trump.

STELTER: Let me flip it around, though, and go to Elizabeth Harrington on this from "The Washington Free Beacon", a more conservative site.

Elizabeth, when I hear Donald Trump attacking the press on one level, I think to myself a lot of viewers out there probably agree with him, probably take his side and not the media's side. Do you think that is why he says this again and again and again against the media? ELIZABETH HARRINGTON, THE WASHINGTON FREE BEACON: Yes, I think he

does it because it's a winning strategy. Look, the confidence in the mainstream media, trust in the media is at all-time lows. I think he sees that as an opportunity for a win for him. Just the way he treats his opponent -- the way he treated his opponents in the primary, he takes on the media in that same way.

I think it's important to keep in mind, look, I think Hillary and Donald Trump both have equal disdain for the media. They just go about it in different ways. Whereas, Hillary, behind closed doors, her aides will say she hates the press, period, and she'll literally, her campaign will keep the media behind a rope line. Trump will just go out and say it to their face.

I think a lot of journalists don't like that, but you have to give him credit in a sense because he's out there for 45 minutes taking questions from reporters. They don't like the answers. They don't like him calling them losers.

But Hillary, we haven't seen her out on the campaign trail doing a 45- minute press conference. I think he uses it to his advantage --

STELTER: That's true.

HARRINGTON: -- because he gets all this attention and we keep talking about it.

STELTER: I'm going to ask Clinton's press secretary about that in just a few minutes.

David Zurawik, let's take this premise that conservatives in particular like hearing Trump bash the press because they don't trust the press. What do we in the media do to win people back, to convince them we are trustworthy and we're not sleazy, as Donald Trump said about one reporter?

DAVID ZURAWIK, MEDIA CRITIC, THE BALTIMORE SUN: Brian, we could do good journalism. That would be the best thing we could do. I think that goes back to your first question when you said what was he reacting to?

You know, at least twice on this show, Carl Bernstein has called for the press -- essentially, don't try to compete with them in interviews. You're not going to beat them.

Just do dogged journalism. Do investigative journalism. Do biographical journalism. The kind of journalism Bernstein did, of course. But that's what he's been saying.

I think one of the reasons he went off at this press conference was because of the journalism that was done about his money for veterans. "The Washington Post" really, really pushed him on it and did old- fashioned, real journalism.

Drew Griffin, I think, is breathing down his neck. If you saw what he did on the V.A., you know how much that's got to worry somebody. And I think that was exactly the question from ABC, sounded very precise, the first one you played about how much money. You said this, but this is what we have.

That's what gets under his skin. He can run circles around any interviewer in the business, although Jake Tapper gave him a real run for it on Friday, and I was really happy to see that. But this is what will get him, if we continue to do it.

The question is, do we have the will to do it? We have the resources, but are the owners going to spend the money to put people on him full time to bring down those kinds of issues. You said you were going to give the vets this money, and you didn't.

STELTER: Elizabeth, do you agree that strong journalism, assertive journalism about Trump and about Clinton would convert some conservative skeptics of the media?

HARRINGTON: Well, yes, absolutely. I mean, conservatives give mainstream outlets credit all the time for good reporting. I mean, "The New York Times" story about the Clinton Foundation and the uranium deal with Russia, that was something that conservatives really pointed to.

But at the same time, Trump really gets away with attacking the media when "The New York Times" at the same time goes after him with his treatment of women and the main source in the story comes out the next day and says that's not what I said.

So, there's problems with both sides of it.

[11:20:04] VANDEN HEUVEL: I don't think it's liberal or conservative in terms of good journalism, Brian. I think we're looking -- in this election, we've seen a corporate media that is rigged against the public interest in certain case.

STELTER: And that's what Bernie Sanders has been saying all along.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But there are stories of executives, media executives calling cable hosts and saying, run that Trump rally unfiltered. Why? Because media is making a lot of money on this election, on Trump in particular.

STELTER: But also because Trump makes news at rallies.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Well, what news? He's standing -- there was a 12- minute segment in one of the primaries, where there's an empty podium waiting for Trump to come out and hawk his steak and liquor.

Why does the media cover every Trump Donald Twitter? Is that public interest? What is the public interest? It's not left or right.


STELTER: David, jump in here, too.

ZURAWIK: Yes, let me jump in about something that I think would go a long way with helping conservatives feel about this.

If, when we say what a threat Trump is to the press, and he is, all the things you listed I agree. But so far, nothing rivals what President Obama did to James Risen, did to James Rosen, and did to the "A.P.", trying to criminalize reporting. They called Rosen a criminal co-conspirator. Eric Holder wrote that to get the subpoena. They subpoenaed Risen. Ask Risen what he called him. He said he's the biggest threat -- the Obama administration was the biggest threat to the press in a generation.

Admit that, as we denounce Trump, and conservatives will feel better about this. We can't let him have a -- you know, now, President Obama's very nice to the press because he's thinking about legacy, and it's donned on him we're going to be writing that legacy, at least in the first or second draft.

But I'm serious. What happened to the press under Obama was really deadly. And when you talk about delegitimizing -- and I agree with Katrina. She's absolutely right.

But think back to 2010 what he tried to do to FOX when he didn't let them into some briefings and when he launched a campaign on RELIABLE SOURCES before your time, against FOX, trying to cut it from the herd, delegitimize it.

A lot of people might feel it should be. That's not the argument. The executive does not say what a legitimate member of the press is, and he tried to do that. That's much more dangerous.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I couldn't agree more with David. "The Nation" has been at the fore front of, one, calling for ending this odious campaign against whistle blowers and leakers. It is a threat to our democracy.

On the other hand, I think you have in President Obama, someone who understands the limits of the executive and understands the role of the judiciary. But there's no question that this administration has posed a great threat to freedom of press. You've got to call it like it is. Agree with David.

But at the same time, I think Trump doesn't understand the role of a press in a democracy.

STELTER: Doesn't understand or maybe just doesn't care. I wonder if it's not caring.

ZURAWIK: I agree.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Oh, I think he cares deeply about the media when it gives him a wet kiss. He's a great media manipulator. I mean, we're talking about --

STELTER: And that's this love/hate thing. That's the bottom line. They've got to see it as both love and hate.

Katrina, thank you for being here. Good to see you. VANDEN HEUVEL: Thank you. Thank you.

STELTER: David, Elizabeth, please stick around if you can. I want to come back to you later in the hour.

We mentioned these interviews Jake Tapper had with Donald Trump, also with Hillary Clinton. They're coming up in the next hour. Trump, Clinton, and Bernie Sanders all at the top of the hour.

We'll be back here in a moment with more RELIABLE SOURCES. Stick with us.


[11:27:30] STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.

The Hillary Clinton campaign strategies are changing, and you can see it every day here on cable news. She's attacking Donald Trump in new ways, and she's even calling in to CNN newscasts, the same way he does.

So, will she start granting Trump-style press conferences next?

Earlier, I asked Hillary for America press secretary, Brian Fallon.


STELTER: There's been this perception for weeks, really months, that Donald Trump is dominating every single news cycle. You've been saying that's okay. You don't mind him dominating the news cycle because you don't think that's the same as winning.

What's your argument here?

BRIAN FALLON, PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY FOR AMERICA: Well, let me just say firstly that I would prefer if, say, cable networks didn't show Donald Trump's empty podium instead of taking Hillary Clinton's remarks live. So, I'm not suggesting that we wouldn't prefer to see more equal.

But in terms of the reality that Donald Trump is always going to be willing to say the more provocative thing, the oftentimes trafficking and bigotry and misogyny and openly embracing offensive comments, it's going to command news attention because of the fact that it's just simply unfathomable that in 2016, a major party candidate would be willing to say these things and then when he's called out on them still defend them as opposed to retreat from them.

STELTER: I was at this fancy conference this week. All these rich people, some Democratic bundlers, some Clinton finance committee people. What they say privately is that they're worried that the Clinton campaign doesn't understand what they're up against, doesn't understand Trump's manipulation of the media. And these are Democrats who believe this.

So, what do you say to them?

FALLON: So, I would say this. Number one is, we are in the going to let any of these offensive statements go without notice. We're going to call him out in real time. Hillary Clinton has been doing that. On any given day when you see Donald Trump make waves for some provocative, offensive statement, Hillary Clinton will frequently call him out in real time, oftentimes phoning in herself to shows like Wolf Blitzer on CNN to make the point.

STELTER: Let me ask you about that. We have been seeing her call in to cable news shows, just like Donald Trump. Is that going to continue for the next four to five months?

FALLON: Well, I think that in real -- we have a variety of different methods and vehicles for communicating our pushback on this, but I think that the bottom line is that she's not going to let any of these comments go unchallenged. She is going to, in ways that the Republican Party foes in the primary that were vanquished by Trump were never able to do, she's going to take the fight to him.

But I also think it's important to also create a positive narrative about her own candidacy. She has to also simultaneously communicate to the voters why they should want to vote for her and not just reject Donald Trump.


However, importantly, part of our strategy is to continue to communicate directly to voters in these battleground states, to continue to do earned media opportunities with local television affiliates, local radio outlets.

STELTER: So, local, as opposed to national cable. That's interesting.

FALLON: Well, I think that what you have seen has worked during the primary is, Hillary Clinton has run a campaign that's been very attentive to local issues in these primary states.

And now we will obviously, in a general election, shift to some of these battleground states. Our campaign has been very attentive to those issues, weighing in on local issues that are putting her on the side of working-class families and working with the local media to bring attention to those issues and her positions on those issues.

So, I think we can communicate at multiple levels. We can tell that story about what a Hillary Clinton presidency would mean, how she would go about trying to make a difference for people in their everyday lives, and then also, in the national cable environment, communicate why we think Donald Trump is so unacceptable and call him out and challenge him on a day-to-day basis.

STELTER: Now, many reporters on a national level would say the Clinton campaign is not accessible enough, that Clinton herself is not accessible enough. And they point to her lack of press conferences as an example. Donald

Trump, of course, had that very intense press conference earlier this week.

Will we see your candidate start to meet the press in press conference formats?

FALLON: Well, I think, again, we realize the need to be accessible and responsive to questions.

We're going to continue to do that in a variety of formats. So, sometimes, that will mean an emphasis on local radio or local television and print interviews. And just the other day, when she was in California, I think she did five or six different radio interviews across California.

Other days, it will mean doing an availability with our traveling press corps at the back of the plane or after...

STELTER: But the questions she's going to get from local media are different from the questions she's going to get from CNN or "The New York Times."

FALLON: Right. I think it needs to be a mix. It needs to be a mix.

We understand that. We're going to continue to do national press availabilities with our traveling press corps, press conferences sometimes as well.

STELTER: But you're getting hammered for this lack of press conferences. What's the reason why she is reluctant to give press conferences?

FALLON: There's no reluctance. I think that, oftentimes, we will do an event at the end of a -- at the end of the day, we will do an avail, what would be known as an avail to the people in your business, where she informally comes out after an event has concluded, after she's taken some photos and some selfies, and she will literally stand there for 15, 20 minutes and answer questions from her traveling press corps, including the embeds from the various networks.

And in terms of a definition of calling something an availability vs. a press conference oftentimes is just defined by whether you have a banner behind you or a podium in front of you.

But the reality bottom line is that she's answering questions from the reporters that are covering her day to day.

STELTER: You have so many staffers on the press team. Does it blow you away that Donald Trump basically just has himself and one press secretary?

FALLON: Well, Donald Trump, I think, likes to talk to the reporters himself. He's his own flack.

And I don't know that that's the most -- best way to deal with it, but it's certainly what he's decided works for him. I have a lot of admiration and respect for Hope Hicks just for the amount of incoming that she must have to deal with on a day-to-day...

STELTER: She's the press secretary. Yes.


I have a lot of admiration for her, just from the standpoint of the volume she probably has to handle personally.


STELTER: Have you ever talked to her, ever shared advice or tips?

FALLON: No, but I'm sure there will come a point where that -- we can have that interaction later in the campaign.


STELTER: Let's do that right here on RELIABLE SOURCES.


STELTER: Brian Fallon, thanks so much for being here.

FALLON: All right, thanks.

STELTER: When we come back here, from Clinton to her rival Bernie Sanders, does this Tuesday, the final Super Tuesday, mark Sanders' last stand? Is that simple math or media bias?

One of Sanders' biggest boosters in the press joins me next.



STELTER: Welcome back.

You're going to hear a lot of talk this week about crossing the threshold. Donald Trump did it last month, securing enough delegates to clinch the GOP nomination. Barring some shocking, unprecedented outcome in California, Hillary Clinton will do the same thing on Tuesday.

The magic number for her is 2,383. And looking at the scoreboard here today, Clinton is far ahead of Bernie Sanders. She has 1,769 pledged delegates, plus, according to CNN's count, 544 superdelegates, who are free to vote for anyone at the convention next month.

Bernie Sanders has 1,501 pledged delegates and 46 superdelegates. So, Clinton is only about 70 delegates away from the magic number. And political experts expect she will win the state of New Jersey, where polls close at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, and that is what will put her or the top.

But Sanders says the media should not call the race for her. Watch.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to win the Democratic nomination at the end of the nominating process on June 14. Won't happen.

She will be dependent upon superdelegates, and what the DNC says is that the media is wrong. So, when I hear media talking about, well, we're going to announce it at 8:00 Eastern Standard Time that it's all over, you're wrong.


STELTER: Well, let me take you behind the scenes about this. This is pretty important.

The networks are not going to say it's all over, but the networks and the Associated Press will most likely say she's crossed the necessarily threshold to become the nominee. It'll probably sound a lot like this. This clip is from 2008, when Barack Obama hit the magic number.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: CNN can now project that Senator Barack Obama has enough delegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination. Senator Barack Obama goes over the threshold, goes over 2,118 delegates. He will be the Democratic presidential nominee, based on our projected -- projections of the delegate count right now.


STELTER: That's what you can expect to hear on Tuesday night, assuming Clinton does get the necessary number of delegates.

However, there will be lots of caveats, lots of acknowledgments that if the superdelegates change their minds, maybe that title goes away from her.

Progressive journalists and commentators that side with Sanders say the media is part of the problem here.

And one of them is Cenk Uygur, the host, CEO, and founder of the online news show "The Young Turks."

Thanks for being here.

CENK UYGUR, "THE YOUNG TURKS": Thanks for having me, Brian.


STELTER: Why do you think it's wrong for the media to acknowledge the facts? The facts are the superdelegates are largely on Clinton's side and they're probably not going to move, based on the interviews we have done with them. Why is it wrong for the media to acknowledge that on Tuesday night?

UYGUR: Because they aren't facts at all.

So, first, let's just acknowledge what are actual facts, that the superdelegates do not vote until the convention. In fact, if they're not at the convention, their votes won't get counted at all, which is almost...


STELTER: But the superdelegates are the establishment. They're al establishment people. And they're all voting for Clinton, only 46 for Sanders.

UYGUR: Now, you -- Brian, you guys, and I mean CNN and all of the establishment press, totally tilted the playing field here from day one by counting those superdelegates, when, in fact, you know the superdelegates do switch their votes all the time.

They switched it in 2008. Hillary Clinton had a 100-superdelegate lead, which completely vanished in 2008.


STELTER: Was the media wrong in 2008?

UYGUR: ... from day one, which was absolutely incorrect. It was, in fact, journalistic malpractice. Why did you guys do that?


STELTER: So you're saying more information is not a good thing? We should hide people from the reality of what the superdelegates are thinking?

UYGUR: No, no, no, no.

Brian, this is very important. If you say, hey, superdelegates are likely to vote this way, or they say they're voting this way as an aside, that's perfectly fair. But if you count them in the official tally, when you know they can and often do switch their votes and have not voted yet, that is simply incorrect. That is not a fact. That is the opposite of a fact.

STELTER: But the Hillary delegates switched because Obama was going to win.

In this case, we know the superdelegates are establishment figures. They're former governors and people like that that are clearly pro- Clinton. Nothing is going to happen that's going to change their mind.

UYGUR: Again, not true. So, Brian, you say nothing is going to happen.

STELTER: What's going to happen? What's going to happen? Tell me. UYGUR: I can tell you exactly what could happen.

STELTER: Are you wishing for an indictment?

UYGUR: Superdelegates are for extraordinary -- hold on. They are for extraordinary circumstances.

You know what would be extraordinary? If one of the candidates were indicted, of course. So, you guys keep assuming there will be no indictment.

And, Brian, I hear you have reliable sources. So, tell me, do you have any sources inside the FBI or the State Department that have already told you that she is not doing to get indicted? Because that would be news.

STELTER: I do not. I cover media, not the FBI.

But the indications at the moment are that she hasn't been interviewed by the FBI. I hear what you're saying about the indictment, but other than that, it seems to me you're misleading your audience, giving them more hope than they should actually have.

UYGUR: No, no, no.

STELTER: Think about what's going to happen on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m.

UYGUR: No, that's not true at all.

STELTER: New Jersey is going to close, and for the first time in the history of this country, I -- frankly, this is really exciting to say.

For the first time in the history of this country, we're going to have a female nominee of a major party. I don't care if you're Republican or Democrat or Libertarian. That's something this country should note and acknowledge.

And don't you think it's a shame that the Bernie Sanders talk is going to overshadow what we can all agree is a historic milestone?

UYGUR: I mean, look at the framing you just gave it, right?

So, I think Hillary Clinton is a completely pro-establishment candidate that will continue this corrupt system where private interests finance elections.

STELTER: OK. So, what about the historic milestone?

UYGUR: And so -- but, instead of looking at it as, hey, wait a minute, one guy hasn't taken that corrupting money and the other one has, you frame it as male vs. female, and hence put me in a position where I'm forced to say, no, I don't think it would be historic because I think it's the same old establishment, whether it's a male or female or anything else.

So, the framing is all biased. And I'm not saying that because I think that you're a liberal or you're conservative, you're pro-Hillary or not. It's just the establishment told us from day one the superdelegates have already voted, when they did not.

And you tell us today to, hey, make sure you go away and you support the establishment candidate. And so -- and you're wrong about how I present it on the show. I tell people about the delegate math all the time.

And as Bernie Sanders himself acknowledges, it's an uphill battle for him to win more pledged delegates, a massive uphill battle. Right? And I have said -- and I have challenged Bernie Sanders on my program. And I said, look, if there are more pledged delegates on her side and there's no indictment, well, then the race is over, right?

Those are ifs, though. They have not happened yet. And the superdelegates vote at the convention. So, for you guys to call it, when you don't know what the circumstances are, and those people have not voted yet, it is just simply incorrect. That is not journalism.

STELTER: Cenk, thank you for being here. It is great talking with you. I appreciate it.

UYGUR: Thank you for having me. I appreciate that.

STELTER: Coming up next here, we're going to talk more about -- actually, first a reminder here.

Donald Trump, Clinton, and Sanders are all on "STATE OF THE UNION" coming up here in about 15 minutes.

Up next here on the program: deceptive editing in a new documentary. I will tell you why the NRA wants Katie Couric fired.



STELTER: Editors have the power to inform, but that also means they have the power to misinform.

Deceptive editing is at the heart of two unrelated stories right now, and both examples have been exposed by conservative news sources. One involves the State Department. But the first one involves the new documentary called "Under the Gun" executive-produced by Katie Couric.

This week, Couric said she took responsibility for a highly misleading edit.

Let me show you the scene and you can decide for yourself. This is Couric interviewing a group of gun rights activists. Notice what happens after she asks her question.


KATIE COURIC, JOURNALIST: Let me ask you another question. If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?


STELTER: Eight seconds of silence, making the activists look ignorant, they didn't have an answer.

But the truth is that they responded to her question right away. Now the NRA wants Katie Couric fired. You can see the tweet right there.

Meanwhile, gun control groups are rallying to her defense. Here's the head of the Brady Campaign thanking her for standing up to bullies and telling the truth.

Let me bring back Elizabeth Harrington, staff writer for "The Washington Free Beacon," and David Zurawik, media critical with "The Baltimore Sun."

Elizabeth, "The Free Beacon" has led the way on this story. First, the director came out and said she regretted how this went. She said she was trying to add that pause there in order to let people think about the question.


But that seemed like B.S. to me.

And then this week, Couric took responsibility for it as well.

Are you satisfied by what the director and by what the executive producer have said?

HARRINGTON: No, I don't think so, because what Katie Couric said is that she raised objections to this initially.


STELTER: While it was being edited, right.


And then once the editor said, oh, well, we only added this pause for dramatic effect, she was, like, OK, that's fine.

Well, it's not fine. It's totally misleading. And the eight seconds -- in fact, this gun rights group defended themselves very well against the question. And it's really so misleading and a blatant lie to show that eight-seconds pause without anything.

So, it's a documentary. She shouldn't be saying, oh, well, this makes this more dramatic, then this is the way we should go. No, she should stick with the facts and what actually happened.

STELTER: Obviously, it is a point of view documentary.

But, David, is there any way to defend that kind of edit that was made? ZURAWIK: Absolutely not, Brian.

Really, if I vented the contempt I have for that dishonesty in the documentary format, I think I would drop over right now from a stroke. It's outrageous. And that what you call the B.S. explanation, absolutely. That was so bad. I couldn't believe it.

We wanted the listener to pause and think about it. Please. And the lie upon lie. Dishonest documentary makers are one of the lowest forms of life in media. There's no defense.

STELTER: We were talking earlier in the hour about Donald Trump attacking the media and how conservatives tend to be skeptical. Well, there's reason for them to be skeptical, and something like this seems to perpetuate that narrative.

Let me turn to one other editing controversy. This one involves the State Department. There's been something going on for years. This goes back to 2013 about a news briefing involving the U.S. and Iran's secret nuclear talks.

A portion of the video of that briefing was deleted at the request of an unnamed State Department official. And now Republicans are demanding an investigation.

This is something, David, that FOX News was involved in. It was James Rosen asking the question back in 2013, and FOX has been hounding the government for answers. We might not agree with FOX on everything, but this is an example of FOX really getting to the bottom of this and getting answers, isn't it?

ZURAWIK: It's absolutely true.

And James Rosen has done that before. We mentioned him in the earlier block about how they went after him for his reporting on the State Department. Even beyond that, that's outrageous.

Since the start since, as we mentioned also, since 2010, this administration has tried to control FOX in a way, cut it from the herd,. Delegitimize it is really what they tried to do.

And I will tell you what, though, is troubling to me about this in a deeper sense...

STELTER: Tell me.

ZURAWIK: ... is that this is the historical record in a way. This is the historical record of a government agency.

You don't -- you don't just try to punish FOX. You are cheating the American people when you start cutting things out of that official video of that. And then for their explanations, and we still -- they are still telling us, oh, we don't know who did it. We don't know. We can't -- we don't have the means or whatever to find that out.

That's outrageous. STELTER: Right.

ZURAWIK: They could find it out now, and somebody should be held accountable. Really, this is part of the -- and I hate to say it, because it sounds like I'm attacking -- but the Obama administration war with the press, this is part of it.

Whether you like the ideology of that channel or not, it's part of the press. You don't do these kind of things with it if you're the executive branch.


ZURAWIK: The founders didn't know about video, but they knew about the executive branch and the First Amendment and the free press and the importance of it to democracy.

STELTER: I'm out of time here, unfortunately.

But, David Zurawik, Elizabeth Harrington, thank you both for being here talking through these stories with me.


ZURAWIK: Thank you.

STELTER: When we come back here, a moment to return Muhammad Ali and his relationship with the media.

We will be back in a moment.



STELTER: Welcome back.

The world lost an icon on Friday night when boxing legend Muhammad Ali passed away at the age of 74. He transcended sports to became a worldwide celebrity, in some ways foreshadowing the stars we see today from the sports world, but then beyond, first earning Olympic gold in 1960 and then the boxing heavyweight champion of the world title in 1964, a title he would hold not one, but three times.

His use of the media was amazing, really foreshadowing what we see today. And on one hand, he used it to intimidate opponents. Take a look at this interview with Howard Cosell.


HOWARD COSELL, SPORTS BROADCASTER: Good luck. I hope it's not an act. I hope you mean it.

MUHAMMAD ALI, BOXING HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: If it's an act, just look at my record and see. Have the other fights been acts? Have they been acts? COSELL: Not so far.

ALI: Well, what makes you think I'm acting?

COSELL: And with that final stage of the act...


STELTER: He also used the media to put a lens on issues outside the ring, whether it was his announcement the day after he won the heavyweight title in 1964 that he was changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and converting to Islam, of course, a shocking move for an athlete of his notoriety at the time, or his move in 1967 to conscientiously object to the Vietnam War, resulting in the loss of his title, a ban from boxing for three years, and a jail sentence, which ultimately he did not serve.

And instead of receding into the background because of his long-term battle with Parkinson's disease, Ali gave voice to those suffering from the debilitating disease by holding the Olympic torch on live television here in 1996 for all the world to see, all this from one man, controversial, complex and compassionate.

Ali's reach was limitless, showing he truly was the greatest of all time.

And that's all for this televised edition of RELIABLE SOURCES. But our media coverage keeps going all the time online. Make sure you sign up for our nightly newsletter at

I will be recapping all the weekend's coverage right there in the newsletter tonight.