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CNN RELIABLE SOURCES
Is There Media Bias on Trump Campaign?; Media Marks Historic Moment for Women; Fox News Shakeup; Is WikiLeaks Plotting an October Surprise Against Hillary Clinton? Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired July 31, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:09] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning. I'm Brian Stelter, and it's time for RELIABLE SOURCES. This is our weekly look at the story behind the story, of how news and pop culture get made.
Ahead this hour, WikiLeaks strikes again, publishing thousands of stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee. Some of them suggesting the committee was supporting Clinton secretly hurting Bernie Sanders. I'll talk with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about his motivation and the timing of this release.
Plus, FOX News without Roger Ailes. This weekend, a new accuser is coming forward, raising bigger questions about the corporate culture that allowed Ailes to allegedly engage in sexual harassment. Two top media columnist will join me to react.
And so well news legend Dan Rather. He is back from the conventions here to talk about the good, the bad and the historic moments.
But, first, there are exactly 100 days until Election Day and political pros cannot believe what they are seeing. The conventions are over, the general election campaign is officially under way and Donald Trump publicly challenging Khizr Khan.
He's the man who stopped the Democratic convention in its tracks with this speech on Thursday. Khan's son, a Muslim American soldier, was killed in Iraq in 2004.
In an interview on ABC, Trump rejected Khan's assertion that Trump had, quote, "sacrificed nothing in his life." Trump went on to suggest that Khan didn't write the speech, wondering if Clinton's speechwriters did instead.
And Trump conspiratorially suggested Khan's wife might not have been allowed to speak on stage.
Well, now, both husband and wife are speaking out. And this morning, Mr. Khan said on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION" that Trump has a black soul.
Trump is fighting back via Twitter, which he obviously has the right to do. But is it smart to do that? I have lots of questions about and about other subject involving
coverage of the Trump campaign and the perfect person to ask. Jason Miller is the senior communications advisor for Donald J. Trump for president. This is his first Sunday morning interview since joining the campaign in June.
Jason, great to see you this morning.
JASON MILLER, SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS ADVISOR, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Brian, thanks for having me on.
STELTER: I think what many political pros, as I mentioned, are wondering why has Donald Trump need to respond to Khan, rather than either staying quiet, allowing Mr. Khan to speak without being challenged or to acknowledge more forthrightly the pain this family is going through?
MILLER: Well, let me go and correct you on that point, Brian. Mr. Trump has praised Mr. Khan and, in fact, has called Captain Khan as a hero.
But, look, let's be clear about what's going on here, is that this is --
STELTER: That happened after the fact, though. That's happened in a statement last night.
MILLER: In the ABC interview, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Khan.
STELTER: He called Mr. Khan a nice guy.
MILLER: Yes, he praised Mr. Khan.
But, again, Brian, let's get back to what's going on here, the fact this is about radical Islamic terrorism and what we have to do as a country to make sure that our borders are safe, and to make sure that we're screening people who are coming into this country. That's the larger debate that's going on here.
STELTER: That's not what Mr. Khan's speech was about on Thursday. Let me put on screen a statement from Mr. Trump last night. He seemed to be trying to clean up the ABC interview.
In the statement last night, Trump said the following, he said that Mr. Khan has no right to speak the way he did on stage. Let me get the exact quote, because I don't want to misquote Mr. Trump. Let's see if we can put it on the screen here.
He said that, Mr. Trump, "While I feel deeply for the loss of his son, Mr. Khan who has never met me, has no right to stand in front of millions of people and claim that I have never read the Constitution, which is false and say many other inaccurate things."
The First Amendment to the Constitution allows Mr. Khan the right to stand on stage and say whatever wants. Why would Mr. Trump say he doesn't have that right? MILLER: That's not what Mr. Trump is saying at all. What he's saying --
STELTER: That's what the statement said.
MILLER: What he's saying is that Mr. Trump has a right to defend himself, to make clear what he's saying is this is about Islamic terrorism, for him to be criticized like that he didn't think was fair.
So, let's get back to the broader point here, the fact that media completely let --
STELTER: Let's not -- let's put the statement back on screen, the statement on screen says Mr. Khan has no right to say what he said. You and I, Jason, we both know Mr. Khan has the right to say whatever we want to say, right?
MILLER: Brian, Mr. Khan -- this is about, again, this is about radical Islamic terrorism, and this is about what's really going on here, and the fact that the media doesn't want to pick up and cover what's going on with this country. I mean, where was the media outrage following Cleveland when he had supporters and survivors of those who either have been hurt or killed by illegal aliens in this country? There's no media outrage following that. But again, what we're talking about here is radical Islamic terrorism and that's what's important.
STELTER: You keep mentioning radical Islamic terrorism when I mention Mr. Khan. Why do you keep responding that way when I mentioned him?
MILLER: Because that's what the broader debate that we're having. The broader debate that we're having is about the screening and the vetting that we're having for people who are coming into this country, about --
STELTER: But that has nothing to do with this family, with this Muslim American family.
[11:05:01] MILLER: This is -- no, this is what the whole broader debate is about right now. This is not about -- this is not about Mr. Trump and Mr. Khan. This is about Mr. Trump and Hillary Clinton.
STELTER: But Mr. Khan is making it about Mr. Trump, stating that he has a black soul, stating that he's ignorant. And you keep bringing up radical Islamic terrorism instead. Are you trying to change the subject or are you trying to link him to terrorism?
MILLER: No, not at all, Brian. That's not what I'm saying. Don't try to put words on my mouth.
STELTER: That's right.
MILLER: What I'm saying is this is a broader issue that we're debating. Mr. Trump's opponent is Hillary Clinton, and that's who we're running against here. STELTER: So, you and I, we're not here to debate. But Mr. Trump and
Hillary Clinton are here to debate in what, 56, 58 days. Let me ask you about the debate because this weekend, Trump said the schedule for the debates is unacceptable.
Let's put on screen. He put up a tweet and said the first debate. Let's put it in perspective for people. The first debate here is September 26th, then there's one October 4th, then there's one October 9th, the second presidential debate.
Two of these debates do conflict with NFL games. Now, this isn't a big surprise, since two NFL games also air, on the same nights of debates back in 2012, but here's what your boss said this morning on ABC's "This Week".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, I'll tell you what I don't like. It's against two NFL games, I got a letter from the NFL saying, this is ridiculous, why are the debates -- because the NFL doesn't want to go against the debates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: What's confusing about that statement, Jason, is that the NFL refuted it, saying, quote, "While we obviously wish the debate commission could find another night, we did not send a letter to Trump." Can you help me understand why Trump said he did receive a letter from the NFL?
MILLER: Yes, let me go and take a step back here, Brian, for a moment. Our posture and our position on the debates is we want as many people as many voters to be participants in and to see the debates a possible, which is different from the Clinton campaign.
So, you look at these first two debates where the first debate is coming up head to head against "Monday Night Football," it's a Falcon's home game. Georgia, an important. The second debate is coming up for Packers home game on -- that's on "Sunday Night Football", which usually has about 20 million viewers. So, big audiences, Wisconsin is a very important state. We want as many people to be participants and be involved in the presidential debate process as possible.
Now, these initial debates put out by the commission or planning dates, the campaigns haven't started their negotiations yet, which will start this week.
Our posture, we want debates, we want as many people seeing them as possible.
Now, going back to your initial point, Mr. Trump was notified by a source close to the league of these potential conflicts. The Clinton camp knows about these conflicts as well, but it's not a big deal to them. But we want as many people to be involved in this debate process as possible, and that's our posture. STELTER: Did Donald Trump lie when he said he received a letter from the NFL?
MILLER: He was notified by a source close to the NFL, and again, the issue here is we want people involved --
STELTER: Why did he say he received a letter from the NFL?
MILLER: He was notified by source close to the NFL.
STELTER: I don't know why he told George Stephanopoulos he received a letter then.
MILLER: I think that, you know, again, it's semantics a little bit here, Brian, but the point is he was notified --
STELTER: It's not semantics if you send me a letter versus make a phone call.
MILLER: Brian, he was notified by a source close to the NFL, and this is something that the Clinton campaign because notified as well.
STELTER: Right. Well, the Clinton campaign I think probably knew when the debates were scheduled and probably knew when the football games were scheduled because the calendar for the debates came out in September of last year. The football calendar was also set letter, but we all know games are on Sundays and Mondays.
The commission has told me they have to spread these dates out, they have to do different days of the week, they have to avoid religious holidays, there's a lot of complicated reasons.
Are you saying you would like to see the debate dates changed?
MILLER: We would not like the debates not be head to head against major NFL games. We like to see some -- that's something we'll be discussing as we got into negotiations.
STELTER: Will Trump skip the debates if they are continued to be scheduled on football nights?
MILLER: Brian, we want as many people to be watching the debates as possible. That's our spirit of it. The Clinton camp would like these debates to be head to head with the NFL games. So, we're going to go in and start negotiations --
STELTER: What evidence do we have with that? What evidence we have of that? Because on Friday night, Mr. Trump tweeted the following, he said that Clinton and the Dems are trying to rig the debates. But we know that's not true, Jason. We know the Commission on Presidential Debates chose these debates and they did not consult with the campaigns.
Why did Mr. Trump say that Clinton is trying to rig the debates?
MILLER: Brian, if you take a look back at Hillary Clinton's track record in the primary, numerous times they had pushed to go on and have debates at the same time as other big events that were going on, head to head against things that would be big conflicts and keep voters excluded. Our focus, we want as many people involved as possible.
STELTER: Listen, so do I. I'm glad we have DVRs and video on demand and YouTube. You know, I woke up every morning after the conventions and watched the debates on YouTube. And that's what people can watch the debates now, too. Football isn't necessarily the kind of conflict that it was four or eight or 12 years ago, right?
MILLER: Brian, people are going to watch the debates live, and they're going to watch football live. And again, it's -- we think it's incumbent as head into this process to make sure that there's few conflicts as possible and we can have as many people participating to make sure the American public is fully informed and educated going into election day.
STELTER: So, just to be clear, you all are -- have not started yet negotiations with the commission, but you're going to start negotiations with the commission, which are totally normal for campaigns, and you're going to specifically ask them to move the dates?
[11:10:08] MILLER: Well, we think it's only right that as many people are able to watch the debates as possible.
STELTER: Do you all have any issues with particular moderators? Will that be another point of negotiation when you talk about the debate schedule?
MILLER: We look forward to having fair and balanced moderators that are participating this process and we think by the time we finish up the negotiations, we'll be at that point.
STELTER: I heard fair and balanced, I thought of FOX News. How about Megyn Kelly as a possible moderator?
MILLER: Megyn Kelly is a fantastic journalist.
STELTER: So, you're not excluding her from the list perhaps?
MILLER: I'm not going to start negotiating right here, as we're sitting here.
STELTER: Fair enough.
MILLER: In fact, we want to have as many people participating as possible.
STELTER: And by the way, the commission chooses the moderators. The campaigns can try to haggle and try to push for different people but the commission does choose.
Let me ask you a couple of other questions, Jason, since you're relatively new in the role, you've been with the Trump campaign for about a month. You were formerly working for the Cruz campaign. And I wonder, what's the change been like? How different is it now to work for Mr. Trump?
MILLER: I'm having a blast with this campaign. This is not unlike that I think that America has really seen in recent history. And quite frankly, as we talk about broader issues, we talk about how the media is covering this campaign. I think one of the things that the media is having a tough time with is how to cover a candidate like Donald Trump who has tapped into this feeling, this sentiment that people really want change.
If you go back -- I mean, that's a huge difference with Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine is they're running for this third term and the status quo, Donald Trump is on the side of 70 percent people who want change.
STELTER: I agree journalists are having a hard time covering this campaign. I think one of the challenges I'm facing right here right now on live TV is how much a challenge a misstatement that Trump made for example, saying the NFL sent him a letter, you're making it out to be not a big deal that he actually received a phone call from a source, not a letter from the league.
But do you think that the journalists are making too big of a fuss when they try to fact-check Trump's misstatements made?
MILLER: Look, if it's being called both ways and there are balls and strikes being called equally, that's your job, just I'd say last night when Hillary Clinton was in Pennsylvania. There is nothing -- I didn't see anything on TV, calling out Clinton on TPP and her support for Obama's economy.
I mean, that's something that should have been called out. If we're really going to call balls and strikes here, Brian, that's something the media should have been calling attention to.
STELTER: What if one candidate says a lot more misstatements than the other candidate? Then, we can't be fair about that if one side is saying more misstatements than other side.
MILLER: You know, Brian, it's interesting when you talk about media bias, I think that the biggest aspect of media bias are things that aren't being covered. Again, as we talked about, Hillary's record on TPP. But even beyond that, I mean, let's take a look at, you know, how many panels, how many cable panels do we turn on, on a daily basis, where it's four people, four guests or moderators who are stacked on the Clinton side, maybe one or maybe two who are stacked on the Trump side.
So, as we talk about this, you know, the broader issue with the campaign, that's really where I think it is that I don't think it's being called equally both ways.
STELTER: Do you think that's true on CNN as well? I think CNN last time I counted, had seven people who are paid, full time commentators, not full time, but paid commentators who specifically support Trump. MILLER: We pay attention to all networks and all networks hear about
it if we think that networks are on one side and not balanced.
STELTER: Let me ask you about something "The New York Post" this morning. "The New York Post", a Murdoch paper, typically conservative, but this morning, the front page here, Donald Trump's wife, these are nude photos from the 1990s, which I guess the post has newly unearthed. Do you think it's inappropriate for "The Post" to be putting this on the cover?
MILLER: Look, these are photos that are 20 years old, before Mrs. Trump met Mr. Trump. They're a celebration of the human body as art. Nothing to be embarrassed about with the photos, she's a beautiful woman.
STELTER: Does he get furious when he sees something like that? Does he lash out at "The Post"?
MILLER: I think Mr. Trump is more focused on the direction of the country and what we need to do to get it turned around.
STELTER: I'm curious what your interactions had been, like, with him? You know, he's such a student of the media, he must have strong opinions about what he sees and reads.
MILLER: Mr. Trump is very passionate about the direction of the country. He wants to make America great again, specifically talking about making the country safe, to talk about rebuilding our economy. The other thing I'd say to is that it's been a real pleasure to be around the entire Trump family, as we talk about meeting his kids and interacting with them, and I think they're really great assets on the campaign trail.
And as America gets to see more about Mr. Trump and the family, they'll realize that this is a family ready to head into the White House and make some real changes in this country.
STELTER: I wish we could talk all day, Jason. But one last question for you. There's been a lot of conversation about the so-called blacklist. "The Politico", "The Washington Post" and other outlets that are not allowed press credentials at Trump rallies. This week, Mike Pence suggested perhaps that's going to change.
Can you tell us if you're considering loosening these restrictions on "The Washington Post" and other news outlets?
[11:15:03] MILLER: We are reviewing all of that and I think that, again, our events are open, anybody can come into our events, and so, that's the spirit that we have had with the campaign, and that's the spirit we're going to have going forward.
STELTER: This week, a "Washington Post" reporter was actually frisked and not allowed into a Mike Pence rally. That seemed like an even worse step against -- what we're talking about here, to be against loosening the blacklist. MILLER: That's outside -- that's not normal for our procedure.
That's something that shouldn't happen and we're reviewing that as we speak.
STELTER: So, you are reviewing this issue more broadly. You are considering giving press credentials back to outlets at "The Daily Beast" and "Huffington Post" and "Politico," and others?
MILLER: Again, our spirit is we want to have as many people who are in our events and participating in our events as possible. The incident with "The Washington Post" reporter, again, that's not something that should have happened and we're reviewing that now.
STELTER: Jason, I appreciate you being here this morning and taking the questions. It's great talking with you. Thank you.
MILLER: All right. Thanks, Brian.
STELTER: And coming up here, in a little less than an hour, you can see the interview we're talking about earlier, Jim Acosta's full interview with Khizr Khan on "STATE OF THE UNION" at noon Eastern Time.
Speaking of Mr. Khan, FOX News did cover his speech live. We're going to talk about that choice and other choices. Was there bias in coverage of the conventions?
We'll be right back.
[11:20:06] STELTER: Hey, welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES.
We are talking before the break about Khizr Khan, speaking passionately at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday about his slain son, a captain in the U.S. Army.
If you look at these three shots and you notice that FOX News is the only network that chose not to air what's being called one of the most powerful speeches from either convention. Would you call that bias?
Conversely, if you listen to conservative media athletes, or the Republican National Committee, they would say that CNN and MSNBC were biased and so were the broadcast networks for covering more of the Democratic speeches than the Republican speeches.
But look at the numbers, the fact of the matter is, the Democratic convention had more speakers overall, 133, according -- versus 71 for the GOP. That's according to "The Los Angeles Times".
There were a lot of factors, of course, that come into play here, about who is aired and who is not. You know, Donald Trump also brought up bias on Friday, he launched into a verbal tirade against CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I'll tell you, CNN is really, you know, they call it the Clinton news network. It's really a dishonest group of people. They are terrible.
Oh, their camera just went off, you know? I see the red lights. I know all the camera men by now, right? Hi, fellas. But I see the red lights. That red light just went off so fast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: No sir, did not happen, we had your shot up the entire time, all the way through to the end.
Let's talk about these issues with a perfect panel, Margaret Sullivan, "The Washington Post" media columnist, David Zurawik, media critic with "The Baltimore Sun", and the BBC's Kim Ghattas, Hillary Clinton campaign correspondent, and the author of the book, "The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power."
Margaret, when you see something like that with Donald Trump, you know, playing to his audience, attacking the media, is this fundamentally different than prior campaigns, prior elections? And how difficult is it for the press to get its arms around what is a fundamentally different candidate?
MARGARET SULLIVAN, THE WASHINGTON POST MEDIA CONSULTANT: It's very aggressive. It's false often. And he has proved a difficult candidate to cover, Brian, very much so.
STELTER: When I think about fact-checking in particular, you wrote recently about the challenge of fact checking Donald Trump. Jason Miller, the campaign communications director, was just on saying he just wanted it to be fair. He just wants both campaigns to be fact- checked. But you said there's a false equivalency. How so?
SULLIVAN: Well, first of all, Brian, I thought you did a masterful job of holding his feet to the fire and I was -- I thought it was terrific.
STELTER: Thank you.
SULLIVAN: You know, false equivalency, we have to look at as you pointed out, who is telling the truth most of the time and who isn't telling the truth most of the time. There's real difference there.
So, to say, well, we have to treat them equally, sometimes the circumstances don't call for that.
STELTER: David Zurawik, is the press rising to that challenge, rising to the occasion? Or do you see a lot more improvement in the next three months?
DAVID ZURAWIK, MEDIA CRITIC, THE BALTIMORE SUN: There's a lot, Brian. By the way, I second what Margaret said about that interview. I really enjoyed it. We've done -- the press has done a lot of good reporting so far. But there's a much higher challenge we have to rise to, and I'll just take one small piece of it. In terms of media reporting and media criticism about Trump, he is, and I don't know how much of it is conscious, but he is one of the most complicated media confections, media creations that we've ever had.
It's one thing to say he's the best TV candidate and he's the reality TV candidate and all this stuff we say, but he's done something far more profound. And again, I don't know if he's done it consciously. He has embedded himself in the media consciousness, in the media ecosystem as not just an agent of change, but an agent of transformation.
We have all heard a million messages since birth from Madison Avenue in television, telling us buy this pill and it will end heartburn. Buy this pill and you'd be potent again. Buy this house and you'll be happy with your family.
He's the guy that says, "buy me and I'll make -- I'll transform your life." That is profound and we have not explained how he's been doing it. We have to help the public understand what's going on in terms of his media persona.
STELTER: One hundred days to do that.
Kim, let me ask you about the Democratic Convention for the moment, though. You know, you've been covering Clinton for years. Do you feel the press properly noted that historic nature of that moment, Clinton becoming the first female candidate from a major party? Was it properly recognized for women both in America and women around the world?
KIM GHATTAS, BBC JOURNALIST COVERING CLINTON CAMPAIGN: I think it probably was. I think that the complaints of the RNC had about the DNC getting more prime time air time is precisely because this was a historic moment that a lot of people were following, that a lot of people on the right and on the left commented as being historic and have been given commensurate attention, even Megyn Kelly acknowledged in a tweet that this was historic.
[11:25:12] And for people around the world watching, it was a very important moment to watch. It was also very inspiring. I do think that perhaps what is problematic is how quickly we then -- the media then moves on to the next topic, and that was perhaps Mr. Trump at that point. I think that it is problematic, for example, to see that FOX News did not cover the speech of Khizr Khan, the father of the fallen captain, army captain. I think that does a disservice to their followers as well.
I think too much of what people are getting from watching television is siloed, you get information that confirms what you already believe, you get information that already confirms your world view and I think that is problematic, because it does end up putting people in the situation that if the candidate they don't support wins, they say, well, hold on, I don't understand. Nobody I know voted for this person.
Look, Brian, when I cover the Middle East and I did extensively for many years --
GHATTAS: -- as a reporter, I made sure that I always was in touch with a different parties in the country, whether it was Hezbollah, whether it was Hamas, whether it was the opposition, whether it was government official, so that when something broke, I was in touch with all of the country, the mood in all of the country, or all those who represented the different strands of the country. Not just half of it.
And I think not enough of that is done on television.
STELTER: Let me ask you, real quick, Kim, before I had to let you go. Since you're covering the Clinton campaign, let me put you on the spot. Do you think we're going to see a press conference from Clinton any time soon? You know, she hasn't given a full blown press conference since last December, and that's significant grief among a lot of people. Trump supporters, journalists, many others.
Do you think we're going to see a press conference soon?
GHATTAS: Well, they keep promising that there will be one. I'm not in their head. I can't tell you whether they're going to oblige with that. But I think that as we move into a new cycle of this election, the 100 days before Election Day, there will hopefully be some adjustment of how they do it.
Of course, the campaign pushes back and says, well, you know, we give plenty of interviews. But it's important to have this one on one interaction with the traveling press corps. It is very important.
STELTER: A lot of news gets made at these press conferences with Trump. Hope Clinton will do one as well soon.
Kim, thank you for being here.
Margaret, David, please stick around. After the break, we're going to talk about the growing sexual harassment scandal around FOX News. Roger Ailes, of course, resigned, but there are significant questions still on the table. Margaret interviewed the first accuser, Gretchen Carlson, the one suing Ailes. She'll talk about her interview with Gretchen Carlson right after the break.
STELTER: Hey. Welcome back.
Roger Ailes is gone, but the real FOX News shakeup might just be starting. This week, one of his top deputies, Michael Clemente, left the network. And FOX said it has nothing to do with Ailes's departure or with the ongoing investigation into Ailes's alleged sexual harassment of employees.
Putting Clemente aside, though, a new article by "New York Magazine" Gabriel Sherman raises questions about what other executives might have known. The article gives a chilling account of an ex-FOX News staffer who claims she was sexual exploited by Ailes for 20 years.
Through a lawyer, Ailes issued a statement denying this former staffer's allegations, saying she is the subject of journalist exploitation by Sherman. Ailes then wished her well.
But the question is increasingly being asked, did FOX News foster a culture of secrecy around Ailes, maybe even covering up these kinds of claims of harassment? And what did the owners like Rupert Murdoch here on screen possibly know about this?
Let me bring back two of the guests from earlier in the hour here, "Washington Post" media columnist Margaret Sullivan and "Baltimore Sun' media critic David Zurawik.
Margaret, I have behind asking 21st Century Fox, the Murdochs' reps for comment on these allegations. They are saying nothing new, they have no comment. What are you hearing from the company about how far this could go, about what other claims could be out there?
SULLIVAN: Brian, what I'm understanding, not from direct contact with the company, because they haven't spoken to me directly, but what I believe is the case is that the investigation, the internal investigation is winding down now.
And that troubles me, because I think this goes beyond Roger Ailes and is pervasive at FOX. And I think that there needs to be a culture change there. I'm not sure that's going to happen.
STELTER: The closest thing I have is a source with knowledge of the Murdochs' view, saying they have no knowledge of these sexual harassment claims, but, frankly, I think we need to hear from them on the record.
You were able to get Gretchen Carlson on the record this week, an interview all of us have wanted. She is the woman, the ex-anchor who sued Ailes in court about a month ago. What did she tell you about her feelings when Ailes resigned?
SULLIVAN: She said that the whole thing has been a surreal experience, but that when she saw his resignation, she felt a lot of emotions.
First of all, she felt a sense of validation. She felt relief that she would be believed. And she felt anger that it had taken so long after what she knows to be many years or what she believes and says to be many years of sexual harassment inside FOX, not only of her, but of many others.
STELTER: Do you have any sense of what's next for her?
SULLIVAN: I don't. I mean, she seems to be busy with some sort of community kinds of
activities, and I think she's laying fairly low. She told me that she's trying very hard to insulate her two kids. She has an 11-year- old and a 13-year-old. And she's trying to, you know, be a mom and deal with the fallout of this very high-publicity event.
STELTER: David, let's tick through what happened this week. We haven't heard from Ailes. We haven't heard from the Murdochs.
We did read this new Gabriel Sherman story alleging a 20-year pattern of abuse of a booker at FOX News. What more do you think we need to know? What more does FOX need to tell media reporters like us about what happened with Ailes?
ZURAWIK: I think we absolutely, Brian, need to know who else in that chain of command knew about this and allowed it to happen.
If you just had knowledge of it, if you were a producer, a senior producer, an executive producer, management executive, and you just had knowledge of this kind of vile predatory behavior that's alleged, you need to be out of there.
I mean, listen, just -- I have been doing this a long time. I cannot remember -- and I have sometimes very low opinions of some of the people in this business, myself included, the way -- because we're so competitive. But this story has absolutely sickened me at what was going on there in terms of the misuse of power over these people who, you know, you almost had to go along with it, if you were a victim, if you wanted to have any chance to survive in that organization.
That's a horrible situation. You can't just walk away and say Roger Ailes is out. And Roger Ailes, by the way, denies everything, speaking of false equivalency. Oh, people say Roger Ailes did this bad stuff, he says he didn't, OK, let's move on. That's what they would like.
That's not going to happen. And I'll tell you what. Sherman's been doing just fantastic work on this. I think all of us -- there's a lot of other people involved -- all of us have to stay on this case. And I think Margaret's right. We can't just let it go away. We have to ask who knew in that culture that this was going on and stay with it.
STELTER: Margaret Sullivan, David Zurawik, thank you both for being here this morning.
SULLIVAN: Thanks, Brian.
ZURAWIK: Thank you, Brian.
STELTER: Coming up next here: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, is he planning his own October surprise against Hillary Clinton?
He will join me live right after the break.
STELTER: Hey. Welcome back. I'm Brian Stelter. This is RELIABLE SOURCES.
Last week, days before the opening of the Democratic Convention, WikiLeaks published a trove of hacked, stolen DNC e-mails and voice messages indicating efforts by party officials to hinder Bernie Sanders' campaign and assist Hillary Clinton's campaign.
This bombshell led the DNC chairwoman to step down, but that was just the beginning of the story.
U.S. government sources and private security firms strongly suspect that Russian intelligence agents were behind the data breach. WikiLeaks is promising to publish more DNC or Clinton-related documents in the months to come.
So, let's ask WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange about that. He's joining me live remotely from the London from the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he's been under house arrest for years.
Mr. Assange, let me show you what Hillary Clinton said just a couple of hour ago on FOX News talking about this data dump. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY")
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We know that Russian intelligence services, which are part of the Russian government, which is under the firm control of Vladimir Putin, hacked into the DNC.
And we know that they arranged for a lot of those e-mails to be released. And we know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin.
CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": So, are you suggesting that Putin would rather see him as president than you?
CLINTON: Well, I'm not going to jump to that conclusion. But I think laying out the facts raises serious issues about Russian interference in our elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Mr. Assange, is Hillary Clinton wrong to link this to Russia?
JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: Well, she's made several untrue statements.
STELTER: What were they? Now...
ASSANGE: ... it's not surprise -- I will get to them. It's not surprising, unfortunately, that Hillary Clinton makes untrue
statements. Just a few days ago, she made a statement that James Comey did not say that she was sloppy in the handling of her e-mails, when there's video everywhere of James Comey telling -- the head of the FBI, telling Congress precisely that.
So, unfortunately, you can't trust what Hillary Clinton says.
Now, I will get to the words that she's used.
Now, for WikiLeaks, we're in a very difficult position. We have a perfect 10-year record of always presenting accurate information to the public. That's the best in any media whatsoever. And we also have a perfect record in never exposing our sources. Occasionally, someone -- alleged sources step forward themselves, but we have never exposed them.
So, we're in a difficult...
STELTER: I understand. You call it -- have a source protection association. You're not willing to disclose your sources, which is understandable.
And yet how can WikiLeaks claim to promote transparency in politics without being open about the backstage interests that influence and possibly steer your operations? Isn't it hypocritical to do that?
ASSANGE: Well, we are a media organization. And media organizations have an obligation to protect their sources. That's 101.
STELTER: But let's say -- let me take you through a hypothetical.
Let's say, hypothetically, Russia gives you access to a trove of hacked, stolen e-mails. Would that hypothetically give you any pause? Ethically, would it be an issue for you?
ASSANGE: Well, let's not talk about hypotheticals. Let's talk about the real case.
Hillary Clinton on FOX is trying to undermine our publication, trying to draw attention away from the fact that she conspired with the -- Debbie Wasserman Schultz, her former campaign manager, who was head of the Democratic Party, to subvert an election in the United States.
Now, what is the result of that? The result is the free market of electoral candidates was ruined. Instead, you had a regulatory organization, the DNC, abusing its regulatory function to favor one candidate above another, including by pumping out black media campaigns...
ASSANGE: ... black media campaigns, trying to undermine Bernie Sanders, in complicity with a lot of the media.
STELTER: And that has been covered. That has been covered. But what about your role?
ASSANGE: What is the end result?
The end result may well be that the less competitive candidate in an open market competition, which is what is coming up in the proper election, has managed to secure the nomination, and the result of that could well be the election of Donald Trump.
STELTER: That news -- that news has been published. That news has been reported on CNN.
STELTER: But why did you must publish voice-mails from children? Why publish Social Security numbers from innocent people? Why publish that kind of material? Doesn't it hurt your cause?
ASSANGE: WikiLeaks has contributed to hundreds, literally hundreds of court cases, prosecutions, liberating innocent people from prison.
Now, we're not going to be tampering...
STELTER: Julian, I'm with you.
STELTER: I was inspired by WikiLeaks. I remember interviewing you six years ago. I was so inspired by WikiLeaks.
But let me put up Edward Snowden's tweet on screen. This is, I think, the key. As Snowden said: "Democratizing information has never been more vital, and WikiLeaks has helped. But their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake."
Why publish Social Security numbers? Why publish voice-mails from children?
ASSANGE: Well, as I just explained, we publish pristine archives that can be used in court cases and are used in court cases.
One, for example, was used in the Yukos case, which produced a $56 billion finding against Russia in example -- in relation to expropriation of oil assets that had previously belonged to a Russian oligarch.
So, we're talking about at the highest level in terms of civil cases and at the highest level, for example, in CIA rendition programs.
So, it's extremely important to not tamper with the evidence, to have a pristine archive. And that's what we do.
Now, if you want to talk about the reporting of personal details, it's false. There are not full credit card numbers in what we published. What there is, is what you see on 7-Eleven receipts, the last four digits of credit card numbers.
STELTER: Julian, I appreciate your being here this morning, answering the questions that I and many others have.
I hope we can talk again soon. Thank you.
ASSANGE: Thank you. Bye-bye.
STELTER: After the break, the one, the only Dan Rather talking about the Democratic Convention and the Republican Convention in Cleveland. It was a far cry from these pictures in 1968.
He's been to every convention since, and he will join me in just a moment.
STELTER: Hey. Welcome back.
The RNC and the DNC this year were full of firsts, even for Dan Rather, and he has seen pretty much everything. He has covered 31 conventions dating back to 1956. He's seen it all, from mere riots on the floor in 1968 to then Senator Barack Obama's breakout speech in 2004.
So, how did this year's conventions stack up?
He's joining me now here, Dan, former CBS News anchor. The production company News and Guts, you're now the CEO of.
Thank you for being here this morning.
DAN RATHER, CEO, NEWS AND GUTS: Well, thanks for having me.
STELTER: Would you agree with the kind of conventional wisdom that the Republican Convention was darker, the Democratic Convention was lighter?
Or was that kind of spin, because conservatives felt like that was an example of media bias, portraying the Democratic Convention as a lighter, happier version of the Republican Convention?
RATHER: I don't think it was a matter of bias. As a matter of fact, I think the Republicans wanted their convention
to deal with anger and fear, which is, by nature, darker. Democrats wanted to have hope, future. They came out pretty much the way the parties planned it.
Now, each party owed much to the early work of the Marx Brothers in how they got off at the start of the convention.
RATHER: But Donald Trump's theme is, listen, folks, you need to be worried, you need to be very, very worried.
And the Democrats, by nature of having the White House for two successive terms, have to say, look, things are not nearly that bad.
I will say that the Democrats, for television -- and as Jim Rutenberg of "The New York Times" and others have pointed out -- in television terms, the Democrats had the better convention. But that may not matter. Trump had the better convention for Twitter.
But we're keeping in mind that rarely do the conventions really matter all that much.
STELTER: Really? Because I want to show the ratings on screen. The first three nights, the Democrats had better TV, you're saying. They had higher ratings.
On the fourth night, though, Trump outrated Clinton in terms of the Thursday night speeches.
STELTER: You don't think that actually matters much?
RATHER: I don't think in the end it is going to matter much. There's still a long way to go. This is going to be a particularly nasty, dirty campaign. As was suggested on this program, there is still a lot of -- quote -- "dirt" to come on -- from the Republican side.
STELTER: Not from the Democratic side?
RATHER: Oh, the Democrats will counter. Of course they will counter.
Let me point -- and you talked about the debates. We have the three full debates still to go, so long to go.
I happen to think it's a dangerous time for the Democrats and their support of Hillary Clinton. They came out of the convention feeling that they had the best convention, whether one agrees that they did or not.
STELTER: Right. RATHER: And there's a tendency among -- that I find in making my
telephone calls and talking to people who think, well, we have finally climbed on top.
In my book, Hillary Clinton is still an underdog, a slight underdog to win. Trump still -- he dominates almost every news cycle. Now, he wasn't able to do it every night of the Democratic Convention. He dominates almost every news cycle. He's back on the weekend already with what he did or didn't do about the Khan family, which, by the way I do think hurt him.
The three things that have really hurt Donald Trump, number one, when he tried to intimidate the reporter by ridiculing the reporter's physical infirmities, really hurtful. What he said about John McCain was really hurtful, as it should have been. And what he -- how he's handled this Khan family thing has been very hurtful.
But we go forward now. We will see whether these conventions matter. 1968, both conventions, Democrats' and Republicans', mattered. 1992, Bill Clinton's nomination, I think that convention mattered.
We will see whether these conventions matter. But my bottom line is, don't get too excited about them. Long way to go. They may not matter very much.
STELTER: The polls for the Democrats will start coming out tomorrow. We will see what the bounce was.
Dan, great to see you.
RATHER: Great to see you.
STELTER: Thank you for being here this morning.
RATHER: Great to see you. Thank you, Brian.
STELTER: And we will be right back in just a moment.
STELTER: Hey. We're out of time on TV, but our coverage keeps going all the time online, CNNMoney.com/media. You can sign up for our nightly newsletter. I will be sending it out in a few hours with all the weekend's media news.
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