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CNN RELIABLE SOURCES
Racism, Bigotry Charges Dominate Campaign Coverage; Charles Osgood to Retire from "CBS Sunday Morning"; Critics Say AP Story Flawed; Donald Trump Losing the Hispanic Vote; When Will Hillary Clinton Hold a Press Conference?; Trump Apologizes to 'Morning Joe' Hosts. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired August 28, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:07] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning. I'm Brian Stelter and it's time for RELIABLE SOURCES, our weekly look at the story behind the story, with how news and pop culture get made.
Ahead this hour, Jorge Ramos with a controversial warning for journalists covering Donald Trump. He says neutrality is not an option. I'll ask him if his latest stand against Trump has crossed the line.
Also, the "A.P.'s" exclusive Clinton Foundation report now under a lot of scrutiny. Was the report misleading? Was the tweet about it misleading? Should the "A.P." correct it?
Kathleen Carroll, "The A.P.'s" top editor, will join me for an exclusive interview.
Plus, new revelations once again in the Roger Ailes sex harassment scandal, and what an oppo research document tells us about how Ailes ran Fox.
But let's begin with this: are journalists tiptoeing around the uncomfortable reality of this campaign cycle? That attitudes about race and gender are really shaping this election?
And as you saw this week, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went toe to toe over the issue of race, with Clinton tying Trump to the alt-right, extreme right wing men, mostly men, and the websites catering to them. These are sites that sometimes express downright racist and sexist views.
Trump fired back before and after Clinton's speech, calling her a bigot, claiming she exploits minorities solely for their votes.
Can I say something here? Let's pause, let's just be honest about this. It's only August, and yet, we're already using words like "bigot" and "racist", and sometimes in the day to day, really minute by minute headlines, it feels like we lose sight of the broader story that's being told, the broader trends that are happening.
The press needs to have that bigger picture perspective. I mean, think about this. Underneath the fiery rhetoric this week, simmers an issue that some say has fueled Trump's rise all the way from this time last year.
Here's some headlines that explain this. Here's one from "Politico". "How Trump expose America's white identity crisis." That's a lot of what the alt-right is, white nationalism. And whether Trump wins or loses in November, this is not an issue that's going away.
So, we as journalists have to talk about it correctly. This morning, we've got a panel here to talk about this issue, try to talk got it in a big picture perspective.
Jamil Smith, a senior national correspondent with MTV News, J.D. Vance, the author of "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture and Crisis", and Scottie Nell Hughes, a CNN political commentator and Trump supporter.
Thank you all for being here.
J.D. VANCE, AUTHOR: Thanks.
STELTER: Jamil, let me start with you. You're here with me in New York. Do you feel that all the coverage this week has just caused even more divisiveness, caused even more of a divide in this country, between whites and blacks and Hispanics, between people who feel the serious problems and those that are? Is the press making it worse?
JAMIL SMITH, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, MTV NEWS: Well, Brian, I'll never subscribe to the notion that talking about race or talking about racism actually divisive. I think that, frankly, you know, what we need to do is understand exactly the forces that are driving Mr. Trump's campaign. And since he has chosen to put the head of Breitbart, a proud "alt-right", quote/unquote, site, on the top of his campaign, I think we need to examine what that means.
STELTER: So, what does that mean to you?
SMITH: To me, what it means is it's a rebranding of white supremacy. I mean, I've been, you know, a target of these folks and we have seen other people, especially women and people of color who live their lives online be a target of these folks.
STELTER: Do you think the Breitbart.com in particular is a newer form of white supremacy? They would say they're a mainstream form of the alt-right.
SMITH: I'd say that, you know, frankly, yes, I would say that. I'd say that they're part of the white supremacist machine. I think that they're trying to make sure that these views become mainstream, I think, through Trump. They're getting -- they're finding a way to do that.
STELTER: Scottie, do you think the coverage this week of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton of these issues about race and racial anxiety have been fair? Has it been fair to Donald Trump?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know about fair. I think we've given up the idea of what fair is. I think we're redefining what fair means in this election season, Brian.
But I think you made a very good point. We need to look at the big picture, and let's look at the big picture as to why we're having this conversation this week, and it's not just simply to distract from a very horrible week that Hillary Clinton had, to distract from the fact that Donald Trump went down to Louisiana and put supplies on the ground. It's really more importantly to Hillary Clinton's problem, is that she's having problem with engagement. She's worried about in November, the same valuable demographic of the African-American vote is not going to be as engaged as they were in 2008 and 2012 to get out and vote.
STELTER: OK, I hear you, but I want to stay on race. This week, Donald Trump called Clinton a bigot. When he uses a word like that, doesn't that make your job as a pro-Trump commentator harder? I mean, how do you defend that?
HUGHES: Well, I don't think bigot just have to do with race. Bigotry, if you look at the definition, it's someone that's a small minded and sits there and directs hate towards a certain group. Hillary Clinton's speech was all about directing hate towards a group that, well, my fellow counterpart might consider to be racist, it's the exact opposite.
These are God-fearing, baby loving, gun-toting, military supporting, school choice advocating Americans who love this country.
[11:05:06] And just because maybe there might be some, a part of a very small fringe group that reads Breitbart, by sitting there and saying that the entire website is white supremacy, it's kind of just ridiculous as saying that just because you have people at that are anarchist and communist that read "The Huffington Post", calling newspaper establishment, saying they're pro-anarchy and they're against United States government.
It doesn't help create solutions, which is what we should be advocating for today. Not continuing this divide.
STELTER: Let me -- Jamil, go ahead.
SMITH: No, I mean frankly, I think that that's not exactly what I was saying. What they present is that view of white supremacist mentality through their coverage. It's not necessarily saying that, oh, well, everyone who works there is a white supremacist, I don't know that.
The point is saying what kind of viewpoint did they reflect? And it's undeniable that they reflect a white supremacist view if you look over their coverage over the last several years.
STELTER: They would deny that, and I have asked the editors to be on this program in the last two weeks. I hope they will join us next week.
J.D., let me come to you on this. You wrote a book about rural America, about what's driving some of the anger in rural America. Do you believe racial resentment, racial anxiety is any factor in Donald Trump's campaign?
VANCE: Well, any factor I think, of course, the answer is yes, because it's a large group of people and I'm sure that some people are motivated by racist attitudes. But I think it's important --
STELTER: But that's an uncomfortable thing to say, isn't it? I mean, there's so much talk about economic anxiety in this election, less conversation at least I think this week about racial anxiety.
VANCE: Well, I think there's probably too much conversation about both the economic and the racial anxiety because I think if you look at what motivates --
STELTER: Too much?
VANCE: -- if you look at what motivates Trump supporters, it's not necessarily one or the other, it can be a complicated mix of things. And more importantly, it's a sense of social anxiety, right? It's waking up and opening the newspaper and seeing that another kid has died of a heroin overdose, that's a real sense of anxiety that doesn't get talked about as much, but as juts as big a part of this story as the racial stuff or the economic stuff.
STELTER: Scottie, does it sound right to you that social anxiety is a lot of what fuels Trump's rise?
HUGHES: But it's an anxiety about a lot of issues that are going on, that's called truth that we have some problems in this country today.
And I want to address one thing about Breitbart. This -- you know, you want to sit there and say that, you look at their headlines today, the reason why I think media outlets like Breitbart are being targeted is because they're actually talking about the truth. There is nothing racist about the front page. Hillary is scared and her supporters are scared because articles like Breitbart are doing investigative journalism.
Find me a place where they've been wrong on this one when you look at it. Their front page right now says, "Trump goes big tent, plans minority inner cities outreach." How is that racist? "Iowa women bash deceptive Clinton." It's all about her.
The reason why they're being demonized is they're being effective and they're actually telling the truth where a lot of other media outlets, especially online, won't sit there and print these types of headlines or tell these stories.
STELTER: We call it alt-right. I might call it alt-realty as well.
Jamil, do you have a response to that?
SMITH: Yes, I mean, we want to talk about Donald Trump say going into inner cities, and he hasn't done it yet. It's less than 75 days before the election and he hasn't actually himself in front of a black audience.
HUGHES: Actually, he went to Chicago.
SMITH: No, if I may finish, I let you speak.
HUGHES: He went to Chicago.
SMITH: So, the point is that Donald Trump is -- his, quote/unquote, "outreach" is sending a tweet about Dwayne Wade's cousin being murdered on Friday afternoon.
STELTER: Let's put that on screen. There were two yesterday. The first one was regarded as offensive by many people. It said, "Dwyane Wade's cousin was shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago." People don't walk their baby, by the way.
It says, "Just what I have been saying, African-Americans will vote Trump." Later in the day, there's a second tweet, more typical politician tweet. He says, "My condolences to Dwyane Wade and his family on the loss of Dwyane Wade's cousin. They're in my thoughts and prayers."
One problem here is, Jamil, is we're assuming both of these were written by Donald Trump, we don't know if they were. Oftentimes, it seems Trump's campaign staff are posting the more gentle, sensitive tweets from Donald Trump. But you're making a point here about the tone of the first message.
SMITH: Right. The tone of the first message is that, hey, I told you this. I told you so. Not any kind of sympathy, not any kind of, you know, presenting any kind of solutions for in urban crime that's afflicted Dwyane Wade's family, you know, the Aldridge family, not any kind of positive steps towards fixing this. It's just I told you so and African-Americans are going to vote Trump, when in fact the polls are showing that African-Americans are will not vote Trump.
So, I look at this as a way of saying, hey, African-American are living in these militarized hells capes that I told you about, and if they choose not to vote for me, well, then, they must like it like this.
HUGHES: Actually --
SMITH: I think that's a real problem -- I think that's a real problem in how these things are presented because what -- we see headlines saying that Dwyane Wade and Trump spoke out about this. No, they haven't spoken out about this. Dwyane Wade was mourning --
STELTER: That was "A.P." headline we're going to get into. Scottie, give me a brief response?
HUGHES: Real quick, actually and I agree, African-Americans are not going to overwhelmingly vote Republican. However, Mr. Trump right now is trending much better than any other Republican presidential candidate has yet. He's actually engaging more, eight to ten percent according to most polls.
STELTER: That's not true in terms of the polls. (CROSSTALK)
[11:10:02] HUGHES: Actually, yes, they are. This morning's polls, right now, and we'll pull them up in the next thing because I don't want to look at my phone and be rude. He's actually engaging more African-Americans, there are more African-American surrogates out there who are predominant in media waves. They're speaking on the path.
And I think that's why Hillary Clinton is so scared and wants to create this whole narrative, of why if you elect a Republican, we're going to send back to the 1800s, which is completely false and it did not present solutions, which is what I think we should be looking for right now, where Donald Trump says, you know, there's nothing racist about a job, and Mr. Trump, that's exactly what he wants to give and that's scares Hillary Clinton.
STELTER: I do think we should be careful about cherry-picking polls.
Jamil, are you laughing because you feel like the polls, the description of the polls is wrong?
SMITH: I'm laughing because, frankly, I'd love to see some actual policies put forth. And I like to see actually this candidate address black audiences in the way that you seem to say that he is.
He's stressing nearly all white audiences and he's addressing them in rhetoric that's offensive to African-Americans. I would really like to understand exactly how the media is supposed to be objective about that and figure out how exactly we're supposed to talk about that in a way that this is actually supposed to be presented as real engagement of black voters.
STELTER: J.D., last word to you, what do you think the press should we be doing differently in the next three months, as we have to deal with the issue of race during this campaign coverage?
VANCE: Well, I think the press has to be nuanced in how it recognizes that there are some parts that are racial to Donald Trump's appeal, but there are some significant chunk of his voters and his supporters who are not racists, who are just hurting in a lot of different ways, some economic, some social, some, like I said, seeing heroin overdoses in the newspaper.
And frankly, at the end of the day, I think Trump is probably going to lose this election, and the biggest question is, what happens four or eight years from now what kind of conversation are we having?
And if the media wants to do right by the country, I think it should recognize that there are legitimate hurts in these communities because if it keeps on talking about race, as if it's a reductionist issue, as if it's the only explanation for Donald Trump's appeal, then it's going to push a lot of good people away from the national conversation and on to places like the worst parts of the Internet.
STELTER: Can you guys stick around? I'd like to bring back later in the hour. Let's keep going with this.
We're going to break right now though. We have some breaking news about Charles Osgood's retirement. We get after the break.
Also, one story, one tweet from "The Associated Press", coming under a lot of scrutiny this week. The Clinton campaign rebutting some of the claims. So, we're going to dig into and find out what happened with the top editor of the "A.P." She'll join me exclusive right after the break.
[11:16:11] STELTER: Hillary Clinton, guilty or not guilty?
Clinton supporters feel like Clinton's been on trial for this entire campaign season. First, it was Benghazi. Then, her mishandling of emails. And now, it's allegations she had a hand in blurring the lines between where the State Department begins and the Clinton Foundation ends.
This week, an "Associated Press" investigation had everybody talking. It said here, this is the lead: More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while s was secretary of state gave money either personally or through companies or groups to the Clinton Foundation.
Now, this was based on a review of Clinton's State Department calendars, a review that the "A.P." had to fight for in court. Now, the story was scrutinized. But this tweet was especially scrutinized, really wildly criticized. It said, "Breaking, A.P. analysis, more than half of those who met Clinton as cabinet secretary gave money to Clinton Foundation." There's no link to a story there, and that the tweet I would say is inaccurate.
The Clinton campaign and several media outlets have scrutinized the tweet. They said it was wrong. And there's wider questions of why the "A.P." published the story at all. They conducted a long investigation. Did they just want to show they had done the work, did they just want to show they found something even if it amounts so much?
Let's ask the executive editor of "The Associated Press", Kathleen Carroll. She joins me now for an exclusive interview.
Kathleen, great to see you.
KATHLEEN CARROLL, EDITOR, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: Nice to see you, too, Brian.
STELTER: Do you disagree with anything I said there in the introduction?
CARROLL: Well, the idea of scrutinizing calendars of public officials is pretty normal procedure. And people who are aspiring to the highest land (ph) and the office, who've already held public office, they ought to have their calendars scrutinized and taken a look at. The question for me is why has the State Department and the Clinton administration, I mean, the Clinton State Department and beyond (ph) --
CARROLL: -- fought so hard to keep those calendars from us?
STELTER: So, to explain to viewers at home, you filed what's called Freedom of Information Act request, trying to get the calendars. This was years ago.
CARROLL: Six and a half years ago.
STELTER: Eventually, you had to go to court to compel the government to release the calendar.
CARROLL: That's right. And then, when we finally got the calendars, there were discrepancies between those calendars and between the information that was in her emails. So, we went back and said, are there any other schedules that the secretary might have been operating under? And they said, "Oh, you want all of it?" So, they begin releasing under a judge's orders little dribs and drabs of the rest of her schedules, that total schedule for her first two years in office was what this story was based on. A review of who she met with.
STELTER: Because you spent so much time working on this story, did you feel the pressure to publish something even though so many critics have said it didn't amount to much?
CARROLL: Well, I do think it's interesting. We didn't say it amounted to, you know, the end of the world. We said this is an important and interesting thing that people should know about, Clinton's tenure in the highest office that she's ever held, secretary of state, who did she meet with? Who are those people?
We deliberately left out all of the U.S. employees and government officials from other countries that she would have met with in the normal course of her duties as secretary of state.
STELTER: But the Clinton would say some of the people you left in, the 145 you named, some of them would have gotten meetings with secretaries of states as well?
CARROLL: We would have been delighted if Secretary Clinton who would have subjected to our questions for that. She wouldn't answer any questions. If she could have told us that before we did the story, we'd been glad to conclude that.
STELTER: By saying they didn't respond to interview requests, does that give you the ability to just go ahead and publish it and mislead people?
CARROLL: I don't think it was misleading. We don't know why she met with them. She told -- she said so afterwards. I think the issue of conflict of interest is not whether there's an
actual quid pro quo. It's the proximity. It's the impression that people have of maybe they got the meeting because they donated, maybe they didn't. She addressed it herself on Friday, and said, well, she understands that people feel there may have been a problem, and that she'll -- if she's elected, will take steps to make sure that there's not that impression going forward.
STELTER: The Clinton campaign thought you distorted the data that you received. They disputed the methodology used. But did ask for a correction.
How does this work behind the scenes, do they call you directly complaining about the story?
CARROLL: You know, we'd be delighted to have more engagement on this topic with the Clinton campaign.
[11:20:03] We asked them questions. They are unresponsive. They have been unresponsive from the State Department until we sued them to get the documents.
So, we're glad to have plenty of conversations with people about that and anything they want to say to us that we can include in the story that will help i1luminate their point of view, we'll be glad to include.
STELTER: Really, one of the things that was scrutinized the most was that tweet. Let's put it back on screen if we can. It suggested that half of the people that she met overall during her State Department time were donors to the Clinton Foundation. Would you agree that tweet was inaccurate?
CARROLL: I would say that we're a lot better at breaking stories and covering news and gathering video and taking photographs than we are on tweets, (INAUDIBLE). This one could have used some precision.
STELTER: Does that mean regret?
CARROLL: No. If we felt it was wrong, we would have taken it down right now.
STELTER: It was wrong. It says that half of the people she met with were donors.
CARROLL: Yes, I think it was sloppy.
STELTER: Why not delete it? Why not take it down and correct it?
CARROLL: Well, maybe going forward we need to work more on our precision on the tweets.
CARROLL: It linked to -- I would correct one thing that you did say, it did include a link to the story in the tweet itself and the story itself is completely rock solid. As you say, nobody's had anything to say about the story itself.
STELTER: Sometimes a story can leave a misleading impression with people, even if it isn't exactly false, right? By focusing so heavily on something, you give the impression that there's a fire there, when really there's only smoke.
CARROLL: I don't think the story was fiery at all. If you read it, it's measured and it spends a lot of time at the very top of the story explaining what we are writing about, what we're not writing about. Why we excluded the people that she would have met with in the normal course of her duties, but, frankly, that would have been unfair for us to do that.
STELTER: You and I know what happens, right? This is what happens. Let's watch Donald Trump using this story the way he did on campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: And wait until you see what revealed, all of those people now, it looks like it's 50 percent of the people that saw her had to make contributions to the Clinton Foundation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: So, he's taking information from the tweet, extrapolating it and I would say he's misleading people on the campaign trail. Isn't that the problem we face as journalists that our words are taken a shorthand and are cherry-picked?
CARROLL: It's why we right stories with real care and precision and need to work more on our tweets with care and precision. But, you know, all of us can't be held responsible for the way that everybody thinks about and responds and talks about the coverage. Our responsibility is to give them fair and balanced, rock solid reporting. And let them agree with, disagree with it, talk about it, think what they might about it.
STELTER: One more Twitter question for you. This is a tweet yesterday. It also gained a lot of scrutiny online. It says, "Dwyane Wade and Donald Trump speak out on Twitter in the wake of NBA star's cousin's fatal shooting." People said you shouldn't have linked Trump and Wade in this way.
CARROLL: It was clumsy.
STELTER: Clumsy. What do you -- is this a social media problem more broadly for "The A.P."?
CARROLL: I think we -- as I said earlier, we're better at news gathering than we are at promotion. It's not been -- 170 years of "A.P.", the kind of promotion that's second nature to somebody like you.
STELTER: I was going say that I screw up on Twitter on a regular basis. But, you know, social media is difficult and I wonder if you have to talk to the staff about these clumsy tweets.
CARROLL: We do. We do it all the time. And believe me, we will be again.
STELTER: Probably, a problem, or a challenge you didn't face when you took over the "A.P." years ago.
CARROLL: No, that's true, but there have always been challenges in this job and this is the one today.
STELTER: Kathleen, great to see you. Thank you for being here.
CARROLL: Nice to see you too. Thanks a lot, Brian.
STELTER: Appreciate it.
Before we go to break, some breaking news this morning: Charles Osgood announcing he's going to retire from "CBS Sunday Morning" after 22 years hosting the program, the highest rated program on Sunday morning TV. He's not going away entirely, he'll make occasional appearances on the program and he'll continue to host his daily radio commentary.
But when Osgood signs off, Sunday mornings will not be the same. CBS has no comment today on his successor. Most likely successor is Jane Pauley, but today is all about Osgood.
When we come back here on "RELIABLE SOURCES", Donald Trump's shifting positions on immigration. It's being called a flip-flop of a reversal by Univision anchor Jorge Ramos. I'll talk with him about why he says Trump is in panic mode.
Plus, he's call to action for journalists covering Trump. It has one conservative group calling on him to be removed from the anchor chair.
All that right after the break.
[11:28:30] STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.
When it comes to covering Donald Trump, neutrality is not an option. That's what Jorge Ramos says, and what he says matters because Ramos was an anchor on Univision and Fusion, arguably the best known Spanish anchorman in America.
Ramos says Trump is in panic mode now with Latinos. Watch.
STELTER: Very big subject this week has been Trump's shifting views, shifting plans for immigration.
Let's take a look at how his conversation about this has evolved and then I'll ask you about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: You're going to split up families. You're going to deport children.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Chuck, no, no, we're going to keep the families together. We have to keep the families together.
TODD: But you're going to keep together out?
TRUMP: But they have to go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to have a massive deportation force?
TRUMP: You're going to have a deportation force.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're rounding them all up.
TRUMP: We're rounding them up in a very humane way and a very nice way. By the way, I know it doesn't sound nice, but not everything is nice.
To take a person that's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it's so tough. There certainly can be a softening because we're not looking to hurt people.
ANDERSON COOPER: If you haven't committed a crime and you've been here for 15 years and you have a family here and you have a job here, will you be deported?
TRUMP: We're going to see what happens once we strengthened up our borders. But there's a very good chance the answer could be yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Jorge, you've been outspoken about this issue. What's your reaction to Trump's shifting position?
JORGE RAMOS, ANCHOR, UNIVISION AND FUSION: Well, it's -- who knows what he's thinking about the deportation possibilities or the deportation force, he's backtracking on his flip-flop.
I honestly think that Donald Trump is in panic mode with Latinos. I think he realized too late, Brian, that he cannot win the White House without Latinos.
And I have seen the latest polls. Univision says that he might get 19 percent of the Hispanic vote. And Mitt Romney, with 27 percent, lost the election. So, I think he's realizing that he can't win Nevada, Colorado, Florida
without Latinos. You know, almost a year ago, he expelled me from a press conference after I told him that he couldn't deport 11 million people.
Now, just think about it. It's the largest mass deportation in U.S. history. Maybe some people are telling him that it's impossible. It's not only impossible. It would be inhumane. And now he wants to take that back. Well, I think the damage has been done already.
STELTER: He expelled you from that press conference a year ago. Then he invited you back in.
RAMOS: He did.
STELTER: You all had quite a conversation.
Is there a fundamental problem, though, when you have a politician who says so many different things, so many contradictory things from one day to another, that we can't hold him accountable for his words?
RAMOS: Of course it's a problem, but that's precisely our job.
I -- as you know, I recently wrote a column for "TIME" magazine. And I think, in this case, neutrality is really not an option. I think we have to take a stand. And, in this case, Donald Trump is a unique figure in American politics. We haven't seen anything like this in decades.
RAMOS: ... since probably Senator Joe McCarthy.
So, I think, yes, we have to take a stand, and we have to hold Donald Trump accountable for all the things that he has said.
STELTER: On Friday, the conservative group the Media Research Center, a conservative media monitoring group, called on Univision to remove you from the anchor chair through Election Day.
Now, I know that is not going to happen. I know Univision strongly supports you. But they are saying that you are hopelessly biased against Donald Trump.
Well, what do you say to those people who are saying you should be removed from the anchor chair?
RAMOS: Well, what I can tell them is that I have been doing this job almost 30 years. On November 3, it's going to be 30 years as an anchorman for Univision.
And I think I am just a journalist asking questions. And I believe completely in objectivity. If five people die, we say five. If it is red, it is red.
But the other level of journalism is that it is our responsibility to question those who are in power. And that's I think precisely what I'm doing with Donald Trump, because what are we going to do? If a candidate is making racist remarks, what are we supposed to do? Are we supposed just to sit down silently and listen to him?
No, I think precisely our job as journalists is to question them.
STELTER: So, you had this interview with Tim Kaine this morning. Has Donald Trump responded to your interview requests?
I have been trying to get an interview for a year. Maybe you can help me here.
STELTER: I doubt it.
RAMOS: But I have been trying to get an interview for a year. And he hasn't...
STELTER: Yes, why do you think he's not saying yes?
RAMOS: He hasn't -- he hasn't responded.
At some point, he said yes, and then -- but, you know, about a year ago, I sent him a handwritten note with my cell phone number, and he published it online. So, he has my number. If he's interested, he knows how to reach me.
STELTER: But you still have the same number? You didn't have to change your phone number?
RAMOS: I changed the number, but I know he can reach me...
STELTER: You know he has the new number.
RAMOS: ... if he really wants to talk to us.
But I don't know. Maybe, at some point, he will say he will risk it, and then he will decide to talk to us.
STELTER: Well, I wonder what sort of media outreach there is from the Trump campaign to Univision and to other Spanish-speaking news outlets.
What kind of outreach is there? Do you have Trump's spokespeople on your program on Univision, for example?
RAMOS: We try all the time.
For instance, for today's show, for "Al Punto" in the morning, our Sunday political show, we tried every single Sunday to get a spokesperson for the Trump campaign. It is almost impossible. It is not only that we cannot get them. It is that they simply don't respond to our phone calls.
So, if they don't have Hispanic outreach, then how can they win the Latino vote?
STELTER: That's interesting, because you would think they would want to have representatives on your program, the same way that the Democrats provide Hillary Clinton surrogates for your program.
So, what we try to do is to find people who might vote for Donald Trump or people who have spoken to Donald Trump, just to try to give the other side of the news.
STELTER: We're less than a month away from the first presidential debate. I wondered, who do you think should be the moderator? Have you heart from the commission? Have they reached out to you about possibly moderating?
RAMOS: I would love to do that.
But, if it's not me, because the candidates might not want that, Maria Elena Salinas from Univision is fantastic, Jose Diaz-Balart from Telemundo, Tom Llamas and Cecilia Vega from ABC, Maria Hinojosa from NPR.
We have many, many great, fantastic journalists who could do a great, great job in the debates. And it is time, because they're about to announce it. It is time to have a Latino or a Latina in those debates. Twenty-seven million Latinos are eligible to vote. We are the fastest growing electoral bloc in this country. It's about time to have a Latino or a Latina in those debates as moderators.
STELTER: Jorge, thanks for being here. Good talking with you.
RAMOS: Thank you, Brian.
STELTER: On the debates, Dylan Byers reporting the debate decision about the moderators won't come until after Labor Day now.
Meanwhile, Ramos not alone in his frustration with access to the Trump campaign. Trump continues to blacklist some major news outlets.
And, meantime, Trump is challenging Clinton on this, actually challenging Clinton to hold a press conference. Are the candidates both playing dodge the press?
That's next. Stay with us.
STELTER: There's been a lot of talk, most of it unfounded, about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's health.
But both candidates do have an allergy to us, to the press. Now, this week, gave Anderson Cooper a rare interview one day after Clinton called into Cooper's program.
But that is the exception to the rule. Trump has been mostly cocooned on FOX News this month, while Clinton has been declining interview requests all across the board.
The Trump campaign has made much ado of Clinton's press conference reluctance. It is actually a daily talking point now. This morning, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway tweeted: "Day 267, no press conference and no press outrage."
Count me as outraged. I think other reporters are outraged too. For the record, Trump's last presser was 32 days ago.
So, why are they avoiding the press? Why this interview reluctance?
Joining me now, Stuart Stevens, former chief strategist for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. He's a columnist for The Daily Beast.
Talk to me, Stuart, about this tendency by Donald Trump to stay on FOX News this month. Does it actually hurt him come November?
STUART STEVENS, FORMER ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Sure. Of course.
Donald Trump is like an Amway distributor talking to other Amway distributors, instead of new customers. I get that it's comfortable. I get that you can kind of get out your own talking points, because he's not getting challenged.
And it's not just that he's going on FOX. He's going on a couple of -- "Hannity" and...
STELTER: "FOX & Friends."
STEVENS: Yes, "FOX & Friends."
Chris Wallace is one of the toughest interviews in the business, and Megyn Kelly, of course, they have a complicated history and she has been very aggressive.
I think it's one of these things. Sports, they say that you should train your weaknesses and race your strengths and it makes you stronger. He needs to be out there and be answering questions from a lot of people, if for no other reason that it's good debate prep.
STEVENS: Debates are going to be the next big moment. Yes.
STELTER: We are going to get to the debates in one moment. I just got a text message from a Trump aide. She says that Donald
Trump has given 20 press conferences since Clinton's last press conference. So we all know -- it's now a famous stat -- Clinton hasn't given a full-fledged press conference since last December.
I'm not here to say that press conferences are the most important thing in a campaign. They're not. But do you think it matters? Do you think the RNC and Trump are right to make this a talking point against Clinton?
STEVENS: Hillary Clinton should be giving press conferences.
Someone running for the United States should give press conferences. That we're even debating it is just sort of ridiculous. I understand why they're not. They're not because they're winning.
The latest RealClearPolitics average has her up six. She's not behind in any battleground states. So you're sitting there in that room and you say, what are we going to do today? Have a press conference.
STELTER: Does that mean you would be telling her the same thing, to not give press conferences?
STEVENS: You're asking sort of the difference between sort of a civic obligation and a vote-getting obligation.
STELTER: Aha, that's what it's about, yes.
STEVENS: I think that Hillary Clinton can handle press conferences.
If she can't, there's serious doubts there. They have had some problems in press conferences. But one of the things is that when you don't have these things for a long time, when you have one, they become these sort of big, big moments.
STELTER: Yes. Yes.
STEVENS: If you just have them regularly, it kind of like, OK, enough of this.
Jeb Bush was a great example of this. He had press conferences every new minutes, and they just don't become a big deal.
I think she ought to do more. But it's hard to criticize a campaign that seems headed to a historic romp.
STELTER: Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said to me this morning that Clinton will continue to take questions in a variety of forums. No commitment to a press conference, however.
But let me ask you about debate prep. We were talking about the debates a minute ago. There's a report this weekend that Laura Ingraham, the conservative talk radio host and FOX News regular, is participating in debate prep. She might play Hillary Rodham Clinton if Trump ever gets in front of -- behind a podium and does that kind of practice.
We also know that Roger Ailes is there at debate prep, the former FOX News chairman who had to step down last month, and, of course, Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart, now running Trump's campaign. Is this a conservative media takeover of the Trump campaign and of debate prep?
STEVENS: I think you have to separate Steve Bannon from Breitbart from conservative media. Breitbart is -- I mean, they're in the hate business. They're a bunch of nuts.
STELTER: Why do you say the hate business, that is very strong language.
STEVENS: Well, read Breitbart. That's what they are.
There's this whole alt-right thing, which I think is just repackaged racism, trying to put a better name on it, and xenophobia.
STELTER: And to be fair, you are a Republican strategist. You ran Romney's campaign four years ago. And you're sitting here saying that one of the most popular Web sites for Republican readers is a hate machine?
STEVENS: Yes. I mean, read it.
STELTER: What does that say about the party?
STEVENS: Well, listen, I don't think much about what -- Trump's nomination says anything good about the party.
We lost 2012. We went to the so-called autopsy, which I think Reince Priebus deserves a lot of credit for doing that. The path forward is clear. Republicans have to appeal to a larger section of the country, which means non-white voters.
You can debate whether or not there's a moral obligation. I would argue there is, but you can't really debate that there's a political mandate. You're not going to win.
Mitt Romney got 59 percent of the white vote and lost. Ronald Reagan got 56 percent in 1980 and won 44 states. It's just math. And I think that, you know, as for Laura Ingraham, actually, I think she's probably a very good choice as Hillary Clinton to play.
She's whip-smart. She was an attorney. I think that's smart. And Roger Ailes used to be one of the best there is in debate prep business. He hasn't done that in a long time. But the overall picture is that if we had just said a year ago or a
year-and-a-half ago, Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee and Breitbart is going to be running the campaign, how do you think they're doing? We probably would have said, oh, this is going to be bad. And it is bad. It's just sort of the basic realty of who the candidate is and who's running the campaign.
STELTER: Stuart Stevens, thank you for being here this morning. Great talking with you.
STEVENS: Thank you, Brian.
STELTER: Up next this morning, a new development this morning. Donald Trump wants "Morning Joe" to apologize for this TV segment. What is he doing in the final 75 days of the campaign putting out a statement about "Morning Joe"? We will talk about it and we will show you right after the break.
STELTER: Welcome back.
This morning, Donald Trump calling on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to apologize for what he calls -- quote -- "a gang attack" on one of his on-air supporters, Pastor Mark Burns. He says this was -- quote -- "one of the most appalling things I have ever seen on television."
So, go ahead. Watch how it began on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MORNING JOE")
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, CO-HOST, "MORNING JOE": Let me see if I understand you, first of all, where you come from here because -- on your candidate.
When he made the comments he made about the judge, saying he was a Mexican, was that racist or not?
REV. MARK BURNS, HARVEST PRAISE AND WORSHIP CENTER: Well, I think that...
BRZEZINSKI: I just want to know if it was racist or not. I just want -- that's all. And then I can move on with the conversation. But I need to know where you stand on things in terms of reality. So, were those comments racist or not?
BURNS: Well, I think it's important to understand. I think, if I was in Mr. Trump's shoes and I had a very controversial policy that offended many millions of -- potentially millions of Hispanic people...
BRZEZINSKI: But you know he was not -- he was born in America. Were the comments racist or not? I just want to know.
BURNS: Let me finish my statement, OK?
BRZEZINSKI: Well, I'm asking for the question to the answer, not a statement. Could I have an answer to the question?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: It devolved from there.
This morning, Trump out with a new statement. We have just posted it on CNN Money.
It says: "Liberals like Mika Brzezinski and MSNBC believe they are morally superior and will try to beat down those who are different. Pastor Burns deserves a public apology from Mika and MSNBC immediately."
I'm back for a couple more minutes with my panel, Jamil Smith of MTV, J.D. Vance, author of "Hillbilly Elegy," and Scottie Nell Hughes, CNN political commentator.
Scottie, I'm torn on this. I don't understand why Trump is ever picking fights with TV anchors 75 days before an election.
At the same time, I felt like parts of that segment were downright rude. Do you feel like Trump supporters are sometimes uniquely disrespected on television?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's definitely a roller-coaster ride. There's definitely some hosts that are kinder than others.
But I don't want to sit there and harp criticism on MSNBC or any of their hosts or FOX News. But I'm not the candidate who time after time again is getting just completely -- these panels are sometimes not necessarily in his favor, and his guests, as he is very, very loyal, protective, are pretty being pretty much beaten up.
We joke that it's kind of like Daniel in the lion's den day in and day out. And for all of those journalists that are complaining about Mr. Trump not going on the airwaves, it might help by not insulting them, by not saying that he's racist or his comments are racist.
Then you might have a better chance of getting him on your airwaves, like we saw this week with Anderson Cooper and Kellyanne Conway ,a very respectful interview. And a few hours later, guess what? Donald Trump was on Anderson Cooper's show, and he was rewarded with the number one show in that time slot that night.
I think Mr. Trump knows that he's got a power...
STELTER: Interesting point you're making about the ratings there. I know that's a rating message. Jamil, what is your theory on why Trump would speak out about Pastor
JAMIL SMITH, MTV NEWS: Well, my theory is, it's part of his black pitch, so to speak.
I think really when you have a guy speaking out, defending a black surrogate against a white host, so to speak, what you have here is a guy here saying, hey, look, I'm not racist. I'm defending my black host against this -- my black surrogate against this white host's attack.
Really, the idea of calling this a gang attack is ridiculous. And I think, frankly, if you're a journalist, and you care more about making sure that Donald Trump is comfortable with you, so that you can book him for a show, for an interview, frankly, you're not doing your job.
STELTER: Well, comfort is one thing. Fairness is another.
J.D., in the 30 seconds I have left, do you sense unfairness in the treatment of Donald Trump by the press?
J.D. VANCE, AUTHOR, "HILLBILLY ELEGY: A MEMOIR OF A FAMILY AND CULTURE IN CRISIS": I think some things the press says is unfair, but I think some things the press says about every presidential candidate is unfair.
I think Harry Truman is a president who is very popular where I'm from on both sides of the aisle. And I believe he once said, if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
I get a little sick of presidential candidates of both sides whining all the time about how the media treats them, because there are bigger problems in the world.
HUGHES: And for the record, Donald Trump has come to my defense and other females. Race has no issue with him defending -- he defends people that are there out there taking the heat for him.
STELTER: I appreciate the three of you being here and talking through this, this morning. Thank you all.
When we come back here in just a moment, another bombshell at Fox News, another high-profile host filing a sexual harassment suit against Roger Ailes, and this time against the network as well. What is the latest? You will have it after the break.
STELTER: Finally this morning, fresh signs that the Roger Ailes sex harassment scandal is not going away any time soon. This week, a second FOX personality joined Gretchen Carlson in suing
Ailes. Andrea Tantaros, a former noon and 5:00 p.m. host, called FOX a sex-fueled Playboy Mansion-like cult in her suit, which alleged she was demoted for trying to report Ailes' harassment to other FOX executives.
My reporting shows there's a lot of skepticism inside FOX News about the veracity of her claims. There's one claim in the lawsuit about me that is flatly untrue as well.
Geraldo Rivera told me this. He said: "The suit is not sincere. It's a vindictive screed designed to damage reputations and hurt feelings."
Nevertheless, the suit opens up another legal fight for Ailes and for Fox. The Murdoch family forced Ailes to resign a month ago, but there are still fresh revelations about Ailes almost every day.
This week, "Vanity Fair"'s Sarah Ellison reported that two guns were found when Ailes' office was cleaned out, ammunition, too. Ailes' lawyer says the gun were permitted and appropriate.
He had other kinds of weapons as well, rhetorical weapons, like opposition researchers who sought out dirt about his enemies. And here's an example.
I obtained the oppo research that Ailes ordered up against Gabriel Sherman, the "New York Magazine" writer and Ailes biographer who was on this program a few weeks ago. Two years before Sherman's book came out, some people working for Ailes -- we don't know who exactly -- produced 400 pages worth of research about the reporter, voter registration information, his home purchase records, funny tweets he posted years ago, et cetera, et cetera.
It's just a small look at how Ailes treated a reporter, like his opponent in a political campaign.
You can read my full story all about it, including Sherman's reaction, at CNNMoney.com/media.
And while you're there, sign up for our newsletter, our nightly RELIABLE SOURCES newsletter. Send me a tweet. Let me know what you thought of today's show.