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"Basket Of Deplorables" Sparks Media Frenzy; Hillary Clinton Not Feeling Well, Leaves 9/11 Event Early; NBC Faces Storm of Criticism After Presidential Forum; Remembering September 11 Fifteen Years Later; What Does Fox Settlement Mean? Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired September 11, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:06] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning. I'm Brian. And this is RELIABLE SOURCES, our weekly look at the story behind the story, of how news and pop culture get made.

And this morning, we begin in Lower Manhattan, a live look at Ground Zero, the marking of the 15th anniversary since the 9/11 attacks.

Later this hour, I'll talk with former CNN anchor Aaron Brown about his experience leading CNN's coverage that day. We'll talk about how that day changed news forever. It also changed our politics.

In some ways, 9/11 is the day that never ended. So much of this year's presidential debate is centered around issues involving terrorism, how to combat it, whether the candidate did or did not support a decision to go into Iraq after 9/11. And on the flipside, there's also been in some ways a marginalization of Muslim Americans. Lots of conversation about Islamophobia.

In fact, that's what we heard just a couple of days ago, Hillary Clinton speaking at a private fundraiser saying that many, half, she says, of Trump supporters are Islamophobic, or racists or sexists.

Let's look at what she said.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You could put half of Trump supporters into the basket of deplorables. Right? The racists, sexists, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.


STELTER: There it is, "basket of deplorables". I think that's a phrase that's going to be with us for the rest of the campaign and probably beyond. This might be a fight both Clinton and Trump want to have.

It clearly sparked an uproar which included this response yesterday from Republican vice presidential candidate, Mike Pence.

All right. I think we have it. We will get to that. But you know that he, of course, said this was a very offensive

comment. Trump said the same thing. And Clinton did express regret for at least part of it. She called her comments grossly generalistic, never a good thing. She said she regretted saying half of Donald Trump supporters are deplorable, however, she will continue to speak out about bigotry.

This whole Did the press rush to talk about whether Clinton was right to talk about trump supporters? Did they talk about whether she was smart instead of being right? Is she getting treated differently than trump with statements he makes?

Let's talk about that with an excellent panel. Joining me here in New York, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the editor and publisher of "The Nation Magazine", Tara Setmayer, CNN political commentator, and in Washington, David Zurawik, media critic for "The Baltimore Sun".

Thank you all for being here.


STELTER: David, let me start with you. I misspoke there. What I'm trying to say is it felt to me like Twitter and television rushed to talk about whether Clinton was smart to make the comments, and never actually talk about whether she was right to say them, whether many Trump supporters are racist or bigoted. Let's be honest, some of Clinton supporters may also fall into that category.

Do you feel like the press is trying to tiptoe around the issue of whether some Trump supporters have prejudicial views, and just skipping ahead to the easy conversation about politics?

DAVID ZURAWIK, THE BALTIMORE SUN: You know, Brian, there's always that tendency to sort of talk about it in terms of political terms. Was this a wise move? How will this play? Will it hurt with this group --


ZURAWIK: -- or that group?

That's what we do. We do way too much of it. It's a criticism that has been here for 30 years and we never get better about it, which tells you something about our learning curve.

STELTER: It frustrates a heck out of me.

I mean, let me ask you, Tara. You are a conservative commentator. You're always a never Trump person, I would say. Tell me, do you believe there's accuracy to what she said? Or is there a percentage of Trump supporters that are sexists and Islamophobic and bigoted?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Unfortunately, I think that's been clear. We've -- this campaign has unearthed some of the most vile and despicable aspects of human nature and in ways that I have never seen before. STELTER: Was she wrong to say half though?

SETMAYER: I think, yes, that's where she got into trouble. And I had this conversation on Twitter yesterday about this where I said anytime you start putting a number on something that is really unquantifiable, you get yourself in trouble. If she said a number of, and I think it's valid. There's a large enough contingent of people. And we've seen it because of social media and there's other avenues now --


SETMAYER: -- for these people to crawl out from the rocks that they were under, and feel emboldened to make these kinds of awful comments and sexist, racist, Islamaphobic things. Just with the idea of the alt-right, being something that's now in our normal conversation is troubling in and of itself. And that is a direct byproduct of Donald Trump's candidacy, unfortunately.

STELTER: I do want to say it again, though, data indicates some Clinton supports also hold prejudicial views.


STELTER: I have a feeling -- well, I know for a fact, the data says there's more of a concentration of Trump supporters who have prejudicial or hateful views.

Katrina, is the press wary of talking about that, though? It feels to me like, we don't hear oftentimes reporters talking about that.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I'm still waiting for the debate about serious issues in this deplorable campaign.

[11:05:00] STELTER: I'll tell you what? We'll do that in a moment.

But I do want to pause and go back to camera one and go to some news that Jeff Zeleny has. He's joining me I believe on the phone. Actually, he's on the line there in Washington.

Jeff, tell us about Hillary Clinton, the news developing this morning out of New York.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brian, we do have a statement right now coming in just moments ago from Nick Merrell, a spokesman for Secretary Clinton about her appearance at Ground Zero this morning. I will read the statement to you right now.

It said, "Secretary Clinton attended the September 11th commemoration ceremony for an hour and thirty minutes this morning to pay her respects. During the ceremony, she felt overheated, so she departed and went to her daughter's apartment. She is feeling much better."

So, again, this is coming on the heels of what's been really unfolding in New York for about 90 minutes or so, Brian.

STELTER: Right. ZELENY: She was seen by some law enforcement officials leaving abruptly. And then, we were not told exactly where she was. The statement now coming out from the Clinton campaign, from Nick Merrill, again, I'll repeat to you. He said, "During the ceremony, she felt overheated and departed to go to her daughter's apartment."

So, she is at Chelsea's apartment in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan. That's where she is now, Brian. Of course, this is all, you know, being discussed. There have been questions raised by her opponents about her health and other things.

But she was seen this morning leaving Ground Zero and the statement out from Nick Merrell saying she was fine, she was just feeling overheated this morning. We also have some other reporting from our other colleagues here.

Let me look at this right now, Brian. It says she left the 9/11 event because she was not feeling well. Secret Service agents were helping her into her van in the motorcade. Someone saw that happening, a law enforcement official is telling CNN as she was helped in her van at Ground Zero and she was taken to Chelsea's apartment, and she is at her daughter's apartment right now in New York, Brian.

STELTER: Very worrisome news to hear, obviously, Jeff. As someone who covers the Clinton campaign, what can you tell us about how frequently Clinton may have any health issues, because obviously for years, there have been conspiracies online promoted by conservative websites, saying that she is secretly ill. The campaign has denied that. And her physician has said she is fit to serve as president.

ZELENY: Indeed, her physician has said she is fit to serve as president. She's released much more medical information than her rival has, of course, but still has not released all records as others have over the years. Now, this, certainly, is going to prompt and renew and raise more questions about her health potentially here.

She is 68 years old. She will turn 69 in October, before Election Day. It has, you know, we have seen it a lot over recent weeks, you know, some selected images and pictures and video of her stumbling.

STELTER: Taken out of context.

ZELENY: Taken out of context. Yes.

And I can tell you, Brian, after, you know, I cover her a lot day in and day out on the campaign trail. Her schedule is very aggressive. We heard Donald Trump often saying, oh, she is taking a nap in the middle of the day. That's not true. She has a very rigorous campaign schedule.

On Thursday, for example, I flew with her all day as she left the airport there in Westchester, you know, around 10:00 a.m. after doing a press conference and we returned at 11:00 p.m. She had a couple of different campaign stops, a couple of different fund raising stops, and working along the way. So, she's definitely is keeping up a rigorous pace here. But there are going to be questions about her health. In this

incident, this episode, the situation this morning in Manhattan is just the latest example of that. But the fact of the Clinton campaign putting out this statement this morning saying she felt overheated at Ground Zero and was taken to her daughter's apartment is the information we have right now at this hour -- Brian.

STELTER: Jeff, thank you very much. Appreciate it. We will stay close to you and check back in. Let me turn back to our panel and ask David Zurawik question about this.

David, full disclosure, this news happened earlier in the morning on Twitter, a FOX reporter reported this according to one law enforcement source. We and other news outlets have been waiting for confirmation, of course, reaching out to sources in the meantime. That's how it should work in the news business.

I want to ask you what you think the media and the political implications of this are, especially how a story takes root online, how rumors spread before facts actually catch up.

ZURAWIK: Yes, let me tell you what I actually thought in my heart of hearts sitting in the green room when I found out about this and it was only FOX reporting it. It looked like it was one source, then it was a little fuzzy about the second source. But I thought, wow. They better be right about this because if they're not, the possible implications of what they are reporting, if they are wrong, this is awful.

My feeling was, you -- on something like this, Brian, you wait until you have at least two sources you are comfortable with. This is not something you go out there -- it was also reported with details, alleged details I should say about the physical appearance of the candidate and as she got to the van.

[11:10:05] I don't want to repeat those because I don't know they are confirmed and I never would.

STELTER: Let me give you an example of that. Let me give you an example of that, David. Full disclosure to our audience, people are saying she is at the hospital, which is not true. CNN's Dan Merica is outside the apartment building where Hillary Clinton is with her daughter. So, it's a sample of misinformation that could happen.

ZURAWIK: Yes, and this was textbook, the careful way it was reported here. Only what they confirmed.

Look, if it's worse for this, there's time for it. But you wait until it's confirmed with something that is this, possibly volatile in terms of this election, this close to the election. You go with extreme caution. I was surprised to see anybody reporting it without confirmation. Certainly not online and social media, but elsewhere.

STELTER: Katrina Vanden Heuvel, let me ask you about this as well, sitting here thinking about the implications of this, I would be worried anytime any candidate had to leave an event like a 9/11 anniversary ceremony because they weren't feeling well. The reporting is she is feeling better now, all is well.

But, Katrina, what do you think the possible ramifications of this could be politically for Hillary Clinton?

VANDEN HEUVEL: Well, one's thoughts and sympathy goes to Hillary Clinton. This presidential campaign, all presidential campaigns have been brutal. This has been a scorched earth one.

But I think what we are going to witness is further debasement of a possibility of a real serious political debate. Donald Trump is probably writing his tweet right now. I suspect it's not very thoughtful. You're going to have just gin up throughout a system. The Trumpism system, this has used this to -- for many reasons.

It's a proxy issue for the Trump campaign. So, I do think we are going to see a further debasement of political debate in this deplorable campaign. And we, you know, Donald Trump has, with his normalized, hate and bigotry, racism, misogyny and preyed on American's legitimate grievances.

And the fact that Hillary Clinton -- part of her -- second part of her speech was never reported. It's never good to go after voters. She should focus on Trump. But there's no question Trump and Republicans played dog whistle politics for decades in order to prey on legitimate grievances, particularly the white working class and have given us lousy, right wing extremist policies.

And I think we need to focus on that, with all due respect to Secretary Clinton. Health, let's listen to her doctor, let's not listen to Trump's tweets, which are bound to come.

STELTER: I did just check his Twitter account. He hasn't weighed in yet. Maybe he will.

Go ahead, Zurawik.

ZURAWIK: Yes, one fascinating -- just factually, Katrina said the second half of her speech was never reported. Actually, it was reported in full in "The New York Times".

VANDEN HEUVEL: Not sufficiently.

ZURAWIK: It was reported in "The New York Times" Saturday morning, the first report I read.

STELTER: Certainly, we have played the full sound byte here and things like that.


ZURAWIK: So, it wasn't never reported.

VANDEN HEUVEL: It wasn't given enough attention, David. Let me correct myself.

ZURAWIK: OK. STELTER: There's a proportionality conversation to have there.

Tara, just one more thought on the issue about this health concern about her leaving this event early. There's a difference between conspiracy theories, the make up stuff about Clinton's condition, and legitimate concerns, legitimate questions about what is going on with her health. I think we have those questions about all candidates.

Tara, what do you expect to have as a result of this story this morning? What do you expect will happen as a result?

SETMAYER: Well, it's no accident that Donald Trump hired Stephen Bannon of Breitbart, who traffics in these kinds of conspiracy theories on a regular basis for a reason. They are using these kinds of issues to gin up all kind of feelings, like Katrina said, and it really takes away the focus from what matters for the presidency.

You know, today is 9/11. And we look at -- we reflect on what happened that day and the way that President Bush handled that with such grace and resilience and resolve. And it makes us, as Americans, step back and look at this race and look at the candidates and really have to decide, who do you think would be able to step up to the plate and be an honorable representation of this country in a time of crisis?

You know, foreign policies, really, where the president of the United States had the most influence. I think that all these other distractions take away from the fact that we have a candidate in Donald Trump who is grossly inadequate in that area and then we have a candidate in Hillary Clinton who has inadequacies also, but in a different way.

But the American people need to see through a lot of the muddy, very ad hominem personal attacks. It's such a Jerry Springer type politicization of issues that really don't matter to the American people. I think that we need to stay focused on what the office of the presidency represents and especially on days like today.

So, I hope we don't see a "National Enquirer" type response from Donald Trump. He needs to remember that he is running to represent this country.

STELTER: I was going to accuse all of you of pivoting away from my question but it's probably the right response. If we have more reporting and less speculating about this issue, we will be better off.

That said, Katrina, Tara, David, please stick around here.

[11:15:01] Just to reset for the audience at home, Hillary Clinton leaving the 9/11 ceremony early this morning said she was not feeling well. She is now apparently better. She is at her daughter Chelsea's apartment in Manhattan. The Clinton campaign saying she is now feeling better this morning.

Taking a break here. We're back in a moment with more on the 9/11 anniversary, including Aaron Brown's reflects on what it was like to enter the coverage that fateful day.


STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.

Let's take you live to another part of Manhattan here, where you can see Hillary Clinton's vehicles, her motorcade parked outside Chelsea Clinton's home. Apparently, we are told Hillary Clinton is there with her daughter, Chelsea, at the home. You can actually see that, the so-called Scooby-Doo van, outside the house now.

Earlier this morning, Clinton abruptly left the 9/11 15th anniversary commemoration ceremony. Clinton's campaign saying she was feeling overheated, so she did leave early and unexpectedly. She departed to go to Chelsea's apartment. The campaign saying she is now feeling much better.

We'll keep you on top of the story. More coverage throughout the day here on CNN as we get any more information. You can see there an update from our reporter on the scene.

Let's turn now to in some ways a reality check about the role of journalists in this election. Many media critics said NBC's Commander-in-Chief Forum on Wednesday night was the latest example of a journalist falling down the job. That journalist, Matt Lauer, drew widespread criticism. One executive said to me that his performance was a disaster.

[11:20:01] Others acknowledged they agreed with the critics.

And at the heart of the criticism was a problem that many journalists have struggled ever since Donald Trump announced his candidacy, fact checking.

Now, Matt Lauer failed to do that after Trump said this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I happened to hear Hillary Clinton say I was not against the war in Iraq. I was totally against the war in Iraq from -- you can look at "Esquire Magazine" from '04. You can look at before that.


STELTER: Now, since Lauer didn't push back, "Esquire Magazine" did. They republished the 2004 interview with Trump with this editor's note, quote, "Trump has repeatedly claimed to have been against the Iraq War from the beginning. The Iraq War began in March 2003, more than a year before this story ran, thus nullifying Trump's time line."

There is no public evidence that Donald Trump was opposed to the invasion before it began. After it began in 2004, et cetera, he was opposed to the Iraq War.

Joining me now again, my panel hear to discuss this. Katrina Vanden Heuvel, the editor and publisher of "The Nation Magazine", Tara Setmayer, CNN political commentator, and David Zurawik, media critic for "The Baltimore Sun".

Thank you all three for coming back with me.

Let's talk about the role of a moderator. What happened with this forum on Wednesday night puts even more pressure on the debate moderators. We are 15 days away, Tara, from the first debate. Do you believe the moderators should play a fact-checking role in case of the one we just saw?

SETMAYER: Well, you know, under normal circumstances, we should say no. I mean, two commissioners from the Presidential Debate Commission came out and said they don't want the moderators to be fact checkers. That's not necessarily their role.

But what we've seen in what Donald Trump has done even the Republican debate is that you almost have to be a referee, because he speaks in untruths so often. I mean, he can say things five different ways within the same paragraph. So, it's difficult for just the average viewer who is nowhere near as informed, say, all of us who follow this every single day, to just watching, just want to decide who's telling the truth.

Well, it's very difficult to do that. I think it's a tactic on the part of Donald Trump so you can't pin him down on anything specifically. So, in this case, you never want the moderators to be the story, right? That's been an axiom in media for years, but it looks as though that's going to be the case.

And that could also be something that Donald Trump wants because, again, it distracts from his missteps. That's what happened with Megan Kelly. She became the story, not -- it wasn't by any fault of hers, per say, some say it was, but she became a story because of an ongoing fight between her and Trump and it took away from --


SETMAYER: Correct.

STELTER: David, where you do stand on this? What should Holt do in this situation, 15 days from today?

ZURAWIK: Well, as egregious a claim as Trump made, you cannot let it pass. And, Brian, I think if you have someone with better journalistic chops in their chair, everything in their brain would have went red alert, we have to correct this right now.

STELTER: So, you're saying Matt Lauer doesn't have journalistic chops? He's been on the "Today" show for 20 years. He's a figure on broadcasting.

ZURAWIK: Brian, he's been a news reader, Brian. He's been a presenter. He's been an --

STELTER: I don't think that's true. ZURAWIK: No, no, no --

STELTER: I put more of the blame on the producers. I put more of the blame on the producers who ran the show.

ZURAWIK: Yes, I do, too. I put a lot of blame on the producers.

But he does not -- listen, this is NBC once again, tilting in the direction of show business instead of journalism on events like this. They had Chuck Todd, they had Andrea Mitchell, they had two outstanding journalists who could -- who I can't imagine would have let that pass. They were not in that chair because they had somebody who was better in a showbiz sense.

And even the veterans there said they felt they were propped for a showbiz production. That's going on, Brian, especially networks. The networks are bad. Cable has a better sense of this, although cable makes -- TV news is a hybrid of showbiz and news. I'm wearing make up to talk about news. I get that.

But they tip in the direction, way too often, of show business. And this was a mistake. Matt Lauer shouldn't have been in that chair. And if he is, his producers should have taken better care of him. I agree with you.

VANDEN HEUVEL: David, I think -- David, I think you make a bigger point than Matt Lauer. The news shows have become the prime poster children of the -- they show the obliteration of the line between entertainment and news.


VANDEN HEUVEL: I think we saw another installment in 2016, a master class on how not to hold candidates accountable. This is not a matter of Trump or Clinton, left or right. Due diligence on the part of journalists means holding candidates accountable for facts at a basic. And I think the other problem is, I thought it was scandalous that Matt Lauer gave a third of his time to grilling Hillary Clinton on the e-mails.

It's appropriate, but think of the enormous, urgent issues facing this country as we sit here on 9/11 and so little was fully addressed in that forum.


STELER: -- two hours, though, we could have gotten more talk -- Clinton and Trump were not given more time.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I gathered the campaigns didn't want more time.


[11:25:00] SETMAYER: Well, I agree that the e-mails are an issue that are of great importance considering Hillary Clinton's position as secretary of state -- VANDEN HEUVEL: More important than the nuclear issues?

SETMAYER: I -- not more important --

STELTER: Many care about the e-mails and what it means --

SETMAYER: Yes, classified information, the handling of that information and whether there was --


VANDEN HEUVEL: -- crisis more important than --

SETMAYER: No, I think it should be dismissed. How Hillary Clinton handles classified information and issues of great importance and foreign policy in this country and who she was talking to and why and what they were doing, or were they manipulating information, was it unsecure for a reason? Why did she do it?

The Clinton campaign still has not really addressed why she did this. She apologized but why. And that motivation is important for people to understand. So, I don't think we should cast aside. They don't want to talk about the issues --


VANDEN HEUVEL: There are large, urgent issues facing this country.

SETMAYER: Oh, without question.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I mean, my bias is we shouldn't have had a Commander- in-Chief Forum. How about forum on how to bring peace to this world?

STELTER: Hey, I would love nightly forums between now and election day.

Let me pause here. The three of you -- thank you all for being here.

After the break, more on the moderators. This challenge for Lester Holt and the other moderators, how to hold the candidates accountable.

And what about Chris Wallace at FOX? What his relationship to Roger Ailes and Donald Trump? We'll get into that right after the break.


[11:30:24] STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. Let's look live at the World Trade Center site where the One World Trade Center building stands tall. Of course, 15 years ago today the Twin Towers were attacked. They collapsed and about an hour ago 15 years ago today.

And this is one of the most memorable shots from that day. This is Aaron Brown on the roof of CNN's old bureau in Midtown Manhattan. Everyone has a 9/11 story. Mine starts with hearing the words, "what channel is CNN on?" We turned on the television and never turned it off.

Aaron Brown helped and so many other people feel a little less afraid that day. He anchored all the way until midnight, until one in the morning. And he was never even supposed to be on that air that day at all. And he was going to start work in a few weeks on a new show that you probably remember called "NEWSNIGHT."

So I spoke with Aaron recently. I wanted to hear his reflections in a rare interview about what happened on that day for him and for other journalists.


STELTER: When you started to anchor, the Twin Towers, had been hit, but the Pentagon had not yet been hit. When you were told that Washington was now also a target, what was that like to know there were now multiple fronts of this attack?

AARON BROWN, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: I think there was a pervasive sense of not so much what's happening but, what's next? Are they going to hit a shopping center in Omaha? Are they going to hit a movie theater in Chicago? Are they -- what, precisely -- and, Brian, what I would say about that is to some extent that went on not for minutes or hours, but for days.

STELTER: I think we forget what that true sense of terror was. I think about a moment in your broadcast when you heard a fighter jet overhead and you mentioned it making you nervous to hear a plane in the sky. Were you ever afraid that day?

BROWN: Well, I remember the plane going over. That's funny, I hadn't thought about that in a long time. No. I mean, I'm not trying -- believe me, I mean, first of all, you have known when me a long time. I'm not trying to be a hero, you know, all this. I had my hands full.

It was almost like, I was way too busy to be afraid of anything. When it ended at one-something in the morning and I sat down in the corner of the roof, then a lot of things happened. A lot of emotions happened.

But, man, I was -- I was busy trying not to screw something up. This was the biggest moment in my lifetime in every sense, in the history of my country, in the history of my business, in my personal, professional life. I just wanted to get it right.

I wanted to get it right for my audience, for the audience, for the people who employed me. I wanted to get it right for the history.

STELTER: Let's look at that. This is the first tower falling, and what strikes me about this is I think you knew it was happening, and didn't want to say it. Let's take a look.


BROWN: There has just been a huge, explosion. We can see billowing smoke rising. And I can't -- I'll tell you that I can't see that second tower, but there was a cascade of sparks and fire and now this -- it looks almost like a mushroom cloud. The explosion is huge.

Billowing smoke in the second tower. This was the second of the two towers hit. You know, I cannot see behind that smoke, obviously, as you can't, either. The first tower in the front has not changed.

And we see this extraordinarily and frightening scene behind us of the second tower. Now, just encased in smoke. What is behind it, I cannot tell you. But just look at that. That is about as frightening a scene as you will ever see.


STELTER: You must have known through that smoke there was nothing there, but you couldn't see it yet with your own eyes.

BROWN: I would say two things. One is, I felt in that moment profoundly stupid.


BROWN: I -- I will tell you, because -- I will tell you that a million things had been running through my mind about what might happen. About the effect of a jet plane hitting people above where the impact was, what might be going on in those buildings, and it just never occurred to me they would come down.

[11:35:00] And I thought, it's the only time I thought maybe you just don't have what it takes to do a story like this, because it just had never occurred to me.

Secondly, I was trained by who I believe is the best anchor ever born, Peter Jennings. And one of the things Peter would always say is don't get ahead of this. If you can't absolutely say it, as in know it, then just don't.

And, I couldn't -- I didn't know if the top third, the top half, I didn't really -- because, I mean, I can't see what you can see, but I could see it. And so I didn't know, really, what had happened, other than the top had come off.

And I was trying to figure out a way to say I'm not sure without sounding even dumber, frankly, than I felt.

STELTER: Let me look at one other moment. This is the second tower falling. When you did seem more prepared for what we were seeing.


BROWN: There is a large fire at the Pentagon. The Pentagon has been evacuated. And there, as you can see, perhaps, the second tower, the front tower, the top portion of which is collapsing. Good lord.

There are no words.


STELTER: Silence is what you used in that moment. When you see it now, what stands out to you?

BROWN: First of all, from the moment the first tower fell, there was a clock ticking. And it was ticking in my head, it was ticking in the heads of hundreds of millions of people in America and a billion people around the world who were watching it because if the first tower fell, the second one was going to fall, too.

And we all heard this clock ticking. As I think about it now, 15 years later, OK, is that the story we -- it's not that we didn't tell it. It's that we -- there was so much to tell that we wouldn't highlight it quite enough. Not because we were bad at what we did or that we didn't try or any of that, there was just so much happening.

Is that in that moment there were men, mostly men, firemen and policemen, who were running into that building that was collapsing. And knowing that they were never going to come out.

And I think when that building fell, I understood better than at any other point in my life, before or since, what the word hero meant. It's not that we didn't try to tell that story great. It's that the story itself is too great to tell.

STELTER: You made me a little bit less afraid that day. I'll never forget the experience watching you...

BROWN: Thank you.

STELTER: ... as a viewer. Do you still hear that 15 years later? Because we're at the point now where this really is history.

BROWN: Yes. It was something that I was fortunate professionally to do, and painful as an American to live through. It's a weird contradiction that journalists live with. The ambivalence of, on the one hand, loving the big story, and on the other hand, hating the fact that that story is happening.


STELTER: Aaron Brown's lesson there is to tell the story, but never get ahead of the story.

Let's return now to the site of Ground Zero, now the site of One World Trade Center. These are live pictures from the memorial where families are continuing to read the names of the 2,983 victims of that day. It goes on for hours and hours.

Six of those names that will be read are broadcast engineers who were working on the 104th and 110th floors of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. These were workers for local television stations whose antennas were on top of one of the towers. Important to remember media workers, among the many who were lost that day.


[11:43:24] STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter. You are looking live outside Chelsea Clinton's apartment. And I will tell you why. In case you're just joining us, Hillary Clinton left the 9/11 commemoration ceremony early, about two hours ago. This is because, according to the campaign, she felt overheated. She needed some assistance getting into her van, part of the Secret Service motorcade.

She then went to her daughter Chelsea's apartment. You can see it here in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan. She is inside the apartment now. We are showing you this because we are expecting her to come outside at any moment. So we do want to show you that when it happens. We will keep an eye on that picture in the meantime.

Turning back now to the week's media news, and there has been a lot of it. FOX's parent company with a huge settlement this week. Let's back up though and talk about FOX News more broadly.

This fall FOX News is celebrating its 20th anniversary. And this, right now, is the most uncertain, unstable time in the network's history even as its ratings remain as high as ever.

Now FOX's parent company settled the lawsuit brought by ex-anchor Gretchen Carlson, just saw her there, a settlement to the tune of $20 million. That was to settle her suit against ex-FOX News chief Roger Ailes, alleging sexual harassment.

On the same day that settlement was announced, Greta Van Susteren, the 7:00 p.m. anchor, was yanked from the FOX News lineup and she was replaced by Brit Hume. Van Susteren wrote this on Facebook. She said: "FOX has not felt like home to me for a few years. And I took advantage of the clause in my contract which allows me to leave now."

That clause in her contract is what's known as a "key man clause." If you haven't heard of it, that's because, well, most networks don't have them. But FOX did for a number of their top stars. This clause allowed her to walk out the door because Ailes had walked out the door.

[11:45:01] And there was even more FOX News news this week. So here to talk about all of it is the reporter who broke the news about the settlement, Sarah Ellison, contributing editor at Vanity Fair. And joining me from D.C., Jane Hall (ph), a professor of communications at American University, and a former FOX News contributor.

Sarah, $20 million for Gretchen Carlson, and Roger Ailes received more than $40 million when he left FOX, under pressure, back in July. What does this settlement mean? What does the apology from the Murdochs mean?

SARAH ELLISON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, VANITY FAIR: Well, it's an unprecedented sort of apology. Normally in a settlement, you don't have any kind of admission of wrongdoing or any kind of an apology. It showed that they were really trying to hand her an olive branch.

And in fact, it was one of the things that she had strongly requested be part of her settlement.

STELTER: Stand by, Sarah, for one moment. Let's go back out to the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan. Hillary

Clinton walking out of Chelsea Clinton's apartment right now, waving to the cameras, possibly taking questions. Let's see if we can hear.

Sounds like she's being greeted by well-wishers, including one girl in the street there. This is right outside Chelsea Clinton's apartment. And the significance of this is that Hillary Clinton did leave the 9/11 ceremony earlier due to some health concern. She wasn't feeling well at the time.

Jeff Zeleny is back with me now, covering the Clinton campaign.

Jeff, fill us in on the significance here of her now coming out before the cameras for the first time in a couple of hours.

ZELENY: Brian, they clearly want to show that she is alive, well, and walking there. She waved to the cameras, as you can see. And it looked to me like she said it's a beautiful day, from this distance couldn't hear her say that, of course. But that's what it looked like what she said.

And it is, in fact, around 80-82 degrees or so in Manhattan. It's a very humid day, a muggy day, I'm told by our reporters on the ground there.

But, look, they clearly want to make the image here that she is walking, and she is moving, and she is, you know, taking on her day here. We are not expected -- at least she is not scheduled to be in public anymore at this point.

But, Brian, just to recap, this comes on the heels of after she visited the Ground Zero ceremony this morning, she was there for about 90 or so minutes. Her campaign released a statement saying she felt overheated and had to leave.

She was seen being helped into her vehicle, into her van there by some Secret Service agents and others. You can see again here she is walking out of the apartment. She has her sunglasses on. She is waving to the reporters there.

So clearly, they are trying to make the case she is -- you know, is doing well and is fine. But, Brian, you have to wonder, will they be sort of forced to release more medical records here because she is being criticized by her opponents here, the questions have been out there, is she healthy?

We don't know that she's not. She has released more than Donald Trump, without question, but both candidates have released far less information than other candidates have over the years.

STELTER: Yes, normally, breaking news would not be Hillary Clinton leaving her daughter's apartment. But given the ongoing questions about her health, largely brought up by conservative media outlets, but also by reporters, it is significant that she did have to leave the ceremony early down at Ground Zero. Let me mention what her doctor said a few weeks ago. This is mid-

August, released by the Clinton campaign. "Secretary Clinton is in excellent health and fit to serve as president of the United States."

That is from her personal physician as of a few weeks ago. We don't have evidence to the contrary. But whenever there's any kind of health scare, maybe that's what you call this, this morning, it does mean reporters are going to be asking more about this.

Do you also think it was significant that for about an hour-and-a-half the press pool that usually travels with her didn't exactly know where she was?

ZELENY: I think that is significant. It is called the protective press pool for a reason. Once a candidate becomes a nominee of a major party, both sides, there is a protective press pool around them like there is the president of the United States.

That's a small group of reporters, one from a broadcast network, one from the wires, one from the print organizations. And they, in fact, were not informed as to her whereabouts.

They -- you know, it's a constant struggle, not unique to this campaign at all. It certainly plays out in the Trump campaign as well.

This protective pool is not always right with the candidate. That's our request and our hope and goal, but the reality is we are often left behind here. But the Clinton campaign did rush to put out a statement at the top of your broadcast, as you know, Brian, to clarify that, you know, she is OK and was feeling overheated.

But I do think that in the coming days this is going to, you know, keep playing out. It's on the cover of the National Enquirer this week. I saw a copy of it last night at the supermarket.

Again, we do not follow up on...

STELTER: Yes, you know, they had that horrible -- let's be honest, Jeff, they had this horrible photo on the cover of that supermarket tabloid. Clearly, Hillary was Photoshopped in the picture. I thought it was disgusting.

And yet, even though there are these conspiracy theories, which we should not give oxygen to, saying that she is secretly ill, suggesting she is on her deathbed, which we can she is not, there are legitimate questions to ask by reporters.

[11:50:06] And I think that's the distinction here to make.

ZELENY: Right. It is a distinction, no doubt about it. Like I said, she has released more information than Donald Trump has, but both of them have released far less than John McCain did and Barack Obama did, than Mitt Romney and Barack Obama did, going back much beyond that.

But the picture on the tabloid did looked doctored. I see her most every day. That looked nothing like her. And she has joked about it, Brian. I think we saw her on TV...

STELTER: Yes, good point.

ZELENY: ... a couple weeks ago saying, you know, look, they've predicted that I would be on my deathbed by October and I'm still here. So she has made humor of this. And I think that this could go one of two ways here. If the other -- if her critics keep this up and criticize her, this could certainly motivate and inspire some of her supporters as well here.

But we see her waving there, again. She's scheduled to go to California tomorrow. She will be on the West Coast for three days this week. As of now, her schedule is going forward here, Brian.

But you have to wonder if the campaign may feel some compunction to put out some more information on her health simply to move on with this.

She also has complained of allergies. We heard her coughing spell last week. It is allergy season, as any of us who suffer from them realize that. But this is certainly something that likely will not go away in the coming days -- Brian.

STELTER: Hillary Clinton reportedly on the way now to her home in Chappaqua. We'll stay on it. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.

We'll take a break here, regroup, and back with more RELIABLE SOURCES in just a moment.


[11:55:43] STELTER: We're out of time here on RELIABLE SOURCES. But log on to for more of my interview with Aaron Brown, about his experience as anchoring on 9/11.

You can also sign up for our nightly RELIABLE SOURCES newsletter, I'll be sending it out in just a few hours with more insight on FOX News and all the rest of the day's media news.

Thanks for tuning in. "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper is next.