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Blizzard of Misinformation After Security Scare; Donna Brazile Out at CNN Amid Leaks to Clinton Campaign; How Donald Trump Changed Journalism; What Changes for the Media After the Election? Aired 11a- 12p ET

Aired November 6, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:08] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey. I'm Brian Stelter. And it's time for a special edition of RELIABLE SOURCES. This is our weekly look at the story behind the story, of how the media really works, how the news gets made.

A special welcome now to our viewers here in the United States and around the world on CNN International.

We're live from our nation's capital where we're about to find out if Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will be moving into their house right behind me, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

There are fewer than, get this, 60 hours until the first polls close. We're counting down by hours now.

And then the healing begins, right? Hopefully? So, will the news media help or will it hinder that? Today, we're going to try to answer that question.

We have a jam-packed program with limited commercial interruption so we can cover this from every media angle, starting with a week full of media missteps, mistakes, and opportunities.

Joining me now, an all-star panel of top editors and journalists. Michael Oreskes, the head of news at NPR, Lynn Sweet, a columnist and Washington bureau chief for "The Chicago Sun Times", Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for "The Washington Post," and Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor in chief of "The Atlantic Magazine".

And I think we all have to start with the security scare in Reno last night. Donald Trump being rushed off the stage by security because a Trump protester, a Republican against Trump was holding up a sign, creating a motion in the audience.

Now, we saw on Twitter after this happened, after Trump returned to stage and all went well, that one of Trump's advisers called this an assassination attempt. And then a couple people close to Donald Trump, like his son, retweeted that message, creating this narrative that there was an assassination attempt against Mr. Trump.

Jeffrey, let me start with you, what are the consequences of this kind of blizzard of misinformation after a security scare?

JEFFREY GOLDBERG, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE ATLANTIC: Well, bad information moves faster than good information, right? But we have seen this over and over again in this race. Traditional media, meaning people who try to deal in fact-based observations, can't keep up with the torrent, the blizzard, whatever you want to call it.


GOLDBERG: They can't keep up. And social media allows people like those in the Trump campaign who were tweeting that, to move right past us.

And so, by the time that news gets out, we're just playing catch-up and saying, no, no, this is not actually what happened. This is a very dramatic instance of that.


GOLDBERG: Assassination attempt is about as serious as you can get, and another example of how we're just always playing catch-up with people who don't care about fact-based observation.

STELTER: Karen, is it much worse, is it qualitatively and quantitatively worse this year, as someone who is covering politics every day, is there more misinformation, more disinformation than there used to be?

KAREN TUMULTY, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRSPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON: I think there's both an issue with the quantity and the velocity.

STELTER: Velocity.

TUMULTY: Because the real problem is, too, that even when somebody tries to rein in something that was initially misspoken, initially misstated, you know, a wrong impression, I think you used to be able to do that. By now, by the time you figure out what the actual facts are, the not facts are way far ahead of you.

STELTER: And then, of course, there's so much fake news. There's information that's misleading, there's claims about politicians that are bogus. But then there's websites that are trying to trick people every day, Lynn, websites trying to hoax people. All I see on Facebook are people buying, being tricked.

LYNN SWEET, COLUMNIST AND WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, I think the biggest media story of this campaign is the rise and the total control that Twitter has over the messages, which then influenced Facebook and everything else. You have an example that you used of the assassination of Trump, the only reason it came out so fast is because Twitter exists. And it never existed to this point.

We know that Trump is the master exploiter of Twitter because even if you have wrong information that we have talked about, until the rise of Twitter, even if you had bad information, even if you wanted it out, Brian, you couldn't have. That's the big story here is that -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You used to have 10, 20, 30 minutes. Now you have

five seconds.

STELTER: There's wishful thinking happening. People are inclined to believe some of these lies. Here's an example of that. Let's play Donald Trump, something he has been saying all week long, claiming the television networks won't turn their cameras around and show the audience.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not easy. I have to put up with some of the most dishonest people in the world, the media.


They never show crowds like that. Look at that, goes all the way back. They never show crowds. They don't show crowds.


STELTER: For the record, we do show crowds. The other networks show crowds as well. There's one pool camera, Michael, that is fixed on Trump at all times. That's on purpose so that if something happens onstage, we have a shot of Trump. Other cameras do show the crowds.

MICHAEL ORESKES, HEAD OF NEWS AT NPR: And, by the way, there's one pool camera focused on Hillary Clinton.

STELTER: As well. So why does Trump keep saying it when he knows it's not true?

ORESKES: Because he can reach lots of people with whatever his version of reality is. I think it's really important for us as journalists to take a step back and say, yes, the world has changed.

[11:05:07] And, yes, Twitter and Facebook and digital media in general have changed a lot. Twitter may or may not be around five years from now, but there will be something.

STELTER: There'll be something like it, yes. Something even faster.

ORESKES: And we need to really frame what we're for, not what our problems are. We've got a lot of problems, but we also believe in something that matters more than it's ever mattered, which is that verifying and establishing what's actually a fact has become more essential than ever before. If we frame ourselves as having that as our purpose, I think a lot of people do actually come back to us for that.

And one of the things that's interesting is while there's a lot of nightmarish things happening in this election about falsehood and flat out lying, the public, I'm not sure, is reacting as quickly to all of these things as we fear they are or as we do. So, I think the role we can play with the public, if we focus more on them and less on these immediate twists and turns, will actually prove a real role for us. SWEET: Which I think the media, writ large, especially the

organizations with resources, you know, for whom much is given, much is expected. Need to play that role much, much earlier in this campaign.

STELTER: You're saying you wanted more aggressive coverage of Trump and Clinton earlier on.

SWEET: More fact-based, more fact checking earlier on, more -- I'm using the word investigations, but some stories were just kind of routine.

GOLDBERG: Calling out lies when they're obviously lies. It was hard, though. Very hard, because we have a -- we're in a novel experience.

STELTER: How so?

GOLDBERG: I think one of the candidates blows past the truth fairly regularly and doesn't care when he's called out. And his followers, many of his followers, don't care when he's called out. We -- it's hard to adjust to anything new.

SWEET: And we were too slow to adjust. Every sign was there. I know books -- media books will be written and a lot of introspection, deservedly so, but media writ large was slow to pick up on a lot of this.


TUMULTY: But at least -- by the way, at least social media is transparent, when something that is false gets out on Twitter, you can watch it happen. You can watch it happen on Facebook. Where you can't see, where it's sort of subterranean is, you know, these e-mails we have all gotten that have forward, forward in the subject line. And that, I think, in some ways, is the more pernicious information that's out there.

STELTER: And part of this is on the audience. The audience has to be skeptical about those e-mail forwards. But also, even about cable news.

Let's look at FOX News this week. Anchor Bret Baier on Wednesday claiming an indictment is likely in an FBI inquiry into the Clinton Foundation. Let's play two sound bites. First, this is Bret Baier on Wednesday, reporting inaccurate information from anonymous sources and on Friday, walking it back and apologizing.


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The investigations will continue. There's a lot of evidence. And barring some obstruction in some way, they believe they'll continue to -- likely an indictment.

That just wasn't in artful. It was a mistake. And for that, I'm sorry. I should have said they will continue to build their case.


STELTER: Many Clinton critics still believe an indictment is impending and it's because of that FOX News report. Karen, what went wrong here?

TUMULTY: Well, first of all, I should say, I mean, I think Bret Baier is a terrific journalist.

STELTER: One of the best FOX has.

TUMULTY: He is absolutely -- he's cautious, and checks his facts. He says he misstated something. I believe he misstated something.

But this is a case, too, of the velocity. It's already out there. It's already being repeated over and over again. Even as Bret Baier himself stands up and says, hey, I screwed up here.

STELTER: People don't want to believe his backtracking, but they do want to believe the original report.

Jeffrey, isn't this partly, again, wishful thinking by the audience?

GOLDBERG: By the audience and by Bret. Now, Bret is a really good reporter. But --

STELTER: You think he was too willing to believe his anonymous sources?

GOLDBERG: Look, it's -- yes, I mean, well, absolutely. The problem here was it was from what I understand one source. And here's a basic journalism mistake, we have all made it at different points but --

STELTER: He may have had multiple sources on the word indictment, but he had one source on a claim -- a different claim he also retracted that 99 percent -- there was a 99 percent chance that her private e- mail server had been accessed by five foreign intelligence agencies. He said he said that on-air with one source.

GOLDBERG: But the atmosphere that has been created around this subject makes what he heard credible. And therefore, as the reporter, he feels he can move that forward. And again, not to single him out, although this was his mistake this week, people have done that. And you go in the direction that the culture is moving, and that's what happened.

STELTER: I tell you what I'm really worried about. I'm worried about some kind of leak on Tuesday morning, an anti-Clinton or anti-Trump leak, something that comes out through a seemingly reliable source intended to interfere with the election, and it can't be corrected in time before people go to the polls.

[11:10:06] ORESKES: But this is again, we're talking about it from the point of the view of the audience is really important. I think people are a little smarter than we sometimes give them credit for. They know that last-minute things have always happened in elections. I think they know that a lot of things that are being said at the end

of this election need to be taken with a grain of salt. And besides all of that, they're making their decisions on much bigger questions. And a lot of those big questions revolve around trust and an engagement across communities. And the country's big problem, which then becomes our big problem, is people don't trust each other. People don't believe in each other, people don't respect each other.

And one of the big questions for us after this election is, we can call out people all we want for truth, for lying, we can do all of that and feel good as journalists. It won't make any difference unless we have built better connections to broader audiences. And the fact is that all of these news organizations, this one, FOX, everybody else, are speaking --


GOLDBERG: People seem to be impervious. They're just impervious. They're built -- they're hermetically sealed. They don't seem to take in new information.

ORESKES: That's all right. But I'm going to focus on being the glass half full.

GOLDBERG: You're an optimist. And I'll be the pessimist for the purposes of this panel.

ORESKES: But you're right, some people are. There are a lot of people are.

GOLDBERG: That's one of the discoveries of this cycle.

SWEET: Fellas, one thing doesn't cancel out another, OK? You can have both. Of course, you want to know who your readers are better. Of course, you want to do fact-finding.

I think you want to encourage reporters who make mistakes, Bret Baier, I applaud him for doing what he did. You know, he made a mistake. He said it. His apology was clear and precise.

The irresponsibility was of the Trump forces who wouldn't let it go after he said he made a mistake.

STELTER: Who keep saying there could be an indictment, yes.

SWEET: Right.

STELTER: And to your point, Michael, about trust and about audiences. We need to keep understanding and covering Trump's America whether he wins or loses. There was too much --

ORESKES: And, by the way, Sanders' America, and a lot of African- American America, Latino America. There's a lot of people in this country who do not feel connected to society as a whole, and they don't feel connected to us. STELTER: You mentioned trust. So, let me talk about CNN and Donna

Brazile. This week, CNN announced longtime commentator Donna Brazile had resigned in mid-October. This was after the WikiLeaks dump of stolen e-mails show that she had sent one of the questions she received from TV One's Roland Martin over to the Clinton campaign. This was for a joint CNN/TV One town hall.

Now, that was bad enough. But then this week, one of the new WikiLeaks e-mail dumps showed that during the Flint, Michigan, debate here on CNN in March, that Donna Brazile also heard about a question and then sent it to the Clinton campaign.

Now, Donald Trump, of course, has said a lot about this. He said it's unfair both from Brazile's point of view and that Clinton might have known the questions in advance.

Now, to be honest, the Flint question was basically Donna Brazile just saying they're going to ask about the water and what you're going to do in Flint. It was a pretty obvious question.


TUMULTY: But, so why send it, why send it if it's such an obvious question?

STELTER: This brings up loyalty and conflict of interest. First, let me show you what CNN said this week about the matter once they announced Brazile had already resigned.

The statement from CNN read in part, "We're completely uncomfortable with what we have learned about her interactions with the Clinton campaign while she was a CNN contributor."

Now, the best sense we have, talking to executives at CNN, is that this question in Flint came from a community member. Not from a CNN staffer. There's no indication that the so-called cone of silent where debate prep happens was ever breached.

But I wonder, Michael, this brings up a serious question about the CNN and other cable news commentators who have dual loyalties, who in this case, Donna Brazile, working for DNC while also working for CNN.

ORESKES: Yes. I mean, I'm not going to give any other news organization advice. I have enough trouble figuring out how we should do things. But it's real a important to do a couple things. One is obviously total transparency. I mean, it's not actually a big mystery that Donna Brazile is a loyal and firm supporter of the Democratic Party and of Hillary Clinton.

STELTER: But she embarrassed all of CNN by talking to the campaign this way.

ORESKES: And the system creates that kind of a problem because the surrogates for the Republicans are always in communication with various other Republicans, the surrogates for the Democrats. But I think one of the places where the network, the cable networks

get in trouble is they mix up people who are in that kind of role with people like us. And to be honest, I feel good at least on this panel, I'm pretty confident I know that everybody on this panel is coming here as a journalist, perhaps as a representative of an organization, but not representing anything outside of our sphere.

SWEET: Right.

ORESKES: When you see a lot of panels, both on FOX and CNN, there's a mix of people. Some are paid surrogates for parties. Some of them are journalists, some of them are --

STELTER: But don't you need the journalists there to correct the surrogates?


GOLDBERG: A moderator can sit there and correct the surrogates, but this mixing is one of the dangerous aspects of it. I totally agree with Michael on that.

TUMULTY: But she was not a surrogate. CNN hired her. She was a partisan with a paycheck from CNN.

[11:15:00] I think that's a totally different situation. When somebody has under their name CNN contributor or FOX contributor or MSNBC, newspapers have dealt with this for a long time on the editorial page. Television doesn't have that.

STELTER: So, television maybe has still to figure it out a little more than it figured out so far.

GOLDBERG: You've got to get the categories straight. You've got to get the categories straight.

STELTER: Let's look at another example actually of Lewandowski, CNN contributor, highly controversial. Some viewers do not believe he should be paid by CNN. Others, you know, believe he's an important addition.

Kellyanne Conway tweeted this picture of standing with Corey this week, the hashtag, #teamwork. Of course, this caught a lot of attention. Another example of a CNN commentator obviously communicating with and talking with campaign staffers.

It's not surprising, though, he would be communicating with Trump staffers, is it, Lynn?

SWEET: It's not surprising but I think the cables have to do a better job of not looking like they're buying the inside information, which is what it kind of do when you pay somebody to commentate and to be on your team when you really know that they are still connected to the other team.

TUMULTY: And in Corey Lewandowski's case, CNN hired somebody who supposedly inside information, not as long as he's got that nondisclosure agreement going from the Trump operation. And it should be pointed out, was still getting paid by the Trump operation.

GOLDBERG: This is on the networks. You cannot expect Corey Lewandowski not to be Corey Lewandowski. You're --


STELTER: This is on the networks, but Corey Lewandowski makes the broadcasts better, right, because you learn the Trump point of view from Lewandowski. The argument for paying him would be that you get him exclusively.


GOLDBERG: Just set up a debate with Corey Lewandowski and Donna Brazile and moderate it and have them on television. You'll know what they're representing but don't say they're CNN employees, say they represent --

SWEET: But now that you've raised the subject, I think -- I'm on these panels and it's with people who say that they're always what the vague term, they're a Democratic adviser, Republican adviser. You don't know their clients. It's never announced.

GOLDBERG: Everybody is a Republican or Democratic strategist. Never heard of them.

SWEET: Who have -- who often have consulting firms, and you don't know -- you don't know without asking them to disclose a list. I don't think -- I have never been on your show when you say, by the way, Democratic adviser, who are your clients this cycle?

STELTER: You know, it makes me think about Karl Rove at FOX as well, who is raising millions of dollars. Paul Begala at CNN who works with a Clinton super PAC. A lot of examples of this.

SWEET: Right.

STELTER: Maybe the bottom line is that after this election, it's time for reevaluation of some of these relationships.

SWEET: I think that's a good idea because you want expertise, but you have to figure out a way that if these are people who are also players to either define the role more, everyone knew -- I think Brazile was an official at the DNC even before she was an interim chairman.


SWEET: Maybe just have to figure out a way to define the role more to say, we have people here in a dual role -- role as a player and participant as well as our analyst.

STELTER: Participant. That's a great word for it, participant.

GOLDBERG: None of us is saying that Corey Lewandowski should not be on CNN. Just label him correctly, maybe don't pay him. He will come on anyway to advocate for Donald Trump. So, maybe it's an issue of pay. Maybe it's an issue of labeling. But we certainly need to hear from him and we need to hear from Donna Brazile.


TUMULTY: Also, there was an issue within the Democratic Party in that Donna Brazile was passing herself off as sort of a Democratic Party official, but --

STELTER: A neutral --

TUMULTY: A neutral among these campaigns. What the e-mails showed was that for all her declared public neutrality here on CNN, she was actually working with one side versus the other in the Clinton/Sanders primary.

ORESKES: One good rule of news manage management is that whenever you write a check for anything, be sure you know what you're paying for and you can explain it.

STELTER: All of you, I appreciate the conversation. We need to have it. Transparency is crucial when it comes to these situations and also with regards to misinformation, all these fake news online. Thank you all for being here.

Coming up next here, well, in TV terms. We're approaching the end of the ultimate reality show. Just think about it. Donald Trump has been producing and programming the Trump show since day one of his historic campaign. I mean literally producing it.


TRUMP: Look at all the cameras like the Academy Awards. This is like the academy awards. Let's go, ready. Turn off the lights. Stupid mike keeps popping. I would love to have those cameras turn over here and show those people. Don't turn the lights on.

Gave me a defective mike.

Look at that guy. Don't turn the camera. Turn it.

Take the cameras off me and pan the crowd, OK? Go ahead, pan the crowd. Pan it.


STELTER: Now, this has been frustrating to Democrats like President Obama. This week, Obama has been telling audiences, hey, this is not "The Bachelorette" and he's been critiquing the media's coverage of the race, what he calls the normalization of Trump's offensive views and outright lies.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But now, we act like I guess this is normal.

[11:20:00] And as if -- as if it's -- as if it's some parody. You can't tell the difference between "Saturday Night Live" and what's actually happening on the news.


STELTER: Well, on Tuesday night, you will be able to tell the difference. Election night is the series finale, but it's serious business. Right now, conventional wisdom holds that race has tightened. The Trump campaign says it's expanding the map, finding new paths to 270 electoral votes. And that has some Trump critics worried.

My next guests produce a podcast that's become a huge hit this year. It doubles as a form of therapy for worried Democrats. It is the "Keeping It 1600" podcast co-hosted by CNN's Dan Pfeiffer, also a former senior adviser to President Obama, and Jon Favreau, who is President Obama's former chief speechwriter.

Great to see you both this morning.

Jon, let me start with you. Is this race tight, as we keep hearing on cable news or is it actually rather steady and predictable?

JON FAVREAU, CO-HOST, KEEPIN' IT 1600: Yes, I think it's been pretty stable all along. You know, this has been a four, five, six-point race from the very beginning. There's a few bumps here and there, but like public polls go all over the place, and all we try to tell people is just look at the fundamentals of the race, and, you know, don't freak out all the time.

STELTER: The most popular word on your podcast, Dan, is the word bedwetters. Your whole podcast is about talking to Democratic bedwetters who you say who worried too much about the state of the race.

Do you think of your podcast as a form of therapy? What do you model it on?

DAN PFEFFIER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it has become that to a lot of people who are looking -- there's a lot of anxiety on this election, for good reason, because a Trump victory would be disastrous for the country.

What we try to do is break through the noise. There's a lot bad polling, a lot of misunderstanding about the state of the race. We try to explain based on our experience working for President Obama how elections work and why you should have confidence. It would be a different podcast if the fundamentals of the race were different and those are closer race.

STELTER: Do you think of your podcast as being a bit like Nate Silver's role in 2012, providing data to Democrats saying, hey, President Obama is still very likely to win? PFEIFFER: Neither of us are math majors, so we don't compare

ourselves directly to Nate Silver. We can't do that kind of math. We have become for a lot of people a place to go to try to understand what's happening in the race, and data is on the side of Democrats. And we provide data, it makes Democrats feel better.

STELTER: I think media with a point of view, what you're doing, is increasingly playing a role. I wonder if you think there's a version of what you're doing on the right?

PFEIFFER: Well, there are a lot of really smart Republicans who like Mike Murphy who have started a podcast that are very good. There is much more of a right-wing media infrastructure that people can turn to if they're looking for confirmation bias.

We don't pretend to be journalists. We don't -- we're not telling people what the news is. We're helping explain the news with an obviously biased partisan perspective, but with real world experience in how campaigns work.

STELTER: Explaining the news. Jon, Jon, let me go back to you, because you had many gripes about cable news this year, about media coverage in general.

But what you say is your -- if you could change something, you could be a cable news executive right now, what would you have changed about the coverage this year?

FAVREAU: Well, look, you were just playing the clip of President Obama complaining that this is treated like a game, right? I mean, I was talking, I was complaining to a very prominent pundit about how his coverage of Donald Trump was much more about Trump's personality, political skills, the game of it all, as opposed to substance and policies and his character.

And he said, well, you know, that's the job. Hitler was a goo politician, too. And I'm like, that is crazy.


STELTER: You can go ahead and tell us who you're talking about.

FAVREAU: What's that?

STELTER: You can go ahead and tell us which person you were talking about.

FAVREAU: I'm not going to do that. But --

STELTER: Do you think that journalists bring a certain bias to coverage? What kind of bias is that?

FAVREAU: Yes, that's what I'm saying. I think the mistake is people think it's partisan bias, like some journalists or pundits are in the tank for one side or the other. And I don't think it's that. I think it's a bias towards horse race coverage, it's a bias towards sensationalism, it's a bias towards keeping this dramatic and exciting for people.

And, look, I understand the need to do that. I understand the impetus to do that, but, you know, we have -- this election, there's so much at stake right now, and a lot of people are scared about the outcome. And I think there are lot of stories that have gone ignored because we focus way too much on the horse race coverage.

STELTER: I think you're right that we need to acknowledge the fear of many people have on both sides. That's what's different about this year.

Let's look at the CNN poll of polls real quick. The most recent poll of polls bringing the five most recent national reliable polls all averaged together by CNN. It shows only a thee-point spread this morning. The latest NBC poll factored in. Clinton, 45 percent. Trump, 42 percent.

Jon, why is that not very drama dramatic? Why is that not something that should be covered as a minute by minute horse race when there's only a three-point difference between the two of them?

FAVREAU: No, I think that should be covered as a tight race, you know? But it's also -- I think we should realize how stable that is, right? I think it's been -- we have had wild swings.

This is what Dan was talking about. We had wild swings in public polls, but the campaign has always believed and I think if you look at a lot of the data, it's a relatively stable race. It gets tighten once in a while. Her lead gets bigger once in a while.

[11:25:00] But, overall, you know, yes, but it should be covered as a tight race.

STELTER: Here's what I want to know from both of you before I have to let you know. Dan, someone who worked in the Obama White House behind us, now as a cable news talking head, I don't mean that disparagingly, what are you going to look for on election night?

PFEIFFER: Well, I'm going to look very quickly at the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, because the only way in which Donald Trump can get to 270 is to win one of those states. I don't think he has any more than an infinitesimal chance to win those states, but if one comes off the map, then he gets a better path. He still has a narrow path, but he has a path.

STELTER: And, Jon, how about you. What will you be watching for and thus what should viewers and anchors watch out for?

FAVREAU: Yes, I'd be looking at Florida because I think that there's been a huge Latino surge in the early vote. And I think if she has banked a couple-point lead in Florida when the night starts, it will be very hard for Trump to catch up. I think she'll win it narrowly, but if she wins Florida, that closes off all his paths.

STELTER: What happens, Jon, after the election? Will your podcast continue? FAVREAU: We'd like it to. If people still want to listen, there's

going to be lots more to explain. So, we're happy to keep doing it.

STELTER: All right. What is it, 300,000 downloads? Interesting to watch how these podcasts have taken off in this election year.

Dan, Jon, thank you for being here this morning.

PFEIFFER: Thank you.

FAVREAU: Thanks, Brian.

STELTER: The collective American mood right now is best summed up by this "TIME" magazine cover out this week. It's a double entendre saying "The End is Near". It sure is, which means long days and sleepless nights for journalist in the final stretch.

So, let's go behind the scenes here in D.C. with one of the most powerful men in this town, Martin Baron, the executive editor of "The Washington Post."

Marty, great to see you this morning.


STELTER: Do your journalists at "The Post" headquarters two blocks away have to write multiple versions of multiple stories getting ready for election night because we don't know what the outcome is going to be?

BARON: Well, we can't do everything. There's so much that's uncertainty right now, but there's a habit of writing some skeletal information so that people are ready depending on what the outcome is. So, people prepare, but it's very hard to prepare for this particular election because there could be any number of different outcomes.

STELTER: Has this election year been particularly grueling on your staff? And if so, why?

BARON: I think it has. First of all, it goes on for a long time. As we know, it's been two years really that everybody has had to endure this. And I think that there's been so much venom and hostility during this campaign that it's unusual in that respect, and so, I think that's been particularly hard.

And also, the press has been the subject of so much attack. And while we're used to being criticized, it's been particularly difficult this time.

STELTER: Looking back several months, we can put up Trump's Facebook posts from the summertime. This is when he banned the "Washington Post" from receiving press credentials at his rallies. That ban was lifted for "The Washington Post" and every other news outlet that was banned a couple months ago.

It was a big deal for the campaign. They were proud of themselves when they lifted a ban that shouldn't have existed in the first place. What was your reaction to the ban, the black list? What did -- how did it affect your coverage and are you concerned if Donald Trump moves into the White House behind us, there could be some sort of hostility like that if he's president?

BARON: Well, my reaction then was that it was a repudiation of the role of an independent press and a free society. And that's my reaction today. I don't think it should have been imposed then. And I have the same feeling today.

The impact on us during the primaries was not so great. There were all these rallies, things like that, and we could attend those rallies and just be part of the general audience.

During the general, it was more difficult because he was moving around much more quickly and there were places that we couldn't go. When he went to Scotland, his golf course in Scotland, we were not -- we were not included. We had to stay outside of that club.

So, you know, the press always wants to have access. You need to be there. You need to be a witness. And when you're excluded, you're not able to do that.

STELTER: What happens if he's elected?

BARON: In what sense? I mean, the hostility, I think the hostility will continue. In fact, I think regardless of who is elected, there will be a very difficult relationship between the White House and the press corps.

STELTER: I wanted to ask you about that, the prospect of a Clinton presidency. Some people have said no matter who wins, we're going to see even less transparency from the next administration. Why is that?

BARON: Well, look, there hasn't been a warm relationship between the press and the Clinton campaign and Hillary Clinton herself. She's had a hostile and suspicious relationship with the press for a long period of time. And that's been evident throughout this campaign.

With Donald Trump, that's been open hostility. He said at one point, I'm not running against crooked Hillary. I'm running against the crooked media.


BARON: And he has called us from the lowest form of human being to actually the lowest form of life itself, and in recent weeks. He's called us the enemy.

So, obviously, it's going to be a very difficult time if he's elected. But we'll have to deal with whichever administration ends up in the White House.

STELTER: Let me go back to Clinton for a moment. You said she's been suspicious of the media. Why is that? Does she have reason to be?

BARON: Well, you know, I mean, the media has an obligation I think to vet both candidates, both major party candidates.


I think that's what we have done. That's our obligation. That's our job. I think that we have done that with regard to the Clinton Foundation, with regard to special employment arrangements for her closest aides, with regard to speaking fees, and with regard to a whole range of issues.

And we at "The Post" were doing that as early as 2015 as soon as she got into the race, and we have been doing it throughout the campaign. So, no candidate likes that, but that's our responsibility. We have done that with regard to Hillary Clinton, and we have done that with regard to Donald Trump as well.

STELTER: I was looking at your Web site this morning, and looking at the most read box, the list of your top five stories. Four were about Trump. One was about Clinton.

Does it matter financially to the future of the news business if Donald Trump doesn't win? We know he's click bait. We know people love to read about him. Is it actually going to cause news outlets like "The Washington Post" to feel a financial hit if he's not president?

BARON: Well, I really don't know. I don't know what the result is going to be. And I don't think that we should speculate on that.

I think that there's a heightened interest in politics and in policy right now. And regardless of who is in the White House, there's going to be a lot of interest in what's happened -- what is happening.

STELTER: So, you're not so concerned about a giant drop-off in page views, off the cliff, after Election Day?

BARON: Well, I think there will be a degree of normalization, but I'm not expecting a gigantic drop-off, because I think that, if Hillary Clinton is in the White House, there's going to be an intense interest in her administration and what happens and her relationship with Congress.

And I think, if Donald Trump is in the White House, all sorts of things could happen that people are going to be enormously interested in as well. And I would expect those to generate a lot of interest, and, therefore, a lot of traffic to our sites.

STELTER: This morning, your front page -- we will put up on screen -- beautiful red and blue map of what the states are looking like.

Do you think about election night and the historic front page you will be printing? Will you be printing extra copies on Wednesday?

BARON: Well, yes, we will, as a matter of fact.

There's going to be an enormous amount of interest in that. Most of our audience is online. They're not looking for a print edition anymore, but there's going to be a lot of interest in who wins, and we're going to print extra copies, no question about it.

STELTER: How late can it go before a projection where you can still print the Wednesday morning front page?

BARON: Well, we're making preparation for it to go into the next morning, and pretty deep into the next morning as well.

STELTER: Like 1:00, 2:00 a.m.?

BARON: We think it's entirely a possibility. We will be fine with that. It won't get to people's homes, but it will be available on the street, that we will have a print edition. And, of course, there's always the Web site. So...

STELTER: That's a good note actually for our audiences, no matter where they're living in the country.

If you want the freshest copy on Wednesday morning of that historic headline, you are probably going to have to go to the newsstand. It might not reach your house on deliver day.

BARON: Right. Or go onto your computer or your phone, and you will get it right then and there.

STELTER: You're selling the digital pretty hard, but doesn't print still make more money?

BARON: Print does make more money. There's no question about it, but that's not where the growth is. The growth is always in digital. That is where most people are getting their information.

And, as of September, we had 83 million unique visitors to our Web site, an enormous number, a record. And probably October will be an even bigger record. So, that's where most people are.

STELTER: Call me old-fashioned. I still want that print edition on Wednesday morning.

BARON: We will deliver it to you, Brian.


STELTER: Great to see you. Thank you very much for being here.

BARON: Thanks, Brian. Thanks.

STELTER: And we're just getting started here on RELIABLE SOURCES.

We have a quick break here, but after the break, a must-see report about how to cover allegations of voter fraud and intimidation.

Plus, an in-depth look at how this year changed journalism, maybe forever. We will be back in just a moment.



STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES live from Washington, D.C.

You're in the middle of 100-plus hours of nonstop live coverage, all culminating on election night, Tuesday night. Trust me, you're going to want to see what CNN has planned Tuesday night. I have got five TVs in my living room ready to watch it all.

Turning right now to one of the biggest narratives of this year. Donald Trump wants voters to beware, because, according to him, the whole system is rigged.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a rigged system, folks.

Rigged system.

Totally rigged.

Absolutely rigged.

It's a crooked system.

The issue of voter fraud.

Voter fraud.

We're millions of votes ahead. These dishonest people up here don't tell you.

We're going to go back to the old way. It's called you vote and you win.

Voting is rigged. The whole deal is crooked, 100 percent, almost as crooked as crooked Hillary.


STELTER: He keeps saying it, suggesting the election could be stolen from him. And that has dire consequences after Tuesday. I mean, let's face it. This is destabilizing for democracy.

So, how can reporters cut through the clutter and help voters understand what's really happening here?

We have the perfect person to ask. Ari Berman, he is here help us figure it out. He's a writer for "The Nation" and the author of the excellent book "Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America."

Ari, let's listen to Donald Trump from last night in Nevada talking about this issue. He was talking about suspicious behavior in Clark county. Let's listen.


TRUMP: It's being reported that certain key Democratic polling locations in Clark County were kept open for hours and hours beyond closing time to bus and bring Democratic voters in. Folks, it's a rigged system. It's a rigged system. And we're going to beat it. We're going to beat it.


STELTER: Ari, what is he talking about? What's the truth there?

ARI BERMAN, AUTHOR, "GIVE US THE BALLOT: THE MODERN STRUGGLE FOR VOTING RIGHTS IN AMERICA": So, what he is saying was that there was very high Latino turnout in Las Vegas over the weekend. Lots of people were in line when polls closed, so the polls were extended. This is something that is totally normal and legal.


BERMAN: That if people are in line when polls closed, they're allowed to vote. But Trump is making it seem like there's some sort of fraud taking place.

And this is a narrative throughout this campaign, as you know, Brian, that any time things go a way that Trump doesn't like, any time he's down in the polls, any time black and brown people are voting in large numbers, he starts to talk about the system being rigged.

STELTER: Now, that's a pretty incendiary thing for you to say. You're saying when black and brown people, when minorities are voting, he does not like it. He has said he's making a play for African- American voters.

BERMAN: OK, but if you just look at what he said, Brian, he's talked about monitoring the polls in certain areas of country, certain communities.

He specifically singled out places like Philadelphia that have large minority populations. And I think everyone knows what he's talking about. The polling places he was talking about in Las Vegas were almost entirely dominated by Latino voters.

And if you look at how he's polling among Latinos, among African- Americans, among other people of color, he's polling extremely poorly. So, I think all of this voter fraud talk by the Trump campaign, to me, has been one giant dog whistle to try to keep certain people from the polls.


STELTER: So, how should journalists cover it carefully?

Let's look at FOX News from yesterday morning. This disturbed me. It was a banner on the bottom of the screen talking about voter fraud. The banner says, "Running Rampant."

The clear implication here is that voter fraud is happening all over the place all the time. Is it?

BERMAN: No, it's not.

And it's really, as you mentioned, extremely irresponsible for FOX News to be saying this. We have lots of studies. We have lots of data that shows that voter fraud is a very, very small problem in American elections, and that voter impersonation, which is a type of fraud that a voter I.D. law would stop, is extremely rare, that you're more likely to be struck by lightning, for example, than to impersonate another voter at the polls.

So, voter fraud is a small problem. Does it occur sometimes? Yes. But, when it occurs, it is usually caught and it does not swing elections. We saw, for example, the first voter fraud conviction in Iowa, which, by the way, was done by a Trump supporter. But leave that aside.

The point was, when someone voted twice in Iowa, they were caught. The system worked like it was supposed to. It got rid of bad behavior, and now that voter is facing felony charges, a $10,000 fine and five years in jail.

STELTER: All right, voter fraud on the one side vanishingly rare.

What about voter intimidation and voter suppression? What do you believe news outlets should be doing between now and Tuesday to educate the public about that?

BERMAN: So, this to me is a much bigger problem, that this is the first presidential election in 50 years without the full protections of the Voting Rights Act.

Fourteen states, including some very important battlegrounds like Wisconsin and Ohio, have new voting restrictions in place for the first time. And I think the media needs to do a much better job of covering this. When they talk about the polls in places like Wisconsin or Ohio, they need to talk about the fact that, what is the law? What kind of I.D.s do you need? How many polling places will there be? How do you register to vote? And what is the impact?

What groups are being impacted? Are younger voters, voters of color being more impacted by these restrictions, for example? What's the justification for them? What do the numbers show?

STELTER: Well, we hear this -- we hear from this progressive publications like yours, "The Nation."

How do you convince conservatives or conservative media outlets that this is a serious problem?

BERMAN: Well, I think you just look at the data.

I will give you one piece of data. In 2014, North Carolina eliminated reforms like same-day voter registration and out-of-precinct voting. There were 2,300 documented cases done by a very well-known group there called Democracy North Carolina of people who were turned away from the polls in that one election.

In comparison, there were only two cases of voter impersonation in court that North Carolina presented to justify its voter I.D. law. So, you have 2,300 documented cases of people turned away from the polls and only two cases of voter impersonation.

I think that kind of data, telling stories of people who have been turned away from the polls, to me, is extremely important. And we need to see a lot more of that on cable news and broadcast news in particular.

STELTER: The other factor, of course, the possible hacking of elections. People have been spreading fear that your vote could be hacked.

What's the reality on that?

BERMAN: I think it's a pretty unlikely scenario.

Obviously, it's concerning, given everything we have seen in this election, from WikiLeaks on down. The Department of Homeland Security is taking this very seriously. Interestingly enough, they said that the U.S. electoral system is so disorganized, that it would be difficult to hack because things are so localized.

We don't have centralized...


STELTER: Right, decentralized. Yes.

BERMAN: So, it's a concern, but I don't think it's a likely one to happen.

STELTER: Ari Berman, thank you for being here. Very -- I appreciate it very much.

BERMAN: Thank you very much, Brian.

STELTER: Now let's take a look back and a look forward.

The media may have used Donald Trump for higher ratings and page views and revenues this year. And Trump clearly used the media for attention.

And yet he declared war on the media. And now -- now we have to reckon with the consequences.


STELTER: Whether Donald Trump wins or loses on Election Day, he has already won his campaign against the media. With record low levels of trust in the news media, partly thanks to Trump, I'm left wondering, is this an aberration.

TRUMP: Terrible, horrible, unbelievable, illegitimate, disgusting. Scum.

STELTER: Or is that the new normal? Will other candidates copy Trump's shoot-the-messenger strategy? And, if so, what should reporters do about it?

TRUMP: I'm not running against crooked Hillary Clinton. I'm running against the crooked media. That's what I'm running against.


STELTER: The cheering, all of that cheering, that's what matters. Writers, editors, producers, executives, all of us have to wrestle with what Trump did and how he did it.

He used the news media, while at the same time running a vicious anti- media crusade. This was his two-sided strategy from day one.

TRUMP: You have got to trust your instincts. You can't believe the press. You can't believe the press.

STELTER: His rage against the media machine went on for 16 months.


TRUMP: I have a very big group of support, and I think one of the reasons is that -- let me tell you, the people don't trust you and the people don't trust the media.

STELTER: Now, Trump was right about that. He was tapping into resentment that was there.

Take a look at the Gallup data. Trust-in-media levels were already pitifully low. And Trump helped us see it, helped us hear it.

Honestly, in some ways, this was a good thing. Journalists need to better understand how readers and viewers feel.

But, then, of course, Trump exploited it. He encouraged more and more media distrust, and he outright lied to his fans. He peddled so much misinformation that journalists did take a more forceful approach than usual debunking his falsehoods.

TRUMP: Take a look at all the crime that is being committed. Go take a look at...


QUESTION: The research shows the crime is -- the crime does not match what you're saying. The research -- the Pew research, which is independent, says...

TRUMP: Don't be naive. You're a very naive person.

STELTER: Let's call this what it is, the most extreme anti-media talk we have ever heard from a modern presidential candidate.

TRUMP: Do we all love the media? Do we love the media?


TRUMP: No, there's great dishonesty, unbelievable dishonesty, in the media. Unbelievable.

Such bad reporting. They're so bad. They're so illegitimate. They're just terrible people. They're scum. They're horrible people.

STELTER: Look, Hillary Clinton is no friend of the media. But Donald Trump is different. Trump sought to strip the press of legitimacy, of credibility. He claimed the corporate media was part of a massive conspiracy against him.

And he went after his targets individually.

TRUMP: Blood coming out of her wherever.

George Will is a disaster. The guy is a disaster.

He's a sleaze in my book. You're a sleaze.

STELTER: And there was this attack against "New York Times" reporter Serge Kovaleski, when Serge dared to point out that Trump was misrepresenting him.

TRUMP: And now the poor guy, you got to see this guy: Oh, I don't know what I said. Oh, I don't remember.

STELTER: If that wasn't bad enough, there was this verbal attack that put NBC's Katy Tur in danger, so much so that the Secret Service had to give her an escort to her car.

TRUMP: What a lie it was from NBC. She's back there. Little Katy, she's back there. What a lie it was.


TRUMP: No, what a lie, Katy Tur.

STELTER: You see, the press pen, the area where the press was, gave Trump an opponent right there in the arena. He reveled in the anti- CNN chants.

TRUMP: They call it CNN, the Clinton news network.


TRUMP: That's why the ratings aren't doing very well.

They are so biased toward crooked Hillary.


STELTER: Now, from Trump's perspective, he was under attack from a biased press. TRUMP: It's called the greatest pile-on in the history of America.

STELTER: And Trump wanted to do something about it.

TRUMP: I'm going to open up our libel laws, so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.


STELTER: Comments like that led journalism advocates to say Trump is a real threat to press freedom in the United States.

Some even said he was ripping off a script from autocratic leaders like Vladimir Putin, who openly suppress the press in order to bolster their own power.

Now, Trump completely denied that. But you can't help but wonder, what would a President Trump White House press briefing room look like? What would a President Trump press conference sound like?

QUESTION: I think you have set a new bar today for being contentious with the press corps, kind of calling us losers to our faces and all that. Is this...

TRUMP: No, not all of you, just many of you.

QUESTION: All right, fine, enough of us.

TRUMP: Not you, David.

QUESTION: Is this what -- this is what it's going to be like covering you if you're president?

TRUMP: Yes, it is. Yes, it is.

STELTER: So, to answer my own question, yes, this is the ugly new normal, something journalists have to reckon with, because while this election will be over soon, the public's relationship with the press will never be the same.


STELTER: Joining me now to discuss this in more detail about the changes we have seen this year, David Zurawik, the media critic for "The Baltimore Sun," and Dylan Byers, CNN senior reporter for media and politics.

Gentlemen, good to see you.

Where to begin?

David, you wrote this week for "The Sun" this was the worst year for media. You said the biggest loser this year was the press. Why?

DAVID ZURAWIK, MEDIA CRITIC, "THE BALTIMORE SUN": Well, the thing that concerned me most about this was -- the fast answer is, we failed to give citizens trustworthy, verified information that they can use to make an informed decision about the presidency.

And you have covered that a million ways, all the fake news, all the different stuff out there. We're in some ways responsible for that. But here's what really troubles me about this, Brian. Donald Trump, this phenomenon, rose up. Well, there's always going to be challenges to us.

But when Donald Trump came up and started to run -- run the table on TV time and rise in the polls and win all of these primaries, people said, we have never seen anything like this. We have to invent a new way to cover him.


And with that came a corollary that said, we can ditch legacy values. And so people said, things like fairness, we don't have to adhere to old fairness values. He's such a vile character, we will call him a liar on page one of "The New York Times."

That's was a huge decision when "The Times" made that call, because, you know, after -- shortly after that, Hillary Clinton said that James Comey said she was truthful in everything she said. And "The Washington Times" gave her four Pinocchios.


ZURAWIK: Jake Tapper called her out.

"The Times," should they call her a liar on page one, too? Should we call both of our candidates -- that was a huge decision. We ditched so many legacy values in this, that you got to an editor at Vox saying: Oh, advice, if Trump is in your town, start a riot.

It's never -- it's never a...

STELTER: Well, that was stupid.

ZURAWIK: Well, but it's not stupid. Vox is not some fringe outright. Vox is a real part of the journalism community.

STELTER: See, I'm more optimistic than you. I saw some isolated stupidity.


STELTER: Dylan, what did you see change this here? Was fact-checking the biggest change?


Yes, I would respectfully disagree with David. I mean, look, I think defining the media is always a hard thing to do. There are a lot of different parts of the media. What we mean when we say the media is hurt, I would say, very generally speaking, Donald Trump challenged the mainstream media to abandon this sort of notion that the North Star of journalism was balance, was he said/she said...


BYERS: ... and accept that objectivity should be the North Star of journalism, even if that meant acknowledging that these two candidates weren't the same.

And Donald Trump did so much to challenge reporters. He -- not only did he lie, serially lie. He said he -- he proposed a ban on a group of people from coming into this country based on their religion. He refused to say that he would accept the results of the election. He threatened the free press.

I mean, there are so many instances in which he has done things, that reporters had to eschew that he said/she said journalism and embrace more objectivity. And I think David cites some very important examples. There are a lot of questions for the media coming out of this election, but, by and large, I'm actually impressed with the job that the media does.


ZURAWIK: Also, not to totally disagree, but I think, when you -- some of the examples that Dylan cited, I think George Wallace was just as dangerous a character, and he ran three times as a Democratic candidate and once as an independent candidate in a general election, just as vile a character, and even more dangerous because he was governor of Alabama and he was actually oppressing black people in that state.

We don't know that -- well, we do have the lawsuits against Trump, but he hasn't had the powers of a government agency behind him yet to do it.

We confronted this. Was there a bigger liar in American history, political history, than Richard Nixon? We didn't have to invent new rules to bring him down. "The Washington Post" did it with old- fashioned legacy investigative reporting. And he was president of the United States with the powers to crush everybody. And they did it. We didn't say, oh, no, we have to start storming the barricades and do all kinds of crazy stuff now.

BYERS: There is certainly a posture that the mainstream media has taken which looks to a lot of conservatives, not just Trump supporters, anti-Trump conservatives, like the American media is finally embracing its bias, its liberal bias.

STELTER: And admitting it.


BYERS: And going on the front page and calling Donald Trump a liar, but not doing the same thing for Hillary Clinton, that's not so much getting rid of false equivalence, in the eyes of conservatives, as it is of embracing that liberal bias.

I think that's a legitimate concern. I also think, at the end of the day, we are looking at a historic candidacy in Donald Trump.

ZURAWIK: I think -- yes, I...

BYERS: And there is a responsibility to hold him accountable for things he said that are fundamentally anti-American.

STELTER: In the two minutes I have left, let me bring in two more guests.

You saw them earlier this hour, Lynn Sweet and Karen Tumulty.

I want to expand the conversation and talk about Tuesday, just about Tuesday night. Trump would be a historic figure. So would Hillary Clinton.

Let's assume for two minutes Hillary Clinton does prevail on Tuesday night and is elected as the first female president.

Number one, how should the networks and the AP call this race? How careful should they be?

Karen, are you concerned that there has to be even more care and caution than usual because Americans have been told the elections has been rigged by Donald Trump?

TUMULTY: It depends on what the margins look like.

If it looks like it's a big win for either candidate, it's not as crucial as if, you know, there's a key state that is hanging in the balance. Hello, 2000.

STELTER: Does it matter, Lynn, which reporters are on the air, which writers are writing the Clinton story? Does it matter that female reporters might view her candidacy differently than male reporters?

SWEET: On deadline, there's no gender. You got to just get the job done.


And I'm glad that you asked, so that people who may wonder, is every female reporter throwing it, no, of course, not. You know, it's just enough to get the job done. And this is a night of all nights, where you leave everything alone.

It's a big enough job just to get the story done right and on deadline, especially if it's a close call.

STELTER: Newsrooms, though, still dominated by men. What I mean by that are, most editors, most bosses are men.

SWEET: You haven't noticed?


STELTER: Karen, final word to you. (CROSSTALK)

SWEET: Didn't we know this?

STELTER: Does this matter? Does a Clinton candidacy, does a Clinton presidency impact the way journalism is covered? Will it have an impact for women in newsrooms?

TUMULTY: You know, I think that women in newsrooms are going to have to fight their own battles as long as we are journalists. It really shouldn't.

SWEET: It should only be so easy that this gender inequity in newsrooms, which I have seen in my years, that it's taken so long to show up in top management positions...


SWEET: On the beats now, on the political beats, we have a lot of women out on the trail. And that's one area where there's been a terrific equalization on gender.

There's so much more to do in top management. No matter who's president, it's not going to change things just by that fact.

STELTER: To our panel, I thank you very much.

And this final thought for you. Frankly, the theme of this whole program today, the whole program all year long is about how to wrestle with a wild, sometimes disturbing campaign.

So, I have a modest proposal for anyone bewildered by it all. If you're frustrated by coverage of Clinton, if you're insulted by Trump's anti-media campaign, subscribe to a paper. Subscribe to a news Web site. Ship in a few bucks for reporting. Donate to a nonprofit news organization like ProPublica or PolitiFact, or donate to a journalism school.

Put in a few dollars, or maybe more if you have it, and help support the next generation of political reporters.

We're out of time here on television. But sign up for our RELIABLE SOURCES newsletter, special editions every 24 hours all week long covering the campaign coverage.

And I will see you next week.