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CNN RELIABLE SOURCES
Bringing the Immigration Debate Back to Reality; "TIME" Magazine Stands By "Welcome to America" Cover; Trump Ramps Up Hateful Rhetoric; Report: Trump Made 71 False Claims In 14 Days; Why Criticism Of Trump Emboldens His Supporters; "LA Times" Shaken By Years Of Cuts, Ownership Changes. Aired 11-12p ET
Aired June 24, 2018 - 18:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:10] BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter, and this is RELIABLE SOURCES, our weekly look at the story behind the story, how the media really works and how the news gets made.
This hour, "TIME" magazine editor Ed Felsenthal is here responding to the controversy over this cover. George Takei is here too with a personal perspective about detaining children.
Plus, Glenn Beck on the criticism of the president and why that emboldens his supporters.
But, first, too much of America's debate about immigration is completely untethered from reality. So, let's try to fix that.
This past week was a shocking example of Trump administration callousness, and it was exposed by members of the media. This is drone footage of one of the detention centers, just one of many examples of reporters going to the border, trying to find out what's going on, pressing for answers about how many migrant families have been broken up and where they are staying.
These reporters, anchors, columnists, were channeling the public's outrage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Statue of Liberty I think is weeping right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is going to be a lifetime of pain for thousands of children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tomorrow, Geraldo --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is cruelty as policy. This is an obscenity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is despicable and inhumane to scar children for life.
(END VIDEO CLIP) STELTER: President Trump was watching. He reportedly hated what he saw, but he also saw his Fox News supporters backing him up.
According to "The New York Times," Trump told his supporters that my people love it, they love this policy. That's a quote, my people love it. Not the American people, but his people.
Now, when he reversed his own policy on Wednesday, that was just the beginning. The government now says it's trying to reunite these families. And this is turning into another example of Trump chaos, requiring a lot of follow-up from us in the press. Meantime, Trump is using immigration as a rallying cry as he campaigns for the midterms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our issue is strong borders, no crime. Their issue is open borders, let MS-13 all over our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Mr. President, please. What kind of talk is that?
We need to drag this debate back to reality. The reality is that many non-partisan experts say there really isn't an immigration crisis at all. Dangerous people are not flooding across the border in record numbers.
In fact, this "Washington Post" graphic using government data shows you the truth. It shows that apprehensions at the border are much lower now than they were 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. That's a 50-year graphic showing you the reality.
But Trump is telling a much scarier story, a story that enflames tensions and stokes intolerance.
So, let's talk about the reality versus his fiction. Joining me now is an all-star panel to start the hour.
Norm Pearlstine, the brand-new executive editor of "The Los Angeles Times," Nicole Carroll, the editor-in-chief of "USA Today", and Sarah Ellison, staff writer at the "Washington Post," covering the media beat.
Nicole, you were formerly the editor of "The Arizona Republic," you joined "USA Today" just months ago. So, help us understand the reality of covering the border in Arizona and other states. What is the ground truth?
NICOLE CARROLL, EDITOR IN CHIEF, USA TODAY: Here is the ground truth. And you mentioned the apprehensions are at a low. Certainly in the last year, there has been an uptick, but since 2000, there is a dramatic difference. We were averaging about 200,000 a month in 2000. And we're down to about 40,000.
Another thing that we need to make clear is we analyzed at "USA Today", 2,500 of these court cases happening right now at the border, and we found the vast majority of them are getting dismissed with a misdemeanor prosecution, $10 fine, and time served. So, they're immediately getting deported.
Another thing that we need to keep in mind is that when you look at studies, crime among undocumented immigrants is much less than those of native-born citizens and those are the facts. And I believe as journalists, we need to keep pressing on those facts throughout this debate.
STELTER: And, of course, there was a lot of misleading information coming out as the week went on, especially from the president who was saying at first, this is the Democrats' fault, the Democrats need to fix this. He kind of backed away from that starting on Wednesday when he reversed his own policy.
But, Sarah, the kind of the lying from the administration, how did that affect the news coverage?
SARAH ELLISON, STAFF WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, it keeps everyone sort of chasing their own tail. For a long time, people are fact-checking, it's a policy, it's not a policy.
ELLISON: I mean, every time Donald Trump says something, the media, we really can't ignore it. He is the president of the United States. But if it's a false statement, people need to fact-check it.
And so, people are constantly sort of on their heels and on the defensive, and I think that that's his -- that is his media policy, keep people on the defensive.
STELTER: You know, the pictures that we saw from the border, most of them were government handout photos. And I wonder, Norm, what your position on this is. You know, you're brand-new at the "L.A. Times," but you've been in the business for a long time.
[11:05:02] Should we be publishing these government handout photos?
Now, of course, the government says we can't let your cameras inside these centers because these are kids and we can't let you take pictures of their faces. So, there are legitimate privacy concerns. But at the same time, I don't think we're getting the full picture of what's going on.
NORMAN PEARLSTINE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, LOS ANGELES TIMES: Well, we're not getting the full picture, but I don't know that the proper response is to have no picture. I think we have to keep pushing, and we certainly shouldn't be satisfied with what's being handed to us.
STELTER: But that's an interesting answer. The answer isn't have any -- to have no pictures at all. Something is better than nothing. We don't have enough.
ELLISON: But -- STELTER: Yes, Sarah? Sorry. Yes?
ELLISON: I was just going to say, of course, the most powerful thing we found this week was not an image at all, it was a recording that "ProPublica" got from, you know, a whistle-blower of sorts that they were leaked, which was of these children crying. That isn't in -- that isn't the government handout pictures. And of course, the media in general are pushing for those things.
ELLISON: But that was the most powerful thing that happened this week.
STELTER: Nicole, has access always been a challenge, whether it's with the border patrol or trying to see what these facilities are like? Has that been a problem predating the Trump administration?
CARROLL: It's always been difficult. We haven't seen it how it is right now. The access this week has been incredibly frustrating. It wasn't until late last night that we finally got facts on a plan to reunify these families and children.
It wasn't until late last night that we learned how many children had actually been reunified. We still don't know how many are going to which shelters. We're trying to track that down.
Even on the ground, our reporters were on the bridge between what is Mexico and El Paso. They were talking -- an officer was talking to some border crossers about asylum, and he literally told our folks, you can't report what I'm saying on a public bridge, you know, in a public space.
CARROLL: So, it's not just what we're getting from the government, it's what we're getting on the ground as well.
CARROLL: It is very frustrating and very disappointing given the seriousness of this situation.
STELTER: I think there's a connection between the access issues at the border and in Washington. It's worth noting there was only one White House press briefing this week, even though there was a tremendous amount of news and many, many questions the reporters wanted to ask.
There have been some conference calls with other government agencies, but that symbolic briefing room, where it's really important to have questions be asked and answered -- hopefully answered -- there's only one briefing this week.
Norm, how does the Trump administration's access, you know, White House briefing levels, how does it compare to what you've experienced in the past with previous administrations?
PEARLSTINE: Well, there's two things going on with the Trump administration. One is just a larger example of "The Apprentice," where there's constant turmoil and a constant desire to remain the focus of attention. And then there's the real substance of government that's also going on in a very different way with this administration. And so, I think you really have two stories that you have to constantly be covering, and they're sometimes in opposition with each other.
STELTER: Earlier this week, the only interview the president gave was with his friend, Mike Huckabee, also the father of Press Secretary Sarah Sanders. And in the interview with Huckabee, the president said one of the most hateful things he's ever said about the media. Let's take a look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE HUCKABEE, TV HOST: If he doesn't make good on his commitment, what is the U.S. prepared to do?
TRUMP: Well, first of all, we came to a wonderful agreement. It's a shame that the fake news covers it the way they do. It's honestly, it's really -- it's almost treasonous, if you want to know the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Norm, would you have any reaction to that?
PEARLSTINE: Well, this is typical Trump hyperbole, and you just have to recognize that he says things that are more outrageous than anyone has ever said before, and it's just part of his shtick.
STELTER: You don't think it hurts your reporters in the field?
PEARLSTINE: Oh, it absolutely -- it absolutely hurts our reporters, but media is really President Trump's cocaine. He cannot exist without it.
STELTER: That's an interesting way to put it. So, as he's saying that we're almost treasonous in our commentary, you're saying he's addicted to us at the same time.
PEARLSTINE: Absolutely. If he didn't have us to rail against, he'd have to fill up the air time with something else.
STELTER: Something else.
Well, while he's attacking the media, he's also awfully cozy with certain outlets he likes.
To prove your point, Norm, you had new reporting this week, Sarah, about "The National Enquirer" and about just how cozy this relationship is. Your sources say that sometimes, "The Enquirer" would send stories and covers to Trump, usually through his attorney, Michael Cohen, before publication. And then to take it a step further, sometimes they'd send feedback.
So, Trump would send tweaks to the stories?
ELLISON: Well, my reporting indicates that the relationship really was consistent with Michael Cohen, who is his attorney, as we know, and it establishes not just what the "National Enquirer" wasn't reporting, which we focused on pretty heavily up until this point, which are the stories that they've sort of caught and killed.
ELLISON: This is sort of the mechanism behind how they covered this presidential election. And anyone who looks at "The Enquirer" can see there were negative stories about Hillary Clinton and every other opponent that Donald Trump faced.
[11:10:06] What's shocking and striking about the reporting that I did was that he was actually getting a hand in that feedback, or at least Michael Cohen was able to see those stories and send feedback about them.
STELTER: It's a great illustration of what it means to be a fixer. We always talk about Cohen as a fixer. What does that mean? Well, this is one of the examples of what he was doing.
ELLISON: Right, and I was intrigued, in one of the explanations Trump gave at a certain about what Michael Cohen was being paid for or he was being paid. He was being paid in installments. And I always wondered, what is the work he is actually doing?
And this to me is a potential really good example of what he was doing on an ongoing basis. What raises it from just being a media story is this is also something that investigators could very well be interested in, because if there is a level of control from a political candidate over a news outlet, then that gets into territory where there could be campaign finance reform, I should -- I mean, campaign finance --
STELTER: A law violation.
ELLISON: Law violations. Excuse me.
STELTER: And we know that according to the "Wall Street Journal" this week, "The Enquirer's" current company has been subpoenaed in relation to the Cohen probe.
Let me show what "The Enquirer" said, though, about your story, since it involved anonymous sources.
STELTER: "The Enquirer", which lives and dies by anonymous sources, issued a statement saying this. Quote: These allegations are false. It is unfortunate and disconcerting that disgruntled and terminated ex-employees who had no access to how editorial decisions are made and without any access to the company's top execs have been given a platform hiding behind the protection of being an anonymous source to grind their ax on the back of their former employer.
It's definitely ironic, but, Sarah, your reaction?
ELLISON: I would just say that we had impeccable sourcing on this, and we also incorporated all of "The Enquirer's" response on every point that we raised. And I stand by, and the "Washington Post" stands by the story.
STELTER: Yes. Sarah, Nicole, thank you both for being here.
ELLISON: Thank you.
STELTER: Norm, please stick around.
Quick break here. And then, "TIME" magazine. This cover is at the center of a media storm, so I'll speak with both the photographer who took the picture of the crying girl and the magazine's editor, right after this.
[11:15:43] STELTER: Now, the power of a picture. This crying girl from Honduras became the literal poster child for Trump's border crackdown. Her pain was real. Her tears very real.
But the photo did not show what some people thought it did. It did not show in that case a family being broken up.
Now, "TIME" magazine's under scrutiny for using the photo on its cover, and the editor of "TIME" will join me in just a moment. But let's start with what we know about the girl.
I asked Getty photographer John Moore about what he witnessed in the desert that night, June 12th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MOORE, GETTY PHOTOGRAPHER: Brian, I had been photographing the border patrol as they detained people and then took people into custody. In this particular photo, which touched me very much and many other people in the course of this last week, the mother is being searched. As she set her daughter down there at a transport vehicle, the little girl is crying, and she did the entire time that she was there on the ground.
They were taken to a processing center, and at that center, we know that other children and parents were separated. I never knew if this little girl and her mother would be. When they were taken away, we really had no idea about that, but at that time, it was happening with many other children and their parents.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: So, some families were being split up, but according to the government's and the child's father, this particular mother and child were not separated. Joining me now in an exclusive interview about the backlash to the
cover is "TIME" magazine's editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal.
Ed, thanks for being here.
EDWARD FELSENTHAL, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, TIME: Sure.
STELTER: As soon as it was revealed through an interview with the child's father that the family had not been separated, there was a really strong right-wing backlash to your cover, including from the Trump administration. Did you make a mistake by having this crying girl on the cover?
FELSENTHAL: Look, I think John Moore's photo was and will remain an iconic one. We chose the photo because this little girl became the face of this story on front pages and home pages and TV screens and Facebook feeds --
STELTER: But maybe she shouldn't have been the face of this story if she wasn't separated from her mom.
FELSENTHAL: Well, you know, as John just said and has said all along, none of us in the media who used the photo knew what had happened to the girl after this precise moment. And I actually think part of the power of the image is that unknown. This was a girl facing -- who's coming to America, has just completed one terrifying journey, and whatever its contours, whatever happens to her faces another very frightening journey as well.
STELTER: But by Monday of this week, we knew that she hadn't been separated from her mom. In fact on Tuesday, you all issued a correction to a web story about that.
FELSENTHAL: We -- that's -- that's I don't believe the case. We did make an error, which obviously, I regret and hated as make -- hate making errors any time.
FELSENTHAL: But we made an error on a web story early in the week, not part of the cover package, in which we said that the mother had been separated, and we quickly and transparently corrected that. We didn't know, nobody using this photo knew on Monday or Tuesday that they had not been separated.
STELTER: Well, we knew according to the government they had not been separated. But my Monday, CNN reported, according to the government, they had not been separated.
Now, I understand we should be skeptical about what the government is saying when it comes to this story, and to this day, we still do not know the status of a lot of these kids that have been separated. It's sickening.
But I just wonder about the use of this photo and whether you all discussed whether it was the appropriate one to symbolize the family separation policy.
FELSENTHAL: We discussed it, as we discuss every cover, and we felt that -- I felt that this photo symbolized this moment in America. She became the face of this debate, of this crisis, and juxtaposing her with the person in whose decisions, in whose hands her fate was held I thought was a powerful, important statement of the decisions we have to make as a country.
STELTER: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders responded to this controversy on Friday. Here's part of what she wrote.
[11:20:00] She said: It's shameful that Dems and the media have exploited this photo of a little girl to push their agenda. She was not separated from her mom. The separation here is from the facts.
Has this done damage to "TIME" magazine?
FELSENTHAL: You know, with -- just speaking directly to Sarah's comment, you know, it's always -- it's always hard with images of children, but this story was about children. It's hard. It's complicated.
But I was struck by the comment of the father, who in a couple of his interviews --
FELSENTHAL: -- late in the week said that he was proud and pleased that his daughter had become a symbol of this, of something bigger than herself. And he said he hoped that the picture had touched Trump's heart.
STELTER: And to be clear, the damage done to these families is so much bigger of a story than what happened under cover. I am not trying to claim otherwise.
But let's look at how some of the right-wing media has portrayed this. I mean, here's "The Daily Caller" saying the media's narrative about family separation at the border has been completely demolished as the truth behind a viral photo of a crying child held a completely different story.
This was the top story on pro-Trump websites on Friday. It's still a top story in some of these sites now. I mean, they're using this one issue to try to distract from what is a disgusting situation at the border.
FELSENTHAL: Well, I dare say the photo gets back to what you were just discussing with Norm. The photos we're not seeing are far more disturbing than the photos we are seeing, and that's part of what's happening here as well.
STELTER: What is "TIME" doing to try to get access at the border? I assume you're trying --
FELSENTHAL: We have been -- Haley Edwards on our staff has been covering this issue for months. We've tried to get access and to date have not been given access to the detention centers and so forth. But I --
FELSENTHAL: You know, I do think it's telling to me that when Trump announced the executive order, he said he didn't like the sight of what was happening at the border. And I think these images, all of them, they portray a great dilemma for our country that is playing out every hour on that border and showing, demonstrating the images that we've seen, the challenge of doing this humanely and intelligently.
STELTER: I wonder, given the president's well-known readership of "TIME" magazine for decades, do you think about him seeing the cover when you're producing it these days?
FELSENTHAL: Not really. Not really.
STELTER: No? I think -- I think I would.
FELSENTHAL: I --
STELTER: I would think about, hey, the president might see this.
FELSENTHAL: I'm certainly aware of his interest in the cover and the way he talks about the cover and has talked about the cover. I suppose I would say it doesn't affect what we decide to do on the cover. It's not aimed at him.
STELTER: And the governor of Mississippi this morning, Phil Bryant, came out and said, it's "TIME" for everyone to cancel their subscription to this fake news rag. We can put up on screen his tweet. He's calling you out for this cover issue.
Has the magazine been hurt?
FELSENTHAL: Read the coverage, read the reporting. We did make a mistake. And obviously, I regret that mistake and wish we hadn't made it.
But we fixed it, we fixed it quickly, as all responsible media outlets do, and our coverage has been fair and thorough and will continue to be.
STELTER: The president, of course, when he attacks media outlets or makes mistakes, very, very rarely corrects them. So, I think it's so important to reinforce that we do correct our errors.
FELSENTHAL: Absolutely, absolutely.
STELTER: Yes. Great to see you.
FELSENTHAL: Nice to see you.
STELTER: Thank you for being here.
FELSENTHAL: Thanks for having me.
STELTER: After a break here, cries on television news, cries about detention centers being un-American.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is not America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not America. We can do better than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Actor and activist George Takei is here after the break with some choice words of his own for some of the news coverage.
[11:28:24] STELTER: There is an undercurrent of racism and intolerance in the debate about immigration. We can argue over how prominent it is, how much of a factor racism is, but it's there, it's real. And journalists can't pretend like it's not there.
The newest example is coming from Mike Huckabee. He tweeted this on Saturday. It has caused, obviously, a lot of controversy because it is a racist comment, saying that Nancy Pelosi loves MS-13, all that shameful rhetoric we've heard from others as well.
And, of course, this is something that has animated President Trump, first his campaign, and now his presidency. He's been using harsher and harsher language to describe immigrants. This was a new low earlier in the week, using the word infest for the first time to describe people.
He says illegal immigrants would be infesting the country. Now, again, like I said, it's the first time he's used that word to connotate people, another example of how his rhetoric has been ramped up and up. And that message has been echoed by his media allies. We'll talk about that in a moment.
But, first, let me bring in my guest who has thought a lot about the effects of this kind of rhetoric and what it means. George Takei is an actor and activist who experienced Japanese internment camps firsthand as a child.
George, thanks for being here.
GEORGE TAKEI, ACTOR: Good to be here.
If I might make one correction -- they were not Japanese internment camps. They were American internment camps for American citizens of Japanese ancestry here in the United States. Japanese internment camps are run by the government of Japan. Let me make that point.
STELTER: Very good. I'm glad you did. And, you know, I wanted to talk to you about this because of the
images this week that you were about for "Foreign Policy" magazine. Do you feel like history is repeating right now?
TAKEI: It is repeating itself but it has gone to a new low with Donald Trump. When we were incarcerated, our families were intact. My parents were with me. But in this case it's a receipt -- it's come to a chilling low where babies are torn away from their mothers and placed in separate internment camps. And now that Donald Trump has rescinded his zero-tolerance policy, the children are being scattered throughout the country making it even more complicated to reunite the families. So this is a new low in American history.
STELTER: I'm concerned that some of the comparisons on television to internment camps, some of the references to Nazi Germany are so seriously offending a part of the country that they can't hear the conversation, that they won't hear the conversation, and that some of these comparisons are so inflammatory that they're actually hurting your cause. How do you respond to that?
TAKEI: No, no. The inflammatory rhetoric is lies. And that's a similarity between our incarceration and what's happening today. We were a characterized by the government classified as enemy aliens. We were neither. Right after Pearl Harbor, young Japanese-Americans rushed to their recruitment centers to volunteer to serve in the U.S. military. They were denied military service and categorizes enemy aliens which we -- neither of which we were. Those young patriots were volunteering to fight for America, possibly even die for America, and to call him the enemy was nonsensical and equally crazy was calling us aliens. My grandparents were the ones that immigrated to this country. My mother was born in Sacramento. My father was a San Franciscan. They met and married here in Los Angeles. My brother and sister and I were born here. We're Americans.
And to call us enemy aliens is absolutely a lie but repeated often enough and it becomes a reality. We had no less an authority than the Attorney General of the State of California, a man named Earl Warren who I think most people will recognize as the man who went on to become the very liberal Supreme Court Chief Justice. He had his eyes -- he was the Attorney General of the State of California in had his eyes on the governor's office and he saw that the single most popular issue in California at that time was the lock up the Japanese issue. And so this Attorney General of the state of California got on in front of that issue and made an amazing statement. He said we have no reports of sabotage or spying or fifth column activities by Japanese- Americans and that is ominous because the Japanese are inscrutable. We can't tell what they're thinking so it would be prudent to lock them up before they do anything. A big lie taking that stereotype and grotesquely turning it again against us and that's --
STELTER: It's a great time -- s
TAKEI: --the same thing is happening, the big lie is happening with Donald Trump now as well. They are not murderers, rapists, and drug dealers, they are people fleeing for their lives these Latinos coming from Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico. They are literally fleeing for their lives. Some of the women have seen their husbands killed in front of them, their daughters threatened with rape. They are literally fleeing for their lives, and to call them infestations is absolutely grotesque.
STELTER: He is supported of course, by his allies in the press so let's look at a few of those examples, some of the commentaries this week on Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like it or not, these aren't our kids. Show him compassion but it's not like he's doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas, these are people from another country.
LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST FOX NEWS: And temporarily housed in what are essentially summer camps.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I spoke to some African-Americans you'd say, gosh the conditions of the detention center are better than some of the projects that I grew up in.
ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: -- say one other thing these child actors weeping and crying on the other networks 24/7 right now. Do not fall for it, Mr. President.
LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS HOST: The people crossing that border as the President has made clear throughout are not the -- coming across on the basis of merit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: If Lou Dobbs or Ann Coulter or Laura Ingraham are watching this, George, what do you want them to know?
[11:35:06] TAKEI: They are so disassociated from reality. Ann Coulter, to call the wailing and sobbing of those babies actors, it's grotesque, it is absolutely in inhumane to hear that kind of talk. And it is that just by repetition time and again that people take to become the reality. It is the big lie.
STELTER: George, thank you for being here. Great to see you.
STELTER: We're going to continue to track the media coverage of this issue in our nightly newsletter and you can sign up right now for free at reliablesources.com. All the day's media news recaps there every night. Up next, I'll ask why media coverage of President Trump has former never-Trumper Glenn Beck wearing his MAGA hat.
[11:40:00] STELTER: Are you getting numb to all the misinformation and dishonesty? Are you able to keep up? The Toronto Star is trying to keep up. They have a tally of Trump's falsehoods. You see that newest we have on here, 71 false things in 14 days. The conclusion from the fact checker is that his dishonesty is increasing. You've heard me talk a lot about this, about the President's false claims and outright lies. Of course, there's a lot of outrage in the press about that especially this week given the dishonesty around the immigration debate. But look, let's confront how this really works. The more stories there are, the more challenges to President Trump, the more criticism of him, the more fact checks of him, it seems the more the Trump supporters embrace the President.
They pull him more close to them and we've seen that again and again at rallies and in polling, etcetera. In fact, Trump's approval among his base is still remarkably high. These are numbers that any Republican president would envy. So let's talk about that with Glenn Beck. He's the CEO of TheBlaze and he joins me now. Glenn, a lot to get to -- I know I mention before the break that you put on that Make America Great Again hat recently. You were trying to say something about the news media's coverage of him, about all the criticism of him, what were you trying to say?
GLENN BECK, CEO THEBLAZE: That you have -- you have become me Circa 2009. And you don't see it --
STELTER: Is that a compliment? Wait, is that a compliment?
BECK: No it's -- no it's not. And you don't see it, none of you are willing to listen to what you're doing and you're dividing us even more. We've had two people threaten the lives of either a congressman's child or the president's child. Where are the people that were so worried about language and the tone on television? You just had George Takei talking about Japanese internment camps. What's next FEMA camps? Don't you understand what you're doing? You're driving people into the arms of Donald Trump. You're driving them into it. Because they already -- they already think --
STELTER: Exactly. So that's what I'm trying to ask about. So when we point out that he's lying every day, it drives people into his arms. What is the right answer then? If we don't point out the lies, then what?
BECK: Well, first of all you have to recognize the mistakes of the past. I can't take this border issue because I wasn't -- I wasn't allowed into anybody's circle after my audience raised $3 million and we risked everything to go down to the border and we brought churches together, we actually fed the homeless. I was mocked for bringing them soccer balls which people now say is a good thing because at least they have soccer balls at summer camp. And on the other side, no one in the media would even listen. No one would listen when I said I have DHS people coming.
STELTER: Glenn, that's not true. There were lots of coverage of it at 2014. I remember you going to the border in 2014. Obama policy might be ugly, it got worst now.
BECK: Is there this kind -- is there this kind of work? Was there -- was there this kind of coverage when you had -- STELTER: Of course not. there weren't as many kids -- there weren't
as many kids in jail.
BECK: Oh, stop it. Stop it. Stop it.
STELTER: Stop what? There were not as many kids in jail.
BECK: You're telling me -- so it's the number. So what's the number, Brian, that we care about putting kids in cages? What's the number that we start caring about when we're separating families and we're separating children?
STELTER: We can and the more there are the more we care.
BECK: What's the number?
STELTER: The worse it gets the more coverage there should be. Do disagree with that? The worse they get the more coverage there should be.
BECK: No, Brian. When we're doing things to children and breaking them up, no. I don't think there's a problem with covering. If it's ten kids, it should be covered. No one wanted to see it.
STELTER: OK, and then there's thousands.
BECK: And by way, that time there's a different president.
STELTER: There was a lot of coverage in 2014. But I respect that there's more now.
BECK: Look. OK.
STELTER: Sorry, Glenn. Go ahead.
BECK: This is -- this is -- this is why people are -- this is why people who don't necessarily even support Donald Trump are saying, you know what, I've baked in the lies. I've baked in the lies. I know. I got it. I got it. But the journalist now are like saying well, two can play that game. Neither one of you are self-aware enough to know that there is justice and mercy. One is arguing justice, one is arguing mercy, or they say they are but they're not. All they're doing is playing politics and the American people are tired of it. Who is talking about an actual solution on this? Who's actually done something? Who's actually consistent and cared when it was a Democrat in office and cared when it's a Republican in office? You know, those people exist around the country and they're watching you two, the media and Donald Trump play in this little game back and forth and they're sick of it. They don't want to hear about it from either side.
[11:45:23] STELTER: Well, I definitely -- I want the critique so that's why I invited you on. I'm self-aware enough to know that we need to talk about this because I know it's a problem. The mainstream media is having a very hard time --
BECK: Well then let's talk about it off air sometime.
STELTER: The mainstream media is having a very hard time -- the mainstream media is having a very hard time reaching Trump's base. That's a fact. We see that in all the polling.
BECK: Yes, well, then here's the deal, Brian. You all have my phone number. I've reached out to all of you in the past and said let's have a conversation, not on the air. You really want to understand, you want to hear the other side --
STELTER: Why can't our viewers -
BECK: Then let's have a conversation where everybody is not interested --
STELTER: Why can't you tell our viewers right now?
BECK: Because it's all about ratings. Because this all about ratings. This isn't about ratings. This is about saving our country, bringing us together, stop dividing us. I mean, you --
STELTER: So to be clear, you think that I'm dividing the country--
BECK: Do you realize who you're listening to?
STELTER: You think I'm dividing the country for ratings by booking you?
BECK: Brian, stop. Look at what you're doing. When did this become about you? this is about the media and the administration. That's what you guys want to make it into.
STELTER: If it was about me, I would do like a ten-minute commentary the way you used to. If it was about me, I get on a blackboard the way you used to.
BECK: OK. Well then, maybe should.
STELTER: I mean, the point is, what do you mean making about me. I don't see how I've made it about me. I wanted to know how.
BECK: It's not about -- you just -- never mind. Look, Brian if you want to have a conversation, if the media really wants to know, great, we can have that conversation. But every time someone -- every time I've approached everybody always says yes. But as soon as it gets tough or uncomfortable nobody is interested. Nobody's interested in looking at themselves and saying what did I do. I know what I've done. I know what I've done. I've tried to make amends and I tried --
STELTER: Yes, and we've talked about that before. I completely agree with you. And we all do to be more self-reflective. I do have to ask you, there's this new headline on The Daily Beast saying that your company's in trouble, that you were trying to find a buyer, is this related to the know about people not talking to each other?
STELTER: That if you want to create that media company there's not interest, what's going on with that?
BECK: Wow. Brian, thanks a lot. I think that's the most ridiculous question I've ever heard. I'm sitting here ready to talk to you about the detaining of children and parents and trying to break families apart something that has been happening with Janet Reno that's why it went to the Supreme Court in the first place. With Janet Reno, it's been happening. We want to stop it and you want to play those games? Have a nice day.
STELTER: What game did I just play? So the question on The Daily Beast Web site, the headline says Glenn Beck's media empire is imploding. Again, that's the headline on The Daily Beast. It is well-known that Glenn has been trying to sell TheBlaze. There was talk about a deal with the Daily Wire. According to The Daily Beast, that fell through. You can read the full story on The Beasts Web site. Frankly, I thought Glenn deserved a chance to address those reports. I hope he'll come back and talk about it. Up next, here a quick break and then a conversation about one of America's biggest newspapers, it's been sold to a biotech billionaire. So what is the turnaround plan of the LA Times? Norm Pearlstine is back with me in just a moment.
[11:50:00] STELTER: Hey, welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES, I'm Brian Stelter. It's the best and worst times for the newspaper business. And right now Norm Pearlstine is about to figure out how to make it the best of times for the Los Angeles Times. He's back with me now from L.A. So Norm you just took over as the editor there, the paper just returned to local ownership for the first time in nearly 20 years. I know staffers are hopeful that this is a time for a turnaround after years and years and years of cuts of the L.A. Times. Can you give us a preview of what your plan is for one of the nation's biggest papers?
PEARLSTINE: Well, the first thing that we want to do is to really focus on many of the things that the Los Angeles Times has continued to do well despite this period of turmoil that has remained superb in its coverage of its community and it has also shown a very strong vent toward investigative journalism that we certainly want to encourage and what to continue. At the same time, our owner Patrick Soon-Shiong really wants to leave a legacy with this publication. He wants it to be credible not only in terms of local coverage but in terms of national and international coverage so we have a lot of rebuilding to do.
STELTER: And how long are you planning on being editor for?
PEARLSTINE: That's up to Patrick Soon-Shiong. I'm delighted to be here right now and all I'm trying to do is focus on what's in front of me.
STELTER: I saw you say somewhere that one of the most important jobs is to find a successor so that's why I was wondering.
PEARLSTINE: Well, at 75 as much as I would like to have a long-term tenure here, I think the odds are that I should find a successor who really can be at this longer than I'm likely to be able to be.
STELTER: I hope that joy as many times in the program and congrats most importantly on the new gig.
PEARLSTINE: Thank you.
STELTER: One more note here before we go. Sadly today is Charles Krauthammer funeral. There have been so many tributes to the dean of conservative commentators especially from Fox News where he served as a longtime contributor. He was also a columnist for the Washington Post for more than 30 years. Marty Baron the Executive Editor of The Post described Krauthammer this way saying it was a -- his death is a huge loss to vigorous and civil debate on public policy. Absolutely true. It is so sad to see Krauthammer go at a time when we needed him more than ever.
[11:55:33]That's all for this televised edition of RELIABLE SOURCES. We'll see you right back here next week. And a quick note about another member of the media who was lost far too soon, Anthony Bourdain. the final episode of this season of "PARTS UNKNOWN" is going to air tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time here on CNN.