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CNN RELIABLE SOURCES
Trump Delivering Daily Doses Of Misinformation; CDC: This Is The Greatest Public Health Crisis In 100 Years; Sharing Stories From Front-Line Health Care Workers; Exclusive: One-On-One With The CEO Of Zoom; Fox's Fingerprints All Over Trump's Pandemic Response; NYT Reporter Shares Her Account Of COVID-19 Illness. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired April 5, 2020 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Hey, welcome to a special noon Eastern Time edition of RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter. Ahead this hour, the Washington Post's executive editor Marty Baron, one of the top newspaper editors in the country, hear what he's doing to stay on the pandemic story and protect his staff at the same time.
Plus, the platform that's connecting millions during the shutdown is now facing a lot of scrutiny. Zoom's CEO will join me live for an exclusive interview. And later Fox News fingerprints are all over the Trump White House's reaction to this crisis. I will show you how to spot those fingerprints. Plus, an interview with a New York Times reporter who was diagnosed with COVID-19 and is now recovered. Sarah Maslin Nir coming up later this hour.
But the first, leadership in crisis. This week, President Trump was praised for his tone. He soberly told the country that the great shutdown of 2020 is necessary because COVID-19 could claim the lives of 2.2 million Americans otherwise. So let's take a quick look at what else he said and did this week as we consider his tone.
He celebrated the T.V. ratings for his briefings. He bragged about his popularity on Facebook. He hyped up a drug despite concerned about it from the government's top doctors. That was it Saturday's briefing. You know what's happened to the briefings here, they've been taking up more and more time and Trump has been taking up more and more time, then the task force's medical experts have been, and he is still getting lots of facts wrong at these briefings.
One day, he said scarfs work better than masks. One day said airplane and train travelers are being given very strong tests for the virus before departure and after arrival. That is not true. Maybe it should be true, but it's not. He also said that new small business loan program has been flawless. There have actually been many glitches and problems with the rollout, but he said I don't even hear of any glitch. This all makes me wonder if his aides are hiding bad news from him.
All right, let me keep going. In a call with governors, President Trump said I haven't heard about testing in weeks, even though testing remains a huge problem. He falsely claimed that the U.S. is doing the most testing per capita, when the U.S. is actually way behind South Korea and Germany for example.
He repeatedly referred to the flu pandemic of 1917 even though it happened in 1918. He blamed prior administrations for stockpile shortages even though he's been in office for more than three years. He made a big show of unpacking one of those really awesome new quick test kits, but he held it upside down and put it on display the wrong way.
He called into Fox and Friends and griped about Nancy Pelosi and called the amazing city of San Francisco, a slum. He took a swipe at former President Barack Obama's emissions rules and decried the Green New Deal. He got angry while watching Morning Joe so he attacked the show's ratings. He got angry about CNN so we call this network a joke.
He berated multiple reporters on multiple days on live television, and he said, keeping us -- he said that keeping COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. to just 100,000 would be a very good job, a very good job. American health care workers and their patients deserve better than this. And reporters can help. Reporters are helping right now by tracking what's going on and holding institutions accountable, local, state, and federal government institutions.
There's a whole lot of revisionist history being pinned right now, a lot of digging of the memory hole. The pro-Trump media is trying to bury the Trump White House his failures to fully protect and prepare the country from this pandemic. In the immortal words of White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, there's no reason to go backwards and figure out tick-tocks of what happened when. We've got a crisis on our hands.
Right. And the crisis is why we need to look backwards and learn from mistakes and make sure they are never made again. Look at this Associated Press headline from just today. The U.S. wasted months before preparing for the virus -- this virus pandemic. This was a 9/11 level failure of the federal government. It was. It needs to be talked about and covered and scrutinized that way.
But, let me add a but here. Job number one and story number one right now is about the life-saving efforts underway. The story number one is about the hospitals and all we can all do to help. But I think story number two is about the government's delays and dysfunction both months ago and also right now.
That's true on the local level. There's a lot of states that I want to know more about, about what went wrong at the state level, but it's true at the federal level to ignore it, or to cover it up, or to the memory hole, it does a disservice to the dead. Let's talk about that with staff writer for The New Yorker, Susan Glasser. She is with me now. Gregg -- I'm sorry. Gregg, pronounce your name for me. I don't want to get it wrong.
GREGG GONSALVES, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, YALE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Gonsalves.
STELTER: I apologize. I got all this tightly screwed up in my teleprompter.
GONSALVES: No problem.
STELTER: Greg is with the Yale School of Medicine. And we're also joined by radiologists and physician advocate Nisha Mehta. She's the founder of Physician Side Gigs, a Facebook community of over 50,000 verified physicians. And Nisha, we didn't get to you last hour, so I want to start with you first.
NISHA MEHTA, RADIOLOGIST: Sure. Thanks for having me.
STELTER: What I want to ask you about is what you are hearing from the front lines, because we are getting some views once in a while into hospitals into ERs and into these makeshift morgues, but we're not getting very many views. The press is mostly unable to see what's happening. The public is mostly unable to see what's happening.
So you've been getting feedback, you've been getting messages through your Facebook group from hundreds of nurses and doctors. Well, what are they telling you?
MEHTA: I think the big thing is fear. I think there's a lot going on that, you know, everybody's trying their best, obviously. Everybody's doing the best with the resources that they have. Unfortunately, as a lot of you have already heard in terms of personal protective equipment and other assurances, they're not necessarily up to speed with what we need.
And so I think the biggest thing here is really how do we emphasize that importance to the public in terms of how and apply that pressure to our legislators to really make sure that we're protected to the degree that we need to be to do the job that we need to do. And I think that is the number one story and rightfully so what you guys have been running for a really long time, just because if we don't have the protection that we have, then the front lines will fall. And honestly, we'll also become vectors to spread it to our patients. And so all in all that has to be priority number one.
I think the other story that's not really being told is sort of the personal side of what physicians and other health care workers are facing in this situation. And that's a lot of what I hear when people reach out to me. So this week alone, I've had so many people calling me and sending me messages, you know, crying and screaming about just their frustrations on the front lines right now. Because not only -- you have to remember, not only are we going in there and doing our job, but also we've got families at home, we've got people to protect who were scared for our own health, who were scared for the lives of our families and who's going to protect them.
And so there's all of that that goes behind every decision on our end. You know, there's always a struggle between, are you a physician first or you know, are you a parent first for example. And I've got physicians, calling saying, I don't know if I'll ever see my child again. I've separated from them for their safety. And now, you know, I've seen my colleagues falling sick, some of them are intubated. We've actually had numerous deaths in the physician community over the past week, including some that are really, really young, our residents.
And so, you know, we're very, very hyper-aware of the fact that a lot of us are going to be exposed to this. And it's not a question of when or if, it's really a question of when and what's going to happen, and what's going to transpire in those situations, and what's going to happen to our families. I think that that side is just incredibly sad because you're seeing people who are saying, you know, I'm stepping out to the frontlines and I go into a situation that's urgent, and I don't have the personal protective equipment.
And I know that I don't have it, I know that I'm going to walk into that scenario and I'm going to be exposed. But yet I have this duty to my patients to step in and I also have this duty to my other patients in the future to not get this and, you know, deteriorate from our ability to protect or to provide care in the future. And also, what happens to me and what happens to my family and that situation.
So I think health care workers are facing a lot of challenges right now as they face those things. And, you know, I think it's really frustrating for us to not feel like the one thing that could be supplied to us that could protect everyone, that personal protective equipment is not there.
STELTER: Right. To still have shortages of supplies, to still have shortage of ventilators. Greg, I say this is a 9/11 level failure of the government. What does it call for, a 9/11 style commission?
GONSALVES: So first of all, it's not a 9/11 level failure, it's much greater than that. As Andy Slavitt said recently, it's a greatest public health issue in 100 years. So think of that. And think of the death toll in Afghanistan, and Iraq, Vietnam. If any of the projections hold true, most of the wars that we've seen in our lifetime will be dwarfed by the death toll of this pandemic.
Now we need -- what we need is really a Marshall Plan or a new deal for public health. We need to scale up personal protective equipment. We're in April now, and we don't have these vital tools that doctors and nurses and health care workers need to protect themselves. We don't have the test to diagnose people in our hospital, let alone figure out who been exposed and recovered from the disease.
We're still having a conversation about how to get ventilators from Oregon to New York, you know, four months into this pandemic. And so, you know, we keep hearing stories in the newspapers about the governance disagree, or the experts are concerned about remarks made by the President or its actions or that his tone has changed. And now he's greeting the epidemic with a new level of seriousness.
But we really need to know what's going on, and we need to dig and find out why our responses are still failing, and who's responsible. Because as you as your guests have said over the past few weeks -- a few -- a few minutes, we are all in now hearing people who have fallen ill with the disease, we know people who are getting sick and who are dying, and it's just is going to get worse over the next weeks and months. And if we don't make it turn-around quickly, this is going to drag on for months, not for weeks.
I think the media needs to change and stop giving these daily briefings live and running stories with the president's misstatement and lies for giving equal time as facts and relieving basic public health recommendations and information on the epidemic open to debate. And the way in which the stories are being told make some controversial and so people don't know what to do.
This amplifies misinformation in a pandemic. And if you don't think it's true look at the states that have refused to put social distancing orders into place, or states where the pre-COVID and the current daily travel hasn't really changed. These are states most often with Republican governors who are largely parroting what the President has said at one point or another. And it's not because these governors are watching Fox News 24/7, it's because you're giving equal time to misinformation on CNN or in the page of the New York Times.
And we really need to switch our coverage into an emergency setting as Jay Rosen from NYU has said. It means we have to ask this one fundamental question, not just does it really represent what somebody said, but should we be amplifying statements, absolute misstatements of fact, outright lies and obfuscation of the critical information we need to stop and prevent this epidemic.
STELTER: Yes. You're saying that it causes so much confusion when you hear something that's bull, and then you hear the correction a few minutes later, you end up not knowing what to believe. Susan, on that point, the president sometimes threw misinformation. He's trying to project optimism. That's what his supporters say is doing. He's trying to be optimistic.
Here's a tweet from the Trump reelection campaign saying President Trump is reaching for hope and journalists just want to shoot him down. And here's Senator Ted Cruz saying, right now, too many in the press are giddy with glee. Susan Glasser, are you giddy?
SUSAN GLASSER, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: It's just an absurd and outrageous statement. You know, I can't think of a more collective act of the American people watching day after day the inconsistency and untruth and misleading nature and confusing response by the federal government in the form of the president over the last few months.
So my perspective is this, and I haven't watched, I think, basically every single one of these briefings. My takeaway, you know, I wrote about them as comparable to, if not worse than the 5:00 follies during the Vietnam era at which the Pentagon lied to the American people about the Vietnam War. I believe that this is Donald Trump's version of that.
I think there's a very real debate. And I'm, I'm glad I don't have to be the one to make the decision as far as airing these briefings on television because I think that's a very difficult decision. And I think your previous guest has suggested why it's very problematic to expose people to so many untruths, about the public health from the president. However, I believe that journalists like ourselves have an enormous
responsibility to bear witness. If the President of the United States is going to engage in this kind of performance day in and day out, then we do have a responsibility to write it down, to record it. It's monumental and breathtaking in many ways, the collapse of leadership that we've seen at a time when actual lives are at stake over the last few months.
It's not a surprise to anyone who is familiar with Donald Trump that he would behave in this way, but it's still breathtaking, you know, that he would offer misleading or inaccurate public health information to the American people. So, I believe very strongly that is the job of journalists like myself and like you to record this information. That doesn't necessarily mean that it's the right thing for the American people that it should be aired live and unchallenged on television.
So I think those are two very important conversations. They're not necessarily the same conversation if you know what I mean, Brian.
STELTER: Right. I do. I do. Nisha, I have to go, but tell me about your GoFundMe before -- your change.org petition before we go. This is a change.org petition that's gotten 35,000 signatures in the last 12 hours.
MEHTA: Yes. I think we're actually up to 45,000 since I talked to you about it an hour ago.
MEHTA: So we just started at about 12 hours ago. We've actually -- myself in conjunction with a lot of members of the physician community from my two groups which total over 80,000 physicians, as well as the leadership of two physicians, doctors, Carlos Vitale -- Karla Vitale, have actually submitted an act to Congress yesterday, trying to establish protections for physicians.
And so this was -- there's an act. It's actually called the COVID-19 Pandemic Physician Protection Act. And what it's really aimed at doing is making sure that physicians are able to not worry about things at home and the other aspects of their lives so that they can really take on COVID-19 with full force.
And so one of the things that it establishes, for example, is the presence of the COVID-19 fund which is similar to the first responders from 9/11, and just making sure that the families are protected and that we can get the PPE that we need, all of these sorts of things. So if you would like to help out, please it's just at change.org/helpphysicians.
Please sign. Please distribute widely. It doesn't need to just be signed by physicians. We would like to just make sure that everyone can see that the public is behind physicians as they enter these battlegrounds, and other health care workers as well. STELTER: Right. Absolutely. Thank you all for sitting at the table with me. Please stick around. We have much more ahead. But before we go any further this hour, I want to share our condolences with some of the news organizations that are in mourning right now. This virus reaches everywhere, including into newsrooms, like at the Associated Press.
Deputy tech editor Jesdanun died of coronavirus this week. At CBS, producer and talent executive Maria Mercader died last Sunday. At the New York Times, veteran reporter and editor Alan Finder died late last month. And in NBC, audio technician Larry Edgeworth passed away after testing positive.
Being in the middle of this storm, it's easy to get caught up in the numbers and statistics to not recognize that each of the numbers reflects the human toll this virus is taking. On deck here on RELIABLE SOURCES at this special hour, Washington Post editor Marty Baron. He'll join me right after this.
STELTER: Sometimes you'll want to forget what's happened this week. But let's look at how the Washington Post has covered this fateful week through its front pages. One day, Trump extends distancing guidelines, the next day stay at home orders expand, the Task Force's best-case death toll is dire. The U.S. directory is akin to Italy's. And as the economy craters, 6.6 million more people now jobless. Of course, the numbers are even higher than we know. The virus is even more widely spread than we know.
There's still so much we don't know, but these newspapers are running banner headlines day after day trying to keep up. Let's look at today's lead as well in the Washington Post. It says, 70 days of denial delays and dysfunction. It's about the federal government's missteps in this crisis.
With me now is the executive editor of The Washington Post Marty Baron. Marty, how do you balance this accountability journalism, looking backwards, with focusing on the present and trying to look forward? How do you balance all that?
MARTY BARON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think there's a lot for us to do. In this time of crisis, accountability is at the core of our mission. We have a free press in this country. It's to hold powerful officials accountable. That was the idea. But we have a lot of other things to do as well. We have to tell people about basic health information. We have to tell them what their government is doing. We have to provide them a personal information that can be helpful to them. We just have so many things that we have to do right now.
STELTER: Yes, all at once. And when the President briefing says questions are negative, and he says the press is fake, you know, what do you make of that argument that, you know, you should be more optimistic. That's what he's been saying lately.
BARON: Well, look, you know, there's so much serious stuff that I -- that we have to do these days. We're covering a lot of serious things. I don't really put the criticisms of the press in that category. There's just a lot for us to do. We're trying to cover this story, and I think that the reporting on this story has been validated over these many months now.
STELTER: This incredible investigation on the front page today, it describes these 70 days between the first notification about this virus spreading in China, and then a real government reaction that met the threat -- that meets the threat. What do you think are the most important findings from your reporters this weekend?
BARON: Well, I think the most important finding is that the government didn't act like this was a war from the very beginning. This was an -- we did a story of that on March 20th that said that the President had received intelligence briefings that this was going to be a pandemic. The first notification of severity of this came from China on January 3rd.
And so, what our staff tried to do was to take a look at what this administration had done from that January 3rd date till today. And until the moment that actually the President had declared himself to be a wartime president, so 70 days. And it found that the government had failed all along the way. It did not pay attention to the seriousness of this -- of this pandemic. But it was warned multiple times about it, that it reacted very slowly, and was not acting as if this was wartime.
STELTER: You know, one of the quotes stood out to me from the piece, it says here, many of the failures to stem the outbreak in the U.S. were either a result of or exacerbated by President Trump's leadership. So that's the conclusion of your report is after doing all this work is the blame or the buck does stop with him.
BARON: Well, of course. He's the leader of a country and everything stems from the person at the top. And from the very beginning, he was being dismissive about this -- of the -- of the dangers here. He was arguing that it wasn't going to affect the United States to a great extent.
And yet there were warnings within his administration that he was aware of, and should have been aware of, and should have paid attention to. They were telling him that this was going to be a very serious problem, and that he called for true mobilization on the part of the entire government, when the point of that story was, in fact, the entire government had not been mobilized.
STELTER: Right. And that includes many departments, many agencies. Let me ask you about your own staff and how you're keeping them safe. What is that dynamic like keeping the staff safe while being out there covering this? BARON: Well, I think that's our -- you know, one of our biggest concerns is to make sure that we can cover the story but make sure that we don't put our staff in danger. We tell everyone that while we want them to cover the story, we don't want anybody to do anything that will cause severe risk to their health, and they are entitled to say that they don't want to cover a story.
When people do cover a story, we provide them with the materials that they need. We provide them with masks, we provide them with gloves, and we try to make sure that the story is one that allows them to cover it safely.
STELTER: Marty, thank you so much for being here. Great to see you today even under these circumstances. Coming up here, as the coronavirus keeps millions inside, video conferencing app Zoom is becoming a place for everything from yoga classes to weddings. But with great popularity comes great responsibility. Zoom CEO Eric Yuan is standing by for his first T.V. interview since apologizing to users for falling short on privacy. What does that mean? We will zoom to him next.
STELTER: And welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.
We are on a special time this Sunday after carrying the New York governor's daily briefing in the last hour.
So, how are you holding up through all of this? How are you staying connected, staying social, while forced to be apart? I, like many of you, I've been using zoom. Yesterday, I hung out with family members in a video conference. Those aren't my family members, but they look great too.
Like millions of others, I've been holding work meetings through Zoom. I've been taking my 3-year-old to preschool virtually on the platform, and it sure has become popular for schools.
All of the sudden, it is true, Zoom is everywhere. People are even getting married in Zoom video conference rooms.
So, the U.K. government has been using Zoom to hold Cabinet conferences. Although, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while he's recovering from the virus, he did accidentally reveal his meeting I.D. through a tweet.
Look, Zoom's enormous spike in users and its user base has not come without scrutiny. There's been -- there's been a fair share of problems and concerns about the platform.
In recent weeks, Zoom has been plagued by targeted trolling tactics, you know, if you build it, the trolls will come. The FBI even issued a warning about what they refer to as Zoombombing.
Zoom's CEO and founder apologized in a memo this week, promising to address security and privacy issues.
Joining me now in his first interview since that memo came out. Eric Yuan is the founder and CEO of zoom. He's got a Zoom back round-up right there. Eric, what happened in the past few weeks? If -- is this just a situation where your service, your startup grew astronomically, a lot more quickly than you imagined it would?
ERIC YUAN, FOUNDER, ZOOM VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS: I think that you're right. Now, our service was a beautiful serve (INAUDIBLE) and a lot of enterprise customers. However, dealing this COVID-19 crisis, we moved it too fast. Our intention to serve with -- and the users, so the kid with 12 schools.
However, we have -- we had some missteps. We should have it done something that enforce password and (INAUDIBLE) and a double-check every source settings. On over the past one week and two weeks, we ought to took actions to fix those missteps.
COVID -- new users -- new user case is very different to our traditional business and enterprise customers where they have I.T. team to support.
STELTER: Then, what about when I take my 3-year-old to preschool on Zoom, and she sees all her friends, is that connection secure or can other people spy on it?
YUAN: No, that connection secure. Make sure that you enable your password, and make sure others that they cannot, you know, hiking on your meeting, and to make sure you knew about the meeting rule, we can do a feature.
I think we have all the security features beauty in. And however we need to focus on education, we should enforce to the settings for the brand-new users, especially for consumers, and that's what we have done recently.
STELTER: One of the most interesting uses of Zoom that you've seen in the past few weeks, to me it's these religious services. Today is Palm Sunday, Passover is coming up, Ramadan is later in the month of April, and we're seeing so many houses of worship hold services on Zoom.
YUAN: Yes, that's right. We have -- we had received a lot of -- you know, new user cases, this is one of them, like the happy hour as well, and all kinds of a new user cases. But our user base are very definite to our traditional enterprise customers.
STELTER: You know, there's also been -- as the enterprise customers, the New York City board of education, said it's not going to have schools use zoom because of the concerns about privacy and security.
Are you seeing a lot of those cases of people, all of a sudden, backing out and not using the platform?
YUAN: No, actually, you know, we are still in the process to working together with New Yorker's -- New York schools, because they are re- evaluating that, so make sure we do already, you know, enforced do the security settings, which was Zoombombing will not happen again. Whilst doing the process to working together with them.
STELTER: So, you're working on it. And Eric, what's the most important thing users should know?
YUAN: Yes. I assume that we take actions quickly, and we had us on missteps over the past weeks, and our intentions good, and now we learn nicely. And we top it down keep it down on privacy and security before we do anything. You know, we think about that.
And while that just that -- you know, care about a customer service. When you take a step back, focus on privacy and security. We want the Zoom to be the privacy security first, the company.
STELTER: Eric, thank you very much for being here. I appreciate it.
Coming up next here, we're going to unpack what happens when a reporter ends up covering coronavirus, and then, is diagnosed with coronavirus. New York Times reporter Sarah Maslin Nir will be here in just a moment. Stay with us.
STELTER: And we're back here on RELIABLE SOURCES, talking about the newest media and the anti-media's coverage of this crisis. Sean Hannity is anti-media. He exists every day to demonize that the news media in this country. And he oftentimes plays the game called, blame the left. That's what he's been doing lately, targeting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
STELTER: He's blaming the left, saying it's the governor's fault for not being prepared. He's trying to shift the blame away from President Trump.
Every night this week on Hannity's program, he was blaming Cuomo for New York's crisis levels in the lack of ventilators and all the rest. Hannity was bashing Cuomo, and of course, this does two things at once. It puts the blame on someone else and it allows Hannity to do the dirty work for Trump so that Trump doesn't have to do it himself. I do wonder if that's what's going on in a situation like this.
Let's talk about this and more with CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy. Staff writer for The New Yorker Susan Glasser is also back with me now.
Oliver, I've been seeing several different examples of Fox News fingerprints on President Trump's reaction to this pandemic. You know he is out there talking up this drug that's been unproven that hopefully will help a lot of patients. But, you know, his own doctors are being very cautious.
So, he's out there doing that because he hears about it on Fox. He's also talking about a second commission that might be needed to reboot the economy because that's an idea from Fox's Dana Perino.
What signs have you seen of Fox News fingerprints on the president's reaction?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Well, you know, we talked about whether it's ethical to air these briefings from President Trump because of all the misinformation that flows out of them. But what people don't often realize is, you know, Fox News is airing a lot of this misinformation throughout the day to millions of people in primetime, and throughout in the morning, and with "Fox & Friends".
And even some of the medical doctors, like Dr. Oz, are pushing these unproven treatments and saying that the White House and the governors need to approve the use of them. So, you know, there's a lot of fingerprints.
Everything that Donald Trump is saying during these briefings, everything that the media points out, you know, that's, that's misinformation, that might be misleading, that might be giving false hope, that is what a lot of these Fox News personalities are pushing to their viewers throughout the day.
STELTER: You know you wrote recently in our RELIABLE SOURCES newsletter about misinformation that comes not from the top, but you know, from the middle, from the bottom, just from ordinary friends and family on Facebook and Twitter, who might have all the right intentions, but are out there promoting false cures, and other sources of false hope.
In some ways, that's a more challenging problem than just fact- checking a political leader, isn't it?
It really is. It's difficult to when, you know, a family member, for instance, is forwarding this chain text or this misleading article that they've seen on the Internet. But I do think a lot of this does flow down from the top.
And so, when you have the president of the United States saying something, and you have a Fox News host saying something that gets filtered down into articles, and those articles, and those, you know, misleading information gets pushed around by people via text, via e- mail, on Facebook, on Twitter, et cetera, et cetera.
And so, we really need to focus our efforts on fact-checking powerful people on holding them accountable. People like Sean Hannity at Fox News, and also, you know, what about Hannity's bosses? You know, Suzanne Scott is the CEO of Fox News media.
Is she not watching for Hannity's show and seeing this misinformation? Does she not care about the misinformation? Or is it that she can't control what Hannity is saying on-air? I think we need to be asking those questions as well.
STELTER: She doesn't have control -- she doesn't have control over him, she just doesn't. So, we heard Susan, the president on a tape with the governors on Monday, saying, I haven't heard about testing in weeks. And I just -- I wonder if this is a sign that the president is not getting an information from his aides, that they're keeping bad news from him, or he's only hearing the positive on Fox. What's your read on that?
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it could be both of the above, in some ways. Because at what President Trump says is so inconsistent, he's also said, you know, anyone who needs the test can get it, which is clearly not the case in this country.
And so, you know, I think you're right to point out the central role that the president's limited information sphere is having in terms of his communication to public, both he's watching this sort of Fox News disinformation bubble.
Remember that it was apparently after watching Fox a couple of weeks ago, on Sunday night, the president started talking about how he's going to reopen the country that led to his declaration, a couple of days later on Fox News that he was going to have packed two pews in the church knees by Easter, is going to reopen the country.
That seems to be a direct from Fox campaign and misinformation that the president then had to back off of.
STELTER: Yes, yes.
GLASSER: But you're also right to spotlight that the government himself, the way the president runs the White House and his administration is clearly limiting and affecting his judgment right now. He has spent three years with breathtaking turnover.
As of the other day, it was 83 percent of the upper ranks of his White House has been turned over according to the Brookings Institution. He has had more turn over in his Cabinet than Reagan, both George, Bush's, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama to this point. There is no -- the HHS secretary, there is no one in key positions to respond to this throughout the government.
STELTER: Wow. Yes.
GLASSER: And those who are in the government, of course, have been subjected essentially to a personal loyalty test by a president who prizes that above actual -- just the facts information. So, that it's almost like a worst-case scenario for the public in this kind of health emergency.
STELTER: It has the banner points out. Trump has been resuming his -- we have to open the country rhetoric. And this was really a theme of his briefing on Saturday, which I believe came from what he was heard on Fox on Thursday and Friday.
He's talking again about we need to get back to work, which is absolutely true, but safely. Look, all over there's a YouTube video from "The Daily Show" that has more than 2 million views, and it's called, Saluting the Heroes of the Pandemic.
And you've got Hannity and other figures. And in this video shows how they downplayed the virus early on in February and early March. Let's take a look at a portion of this Daily Show video.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST, THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW: The coronaviruses is the common cold, folks. The type of this thing as a pandemic, as the Andromeda strain, as, oh, my god, if you get it, you're dead.
PETE HEGSETH, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: This is one of those cases where the more I learn about coronavirus, the less concerned I am, there's a lot of hyperbole.
LOU DOBBS, HOST, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: The national left-wing media playing up fears of the coronavirus.
TOMI LAHREN, CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NATION: The sky is falling because we have a few dozen cases of coronavirus on a cruise ship. I am far more concerned with stepping on a use heroin needle than I am getting the coronavirus, but maybe that's just me.
JEANINE PIRRO, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: It's a virus like the flu. All the talk about coronavirus being so much more deadly doesn't reflect reality.
MARC SIEGEL, MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: This virus should be compared to the flu, because at worst -- at worst, worst-case scenario, it could be the flu.
GERALDO RIVERA, CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: The far more deadly, more lethal threat right now is not the coronavirus, it's this -- it's the ordinary old flu. People are dying right now.
STEVE DOOCY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Flu is here.
RIVERA: Nobody has died yet in the United States as far as we know from this disease.
BRIAN KILMEADE, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: That's right.
LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: And the facts are actually pretty reassuring, but you never know watching all this stuff.
JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: You want to know how I really feel about the coronavirus, Juan? If I get it, I'll beat it. I'm not afraid of the coronavirus and no one else should be that afraid either.
MATT SCHLAPP, CHAIRMAN, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: It is very, very difficult to contract this virus.
DREW PINSKY, PRIVATE INTERNAL MEDICINE PRACTICE, SOUTH PASADENA: It's milder than we thought, the fatality rate is going to drop.
ED HENRY, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: So, when you hear the context, it's not quite as scary.
AINSLEY EARHARDT, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: It's actually the safest time to fly. Everyone I know is flying right now. Terminals are pretty much dead. And then, the planes -- remember back in the day when you had a seat next to you possibly empty, you could stretch out a little more.
EARHARDT: It's like that on every flight now.
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): One of the things you can do if you're healthy, you and your family, it's a great time to just go out, go to a local restaurant.
MARIA BARTIROMO, ANCHOR, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Yes.
NUNES: Likely, you can get in -- get in easily.
STELTER: However, this video keeps going. We can show the rest of it, it keeps going. It's obviously produced by a liberal group of comedians. We see the point they're making. They're taking some clips out of context.
But it is nonetheless damning to think about how Fox and Rush Limbaugh have downplayed this virus. I'm not talking about today. I'm talking about February and March. These crucial weeks when there was a delay in the government response.
DARCY: And we talked about the failure of President Trump's administration to take the coronavirus seriously, you have to seriously wonder whether that stemmed from the coverage he was consuming on Fox News.
We know the president watches a lot of Fox, we know he reacts to Fox, and we know he makes a lot of decisions based on what he's seeing on Fox. And so, throughout these crucial time period, Fox was downplaying this, they were mocking the rest of the media, and saying this is a hoax to get Trump. And so on, and so forth.
And you really wonder had, had the Fox News host just taking this lightly more seriously? Would the president have taken it more seriously? And as a result, would lives have been saved?
I know, when I'm looking at this, I can't conclude, you know, any anything else. That seems like that, that would have happened, had Fox taking this a lot more seriously.
STELTER: Yes, you know, we have the privilege to work, and talk about this, and scrutinize the coverage. And be on the Internet, and be on television.
I keep thinking about this nursing home in Maryland where my mom worked for so many years. Pleasant View Nursing Home, it's an hour north of D.C. The president could go and visit if it was safe.
Nine residents there have died, so far. Dozens of other patients have the virus. A couple of dozen staffers have the virus. And these are -- these are residents who are not going to be online, they're not going to be tethered to their cell phones all day. They're not able to Zoom or Face Time all the time with their friends and family.
Nine dead there, and that's one nursing home. There's so many nursing homes. So many of these vulnerable communities that are being decimated by this virus, and that's -- it's such a big story that so hard for us to get our arms around.
STELTER: But we need to remember, each are those are individual lives that have been affected by the choices that were made in January and February and March. And I'm not exempting myself, I'm not exempting CNN or other news outlets. There were times, probably, we didn't take this seriously. I don't say we. There were times I wasn't talking enough about coronavirus on this program. But I think about the death toll that's rising at those nursing homes.
And I think what, what responsibility did the Foxes of the world have to sound the alarm knowing the president was watching?
Alright, let's take one more turn here on RELIABLE SOURCES as we talk about the impacts in various communities. And especially, for this program, the impact set for journalists, you know, there, there have been many journalists diagnosed with this virus. Some we mentioned have passed away, others have recovered.
And I want to bring in one of those journalists who is thankfully recovered now. Her name is Sarah Maslin Nir. She's a reporter for The New York Times, she was up in New Rochelle, New York, covering one of those early hotspots.
And Sarah, tell us about what happened when you got back to Manhattan? You had to get a test, and then, you were -- you were homebound for a while.
SARAH MASLIN NIR, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes. So, I was up in New Rochelle on March the 3rd. That's when the second person in New York State and the first person in that community was diagnosed. And my understanding of the virus evolved with the nation's understanding of it.
When I first went up there, I was opening doors with my hands. You know, washing them, I put my computer down on surfaces, I interviewed sources from three feet away. The next time I was up there, a week later, I was opening doors with my elbow, and I was, you know standing six feet away.
But by then, it was already too late for me. I realized as I lost my sense of taste and smell, I had contracted the virus. Because we're considered essential workers, and I wanted to keep going out into the field to keep reporting for the American public, I went to a drive- through testing center in New Rochelle, was swabbed, and diagnosed with coronavirus.
STELTER: The video of you, the drive-through testing center, and this was what? Like March 28th-21st. So, it's been a little while. When do you -- how long did it feel like it took for you to recover from this?
NIR: So, I had a mild case, but mild is a misnomer. It was still the worst flu I've ever had. I was in bed for six days, putting my phone to my ear, holding my hand up like that was exhausting.
So, I'd say for eight to 12 days, I was symptomatic. Then, I started to progressively get better. My sense of taste and smell recovered. But what's really interesting right now, Brian, is that the country's rules for when you can be released from quarantine are much more less than other countries.
Here, New York State, at least the same, three days after your last symptom. China requires two post-symptomatic tests within 48 hours that show you have no coronavirus. And then 14 more days of quarantine.
So, I'm following China's guidelines, and I'm still considering myself quarantined.
STELTER: I'd say -- yes. Look, this week, as you know, two CNN anchors tested positive for the virus. That's CNN's Chris Cuomo and Brooke Baldwin. Cuomo was there speaking with his brother, the governor, at one of these daily briefings.
I wonder what you thought of that. You know, he's out there explaining what he's experiencing and his symptoms trying to help people know what it's like.
NIR: I think if people take this seriously and if attaching to a well- known beloved public figure helps them take it seriously, that's incredibly laudable. I did a Q&A on Twitter with people while flat on my back, trying to get people to understand that this was real, this is dangerous, and they should take it seriously.
And one of the things I've been messaging people about is that on average asymptomatic people are spreading this, I believe the number is to 2.2 other people. So, it's not suicidal to go out into the world, its homicidal behavior. And I truly believe that people should take incredible precautions.
STELTER: You know, we just put up one of the Brooke Baldwin's Instagrams, sharing her diagnosis. I just want to let viewers know about her most recent post because I've received so many notes from people worried about Chris and Brooke.
Here is what Brooke Baldwin just posted on Instagram a few minutes ago. She said, thank you for your advice, your recommendations, your humor, it's been a steady routine over here of extra-strength Tylenol, Koff meds, vitamin C, liquids, hot melatonin, hug hugs and the rest and repeat.
She says, this is Brooke speaking, I'm very healthy and I feel like one of the lucky ones but I'm careful to still take this day by day. And Brooke, says she still gets teary-eyed thinking about seeing that Empire State Building beating red the other night. It was honoring first responders and medical professionals on the front lines.
Brooke write on Instagram, we will get through this, stay home. That's her message on Instagram today. And the same for you, Sarah, you're taking this day by day, that's what everybody has to do. You can't assume you're out of the woods when you're a few days into this illness.
NIR: Absolutely. Some studies are showing that up to five weeks asymptomatic, you can still spread the virus. So, it's just not worth it for me to go out into the world. Thankfully, with technology, I can keep reporting. I'm calling all those local officials, calling all those electives, still holding them to the wire, but I am not doing it in person.
STELTER: Right, you can still do the work. That's right. Sarah, thank you for sharing your account here.
Before we wrap-up here on RELIABLE SOURCES, I want to let you know, our nightly newsletter now seven nights a week is full of the latest information about the virus and the media's handling of this story.
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Wrapping up here on RELIABLE SOURCES at a special time. If you're looking for" STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper, it's coming up in prime time. It's going to replay at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time tonight here on CNN because we bumped at this hour.
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Thank you for joining us. Coming up next, Fredricka Whitfield continues our coverage.