Return to Transcripts main page

Reliable Sources

Trump Campaign: Donald's New Reality Show?; Seeing 2016 Through Latin Media Lens; Excluse Look at Harper Lee Documentary; Bernie Sanders Surges; Reddit Shake-Up. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired July 12, 2015 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:13] BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Donald Trump dominating headlines while he's suing Univision. So, how is Spanish language media covering Trump's anti-immigration message?

Plus, the most anticipated book, not only of the year but of the decade. But did 89-year-old author Harper Lee even want it to be published? We have new information this morning from a journalist who met with Lee a few days ago.

And what is going on at Reddit? Well, the CEO is stepping down. Can women get a fair shake in Silicon Valley?

Good morning. I'm Brian Stelter. And it's time for RELIABLE SOURCES. We have all those stories and more coming up.

But let's begin with what increasingly looks like the story of the summer -- that is the man behind me, Donald Trump.

If the presidential campaign he's running were a reality show, it would be scoring record-high ratings. Polls -- they're showing more and more support for the billionaire who will say just about anything.

Meanwhile, newsrooms are sending more and more reporters to Trump campaign events like this rally in Phoenix last night.

And some commentators -- well, you can hear the surprise in their voices. They don't know what to think.

Here's two examples from MSNBC and FOX earlier this morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I used to say he'll stop, whenever he absolutely has to file that form, he'll stop. He'll shut this thing down. I'm just getting the sense this thing has gotten more traction than he was expecting, he's connected with something he was expecting to. And I'm just wondering, this thing is already bigger than anybody thought it would be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question I think, really, is the buzz is actually a good thing this early on. We're still a long way until Iowa, long way until New Hampshire. Or is the sound of the buzz a chainsaw?


STELTER: I don't know -- I don't think FOX knows how to cover this campaign.

You know, two things are happening. There is a growing sentiment and I hear you all saying at home that the press should not be covering Trump the way it is, should not be involved in what is basically an epic trolling of the presidential primary process. But at the same time, there is also this growing sense that Trump is reshaping the whole race, challenging the Republican establishment, exciting the base, and writing a chapter of the 2016 story that almost nobody expected.

Now, everybody has an opinion about Trump. A few people really know him like my next guest, Michael Cohen, an executive vice president and special counsel of the Trump Organization.

Michael, as one of Trump's top advisers, are you seeing the constant stream of campaign coverage and rejoicing? Or is this somehow hurting his business somehow?

MICHAEL COHEN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Well, look, Donald Trump is a mega-billionaire. And when he releases his financials you're going to see just how wealthy he actually is. He is not worried about these ancillary businesses or these spineless individuals that want to run away from him. What he is interested in is simply making America great again. That is his message.

STELTER: We've heard the message. When you say spineless, are you talking about NBC, Univision, Macy's?

COHEN: I'm talking about them and all the others.

STELTER: But you hear that, these are major corporations that have distanced themselves from Trump. It must be hurting the bottom line at this point.

COHEN: Well, I don't think Mr. Trump is worried about the bottom line. What he's worried about, again, is his message, which is to make America great again.

He is worried about the veterans. He's worried about national security. He is worried about Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid. He's worried about many different things.

One thing he is not worried about is the small dollars that are coming in as a result of these relationships.

STELTER: Let me play a sound bite from you from earlier this morning on "STATE OF THE UNION" here on CNN. Another presidential candidate, Lindsey Graham, had this to say about Trump. I want to hear your response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he's uninformed about the situation regarding the illegal immigrant population. I think he's hijacked the debate. I think he is a wrecking ball for the future of the Republican Party with the Hispanic community and we need to push back.


STELTER: A wrecking ball? Michael, any reaction to that?

COHEN: I'm not really sure what Lindsey Graham is saying. I don't really think anybody cares what he's saying, to be very honest with you.

Donald Trump has hit a chord. Donald Trump from even yesterday in Arizona, what was supposed to be a thousand-person event turned out to be a 20,000.

The silent majority has been awoken. And Mr. Trump will talk about, there is a real movement out there.

And the one thing Donald Trump is, is he is authentic. He is not going to have individuals tell him what to say. He is not going to poll individuals before releasing what he believes is necessary in order to make this country great again. That is again --

STELTER: I think we can agree, first of all, every candidate wants America to be great again. A lot of candidates already think America is great. I mean, that slogan doesn't say much. It's like cotton candy, isn't it? Make America great again.

COHEN: No, I really don't think so, Brian. Actually, I think Donald Trump is authentic to that message. The other --


STELTER: Here's what I'm concerned about. You mentioned 20,000 people being there --

COHEN: The other --


STELTER: You mentioned 20,000 people being there in Phoenix.

[11:05:02] There were not 20,000 people in Phoenix. I know Donald Trump said that on Twitter. The venue was supposed to hold 4,000 people. "The New York Times" says less than 10,000.

How can we believe this man could be commander-in-chief if he can't even get his facts straight?

COHEN: Listen, whether it's 5,000, 10,000 or 20,000, it's a complete sellout. And if Donald Trump says --

(CROSSTALK) STELTER: That actually matters, whether it's 5,000 or 20,000. It actually matters a lot.

COHEN: Why does it matter?

What you see is a movement. You see a movement of people that are angry. They're angry with the all-talk-no-action policy of our career politicians. Donald Trump is not beholding to anyone. He is not asking anyone like lobbyists or the big financial institutions, for money. He is doing this from his own pocket and he's doing it for a purpose.

STELTER: I think we can all agree there is a lot of anger out there and you're right that he's tapping into some of the anger.

What I wonder, for you, as someone that works with him every day and gives Donald Trump advice, how do you plan a strategy or a campaign for a guy like Donald Trump? It seems like he gets out there, he doesn't have prepared remarks. He doesn't have a scripted speech. He just says whatever is on his mind.

Is it hard to work with a guy like that?

COHEN: That's what makes --

STELTER: How can you possibly plan a campaign?

COHEN: That's what makes Donald Trump authentic. That's why he resonates with the people. He doesn't have pre-scripted speeches that people spend two, three weeks on polling in order to find out -- well, if you say this, then it's going to resonate well in your poll numbers.

Here is the bottom line: Donald Trump is right now at the top of the Republican candidate. He is polling number one. Some say he is by himself. Others say that he's with Jeb Bush.

What he's saying is resonating with the people. The people are tired. We're all tired of the all-talk-no-action policy of our career politicians. And I think Donald Trump's honest, open, authentic message is what the American people are looking for.

STELTER: You mentioned the polls where he is number one. I would just add one caveat, which is so far, those have been online polls. CNN, for example, goes with telephone polls. So, we haven't reporting on the polls where he's number one.

But you're absolutely right. He's polling number two. He's close to Jeb Bush in some of these telephone polls. And we're going to see more polls in the coming days that show it seems this real momentum from Donald Trump.

My last question for you, Michael, before I have to let you is, whether you agree with his critique with the press. He was calling the press terrible last night. He loves to mock reporters. And yet aren't reporters giving him attention and helping him rise even higher in the polls?

COHEN: Of course, they're giving him attention because he creates ratings. That's what Donald Trump does.

But what Donald Trump is angry about is there was a statement that was made regarding Mexico, and every liberal media outlet jumped on it and they switched it from Mexico meaning the government to the Mexican people.

And that was absolutely unfair. It was dishonest. And it's created a swell of media attention.

And in all fairness it back-fired on them because, again, he's polling number one. So, it certainly appears to be creating this ground movement by people who are angry with the way our politicians are dealing with our open borders.

STELTER: Michael, I appreciate you being here. Thanks for taking the time this morning.

COHEN: Very nice to speak to you.

STELTER: He creates ratings. I like that line from Michael.

Continuing on this theme of people who know Trump, I want to bring in Kate Bohner, the coauthor of the book "Trump: The Art of the Comeback."

Kate, you were able to spend two years with Mr. Trump a while ago. You were looking at these pictures of him just now and saying, he doesn't seem to have aged one bit, huh?

KATE BOHNER, CO-AUTHOR, "TRUMP: THE ART OF THE COMEBACK": He looks exactly the same. And let's remember, that was 1996 and 1997. The book came out in October of 1997.

What was interesting about the --

STELTER: Tell me your reactions to Michael, yes.

BOHNER: Yes, and also your commentary as well, Brian, is it sounds eerily familiar, because I was working with Trump on his comeback. So, Tony Schwartz wrote "The Art of the Deal" and how great and what he's done. That's his book of the '80s.

And I came in after what he calls the depression of 2000, 2003 in real estate. And I remember the story where he told me that he and Marla were walking down Fifth Avenue and saw a homeless person panhandling. Donald threw a five into the cup and said, "You know, Marla, that guy is richer than me. I'm $9 billion in the hole, $300 million personally guaranteed."

And I'll never forget that story because that set the framework for the book, and the ten lessons. He was very humble at that time.


STELTER: Wait, Donald Trump, humble.

BOHNER: I know. Nobody is going to believe me, right?

STELTER: We have a breaking news bit on the bottom of the screen.

BOHNER: I think he was certainly -- one thing that Michael says is that he is authentic. I think we can all agree that Mr. Trump is authentic.

STELTER: Even if he changes his story. You know, pro-choice, now he says he's pro life? All those sort of changes?

BOHNER: Well, I think he is also a very passionate person. I mean, my -- let me just what my experience was with him. And that he has an opinion on everything, and sometimes it's exhausting. It's kind of daunting to try to get it all down as co-author.

So, there is a way in which I'm not surprised that he changes his mind because he is so passionate on everything that he talks about.

[11:10:02] But I also think it was interesting that Michael was saying and you were asking about, does he listen to his advisers? My experience back in the '90s was Trump -- you know, he employs an army of lawyers, right. But there are four or five people that he listened to and that were in his inner circle, that he -- I was in the inner circle as his co-author but I wasn't an adviser by any means.

STELTER: Do you see that as a problem for him, that he maybe isn't taking the advice other candidates would be taking, maybe saying things that advisers wouldn't want him to be saying it?

BOHNER: You have to have a strong sort of stomach to work for Mr. Trump. There's no question about that. I think it is challenging. He is a man of his own mind.

And one of the things, Brian, is that we all think outrageous things. I mean, I do, you know?

STELTER: I'll admit we do it too. Sure.


BOHNER: You're in the middle of one of these crazy parades, you have to get across town.


BOHNER: But we don't actually say them, because what happens -- we surround ourselves by friends, colleagues, professionals, public relations people. You probably have a conciliare in your life that you kind of run everything by, or maybe a few of them.

STELTER: Well, for sure, for sure. BOHNER: Mr. Trump does listen to advice. I mean, he listens to what

people have to say. But in the end, he does whatever -- I mean, this is my experience he does whatever he wants to do, he says whatever he wants to. He used the term "wrecking ball", which I thought was tough, in the interview. Let's say he likes to make a splash.

STELTER: I have to go, but do you have advice for the press out there covering Donald Trump every day?

BOHNER: That is my advice -- cover him every day.


BOHNER: Don't take a breather, because -- and this is just from having written his book.


BOHNER: And that is I had to be on it every single solitary day to get the fluctuations in terms of his messaging. And so, that would be my advice. Don't give up and don't let up.

STELTER: Don't let up.

Kate, thanks for being here.

BOHNER: Brian, thank you so much.

STELTER: Great talking with you.

And let's turn to one of the reporters covering Trump, because there is one angle that's being overlooked in all the coverage, and that's the Miss USA pageant. It's half-owned by Trump. It was the first casualty of his presidential campaign.

The pageant will crown a new winner tonight, but you won't be able to see it on NBC or Univision because both networks dumped the broadcast after Trump's offensive remarks about immigrants last month.

Now, the telecast will air on a small cable channel called Reelz. You probably have it at home, but it's kind of hard to find on the dial.

So, CNN's Athena Jones is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where we actually thought Trump was going to be, said he'd be there to support the contestants. But, Athena, there's been a last-minute change in schedule?


That's right. Trump tweeted last night he won't be coming. I believe we have that tweet. We can put up on the screen. He said I will not be able to attend the Miss USA pageant tomorrow night, because I am campaigning in Phoenix, wishing all well.

Now, of course, Brian, we've reached out to the Trump campaign about what events he has scheduled in Phoenix or elsewhere in Arizona or the West, we haven't heard back about that. As recently as the end of last month, so maybe about 12 days ago, June 30th -- he said while on the campaign trail and in a statement he released, that he would be here to support the contestants. So this is a big change -- Brian.

STELTER: Perhaps, he is seeing this issue of immigration, seeing the crowds he's able to have near the border, and wanting to continue to play into that. Perhaps, it's just a matter of this pageant being a sideshow from his main campaign story.

JONES: Perhaps it is. But as you mentioned, now that NBC and Univision dropped the pageant. Reelz has picked it up. That's a small cable channel.

We asked the organizers about how it came about and whether they're concerned about the smaller audience.


JONES: Reelz is in about 60 million homes. They said they were talking to Reelz within two days after NBC and Univision dropped the pageant. The organizer told me it might have been the quickest TV licensing agreement reached in history.


JONES: But I should mention to you that this is a family-owned company. They were able to make the decision fast.

But the CEO said this is not political. He sees this pageant as pure entertainment and he also says he doesn't like what Trump had to say. He agrees with what Macy's has done and Univision and NBC and the others. He called Trump's comments about immigrants, quote, "ridiculous".

So, it's still something playing in the background here, but there will be no Trump on the red carpet or on the stage today -- Brian.

STELTER: I have a feeling reporters will be asking about him, though. Athena, thanks for being here.

JONES: Thanks.

STELTER: And up next, we're talking more about Univision, because it was the first network to drop Miss USA. Now, it's a network criticizes every chance he gets.

But it's not about Trump. Univision has a clear point of view about immigration. So, are its journalists covering the campaigns thoroughly? One of the most famous Spanish language anchors in the whole world will join me in just a minute.



You know, thanks to Donald Trump -- immigration is front and center on English language newscasts like this one. But it's different on Spanish language newscasts. On Univision, the immigration event is always front and center.

Univision is, by far, the biggest Spanish language broadcaster in the United States. It is growing every year. It proudly calls itself the "voice of Hispanics" in the U.S.

Democrat candidate Martin O'Malley really sought out Univision to pitch his immigration proposals. But on the flip side, some Republican candidates avoid Univision because they perceive that the channel is biased against GOP, biased against conservative proposals on immigration.

So, what is the network's role? Where does it find itself in this mix?

Well, the perfect person to ask is standing by. She's one of the most prominent anchors at Univision, nightly news anchor, Maria Elena Salinas.

Thank you so much for joining me.


STELTER: When we're talking about Spanish language and talking about immigration, we have to talk about Donald Trump. We know that he is suing Univision.

So, I wonder, how does that affect Univision's coverage of Trump?

SALINAS: I don't think it really affects out coverage. I mean, we're covering Trump the way Trump is being covered by everyone. It is of special interest, of course, to our audience because of some of the derogatory comments he made that day -- the day that he launched his campaign were directed at part of our audience if not all of our audience.

One thing that I think people need to understand is that you can't have it both ways. You can't say I support immigrants as long as they're legal but I don't support illegal aliens. By the way, we don't use the word "illegal" because a human being is not illegal. We use the word "undocumented".

So, you can't insult undocumented Mexicans without insulting all Mexicans and all Hispanics. We come from the same region. We have the same blood. We have the same ancestors and some had a better opportunity to cross the border than others.

So, for Hispanic voters, many of which have parents, grandparents that maybe arrived illegally.

[11:20:06] Maybe they themselves were here illegally at one point or they we have friends or family members that are now here in this country without documents, this is a personal attack. So you cannot separate them. You can't have it both ways. STELTER: I know that Trump has done interviews with Univision and

other Spanish language media. If you could ask him anything, what would you be asking him right about now?

SALINAS: You know, to be honest with you, I don't know that I want to interview Donald Trump because it would be a very predictable interview. The interviews that I have seen with him, some of the answers just don't make any sense.

So, what can you ask him? Even if you tell him the truth and give him facts, I don't expect that he is going to expect those facts, because he's got his own facts. That's why I think the fact checkers must be having a field day, especially this past week.

STELTER: I'm really interested in how Univision covers the topic of immigration. It's different than how English language networks do.

Let me put a quote on the screen that was really striking, from "The Los Angeles Times". This was a quote from a Martin O'Malley adviser, former producer for Univision, who said that if the Spanish language media has five minutes to talk to a presidential candidate about anything, they will talk about immigration.

Number one, do you think that's true? Number two, what do you think that signifies about the Hispanic audience?

SALINAS: Yes, it's true. If we have an opportunity to speak to any presidential candidate, immigration will definitely be one of the topics. Not the only topic. Hopefully, they'll give us more ha than five minutes so that we can talk about many other things.

But one thing you need to understand, that even though the Spanish electorate does care about jobs and the economy, they care about education, they care about health care, they care very much also about immigration. Not because they have an immigration problem, because voters are U.S. citizens and don't have an immigration problem, but because it affects the image of our community. It hurts our soul. So that will definitely affect their vote.

I mean, in a way, I think we're adding to democracy so we can have a very healthy debate with two different sides, with two different realities. And the reality of the immigrants, you don't see in English language media. You see on Univision. I wish more people could have a translation device in their television so that they could see our coverage.

STELTER: That's a very good point. I wonder if at some point the coverage shifts into advocacy. Is there a line that Univision has ever crossed in the advocacy?

SALINAS: Well, you can call it advocacy. Advocacy journalism can be considered whenever you give more importance that one topic than another.

But we're certainly not telling people who to vote for. I mean, we have campaigns constantly asking voters or asking immigrants first to become citizens, then to register to vote, and then to go out and vote, but not because we want them to vote for one candidate or another, but because we think it's important for Hispanics to understand not only what their rights are in this country but also what their responsibilities are.

STELTER: Do you think this is one of those cases where you have critics working the refs, accusing Univision of biases, accusing Univision of being anti-Trump or anti-GOP in order to pressure you all to change your coverage?

SALINAS: No. You know, we are very aware -- we are very aware of the criticism. Because we know this criticism exists, we're extra careful. We're very cautious of the words we use, the graphics that we use, the scripts that are written, to make sure that we are fair and balanced. And we are fair and balanced.

And that's the way we've done our coverage at all times. But when it comes to political coverage, you know, there is always more scrutiny on us than anyone else. As you know, things can be interpreted in so many different ways. And because of the language barrier, sometimes the wrong message comes out or the wrong message is received.

STELTER: And what do you say to people who are curious about the connections between one of the owners of Univision, Haim Saban, to Hillary Clinton. You know, he is a prominent fund-raiser and supporter of Hillary Clinton. He's been very public about that.

People wonder if that affects any of the news content on Univision. What's your answer on that?

SALINAS: It has not affected our news coverage at all. I mean, we have always known one of our owners is supportive of Hillary Clinton, just like one of our previous owners was supportive of Republicans. He donated millions and millions of dollars, Mr. Perenchio, to Republicans. And that never affect our coverage either.

So, no, there has never been any kind of influence in any way, shape or form. I don't remember and I have been an anchor here for more years than I'd like to mention, let's say a few decades. And we have never, in this entire time had anyone in management ever come and tell us, you need to give more emphasis to this candidate or you need to push this campaign or give more time to a specific party. That just has never happened.

STELTER: Well, it's precisely because of the language barrier that I think people are curious about Univision, curious about Spanish language media. And I appreciate you talking to us about it -- thank you.

[11:25:01] SALINAS: It's my pleasure, Brian.

STELTER: By the way, the business context here is that Univision is a privately held company. It's about to sell its own stock for the first time. It's going to be worth so many billions of dollars, and it's all crucial about being the voice of Hispanics. It has to be perceived as the voice of Hispanics to reach all those viewers, to keep them watching Univision. So, that's an important business story here as well.

Now, coming up on RELIABLE SOURCES -- Atticus Finch, a racist. "To Kill a Mockingbird's" follow-up is coming up. It is so highly anticipated. And it could devastate generations of fans.

We have to ask -- did Harper Lee even want her new book published? In a moment, we will hear from the documentary filmmaker who got a rare chance to ask Lee. So, stay tuned.


STELTER: The hottest book of the decade comes out on Tuesday. And it's by an 89-year-old author. This is what I love about publishing.


This morning, we have an exclusive for you on the famous American literary recluse Harper Lee and the filmmaker who spent time with her this week, after years of trying.

I'm sure you know that Lee published the classic "To Kill a Mockingbird" 55 years ago. And her only other book, "Go Set a Watchman," is about to hit bookstores.

"Mockingbird" had sold more than 40 million copies, won the Pulitzer Prize, and it was turned into the classic film starring Gregory Peck as small-town lawyer Atticus Finch, which won him the Oscar.

But many question whether the writer, now 89 and nearly blind and deaf, actually wanted to publish the new book. It was a long-lost rough draft. The film "Harper Lee: From Mockingbird to Watchman" documents her impact on the literary world and disappearance from it.

Here is an excerpt, including the last interview Lee gave. This was in 1964.


HARPER LEE, AUTHOR, "TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD": I never expected that the book would sell in the first place. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers. But I was hoping that maybe somebody might like it well enough to give me some encouragement about it.


STELTER: This week the film's director, Mary Murphy, actually last week, traveled to Lee's home town of Monroeville, Alabama, and got a rare meeting with the author to ask her about her intentions.

And Mary joins me now here on the set in New York.

So, you're putting the finishing touches on an updated version your film airing tomorrow on PBS.


STELTER: And you were able to actually see her. You have wanted to do this for years. So, tell us, what happened?

MURPHY: I was invited by Harper Lee attorney's with Harper Lee's permission to record an event in Monroeville, Alabama, on June 30.

And that was the day that Harper Lee's publishers, both British and American, came to her hometown to hand her a spanking new copy of her new book.


MURPHY: Most celebrity authors don't have their publishers show up at their door. It gives you an idea of what a rare publishing event this is.

STELTER: You were able to talk to her briefly.


STELTER: Did you have the sense that she wanted this publish? There have been many stories speculating about that.

MURPHY: She has issued statements. Her lawyers issued statements. Her very close friends that I have interviewed, everyone says she is delighted and happy to have it published.

I did ask her if she thought it was ever going to be published. And she said: "Don't be silly. Of course I did." So that was her answer.

STELTER: Did you believe her? Did you sense that she was...

MURPHY: You will have to see. I have got the video, and I have got the audio, and you can look at it.

STELTER: It's obviously a sensitive subject, you know, because we haven't heard from her in decades.

MURPHY: Yes. Yes.

And absent her speaking directly and at length, questions come up. And they don't get answered because Harper Lee doesn't answer question.

STELTER: The publisher, HarperCollins, no relation to Harper Lee, but HarperCollins, owned by Rupert Murdoch, it's putting this book out this week. "The Wall Street Journal" owned by Murdoch had the first excerpt. "The New York Times" had a review. Now we're seeing more reviews of the book.

The revelation is that Atticus Finch is a very different character than he was in "Mockingbird." What's your reaction to the idea of this racially tinged character to have these racist views in this new book? MURPHY: Well, in the book, Atticus says racist things. And the book

is set in the mid-'50s in Alabama. That was right after Brown v. Board of Education.

Let's remember that Alabama was a state that would have rather closed its public schools than integrate them. This is the climate in which this book appears. This is what's going on in the novel. And a truly liberated white Southern man wasn't something you would find in these small towns or across the state. So Atticus in the book reflects sort of the time and reflects the culture of the time.

STELTER: That's something that Michele Norris of NPR suggested on Twitter. She says, "Maybe this is a more, honest, accurate, real portrait."

MURPHY: I think it's certainly in keeping with the way people were in Alabama at that time.

There are other parts of the book that -- in which you can see the old Atticus or the Atticus of "To Kill a Mockingbird" on display. The relationship between father and daughter is very much that kind of accepting, wonderful father-daughter relationship. They do argue, but it is a real family.

STELTER: Some people are saying they're not going to read the new book. They don't want their perceptions to be tainted at all.

MURPHY: Well, I think people can do -- readers will do as they wish. They're two different novels. Some people will be able to separate them. Others will find them too closely linked.

STELTER: And tell me about this moment for the publishing business. This is really the most anticipated book of the decade. What does it mean for the print publishing world to have this book be such a big deal? There's even going to be midnight release parties like the way there were for "Harry Potter."

MURPHY: I'm not in publishing, but it certainly seems like it's highly anticipated. It is like "Harry Potter."

I think that all -- I think "To Kill a Mockingbird" is such a beloved classic, that the readers are greedy, greedy readers who want more. Nobody really thought they were going to get more and they are. That's a big deal.

STELTER: The fact that it's a surprise even adds to the level of excitement.


MURPHY: Right. And I know it was -- I think it was a surprise to the author herself that the manuscript was still in existence.

STELTER: Amazing.

Mary, thanks for being here. MURPHY: Oh, sure.

STELTER: And the film "Harper Lee: From Mockingbird to Watchman" airs on PBS Monday. It is also available on iTunes.

Coming up here, an important question I have been thinking about all week actually. Is the political press going easy on Bernie Sanders to give the Democratic primaries a better narrative? I will talk to the editor of acclaimed liberal magazine "The Nation" right after this.


STELTER: Welcome back.

If Donald Trump is the Republican story of the summer, then the Democratic story is probably Bernie Sanders. He has gone from in some ways a marginal candidate to serious contender in record time, doing better in polls and fund-raising than most talking heads ever imagined he would.

But has his insurgent campaign dodged the kind of scrutiny that candidates typically get? Does he have a media cheerleading section?

Let me show you an example. Sanders is on the cover of the latest issue of the liberal magazine "The Nation" interviewed by its Washington correspondent, John Nichols, the very same John Nichols one who rousingly introduced Sanders at a rally earlier this month.



JOHN NICHOLS, "THE NATION": It starts with progressives. You demand a candidate who spoke your language. And ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, please welcome Senator Bernie Sanders!



STELTER: When I saw this, I couldn't help but think about FOX's Sean Hannity, who was barred from speaking at a Tea Party rally a few years ago. FOX did not want him doing that.

To talk about that and Bernie Sanders more broadly, the editor and publisher of "The Nation, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, joins me now here on the set.

And, Katrina, I don't want to present a false narrative. Sean Hannity and John Nichols are very different people. John is foremost a writer. Sean Hannity is foremost a television host. But what's your reaction to the idea that someone who is interviewing Bernie Sanders shouldn't be up on the stage introducing Bernie Sanders?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, "THE NATION": So, first of all, "The Nation" has been up front since we were founded 150 years ago, up front about our values, our principles. We are independent.

We have called it like it is. We have criticized Democratic candidates, presidents. And John Nichols has introduced Bernie Sanders for over 25 years.


STELTER: But does that make it right?

VANDEN HEUVEL: But let me just say John Nichols was talking in that context about Wisconsin's tradition of progressives, La Follette and others.

He wasn't telling people how to think. He wasn't telling them how to vote. And in the cover story, the interview in "The Nation," John Nichols pushes Bernie Sanders on issues of policing, on immigration, on issues he is not leading with, because he is talking primarily about economic inequality in this country, how billionaires are controlling our politics.

One thing I would say, Brian, is when you talk about going soft, I think it's important to look at the corporate media and how it has gone soft on what matters to millions of Americans. I like to say that too often the mainstream corporate media gives us a down-sized politics of excluded alternatives. What do I mean?

STELTER: Downsized, what do you mean?


Bernie Sanders speaks for millions of Americans in this country. The issues he speaks to are tapping into anxieties, passions about where this country is heading, issues that are in essence mainstream, but for too long the corporate media has written them off as marginal.

Bernie Sanders has been in Congress since 1990. He was on "Meet the Press" for the first time last year. John McCain sleeps at "Meet the Press."



STELTER: But why do you think that is? Why is that Sanders wasn't on "Meet the Press"...


VANDEN HEUVEL: Because there is a policing of the parameters of what is considered acceptable politics in this country.

The gatekeepers too often will say, well, debt-free higher education? Defense cuts? Cuts to the defense budget? Tax hikes for the very wealthy? Even "The New York Times" last month had a story about those issues might make Bernie Sanders unelectable. Why? Majorities of Americans are in synch with him on this issue. So, I think, listen, we need strong coverage. On Monday, "The Nation" has a piece about Bernie Sanders' stance on gun control. Hillary Clinton is teeing that up as an issue in this election. There are tough questions.

And I don't fairness means being uncritical. But I would submit that the corporate media has been unfair to the people of this country for too long by not giving them the full range of views that this country deserves to hear. And that's what I mean by a downsized politics of excluded alternatives.

STELTER: Is it that Bernie Sanders is now a presidential candidate, he's being taken much more seriously than he was, you're saying, for decades?

VANDEN HEUVEL: Brian, millions of people are meeting Bernie Sanders for the first time. "The Nation" has been covering him for close on to 30 years.

But you read about a woman who has gone to a Bernie Sanders' rally and she says, wow. I never knew people were talking about these issues. It's almost like a lifeline for people who felt they were alone.

STELTER: We're showing these crowds. That crowd he had, what, 10 days ago, very big crowd, got a lot of attention in the press.


VANDEN HEUVEL: Is he -- he is an insurgent candidate, but he is speaking about solutions. He is speaking about ideas that this country is hungry for.

And the gatekeepers, Brian, I have to say, you know, the idea that he's -- it's only two months out, right? His name recognition, the media will play a big role. Will they give him the space, and not just as a foil to Hillary Clinton? Will they keep saying he is unelectable, or will they give him and his issues the space? Because, too often, as you well know, campaigns in this country are covered as a horse race.

And the issues which Bernie Sanders wants to talk about desperately, running a serious campaign, talking about serious solutions, can that be heard in our system? Because, to me, the measure of democracy is whether our elections become debates, vibrant debates, and whether campaigns lift up new ideas that people want to hear.

STELTER: Does "The Nation" sort of attach itself to Sanders, try to grow with him as he grows in the polls?

VANDEN HEUVEL: Listen, we have -- John Nichols did a terrific piece about Martin O'Malley's proposal to restructure Puerto Rico's debt.


Katha Pollitt, our columnist, had a terrific column about why she is excited in supporting Hillary Clinton.

STELTER: So, you're saying you're running the gamut there.

VANDEN HEUVEL: We're interested in hearing what Hillary Clinton has to say tomorrow with her economic speech.

STELTER: That will be big, yes.

VANDEN HEUVEL: But I do think Bernie Sanders speaks also to the prospects for progressive politics in this country.

It is an opening. When you have a pope traveling Latin America talking about unfettered capitalism, perhaps we're at a moment where people are looking beyond labels. Bernie Sanders is essentially, by the way, a 21st century New Dealer, all this socialism. He is essentially modernizing the New Deal.

But people I think are hungry, Brian, not for opposition ads. And, you know, at the end of the day, the airwaves -- this may be shocking and heretical, though Bernie Sanders talks about it, as do others -- the airwaves belong to the American people. We don't need the saturation of these warped attack ads. We need issues. We need discussion. We need debate.

STELTER: You're talking about the broadcast networks, the local stations...


STELTER: ... where there is so much money funneled in from campaigns.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Yes. Why are campaigns so brutally expensive?

That's something Bernie Sanders -- by the way...


STELTER: And I'm sure he will be talking more about that.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Media also measure candidates by their fund-raising. That becomes a metric, which I think is not a healthy...


STELTER: ... helping him right now.


VANDEN HEUVEL: He did far better than Cruz and Rand Paul.


VANDEN HEUVEL: And 24 hours after he launched his campaign, he raised $1.5 million from small donors, which speaks again to people -- I have heard something on -- I want to hear more. So, I think "The Nation" will be covering the full gamut. That's been

our role. And we want to lift up ideas, though, that we have been covering for decades. And now they're out there because they're mainstream. What was once considered is now mainstream.


VANDEN HEUVEL: And I don't think a lot of people, with all due respect, in the mainstream corporate media have fully woken up to it, though There are some hardboiled correspondents, like Dana Milbank and Dan Balz, who are saying, hey, this may be a moment, what's going on here, and trying to check the barometer, thermometer of this country, a populist, economic populist ferment.

STELTER: A lot to write about, a lot to cover.

Katrina, thanks for being here. Good to see you.



STELTER: And up next here, a story breaking here over the weekend, a community uprising at Reddit, the social media site that calls itself the front page of the Internet. Well, CEO Ellen Pao has left. Is it another case of sexism in Silicon Valley or is there more to the story?

We will be right back with that.



STELTER: Welcome back.

A major shakeup in Silicon Valley this weekend, Ellen Pao forced to resign after a very nasty and very public revolt by Reddit users. She was the interim CEO for a short time.

Reddit is one of the most trafficked sites on the Internet. Lots of sites like BuzzFeed and many others get story ideas from Reddit. But some have called it the man cave of the Internet. That's because out of the 160 million monthly users, close to 120 million of them are male, many young men.

And now many are wondering if this is another instance of sexism at play in Silicon Valley or was she just simply the wrong person for the job?

It's a complex story. And here to break it down is Sarah Lacy, the founder and editor of the tech news site PandoDaily.

Sarah, thank you for being here.

SARAH LACY, FOUNDER AND EDITOR, PANDODAILY: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

STELTER: What really happened in this case? Because when I have looked at the message boards on Reddit, all of the conversations, some of the chatter about this CEO, it was disgusting, the misogyny that was directed at her.

Is that ultimately what ended her role as CEO?

LACY: Look, I think her role as CEO was doomed from the moment when she came in, starting with calling her interim CEO.

Reddit is a weird beast. It's hard to say anything about Reddit.

STELTER: You can say that again.

LACY: Is -- is indicative of Silicon Valley writ large.

It was a company that was acquired by Conde Nast. It was seen as the failure compared to Digg 10 years ago. And it was kind of left for dead and continued to grow. And it grew because of these unpaid moderators who essentially run the site. Ellen Pao had no control over whether or not the site was shut down.

When this whole revolt started a few weeks, moderators were shutting down threads. It not only wasn't an issue where she didn't understand the community -- and a lot of the community, frankly, wasn't ever going to like her because she was an Asian woman.

But she didn't understand the community. She didn't understand how to put something up on the site that wouldn't get voted down. These weren't even people that worked for her that she could fire.


STELTER: Because she an Asian woman, she was going to be rejected by the community? What kind of community is that then?

LACY: Parts of the community. Parts of the community.

I mean, and, look, it's possible if she had been running this site and she had the thickest skin in the world and was super devoted to free speech, then she could have handled it. But this is someone who just brought the most high-profile gender discrimination suit we have seen in Silicon Valley in decades. And it was mostly a suit about the unfairness of micro-indignities that women suffer.

This is not someone who thought it is acceptable to be a woman in the world and see that kind of hate and misogyny lobbed at her. It was just not a good fit. And the arrogance of the board to think, oh, this is a great site that the community has built, 170 million people, less than 80 people working there, let's give it a half-a-billion dollar valuation and turn it into an ad platform, it was recklessly arrogant. It was never going to work.


LACY: And anyone like Ellen Pao going into that role was going to fail.

STELTER: When we see these stories, what I wonder is whether the invective that we see on the Internet, the hatefulness and the misogyny, whether it's getting worse and whether it's possible to make it better.

As a prominent female journalist in the Valley, is it getting worse and can it be made any better? What's the solution here?

LACY: You know, part of this is just human nature.

And I really don't think the Reddit story is a story about Silicon Valley. I think it's a story about the Internet. The people who are lobbing hate at her aren't gatekeepers in Silicon Valley. They weren't her former partners at Kleiner Perkins. This is a different story.

And to some degree, there is always going to be that addressed at women. I guarantee you, when I get off the air with you now, I will have ats on Twitter and e-mails in my inbox that are never things you would get from appearing on TV for a few minutes on Sunday morning.

On the other hand, I do think culture is starting to change. And I think Reddit is little bit of the throwback to the early 2000s, when it was seen to be OK to bully women. I think things went so far in Gamergate a lot of other controversies over the last year, that actually the public at large has lost a lot of appetite and taste for this.

You look at even sites like Gawker, they attack women less than they did six months ago. I think some of it is changing. But there's always going to be this basement underground cesspool to the Internet, the way there is in humanity and in real life. And I think if we try to shut it down on Reddit, it's going to going somewhere else. It's just unfortunately human nature.

STELTER: If there's always going to be that cesspool, I suppose the answer is to be better about knowing where it is, being better about knowing how to avoid it, having better tools to manage some of that nastiness.

Sarah, thanks for being here. I appreciate the time today.

LACY: Right. And don't think it's going to become a billion-dollar ad business, because it's not.

STELTER: That is probably the crucial detail, isn't it?

Thanks for being here.

We have got a preview of one of the biggest stories of next week right after this quick break.


[11:58:48] STELTER: I like to close the show with a look ahead to a big media story this coming week. And that's ESPN's annual sports awards ceremony, "The ESPYs."

It will be a big story on Wednesday because the Arthur Ashe Courage Award is going to Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, her first time speaking to the cameras since appearing on that magazine cover.

That's all for this televised edition of "RELIABLE SOURCES."