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Is Press Feeding Into Trump Reality Show Narrative?; Mark Cuban Says He was Recruited to Run for President; Is Facebook Censoring Conservative News?; Media Accountability and 538's Predictions; Woody Allen Back in Center of Firestorm. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 15, 2016 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:08] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good morning. I'm Brian Stelter. And this is RELIABLE SOURCES, our weekly look at the story behind the story, of how news and pop culture really get made.

We're coming to your live from CNN's Los Angeles bureau today with fresh reporting on this week's huge Facebook controversy.

And an exclusive interview with FiveThirtyEight founder Nate Silver. He's famous more correctly forecasting so many elections. But Silver is now being asked why he's failed to see Donald Trump coming. That's ahead this hour.

Plus, did you hear about this? "The Hollywood Reporter" banned from a Woody Allen press event after publishing this scathing column about Allen's alleged acts of sex abuse. Top editor Janice Min is here to take us behind the scenes of what happened.

And later, a very special interview with the one, the only Larry King.

But up first, a question we all need to be asking this election season. Are members of the news media helping to produce the Trump show? And is it warping our democratic process?

It is easy, maybe way too easy, to rely on reality TV tropes to describe this election. Even one of Trump's top aide, Paul Manafort, did it on MSNBC's "Hardball" the other day. He was talking about the convention. I thought this quote was really revealing.


PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP'S TOP AIDE: Donald Trump is going to give you --

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST, "HARDBALL": OK. What do you? Do you have movies?

MANAFORT: We're going to put a program together. It's not put together yet.

MATTHEWS: A reality show of some kind?

MANAFORT: Well, this is the ultimate reality show. It's the presidency of the United States.


STELTER: The ultimate reality show. I guess even bigger than "The Apprentice." Well, this show is airing on every news channel. It's happening on every website. I know that many of you at home, the audience members for this show, have really mixed feelings about it.

I mean, let's consider the spectacle around Trump's trip to Washington this week. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Our NBC team is staking out today's meeting.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: Donald Trump and Paul Ryan meeting in a few minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: Here we go, everybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: Trump has just arrived. We're going to take you there live.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: You see Mr. Trump there. He waved just moments ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: We know Paul Ryan is in the building. We know Donald Trump is in the building presumably. They're in the same room together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: That meeting just wrapped. Katy Tur, what can you tell us?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Basically just that right now. The meeting has wrapped up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR: The second meeting Donald trip is having has ended. Those children were not part of that have meeting.


STELTER: Yes, it was good TV at points, but was it good journalism?

We have to think about how every day the story lines of the show get wilder and crazier. It really is the kind of stuff you see on reality TV. In fact, another reality TV star was recently recruited to challenge Trump -- Mark Cuban from "Shark Tank."

I talked to him about that last night, and I'll show you what he said in just a moment.

But to lay it out here, how should journalists handle this fusing of politics and entertainment? Are we responsible for this reality show narrative, and are we capable of resisting it?

Let's ask our panel of media insiders, starting with long-time political analyst Jeff Greenfield. Also here with me in Dylan Byers, CNN senior reporter for media and politics. And Brian Lowry, CNN's senior writer from media.

Thank you all for being here.

And, Jeff, let me go out to you first.

Do you think this is the sort of inevitable conclusion of 50 years of melding of TV and politics? You go all the way back to the first televised debates and how that created a different atmosphere for the debates. Is this Trump reality show, the conclusion of all that?

JEFF GREENFIELD, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the first thing I have to say is looking at that hyperventilation, Jon Stewart must be sorry he gave up his "Daily Show" because he was an expert in piercing that.

But to your point, as soon as the first debate happened with 24 million viewers, every news executive, you know, like the old cartoons saw dollar signs in their eyes. That there was a huge audience partly because of "The Apprentice," partly because Trump was so different from normal politicians.

But it still has to be said, you know, when you talk about the media, it's way too broad. There were sharp criticisms of Trump from the beginning. There were others who just rolled over and let him have his way.

The fundamental point is, without the political discontent, particularly within the Republican base, all the reality television in the world wouldn't have made a difference. It helped. It was -- it was a fuel. But the fundamental part of this fire was lit by the discontent among large numbers of the Republican Party with how their lives were going and how their party was handling that.

STELTER: Let me go to Brian Lowry on this.

Brian, you've been covering the television business for decades. You covered "The Apprentice" when Donald Trump was on "The Apprentice", of course. Now, Arnold Schwarzenegger is about to take over. A former politician-turned-reality TV star.

Do you think some of the coverage kind of comes across as entertainment? Has there been an irresponsible blurring of the lines between news and entertainment in this election cycle in particular?

BRIAN LOWRY, CNN SENIOR WRITER FOR MEDIA: Well, absolutely, it comes across as entertainment. And I think there's a really strong precedent for it, in the Schwarzenegger recall campaign and gubernatorial election in California in 2003.

[11:05:01] But, you know, I think the media certainly should be doing some soul searching about this. And yet --

STELTER: About what in particular?

LOWRY: About the notion of covering it as a reality show.

But to be honest, when the campaign is being conducted very much like a reality show, it's not surprising or necessarily inappropriate that it would be covered that way.

STELTER: You bring up the idea it's very different from any other campaign we've seen. I think this whole issue of a fake spokesman is an example of this.

I mean, Dylan, you were right about this on Friday in our RELIABLE SOURCES newsletter. Pretty clearly, Trump is the one on the phone. We're hearing people now say that maybe it was made up, that he was impersonated, but there's no evidence of that. This I an example of a reality show type behavior.

DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR REPORTER FOR MEDIA & POLITICS: Yes, no, totally. It's him manipulating the media, and it's him trying to call the shots at every stage of this campaign.

You know, look, I think Jeff made a couple really good points, one of which is we have to think about there are different kinds of media. The most -- I think the one that's covered this the most like a reality show is, of course, television. It's television media.

There are actually precedents going back in the history of presidential campaigns that have been building us up to this point. Obviously, you go back to 1960 and the Kennedy/Nixon debates. But, look, the recount in Florida in 2000 was a huge media moment. The Obama v. Hillary, the Sarah Palin 2008, huge media moment.

We have been building up to a point at which media and politics just sort of coalesce and become the same thing. And I think if you look back at Donald Trump's campaign and look back at the 2016 election, you're not looking at a political campaign so much as a media campaign. Everything he has done has been about manipulating media, about sort of navigating media in order to --

STELTER: Right, but we have to understand that in order to understand his campaign.

To that point, there was this interesting story on Friday about the sheer volume of news coverage of Trump being a factor. Think about just what happened on Thursday and Friday. There were a dozen story lines about Trump. There was -- his butler sounding like a racist. There was Trump flip-flopping on taxes. Him seemingly play acting as his own spokesman, like we mentioned.

"The New York Times" wrote about this on Friday. Chip Gabriel had this headline, "How much bad press does it take to cost Donald Trump a news cycle?" Gabriel pretty much concluded that Trump won.

Now, Brian Fallon, the Clinton campaign press secretary, took exception to this. He tweeted at me and wrote this. He said, "Mark us down as feeling confident Trump did not win the day. It's pretty nihilist to NYT to equate lying nonstop with winning."

But, Jeff, Don't you think there's something to this idea that Trump saturates the news world? He has so many story lines going on simultaneously. If something negative is going on, he creates a new story line.

Don't we have to acknowledge that maybe the Clinton campaign faces a problem because Trump is playing this different kind of media game?

GREENFIELD: Yes, and for me, the fundamental question here is, are all of the things -- all of the assumptions people like me have made about this process somehow been rendered inoperative? That is, starting with Trump's first comment about John McCain way back last spring or summer where a lot of us assumed, well, that's the Joseph Welch-Joe McCarthy moment. He's doomed.

There's something. And this is what I said earlier. There's something about how Trump supporter respond to this where the question has been asked is, what would it take for them to say, "Gee, maybe I'm wrong"? And we may be in a situation that has changed every rule about how we think the press works and what the impact the press coverage -- I mean, critical press coverage, is.

STELTER: Do you think the rules were, in effect, so to speak, in 2008, or were the rules never really in effect at all? You know? Like things people had say, oh, that's going to ruin Mitt Romney, that's going to hurt John McCain, that's going to ruin Barack Obama, were they never rules a the all, Jeff?

GREENFIELD: No, that's the point. In the past, critical stories have had critical impact. So this notion that Donald Trump has got $1.9 billion of free publicity, in my view, is way off the mark. A lot of the coverage, even early, was highly critical, the kind of coverage that would have upended any other campaign.

And one of the questions that 500 media conferences will be asking in the years to come, it's full employment for folks like you, Brian, believe me, is what is different about this year that the normal impact of very sharp negative stories does not so far seem to have an impact, other than his high unfavorability ratings. We're going to have to wait until November.


STELTER: I think part of the answer to that, Dylan, is that Trump says the media is dishonest. Don't believe what you read. Even this morning on Twitter, he was telling his supporters, do not believe us.

BYERS: So, this gets to a key point, and I don't think it's one we've spent enough time talking about, which is there are two different reality shows. There was the Republican primary reality show. Now, there's the general election reality show.

STELTER: Right, right.

BYERS: And when you're dealing with a Republican primary audience, you're dealing with a lot of voters out there who hate the system, who hate the establishment, who really don't care whether or not the media says -- is critical of Donald Trump in all this coverage or says that he's lying or says that he's not telling the truth.

[11:10:06] They just like Donald Trump and they like the spectacle of Donald Trump.

The general election audience is a much different audience. It's one where you have negative ratings among women at 70 percent, negative ratings among African-Americans and Hispanics at even higher numbers. Those people are going to be looking at the coverage.

On a day when Donald Trump is offending the nation, that's not Donald Trump winning the news cycle for them. That's yet another reminder that they're not going to vote for this guy.

STELTER: Speaking of negativism with women, that's why the Megyn Kelly interview is coming up this week -- the Megyn Kelly-Donald Trump sit-down on Tuesday.

One more note on this, I mentioned Mark Cuban at the top. Trump almost had company from another reality TV in the race. Mark Cuban apparently was recruited by anti-Trump, Never Trump forces, recruited to run as a third-party candidate. But he tells me he believes it is too late.

Here's what he told me last night. He says, "I can't do it, it would have been fun," but he also hints maybe there's a chance in the future. He said, "I think the time is right for a technology literal entrepreneur to run for president. The issue for any such candidate, though, is that the process is broken. It's a circus rather than a learning process for all involved."

So this amazed me, Brian Lowry, because here's the reality TV star saying the political process is broken. His point about the election this time is it's too late to run as a third party, he probably wouldn't win anyway.

Do you think we're going to see Mark Cuban-type candidates in the future?

LOWRY: Well, I don't think you can discount the performance quality Trump has brought to this. I mean, it's one of the things he's been able to do throughout the campaign, which is he can say things which are outlandish because that's really a trope of reality TV, which is that you play the game, you say what you need to win, and then everybody can be hugs after the boardroom and tribal council.

And that's really what's been going on. I mean, if you see it, there's often a pivot as soon as someone drops out of the race. I really liked Little Marco, but I was just trying to beat him.

And that -- if you've watched enough reality TV, and I've watched more than is healthy over the years, you see that people talk all the time about playing the game. You play the game to win. Trump is very clearly playing the game. STELTER: It's helpful to think about that reality TV language when we

apply to this campaign.

BYERS: Look, I mean, Mark Cuban is also playing the game here. We're talking about Mark Cuban right now, right? He just bought himself a day, maybe a few days of free press. Just by saying he's not going to run.

STELTER: That is true. He won't say who was recruiting him -- probably Bill Kristol or Erick Erickson, or somebody. He won't say who.

BYERS: Or his agent.


STELTER: Dylan, Brian, sit around if you can. Jeff Greenfield, thank you so much for being here with us this morning.

Coming up next here, did you see this story trending on Facebook? An explosive report alleging Facebook suppressed conservative news stories. Is this liberal media bias on digital or proof that Facebook has too much power? Or could it be both?

I'll tell you why this report should alarm and impact everyone in media, despite your political persuasion, right after this.


[11:16:24] STELTER: What's the most powerful name in news? You might say CNN or FOX News or the "A.P." or the BBC.

But I would say it's Facebook. Not because Facebook does any actual reporting, it doesn't, but because it is the single biggest social network on the planet, growing bigger every day. It's where hundreds of millions of people see lots of links to news.

In fact, Facebook is the single biggest source of traffic for many sites. Sites either thrive or wither away because of Facebook. That's why this next story is so concerning.

Facebook is on the defensive this week after an explosive report by the tech blog Gizmodo. The blog cited anonymous former Facebook workers who said that trending topics box, that's the box in upper right hand corner of the screen on Facebook, that box was sometimes manipulated to suppress conservative news stories and inject other subjects, like for example, Black Lives Matter protest news into the box.

Now, other former workers deny these claims. It's important to say there's no proof and these were only anonymous claims. But that single spark on Monday started a huge fire. By the end of the week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to weigh in.

Now, he wrote a post about this, saying, "We have found no evidence this report is true, and if we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it."

Now, new this morning, I'm told by a spokesman at Facebook, we were just speaking about this, that Glenn Beck has been invited to a meeting with Zuckerberg, others as well, prominent conservative thought leaders who will be meeting with the CEO.

Let's go back to what Zuckerberg said. He said something about principles. What are Facebook's news principles?

The company has a huge amount of publishing power. So, how can we trust it to wield that power responsibly?

My next two guests have some answers to that. Kelly McBride is a media ethicist at the Poynter Institute. And Mollie Hemingway is a senior editor at the conservative web magazine, "The Federalist".

Thank you both for being here.

Mollie, let me start with you. We're in the middle of an extraordinary election season, and here's this report that Facebook might be burying news favorable to conservatives. A, do you believe it? Have you seen any evidence of this ever? And, B, what are the ramifications for a website like yours?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE FEDERALIST: I think the reason why this story resonated so much is that it confirmed the suspicions that so many conservatives and conservative media outlets had had for -- going back quite some time about suppression of conservative news stories and sites and also elevation of other topics.

We've certainly experienced this at "The Federalist," not just in terms of the trending topics issue but other suppression where stories that are completely academic are deemed unsafe. We had a story on trigger warnings and micro aggressions that couldn't be posted because it was deemed unsafe, which was ridiculous.

Or perhaps the worst example was when the Planned Parenthood story broke and went viral within minutes. It took a very long time for Facebook to acknowledge that this was a trending topic. And then when they did, they didn't link to the conservative sites that were actually breaking the news and doing the investigations. They linked to a few Planned Parenthood sponsored items instead.

And that is -- that really affects the way public opinion can be shaped and how other media figures respond. And so, this is not a healthy thing, particularly since they present this trending topic thing as if it's just an algorithm and as if they are neutral.

STELTER: Yes, the eye-opening part of this, this week, was that trending topics is reviewed by editors.

Kelly, let me ask you about this. There's good reasons to have editors, right? Facebook editors can take away spam and scam and hoaxes and help not get people misled.

But if they're also removing or downplaying stories, links to sites like "The Federalist", that can be a real problem and can go right to the heart of Facebook's credibility. But these words like credibility and editors, they're not words that Facebook is used to, right, because Facebook says it's just a platform.

KELLY MCBRIDE, MEDIA ETHICIST, POYNTER: Right. Facebook sees itself as a technology company, as a social media platform, when in fact they're doing the work of journalism in distributing journalism to the masses.

[11:20:08] And for Facebook, this is I think a turning point, because they're asking themselves questions as a company about what their responsibilities are. Every time you ask Facebook in the past about their obligations to democracy and to the marketplace of ideas, they've always had the right answers. But proactively, they haven't had any of the policies that companies like news companies have had in place, policies of transparency, policies of accountability to the public.

And now, I think they're asking themselves some questions about whether they need those policies. The statement that Facebook put out this week was the most transparent I've ever seen Facebook about any of their policies, and it was really good first step.

STELTER: And yet -- yes, I think it's still pretty much -- still very opaque. You're right, they've been a little more transparent, but there's still so much we don't know. And I think that's concerning because Facebook is so darn big.

We should mention here, the company also has big relationships with lots of news companies. They have a new product called Facebook Live, a live video streaming. We've tried it here on RELIABLE SOURCES.

Recently, Facebook started paying CNN and lots of other news companies in order to create lots of Facebook Live content. They're not saying what to create, but they're encouraging quantity. They're encouraging you to do it often.

There are all these relationships with news companies. So, it's such a complicated situation here.

Mollie, I think what Facebook would say, to your point about the stories about Planned Parenthood not showing up right away, is that's why they need editors to make sure it shows up, because otherwise, the algorithm wasn't working fast enough.


STELTER: What do you want to see Facebook do in the days and weeks to come?

HEMINGWAY: But that's the point. Our data showed that story went viral immediately. I cannot even convey how many people were on our site looking at that, and how much it was being discussed on social media. That it didn't show up on trending topics is bizarre to the highest degree. And there are so many problems that were revealed even as Facebook was

denying these allegations. They said they only use -- they have a list of sources that they consider decent and worthy of -- if three of those sources are talking about something, they'll put it on trending topics.

Well, some of those are state controlled. Some are communist news organizations out of China. There are all sorts of ways you can manipulate --

STELTER: You mean China, for example?

HEMINGWAY: Yes. There are all sorts of ways that you can manipulate that using state-controlled media. So, we need to see much more transparency.

One of the things that Zuckerberg said, Zuckerberg who has been made very wealthy by Facebook. He made $4.4 million a day for every day he's been alive. He says they keep a list of things that have been blacklisted from trending topics. I'd like to see that list. I'd like to see much more, even the statement saying, oh, we have policies and procedures.

Well, the former Facebook employees themselves said they were directed to block certain sites and to block certain stories. So, it doesn't really matter if the policies are there -- if the culture is such that it suppresses conservative news and news figures.

STELTER: Really quickly, Kelly, I have to run. But you suggested Facebook should have a public editor. You used to be the ombudsman for ESPN. If they call you, will you consider being their public editor?

MCBRIDE: Oh, I don't think they're going to call me, but I do think it's a fabulous idea.

STELTER: All right. I do too. I think it's a great idea. And we'll keep following this meeting on Wednesday with Zuckerberg and conservative media figures.

Kelly, Mollie, thank you both for being here.

HEMINGWAY: Thank you.

MCBRIDE: Thanks, Brian.

STELTER: Coming up next here, while the media continues to seek access to Donald Trump, every interviewer wants time with him, one broadcaster has never had trouble getting a sit-down with him. TV legend Larry King joins me right after the break to talk about what makes Trump tick.


[11:27:52] STELTER: Make a list of TV legends. The name on the top is Larry King. We're actually sitting in his studio for so many years here at CNN in Los Angeles. Larry always got the impossible get at CNN. He interviewed a who's who of celebrities, dignitaries, and politicians over the years, including the man of the hour, the man of the year, the man who might be the next president of the United States, Donald Trump.


LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: People are going to presume things.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, they can presume whatever they want. I have no intention of running for president. I doubt I'll ever be involved I politics.

I am going to form a presidential exploratory committee.

KING: You consider once running for the presidency.

TRUMP: Well, I didn't consider it long.

KING: You don't want to run for office?

TRUMP: Well, I'd rather not, but I also want this country to be great again.

KING: It's not a toupee. It's not a comb over.

TRUMP: Don't mess it up too much.


STELTER: He checked. He says it's not a comb over.

Joining me now is the TV legend himself, Larry King, who's online now. "Larry King Now" in politicking at Ora TV.

Larry, thank you for coming in. It's wonderful to be sitting here.

LARRY KING, ORA TV: My pleasure. Welcome to the west.

STELTER: Absolutely.

I wanted to ask you about interviewing Trump. We've seen so many interviews of Trump this year. But you were talking to him decades ago when he was still kind of becoming who he is today. Was he an easy figure to interview or was he a hard figure?

KING: No, he's very easy. He was fascinating because he was Trump. He was -- you know, Trump was Trump, and is Trump. What you're seeing is a true reality star figure who was -- even though he's burst on to the scene, he was very well-known. It's not a shock that people are attracted to Donald trp.

STELTER: Was it easy to book him even 20, 30 years ago?

KING: Easy? Sure.

STELTER: You just call up.

KING: Yes, he loves the media.

STELTER: Do you believe this fake spokesman story, by the way? This idea he was being his own spokesman. He once admitted to it, but now, he's denying it.

KING: It's kind of weird, isn't it? Why would he need to do that? I'll have to ask him about it. I talk to Donald a lot. I like him a lot personally. He's been a friend for years. He's been good to my family. In fact, we were fathers of the year together.


KING: In New York in the mid-'90s.


STELTER: You talk to him nowadays about his campaign?

KING: Yes.

STELTER: Any -- any advice you have given him?

KING: I don't give advice. You don't give advice to Donald Trump.


KING: But he's a -- he's a fascinating person.

He's getting a lot. I wonder -- maybe you could answer this. Chicken or the egg? Is he famous because we covered him, or did we cover him because he's famous? What happened first?

STELTER: Well, at some point, he had to become famous in the '80s. Right?

KING: OK. So, he was famous.

STELTER: This is the tabloids maybe in the '80s?

KING: But did we, the -- we, the media, collective media, did we build him, or was he the attraction first? In other words, what started it?

Was it the McCain -- McCain thing? Was it -- I will give you an example.


KING: If -- was it Jim, whatever his name was, the guy who was governor of Virginia who was in the race for two minutes, right?


KING: Jim Gilmore.

Jim -- if Jim Gilmore had come out and said, I don't want to let Muslims into the country, would Jim -- would we have rushed to Jim Gilmore? Would we? Would we?

STELTER: But I looked at the polls from last July. Trump game number one so quickly in the polls. And that tells me it wasn't just a media creation, that it was something in the public, in the country, where Trump resonated.

KING: It was a combination of that, right? Why wouldn't -- if Gilmore had said it, would it have resonated? We don't know.

STELTER: Maybe it would have been a one- or two-day story.

But we're still talking about that alleged Muslim ban, because now he's walking it back, and saying, you know, it's just a suggestion.

Do you think has been the most disturbing part of this campaign? Has it been that kind of inflammatory rhetoric?

KING: The whole thing -- someone called it the other day, this is electoral dysfunction.



KING: It's a good line.

STELTER: On both sides, or just on the GOP side?

KING: Well, Hillary -- Hillary is -- she's a very, very bright individual who's not a great campaigner.

She's fine in one-on-one situations. She's extraordinarily bright. In fact, the debate, her and him, ought to be on pay TV.


STELTER: You think people should have to subscribe.


KING: That's Super Bowl. That's Super Bowl.

STELTER: But that gets to what we were talking about earlier, this idea of this reality TV campaign. Doesn't -- isn't that fundamentally bad for democracy, that it is so entertaining, that it is so wild, that we all would pay to watch it?

KING: Yes.

STELTER: Shouldn't debates be kind of boring?


KING: Well, I don't know. Were Lincoln-Douglas boring? You know, they had no moderator. The Lincoln-Douglas debates had no moderator.

STELTER: Well, your NAFTA debate certainly wasn't boring, yet it was about very specific, detailed topics.

KING: That was the biggest audience CNN had until the debates was the NAFTA debate, which Gore clearly won.

Now, that will -- what will happen issue -- this is a great thought. What will happen in the Hillary-Trump debates?

STELTER: You tell me. You're the boss.

KING: Oh, I would love to moderate them.


KING: I moderated that debate between Bush and McCain in South Carolina, which was -- that was some night, after McCain had won New Hampshire and they had come to South Carolina. And that was a tough -- they were really mad at each other.

But the Clinton -- will Trump get vicious in that debate? Will he get personal? Will he talk about her being an enabler of her husband? It's up to the moderator.

STELTER: It's up to the moderator?

KING: The moderator.

STELTER: To keep control.

KING: Yes, just to stay on the issues. Will he keep Trump on the issues?

What hurts Trump? There's like, he hasn't released his taxes. Does that hurt him? I will never raise money from anyone else. Does that hurt him? Nothing hurts him. He said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and it wouldn't hurt him.

STELTER: You're making me think you think he has a real shot for the White House, unlike a lot of the data, which indicates Clinton is the favorite by far in the fall.

KING: If you can make anything predictable in this campaign, you're a better man than me. I can't -- I can't predict anything.

STELTER: I'm going to live by those words.

Larry, thank you for being here.

KING: Always a pleasure. STELTER: Great to see you.

KING: Thank you.

STELTER: And a great transition to our next block, because, coming up, Nate Silver, the founder of FiveThirtyEight.

He said Trump had only a 5 percent chance of winning the GOP nomination last fall. Now he's going to join me to discuss what happened there, why he got that wrong, and whether we should believe his new prediction about this fall.

Stay tuned. We will be right back.



STELTER: How is this for media accountability?

Here's "Washington Post" columnist Dana Milbank literally eating his words this week. Remember, he was on last week's show here. He predicted last October Donald Trump that would never be the GOP nominee. So this is what he gets.

Now, that is one way to follow up on a faulty election forecast. Here's another. The Web site FiveThirtyEight is a must-read for every political junky. Founder Nate Silver made a name for himself by using data, like historical models and polls, to correctly predict 49 out of 50 states in 2008's general election and all 50 in 2012.

Now, he and FiveThirtyEight have predicted 52 of 57 states and various territories in this year's primary contests correctly.

But many people are saying that he and his colleagues dropped the ball this year, that data journalism has failed during this election cycle. And that's partly because of this prediction that he made right here on CNN with Anderson Cooper last fall.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You put the chance of Donald Trump or Ben Carson actually getting the GOP nomination, you put it around 5 percent.

NATE SILVER, EDITOR IN CHIEF, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.COM: Maybe about 5 percent each, somewhere around there.


STELTER: Five percent.

So, I sat down with Nate Silver, editor IN chief at, to ask him, what happened?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SILVER: We were skeptical of Trump's chances early on because he went against history. You had seen a lot of candidates, Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, George Wallace way back in the day, who had ridden high in the polls and had flamed out because they lacked backing from their parties.

So, I guess you can blame us for sticking too much to history, but I think it's a better excuse, when, number one, we have a good track record. If any time you get a prediction wrong, when you say sometimes we live in an uncertain world, we don't know, then that seems -- if you're right 90 percent of the time, you aren't -- shouldn't be thrown off the boat for the other 10 percent.


But, two, we do...

STELTER: Do you feel like people are trying to throw you off the boat?

SILVER: Oh, for sure.

There are not a lot of people who expected Trump to be the Republican nominee. If you go back now, people -- it's kind of like Woodstock, where everyone now claims to have attended Woodstock, and had known back in June or July, when he descended the elevator at Trump Tower, he'd be the nominee.

But this is one of the crazier things we have seen in American politics for a long time. I think it was fair for us to be skeptical early on about the odds this could occur.

When we saw polls in Iowa and New Hampshire and we saw how much disarray the GOP was in, we became less skeptical. You adapt with the evidence.

STELTER: He was always number one in the polls. And people like you just didn't believe it.

SILVER: It's not a matter of belief. It's a matter of looking at historical evidence.

You know, everything is obvious in retrospect, when you know how something turned out. And we have a method that, both this year and historically, is right way more often than it's wrong.

If you're -- I used to play poker. In poker, you can play a hand well and lose. You can play a hand badly and win. It doesn't mean you shouldn't reflect. And we have seen so many kind of honest self- reflections from empirically-minded journalists. I think we could frankly have a few more from other types of journalists who were just as skeptical about Trump.

STELTER: So you think it's good that you're being held accountable, that you're thinking about what went wrong in this cycle.

SILVER: It's good that we hold ourselves accountable.

STELTER: And you think journalists should do more of that.

SILVER: Absolutely.

In my opinion, someone who is a demagogue, won a major party nomination, and when -- we should all be saying, what happened to our institution, where someone who ran on a lot of misinformation -- and we're the information industry -- and became the nominee of a major party, that's a big problem.

And if we're a part of that problem, then I'm happy to be at the table discussing kind of what happened and what comes next.

STELTER: But, because you're so critical of Trump, were you predicting what you wanted to have happen, as opposed to what would happen?

SILVER: One thing that's ironic about the Trump prediction is that we didn't have a model. The minute we had a model in Iowa and New Hampshire, went state by state, they showed Trump doing very well.

It's a strange case that, you know, the polls were right, and, therefore, data journalism was wrong. That seems like a strange case to make.

STELTER: So, you know what I have to ask you before we go. As we look to the fall, what are Trump's chances?

SILVER: So, we always make things probabilistically. If you look at betting markets, they say that Trump has about a 25 percent chance.

I think that's sensible. If you held the election today, there's enough polling to know that today Clinton would very probably win. But you can have recessions. You can have terror attacks. Clinton is not a very popular candidate herself.

Maybe Trump is a black swan. So, I don't know. I put Trump's chances of becoming president at 25 percent, much higher today than a year ago I would given a chance to win the nomination.

STELTER: Why should we believe the 25 percent figure, given the errors last summer, last fall?

SILVER: Because...

STELTER: How do we kind of regain people's trust, perhaps, in what you do?

SILVER: Well, first of all, I think we have lots of readers who do trust us, and forecasts are not the only thing we do.

But we have a track record that goes back years and encompasses hundreds and hundreds of predictions, thousands if you count sports predictions, for example, outside the political realm. And when we say something has a 75 percent chance of happening, that means it happens 75 percent of the time and doesn't happen 25 percent. We're trying to measure the uncertainty in the world.

STELTER: And that's what makes this fun, right, that, sometimes, the unexpected does occur.

SILVER: The funny thing is, and this election has been the most amazing election that I have ever seen.

I think Trump's rise to power is inherently kind of amazing and remarkable, also scary in some other respects. But I don't know. In politics, I think people think very dogmatically. And, as a result, I think, you know, we should have known all along what happened, this was obvious from the start, well, I have done enough things in sports and poker and covering enough campaigns now where I know things seem much more obvious in retrospect than they do at the time.

If you have a method and a process that focuses on data and evidence, that beats the alternatives in the long run. Even this year, it has a pretty good record, apart from that rather important matter of our early predictions about Trump.

STELTER: Trump, the ultimate upset.

Nate, great to see you. Thank you for being here.

SILVER: Thank you.


STELTER: And I will have more at from Nate later today.

Coming up next here: Trump attacking "The New York Times" this morning. Our panel is back with details.

Plus, a Hollywood story about power, access, and retaliation, what Ronan Farrow is saying about his estranged father, Woody Allen.

We will be right back.



STELTER: Welcome back.

The famed film director Woody Allen finds himself at the center of a media storm once again over allegations that he sexually abused his daughter Dylan when she was a child.

On Wednesday morning, the day of Allen's film premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, his estranged son, Ronan Farrow, published an article through "The Hollywood Reporter" titled "My Father, Woody Allen, and the Danger of Questions Unasked."

Now, this essay was in part a response to earlier coverage by "THR." In it, Farrow reiterates his support for his sister and also takes himself and the media to task for not pursuing the allegations more aggressively and for not asking Allen about it again and again in interviews.

He described this kind of silence. And, as a result of publishing Farrow's article, "The Hollywood Reporter" was barred later in the week from a lunch event by Allen's publicist, Leslee Dart.

She said this to them, according to "The Hollywood Reporter": "It's only natural that I would show displeasure when the press, in this case 'The Hollywood Reporter,' goes out of its way to be harmful to my client."

Now, Woody Allen's films can be complex, they can be nuanced, but it seems his own story is one of access, power, celebrity. We have to think about the manipulation here of the media.

Joining me now to discuss this is Janice Min, the chief creative officer and president of "The Hollywood Reporter"-Billboard Media Group.

Janice, great to see you.


STELTER: I think this is a really revealing story about how the media works or doesn't work and what Ronan Farrow thinks about that.

A couple of weeks ago, you all published a Woody Allen feature. And he and others criticized it for being too soft on Woody Allen, for not delving into these allegations of sex abuse.


Tell me about that decision to publish the cover story about Woody Allen and not get into this issue.

MIN: So, we had a Woody Allen cover for the Cannes issue we do every year.

And Woody Allen, for the second year in a row, had the opening night film at Cannes. And it was a -- so, it's a logical -- he was a logical choice for the cover.


MIN: And the interview made a lot of news for what he did say, and which is part of what sparked Ronan -- he -- Ronan's essay. He talked a lot about Soon-Yi in ways that were described as incredibly creepy online.

He talked about his ability to compartmentalize. He talked about his ability to not read anything about himself, not care, and to live through scandal.

What he didn't -- what he wasn't directly asked about was, though the scandal question did -- was in relation to that -- he was never directly asked about Dylan Farrow.

STELTER: Was that a shortcoming of the article in retrospect?

MIN: The writer, Stephen Galloway, is a -- who is a wonderful reporter, he was -- I was talking to him yesterday about this.

He said the frantic nature of doing one of these interviews, the publicist is popping in every 10 minutes, saying, you have three minutes.

And, yes, he would have liked to have asked it. And...

STELTER: Did he feel he couldn't because of the publicist?

MIN: Not at all. Not at all. Not at all.

STELTER: OK. But that's where this story gets interesting, right?

MIN: Yes.

STELTER: So, you follow up with Ronan Farrow. You invite him to write an essay.

He takes the media to task. It's an incredible essay. You should read it online at the "THR" Web site about how the press, by being silent about these allegations, really hurts Dylan Farrow and other victims, possible victims of sex abuse.

So, you invite him to write this. Do you agree with his assessment that the press is sometimes complicit in some way?

MIN: I think there's a perception that, because we had Ronan Farrow write this piece for "The Hollywood Reporter," we agree with every single thing he said.

We are very happy to be the messenger. And I think one of the things that was important was to me was being able to own the conversation surrounding Woody Allen, and not let ourselves be the bystander for something we started.

STELTER: Yes, but doesn't that just mean you're having your cake and you're eating it too?

MIN: No, it means that I -- it means that I recognize that covering Woody Allen probably means covering all sides of the story.

But what I do agree with, with Ronan -- and I thought the essay was magnificent -- was that we do, as institutions, as media, we do tend to ignore these voices that -- of sexual abuse victims, that we take the words of more powerful men more seriously than we do the people who are their accusers.

And Dylan Farrow has made a very compelling case through the years that Woody Allen, he doesn't help himself through both the themes of movies, where there are lots of child molestation jokes, inappropriate relationships between older men and younger women. He has not helped himself.

And his own comments he makes in interviews are weird and troubling. So, you would have those in Hollywood who would argue that, does it matter? These are people, or lots of people -- remember, lots of people signed petitions in support of Roman Polanski, including Woody Allen way back, and they -- that somehow you can separate the art from the personal behavior of the person you're writing about.

And I think that's a question we're wrestling with now.


MIN: I think, in the post-Cosby era -- this would have never happened if Cosby hadn't happened in the last year.

Remember, Woody Allen had the opening movie last year at Cannes.


MIN: He was given a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes on NBC. And there was very little uproar. Diane Keaton...


STELTER: Ronan Farrow, by the way, an NBC correspondent who is going to be covering this more.

MIN: Yes.

STELTER: Just briefly, before I run out of time, what happens when a publicist bans you, a publicist who has other clients like Will Smith and many, many others? What happens when she bans you from an event?

MIN: Nothing.

I mean, it doesn't matter. The fact that our film editor didn't sit next to Woody Allen at a lunch makes absolutely no difference in how we will cover Woody Allen going for or any of her clients.

And I highly doubt that any of the clients at 42 West, Leslee Dart's firm, are going to stand in solidarity with an accused pedophile to jeopardize their coverage in the future.

STELTER: It does tell us a bit about how Hollywood works, though, right, that these publicists are very powerful...

MIN: Yes. Yes.

STELTER: ... and can block you from attending events.

MIN: She had to make a public stance.

I -- and that's what publicists do. They are out there to create a narrative around their influence around their clients. And Leslee Dart is very influential. But I think it's a misperception to that think that there's some sort

of Macbeth-Lady Macbeth thing going on with Woody Allen and Leslee Dart.

I can't believe she would keep him as a client if she truly believed she -- he was a pedophile.

STELTER: Janice, great to see you. Thank you for being here.

MIN: Thanks.

STELTER: Coming up next here: "The Washington Post," "The New York Times" publishing tough investigations digging deep into Donald Trump's life. And some critics are calling foul.

We will show you what Trump is saying and ask whether this is a case of liberal bias or the press doing its job right after this.



STELTER: "The Washington Post" has 20 reporters investigating Trump's past for a book.

And "The New York Times" out this weekend with a story, "Crossing the Line: How Donald Trump Behaved With Women in Private."

Trump is lashing out at "The Times" this morning, tweeting about the paper being a failure, and saying: "Everyone is laughing at the 'Times' hit piece."

And back with me now, Dylan Byers and Brian Lowry.

Guys, you see Trump saying this kind of thing. This is typical media criticism from him, but are we seeing now the press doing what people have been wanting the press to do for nine months, investigating Trump?

BYERS: Yes, absolutely.

I think they're going hard on Trump. Look, I think if you're something like "The New York Times" or "The Washington Post," you see Trump rising, and you pay more and more attention to him over the course of the primaries, but you're prepared for the fact that, if he's the nominee, you have got six more months that you have to cover him.


BYERS: Now is the time -- like there's no one else. You're dedicating all of your resources to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. And that means you're going to go very hard.


STELTER: So, this is what we -- this is a good thing.

Brian, you think this is a good thing as well; this is what we should be seeing?

LOWRY: I do.

I think that -- I do think that some of the historical stuff is probably not going to stick very hard. I do think that it's pretty clear Donald Trump was not living his life like he was running for president 25 years ago. So...

STELTER: So, we're out of time, unfortunately, but that's a good reminder that we're just starting to see six more months of these investigations.

Brian and Dylan, great to see you today. Thank you.

BYERS: Thanks.


STELTER: Thank you.