Return to Transcripts main page
Interview with Congressman Scott Peters of California; Media Gets Caught Off Guard on Brexit; CNN Hires Trump's Ex-Campaign Manager; Interview with Dan Rather; The Role of Fact Checking in Politics; NYT CEO Talks About Trump Banning Press. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired June 26, 2016 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:07] 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 get made.
This hour, Trump says, "You're fired", CNN says, "You're hired". Is this network crossing the line by hiring Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski? We'll talk about it.
Plus, this week's protest by House Democrats, when the TV cameras were turn off, their cell phone cameras were turn on. In just a moment, Congressman Scott Peters will tell me how he live streamed this historic sit-in.
And later, a sit down with the CEO of "The New York Times." With Trump continuing to block some news outlets from his events, including "The Washington Post," could "The New York Times" be next?
We'll get to all of that coming up this hour. Plus, Fareed Zakaria and Dan Rather are both here to talk with me about the Brexit decision and the media coverage of that vote.
But let's begin a little bit counter-intuitively with what happened in Washington this week, on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. This was something that I was watching all the way over in Europe on my phone, on the Periscope and Facebook Live apps. It's something we've never quite seen before.
This was a protest by the Democrats in the House of Representatives. It was clearly a publicity stunt, but it was also unprecedented, an attempt to force votes about gun legislation. When the House Republican leadership decided to recess the House, trying to stop the protest, the television cameras up in the top of the balcony were automatically turned off. That's what the rules state in Congress. When those cameras were turned off, the Democrats turned on their phone cameras.
These lawmakers were basically acting like citizen journalists, broadcasting the dramatic demonstration via apps like Periscope and Facebook Live. They gave networks like C-Span and CNN visuals they can broadcast from the House floor.
Congressman Scott Peters was one of the first to start streaming. So, I wanted to ask him, what did he learn from this experience?
STELTER: Congressman, thank you for joining me.
REP. SCOTT PETERS (D), CALIFORNIA: My pleasure. Thanks for having me today.
STELTER: So, I know that one of your staff members on Capitol Hill attended a Twitter and Periscope training session about a month ago. Is that what inspired you to get out your phone and start Periscoping during the sit-in?
PETERS: No, but I'm glad she knew about it. We were sitting there about to have an amazing conversation about Congress and about gun safety. And we realized that the cameras that the House usually feeds have been turned off, as had the microphones.
So, Quinn suggested to me I download Periscope and try it out. So I did.
STELTER: Did you find it to be easy? Take me behind the scenes. How did it go?
PETERS: I downloaded it on the House floor. I just -- there's a button that says "start broadcast", I hit it. And at that time, actually, I had promised my daughter that I'd talk to her at, I think, 1:00. I wanted to run out and talk to her, so I shut it off.
And I already got these amazing responses like, what happened to Peter's feed, I was watching that, you know, turn it back on. Couple times the sergeant at arms asked me to turn off the camera because it was against the rules. Again, I got this voluminous response and really emotional response. Turn it back on, turn it back on, we're watching.
I just decided that the better thing to do was to make sure that America could see what was going on. It was an amazing event, but it would have been almost nothing had not people been able to see it. That amazing technology gave it to us.
STELTER: What did you learn from your first live streaming experience?
PETERS: Well, you know, what was interesting -- because the app has real-time comments.
PETERS: First of all, people are clearly concerned about this issue. They're emotionally invested in it. You know, Orlando is very recent, but I was elected just after Sandy Hook. People really want us to do something.
The other thing is, I think that they sense that we share their frustration about the inability to get these things up for a vote, about the unwillingness of leadership to let us take action on this stuff. It was an amazing connection. It was full of a lot of energy. I enjoyed those kinds of comments.
I also enjoyed people saying, you know, does Peters have enough food, does he need a battery charger, can you wipe off the lens?
STELTER: What was the secret? Are there extra batteries? How did that work?
PETERS: Well, I realized that I was going to need a charger. I didn't want to shut this thing down. So, my colleagues were bringing me up chargers the whole time. I had a cord running off the one. I just kept changing it out.
STELTER: The reason why this struck me so interesting is we were seeing a bottom-up view, from your eyes vantage point, rather than the top down view from the balcony. But journalists like C-Span, CNN, and others have wanted to have cameras in that room for decades. Every time there's a new speaker of the house, the new speaker of the House says no.
So, if and when the Democrats take control of the House, will you support changes to allow journalists and their cameras inside the chamber?
PETERS: I would. And I think what you say about the view is really profound. You know, for people to be able to see kind of literally from the front or second row, people speak on the House floor, it meant a lot to people.
[11:05:08] It really connected them to their government in a way that I would say probably has never happened before.
STELTER: What else would you like to show constituents using your cell phone camera now? What else could we show people using this technology? I wonder if you'd ever let us behind the scenes during fundraisers or something like that.
PETERS: Yes, you could do anything like that. I mean, it's a great idea.
You know, I had not imagined that you could get this kind of connection with people, and it was worldwide. I mean, we had tweets coming back to me in German. So I think it opens up all sorts of possibilities. The more light we shine on all this, I think the people will understand kind of where the hiccups are and they'll help us force the kind of change we all want to see.
STELTER: So even when Republicans take advantage of Facebook Live and Snapchat and Instagram, you say it's good for all the lawmakers there?
PETERS: Absolutely. I think what we want people is to see the debate. Our big frustration is, we can't get that debate on the House floor because they won't bring the bills up. STELTER: Any advice for your fellow lawmakers who might want to pick
up the phone and start Periscoping in the future?
PETERS: I love you're asking a 50-something for advice on so it's great. I would say, you know, jump in. It worked for me. I think we had a really great conversation that America got to be a part of, and it wouldn't have happened without the great technology we have today.
STELTER: You can add videographer to the resume if you want. Thank you so much for being here.
PETERS: Thanks so much, Brian.
STELTER: Fascinating, I think. I bet we'll see more Republicans and Democrats using these live streaming services in order to take people behind the scenes. It really was a democratization of media moment.
Coming up next here on RELIABLE SOURCES, Fareed Zakaria joins me to talk about the coverage of the Brexit decision. Was the American media late to the story, and did the British media tilt the vote? We'll get into that in just a moment.
[11:10:29] STELTER: And now to the story that I did not expect to be talking about this morning. It's the story that caught a lot of people off guard. What does that say about media coverage? We're talking about Brexit.
Unless you're a financial news junky or an international politics news nerd, you probably missed the Brexit buildup almost entirely. Suddenly on Thursday night, the cable newsers were wall to wall with this election now in the two or three days since. We've all received a crash course on what the exit might mean.
These headlines tell the story. Here's the first one, "Why the U.S. is freaked out about Brexit." And this one is interesting to me too, "What a failure to predict Brexit means for the U.S." And this third one, "Globalization and its discontents: How the Trump/Brexit movements might herald new world orders."
Yes, there's that connection to Trump. But is it a fair connection to make it? And while we're at it, did the media mostly fail to see Brexit coming the same way it mostly failed to take Trump seriously this time last year?
Let's ask Fareed Zakaria, the host of "GPS" on CNN last hour, also coming up at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time today.
Fareed, why did most experts, media and political experts, not believe this would actually happen?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": I think the fundamental reason was that the polling was wrong. It's a very interesting thing. If you look at British pollsters were wrong about Brexit. They thought it was likely not to happen, small margins, but that was their prediction. They also got the British elections wrong, Canadian elections wrong as well.
And what appears to be happening here is that the number of people responding to polls has dropped dramatically. So, 30 years ago, about 40 percent of people who were called would respond to polls. We're down to under 8 percent.
Some pollsters would say it was a very tight race, though, at the end and maybe people had wishful thinking going on. This was maybe a failure of imagination.
ZAKARIA: So, there may be a second issue. One is the low poll rate. The second is output is slightly differently, which is there is a certain shame attached to the pro-Brexit vote. People don't admit that they're going to vote pro-Brexit, to have Britain leave.
Here, the parallel with the Trump vote. Trump, if you notice, has often outperformed his poll numbers in the Republican primaries, because there were people who wanted to vote for Trump and were going to, but didn't want to tell that to pollsters. But when they go into a secret ballot, they do it.
So, those two factors. Very low poll response rates and the fact that people didn't want to admit that they wanted to leave probably got a lot of people off guard.
STELTER: So that link to Trump.
Let me play some sound from Chuck Todd, the host of "Meet the Press." Here's what he said Friday morning right after the vote happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Does Donald Trump get a bump out of this?
CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS: I don't know if he gets a bump out of it, but it is a reminder why we in whatever you want to call us, the political or media elite, need to not underestimate Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: There's that word, elite. Is it because journalists and academics are not listening closely enough to the other half of the U.K. that was feeling like they didn't want to leave the E.U.?
ZAKARIA: Sure, there is definitely some part of it that journalists overwhelmingly tend to be better educated, urban, comfortable with diversity, themselves perhaps ethnically diverse. They come from that segment of society that tends to be more liberal, more pluralistic and they're probably less sensitive to the concerns and real pain felt by, you know, the other half. It is a 50/50 case, and you could argue the opposite as well --
ZAKARIA: -- you know, that the Trump voters don't think a lot about the other half of their country.
STELTER: We need to make sure we listen to the 48 percent in Britain who voted to stay.
STELTER: And their voices are not being marginalized in the coverage.
ZAKARIA: But there's another piece that's important to point out, which is that, you know, the media is often accused of bias. Look, we know most journalists do tend to be probably left of center. But there's another problem here, which is that if you look at the Brexit campaign, the people who wanted Britain to leave were entirely using emotion. They were conjuring up horror stories of millions of refugees comes into Britain, overwhelming the social services, things like that.
STELTER: This is what we see in the tabloids, right, "The Daily Mail", "The Sun", the British tabloids, that were supporting a departure from the E.U.
ZAKARIA: Exactly. The British tabloids are basically their FOX News. They don't have FOX News, but they have the tabloids.
On the other side, the people who wanted Britain to remain were producing studies and economic analyses and experts. So the media does have a bias in favor of facts.
[11:15:01] It does have a bias in favor of authentic, legitimate experts who are providing data, and they do point out that some of the scare-mongering is, in fact, scare-mongering.
Now, you can call it bias, but I think journalists have to point out when one side is using facts and the other side is using -- kind of pushing, emotional buttons, that there's a difference. They're not equivalent.
STELTER: One turn to another topic we're hearing about this weekend, George Will leaving the Republican Party. This is all sort of the same subject when we talk about Donald Trump's rise in the GOP, and if that's related to Brexit at all. We've heard from Will this morning on FOX News, "FOX New Sunday", talking about his decision. Donald Trump's already attacked him on Twitter this morning.
What do you make of these Republican elites like George Will who are breaking with the party and breaking with Trump?
ZAKARIA: I think it's very significant. Look, George Will is probably the most influential conservative writer in America. He's been writing for "The Washington Post" for 40 years. I've known him for much of that time. I interviewed George Will when I was in college for my college magazine. He's not a friend, but I can tell you he's a very honorable
conservative. I think what he is tapping into is this idea, this is not a left/right issue, this is an issue about character. This man is, in his view, unfit to be president of the United States.
STELTER: Don't you think Donald Trump would say you and George Will are part of the problem?
ZAKARIA: I think he would, but look, it's not just me and George Will. It's Hank Paulson, the secretary of treasury under George W. Bush. It's many distinguished --
STELTER: And last week, by the way, you called him out in your program, in your column. You called out Hank Paulson. What did you say?
ZAKARIA: I pointed out that there were a number of very distinguished Republicans, former secretaries of state, defense, and treasury, not one of whom had said they would publicly -- I urged them to say the words never Trump. I was enormously gratified to see Hank Paulson, incredibly distinguished former secretary of treasury, come out and say precisely that, never Trump.
He pointed out again that this is not an issue of -- it's not about that Trump is too conservative or not conservative enough. It's that his -- you know, if you believe there's a basic character issue, that this man has been lying, whether it's from birtherism up to Ted Cruz's father being involved with the assassination of JFK, that that's a different problem than whether or not he fits on your political ideology. That's a matter of temperament and basic qualification.
I think what Will is saying, what Hank Paulson is saying, what Mitt Romney is saying, is that's the issue. Republicans should recognize that this is not a case of trying to figure out whether you can ideologically, you know, get him to say a few words that will make him compatible. It's whether or not there's a fundamental character flaw here.
STELTER: Well, we're having a referendum of our own in November, aren't we? It's about Donald Trump. So, we'll see how much these elite voices have an impact.
ZAKARIA: And this is a different country from Britain. We're much more comfortable with pluralism, diversity than perhaps Britain is.
STELTER: Fareed, great to see you. Thank you for being here this morning.
STELTER: And a reminder, "GPS" coming up again here at 1:00 Eastern Time on CNN.
Coming up next, outrage over CNN's newest commentator, Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.
I'll share what my sources are telling me about discomfort right here in this newsroom, next.
[11:22:25] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.
This week, the revolving door on television swung really, really fast. Three days after Donald Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, CNN hired Lewandowski. He is now a pro-Trump political commentator, paid to come on the air and debate opponents and answer questions about this topsy-turvy election.
His hiring was instantly controversial. In fact, I would say he's the most controversial addition to CNN in several years. For one thing, he's been openly hostile to reporters all throughout the campaign, including some of CNN's own reporters.
In March, he was accused of battery by then-"Breitbart" reporter Michelle Fields. She said she was grabbed when she tried to ask Trump a question. Lewandowski was charged with a misdemeanor, but the state attorney declined to not prosecute.
There are also questions about whether Lewandowski is able to say what he thinks about Trump. After all, he's been professing fierce loyalty to Trump even after being fired.
Is this because he signed one of Trump's notoriously restrictive nondisclosure agreements?
Erin Burnett asked him in his first appearance as a CNN commentator. So, watch what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, TRUMP'S EX-CAMPAIGN MANAGER: When I came on board the Trump campaign, like everybody else, I said what I would do is keep confidential information confidential. And I signed a document to that degree. And I don't plan on ever breaking that.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Did you sign something like that, that said no disparaging?
LEWANDOWSKI: Let me tell you who I am, and for those who don't know me, I'm a guy who calls balls and strikes. I'm going to tell it like it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: So he didn't directly answer the question about non- disparagement clauses. Those basically mean you can't go out and trash-talk your old boss.
Now, whether Trump's lawyers try to enforce it is another question altogether. You can see why there's concern about this hiring. One gossip columnist this weekend even said there's a, quote, "revolt brewing" here in the newsroom at CNN. So I approached this story the same way I would if I worked at my
former employer at "The New York Times". I called and emailed more than a dozen sources all around CNN, and I found no signs of a revolt and no organized protest about Lewandowski's hiring.
But I did find some discomfort. There are some people that are uncomfortable with the hiring, and there might be some awkward moments in the makeup room. But everyone also said they understood the hiring, understood the logic of it.
The reality is that Lewandowski was not hired to just talk (ph) about Trump and he was not hired to be a reporter. He was hired to defend and explain and channel Trump's views.
CNN has a roster of anti-Trump conservative commentators and anti- Trump, pro-Clinton liberals. As someone who looks for balance while watching TV, and while hosting this show, I think it makes sense to add another pro-Trump voice.
[11:25:02] But I also understand these ethical questions that have been brought.
So, let me find out if my guests agree with me. Joining me now here, Jeffrey Lord, a CNN political commentator who is a Trump supporter, David Zurawik, media critic for the Baltimore Sun", and Katherine Mangu-Ward, the brand new editor of "Reason Magazine".
David, let me start with you. Your job is to critique the media. What do you make of this hiring of Lewandowski?
DAVID ZURAWIK, MEDIA CRITIC, "THE BALTIMORE SUN": Brian, I hate it, but I've hated bringing political operatives into TV operations, TV news operations for decades. As you know, it goes all the way back to the '60s with Bill Moyers coming from the Johnson administration as a press secretary to CBS.
I think what happens here, though, we're at this point in history where a lot of people in this country feel that media elites and political elites are in bed together and that they're the losers, the people in America feel the losers. This reinforces that when you bring someone like this in.
But cable news is drowning in political operatives. Everybody has them.
I think what makes Lewandowski so offensive to so many people is that he embraced the tactics, really, that it appears that Trump learned from Roy Cohn, who was the attack dog for Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s. Roy Cohn and McCarthy took the conversation of democracy and American political life into a dark and dangerous place where many lives were ruined, where it was win at any cost, tell any lie it takes to get what you want. Lewandowski practiced that kind of demeanor, that kind of snarly, vicious tone on the campaign trail with reporters.
So, for CNN to then bring him in -- and it's especially -- I'll tell you one last thing, Brian. You know, CNN has done great on this political season. Terrific. And its ratings show it. It's created a garden of good political TV journalism. To bring this snake into it, I can see why people are upset.
STELTER: Let me ask Jeffrey Lord why he disagrees with you, because I saw, Jeff, you said a couple days ago that adding Lewandowski to the roster here is a terrific asset. You think it made a lot of sense.
Why do you think David's wrong?
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: David is wrong -- first of all, I think Corey is absolutely a terrific asset. I think CNN has made a great decision.
Here's why David is wrong. Over at FOX, where there's been criticism of this, they have Karl Rove, who was specifically accused by Wayne Slater of "The Dallas Morning News" of threatening reporters, for having a history of threatening reporters.
STELTER: But they didn't hire Karl Rove three days after he left the Bush White House. This is in the middle of the campaign.
LORD: No, but they hired him. They hired him and he's been there a long time.
Over at ABC, George Stephanopoulos himself admits he conspired with Hillary Clinton to destroy the reputation of various women who came forward to describe their affairs with Bill Clinton. And yet, there he is an anchor no less at ABC.
I would suggest one thing I do agree with David, this has been around a long time, and frankly it goes back to the Eisenhower administration when the press secretary left to become the vice president of ABC News and (INAUDIBLE) did the same thing.
STELTER: Just to take viewers behind the scenes, I actually booked you, Jeffrey Lord, days ago before Lewandowski was hired because it is sometimes difficult to find Trump supporters to have on the air. That's why you were brought on board almost a year ago here at CNN.
STELTER: Katherine, let me bring you into this picture here. You know, you're the editor of "Reason Magazine", a libertarian magazine. What do you make of this cable news tendency to bring in these former campaign managers and strategists, in this case just three days after he was fired?
KATHERINE MANGU-WARD, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REASON MAGAZINE: So, the justification is you want insight into the people on process of the campaign. Trump is notoriously opaque. His campaign is notoriously opaque. I think, OK, you bring in Lewandowski, maybe he spouts Trump talking points for four months and CNN doesn't get a good return on its investment, but based on his career so far, I would not say that boring is generally the way Lewandowski goes.
I for one want top know what's happening inside the Trump campaign. I will take any information at this point. So --
STELTER: You don't think this non-disparagement clause is an issue, that you won't be able to trust him when he's speaking?
MANGU-WARD: Sure. I think it's absolutely an issue, but it's also very standard. It's very common. Again, I would not bet on Lewandowski to go safe and boring.
I agree the guy is going to have question marks floating around his head every time he opens his mouth, but he might tell us something we need to know.
ZURAWIK: Brian --
STELTER: David, do you think there need to be disclosures or something like that during CNN broadcasts?
ZURAWIK: Oh, absolutely. It's not enough to say Trump supporter. You're going to have to say -- really, I want you guys to say what that non-disparagement clause is. I want him pinned down on that.
By the way, I want to the say to Jeffrey, I've denounced both of those, Stephanopoulos and Rove. I've denounced them bitterly. I couldn't agree more.
Worse, Rove's got a super PAC. That's more evil in the political process. The other thing I do want to say --
[11:30:00] ZURAWIK: The other thing I do want to say about getting information about the process from Lewandowski -- Brian, if the folks at CNN, who I think have the best political reporters on television, if you guys need to pay him to tell you what's going on inside the Trump campaign, give your money back. You're not earning your paycheck. Let's all -- let's find out the old-fashioned way by reporting it, not paying weasels to tell you about it.
STELTER: Well, certainly Lewandowski has been a source for some reporters here.
I think this is a television calculation, right? That if he didn't go to CNN, he was going to go to another channel. To me, television- wise, producer-wise, this makes perfect sense. Journalistically, there are questions. And those questions are going to have to continue to be answered as this plays out in the months to come.
Jeffrey Lord, let me give you the last word on this. When you look across the landscape here, do you think there's anybody else in the Trump campaign that's going to end up at a television channel? Maybe Trump himself?
LORD: Well, when President Trump takes office, I imagine some people won't want to work in the White House. They may want to work at CNN. So, yes, I'm sure there will be people.
I mean, I just -- I do find this amazing. When you think the status that Bill Moyers has in American society today and Barry Goldwater himself accused of running a White House dirty tricks operation for Lyndon Johnson, and he worked for CBS for ten years as a commentator and for decades at PBS. So I just think the horse, with all due respect to David, the horse on this has long, long, long left the barn. I myself criticize Stephanopoulos for being an anchor, but not a commentator. I just don't think, you know, when Corey takes over CNN's news department, then maybe we can talk again.
STELTER: Yes, and that won't be happening. I do wonder --
STELTER: -- if some of the reactions on it, some of the hundreds of tweets I see, are anti-Trump biased tweets. You know, people don't want to see Trump supporters on the air.
But at the same time, there's real questions here. I'm glad they've been written about and we'll continue to keep an eye on this.
Panel, please stick around. More to ask you later this hour.
But up next here, when it comes to the Brexit, is the American media having a Donald Trump moment, making it all about us? We're going to ask Dan Rather to weigh in right after this short break.
[11:36:13] STELTER: Welcome back. The fallout from the Brexit vote has many people nervous, maybe even scared. There's one person who sees it as a very, very good thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've been saying that I would prefer what happened. I thought this would be a good thing. I think it'll turn out to be a good thing. Maybe short term not, but ultimately I think it will be a good thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: So that's Mr. Trump there.
Now for some badly needed insight about the coverage of both Brexit Trump, I'm joined here in New York by veteran award-winning journalist Mr. Dan Rather, the former anchorman of the CBS "Evening News", now the CEO of the production company News and Guts.
Dan, do you think Americans were caught off guard by this Brexit vote on Thursday night and Friday morning? If so, is that because of cutbacks in international news coverage over the years?
DAN RATHER, CEO, NEWS AND GUTS PRODUCTION COMPANY: I think those things are true. I think Americans were caught off guard by it. And I think one of the reason has been the shrinking of quality international reporting, what we used to call foreign news. But to be political correct these days, you call it international news.
There's no question that one of the difficulties American journalism has had the last five to ten years is the shrinking of international coverage that allows for context, depth, perspective. And so it should be no surprise that people were a bit caught off guard with this because, among other things, they've been misled by the polls. Turns out these polls were as useless as a pulled tooth. That they amounted to nothing. And there's probably a lesson to that, as was mentioned earlier in your program, a lesson for us when we consider the American presidential campaign.
I won't say the polls are absolutely useless, the ones on the presidential campaign, but it's a buyer beware situation.
STELTER: And yet at the same time I'm able to read the "Financial Times" and all these British newspapers. I'm able to access more news than ever before on the Internet. Is it the problem maybe more people aren't seeking out those sources, that they're stuck hearing only what they agree on Facebook?
RATHER: Well, two things. I think, one, more and more people are looking very quickly on a handheld device and they get only a one-line or two-line headline. There's plenty of quality international reporting available on the Internet, but you have to spend the time to find it and you have to spend the time to read it, which very few people do.
STELTER: When you look at coverage of Donald Trump back here in the United States, it's been almost exactly a year since he entered this campaign. So many journalists have had to recalibrate their expectations and their understanding of politics. What has disappointed you in the media coverage of this campaign?
RATHER: Well, again, what's disappointed me most is the lack of tough questions and the tough follow-up questions.
STELTER: You don't think he's been asked tough questions?
RATHER: No. Well, he handles tough question by doing the old side shuffle most of the time. And with rare exceptions -- I give Jake Tapper credit here at CNN -- with rare exceptions, nobody bores in and keeps asking the tough questions.
The other thing that's disappointed me a bit, and I do think there's been some media complicity in the rise of Trump. It's not the only factor but it has been a factor of providing him so much air time, and in some cases being complicit in arranging that air time. So there's some serious questions.
But, you know, for the news viewer, for the consumer of news, I think never more has it been necessary to de with skepticism. Never cynicism but skepticism. Not cynicism; never cynicism, but skepticism. Skepticism -- OK, Trump is on for an hour and a half on this network. Why is he there? The answer, of course, is because he's very good for ratings and very good for demographics.
STELTER: But also because he's accessible, right? Think about that Friday morning 7:00 a.m., Americans are waking up and Trump's walking out on his lawn in Scotland. It was almost like he timed it to the morning shows perfectly. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton was nowhere to be found.
RATHER: It's not the case that was he likely timed it; he did time it. He's very media savvy. And give him credit for that. He's much smarter, and time after time metaphorically, while the Hillary Clinton forces have been off swimming, he's stealing their underwear.
[11:40:03] STELTER: So should we not take him live? Should we have some sort of blackout? Because I know some people at this point say just don't show him live anymore.
RATHER: No, well, I don't agree with that at all. Certainly show him. But the control has to stay with the journalistic entity. That's the point is, that what I worry about is, in a way, that the media is a political partner, a business partner of Donald Trump. The media wants the ratings. I don't except myself from this criticism by the way. The media wants the ratings. Trump delivers the ratings. In a way, they're business partners. Where the role of the journalist is to be an adversary.
So I think the defense is make an editorial judgment, make sure you offer the same to the other side. And yes, have him on live. I'm not sure you want to have him live three times a day for an hour and a half at a time.
STELTER: My sense is that adversarial coverage also rates well, right? Doesn't matter what you're saying about Trump; people will pay attention if it's about Trump.
Maybe this is also about the words as opposed -- the pictures as opposed to the words, right? If we're on the air and we're fact- checking Trump, but you see his face, maybe that's what people take away, only his face.
RATHER: Well, that has to do with political tone. And I'm of belief, having covered politics for a long time, that people by and large go by the tone of the person. You've hit on something very important here, and political tone, there are books written about it. Is people can come out of a Trump speech and you say, what do you think about what he said about possibly rearming the Japanese with a nuclear weapon? People say, well, I don't know, I didn't hear that all that clearly. All I can tell you is I like the guy.
That's tone. And Trump has mastered it. It's one reason that if you're a Democrat and want Hillary Clinton elected, you should be afraid, you should be very, very afraid coming into November.
STELTER: Do you think Donald Trump will win?
RATHER: I think Donald Trump can win. This is a very fluid time of the presidential campaign, after the primaries and before the convention. Frankly, if you don't want to pay all that much attention, just come back after Labor Day because the real campaign starts after Labor Day. But market and market well. I said last July, a year ago, watch this guy because don't underestimate him. And I say that now. I think he can win. There's a path where he can win. That's not to say that he will win.
STELTER: Dan, great to see you. Thank you so much for being here this morning.
RATHER: (INAUDIBLE). Good to see you.
STELTER: Always a pleasure.
When we come up next here on RELIABLE SOURCES, we're talking about more about Trump and fact-checking with my all-star panel. How many people does it take to fact-check the presumptive GOP nominee? We'll be back with one of the top fact checkers in the country. Stay tuned.
[11:46:40] STELTER: Fact checkers, man your battle stations. Donald Trump's speech ripping into Hillary Clinton's record was riddled with errors and exaggerations. The AP assigned ten people to fact check it. "The New York Times" had at least five. CNN had at least a dozen. But was it enough?
The panel is back with me. David Zurawik, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Jeffrey Lord, and we're adding one of the country's best fact checkers, Angie Drobnic Holan, the editor of Politifact, which fact checks Trump and Clinton and all the rest of them, day in and day out.
Angie, was this an especially busy week for you? And what did you take away from the Trump and Clinton speeches about each other that day?
ANGIE DROBNIC HOLAN, EDITOR, POLITIFACT: You know, it was a really busy week for us. These were big set piece speeches where the candidates unloaded on each other with the attack lines that they'll likely use for the rest of the campaign.
STELTER: Is it fair to say that the Clinton speech was more accurate than the Trump speech?
HOLAN: I think it is fair to say that. Our fact checks certainly showed that. Clinton is very well prepared. She's very literal. She doesn't make unforced errors. Trump's speech, on the other hand, had things that were easily disprovable. One thing he said was we spend more on refugees and we could rebuild the inner cities with that money. That was easily disprovable. We rated it "pants on fire". About $4 million for refugees and $40 million just to rebuild New York. So that's the kind of inaccuracy we're talking about. STELTER: Let me ask Jeffrey Lord, who's here at CNN, a Trump
supporter. Jeffrey, when you hear this, when you hear the fact checks all across the board, very critical of Trump, do you wish that he would change his remarks, maybe be more careful in his speeches?
LORD: Well, it's always good to be careful with your facts. But let me just suggest this. I think the best fact checkers in a presidential campaign are the opponents, in this case Hillary and Donald Trump. I think they do a better job of countering the assumptions of the other candidate than fact checkers.
I mean, I hate to be the dissenter here, and I'm not saying this because of Donald Trump, but I honestly don't think this fact checking business, as we're all into this, is anything more than, you know, one more sort of out-of-touch elitist media type thing. I don't think people out here in America care. What they care about are what the candidates say. To give you one example of a Hillary Clinton fact that, quote-unquote, that never goes talked about, she always talks about the financial crisis of 2008 and she's blaming Wall Street and all this sort of thing. When, in fact, her husband's own national home-ownership strategy from 1994 and ensuing housing legislation had a great deal to do with this. When you read Gretchen Morgenson of "The New York Times" and her reckless endangerment quote. Tthat kind of thing is never fact checked.
STELTER: I will look it up. I'll look it up on Politifact.
But, Katherine, let me ask you about what Jeff is saying here. I've heard a lot of people say we're in this post-fact checking world. As the editor of "Reason" magazine, does that depress you, the way it makes me want to put my hands in my head here?
MANGU-WARD: I just think the brand of fact checking has really taken a hit because everyone assumes the mantle now. The campaigns are issuing press releases. There's a whole bunch of different outlets. The idea that maybe people are seeing the word "fact check" and no longer hearing anything other than this is some red team/blue team stuff and I can't sort it out seems pretty reasonable to me.
On the other hand, I think Trump is making it especially difficult because he doesn't care what the fact checkers say. The compensation for a fact checker is when a candidate says, "You caught me, I'm wrong, and I'm sorry."
[11:50:04] Trump is honey badger. He gives no guff to the fact checkers.
STELTER: Zurawik, what do we do about this then?
ZURAWIK: Brian, this is what we do. We keep checking facts. This is who we are as journalists. If people -- if it gives you a headache, Brian, or other people don't get it anymore, we still have to keep doing it.
I agree, we may be at some point in this country where people don't care about facts, but to say that truth is something for elitists, as Jeffrey did, really worries me. Listen, journalism checks fact. If we lose fact-based journalism, Brian, you and I both know how much trouble we are in. We cannot let that happen.
I'll tell you something else. I don't think it's elitist. In America, we started out with George Washington and a person (INAUDIBLE) biography cannot tell a lie cherry tree. We went to Honest Abe. This is part of the American character. You don't throw it out now because somebody named Donald Trump says it doesn't matter what's true and what isn't.
STELTER: Well, let me ask you, you know, since, you know, you've won one of these newsrooms, Angie, does this depress you to hear this debate about whether fact checking's relevant or not?
HOLAN: No, I get emails from everyday voters every day who say we're sick of the politicians, we just want the facts. Thank you for doing what you're doing. And the reason more media organizations are doing fact checking is because the audience wants to see it. They want to read it. These stories get clicks. People are paying attention.
Now, I do think this is an unusual campaign and we're not going to really be able to assess the role of fact checking until after the election is said and down. But I'm really optimistic about fact checking, and the fact that more and more media are doing it is a good thing. It was much needed in American journalism, and I support it.
STELTER: A positive note for us to end on. Thank you all for being here this morning.
And coming up next, the CEO of one of the world's most powerful newspapers. He has a lot to say about Donald Trump's habit of banning reporters. Hear from the CEO of the "The New York Times" next.
[11:56:15] STELTER: The Trump blacklist continues. "The Washington Post" has been banned from all Donald Trump events for nearly two weeks now. Other news outlets denied credentials for Trump rallies include Buzzfeed, "The Daily Beast", Univision, Politico, and "The Huffington Post".
This week, surprisingly, BuzzFeed and a few others banned reporters were allowed inside a Trump speech in New York. But then on Saturday, writers for BuzzFeed, "The Post", and "The Guardian" newspaper were not allowed on his golf course in Scotland.
So this restrictive behavior continues. It might make sense for Trump, but it is very concerning to journalism advocates. This week, I was over in Europe as well, the Cannes Lions Ad Festival in France, interviewing media CEOs and A-listers. And asked "New York Times" CEO Mark Thompson about Trump's treatment of the press.
STELTER: Last week, "The Washington Post" was banned by Donald Trump. He revoked the press credentials from the paper. Do you worry that "The New York Times" could be next? I know you run the business side, Dean Baquet runs the newsroom, but are you concerned that a presidential candidate taking away credentials from news outlets is a chilling thing for the whole press?
MARK THOMPSON, PRESIDENT & CEO, THE NEW YORK TIMES COMPANY: Well, this is -- in the end this is Dean's responsibility, not mine. But as it happens he and I have spoken about this in the last week and I know his view.
We -- we're going to cover the presidential election objectively and tough-mindedly, and we're not going to do anything with any candidate to kind of soften or change what we do on the basis of whether they, as it were, let us on the bus or not. We're going to report as best we can. And the hijinks of who's in and who's out, frankly, has got nothing to do with the way we want to do our journalism.
STELTER: You used to lead the BBC. Have you experienced cases like this before in other countries?
THOMPSON: Well, I mean to be -- both the BBC and "New York Times", we're reporting around the world. And, remember, there are plenty of countries where we're active as journalists, where -- which are repressive countries, where there is any level of intimidation, harassment, censoring and blocking of journalism. You probably our Chinese language "New York Times" web site is completely blocked in China.
STELTER: For viewers who don't know, that's been going on for over a year.
THOMPSON: Many years. Yes. That -- I think that's entering -- that's been more than three years we've been blocked in China. So the harassment and censorship of journalism, and making it difficult for journalists to work by expelling them or not granting them visas, is very familiar to us.
It's not so familiar in a democratic election race in the United States, but it's -- at the broader phenomenon, I would say both the BBC and "New York Times", the basic point is you report the story as best you can. And you never compromise your reporting because of a consideration about whether or not, you know, you're going to get chucked out of the meeting.
STELTER: He says this restrictive behavior will not continue if he's elected to the White House. As for Cannes, we'll show you more interviews from the festival this time next week, including Joanna Coles, the editor of "Cosmopolitan", her thoughts on Hillary Clinton and a possible female running mate.
Remember, our media coverage can be viewed all the time at CNNmoney.com. You can sign up for our nightly RELIABLE SOURCES newsletter and check out all of our day-to-day stories. I'll see you online right after the show here on Twitter and Facebook. My handle is @brianstelter on both sites. I look forward to seeing your feedback.
"STATE OF THE UNION" starts right now.