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Trump Wants Probe into Intelligence Leak to NBC; Should Press Share Trump's Skepticism Over Intel Report?; Donald Trump as Tweeter in Chief; Megyn Kelly Leaves FOX News for MSNBC; Trump to Hold Press Conference in Three Days; 50 Plus Examples of Plagiarism in Monica Crowley's Book. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired January 08, 2017 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:09] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter, and it's time for RELIABLE SOURCES -- our weekly look at the story behind the story, with how the media really works, how the news gets made.

Ahead this hour, President-elect Donald Trump accustomed to beating the press now set to finally meet the press. How valuable will this anticipated press conference be?

Plus, what's being called a seismic shift rocking cable news. Megyn Kelly signing off from FOX News after landing what she's calling her dream job at NBC. We will explore what Tucker Carlson's new primetime gig means for the future of FOX News.

Plus, the challenges of covering the Russian hacking story. A very skeptical Glenn Greenwald will join me to weigh in.

T minus 12 days until Trump's inauguration. The Sunday shows are abuzz about intelligence reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin influenced the presidential election, attempting to aid Trump's bid for the White House.

Now, the president-elect has resisted those findings, saying all sorts of things on Twitter. Instead, Trump is calling for an investigation of a different kind. This is what he wrote on Friday, "I'm asking the chairs of the House and Senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it."

This is important here. It seems to be Trump's first threat of leak investigation.

So, joining me now is David Sanger, national security correspondent for "The New York Times".

David, good morning. Good to see you.

DAVID SANGER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Great to be back with you, Brian.

STELTER: How did you interpret Trump's tweet? And do we know if he's followed up? Do we know if he's reached out to Congress and actually asked for this investigation? SANGER: I don't know and usually leak investigations are referred to

the Justice Department. They're not usually referred to Congress.

But, you know, I think something that President-elect Trump is going to have to get used to, as all previous presidents backed to the Lincoln administration had to get used to, is once you're in office, you're going to pick up the newspapers or turn on the television and you're going to learn a lot of things that someone somewhere has classified.

Now, does that mean that national security has been violated? Maybe, but most of the time, no. You know, I spent a lot of my life, Brian, as you know from your days back at "The Times", writing about Iran, North Korea, nuclear, cyber and so forth.

You can't write about these subjects and intelligently inform the American public about the issues involved in them until you're doing into details, many of which frequently without the knowledge of the reporters are classified somewhere in some place. And you simply can't have that level of discussion without that. And, you know, while I know that offends many people and many policymakers, the fact of the matter is we live in a world of such overclassification that I'm guessing that the front page of "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" every day are filled with information that somewhere at some point in time over the past 25 years, which is the length of time things usually classified, have been stamped "top secret".

STELTER: Let's drill down on his specific complaint, because he's talking about this Russian -- this report about Russian hacking from intelligence community. This morning on "STATE OF THE UNION", Kellyanne Conway addressed it. Let's watch what she said.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP ADVISOR: When asked on Friday, the White House dodged the question whether the administration was the source of the leaks to NBC News. We can't have this, that should really infuriate Americans today, that people who possess this information are sending it to the media ahead of the president-elect receiving information, the vice president-elect, and perhaps even the president himself depending on the sequence of events.


STELTER: So, that's a specific objection. "The Washington Post" and NBC both had reporting on Thursday night about what was in this report. President-elect Trump was not briefed on it until Friday morning.

David, is that normal? Is it normal for leaks to happen from somewhere in the government before the right people are briefed on it?

SANGER: Entirely normal. And in fact, what makes it up to the top of the pinnacle, the president, may or may not be in the media long before that.

STELTER: You're saying President Obama learns from the newspapers about what's going on in his government?

SANGER: Well, at moments, the president may see in the newspaper something that has not yet made its way into the presidential daily brief. And we've seen many examples of that.

So, let's take this one in particular, Brian. Back in late July, we reported in "The Times" in a fairly lengthy front page story that the American intelligence community have concluded with high confidence that the Russians were behind these hacks. Now, the official intelligence community statement, very carefully worded and parsed, didn't come out until October 7th.

[11:05:01] I didn't hear either President Obama or President-elect Trump, who was still candidate Trump at the time, complain at the time that they read in "The New York Times" that this come to -- that this was -- with was a high confidence conclusion. And I do not know if President Obama had already been briefed. I suspect he probably had about that conclusion.

STELTER: Are we seeing selective outrage here?

SANGER: There's always that. But, you know, there's nothing new here. If you go back to the civil war, General Sheridan rounded up and imprisoned in his -- among his own troops, reporters who were traveling with him whose reports about the civil war battle maneuvers he did not like. So, there's really nothing new under the sun here.

All we hope is that the Trump administration continues what has been a Justice Department tradition for reasons of respecting the First Amendment that they go look around for sources and not go after the reporters who try to undermine the reporting itself. But we don't know how this is going to sort out in a Trump administration.

STELTER: Certainly, President Obama's administration aggressively pursued leakers, but mostly in secret. Obama didn't come out on Twitter ahead of time and warn he was about to do it. Certainly, my inbox is full of e-mails from journalists worried about the chilling effects of Trump's tweet, given that he hasn't even taken office yet and he's already calling for this investigation. My follow up questions asking if this investigation is actually happening have not been returned.

But I'm wondering, for you as someone who relies on anonymous sources inside the government, are you noticing a chilling effect? Are you noticing sources less willing to cooperate or talk to you because of this?

SANGER: You know, somewhat of the opposite, Brian. I mean, since the president-elect began making statements that the intelligence community considered undercutting their credibility, I'd say we're hearing more from intelligent sources who are worried that the fact base of data they are collecting either isn't going to be respected or isn't going to get fully out there. So, my guess is that the reaction to public doubts about the quality of intelligence gathering is probably going to be more leaks, not fewer. Now, we'll have to see how that sorts out. (CROSSTALK)

STELTER: Trump voters hear that and say, how dare these people leak, how dare they leak against the new president.

SANGER: You know, we saw the same thing happen in the Bush administration when President Bush, you may recall, was saying that he lacked confidence in the intelligence community. He said this very briefly because of the 16 words, you know, Saddam Hussein sought uranium in Africa, and we saw the intelligence community defend itself.

We saw chilling effect as well, I did, personally, during the Obama administration. You may recall I wrote a lot about Olympic Games which was the code name for the operation to do the cyber attacks that Israel and the United States led against the Iranian nuclear program. And that led to a broad investigation by the FBI and others. And that certainly was intended to try to tamp down leaks.

So, I'm not certain that tweet from President-elect Trump would have anymore of a chilling effect than what we saw during the Obama administration. It wasn't just my case. It was James Risen's or many others.

STELTER: Final question for you, what's the biggest unanswered question that you have right now with regards to these Russian hacking claims? What do we want to know next?

SANGER: Well, I think there are two things. The first is, I think the intelligence community has done a very poor job of releasing information about how they know what they know. And I hear the usual discussion you can't release sources and methods and I'm not suggesting for a moment that they release everything.

But we learned a lot more during the run-up to Iraq about how the intelligence community came to its flawed conclusions about Saddam Hussein. We've learned a lot more in many other cases. And I think they could have done a more aggressive job of revealing how they got to their conclusions, to show their work, because we're in an era where people don't believe in institutions and they don't believe in intelligence and we a president-elect who's been highly skeptical of intelligence, and there's nothing wrong with that.

But it does put a higher premium on explaining how you reach your conclusions without threatening the lives of individual sources.

STELTER: David Sanger, thank you so much for being here this morning.

SANGER: Thank you, Brian. Great to be with you.

STELTER: I mentioned Kellyanne Conway's interview on "STATE OF THE UNION". It's coming up next hour here on CNN.

Up next, Trump has a healthy dose of the skepticism Sanger was describing over these intelligence reports.

[11:10:05] Up next, someone who shares that skepticism, "The Intercept's" Glenn Greenwald, right after the break.



Donald Trump's distrust of U.S. intelligence reports makes me wonder exactly who the president-elect does trust. What are his trusted sources of information? That is a key question and it's going to continue to be a key question as he moves into the White House.

We know Trump watches a lot of cable news, both CNN and FOX News. And he reacts to what he sees using Twitter. This is going to be cable/social media presidency, both cable and social media.

Here's two examples, both involving Sean Hannity. This is what Trump said on New Year's Eve when asked about Russian hacking. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I know a lot about hacking, and hacking is very hard to prove. So, it could be somebody else. I also know things that others don't know. So, they cannot be sure of the situation.

REPORTER: Like what? What do you know that other people don't know?

TRUMP: You'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.


STELTER: OK, Tuesday or Wednesday, what was Trump teasing? One theory is he was teeing up this -- Hannity's interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Hannity flew to London and tape the interview on Monday. It aired on Tuesday and Wednesday.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Did Russia give you this information or anybody associated with Russian?

JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS FOUNDER: Our source is not state party. So, the answer for interactions is no.


STELTER: Now, so back on New Year's Eve, FOX had not announced the interview yet. The question is, did Trump know ahead of time that his friend Hannity was going to sit down with Assange? As FOX might say, you decide.

Later in the week, there was a much more clear cut case of Trump relying on Hannity.

[11:15:01] Check this out, he was reading Hannity's talking points. Here's what Hannity said on TV on Friday night saying the hacking was the Democrats' own fault.


HANNITY: But the truth is, they can only blame themselves and their gross negligence on cyber security for this election hacking.


STELTER: Later in the hour, you guessed it, Trump tweeted about the DNC's gross negligence.

Now, we searched this great new tool, FactBase, and it shows that Trump had never tweeted or spoken the words "gross negligence" until Friday night.

Joining me now, Glenn Greenwald, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of "The Intercept."

Glenn, you've been on FOX a couple of times recently talking about this Russian hacking issue. When you're on cable nowadays, do you factor in that the president-elect may be watching? Do you care?

GLENN GREENWALD, JOURNALIST, THE INTERCEPT: No, I don't care in the slightest.

STELTER: I think it's way to communicate directly to the person in power, no?

GREENWALD: I mean, I think -- you know, I think it's always been the case that presidents pay attention to what is being discussed in the media. I suppose to the extent that Trump is on Twitter and interacting on Twitter and pays attention to cable news, perhaps it's more a more direct way to communicate to the person in power. But I generally look at my role as a journalist to communicate with the population and the citizenry and to care more about what they are thinking than what political leaders or how they're reacting.

STELTER: Well, whether he's watching or not, let's turn to Trump's tweets because this is something we've seen all week long -- Trump deflecting, downplaying the importance of Russian meddling. And that's where you come in, because you've been outspoken on this, saying that journalists should be very skeptical of the U.S. government claims. Lay out your case for us.

GREENWALD: So, I think everybody would agree that it's certainly plausible that this is something that Russia might have done. I certainly wouldn't put it past them. It wouldn't shock me if it turns out that they did. This is the sort of thing Russia and the U.S. have done to other countries and to one another for many decades, including over the last ten years. So, nobody would say that Russia didn't do it or that it would be shocking if they did.

But there's a lesson -- a really critical lesson that I thought we have learned back in August 1964 when the U.S. Senate stood up and authorized Lyndon Johnson to escalate the war in Vietnam with two dissenting votes, based on the intelligence community's claims about what happened in the Gulf of Tonkin, that turned out to be totally false.

And the same lesson in 2002 when a group of bipartisan senators assured the nation that the intelligence community convinced them that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and was in alliance with al Qaeda.

And the same lesson we learned in 2013, when just months before the Snowden reporting, James Clapper, President Obama's top national security official, lied to the faces of the country when he said that he wants to assure everybody that the NSA doesn't collect data on millions of Americans.

And that lesson is, we don't just blindly and uncritically accept the claims of the intelligence community, especially provocative claims about a foreign adversary, without seeing convincing evidence presented by them that those claims are true. And we absolutely have not seen that in this case.

STELTER: Do you think there's a related lesson here, which is that as political polarization increases in the U.S. and elsewhere, partisans will take their own sides, they will dismiss conflicting information? We saw it in 2003 with the run-up to the Iraq war. We're seeing it now but in a different direction with regards to Russia.

GREENWALD: Absolutely. I mean, the whole phenomenon of fake news which has so many people worried about, at its heart has this idea that we've balkanized ourselves on the Internet and on cable news, that we can simply believe whatever is pleasing or flattering to us.

And this idea that we ought to be skeptical about the intelligence community is one that just a few years ago was extremely popular. In fact, I would call it conventional wisdom among Democrats and progressives and liberals who really learned the hard lesson, not just from Vietnam, but from Iraq. And now, you have a complete role reversal, where it's Republicans who are expressing skepticism of the CIA and Democrats who are saying, if you don't believe the CIA, it means you're disloyal and unpatriotic and you're siding with a dictator against your own country.

And I think it has to do with exactly what you just said, which is that we have this tendency to believe whatever we want to believe and adopt whatever principles are most convenient for it at the moment.

STELTER: We heard from President Obama about this in an interview airing on ABC this morning. Here's what he told George Stephanopoulos.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll be honest with you, George. One of the things that I am concerned about is the degree to which we've seen a lot of commentary lately where there are Republicans or pundits or cable commentators who seem to have more confidence in Vladimir Putin than fellow Americans because those fellow Americans are Democrats. That cannot be.


STELTER: Glenn, who do you think Obama is talking about?

GREENWALD: I'm sure he's talking about Donald Trump and about FOX News, which is true. They have done a complete role reversal.

[11:20:01] You know, when George Bush was president, Dick Cheney was out there, they are saying, "People who don't accept what the CIA says are traitors and on the side of Saddam." And now, you have Democrats who are saying that.

So, I think Obama is absolutely correct. You shouldn't reject what the CIA is claiming simply because it helps a Republican to do so. But the other side is also true, which is that you're not obligated through patriotism or decency to simply accept what the CIA says, lest you'd be accused of siding with a foreign dictator, or being unpatriotic.

What should determine the discourse is the evidence presented. And it's on the key claims that Putin directed this hacking and did so to elect Donald Trump. There is no evidence for it. Not unpersuasive evidence, or inadequate evidence, no evidence. Just CIA assertions over and over. And that just simply is not enough.

STELTER: There are anonymous sources saying it and you would say those sources are not evidence. They are just making assertions.

Glenn, I'm out of time, but thank you very much for being here. Always a pleasure.

Up -- show, Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Celebrity Apprentice". We'll talk about his tweets, how to cover them and what his tweets tell us about it.

We'll be right back. N's disease.


STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.

Our panel is standing by to tackle the Trump Twitter conundrum.

[11:25:02] And here's what I mean by that. The president-elect is not Donald Trump's only title. He's also an executive producer of "The Celebrity Apprentice", which premiered on NBC with its new host earlier this week. Trump cares deeply about TV ratings, viewing them as a proxy of his popularity. He used to send me messages when I worked at "The New York Times" when he thought my stories did not give him ratings credit.

So, he reacted to "The Apprentice" premiere this week, writing that "The ratings are in and Arnold Schwarzenegger got swamped or destroyed by comparison to the ratings machine DJT. So much for being a movie star."

"And that was season one compared to season 14. Now compare him to my season one. But who cares, he supported Kasich and Hillary."

So, we will compare. We made a chart of the ratings for all "The Apprentice" premieres and as you can see, season one was huge for Trump, 18 million viewers. But it did taper off later. That's what usually happens to shows in primetime. They shed viewers as they grow up.

Trump's 14th season premiered to 6.5 million viewers, still pretty strong by 2015 standards. Arnold's premiere had 4.9 million viewers this week.

Now, Schwarzenegger shot back, seizing the PR opportunity, saying, "I wish you the best of luck and I hope you will work for all American people as aggressively as you work for your ratings."

Now, when Trump tweets this stuff, some people think he's trying to distract the media, creating a shiny bright object. But I don't think so. I think these tweets are actually very insightful. Tweeting about "The Apprentice" shows how he constantly seeks approval and how he measures success.

But some of my guests disagree with my views. Let's bring them in. Joining me now, Merrill Brown, the director of the School of Communications at Montclair State University, former editor in chief of, Kristen Soltis Andersen, a columnist with "The D.C. Examiner" and a pollster for Echelon Insights, and Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political commentator and conservative columnist for "The Hill" and "Above the Law."

Merrill, to you first. You run a journalism program now in New Jersey. Every minute spent covering Trump's tweets, do you think that's a minute wasted when we're not covering Trump's actions or his policies?

MERRILL BROWN, DIRECTOR OF THE SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATIONS, MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY: Every minute spent publishing them, reading them on the air, or dealing with them in a superficial bases creates a record, and that record is important. For every minute spent not covering policy, not digging in to everything that the administration is about to begin work on, that's time wasted.

STELTER: When you see the coverage of these tweets, are we spending enough time collectively contextualizing, fact-checking what he is saying online?

BROWN: Fact-checking, yes, but caring about what he says about "Apprentice" ratings is secondary. I'm concerned the media in general is totally unprepared for what's going to happen in two weeks. I was reading Breitbart this morning and Spice is saying they're going to be ready go Saturday with a host of executive orders. That is important in a magnitude that the tweets are not.

STELTER: Unprepared to cover his presidency. How so?

BROWN: Well, first of all, regional newspapers are nearly dead. So, the impact of policy decisions in Washington is going to be almost by definition undercovered out in America. Washington bureaus are not as strong as they once were. The level of expertise in the media about difficult public policy issues, whether it's foreign policy or whether it's the delivery of social services or the environment is not what it once was.

It's really important that the media focus on the things that really matter now.

STELTER: I wonder, Kayleigh, what you make of this. You know, as a Trump supporter, someone who wants to see this administration documented every day, what's your view on this? Are you -- when you look at the coverage so far, do you think enough is being made of what the actions will be? What the policy decisions could be?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think there is this obsessive culture around Donald Trump's Twitter feed. But I think that's because right now we have a lack of action. He's president-elect. He's not president. The only actions we have on his part to really analyze are his negotiations with Carrier and his work with Boeing and some of the things he said and done there.

But I do think it's going to change when it comes January 20th, when he has substantive actions, negotiations with Congress over bills, vetoes of legislation potentially. We hope that's not the case. But when we have action, I think the Twitter feed will become secondary and there will be an aggressive pursuit on the part of the media to hold his feet to the fire on some of his promise, building the wall, tax reform package, repealing and replacing Obamacare, actions --


STELTER: And you support holding his feet to the fire? You're in favor of holding his feet to the fire?

MCENANY: Oh, absolutely. I'm a conservative first. And conservative principles matter to me and I held Bush accountable for his actions, and President Trump will be no exception.

STELTER: The reason I think it's valuable to hear is that there are some conservatives, some Trump voters who reject journalism right now, and say they don't want to hear all the nastiness from the media, when in fact some of what they would call nastiness is just attempts to hold him accountable.

MCENANY: Absolutely right. I do think there are attempts to hold him accountable. For instance, when we heard that Mexico may not pay for the wall. That story broke, I believe it was Thursday night. The media covered it and they should.

When you make a promise on the campaign trail, it has to materialize into action. I was critical of Obama on some of his promises not materializing, and I'll be equally critical of President Trump.


STELTER: Now, here's where I think his Twitter account is really interesting.

Kristen, when we see Donald Trump tweet about North Korea, about nuclear weapons, about very important policy matters, he obviously makes the earth shake a little bit when he does that.

Do we just have to accept as a country and as a world that we are going to have a president who is not going to tweet like a professor, who is going to not tweet like a politician; he's going to tweet like any other ordinary human being and that's just something journalists have to get over?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I'm a conservative both politically and temperamentally.

And being a small-C conservative means I get heartburn at the idea that there's a wrecking ball taken to the norms of discourse or the way things are done. But this was a wrecking ball election. America voted for a wrecking ball.

And so it would profoundly surprise me, if we're sitting around waiting for Donald Trump to change the way that he communicates with people and to change his tone, I think you will be waiting four to eight years, if not longer.

I think, really, for a lot of journalists who are concerned about Trump's tweets, for me, it's less of about tone and more about substance. When Donald Trump gets into a Twitter war with Arnold Schwarzenegger over ratings for "The Apprentice," that's not the stuff that keeps me up at night.

And in terms of domestic policy, domestic policy, as Kayleigh mentioned, that's going to come when there are executive orders, things coming out of Congress. But foreign policy, when the president tweets in 140 characters, that becomes American foreign policy.

That's the area where I'm most concerned and I think the media does need to have the most focus on what Donald Trump is tweeting.

STELTER: Merrill, 12 days until Inauguration Day. How nervous are you about the press' -- about the news media's treatment of this unusual president-elect?

BROWN: I don't know if I'm nervous about it. I'm apprehensive would be a better word.

There's a lot of work to do. That's what I'm most concerned about. And I'm also particularly concerned about the fact that philanthropy and investors need to be focused on how important media is right now during a dramatic change in government.

STELTER: Tell me what you mean by that.

BROWN: Well, there are not enough institutions in the American journalism community that are healthy enough to deal with the magnitude of what the Trump administration is likely to do in its early years. There are institutions like ProPublica. There is a very well-heeled owner of "The Washington Post," Jeff Bezos.

Those people are ready. But we need more ProPublicas. We need more people like Bezos to step up and get behind media and journalism, especially with the revolutionary changes that are ahead of us.

STELTER: There were some layoffs at Medium this week. Medium is a publishing platform. It came out and said this ad-driven media world just does not cut it. It's not sufficient. Running ads on Web sites is not enough to sustain these sorts of publishing operations.

It's an example of the challenges newsrooms face in this moment. And I think what you're saying is covering Trump will be especially difficult at a moment where the media business financially is in difficult straits.

BROWN: That's right.

We're all in a search for a new business model. I personally am involved in it. And my work at the University of Montclair State, been working on that business model problem. It's going to take a while to sort itself out. Digital advertising is, as you know, very soft.

But it's really important that people like John Henry who own "The Boston Globe" and Bezos in Washington think seriously about how they can invest both as philanthropists and as businesspeople in helping the media right now.

STELTER: There's some related problems.

Kayleigh, let me go to you on this. The issue of the echo chambers, it was talked about earlier this hour, whether it's Breitbart or FOX or other things like that. You're a conservative columnist. I mentioned it in the intro there, but you're writing for "The Hill." You're not writing for Breitbart, for example, that seems to only preach to the choir.

Do you think more needs to be done to communicate to Trump voters about why it's valuable to seek out a wide range of sources?

MCENANY: I think it's really important, of course.

But I don't think Breitbart and Drudge, for instance, are in this exclusive world, because you do have the liberal publications, The Daily Koses of the world, that have their bias. And then somewhere in the middle you have sources like CNN who really endeavor to get to the truth, ABC, NBC. They endeavor to be in the center.

But what I think is important is for the media as a whole to step back and ask, why doesn't the public trust us? Because public trust in media is at a historic low. Gallup said it's lowest...


STELTER: Isn't it because conservatives have been telling people not to trust the media for 30 years? MCENANY: That's in part. But I do think there are some


When you look at, for instance, ABC, NBC, CBS, the major broadcast networks, there was a report that came out in June, Media Research Center, which is a right-leaning institution, but nevertheless they tracked the amount of coverage given to the Clinton Foundation. It was three minutes, and 23 minutes, on the other hand, was given to Trump's scandal when he was impersonating his own press person back in '90s, so a 20-minute discrepancy in coverage.

I think conservatives have a reason when they say we think the major broadcast networks are not representing us

STELTER: No doubt there's self-inflicted wounds the press have caused over the years.

Final word to you, Kristen. In yours research, in yours polling, what do you find about media distrust and what do you find about attempts to repair it?

SOLTIS ANDERSON: Media distrust is at incredible highs.


And it's particularly low with groups like even younger voters, those who were not around for the last 30 years ago, back when people trusted the network news anchors. Trust in media has declined, but for a lot of voters in particular, they have never known an era where you're just trusting at face value the stuff you see in your news.

And so you see great trust. You saw things like "The Daily Show," the definition of -- quote, unquote -- "fake news," comedy news, becoming a news source for, at its peak, I think one out of every four younger voters, I found in my research.

You have got just this incredible fragmentation of how people are getting their news. And I think rebuilding that trust is very hard. I think it goes back to showing your work. What David Sanger was talking to you about earlier in the first segment about the intelligence community to rebuild their trust, they are going to need to show their work.

I think, in some cases, when you have the media doing things like fact-checking and they give somebody two Pinocchios for a statement like Russia is our main geopolitical foe, which is happened to Mitt Romney, there are folks that then say, well, wait a minute. Why are you giving that Pinocchios when it's correct?

I think making sure you're doing a better job of showing your work and engaging more thoughtfully and accurately in the arguments the other side is making is a necessary condition for rebuilding that trust.

STELTER: I agree with Merrill that we need ProPublicas. And yet at the same time, got to figure out ways to have more people believe that news reporting, believe that content. Kayleigh, Merrill, Kristen, thank you all for being here.

Up next, the future for FOX News and for cable news in general in the Trump age. Two of the top media watchers in the business are here to discuss what exactly Megyn Kelly will be doing at NBC and what her departure means for FOX.



STELTER: What will cable news look like in the age of the first reality TV president?

If this week was any indication, there are going to be some changes. This week, Megyn Kelly surprised a lot of people, including me, by rebuffing a $25 million-per-year offer from FOX News and joining NBC.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: After more than a dozen years at FOX News, I have decided to pursue a new challenge, joining the journalists at NBC News, who I deeply admire.

I will be anchoring a daytime show there, along with a Sunday night news magazine. And you will see me there on the big nights too for politics and such.


STELTER: Later in the week, Kelly's former FOX News colleague Greta Van Susteren also made the move over to the NBC News family, specifically to MSNBC. She's going to have a 6:00 p.m. program premiering tomorrow.

Now, FOX is not missing a beat, promoting Tucker Carlson to Kelly's 9:00 p.m. time slot, and then replacing Carlson at 7:00 with Martha MacCallum.

Will there be even more changes on the horizon?

Joining me now, Jim Rutenberg, media columnist for "The New York Times," and Sarah Ellison, a contributing editor at "Vanity Fair."

Jim, you broke the news on Tuesday about Kelly making this move. My interpretation was that she just had to get out of FOX News. She was not happy there. She felt the environment was toxic and she was offered her dream job over at NBC. What's your interpretation?

JIM RUTENBERG, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think all that in the mix.

And $25 million dollar probably has a way of making some of the toxicity go away. But I do think also there she is at 9:00 p.m. in prime time. That's the big time at FOX News. NBC also offers her kind of new opportunities to kind of move into different kinds of television, see if she can push her stardom even to a higher place. STELTER: Yes. She had described, Sarah, in an interview with Charlie

Rose last April that her dream show was a little bit of Charlie Rose, a little of Oprah, and a little bit of Megyn Kelly. Is that what she's getting now at NBC?

SARAH ELLISON, "VANITY FAIR": What she is getting now is two-and-a- half jobs at NBC.

It's kind of interesting. She's definitely taking on a lot there. And she is trying to -- her people would say she's trying to sort of spread her wings. She's done FOX News. She's done the 9:00 p.m. slot. She really knew how to do that. And there wasn't that much more room for her to grow there.

And this does give her certainly a new challenge and a whole new sort of platform. I do think that that's exactly what she's getting.

STELTER: And a more flexible schedule. Right?

She told her friends -- she would show a picture of her kids to her friends and say this is what I'm most focused on. This is what matters most in this contract negotiation. Not having to be at work until 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. was clearly a big factor.

But do we know a lot about what she will be doing at NBC? Do we know, Jim, what time slot she will have at the network?

RUTENBERG: No. There have been reports this week of potentially she would take over that third hour of "Today" at 9:00 a.m. I had also heard a kind of slightly later, but late morning time slot.

STELTER: And 10:00, maybe 1:00 p.m.?

RUTENBERG: Maybe even 11:00.

I think though the interesting thing here is and the challenge for her is this is daytime television, even late morning. It's the same difference. It's not hard-edge nighttime cable news.

STELTER: What does it mean for FOX News to see her leave? One of my takeaways is that the biggest Trump antagonist of the network, someone who Trump was attacking, someone who was causing hate mail to be sent from Trump fans to Kelly and to FOX is now off of FOX's schedule. Could it be a good thing for FOX?

ELLISON: Well, it's certainly a very interesting thing that Megyn Kelly, who was really seen as a more centrist figure at FOX News, and probably would only be seen as a centrist figure at FOX News, is moving to a very different place and moving out of network.

It's a sign that FOX is becoming more Trump-friendly. Certainly Tucker Carlson isn't as in the tank for Trump as Sean Hannity is.

STELTER: They haven't been friends for decades, for example.

ELLISON: Right. But the idea that they also -- for FOX, they have now got three commentators from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. on FOX. It's all commentary. It's all white men.

That was actually something ironically that Roger Ailes, despite his reputation, always wanted a woman in prime time. He always wanted to have a woman in prime time. And so it's an interesting moment for them.

STELTER: Do you think it matters that it's all-white male schedule? Some people give me flak on Twitter for even pointing that out.

ELLISON: Do I don't know if it is going to matter for viewership? No, I really don't know that.

I think it's definitely an interesting sort of potentially inadvertent statement that FOX is making.

STELTER: Jim, what's your take?

RUTENBERG: Also, though, having a female voice in prime time with an otherwise male lineup, it is a different perspective just kind of in terms of what we do, journalism.

You want some diversity in your lineup. And I think if there was a woman who they thought was going to hold those ratings, they would have moved a woman in.

That's what they would tell you is that Tucker was doing very well at 7:00 p.m. So here he goes into that slot.

STELTER: I just pulled up here, Sean Hannity's tweet. We will put it on screen.

It says -- earlier this week -- this was like a huge shot across the bow. Sean Hannity talking to Joe Scarborough. "Joe, is it a betrayal and repulsive that you keep asking FOX to hire you without telling your current employer?"


Jim, this was sort of shocking. This is one FOX host implying that an MSNBC host is trying to come over to FOX. What to make of this?

RUTENBERG: Well, first of all, what I'm noticing these days is the bigger the salary, the bigger the TV star, the louder the Twitter yelling these days.

But that was really a spat over Sean Hannity's coverage of this Assange and the Russian leaks. But I don't know. Joe Scarborough has a place at MSNBC morning that's very important to MSNBC. If he were to go to FOX, then the whole world is going upside down.

STELTER: The whole world I think already is upside down.

RUTENBERG: Correction, yes.

STELTER: Joe is always looking for the next thing. He rarely ever gets to it, takes it. But he's flirted with presidential runs. So, it makes sense to me that he was looking out, maybe reaching out to other networks a few months ago.

ELLISON: Well, people say this has been happening for a long time.

But what really prompted Sean Hannity to kind of go after him was this world going upside down situation, where Sean Hannity and Julian Assange end up being on the same side of an issue.

STELTER: Will the world ever flip right side up, I wonder.

Sarah, Jim, stick around.

Right after the break here, more with our media columnists talking about Donald Trump's press conference now three days away. What to anticipate? How much does it really matter? We will talk about that right after this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Wow. There's a lot of press.

Be quiet. Nobody ever listens to you.

Sit down, please. You weren't called.

I put myself through your news conferences often, not that it's fun.



STELTER: Welcome back.

We hear from Trump every day via Twitter. We're hearing from him during this hour.


But when he tweets, he obviously chooses the topic. Now, with a press conference scheduled for Wednesday, mid-morning Wednesday, it's a chance for reporters to pick the topics and ask the questions they would like to ask.

Now, Trump has not held a presser, a full-fledged presser with everybody seated, him up at the podium, since the end of July. He made a lot of news back then. We went back and looked at the transcript. At one point, he seemingly invited Russia to hack the U.S. Remember this?


TRUMP: What do I have to get involved with Putin for? I have nothing to do with Putin. I have never spoken to him. I don't know anything about him, other than he will respect me. But it would be interesting to see. I will tell you this. Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens.


STELTER: His press conferences are nothing if not newsworthy.

So, now to preview the next one, back with me at the table, Jim Rutenberg: of "The New York Times" and Sarah Ellison of "Vanity Fair."

So, we are talking about Wednesday mid-morning, Donald Trump meeting the press.

Is it a coincidence, Sarah, this is going to happen the morning after President Obama gives his farewell address to the nation?

ELLISON: Trump is always best when he is reacting against someone, when he has an adversary.

I think that actually it puts him in a very good position. He is basically giving the retort to Obama's sort of last speech to the press.

STELTER: Gives him more to talk about. He is supposed to talk about his businesses, how he is going to try to remove some of the conflicts as well.

ELLISON: We have all been waiting for this for such a long time, but it does give him something to push against, which he really likes.

STELTER: Jim, normally, as you know, presidents-elect come out and address the press conference setting within a couple of days of being elected.

Do you think Trump kind of purposefully was trying to disrespect the media by choosing not to have a news conference for two months?

RUTENBERG: Certainly, that is definitely the message he has telegraphed.

That is the great paradox about Donald Trump is that he has been at once at times the most accessible major candidate that we've ever seen. And yet no press conference now for practically -- I think you have been keeping a running count on the days -- almost as many as Hillary Clinton went.

STELTER: Yes, I think 162 or so right now.

ELLISON: Yes, it's befuddling.

This press conference will be very important in terms of setting the tone now, because this is the first -- this is it. This is the first thing we're going to ever -- first one we're going to see. Amazing, this long into the...

STELTER: We have seen a campaign to delegitimatize the media.

Are both of you expecting to that continue once he is actually in office?

ELLISON: Absolutely.

He ran against the press. And he has continued to do so. Everyone who is expecting things to change once he is in office has been sort of disappointed. He is very much the same person that we saw during the campaign. And I don't think that that's going to change.

STELTER: Do you sense that journalists, then, Jim, are fearful, are worried about that, or are they sort of embracing this challenge?

RUTENBERG: I think it is a little mix of all of the above.

The important thing is that these straight news reporters cannot be engaged in fights with the people they are covering. I think that's one of the biggest shifts is getting used to the attacks, but just keeping your eye on your job, which is reporting the facts straight ahead, and don't get kind of pulled into it when you can avoid it.

STELTER: During the last segment, Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter about the media. This was in real time, so, let's put it on screen here from a few minutes ago.

Trump not liking what he was seeing on "Meet the Press" this morning. He said: "Kellyanne Conway went to 'Meet the Press' this morning for an interview with Chuck Todd. Dishonest media cut out nine of her 10 minutes. Terrible!"

He is sort of right on the facts here. My quick search, check, they did only air part of the Kellyanne Conway interview on television. I would expect NBC to post the rest on the Internet. They usually put the rest online. But this is an example again of Trump reacting in real time to what is happening.

It comes only two days after he suggested there should be an investigation into NBC's sources of reporting about the Russian hacking. What do you make of his focus on NBC?

RUTENBERG: Interesting. First of all, Megyn Kelly, by the way, his nemesis, is there.


RUTENBERG: Is there.

But I think that the two situations are a little different. One is much more concerning. Talking about a congressional leak probe of a story about this intelligence regarding Russia is much more severe than I wonder if he is going to have the time to count the minutes of his own aides on television once he is in the office dealing with the rigors of the job. STELTER: NBC also airs "The Apprentice."

And it's NBC's right and it's completely their prerogative to edit an interview. We do that at CNN, and every other network shortens interviews for various reasons, including just time constraints.

ELLISON: Of course.

And one of the things that is very interesting about what he is going to have time for and what he wouldn't have time for, he is tweeting about Arnold Schwarzenegger's ratings on "The Apprentice," he does seem inordinately engaged with the media.

We were hearing that he is talking with Rupert Murdoch. Again, we're back talking about FOX a little bit. But this is something that he does make time for. He makes time to watch television news. He makes time to interact with the journalists and the executives who are responsible for that news.

And I think he definitely is going to continue to do that. And he might still be counting the minutes, even as there are seemingly other, more important things to pay attention to.


STELTER: And it is a huge adjustment from a president, President Obama, who famously says he doesn't care about cable news, doesn't watch it.

Sarah, Jim, great to see you this morning. Thanks for being here.

ELLISON: Thank you.

RUTENBERG: Thanks so much.

STELTER: And we will be back after the break with some shocking examples of plagiarism by one of Trump's national security picks, a CNN exclusive right after this.


STELTER: Welcome back.

This weekend, a big scoop by CNN's K-File team of investigative reporters.

The team found 50-plus examples of Monica Crowley plagiarizing in her 2012 book. Crowley has been a fixture on cable news for decades. She was a FOX News contributor up until very recently, when Donald Trump picked her to be the senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council.

And we can show you some of the examples the plagiarism here. This is all online at

Some of these were very obvious paragraphs taken from sources like FOX News reporter James Rosen, "The Wall Street Journal" and many others.

The K-File team found that some of the plagiarism actually came from a podiatrist Web site. There were a variety of sources that Crowley apparently lifted from and then used in her 2012 book.

Now, the Trump transition team is standing by Crowley, telling K-File that -- quote -- "Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country."

But reporting, journalism, is not the same thing as trying to have a politically motivated attack against someone.

Most importantly, the publisher of the book, HarperCollins, hasn't commented.

That's all for this televised edition of RELIABLE SOURCES. You can find all of our media coverage, as well as that K-File report, at

I'll see you next week.