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Media's Hits and Misses During Kavanaugh Coverage; NYT Reprinting Trump Tax Probe This Morning; Missing WaPo Contributor Now Feared Dead. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired October 07, 2018 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:10] BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter. And this is RELIABLE SOURCES, our weekly look at the story behind the story of how the media really works, how the news gets made and how all of us can help make it better.

This hour, breaking news, deeply disturbing news from the Middle East. Reports of a well-known Saudi journalist killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. His editor will join me live with the latest.

So will one of the reporters who exposed the Trump family's sketchy tax schemes. That "New York Times" bombshell, we'll get into that. Plus --


REPORTER: You didn't let me ask my question.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You have been asking a question for ten minutes.

REPORTER: You interrupted my question.

TRUMP: Please sit down.


STELTER: Sit down he says. Trump's negative tone toward women reporters is spurring backlash.

A lot to get to, but, first, a triumphant weekend for President Trump and for Republicans across the U.S. with Brett Kavanaugh sworn in as an associate justice on the Supreme Court. Meantime, for Kavanaugh's opponents, it's -- well, frankly, it's a terrible weekend. And the country feels incredibly divided at this moment.

Now, whether you support Kavanaugh, whether you oppose his nomination, no matter what, let's recognize one thing. This was a moment that Christine Blasey Ford saw coming. You know, we all learned her name three weeks ago today, but she spent the summer debating whether to come forward, whether to share her allegations publicly.

Remember, she wrote to her congresswoman, but she was reluctant to speak out. She said she figured that Kavanaugh would be confirmed.


CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD, KAVANAUGH ACCUSER: During August 2018, the press reported that Mr. Kavanaugh's confirmation was virtually certain. Persons painted him as a champion of women's rights and empowerment. And I believed that if I came forward, my single voice would be drowned out by a chorus of powerful supporters. By the time of the confirmation hearings, I had resigned myself to remaining quiet.


STELTER: But then her name leaked, presumably because of Senate Democrats.

Reporters started knocking on her door. She decided to speak out on her own terms.


FORD: Apart from the assault itself, these past couple of weeks have been the hardest of my life.


STELTER: One has to wonder what she's thinking and what she's feeling right now.

You know, a month ago, she was telling herself, I'm not going to come forward, I don't want to be annihilated in the media, I'm just going to stay silent. She figured Kavanaugh would be confirmed. And now he has been.

Meanwhile, I have to ask this question. Has the news media come out of this controversy looking better or worse? Because I'm pretty sure we don't look better. The narrative from Trump world is that the media worked with the Dems to take Kavanaugh down. And there's a lot of concern that newsrooms have lowered their standards in pursuit of this story.

Let's talk about all of this and where we go from here with former CNN anchor Frank Sesno, he's the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. Also in D.C., Olivia Nuzzi, the Washington correspondent for "New York Magazine", and here with me in New York, CNN analyst and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, April Ryan.

Olivia, just a simple question. What does it feel like in Washington today?

OLIVIA NUZZI, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Well, emotions are very high. Obviously, those who opposed Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation are very upset. This is not the outcome they wanted.

And as your colleague Kaitlan Collins noted it earlier, that the White House is looking at this like a tremendous success, like this week has gone exactly as planned. Donald Trump is very high on Judge Kavanaugh's confirmation, which is, of course, very unusual when you think about it. I mean, to have your Supreme Court nominee under investigation at a very fraught hearing, like he was, meanwhile "The New York Times" has this investigation into Donald Trump's claims about his wealth this week, under any normal circumstances would not be a positive week for the White House.

But by today's standards, as the White House looks at it, they are happy with the outcome. I think the fact that emotions are so high on the left from those who opposed Judge Kavanaugh, they view that as a good thing. They think it will be energizing the base going into the midterms. I don't know if I think that's true. We have a very long time until that point. A lot can happen.


NUZZI: And I think it would be a mistake for any side to view this as something that's going to lead to a desired outcome in the midterm elections or certainly in 2020.

STELTER: This controversy with Kavanaugh only because of the press, because of "The Washington Post" story, about Ford, and then "The New Yorker" story about Deborah Ramirez.

[11:05:04] There's been so much reporting. And, frankly, Frank Sesno, some misreporting.

Do you think the press is coming out of this looking weaker? Because many people feel that the press chose a side through this?

FRANK SESNO, DIRECTOR, SCHOOL OF MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFARS AT GWU: Yes. Certainly, that's the way it's going to look to Trump supporters and to people who have been questioning media's bias and their ability to report straight for a long time. And we know where the public trust numbers are for the press, it's somewhere down below the basement.

Look, the fact of the matter is that by any reasonable measure, this has been an extraordinary week for this president. Forget the Russia investigation. Forget the tax story. Forget all of the rest. Trade deal with Mexico and Canada, unemployment numbers that haven't been this low since 1969, and following through on what he said, which was to remake the Supreme Court and a triumph with Kavanaugh himself.

The coverage has been unrelenting negative, in many cases deserved. That's the kind of coverage that a president, any president gets. But what the public and what the White House come away from this with is some fair territory to wag their fingers and say, I told you so. Even Joe Scarborough goes on the air and says the mainstream media were unfair toward the president.

So, there's going to be some very serious thinking now and as the country is, as you pointed out, as divided, more divided than it's ever been coming out of this Kavanaugh thing around this stuff. I think the challenge grows even greater for the media to figure out where it's going and how it's going to try to find some balance in all of this. STELTER: You hear something that Sara Fagen said on MSNBC the other

day. She said that 20 years ago, some of these allegations like the Ramirez story in "The New Yorker" wouldn't have been published. Here's what she said.


SARA FAGEN, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Twenty years ago, no major news publication would have published those second allegations -- the second allegation or third allegation. And so, we are now in a different place in this country.


STELTER: Frank, is that true?

SESNO: Absolutely, absolutely. I was bureau chief here at, you know, at CNN during the Lewinsky thing. We had a whole series of procedures to make sure that hearsay didn't get on the air, and that we were going to confirm it before we put it on the air. That's completely been overtaken by events now with social media.

STELTER: But what does confirming mean? What does confirming mean nowadays if it's an on the record accusation but without a lot of corroborating evidence?

SESNO: Some corroborating evidence, multiple sources. Somebody doesn't just step -- or if they step forward.

So, Ford had some corroborating evidence. She had her therapy. She had documentable places where she raised this.

How she remembered it, whether it's accurate, they are both 100 percent in their recollection. Remember when they testified, that's another matter. We would have reported that.

But some of the other things -- I agree, we would not have reported in the old days.

STELTER: Yes. Let me take you through some of the other examples. We mentioned "The New Yorker" story, that's the Ramirez story. Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer interviewed her on the record. But some people said, hey, "The New Yorker" shouldn't have published the story because there wasn't enough supporting evidence.

And then there was that "New York Times" report about a bar fight in 1985. It was co-written by magazine staff writer Emily Bazelon, even though she opposed Kavanaugh in her capacity as a Yale Law School fellow.

And so, "The Times" said we stand by the story but we should not have sent her there to report on it, even though it was convenient because she was in New Haven, Connecticut. She got the court filings. We shouldn't have had her name on the story. So, that was another controversy. And then MSNBC snagged an interview with Julie Swetnick. That's the

Kavanaugh accuser who was represented by Michael Avenatti. This interview, you know, NBC didn't kind of know what to do with it. They tried to verify her claims. They couldn't. They aired some of it on MSNBC.

But again, this is another example of, in a prior generation, maybe the interview wouldn't have aired at all.

Olivia, your thoughts and then, April?

NUZZI: I don't know about that. I don't know about holding up the Clinton impeachment era as a way of pushing back on the idea that we would not have published these things in another time.

These women were on the record, whether or not you believe their accounts -- I mean, that's sort of up to the reader, up to the viewer in my view. I think that the "New Yorker" story was pretty carefully written. There were a lot of caveats in there. But I do think that when you have somebody who's on the record, that really changes the calculation.

STELTER: Then it becomes about proportionality, right?

NUZZI: Right.

STELTER: How much attention do we give these on-the-record allegations.

NUZZI: I think the issue is in part, on the Internet, everything looks about the same size. There's not really any way to tell what's the big story, what's the big credible story and what's something that should be paid less attention to.

But I think the press was trying, in a very hurried way, to do serious reporting and to really vet this nominee. I do think some mistakes were made. But even when it comes to "The New York Times" decision to have her reporter, have her byline on the story, if they kept her byline off the story but if she still got the documents, how would that be any different?

[11:10:00] We're talking about optics issue more than ethical concerns at this point.

STELTER: Right, right.

So, April, I wanted to ask you about the president's reaction to the swearing in, to the confirmation last night. He was on Air Force One flying to a rally. One of the reporters, "A.P.'s" Jill Colvin, said to him, what message do you have for the woman in the country who are angry, who are devastated by this?


STELTER: Let's watch what he said.


REPORTER: -- how this is a moment for young men across the country, a scary moment. What is your message today to the women across this country who are feeling devastated, feeling like the message that's been sent to them is that they're not being believed.

TRUMP: I don't think they are. I don't think they are. I think actually that women -- if you look at the biggest fans, I can tell you the people that spoke to me, most in the strongest of terms were in his favor were women. Women. Women were outraged at what happened to Brett Kavanaugh.


STELTER: Now, this is typical Trump. But he is suggesting women in the country are not devastated. Obviously, not all women are. Women are very hurt. Many men are very hurt by the outcome of this -- the confirmation battle.

Does he just not know that? Does he not care? What do you think that's about?

RYAN: Well, the president is always going to win, no matter what, you know? His brand is at stake, Brian.

Also, I want to take you, before we get into this piece, to the optics of this. What we saw was the president on Air Force One in the Flying Oval.


RYAN: The Flying Oval, not in the hallway, in the area of the press area, that's significant, because the president wants to be presidential, especially at moments like this. So, he was speaking from authority, from the flying oval with this.


RYAN: Yes. But when you look at the women in this nation, it was clearly -- it was clearly down political lines in a lot of ways. You heard a lot of women saying, the president was right when he spoke to that rally, when he said to have mocked Christine Ford. He did give fact. It was in his delivery, how he gave facts.

And then you have women who cried with Dr. Ford, reliving their own account, believing that she went through something. There is a nation here that's hurt. You had Senator Kamala Harris go out in front of the U.S. capitol and talking -- speaking directly to those women.

There needs to be healing in the nation, because one side believes that Judge Kavanaugh, Supreme Court justice now Kavanaugh was victimized by this and then you have other women who are reliving hurt. There are a lot of women in this nation who are victims of some kind of sexual assault or abuse.

But you also have to look at November. This president is losing women in this nation. They are leaving the Republican Party. Independents are looking Democrat. A lot of women are saying, I don't want to go to the Republicans after this.

It's not helping him not to pay attention. All America is hurting in some type of way. He has to find a way to heal. And that's where the numbers may come back for him. But he's tried to brand and win.

STELTER: All right. April, stick around.

Olivia and Frank, thank you for being here.

A quick break, and then I want to go behind the scenes of this story. It's a likely Pulitzer contender. It's "The New York Times" 18-month log investigation into the Trump family's taxes. How did it all come together? And was it overshadowed by Kavanaugh?

One of the reporters who investigated the taxes will join me right after this.


[11:17:31] STELTER: All right. We're back. Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.

Instances of outright fraud. That's what "The New York Times" found in this extraordinary investigation of the Trump family's taxes. Documents from the 1990s show that now President Trump helped his parents dodge taxes.

For a lot of folks think these findings were overshadowed by the Supreme Court fight. Maybe. That's why "The Times" is taking a remarkable step today of re-printing the entire 13,000-word investigation. Or maybe they just wanted it to reach a larger audience on a Sunday.

There's also a documentary about the reporting that's going to be premiering today on Showtime. It's called "The Family Business", and it shows people inside this locked room where "The New York Times" reporters conducted the investigation.

Joining me now is the woman you saw inside the room, Susanne Craig. She's an investigative reporter with "The Times" and one of the three reporters who broke this story.

So, tell me about this locked room you were working in for the last year and a half.



CRAIG: But we were inside largely because we had so many documents to analyze and try and piece together what was going on. It was easier for the three of us to sit together as we tried to sort it out. And we just wanted to keep also what we were doing as under wraps as we could of what was going on.

STELTER: What was the most important moment where you realized there was a big story here? Was there a single moment like that?

CRAIG: There really wasn't. This was a real journey of discovery. We started out looking at the 2005 tax returns that were released on "The Rachel Maddow Show". We just had some simple questions about how did he make money in that year.

And then we just started to look into -- we realized the year before, part of his father's empire had been sold. His father Fred Trump died in 1999. And then we started to piece that together and just one thing led to another. And then, we started to reach out to sources and got an extraordinary amount of documents, including thousands of pages of documents from his financial empire and 200 tax returns, both from his, his companies and companies that Donald Trump was a partner in.

STELTER: So, this was reporting 101.

CRAIG: Kind of it was a real journey -- there was no mandate at the beginning.

STELTER: But why did the sources help you? Why did they share the documents?

CRAIG: It's always to try to get into the mind of a source is difficult. But I think the people that we talked to felt that when -- by the time we got to their door, that we knew a fair bit about the topic we were asking about.

[11:20:06] And they wanted to see -- it was sort of again and again when you talk to people, they felt that the story that Donald Trump had peddled, that he was a self-made billionaire and that he only got a little help from his father was just wrong. A lot of the people we talked to knew Fred Trump and knew that that was just a boldfaced lie.

STELTER: And they wanted people to know it was bunk.


STELTER: What about the timing? So, you told me this is the hardest story you have ever done. It came out Tuesday. It was in print Wednesday. But the country has been focused on Kavanaugh.

What did you publish now? And do you personally feel like this was overshadowed a bit?

CRAIG: I mean, we published because we were ready to go and you can never time these things. It's the news business. And sometime you publish in the morning, you publish, something huge happens the morning you publish, and then it gets overshadowed.

You know, we felt we were ready to go. We had been waiting a week or two to see what was going on in the news. But at a certain point, you can't (INAUDIBLE), you just have to go. It's a great story. STELTER: Yes, I love that you went to the printing press that night.

You want to see it be printed, which must have been amazing.

CRAIG: It was a big rush.

STELTER: I know there are investigations that New York state says they are investigating this issue. So, I guess is this one of those cases where it's going to trickle out slowly but there could be more to come on this front?

CRAIG: Well, I think that the story will have legs because I think it's going to take a long time for people to digest. And I also think it sets down a factual narrative of his life that is in contrast with the one that's largely out there now. So, I think that that is going to be one affect. I think there are going to be investigations.

The city and state are looking into possible taxes that may be owed. We don't know what the IRS is doing. They haven't commented. But one would hope they are looking at some of the findings.

So, I think it's going to have a long life. But I think it's out there for people to think about and to start to sort of I think refocus how they were thinking about his narrative.

STELTER: And was this just part one. Are you working on a part two story?

CRAIG: We hope to. We have more leads and more string to pull. We're just going to keep going on it. There's a lot of information we have been given. And we're excited to come in Monday morning and get going.

STELTER: Because to date, President Trump continues to refuse to release his recent tax returns.


STELTER: Might you be releasing them for him?

CRAIG: We would love to if sources want to give them to us. Hopefully, we have proven we can handle it.


CRAIG: And we're definitely in the market for any information people want to send us.

STELTER: All right. Susanne, thanks for being here.

CRAIG: Thanks for having me.

STELTER: Great to see you.

CRAIG: Thanks.

STELTER: And that Showtime documentary airs tonight inside this process of reporting.

A quick break here and then a story you need to know about. A journalist harshly critical of Saudi Arabia has disappeared. And new reports suggest a Saudi team may have killed him and hidden his body. The journalist's editor is here. She will speak, next.


[11:27:16] STELTER: Right now, we are following the mysterious disappearance of a Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, amid reports from Reuters and "The Washington Post" that he may have been murdered.

And here is what we do know. Khashoggi is one of the best-known journalists in Saudi Arabia. Since last year, he's also been a prominent critic, speaking out against what he called the repressive, unbearable leadership of the country.

For the past year, he has been a contributing writer for "The Washington Post." You can see some of the headlines from his columns on screen right now. On Tuesday, Khashoggi went to Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He wanted to obtain paperwork that would allow him to divorce his wife in Saudi Arabia and get married to a woman in Turkey.

He has not been seen since he entered the consulate on Tuesday. And there have been conflicting reports from Turkey and Saudi Arabia about whether he ever left the building.

In the past 24 hours, unnamed Turkish officials have told "The Washington Post" and "Reuters" that he was killed in that consulate, essentially that Turkish officials have come to the conclusion that he was murdered. CNN has not been able to independently confirm those reports.

This continues to be a mystery, a very disturbing mystery with international ramifications. So far, the U.S. government has said very little about this matter. Of course, the U.S./Saudi relationship may come into focus as a result of this story. There's a lot more to discuss.

So, let me bring in Karen Attiah, global opinions editor at "The Washington Post". She has been Jamal's editor for the past year.

We had scheduled this interview a couple days ago, after your colleague disappeared. And then came the news that he may be dead. How are you processing this?

KAREN ATTIAH, GLOBAL OPINIONS EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: I'm not. I think the best thing that we're trying to do is to try to sort of stay productive and keep his name out there. I think for a lot of Americans, this might be the first time that they have heard of Jamal Khashoggi.

I think it's to speak out about who he is, what his work meant to Saudi Arabia and to the region as a whole, what it meant to us. And I think it's really important to know that Khashoggi, Jamal, he didn't want to be known as a dissident. He didn't want to be this opposition figure.

When he wrote his first piece for us in 2017, in September, he said, this changed my life. I just want to be a journalist. I just want to write. I think in going back to his words, you know, he was a former royal adviser. He was very close to the Saudi family.

STELTER: Yes, very well-connected.

ATTIAH: Exactly.

STELTER: But early in 2017, if I can just tell our viewers, he was told, get off Twitter, you're not allowed to tweet. You're not allowed to write critically of the government. And after six months, that's when he reached out to you all and decided essentially going to exile and speak out against the government.

KAREN ATTIAH, GLOBAL OPINIONS EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. You know, we saw the news -- exactly. We saw the news about the crackdowns and you know, we just decided you know, why don't we just have him as a voice and get him to speak. That peace was his sort of coming out so to speak, about what was happening to him and his friends. And in that piece, he said he had been quiet about the crackdowns for a while but now he just was at the point just to say something and to speak out and he said that Saudi Arabia wasn't always like this and that his country deserved better.

And I just think throughout his work what he had done, you can you can tell that he was speaking from a place of wanting to advise Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He didn't want to be known as the strident critic. And even in in our editing process, there were times where he said I really don't want to you know, personally insults anybody, I just really -- he agreed with a lot of the reforms especially women driving, the lifting of the ban on cinemas, but he just really felt like he had a duty to advise this young prince.

STELTER: Do you believe the Turkish officials who were concluding that he's been killed?

ATTIAH: You know, we want to hope that he's still alive and with us and can come back to us and be safe. We had a lot of plans. We have a lot of plans to do so much more -- so much more in Arabic. We were publishing a lot more in Arabic. You know, we're waiting just like everybody else there's a lot of conflicting reports, a lot of rumors. We are -- we're still hoping for the best but of course, this news if true, has us all completely devastated. This is an attack on us as well at the Washington Post.

STELTER: One of the problems, it's been 18 hours since this first report that he'd been killed and there's been no proof of life. You would think there would be proof of life if he were alive and with us.

ATTIAH: I mean --

STELTER: Why do you feel? Do you do you feel anger? Do you feel guilt? I'm sorry to ask but I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of an editor who knows a journalist is in harm's way. ATTIAH: I feel -- I don't -- I feel like it has been inspiring. He

-- I think he knew the risks. He knew the risks. He was somebody -- is somebody who loves his country, I think. I honestly feel -- he's one of the nicest people that I've ever met. I'm just honest about that, one of the nicest people. if the news is true, I hope it's not true, I am devastated. I've been in touch with his family. I've been in touch with his fiance. We -- I feel like this is a front. We talked on WhatsApp, I saw him just a few weeks ago.

STELTER: Yes, he had been living in Washington --

ATTIAH: Yes, in Virginia. And this is -- I mean, I can't even imagine what his family is going through. I can say personally from you this is one of the worst nights of my career -- I was -- days in my career but you know, we are committed to keeping -- we're not going to let this go and we're going to press and we're going to keep his name out there, highlight his work, highlight who he is and was. Whoever may have wanted to do this to him recognize but we recognizing that he's an important voice not only for Saudi Arabia but for the region and for the entire world. And so if anything all they've done is just upped his profile and again and this is just a man who wanted to write --

STELTER: Just to write.

ATTIAH: He just wanted to be a journalist. His eyes lit up when he walked in the newsroom and he's -- I miss being in this. He had been silence for so long, kicked out of newspapers, and working at the Post energized to him. He's like I have something to do. It keeps my mind off of the pressures. I need something to do. Give me something. So, yes.

STELTER: And I love that you all have posted some of his columns on the Washington Post homepage right now. People can look on and do what you're saying read his work, see his work, understand what he was trying to do.

ATTIAH: Yes, and know to whoever has information Saudis Turks but the entire world is watching. Jamal again was nice. He had many friends. We are all watching what's happening with this investigation and we're not going to let this go.

STELTER: Karen, thank you for being here.

ATTIAH: Thank you so much.

STELTER: Our prayers are with you. And one of the questions, as we go forward with this story, is about the U.S. response. I mentioned that at the top. I reached out to the State Department earlier today. No real comment from the State Department although they say they are monitoring this. You can read all of our coverage on this story at We're going to stay on top of this along with the Washington Post as they seek answers in this mystery.

Up next here on RELIABLE SOURCES, we turn back to domestic politics and briefing room battles. The question, does President Trump treat female correspondents differently than their male counterparts?


[11:35:00] STELTER: And we're back on RELIABLE SOURCES, I'm Brian Stelter. President Trump has been taking questions from the press a lot lately. That means his combative attitude toward reporters has been on full display. And some folks are pointing out that he's noticeably more hostile toward women journalists. Take a look.


[11:40:02] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's like in a state of shock.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not thinking --

TRUMP: That's OK. I know you're not thinking. You never do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you promise --

TRUMP: You know what, you've really had enough. Hey, you've had enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn't let me ask my question.

TRUMP: You've been asking a question for ten minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you interrupted my question.

TRUMP: Please sit down. She stands up. I'd like to ask about three questions. It's not really fair to everyone else. Should I let her ask another question?


STELTER: This is always curious but it's especially curious in light of the debate this country has been having with the Supreme Court. So let's talk about his bully-in-chief behavior and whether he's an equal opportunity offender with Brian Karem, the Executive Editor of Sentinel Newspapers, CNN Analyst, White House Reporter a Playboy and back with me April Ryan, Washington Bureau Chief at American Urban Radio Networks and author of the book Under Fire: Reporting from the Frontlines of the Trump White House, Olivia Nuzzi of New York Magazine also back with us.

April, does the President treat women reporters and the press corps differently than male reporters?



RYAN: The reason why this White House feels that they can go after what they consider weak -- what they consider weak -- I said that what they consider weak. But you don't see this kind of exchange happening with white males in that room as much as you do with minorities, meaning African-American woman, myself, or women. And I detail that in my book. I detail all the things that have happened to me in my book.

But this is -- this is something so new. I remember back to Barack Obama. Women were part of the press corps but we weren't always and we aren't always one of the first ones to ask questions or leading in that front row. Barack Obama had a press conference with eight women. I was number eight. Remember that, during the Obama's -- that was a phenomenon. I remember the veteran journalist, retired veteran journalist Ann Compton. One day there were a large number of women in that front row and she marked the moment she was so happy.

I mean, Washington is a white male dominated town and men talked men. And how does a woman navigate the murky waters in Washington and in that male-dominated room? And it doesn't bode well for a President of the United States who sets the tone for the nation, who sets the tone for the nation to do this to women. It just doesn't -- we are the first line of questioning an American president along with the men.

STELTER: Brian Karem --


STELTER: You know what Trump would say. He would say I'm tough on anybody. I'm tough on Jim Acosta.

RYAN: Jim Acosta is a minority man.

STELTER: So is April right?

KAREM: Well, let me -- let me -- I was there at that press conference with Cecilia Vega and I've been -- when he's been there in the last few days and I want to try and walk through it logically. First, of all, he's been at war with the press since day one, men, women, whatever. He has called us the enemy of the people. He's called us fake media and I think some of his tactics are fake in and of itself.

Now, in that press conference he told -- he told me to sit down and I was already sitting down and he refused to come back to me about a question on Kavanaugh. He told Peter Alexander to be quiet. He wouldn't even let Major Garrett asked a question. Major Garrett from CBS was given the mic twice and he did give the mic to female reporters. All that being said, you cannot excuse misogyny by claiming that you're a misanthrope. In other words, you can't say I hate everybody so it's OK if I treat women differently.

The fact of the matter is, there is a problem at least in optics in his own attitude and it's outside in inside of this press briefing room with females and it's whether it's reporters or just females in general. And this press room, by the way, I mean there was a time the first time I walked into the press room, the one who held sway, the one who was king or queen was Helen Thomas.

RYAN: Helen Thomas. KAREM: She began and ended every press conference. Mike Curry told

me that he would have to walk in. She'd be the first one in his office and he brought her coffee and doughnuts every morning at 7:00 a.m. That woman ruled. So that was -- there was -- it's always been in the press ourselves since Helen broke that barrier. There have -- there's been an equality in the press room among reporters. The precedence on how they treat us has changed and this president while I I'll agree to a point with him, he does treat everybody pretty bad. The simple fact of the matter is just being a misanthrope does not excuse the misogyny that he displays towards women in the press corps and it does exist.

RYAN: But it's the worse towards women.

KAREM: Again, that's what I'm saying. Exactly.

STELTER: Olivia, I saw you responding to this on Twitter this week. What was your view of this?

OLIVIA NUZZI, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: My view of this is I think that we contribute to this a little bit in how we talk about it. When I see headlines that say the president speaks rudely to female reporters, I think that that is sexist in itself as well. I mean, Cecilia Vega, Kaitlan Collins, they are not female reporters. They're reporters who happen to be female. They were asking credible questions that the president I don't believe answered and we should be judging them as reporters first.

I think that their gender when we talk about their gender as though it is the most important thing about that exchange with the president, I think that we contribute to exactly the thing that we're decrying here. I think the president has been rude and dismissive to reporters of every gender. He has attacked Jim Acosta, he has talked very rudely to him at press conferences. It is true that the way --

[11:45:44] KAREM: Me -- April, you.

NUZZI: It is -- it is true that the way that the president and officials in this White House speak to non-white reporters is very different. I mean, we've seen it now for over a year. It's very troubling and it happens off-camera as well. But I think that to talk about this and so it's a problem with female reporters it's just sort of a simplistic way to put it and I think it misses the point which is that this is an anti-press freedom president. He does not understand or care about the First Amendment. That is a bigger issue about this.

KAREM: Right. The misogyny --

STELTER: And as we talk about this, we've gone from daily briefings to like basically monthly briefings. Trump takes questions when he feels like it and often times butchers the facts so I agree there is a broader context here. April, you wanted to chime in?

RYAN: Most definitely, Brian. Here's the problem. I am -- I am a reporter who happens to be black and who happens to be a woman but the reality is when you see me you see my color and my gender. You see my color first and then my gender. And then I had -- I keep going back to this conversation I had with Steve Bannon last night -- not last night, last week, excuse me, in his home. And we talked about the fact that I am not part of the resistance but he said because of my race and my gender I cannot go to a Trump rally in a red state because I am perceived as the enemy.

STELTER: And Bannon said that.

RYAN: Bannon said that. Bannon told me that last week. We had a long -- I talk to him for about two hours. So there is -- I hear all of this higher thinking and how we should be, the ideal of what we should be, but the reality is that I am perceived as not the base. I am perceived as the enemy so therefore the taunts and the exchanges come at me. So we can play this game of how it should be but what it really is, is what it really is.

STELTER: Brian Karem, your thoughts?

KAREM: Well, how it really is, is I they don't like me at those rallies. You know, I went to West Virginia rally where they came up to me and said fake media, fake media, I hate CNN. I hate Jim Acosta. And then they said can I have an autograph with Jim Acosta. Could -- will he take a picture with me?

STELTER: Right, it's complicated. The reality is your perception cannot drive the coverage. We have to be there no matter whether we're black, white, brown, male, female, we're going to be there. And to Olivia, your point is well-taken in the fact that do we -- but by -- the question we have to ask ourselves, the serious question we have to ask ourselves is by mentioning the differences, do we contribute it to the differences?

Just by merely noticing that there is a difference I don't think plays into it -- I don't think that by mentioning it we play into it. I think you have to mention it. I think you have to assess it. That's what you're doing here, Brian. We're looking at an issuance deciding are we playing to that base, are we playing to the resistance. I maintain we're all reporters and he hates us all.

NUZZI: But we're complaining two different things here, but --

KAREM: We're there for a reason.

RYAN: They made us pawns in this political game.

NUZZI: But we are complaining two different things here. If we're talking about how President Trump treats reporters of color, that's a very different topic than how he treats reporters who were female.

RYAN: Black woman, let's try black woman.

NUZZI: And I think it's a very -- but that's a very different topic. And I think April's making an excellent point about challenge that she faces.

KAREM: And we have to examine every one of those. NUZZI: Sure, Brian. But the way that she's talking about what Steve

Bannon said about covering a rally, that's a very different challenge and a very different danger.

RYAN: But I'm still a woman. I'm a woman too.

NUZZI: Right, but that's a very different --

KAREM: And I'm still a minority. I've been told I'm -- I walk into that rally. They asked me what my last name is and if I'm a Muslim. I mean, those are things that we're all -- you're going to face it as a woman, I'm going to face it as a Lebanese-American you're going to face it April is as a black female reporter, but at the end of the day Olivia, I'm trying to agree with you at this point we're all reporters and he treats us all with disrespect.


STELTER: And going back to conversations on last week's program we're not -- you know, Margaret Sullivan had this in The Post, we're not resisting, we are reporting.

KAREM: No, we're asking questions.

STELTER: But we need to be able to convince the public of that. To our panel, thank you very much. Quick plug here for our podcast. It's all about whether fake news can be confronted through the court. So check out my interview with Mike Gottlieb on this topic. It's on our RELIABLE SOURCES podcast. Quick break here, more news in just a moment.


[11:50:00] STELTER: Ending this hour with very scary breaking news out of Upstate New York. Reports of 20 people dead in a car crash about 30 minutes outside Albany. We know very little, but we wanted to share this with you now. It's been confirmed by CNN. 20 people dead following a car crash in Upstate New York, New York State Police Spokesman Kerra Burns confirmed.

This happened in Schoharie about 30 minutes west of Albany, the state capital. You can see some pictures from the scene here. Apparently, this crash happened Saturday. It may have happened late in the evening. We don't exactly have the details yet. There are reports that it may have involved a limousine. That would explain the size of the death toll, an absolutely excruciating report coming across of 20 dead. And it was apparently a two-vehicle collision.

[11:55:07] The New York Times reporting that the limousine was carrying a wedding party when it collided with another vehicle outside a country store. As I said, there are very few other details available at this time but we do know the NTSB is investigating, is heading to the scene if they're not there already. Suffice to say this is going to dominate the news in the hours ahead just from the sheer death toll in Upstate New York. Again, 20 people dead in a car crash in Schoharie, New York. We're out of time here on RELIABLE SOURCES but we'll see you this time next week. "STATE OF THE UNION" is up next.