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Should Networks Take The Next Trump Address Live?; A New President Taking Over CBS News Amid Turmoil; Comparing Coverage Of Reps Tlaib And King; Waiting for Answers About Trump's Russia Ties; The Conservative Media Shutdown?. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired January 13, 2019 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:14] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: 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, the Trump show in primetime. Should his pro-wall speech have been given wall to wall coverage? We're going to get into that.

Plus, what's going to happen at CBS News now that Susan Zirinsky is taking the helm?

And over at NBC, Megyn Kelly officially out of the peacock network. Where will she land next?

But, first, this thought about the news cycle we're in. The news is not just a rough draft of history as many often say. It's a woefully incomplete rough draft.

Sometimes the most important facts, the single most important details, are not filled in until years later. Sometimes the secrets are buried so deep, and other times what's staring us all right in the face is so uncomfortable that we try to look the other way.

All of this is my way of asking, what will the final draft say about President Trump?

We know what the incomplete rough draft says, it says there's something very fishy between Trump and Vladimir Putin. People have been asking for months, for years what does Putin have on Trump? Has Trump been compromised? Especially after the Helsinki summit, journalists and experts looked at Trump's behavior and said they saw something strange, something sinister.

Now come these back to back "New York Times" and "Washington Post" stories.

"The Times" revealing that the FBI opened a counterintelligence inquiry in May 2017 to see whether Trump was secretly working for Russia. Maybe they thought maybe he was knowingly working on Russia's behalf or maybe he had just unwittingly fallen under Moscow's influence. So, that's "The Times".

"The Post", 22 hours later, reported that Trump has, quote, gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal the details of his conversations with Putin, keeps his own aides in the dark and with the one point taking his own interpreter's notes. Trump when given a chance to flatly deny anything untoward, he skipped the opportunity.


JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked. I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written.


STELTER: That is not a no. But Trump went on. Let's listen to more of what he said next.


TRUMP: And if you read the article, you would see that they found absolutely nothing. But the headline of that article, it's called the failing "New York Times" for a reason.


STELTER: The thriving "New York Times" did not report that they found absolutely nothing. What "The Times" actually said was, quote, no evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. Publicly.

They may have found nothing. The government officials may have found nothing at all or they may have found a lot, but it hasn't been made public. We don't know.

This is what I mean when I say that the news is a woefully incomplete draft of history. Journalists are trying their best to get to the bottom of this, journalists and commentators try to fill in the holes with speculation and conjecture and all types of theories, but we do not have answers to the pressing questions posed by these two huge newspaper stories.

Sometimes I think about just how little we know in the moment when we're covering stories like this. I think back to the RNC convention, running into Paul Manafort, sizing him up, quizzing him about Trump, and now, now that he's in solitaire confinement somewhere in Virginia, I think about all the secrets he was keeping, the crimes and the cover-ups and how there was so so much we didn't know back then. We didn't know the actual story that was right underneath. Yes, there were suspicions at the time, but the story was incomplete.

And the same thing is true with Michael Cohen, he sat right here on this set defending Trump on this program and lots of others. We e- mailed, we texted over the years, but not about what really mattered. What really mattered were his secrets and his lies and, of course, now, he is about to go off to prison. And prosecutors say Cohen acted at Trump's direction.

These stories, they are the rough draft, but sometimes the most important parts of the story are unknown for years and sometimes all we can do in the media is ask the right questions. Stay skeptical, but be open-minded. I mean, the previously unthinkable has become not just thinkable, but it's being talked about all over TV.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FBI opened up an investigation into the president of the United States to see whether or not he was working on behalf of Russia.

[11:05:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My reaction first, Peter, it's a remarkable sentence that you just read on national television. Remarkable to think that a president of the United States would be the subject of a counterintelligence investigation. You have to take a moment to digest that.


STELTER: Yes, let's take a moment. Let's take more than a moment to digest this. Let's not let this story just breeze by like everything else in the news cycle these days.

The U.S. president possibly working for the Russians. Possibly an unwitting pawn. Something the FBI was investigating.

Why are these leaks happening and why are they happening now? What does Robert Mueller know? And how much longer will we all have to wait for answers?

Let's ask CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein. He is here with me in New York this morning.

Carl, I'm a little frustrated by how long this is all taking. I think Rudy Giuliani -- Giuliani has a point when he says, come on, let's see the evidence.

At some point, don't the American people deserve these answers sooner rather than later?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think you have to wait until the end of a very deliberative investigation that Mueller is making. And what we know and what that "Washington Post" story and "The New York Times" stories show is that Mueller is operating, as has been members of the president's own national security team, Mattis, among others, some people who are still there, some who have left, that indeed he has become a pawn of the Russians.

Now, whether that is a witting pawn, a unwitting pawn, a half witting pawn, that is something that perhaps Mueller's report will tell us because one of the things Mueller is doing is he is looking at the obstruction, the obstruction of justice by the president of the United States, that seems to be apparent and whether the obstruction itself has furthered Putin's aims and becomes part of some kind of collusive notion.

STELTER: You teed this up on Wednesday. I noticed this on Anderson Cooper's show Wednesday night, you teed up this exact point that the "Washington Post" and "The Times" are now making. Let's play that clip first from Wednesday night.


BERNSTEIN: There's been an obstruction of justice, there's no question about that. No question about the president's involvement in that obstruction. One of the questions that Mueller is trying to answer, I believe, is whether that obstruction itself furthered the interest of the Russians.


STELTER: Bingo. You said the obstruction is not separate from the collusion question. These investigations are linked. This is exactly what these newspapers are signaling this weekend.

So, how did you know that? Where is this coming from?

BERNSTEIN: Well, first of all, "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post" were more advanced on this story than I was, but I did know something. And part of what I know comes from lawyers of some of the other defendants in this matter who have appeared before Mueller, including members of the joint defense team which collaborates with the White House and those lawyers believe the president has been lying at every turn about his relationship with Russia, about those of his aides.

Look, let us look at all of the lies, follow the money, follow the lies. They are all mostly and most vehemently about Russia. Whether we are talking about Flynn, Trump, his son, Kushner, back to lying about questions having to do with Russia, about what happened at the Trump Tower meeting. The president of the United States drafts a totally false statement about what happened at that meeting that his son was at.

Look, you set it up right, we don't know the answers. But what we do know is that Donald Trump has tried to convince us that unless there is some kind of smoking gun, a recording of him in the room with Putin saying, yes, Vladimir, I will do your bidding, there has been, quote, no collusion. That's nonsense.

What this counterintelligence investigation was about, unprecedented, the FBI -- and this is not about the deep state, this is about the most serious counterintelligence people we have in the U.S. government saying, oh, my god, the president's words and actions lead us to conclude that somehow he has become a witting, unwitting or half witting pawn, certainly in some regards to Vladimir Putin.

Look, Trump keeps going back to the idea we need better relations with Russia. Could be. He could well be right.

But from a point of view of strength and what everybody can see is that he has not acted with Russia from the United States having a strength advantage with Russia, rather he has done what appears to be Putin's goals. He has helped Putin destabilize the United States and interfere in the election, no matter whether it was purposeful or not.

[11:10:13] And that is part of what the draft of Mueller's report, I'm told, is to be about.

What fits hand in glove is both the cover-up and the possibility, likelihood -- we know there has been collusion. We know there has been collusion by Flynn. We know there has been collusion of some sort by Manafort.

The question is, yes, what did the president know and when did he know it? But also it could be unwitting, half witting, that's what we're going to find out.

But the idea that this is just benign behavior and conduct, there is nothing benign about what the consequences of this have been. What the hell happened at Helsinki? Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, still does not know what happened at Helsinki because the president as the Washington -- a great "Washington Post" story points out, hasn't allowed his aides to know or to say what they know about what happened at Helsinki and in his other meetings with Putin.

Why is he so beholden?

And, you know, it's his son that told us years ago, hey, we do a tremendous amount of business in Russia. It is the source of a huge amount of our family income. Well, clearly, Mueller is looking at that.

STELTER: I was watching "Good Morning America" this weekend and both mornings, they led with snowstorms and scares at malls and other stories and not this. I just keep wondering if the public is ill- served if we don't make it really clear what the stakes of this story are.

How can a morning story not lead with this drama I guess is what I'm saying.

BERNSTEIN: I think plenty of times we lead with this drama.

STELTER: OK. I agree.

BERNSTEIN: And we lead also with what is becoming the looming question over all of this. And even Fox reporters are now asking this question of some of their sources, and that is, do Republicans particularly believe that this president is a threat to the national security as Bob Woodward's -- my colleague Bob Woodward's book demonstrates and as Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, others, Tillerson, came to believe that the president of the United States himself is a threat to the security of the United States, to the national security. We never had a situation like this before.

And so, now, we need to be looking at that question, what are Republicans on the Hill saying to each other? Fox -- those Fox reporters know some of what they're saying, just as "A.P." reporters, CNN reporters, "Washington Post" reporters, we now know that there are more and more questions being asked is the president of the United States, is Donald Trump, fit to be the president of the United States, and what this Mueller story and what the "Washington Post" story and "the New York Times" story reflects is the question of whether he is fit to be the president, as does the government shutdown.

There is a question of competence. We do not have an effective governance from the White House right now. We have chaos, misinformation, disinformation, lying and never before has lying -- look, Nixon lied. Nixon lied to further the cover-up. He was a criminal president.

But throughout his presidency, Nixon did not lie about virtually everything of importance. We have -- and Fox News reporters know this, too -- we have a president of the United States who lies.

It sounds pejorative when I say this. And one of the problems we have as reporters is it's so unique to be saying these things that sound pejorative when, in fact, they're based on hard reportorial contextual fact.

STELTER: Right. It's sad but it's true and we've got to say with what's true.

Carl, thank you so much for being here --

BERNSTEIN: Good to be with you.

STELTER: -- kicking us off this morning.

Much more ahead, including this question: who is really in charge, the president or his conservative media boosters? We're going to analyze his call to Jeanine Pirro right after this.


[11:18:06] STELTER: Hey, do you remember "Who Wants to be a Millionaire"? My favorite lifeline was always phone a friend. Right? It was so exciting, phone a friend.

And that's exactly what President Trump did on Saturday night. He called into Jeanine Pirro's talk show, and he complained and complained about his opponents. But here is the thing, he called into Jeanine Pirro's show, he made some news, he made some misstatements, but he knows how powerful, he knows how influential Pirro is.

Pirro, Sean Hannity, others on Fox -- they have been pressuring him to hold the line, to demand funding for the border wall, keep the government shut down if that's what it takes.

Here is a couple of those examples.


PIRRO: I am pleading with you. RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I want the president to hold


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: It's time to build the wall.


STELTER: That's been the message. And lately, those conservative hosts have shifted into an anti-Democrat message, making sure they're challenging the Democrats with regards to the shutdown.

But the call to Jeanine Pirro was actually Trump's second interview with a friend this week. He also brought Sean Hannity along for his visit to the border in McAllen, Texas, and then chatted with him there.


TRUMP: You know, I watched last night, you are not fake news, actually, you are real news.


STELTER: You see there, he was talking about what he was hearing on Hannity's show, what he had learned on Hannity's show. The president continues to learn talking points from Hannity's hour on Fox and tweet out the talking points and use them in speeches, even kind of felt like he was using those talking points in that Oval Office address the other day.

So, who is really guiding this shutdown? Who is really in charge? I wonder how much responsibility we should assign to right wing media hosts.

Let's talk about it all of it with CNN senior media reporter, Oliver Darcy, White House -- "Politico" White House reporter Gabby Orr, and "New York Times" White House correspondent Katie Rogers.

Katie, I was going to go to bed last night but I stayed up for Jeanine Pirro's interview with the president. What is it like, these phone calls?

[11:20:00] Past presidents didn't call into talk shows.



ROGERS: He needs his friends around him. He is at a precarious point in his presidency. This is the longest government shutdown ever.

He points out that he's ensconced in the White House. This is a way for him to continue this call-in response that you pointed out with these Fox personalities who give him talking points, who say, well, Mr. President, shouldn't we have a national emergency? Shouldn't we build the wall? Couldn't you get the funds this way?

And this is an opportunity for the president to go and call it prime time, I don't know if prime time is on Saturday.


STELTER: It counts, yes.

ROGERS: And to say, I'm doing these things and I could do these things if I wanted to. So, he's talking to his friends and the 30 percent of Americans that he cares about.

STELTER: Is this, Gabby, the conservative media shutdown?

GABBY ORR, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: I think that he's certainly relied conservative media in the last 24 to 48 hours more heavily than he did earlier on in this shutdown. And part of reason for that is he thought he was impervious to the criticism that would come from shutting the government down when this entire thing began. Now that people are no longer getting their paychecks, now that we are hearing some of these heartbreaking stories from furloughed federal workers, it's becoming more and more difficult for him to shape the narrative in a way that's favorable to him.

And that's why we are seeing him reach out to people like Jeanine Pirro, bring Hannity along on this border trip.


ORR: And I think in the coming days, we're going to see even more outrage to conservative media in a way that wasn't happening earlier on.

STELTER: There was this headline in "The Post" the other day. It says, Trump treats the border like a national disaster, he even dresses the part.

I want to show some vide of this. We took a look at the president responding to hurricanes, responding to other disasters, and then visiting the border in McAllen, Texas, and you'll see he essentially wears the exact same thing at every appearance. "The Washington Post" is right, he is dressing the part.

Oliver, his attire to talk about a crisis, flies in the face of what we actually see at the border.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Right. We have reporting that shows it was pretty tranquil at the border. I mean, there are people crossing, but it's not the national emergency I think that Trump has painted. It's not the chaos, violence, crime that Trump is tweeting about.

STELTER: But he's also getting that from Hannity and others on Fox and others in the right wing media.

DARCY: Right. That's where he's getting it, and I think that's where a lot of his supporters are getting it. And that's why you're seeing a lot of outrage to these outlets, is that he understands that these media personalities like Rush Limbaugh, like Sean Hannity, they actually sort of control his base. And so, he wants to solidify his support with this base by appealing to them and going on their program.

STELTER: But they're going to say that's offensive. How dare you say that Rush Limbaugh controls the base?

DARCY: I think that there is an argument to be made that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, they control a lot of more of the base than Trump does really. And I think you saw him understand this. When they started criticizing him initially, saying that he was caving on the border, he got a little afraid and he changed his mind. And I think he realizes that "The New York Times", "The Washington Post", they can write as many negative stories as they want on Trump and he will be OK with his base, because his base doesn't trust those outlets.

STELTER: So, should the Democrats just negotiate with Rush Limbaugh? Should the Democrats negotiate now --


DARCY: That's effectively what they're doing. They're controlling -- they're negotiating with someone who is like Sean Hannity. I mean, I don't see much daylight right now between Sean Hannity and Donald Trump.

STELTER: Yes. In the past, Hannity has been described as Trump's shadow chief of staff. That makes me wonder about the deputy chief of staff Bill Shine, deputy of staff for communications.

Katie, you had a great story with Maggie Haberman this week about Bill Shine, his role at the White House, six months in as the comms chief, what is he actually doing, what he's not doing. You quoted a senior official who said Mr. Shine's new colleagues who expected him to come in with a degree of Roger Ailes genius have not been impressed by what they considered timeworn suggestions such as the president not tweeting so much.

Bill Shine comes in, that's what he has to offer? Mr. President, don't tweet so much?

What did you learn in your reporting about Bill Shine's new role to the White House?

ROGERS: In fairness to Bill Shine, he has contributed more than suggesting that the president shouldn't tweet as much, but people in the White House and outside and people who were close to Mr. Ailes say that Bill Shine's role is primarily stagecraft. Bill Shine doesn't really have a strategic media mind, media savvy and the president, you know, as we have reported and know has complained that Bill Shine hasn't delivered on this early promise of I'm going to get you good coverage. And the point people made to us in this piece is good coverage is sort of impossible when you have a president who doesn't really need you at the end of the day, he will take over his own media strategy.

So, the problem, you know, Bill Shine has is trying to navigate the president's personality and get his message across when the president at the end of the day will do and tweet, as we know, what he wants.

STELTER: Right, if the president wants to call into Judge Jeanine he will, and, yet, Gabby, to bring it back to Russia and the conversations about "The Washington Post" and "The New York Times" stories this weekend, he calls into Jeanine Pirro's show, she asks him, you know, the only question that would be relevant, which is, have you ever been a Russian agent and he avoids the question, he dodges the question.

I mean, is that a fair assessment? What he did and said was he complained about "The New York Times."

[11:25:04] He could have just said, of course not. And I wonder if journalists come away -- you know, we take that and we run with that and then he gets even angrier at the press and this vicious cycle continues.

ORR: Well, I think, you know, to some extent, it was certainly an underwhelming interview in the sense that we didn't get anything out of the president which would have been a definitive response to that question which is a very important question following the story that we had on Friday night.

That being said, I think this president seems to think that what he tweets out and the comments that he has made are sufficient enough and there is no reason for him to go beyond what he says on Twitter and even while appearing on Fox News, that there is still, you know, a broader audience he is trying to reach with this criticism of the media, the thing that feeds his base, keeps them enticed, keeps from coming back to him, and supporting him, that he is not going to get by commenting on the Russia investigation.

So, you know, I think that that was part of the strategy there, but he let's his tweets speak for himself and that's what he really relies on. I don't think we can expect him to touch on subjects like this that are so sensitive.

STELTER: Well, through the tweets and the interview, he at least created a new framing for Sunday morning which was the president responds to blank. When, in fact, I think we need to focus on what "The Times" and "The Post" actually reported which is shocking and scary. And yet because it becomes Trump responds, it's a framing that's a little more favorable to him.

All right. To our panel, thank you. Oliver, stick around.

Quick break here, and then, a big debate we've been having in the newsroom here and newsroom across the country, to air or not to air the president's misstatements were on full display during his Oval Office address this week. Could his recent performance lead networks to say no the next time he asks for air time? We'll get into that right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:30:00] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: The next time President Trump wants to address the nation, will the broadcast networks say yes to his request and air him live? Let me back up and explain why I'm asking. The fight over the now record-breaking government shutdown is happening mostly on T.V. and Twitter since there are no real negotiations going on. Those primetime addresses the other day clearly did not move public opinion in President Trump's direction.

This new CNN poll shows no real change among Democrats or Republicans between December and January. But what did increase by five percent is public disapproval of Trump's job as president.

Look, the arguments in the President's speech some of them were clearly off-base. He claimed that the wall would be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal with Mexico that hasn't been ratified. He claimed that everyday borders -- border agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to get to the country. The number is hundreds not thousands.

There were the usual falsehoods but all the broadcast networks aired those falsehoods live. There was however dissent inside the network's about doing it. It was actually comedians that brought this up. Seth Meyers, for example, said this.


SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: just because Trump wants to address the nation doesn't mean network should air it otherwise they're just passing on his lies unfiltered.


STELTER: This didn't used to be a debate. When presidents wanted to address the nation, the broadcast networks said yes. Once in a while, they might try to change the time or the day. There was one occasion in 2014 when a Barack Obama speech was turned down by the broadcasters. There were lots of really nuanced reasons for that but for the most part, the president wants to speak, the broadcast networks take it live.

But we're in a different age now. We're in this age of alternative facts which make this a real conversation. So let's have it now with Indira Lakshmanan, she's the Executive Editor at the Pulitzer Center and the Washington Columnist for the Boston Globe and Mark Lukasiewicz, a former NBC News Executive who was now the Communications School Dean at Hofstra University. Indira, where the broadcast networks right to show this live this week?

INDIRA LAKSHMANAN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, PULITZER CENTER: Look, I think it has been a tradition, Brian, as you alluded to that when presidents of either party requests time on broadcast networks to speak to the nation about something important that networks have you know. quietly discussed it but have always said yes. I think the question then becomes is the President speaking to the nation as the head of government or as the head of a political party.

And to the extent that it becomes partisan and where he's trying to make a political case, then it becomes a bit more difficult. There's no network that ever would turn down President Obama talking about we captured Osama bin Laden but that's completely different from trying to put his party forward as being right in a dispute as we have now with the shutdown.

STELTER: Mark, you used to be in the room for these discussions at NBC. Did NBC and the others do the right thing?

MARK LUKASIEWICZ, FORMER MEDIA EXECUTIVE: Brian, I don't think they had much choice. This was the President's first request of this kind for an Oval Office address. It was about a crisis whether self- inflicted or not, it's clearly a crisis, a government shutdown. That said, I wouldn't go so far as Ted Koppel did saying you always have to give the White House the benefit of the doubt.

I'm not sure there's much doubt left here. This White House has made a habit of consistently even casually misleading and deceiving the public and the press. And as Indira pointed out, what you got here was a political speech, a recycling of talking points, no new announcements, no new facts, no new proposals.

Two other points I'd like to make. This is a tradition that goes back decades and it really stems from a time when there was no other way for a president to immediately address the public at large other than road blocking the broadcast networks. That's just not the case anymore. We have cable networks. The President demonstrates daily that Twitter is a powerful weapon to use in communicating with the public so road blocking the network's isn't the only way to do it.

And there's a second point I think that has to be in the minds of every broadcast executive and in the networks. There are something like 1,600 broadcast television stations in the country. Just a small handful of those are actually owned by the broadcast networks. There are station ownership groups, Sinclair for example which owns over 150 stations affiliated with the networks.

Had one of the network's decided not to air this address, or in the future, if one of the networks decides not to air a presidential address, it's entirely possible groups like Sinclair might simply order their 100-plus stations to air that address anyway. Sinclair has already -- has already made it a habit to order local stations to air certain commentaries, they ordered local stations to air interviews conducted by Boris Epstein who is a former surrogate of the president.

[11:35:45] STELTER: Interesting. Well, the President speech was not persuasive, it was not effective. He's bad at those formats. The polls show it didn't work. And by work, we mean move public opinion. And yet this is an interesting debate. We're in this era where he lies to us daily so should we broadcast his lies. He also -- I mean, Mark, he also calls networks like NBC enemies. And I wonder you know, does that change the obligation of a network like NBC to cover him differently? LUKASIEWICZ: I don't think newsrooms are going to -- are going to take that much into consideration. Journalists are used to be called -- use to being called names a lot. And just in the last 48 hours in his tweets and in presidential statements we've heard words like sleaze and hack and fake. That's the new language of Washington. I don't think that's going to be so much a factor. I think the standard has to be is there something new here, is there a justification as Indira pointed out like when we're going to war, like when the challenger exploded, where the country really wants to hear from the chief executive --

STELTER: And needs to hear. Yes. We have the shutdown clock there in the corner of the screen. The impacts continue to be covered by all the major networks and newspapers. We're hearing about the real- world effects. And let me show you a sound bite here. Laura Ingraham does not appreciate that at all. Watch.


LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Well, their latest tactic and we're going to see more of it in the coming days is to re-feature the sob stories of government workers who still by the way, have not missed a paycheck. Rank emotional manipulation, pure propaganda.


STELTER: Give me a break, Laura. Look, there are obviously many real-world effects of the shutdown affecting many Americans. We can show a scroll from 77 different real-world effects listed on Indira, what's your reaction to a right-wing critic saying these are just sob stories?

LAKSHMANAN: Well, it's pretty insensitive and also lacking in knowledge in her part. I don't know what she's talking about saying that people haven't missed a paycheck. 800,000 federal workers had been furloughed --

STELTER: Well, that was on Thursday, right. Then it was on Friday with the paychecks. But even on Thursday, she knew it was coming. Come on, yes.

LAKSHMANAN: It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous. And the issue and I think the media has done a really good job on this, at least the national news media has I think, covered you know, not only real-world stories because they are -- these are human stories. We have to talk about the 800,000 federal workers who are working without pay or not working at all and it's not a vacation that they want to be on we also need to talk about the world -- real-world effects on the rest of us Americans who are being affected by the lack of important government services.

And one thing that the Washington Post did really smartly was early on they were covering how this was going to affect people's tax returns and it was going to affect also food stamp disbursements if it went on for the duration of this month. And then immediately you actually saw a reaction out of the White House with the White House saying well actually we're going to make sure that we do pay tax returns. We're going to make sure that we do have an allotment for food stamps. So they are noticing the coverage. They are reacting to it.

I think the other point you made is about the false narrative that the President gives whether it's on a primetime address or in his tweets or whatever. And that just puts a further pressure on the media and I think they have been stepping up to the plate in this regard in terms of doing real-time fact-checking. So when we take presidential addresses because they are newsworthy or because we don't want to be seen as biased for not taking them when the president asks, then it's important for all news outlets to present real-time counter with the facts.

And that's not about partisanship that's really just about doing our duty to give the American people facts and separate it from fiction and spin.

STELTER: Right. Indira and Mark, thank you so much for being here. Great talking with you. Please come back soon. A quick break and then I moved to CBS News and a big move there. What took so long though? What took so long for a female president to be named at CBS News?


[11:40:00] STELTER: Susan Zirinsky, a 46-year veteran of CBS News, one of the most beloved people in the building was named president of the news division this week. And the question everyone's been asking is what took so long? See, she's the first female president of CBS News. What took so long?

The timing also highlights how women are often called in during times of crisis or at times of trouble. That company is not just news divisions but lots of companies. In addition to taking on ratings challenges, Zirinsky is also going to be challenged to restore morale at the network after a series of #MeToo scandals.

Let's talk about it with Joanne Lipman she's a former Editor of USA Today and the author of That's What She Said, a book all about this sort of problem the situation in workplaces across the country. What do they call it, Joanne, a glass cliff when women are hired and roles like this?

JOANNE LIPMAN, FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, USA TODAY: That's right. So the glass cliff was coined by some British academics and it shows that women typically get the top job when they do when a company is in what's called precarious position, when it is having problems. And then the women, by the way, are given this incredibly difficult job and when they don't succeed very often are given the blame for the enterprise.

[11:45:06] STELTER: It happened at NBC News as well. Deborah Turness was brought in a number of years ago after the Matt Lauer and Curry drama. She had to repair things there. And it's remarkable that we're still celebrating these firsts in the first place. You know, the fact that we haven't ever seen a female president at CBS News. LIPMAN: And that to me is the core issue here is why is it taking so

long. The news industry has a deplorable record of getting women into top positions in leadership. Because if you think about this, women make up more than two-thirds of journalism majors and mass communication majors. But then when you get into the newsroom, look at what happens, right?

First of all in television, for example, there was a study done that found that male anchors and male correspondents outnumber their female counterparts three to one.

STELTER: Three to one.

LIPMAN: Three to one. And if you look at newspapers and digital outlets, men have the majority of byline, particularly front-page bylines. And then you look at what does that then lead to. It leads to the way we view news, who we view is news, what stories we view as news. I mean, for example, more than 75 percent of the experts that we quote in the media are male.

There was a study, fascinating study that found it looked at all English-language news sites across -- this is globally. And it found that 77 percent of the people who we talk about are male and it actually found out and I just want to give you this one quote. It found that women are routinely marginalized and symbolically annihilated in news.

STELTER: You were a former Editor at USA Today. Your successor was a woman. So I look at that I say OK, that's progress maybe and yet most other major papers in the country are run by men. So it's a problem in television networks, it's a problem in newspapers as well. What is the solution? I hate to ask that in a 30-second question but what's the solution?

LIPMAN: Well, the solution is you got to start at the bottom. You have to start looking at who are the women who are coming up. And the other thing is this is really important. I found when I became an editor -- first of I was dragged kicking and screaming into editing. I didn't see myself in that role.

STELTER: Oh, that's interesting.

LIPMAN: It was years ago at the Wall Street Journal. My then boss Paul Steiger who went on to create ProPublica said you're going to be good at editing and I'm like I'm a Reporter, like I don't see myself in that role. He said just try it. And once I did I realized that this -- I really was well suited to it. There's a lot of women who simply don't put their hands up while men do. And I think that the onus isn't just on the women.

STELTER: No, it's on the men --

LIPMAN: It's on the men and some managers male or female. It is on the managers, the newsroom leaders who need to identify that talent. And look at the people who maybe aren't putting their hands up because very often it's women and it's also underrepresented minorities. And as I was researching That's What She Said, the data was very, very clear and in fact it changed the way that I managed because I noticed that when there were openings, white guys would put their hands up whether they were qualified or not, but there were a lot of very qualified people who could have been in the pool particularly women and minorities who weren't even saying hey, I'd like to be considered.

And I started actually proactively going out bringing people into my office saying, you know what, you didn't put your hand up, you don't have to, I'm not going to force you to, but you would be qualified to be in the pool, not that you would necessarily get the job but you're qualified to be in the pool. So if you're not interested in this job let's talk about your future. Let's talk about what you're interested in.

STELTER: So it's a management --

LIPMAN: It's a management issue for us to recognize the incredible talent that is there and make sure that we nurture it, identify it, bring these people up, and give them the stretch assignments and the high profile assignments that a lot of guys are volunteering for but there's an awful lot of brilliantly talented people who are out there.

And it was interesting to me as well that's Susan Zirinsky in article interview with the New York Times, she said that she'd had the opportunity but she never put her hand up for it. She never threw her hat in the ring for this. And that I have seen as a manager myself that you see that with a lot of women and other underrepresented groups. We have to do a better job of identifying these people and giving them the opportunities.

STELTER: Great point. I'm so glad you're here to talk about it. Joanne, thank you.

LIPMAN: Thanks for having me.

STELTER: Please read her op-ed at And up next, after a quick break, from CBS to NBC, to Megyn Kelly and what went wrong. Much more in just a moment.


[11:50:00] STELTER: This weekend Megyn Kelly is officially out at NBC, months after her show was cancelled. Now, she has signed a deal leaving but not leaving empty-handed. She'll be walking away with all the remaining money in her contract, a contract that was worth $69 million.

NBC released a statement saying simply the parties have resolved their differences and Megyn Kelly is no longer an employee of NBC. Oliver Darcy is back with me. And Oliver, we know that she doesn't have a non-compete which means she can go join any other network any day if she wants to, but is there any indication that there is another job lined up?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Look, she said this week that she was going to be back on T.V. by the end of this year but I have no idea what that means because it's unclear where she would go. I don't -- I can't imagine that any of the main networks at least are going to be looking to hire her any time soon.

STELTER: Yes, it's a spectacular fall for her two years after leaving Fox. Moving to a different story now. Steve King, the congressman, clearly he has racist views. He was quoted in the New York Times embracing white supremacy saying why did that term become offensive. Why is this not getting more news attention?

DARCY: I think there are several factors. One, cable news can always do better. And I think in this case it should probably be getting more attention on cable news. But the Tlaib story that really did dominate discussion on cable news, that was for probably a few reasons. But one I think --

STELTER: Well, let me show a comparisons.

DARCY: Sure.

STELTER: Axios and others have been putting up these stories saying the Tlaib curse word received five times as much attention right as Kings offensive remarks, racist remarks. Now, this is a study from Media Matters comparing the first 24 hours of coverage of each story. And it's true. At first, the King comments did not get as much play on cable news. They should have gotten more play.

My impression though is the King coverage is ramping up. Every day there's more scrutiny and more condemnation of him. And frankly, Fox News needs to get with the program, more these hosts on Fox need to speak out about King as well.

DARCY: And you haven't heard this on Fox. It's been -- I mean it's very hard -- if you go on Fox and you watch Fox every day, you might hear it in passing. I don't think -- it's not an overriding theme whereas that Tlaib story, that was the dominant discussion of that day is like how outrageous. She said this and it dominated discussion.

And I think though it's worth pointing out as well that that Tlaib story received a little more attention probably because it's higher to the Trump show.

STELTER: Right. There was a video clip, it was about Trump --

DARCY: It was about Trump video.

STELTER: But this King thing, it does need to continue to be scrutinized.

DARCY: And it should be getting --

STELTER: Oliver, great to see you. Thanks for being here. We're out of time on T.V. but we'll continue on and we'll see you right back here this time next week.