Return to Transcripts main page

Reliable Sources

Impeachment Vote Gives Way to Trump Fatigue; News Overload Leading to Media Memory Loss; Inside The Washington Post With Editor Marty Baron; Why Fox News Intrigued Bombshell Director Jay Roach; Media Wish List For 2020. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired December 22, 2019 - 11:00   ET



BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter. It's time for RELIABLE SOURCES. This is our weekly look at the story behind the story.

In this hour, we have not one but two of America's top editors joining me. "The Washington Post's" Marty Baron and "The New Yorker's" David Remnick are both here.

Plus, S.E. Cupp, Catherine Rampell and Garry Kasparov are all here. I'm going to propose a new diagnosis for the woes of the news media. Are we all experiencing memory loss?

And later, with the movie "Bombshell" in theaters nationwide, I'll speak to the director, Jay Roach, about why he decided to make a film about the darkest days in Fox News history.

But, first, looking back at the week that was, the impeachment flat line. This is one of the times when a line graph can tell a story best. Impeachment is a fact that President Trump cannot deny. Even in the age of alternative facts and even though some of his surrogates are trying to spin it in his favor and technically he hasn't been impeached, come on, this front page headlines will be remembered for years and decades to come.

While the House and Senate are squabbling over the terms of a Senate trial, it feels like the fog over Washington is only becoming thicker and denser. An impeachment really is a flat line.

Look at this. This is FiveThirtyEight. They tracked at all the polls looking at whether people support removing Trump from office, going back to early October and the start of the impeachment inquiry.

So, you can see, the story tells itself right here. There's been barely any movement throughout the hearings and the debates on the floor of the House, and then to the vote. People are exactly where they were, basically a 50/50 country.

So when you hear hype about movement and individual polls or when you hear Trump claim he's gaining tons of support, just remember that it's a flat line. One of the many reasons why is because the Fox News/talk radio firewall is holding incredibly strong. Let's look at the few of the banners from Fox from impeachment night.

Look at this, the left's impeachment lies exposed, as a sham hits a new level, talking about Democrats walking off in impeachment. This is my favorite one, delusional Democrats walk off impeachment cliff.

You know what? Trump couldn't write the banners belt better if he tried, come of think of though, he does try on his Twitter account. He's been screaming in all caps earlier in the week. But there's no way to tweet yourself out of impeachment.

My question this Sunday is, what did we learn if anything in the past week?

With me to discuss that and much more is the editor of "The New Yorker", David Remnick. He's been running the New Yorker since 1998. The last time there was an impeachment all over the news.

David, thanks for being here. Great to see you.


STELTER: Did anything change this week?

REMNICK: Well, I'll tell you what, I think I hope changes. That I think is more important, because we've seen the Republicans stuck where they are. They're illusions about Trump remain, and you're right to describe it as a flat line.

Here's what I hope that we understand, that the -- the stakes here are immense. It's just -- it's not just about the political future of one man, Donald Trump. It's about the future of democracy and democratic process and this is a -- a trend throughout the world.

It's about the future of the earth. We have a party that has decided to be disbelieving about climate change. It's about issues as essential as that. And right now, you have a country that is split, and to great frustration of people like you and people like me, we don't somehow understand. We don't understand why the evidence of things, why facts don't penetrate so many of our brothers and sisters in the United States of America. And this is a source of great frustration for the press.

STELTER: For the press.

REMNICK: And for anybody who is thinking about these issues that are so important.

STELTER: In your new column in, you write the shock of Trump's election three years ago obscured what you call tragedy of equal moment, the eclipse of reason, fact and ethical judgment in the Republican Party.

REMNICK: Let's be deluded here. It's not as if reason and fact and truth telling were pervasive in any political party much less the Republican Party.


REMNICK: But things have gotten markedly worse. Lindsey Graham during the campaign called Donald Trump unfit for office. A bigot, a xenophobe.

Mitch McConnell makes no secret in the halls of Senate his contempt for so much of Trump and Trumpism.


Marco Rubio, the Bushes, so much of the Republican Party, their candidates, their leadership, know the score. Everybody in the Senate and the House knows that this is a man of low character, of ethical -- ethics run amuck. This is -- this is not -- nobody in the Republican Party thinks this is a good and decent man.

These are people who are looking to their political advantages. They think if they act or speak against them, they will lose their seats. So, the only people that are really speaking against him are people who are all set to retire.


STELTER: Right, many retirements. "The New York Times" points out, 40 percent. It's Republican.

REMNICK: Yes, this is not exactly profiles in courage time. And Jon Meacham, by the way, is right to point out that if you look historically at the cost of opposing your president within the party, the price is not that high. People are -- people are themselves lacking character and courage. It has to be said straight up.

STELTER: What about this week's letter from President Trump to Nancy Pelosi in advance of the impeachment vote. It was described as unhinged and crazed by commentators on cable television.

REMNICK: So, what's in it? What's new?


STELTER: Does it speak to the broader question that's been in effect for the past three years about fitness for office? Is that ultimately what these conversations are about?

REMNICK: Brian, nothing has changed. I've lived in New York a long time. Donald Trump is who he is.

When he was a businessman, he cheated contractors and employees, and he behaved the way he behaves. You know, I thought that Adam Schiff's speech on the floor of the House was eloquent. And he called Donald Trump a cheat.

That is at the nature of his behavior throughout his business career, throughout his political career.

STELTER: But if nothing has changed, can you blame people for having Trump fatigue?

REMNICK: Well, look, I think the press has done in total a terrific job of putting together the sum of particulars against Trump, whether it's through character, business behavior, political behavior and on the story of Ukraine. We know what's what.

STELTER: Trump supporters say the media creates hoaxes, the Russia hoax, the Ukraine hoax. That's the business we're in. How do we disprove that kind of smear?

REMNICK: Well, the question is how you reach people and how you change minds in the current technological and media environment? And it's gotten increasingly hard. But cheating is also rampant here, and I think a lot of people in the media are not showing courage.

First and foremost, an organization like Facebook. Facebook refuses to consider itself what it is. It's a publisher. And it's coming around to this maybe slowly because of the criticism it's received. But, first and foremost, its value is money, money, money.

STELTER: This was the first social media impeachment. I feel like we don't know the ramifications yet, the consequences of everyone being in their own bubbles throughout this entire process.

REMNICK: Yes, this is not a question about the behavior of "The Washington Post" or "The New York Times" and "New Yorker", however flawed we may be in a given moment. This is a question of larger technological trends that have an effect. Fox -- even Fox News, Fox News is not reaching 150 million people a night.


REMNICK: It's reaching several million. I don't know what the number is.

STELTER: Yes, 4 million, 5 million viewers.

REMNICK: And it has a way of proliferating itself through social media and influences other outlets, but something like the leadership of Facebook, if you're talking about this year and the last couple of years, needs to look itself in the face and take responsibility for the role here.

STELTER: Yes. When we're talking about how lies and disinformation spreads, so much layers (ph) about social media.

Margaret Sullivan of "The Washington Post" has a new column out this week and I want to read a bit from it. She says that -- in her critique of impeachment coverage, in an unceasing effort to be seen as neutral, journalists time after time fell into the trap of presenting facts and lies as roughly equivalent and then blaming political tribalism for not seeming to know the difference.

Do you agree with that assessment that there's faulty equivalence happening where we take truth on one side and lies on the other?

REMNICK: It happens. It happens, but I think there's been a greater effort not to do so.

STELTER: Not to do so.

REMNICK: We certainly go to great lengths not to do it at "The New Yorker". I don't see it happening at other news outlets. But I -- you know, occasionally, it does happen.

You look at the evening programs at CNN. Are they sitting there swallowing lie after lie after lie? I don't think so. In fact, the effort has been in the other direction.

The real problem is what we're discussing now. The kind of universe of manipulated social media, social media companies not owning up to their responsibilities and getting rid of the fakery that they are putting out.

STELTER: Yes, I know it's a strong word, but we're in a poisoned information ecosystem. All of us are in it, even if, you know, we try to rely on magazines and television network and other (ph) sources.

REMNICK: One of the biggest problems, something we may never have anticipated. I'm not saying the predecessors were all innocence and honest at every moment, but the degree of dishonesty sitting in the Oval Office.


The power of the pulpit that he has is immense. And even though a degree of incompetence has been one of the breaks on total disaster in every area, Donald Trump's ability to shift the argument, shift the dialogue, and the need for us to pay attention to what he says because the tweets cannot be ignored.

I disagree with people who say they should be left alone. They are presidential utterances. They reflect his, quote, unquote, ideas, resentments, manias, whatever it maybe at a given point of a day, and they have to be reported on. They have to be properly analyzed and debunk, if that's what's required. But they have to be reported on.

STELTER: As the banner notes, more than 300 tweets and retweets from President Trump this week. It's an incredible number. He's putting so much out.

REMNICK: You mean on the level of you're describing it as a matter of mental health or a matter of just volume?

STELTER: Volume, volume.

REMNICK: The idea that a president would take the time to tweet 300 times in a given week should begin to tell you something.

STELTER: David Remnick, thank you for being here. Thanks for starting us off this hour.

REMNICK: Thank you. Good to see you. STELTER: After a quick break, media memory loss. Is the press

missing out on chances for key follow ups? We'll discuss that with former world chess champion and pro-democracy leader Garry Kasparov. That's next.



STELTER: Hey, welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.

Are we all suffering from media memory loss? Two years ago today, Trump signed a tax cut and reform bill into law promising Americans a giant tax cut for Christmas. As we all know, the tax cut was weighted heavily toward corporations. Corporations benefitted. And many of the promises that President Trump made with regard to the tax cut have not been fulfilled.

Now, today also marks one year since the month-long government shutdown. Remember, this was in the news last Christmas, last holiday season. Trump was demanding money for border wall funding. It was an epic fight that I feel like a lot of us have already forgotten.

Certainly, President Trump has been trying to forget about his things. He said he wouldn't sign another bill like last winter and he signed two of them over the weekend.

Let's talk about this idea of memory loss, how to make sure the media does follow up on these stories. Let me bring in three experts with me.

Catherine Rampell is (INAUDIBLE) Garry Kasparov, a first timer here on RELIABLE SOURCES. He's the chairman the Renewed Democracy Initiative, and a former world chess champion. Also, with me -- he's also the author of "Winter is Coming". This is the book, "Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped".

Also with me, syndicated opinion columnist for "The Washington Post" and CNN commentator, Catherine Rampell, and host of "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED", S.E. Cupp.

Catherine, let me start with you because your brand new column is about the tax cut two years later, broken promises. Is it fair -- you know, are you seeing enough follow-ups in the press about these kinds of milestones?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think there has been insufficient follow up. Basically every single promise that Trump and Republicans, by the way, other Republicans, other members of his party have made has been broken. He said the tax cut would pay for itself. It has added or is projected to add $2 trillion to the deficit.

He said he would super charge growth, that we would -- Trump said we would get to 6 percent growth. No, we're at 2 percent, which is what we had when Obama was president. He said it would result in big raises, which hasn't happened. He said

Americans would be grateful and rush to the Republican Party because they'd be grateful for getting this boost to their paychecks. None of that is the case. The tax cuts are deeply underwater.

And for some reason, we've just kind of let it go. We know it's to be expected. Of course, Republicans would lie about tax cuts paying for themselves. They've always lied about it. And I just think that's incredibly disappointing that they're getting away with breaking tons of promises.

STELTER: And President Trump is not the only one who misleads about the economy and tax cuts. Mark Meadows on the floor of the House made some B.S. kind of statements during the impeachment debate the other day. I want to show one of those.


REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): We've lowered the bar to impeach a president that continues to give us an economy that not only is growing but growing at levels that we have never seen in the history of our country.


STELTER: Is that true, Catherine?

RAMPELL: None of that is correct. Look, not a strong economy should be a get of impeachment free card. It's obviously not.

But as I just said, we're growing at about 2 percent this year. We grew at about 2 percent on average during Obama's second term before we had the 2 trillion tax cut. That's below the long term post war average of about 3 percent.

It's actually way below what it was when bill Clinton was impeached. When Bill Clinton was impeached we were growing at 4 percent.

STELTER: Is it fair to say the economy is growing, it's just that Trump fans are exaggerating the growth?


STELTER: All I hear on Fox is the economy, the economy, it's growing incredibly.

RAMPELL: Look, the economy today is not substantially different from the economy before Trump took office. It's not like you can point to a point in the decline of unemployment where you can see that Trump took office and the Red Sea parted and people gained job.

These are basically the same trends we saw before despite the fact that there's been fiscal stimulus Trump has pumped into the economy through higher spending. We're not seeing payoff, but because those trends have continued, because the economy has not crashed, for some reason Trump gets to claim credit for the fact that things are okay. STELTER: So, the bigger picture here, Garry, is something you wrote

for recently. You said I lived in the post-truth Soviet world and I hear its echoes in Trump's America. Is this kind of mendacity that is the echo? Is that what you hear?

GARRY KASPAROV, CHAIRMAN, RENEW DEMOCRACY INITIATIVE: It's worse, because in the Soviet Union, we had to struggle to find alternative sources of information. Here I just push a button. So swipe your finger on the phone.

It's amazing that Trump succeeded in just separating people. It's like red state reality, blue state reality. For instance the senator from Louisiana, Kennedy, he lied about Ukraine interference in 2000 elections on Fox and then apologized to CNN. We see it --

STELTER: That's right. Yes.

KASPAROV: And I wish CNN anchor -- anchorman could attack him demanding that he would apologize on Fox.


But that's what Trump did, and unfortunately, it's very little response from media forcing them to actually to bring truths to the Fox audience.

STELTER: That's an interesting term you use. Red state reality and blue state reality. S.E., does that sound right to you? Is it that simple?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think there are two different realities, and two different sets of, quote, unquote facts. That's how propaganda works in a book I won't mention that's very famous by a person I won't mention who is very awful, you know, he said propaganda works by appealing to feelings, and not our reasoning abilities. So to that extent, the propaganda is working.

But I'd like to push back on something Catherine said and the piece that she wrote, stringing all of these lies and broken promises together is really important and really good work. But I'm not sure he's getting away with it. I think the media is really holding him and Republicans accountable.

For example, she wrote about it yesterday. You're talking about it today. I talked about it on my show yesterday. The media writ large employs people just to fact check now. The president has broken promises, his lies.

If you compare that, I think, to Obama's media, for example, I think they were a lot more helpful in sort of the more subtle misleadings that Obama participated in during his administration.

RAMPELL: Obama never made claims like this.

CUPP: Well, his lie of the year which was if you like your health insurance, if you like your provider, you can keep your doctor, that was parroted by a lot of people in the press. They wanted to believe it was true. I think Trump gets a lot more scrutiny.

Now, deservedly so, but I think to say that Trump and Republicans are getting away with a lie is where the media is concerned is just not true. Now, where voters are concerned, will voters hold Trump and Republicans accountable? We'll have to see in 2020.

But it was not a great midterm election for Republicans in 2018, and I think a lot of the lies and broken promises probably had something to do with.

STELTER: Catherine?

RAMPELL: Look, on the point about Obama's claim about you can keep your -- if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Actually, a lot of health writers pointed out that was incorrect at the time. But leaving Obama aside --

CUPP: But a lot of news anchors did not, a lot of big news personalities did not.

RAMPELL: Well, whatever, I can't account for -- I don't know that's the case, but whatever. We're not talking about Obama. The point is about Trump.


RAMPELL: That's the point of this, right? Trump keeps repeating the lies. He and Mark Meadows and others have figured out a lot of times the media won't call them out. In fact, if you look at a lot of the news coverage, it is about the booming Trump economy, look how great the economy is. Look, as I said, the economy is quite good but --

STELTER: Right. I think it's the news overload. When there's 100 things going on at all times and 100 crazy claims, it feels like an overwhelming situation, even their individual fact checking happened.

RAMPELL: I think the problem is that the way people process information is when you repeat the lie, even if it's to debunk the lie, people remember the lie. They remember it about the economy. They remember it about whether or not there is -- whether or not Ukraine was interfering with the 2016 election in the case of the John Kennedy quote you're talking about.

What happens is the news cycle becomes about the crazy thing that was said, and even if the media, which I think has not done a sufficient job at debunking things. Even if members of the media attempt to debunk them, we end up amplifying the thing that needs to be debunked. It's really a difficult challenge for people who are covering these kinds of claims, again, whether it's about economic issues or national security issues or electoral interference.

STELTER: Here's what I want to go down the memory hall, that we're at the end of the year. This was the year the White House press briefing died, the on camera press briefing. It's been 286 days since a formal on-camera, White House press briefing. You can go to for that daily count. Garry, does this kind of thing matter, this kind of transparency, this symbolic transparency that goes away in the United States? Does it matter?

KASPAROV: I made the prediction in 2016 after Trump's elections. It doesn't happen overnight. People have the wrong impression about dictatorships being build, you know, by the military coups. It happens in many places, day by day, night by night --

STELTER: Cutting back on this, cutting back on that. This is not a dictatorship or any closer, right?

KASPAROV: No, no. But it's a road to perdition. It takes time.

But looking at 2016 and now, 2016 elections validated Trump's style. God forbid, he's reelected in 2020. That's validation of his political methods.

And, again, it's -- you say it's Trump. But, by the way, Trump also -- he has a family.


So, that's why if those who think that Trump world will be gone by 2024, I can remind them that, you know, he has a daughter, he has a son and it's no longer GOP. It's Trump's body.

But even worse, there are people who will be following Trump's successful technique. Just look at the Republicans. They keep repeating in the same grandest terms, the greatest economy, you know, huge. It's amazing -- the Republicans today are just -- no longer reliable sources.

STELTER: You can say that.


KASPAROV: They're no reliable human beings. They're the only reliable puppets.

STELTER: I do wonder, one more example before we go to a break, and this is for you, S.E. One more example of this road that we may be going down. Stephen Miller is revealed to be sending links to white nationalist websites. It was exposed and this week, 25 Jewish members of Congress called for Trump to fire Miller.

But this -- one of those stories that's mostly just getting skipped. They're getting missed.

CUPP: Yes. So, it's a huge story, and a lot of us had been pointing out Stephen Miller's odiousness for a very, very long time, even before he was in the administration, just by virtue of how close he was to the presidential right wing circles. But it is. This is a big problem if you look at the rise in hate crime, you look at the rise in anti-Semitism, you look at the rise in right-wing nationalism and terrorism, domestic terrorism, it's coincided with a lot of Trump's empowering of people like Stephen Miller.

And so, you're right. It's a big story, and it should be getting more coverage, and around this time of year, and with all of these other big stories like impeachment in 2020 elections, it might not get the importance and attention that it deserves.

STELTER: All right. Everybody, please stand by. More with the crew in a few moments.

But next, we're going inside "The Washington Post" newsroom with executive editor Marty Baron. Hear from him, next.



BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: We need more reliable sources about health, and health care,1 and health insurance. It's the most important thing of all. So Sunday's Washington Post front page gets it right. Let's give them some credit. The right side the front page is about Trump's makeover of the courts, the left sides about the Democratic race, but zoom in on the center there, it's dedicated to health. Eli Saslow's little story about one husband and wife, married for 63 years forced apart by a desperate search for health care in Nebraska. It will have you in tears.

Stories about real people affected by political decisions, that is what we need more of. And that's what the Post has also been doing through its investigations of things like the opioid crisis and the Afghan war. So you can understand why the Post's editor Marty Baron, doesn't get too worked up about the daily complaints and critiques of the paper of its political coverage.

There's a lot more going on at the post. And he pointed out to me in an interview that the Post takes incoming from both sides.


MARTY BARON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: We're not just a target for people on the right but also sometimes for people on the left as well. I think it's important to remember that. And so people find it convenient to attack us because they want people to just believe them and not believe any independent arbiter of facts.

STELTER: Yes, that we've got to argue and advocate for open- mindedness in every direction. It seems like some of these politicians and their surrogates, they want to close people's minds and get people not to think at all and not be critical thinkers.

BARON: Yes. Well, you know, I keep thinking back to a Supreme Court ruling by Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson in 1945, where he said that every person must be his own watchman for the truth because our forefathers didn't trust any government to separate the truth from the false for us.

And I think that still holds obviously today and perhaps even more so today where every person needs to use their own judgment, their independent judgment and evaluate the facts in front of them, but actually look at the facts.

STELTER: Marty, whenever I look at the Washington Post web site, and I look at the most-read list, I see a lot of articles about Trump, I see a lot of opinion, but I also see a lot of investigative stories, and most recently, the Afghanistan papers. This was a project that was years in the making by the Post. And I wonder how you've made room and time in the budget to pay for all this investigative reporting.

BARON: Well, we think it's absolutely central to our mission to do investigations, to hold government to account, to hold all-powerful individuals and powerful institutions to account. That's why we have a free press and this is country. That's why, you know, James Madison and crafting the First Amendment talks about freely examining public characters and measures. That's the whole idea behind having an independent press.

So it's really important that we dedicate resources to those kinds of efforts. This was an incredibly important one. We've been at this war for more than 18 years now. Obviously, we became aware of a trove of interviews with over 400 individuals about their assessment of the war, and what was known about the war as it was unfolding. And we wanted to get access to that. We thought it was important for the American public to know about that.

And so we were certainly willing to extend all the resources necessary, reportorial resources, and legal resources, and editing resources to obtain that information.

STELTER: When you look back at the past 12 months, what other investigations have moved the needle?

BARON: We spent a lot of time this past year looking at the opioid crisis. We also went to court for that to obtain data that would show how wholesalers distributed opioids across the country, and areas of the country that received a disproportionate amount of that opioids as well. And so that's a very serious matter. And it's something that we also devoted an enormous amount of time to.

STELTER: That pain pills investigation was incredible. You know, you all obtained this data and then you opened it up so that the news outlets across the country could also dig into the files and do their own reporting. And tell me if I'm wrong, Marty. That kind of feels like the kind of collaboration or cooperation that wouldn't have happened a couple of decades ago.

BARON: Well, I think it's really important that we be more transparent about how we go about our work these days and also make our work available to other news organizations and individuals in general so that they can see what we've been able to gather, they can look at it for themselves. Other news organizations should be able to produce stories based on that on that data.

We can't do everything here at the Washington Post. We have a large new staff. We have about 850 journalists in our newsroom. But our resources are limited nonetheless, and so that to the extent that we can make data available to other news organizations so that they can pursue these stories in their own communities I think that's a very important role for an organization like ours.


STELTER: I liked how when the Afghanistan papers were published by the Post, you all sent out an e-mail to subscribers and said, hey, this is what we do with your subscriber support. This is what we pay for, go into court, boiling for documents. You know, it's not -- it's not just enough to ask them to subscribe. You then have to keep telling them why it matters and why it's useful and why they didn't stay subscribed.

BARON: Yes, I do. I think that's true. And I think that it's important that we just keep reminding readers where their -- where their money goes. It's also important that we keep reminding readers just how expensive it is to practice this sort of journalism. It is expensive to have a newsroom of 850 people.

It is expensive to have to go to court twice over the course of three years to obtain information like that which was part of the Afghanistan papers. And investigations take a long time, and with an uncertain result at the end of them. And so if readers want us to pursue those kinds of stories, clearly, they're going to have to pay for it.

STELTER: Marty Baron, thank you so much.

BARON: Thank you, Brian.


STELTER: And you can hear more from Marty on this week's RELIABLE SOURCES podcast. It's available or wherever you consume your podcasts. After the break here, reports of sexual harassment, secret service, and the downfall of a media mogul. When real-world events are so shocking the movie practically writes itself, you get a bombshell.



STELTER: Talk about a bombshell. This new film from Lionsgate recounts the sexual harassment scandal that broke down Fox News founding CEO Roger Ailes. The film is really exploring the early sparks of the MeToo Movement because back in 2016 When Gretchen Carlson spoke out and sued ales, that was the beginning of this domino effect that continues to fall to this day.

Bombshell is already getting a lot of buzz. It snagged four SAG Award nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, and this weekend, it's out in theaters nationwide. Joining me now is the director of the film, Jay Roach. Jay, why Fox News? Why did you decide your next film should be about Fox News?

JAY ROACH, DIRECTOR, BOMBSHELL: Well, it was an interesting place for this to happen. This was a year before the Harvey Weinstein news launch the MeToo Movement into another level, and it -- was it was sort of astonishing that these women who sometimes don't look at themselves as feminists, Megan Kelly doesn't like to call herself a feminist ended up being the ones to take down this major media titan, sexual predator, Roger Ailes. So it seemed like an incredible predicament.

And it's also -- it was emotional reading about what these women went through. It was emotional talking to them in for research. So I thought it would just be a good forum to get some of these issues out.

STELTER: Absolutely. The film also, you know, looks beyond the final days of the Roger Ailes era, what Fox News is and what it does. Let me just play a little clip from the film.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to adopt the mentality of an Irish street cop. The world is a bad place. People are lazy morons, minorities are criminals, sex is sick but interesting. Ask yourself what would scare my grandmother or piss off my grandfather, and that's a Fox story.


STELTER: Your screenwriter Charles Randolph is guessing that's the Fox formula. Is this just another liberal Hollywood take down a Fox?

ROACH: You know, we have talked very much about how it's not a partisan issue. Your colleague who was on your show, S.E. Cupp wrote a great piece about this the other day, about how this is an issue of men who have power turning this -- I love her phrase, turning it into a sort of sexual harassment industrial complex, a really interesting way of looking at it, that it's about egocentric men who get addicted to power who then require people, often women to show them loyalty, and in this case with sexual favors.

Like that doesn't seem like something. It's something that happens in my industry, it happens in news, it happens in, in everywhere across companies in America. So it seems like something not --

STELTER: Yes. I'm thinking myself, where's the -- where's the Matt Lauer movie? Where's the Les Moonves? Are those coming? I'm serious.

ROACH: No, they will be coming. There's been -- there's a great documentary about Harvey Weinstein. It's already been made. And Ronan Farrow's book, someone has to make that into a movie. It's an incredible story about a journalist who, you know, trying to just get that story out and how a corporation can try to suppress that. And that certainly, I hope -- I would -- I would happily make that movie. STELTER: And I was wondering what was next for you? I saw you quoted an interview saying, you'd love to do something on the Ukraine scandal or something like that, something very much in the news?

ROACH: Well, it's -- you know, I heard someone call this the year of the whistleblower. You know, I think that's an incredible story. Our stories about whistleblowers too, Gretchen Carlson was a whistleblower just sort of saying, hey, this bullying in our company has to stop, again a year before people were around to support her doing that, you know, she sort of took that on alone. So I am always going to root for people who take on, especially powerful men.

STELTER: That's a great point. Jay, thank you so much. Thanks for being here.

ROACH: Thanks for having me, Brian.

STELTER: When we come back on RELIABLE SOURCES, a holiday gift-giving guide RELIABLE SOURCES style.



STELTER: Let's have a little fun now the end of the year is approaching. Hanukkah starts tonight. Christmas is a few days away. I wore my Christmas tie for my daughter Sunny. I want to make sure she sees it. So think about this. If you could give one gift to the news media, one present, what would it be? Humility, honesty, a magic wand to stop mistakes from being made.

Let's ask our experts for their gift ideas. Let's unwrap these. Garry Kasparov, Catherine Rampell, and S.E. Cupp are back with me. S.E., first to you. Your gift for the media.

S.E. CUPP, CNN HOST: Yes, you know, I think sometimes when we think about the media, we think about, you know, cable news or big institutional outlets like the New York Times or The Washington Post. And what I loved about Marty Baron's interview was that he talks about how expensive it is to do really good journalism. And not every outlet has the resources that Marty Baron has, hundreds of reporters, Jeff Bezos behind the cash register.

I'd like to talk about the other media, local news. And to local news, I wish I could give the gift of more jobs, more resources, more money, and more attention to do the good work that we need and rely on them for.

STELTER: Yes, more attention. Garry, your gift for the news media.

GARRY KASPAROV, CHAIRMAN, RENEW DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE: Unlimited supply of strong coffee. Stay awake --

STELTER: Strong coffee.

KASPAROV: Stay awake and be vigilant. STELTER: Catherine, how about you?


STELTER: A real vacation.

RAMPELL: A real vacation. That means in the next week, you know, there is no major breaking news, no incendiary Trump tweets at 4:00 am no new trade wars, no new hot wars, a little bit of a break. I think we can all use that.

KASPAROV: A short vacation, please.

STELTER: A short vacation.

RAMPELL: Enough to rejuvenate.

STELTER: While we're on the theme, 2020 is around the corner, a New Year's resolution for the media. Catherine, you first, what would the resolution for the media be?


RAMPELL: I think we need to spend more time covering what the government is actually doing and a little bit less time about what members of the government are saying about each other and who's ahead in the horse race. At some point, the goal of elections is not just to win more elections, it's to elect people who will actually do things that change people's lives, whether we're talking about health care, or paychecks or anything else. I think there needs to be more coverage of those issues.

STELTER: Garry, what about you?

KASPAROV: It used to be hear from both sides, from Democrats and Republicans, from Conservatives and Liberals. Now, it's simple, it's truth versus lies. And, and I think, you know, this is what should be done and just keep repeating the facts. Stop giving equal times to lies. And also just remember that the outdated sense of fairness is killing our democracy.

STELTER: All right, and S.E., finally to you. It's 2020. We're going to be in a primary election season. Caucuses and primaries are coming up. What's your New Year's resolution for the media?

CUPP: Well, I would like to resolve, all of us to resolve to be just as scrutinist of the 2020 Democratic candidates as we have deservedly been of Trump. You know, I think we give Trump a lot of attention and she requires a lot of attention and scrutiny, but I don't think that means that we can ease up on the gas when it comes to paying as close attention to all of these candidates. They deserve just as much scrutiny, and analysis, and rigorous journalism, as he does.

STELTER: S.E., Catherine, Garry, thank you all. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, happy everything. More RELIABLE SOURCES in just a moment. [11:55:00]


STELTER: Before we go today, let me get my thanks to everyone who you don't see here on screen. Heading into the holiday season, I'm grateful to John, and Marina, and Katie, and Diane, David, and Jay, and Jeff, and all the members of the team who get us on the air every week. Adam, Katrina, and Julia, and Chloe, thank you all.

So please send us all your feedback. Tell us what you want to see on this program in the -- in the months and year ahead. I'm @BrianSelter on Twitter and on Facebook and my e-mail is Make sure you check for our nightly newsletter. Sign up -- if you're not there already, sign up for our nightly newsletter at

And coming up next week, I'll have a special interview with Silicon Valley billionaire and Time magazine owner Marc Benioff. It's coming up this time next week. So we will see you then. But before we hand off the "STATE OF THE UNION," set your DVR one more plug to get in. This is a remarkable new film that's premiering here on CNN on New Year's Day. Linda Ronstadt, The Sound of My Voice Premieres January 1st, 9:00 p.m. Eastern time here on CNN. Happy Holidays and I'll see you all right here next week.