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One-On-One With Piers Morgan; When TV Shows Become Hazardous To Public Health; New Generation Of Reporters Holding Power To Account; How The Pandemic Has Changed Social Media Behavior; How YouTube Is Tackling Misinformation During The Pandemic. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 19, 2020 - 11:00   ET


BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter live in New York City. Welcome to RELIABLE SOURCES, where we cover the story behind the story.

We have big interviews coming up, including two of the most powerful people in the social media universe.


The heads of YouTube and Instagram are both on deck.

Plus, Philip Bump and Juliette Kayyem on right wing media's role on pushing a false choice about closing or opening America, and we're also going to talk about these television personalities and ask if TV doctors can be hazardous for health.

Plus, something good that is coming out of the daily White House briefings. You probably notice this, a new generation of reporters who are taking on presidential tall tales and outright lies. Two of those reporters are also coming up here.

But first, the role of the press during a national emergency. How should we properly advocate for you? Newspapers, networks, news outlets should reflect the public's views, answer their questions, inform their debates. In fact, that's what publishers have been doing since the days of "The Boston News-Letter" and "The Pennsylvania Evening Post".

Now, these days, anyone can be a publisher through social media, but the professional press, shows like this one and websites and magazines and so forth, still set the national and global conversation.

So, in my humble view, we should be advocating, not for a particular politician or party but advocating for a safe, healthy, well informed public. And we can do that by centering coverage of this pandemic, not around politicians, but around their voters. We can focus on the bottom up, cover this story from the bottom up.

We've got to push elected officials to see what lockdown life is really like. Look at today's front page of "The Santa Fe New Mexican". It does that by profiling the owner of Joe's Diner and you see the headline says: Barely hanging on.

In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, here's Don Murphy standing in an empty dining room. The headline says: Will restaurants recover?

And in Massachusetts, "The Milford Daly News" leading with a food distribution center for people who don't have jobs anymore.

These are all examples of elevating the stories of real people -- businessmen, entrepreneurs, workers, nurses, and doctors, Uber drivers, and engineers. Elevating their voices, that's the power of the press.

We help facilitate a conversation with each other, helping folks be heard. Like in Chicago, look at this headline from "The Chicago Tribune". It's -- quote, it's hospital workers saying they're outgunned, outmanned, and underfunded. Their voices are so important. Let's amplify them over the politicians.

They're also why we need some of this. Here's today's Los Angeles times front page putting out the contradictions and chaos putting from President Trump as, quote, the crisis turns critical. There's a second story also documenting the Trump administration's failures to meet this moment early on.

And then there's the third story, about schools becoming pantries for hungry families. All these stories are related.

I know the White House briefings seem disconnected from reality. The president doesn't seem to acknowledge the rising death toll. He doesn't seem to understand the problems of the voters I was just talking about. When that happens, it's the press that has to point it out and fact-check it and ultimately advocate for the needs of the public.

I don't know about you but I starting to get frustrated, angry.

And it's a time for that passion, it's a time for journalists to channel the public's anger and frustration and fear, and show some of that outrage on the public's behalf. In fact, sometimes those are the best moments for journalism.

Piers Morgan knows a thing or two about that. Let me bring him in. You know him from his days anchoring here on CNN. He's currently the co- host of ITV's "Good Morning, Britain" and the editor at large of

Piers, I know this is one of your first times being back on CNN since your program ended, I don't know, like, 2014.

So, welcome. And thank you for joining me today.

PIERS MORGAN, EDITOR AT LARGE, DAILYMAIL.COM: Thank you very much, Brian. It's good to be here.

STELTER: You have been doing something remarkable, interviewing British politicians and leaders and lawmakers and health officials, and holding their feet to the fire, and in some cases showing how many failures are happening not just in the United States but in the United Kingdom. What are the parallels right now between the U.S. and U.K. responses

to the pandemic?

MORGAN: Well, I think they're very similar, actually, Brian, in the sense that you have two populist leaders in Boris Johnson and Donald Trump. And all the tricks that they used to become popular and to win elections, and to lead their countries are now being tested in a very different way. It's not about partisan politics anymore. It's about plain war crisis leadership. And it's a very different thing.

And what I've noticed with both Boris Johnson and with Donald Trump is an apparent inability to segue into being war leaders. They're still playing the old games of party politics.

And Donald Trump in particular -- I've known him a long time. I consider him to be a friend -- but I've been watching these daily briefings with mounting horror, frankly, because this is not what the president should be doing.


And he won't like me saying this, but I'm going to say it anyway, the president of the United States right now is an incredibly important person in the world, and not least to Americans who are dying in the tens of thousands from a disease that we don't know much about yet.

And all that is required from the president in those moments and any world leader, frankly, is that they've got to be calm, they've got to show authority, they have to be honest, they have to be accurate, entirely factual with what they're telling the people and they have to have an ability to show empathy.

And on almost every level of that, Donald Trump at the moment is failing the American people. He's turning these briefings into a self- aggrandizing, self-justifying, overly defensive, politically partisan, almost like a rally to him, almost like what's more important is winning the election in November.

No, it's not, Donald Trump. What's important now is saving American lives.

And I believe that the complacency that the American and British administrations have shown in the first few weeks of this crisis has been extremely damaging to both countries' ability to deal with coronavirus.

But it's not too late for them to get a grip and actually make the attack on the virus their number one priority. Not pumping themselves up. Not telling us all day what a great job they're doing, but actually focusing on what matters -- and that is human life.

STELTER: But, you know, you mentioned your relationship with President Trump. You were on "The Celebrity Apprentice". You won one of the seasons of "The Celebrity Apprentice". You've interviewed the president repeatedly, and we showed some video from your sit-downs with him. Pretty much whenever he visits Great Britain, you're sitting down with him there.

So, given your relationship with him, what do you think has caused this reaction from the president or these failures from the president?

MORGAN: I think it's just -- he thinks it's just another thing to deal with, rather than the most unprecedented crisis of our lifetime, the most unprecedented since World War II. It requires a different skill set.

And the irony of this, if you look around the world, Brian, other world leaders who really got on top of this --


MORGAN: -- also won populous support, it's people like Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand, it's Chancellor Merkel in Germany.

Even Emmanuel Macron last week I thought was very candid with the French people. He was very honest. He said, look, we don't really know when this will end. It's going to be very tough.

He's implemented tough lockdowns, but he also conceded he made mistakes. They've been too slow on personal protective equipment for health workers. They've been too slow in other areas, on ventilators and so on.

There's something about a candor from a leader in a war that I think goes down well with the public. Macron has never been more popular, nor has Chancellor Merkel.

Donald Trump's approval ratings are falling and the reason for that is -- he needs to understand this -- they're falling because people don't trust him. They think he's turning these rallies -- these daily briefings into self-serving rallies, and they don't understand why he can't just do the basics of crisis leadership, which is to make the public come with you, and to believe you, and to feel that you're on their side and you're showing them the empathy that they need when so many people are dying.

STELTER: Do you think it -- you say it's not too late. It feels pretty late to me. You think the president can turn it around? That Trump can turn it around?

MORGAN: Well, I guess he'll stop pretending he's got total authority.


MORGAN: You know, I thought it was a staggering moment when your own Kaitlan Collins last week had to remind the president of the United States he doesn't have total authority. He doesn't have ultimate power over all these state governors.

I think what needs to happen -- what should have happened from the start -- is a global effort in America from all the states, all the governors and the federal government to come together and work as one and show a unified front, and stop this ridiculous nonsense right now with Trump singling out various Democrat-run states for political reasons connected to the election.

It doesn't matter. I don't care about the election. Nobody should care about the election.

Donald Trump, if he's listening to this or watching, you will win the election in November if you get this right. If you stop making it about yourself and make it about the American people and show that you care about them over yourself, you will win. And, conversely, you will lose the election in November if you continue to make it about yourself, you continue playing silly politics, continue targeting Democrat governors because that suits you for your electoral purposes. None of that matters.

And until Donald Trump realizes that -- and again, he doesn't want to hear this, but he may as well hear it from me -- until you realize that, Mr. President, you are not going to get this right. If you don't get it right, more Americans are going to die.

STELTER: Are you risking your friendship with the president by calling him out? I saw your recent column for "The Daily Mail" says, America doesn't want a King Trump. It was very critical of the president.

I also checked his Twitter feed though and he does still follow you. You're one of the few people that the president of the United States follows on Twitter.


How do you view this relation relationship now? What -- is this still a friendship you had with him?

MORGAN: Well, I've always tried to be candid with him. I've written about 100 columns on President Trump. And I would say it's about 50/50 -- 50 positive, 50 being critical. I try to be fair about him.

He's not my president. He's a president I look at from afar here in the U.K. But I try to be balanced and try to be fair, notwithstanding the fact that we have a friendship.

But, right now, I don't really care about the niceties of whether Donald Trump is going to be offended by what I'm saying. He has to put the country before himself. He has to put Americans before electioneering.

He has to remind himself every day what can I do today to prevent more lives being killed? Not how can I score more petty points and try to stand here for two hours with people like Dr. Fauci waiting to do their work, which will actually save lives, and try to have arguments with the media who are actually trying to do their job, which is holding the government to account, exactly as they should be doing.


MORGAN: And Donald Trump should not take that personally (ph). He should use the criticism from the media to ask himself every day, am I doing the right thing? Am I doing enough? That's his job. STELTER: It's time to really hold these public officials accountable

in interviews, press conferences, however we can given how many failures have happened not just on the federal level but on the state and local level as well.

Tell me about how you have been trying to do that on your program on ITV.

MORGAN: Well, we've had a lot of cabinet ministers coming on. There's been an extraordinary situation, of course, in the U.K. because the prime minister, Boris Johnson, got coronavirus. He got it three weeks after boasting that he had been to a hospital where he had shaken as many hands as possible, and the hospital had people with coronavirus. And, surprise-surprise, the prime minister who took this so casually then got the virus himself and became critically ill and, frankly, nearly died.

And he was saved by the power of the health workers. The very same health workers that we've now seen lose their lives in this country and, indeed, in America for lack of personal protective equipment. So, I hope that focuses Boris Johnson's mind on what is required here.

But on a wider point, because he's not been there to lead the country, we've had to interview people like the health secretary, Matt Hancock, and other ministers and hold their feet to the fire about so many things that the British government have been doing, which are quite, actually, reminiscent of what's happening in America, but which have been failing on almost every level. A failure to really take this seriously soon enough from the end of January, they should have been all over this, and they weren't.

Boris Johnson only chaired the Cobra Committee, which is the most important committee in British government, at the start of March on this. So, we've been behind on PPE, behind woefully on testing.

I mean, it's frankly scandalous, Brian. Never mind anything else, but the fact that the U.K. and the U.S. are two of the worst performing countries in the world on tests per million of population is a disgrace. And it shames America, it shames Britain, it shames every one involved in this.

But like I said at the start, it's not too late. You have to ramp up the testing. The only way that Donald Trump can actually reopen America for business in the same way that Boris Johnson wants to do in the U.K., is you have to test enough of the population with an accurate enough test that you can then have confidence of putting them back into the populace.

And that is why the testing is so crucial. And that is why it's been such a damning indictment of both governments that they've been so slow to ramp up the testing to the levels that we saw were happening in countries like China and in South Korea that didn't happen in Italy.

And so, the Italian doctors were screaming at America and Britain, for goodness sake, ramp up the testing, because if you don't do that, if you don't lock down your cities, then you're going to have the same problem that we're having.

Well, America and Britain looked at what was happening in Italy and they basically put their fingers in their ears and their hands over their eyes and thought to themselves it can't be that bad here.

It is that bad. In fact, it's worse now in America and Britain than it was in Italy. And that's because the governments didn't get their act together.

My message to both of them, to Boris Johnson, to Donald Trump, is get your act together now. Put all the normal stuff that got you elected, all the jokey stuff, the wise cracking, the punching of opponents, all that stuff is irrelevant. It doesn't matter.

Bring your countries together, bring the best medical and scientific minds, the best political minds, the best military minds, bring them together, unite the country and fight the war.

Remember this: for once, we're all on the same side. This is a war between human beings and the virus of COVID-19. We're in this together. So, let's act like it.

STELTER: I appreciate your flashes of anger about this. It reminds me post-Katrina in the United States, the great recession in 2008.


These failures of government demand journalistic accountability and frankly sometimes anger to channel the public's frustration and anger.

What's your advice for journalists navigating this?

MORGAN: Do your jobs. Never has there been a more important time to be a journalist anywhere in the world. Hold your governments to account.

Nothing that has come before this matters. This is the big one. This will be the biggest story of every journalist's life.

You know, we thought 9/11, we would never see that again or this financial crash. But this is much bigger than all of that. In terms of the global impact on every single country in the world, this is it.

This is what journalists are supposed to now be about, about getting to a truth, at about holding governments to account and making sure they make right decisions, because if we do our jobs properly, if we challenge every single thing that these governments do in Britain, in America, in France, in Germany, all around the world, if journalists do their job, they will hope those governments make better decisions.

You know, this is -- like I said before, we're all in this together. We're all on the same side. It's not about whether you're Republican or Democrat or Conservative or Labour or whatever political party you're affiliated to, or creed or anything. None of that matters.

It's all about unity and the way that journalists can do their job is to stand tall, work together, dig, dig, dig and get to the truth, and then compel governments to be accountable, the decisions they are taking, and to make sure they make the right ones.

Because in the end, if journalists do that job properly, government and world leaders -- they will thank the media. They will thank them for helping to save lives.

STELTER: Piers Morgan, great to see you. Thank you for being here and setting the table for us.

MORGAN: Good to see you, Brian.

STELTER: We have a lot more coming up, including a conversation about the coronavirus culture war, why we are seeing on Fox News promotion of protests. Plus, this remarkable interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Laura Ingraham, a full analysis with Philip Bump and Juliette Kayyem in just a moment.



STELTER: Now, to the coronavirus culture war, which I think that shouldn't exist. Those words shouldn't come out of my mouth, but it's real. It's happening. It's getting worse.

Every day, President Trump says something different about reopening the U.S. economy. Every day, that means reporters have to point out it's a lot more complicated than he makes it sound and it's mostly out of his hands anyway. But the president's push in defiance of public health experts has a chorus of support from his cheerleaders on FOX News.

Some hosts there are leading the charge to prematurely, recklessly reopen the country, so to speak, and they're promoting the protests popping up, mostly right-wing protests at state capitals. Some seem like grassroots efforts. Others seem more artificial or corporate supported. It's a little bit unclear, but these protests are gaining a lot of attention, and they're getting a lot of attention in part because of the attention from Fox News, the attention of those hosts, et cetera.

Look, we have to show the full story. When we cover these rallies, these protests against the stay-at-home orders, we should show them in proportion. We should show them in proportion to public opinion on the matter. We should note that the views of these protesters are a distinct minority.

Look at the recent pew polling that shows twice as many Americans say their greater concern is that state governments will lift restrictions too quickly. Only 1 in 3 Americans are worried it won't happen quickly enough. A new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll backs up the finding.

So, let's talk about Fox News influence over the president and how that feedback loop is affecting the country.

With me now is CNN National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem, and a national correspondent for "Washington Post," Philip Bump. Juliette, when you see these protesters at state capitols, what do you

think? What do you see?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I don't see this as a political fight, although clearly, this is a right-wing or red state movement. I see this as a public safety and public health issue.

These people are not just having opinions. They're actually dangerous. They're self-centered. They are making what all of us are doing at home irrelevant because they're continuing to provide sort of, you know, provide fuel for the virus.

And so I think that reporters, while it is a political story, really need to make it clear also the extent to which these people not just putting themselves at risk, are putting me, you, your kids, my kids, everyone else at risk. The social distancing only works when the vast majority of people abide by it. It's exactly like vaccines. This is -- and there's no politics to it. It's just basic science at this stage.

STELTER: Fox hosts influencing the president's words and actions is nothing new at this point, Philip Bump. Is there anything new about how it's happening this time around?

PHILIP BUMP, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: No, it's sort of fascinating. There are a couple things thereat new around the edges but sort of fascinating to see how part of what's happened here is that Fox News hosts were following Donald Trump's initial lead, downplaying the virus, which created this base within the Republican Party, within Republicans who are Fox News fans and Trump fans, who are now skeptical of that the virus is a big deal anyway, so they laid the seed for them now to come back and say, OK, it's time to move past this because nothing is really happening anyway.

It's interesting how over the course of the past month, Fox News has gone full circle but helped set the stage where we are today. One thing we're seeing is in the push to reopen, and as you said earlier, everyone wants to see this reopen, but the two thirds reflected in the Pew poll want to make sure we do so responsibly. The question is the extent to which and how Fox News is pushing for that to happen.


We saw, for example, this week, on two different occasions they had Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil come on and sort of pooh-pooh this idea there was something to be particularly concerned about by making bad comparisons or downplaying the extend of the potential death toll.

Those sorts of things I think are new, at least in the moment, and are used in service to this broader idea of there's nothing big to worry about here. Let's just listen to what Donald Trump is saying in the moment.

STELTER: Yes, let's loosen things up.

These Fox talk shows are clearly valuing celebrity over credibility, right. The celebrity star power of Dr. Phil, it's why Laura Ingraham booked him, then it was embarrassing for everybody, and he was just a guest. I doubt he'll be back. We'll see about that.

But this is about scientific ignorance with life or death stakes. Fundamentally, we have seen ignorance toward science from this administration for three years. But now, we're seeing it on much bigger stage, and I just wonder, Juliette, if you think the TV doctors at some point, I hate to say it, but are they hazardous to public health?

KAYYEM: Oh, yes. Don't hate to say it. The people are promoting a mythology about the virus.

We're hitting -- we're going to hit 40,000 dead today. No question about it, just given the trajectory in the United States alone. These numbers in and of themselves are tragic. They're comparative to other countries, embarrassing. We're so unprepared and so unwilling to do what we need to do.

The list of things that reporters and that are covered in this story, you know, they include medical, pharmaceutical, vaccines, diagnostics, surveillance, contact tracing, PPE, the masks, and social distancing, the personal behavior that we're going to have to change, and, of course, protecting vulnerable populations. It's complicated. We get it.

But nonetheless, these are the only things that are going to work in order to at least adapt appropriately to a virus that is going to live with us for a long time. This is the unfortunate and sad truth of the next year, year and a half, two years or however long it takes to get a vaccine.

And so when they make these simplistic notions, these doctors, about it's a question of opening or not opening, it's the most sort of childish approach to something that will kill those who go out too soon and communities that open up too soon.

STELTER: What about the argument that we are seeing from some commentators, especially on the right, that the media is overhyping this, the media is causing hysteria. They're blaming the media for that, Juliette?

KAYYEM: This is celled -- look, I have been here before, been there, done that. This is called the preparedness paradox.

It means people like me who have been urging stay inside, people like the doctors, scientists, people who know about pandemics, say do this because it will save lives. People do it, as we have seen from the polling, from the number of people inside, and therefore, the numbers go down.

This is not -- we expected this to be called, to be told we're overreacting. There are worse things in the world compared to the death that is occurring here. But it has a name. It's called the preparedness paradox. You just have to accept that's what these people do.

STELTER: Look, when I drive by the refrigerated truck outside the hospital where my kids were born --


STELTER: -- and think about this truck, I know this is not hysteria, but I wonder what it's like for other folks in the country, in other states where this is not a severe crisis today. Maybe they're not seeing the same things I'm seeing.

Then, of course, it's incumbent on the press to show it. Once again, it's important to show what's happening all across the country.

Philip, about these protests, does it remind you of the tea party ten years ago? Harvard research looked at how Fox covers the Tea Party. They said it was a social movement orchestrator. It promoted that movement early on.

It's the same thing -- are we in day three of the same thing happening with these potentially dangerous protests against stay-at-home orders?

BUMP: Yes, I don't think there's any mystery why President Trump is enthusiastic about the protests he amplified on Friday which were in Virginia and Minnesota and Michigan, all of which are states that he wants to win in November and all of states that have Democratic governors. I mean, it's absolutely the case he understands this is a mobilization of people who support him.

However authentic that mobilization may be, and there are questions about that, but he understands this is an amplification of the people he wants to see energized at this moment. So, from the abstract perspective, one could see how that might be a conflict for him, but in practical terms. He doesn't seem to be conflicted and he's embraced it.

I do want to say, though, going back to the last question, we shouldn't put too much focus on the doctors, because a responsible host of one of those shows, as soon as Dr. Phil compared that to car accidents, a responsible host would say that's not a fair comparison. It's a case that Laura Ingraham failed as well and that re-enforces the whole narrative.

STELTER: The one thing I did like about Ingraham show, she had Dr. Anthony Fauci on. Fauci has been going on every show. He's been YouTube, he's been on C-SPAN. He's been everywhere.


You know, and Ingram asked him some questions that were pretty ignorant, I thought. But it's good to see Fauci responding, trying to get the facts out there, everywhere you possibly can. I think that's a good thing.

I need to take a break here. Juliet, Philip, thank you both. A quick break here on RELIABLE SOURCES. Much more coming up, including the view from the White House Press Briefing Room, what it's like to be socially distance -- distancing and challenging the president.


STELTER: During this pandemic, new voices are emerging from another surprising place perhaps, the White House briefing room. I want to talk about the questioners and not the people who are up answering or deflecting the questions, because there are some new faces new names rising to the top and holding power in that room to account almost daily.

I don't know if you've noticed, I've certainly noticed a number of young women correspondents from the major networks who are trying to challenge the President's lies and get information out of the public health officials who are at these briefings.

Of course, the president oftentimes reacts by criticizing or belittling these reporters, talking down to them. We've seen all these reality T.V. style confrontations. But the important thing is that the questions are being asked, the attempts are being made to get through to the president and to his aides with information on behalf of the American people.


Let me bring in two of the White House correspondents who are doing this who are at these briefings, Kaitlan Collins of CNN is with us at the White House and Francesca Chambers of McClatchy is with us as well. Francesca, you've had these experiences recently with the President, Kaitlan, so have you. Francesca, you first, are the briefings different now that the President speaking almost every day at these press conferences and briefings?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, MCCLATCHY: Well, it had obviously been. Sometime before, we'd had press conferences every day like we are having now with the President. And to your point about the interactions between the President and the press corps, I try to be very respectful in the room of the President of the United States because the bottom line is, Brian, that my job and other reporters job is there is to be able to get information and answers on behalf of people who can't be in the room, including healthcare workers, first responders and people in the community and also people who are sick.

STELTER: It's been these remarkable moments. You've had them, Paula Reid at CBS, Weijia Jiang at CBS, Yamiche Alcindor at PBS, Kaitlan, you've had them, Jeremy Diamond your colleague at CNN. There's been a number of these moments where the President has to be challenged, has to be confronted with the ugly reality.

I'm thinking about a moment earlier this week where we're Paula Reid said, you know, what about February, you're talking about your response to the pandemic, but what about the entire month of February? What are the most important exchanges, Kaitlan, you think the press has in that room or in the Rose Garden with the president?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think it's the same responsibility that you've had throughout any time being in that briefing room, not only in the Trump administration, but any administration. But the thing is, you have to got to be able to talk to the president in real-time and get questions, get information that typically we have not been able to always get or answers on the record, to later be able to, you know, make sure that we're questioning the proper things there.

And so, when you're in that room, it's really important to be able to say in real-time, fact check the President, talk about what's going on. If they say X amount of tests are being conducted, ask why it wasn't, you know, the certain amount that they had talked about in the weeks prior that they aim to get by that week, things that are actually really important to the American people, the information surrounding this, surrounding the outbreak. Because people are watching these briefings, not because they're entertained by it or because they want to see the President's view to the reporters, as often you see in this room, but because they want to get information about the outbreak and what's going on.

They want to hear from the doctors, and from the health experts, and from the Treasury Secretary about when they're going to get their stimulus checks. So it's really crucial that they get that information when they're watching these briefings.

STELTER: You know, I wonder what it's like for you personally, and I don't mean to put you on the spot. I say new generation reporters, that's a good thing. Youth is an asset. But here you are, Kaitlan, 28 years -- 28 years old reporting at the White House, and you said to the president the other day, there -- you said, Mr. President, their authority is total, that is not true. Like, what is it like to confront someone in power like that?

COLLINS: I think it's just the truth. What the President was saying was not actually an accurate description of his authority as President. It's not just something that his critics would disagree with. That's something that even, you know, Conservatives, lifelong Republicans, constitutionalist would not agree with, what the President said he doesn't have that authority.

And so, that's why it's important to say, you know, who told you that. We did not get an answer from the President on that, or if any governors agree with him, because it is really important for clarity purpose. People need to know who to listen to when it comes to reopening the country, making decisions about opening their businesses, feeling free to go back into retail stores and to restaurants in that matter.

And so when there is confusion about who exactly it is that's putting down the orders, whether it's the president, these governors, these localities, that's where it really matters. And the government -- the federal government, people who you speak with, senior administration officials know that there has to be that line of clear thinking of who's doing what, whose responsibility is what. So it's important when the president --

STELTER: So it's not intimidating? It's not intimidating for you to do that?

COLLINS: I think after a certain amount of time covering the president, you know, his tactics, you know how he's going to respond to something. Sometimes it's not favorable if he does not like being fact-checked in real-time or told what he's saying is not an accurate description of what's actually happening.

You saw the president in the briefing room that day. He cut me off and moved on to another reporter as is his right. But that is, you know, a sign that the President didn't want to continue talking about that and didn't say which governors had told him that. And I think also, it's important to remember Brian, the lens through what the President is viewing these briefings as. They're not always just the most up to date medical information of what's happening with the outbreak.

And as we saw yesterday, initially, there wasn't actually a briefing on the schedule. The Vice President had gone to Colorado to speak at the Air Force graduation academy commencement speech, and then he was flying back and the President held this briefing anyway.

He brought out some more political aides that he's hired recently, his new chief of staff, the new press secretary out into the room with him, and he spent a large time in the briefing just rebutting media reports that he believed were inaccurate or negative or wrong in his mind, pushing back on those, really taking a political aspect into these briefings.

And it comes as privately the president often talks about the ratings that these briefings get and which person speaking gets the most ratings. Of course, he thinks he does. And so that's really something that is an aspect that he talks often when he is talking about these briefings.


STELTER: Yes, Kaitlan, Francesca, I got a rap it but thank you. Let me just say one thing about these ratings for the briefings. I'm frustrated by this. People are not watching because it's the president. People are watching because they're scared, and they're concerned about the crisis, all right.

So in a typical day, there's nine million people watching the big cable news channels, right before the briefings, and then the briefings might get 10 million viewers, maybe 11 million viewers, and then after the briefing back to nine million. So do you see what I mean?

Most people are not watching because the President's on. They're watching because they're trying to get the news about this crisis, but the President thinks it's all about him. And that's what Piers Morgan was talking about earlier this hour.

All right quick break here on RELIABLE SOURCES. But first, a plug for our nightly newsletter. You can sign up for free at This is our free nightly newsletter. We're covering the media world, arts, culture, and tech. Sign up at A quick break here on RELIABLE SOURCES, and then the heads of two of the biggest social media companies on the planet. Hear from the CEO of YouTube and the head of Instagram in just a moment. [11:45:00]


STELTER: Screen time has its downsides. There's been years of talk about the danger of having too much time on these devices.

But with everyone sheltering in place, staying at home, we're also seeing the upsides, the benefits of screen time, the benefits of, well, hey, look, Instagram and Instagram Live, the ability to see celebrities, and also ordinary users, what they're doing, how they're spending their time cooped up, and, in some cases, how health care heroes on the front lines are telling stories from the hospitals, sharing their experiences through the Webcams, through the cell phone screens as well.

Look, Instagram Live has seen a lot of tick -- uptick in usership, with users catching up with their favorite celebrities. But there's also some really important things that Instagram is doing to try to inform people and to combat misinformation.

So, for more on that, let me bring in the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri. He's joining me for one of his first interviews about all of this.

Adam, thanks for being here. You have talked about three goals for Instagram during this crisis. I assume the first one is trying to help people -- keep people safe. But how do you actually do that with an app?

ADAM MOSSERI, CEO, INSTAGRAM: Yes, the three goals that we're trying to focus on right now are keeping people safe, bringing people together, now that we're all so physically distant, and figuring out who really needs the most important, and help facilitating getting them that support.

On keeping people safe, it's a lot about getting people good information. So, we have had banners at the top of Instagram pointing people to the CDC here in the U.S. and other organizations around the world.

We have done a stay home sticker, which has actually been used more than 300 million times, just encouraging people to stay home in the first place, point small businesses at important information for them as well. It's mostly about getting people to good information and encouraging them to stay home.

STELTER: And this one's interesting. This is -- this is -- it says: "You may qualify for health insurance if you have lost your job." So, Instagram is pointing people to to try to make sure they're insured. Why -- that doesn't seem like Instagram's bread and butter. So why do that?

MOSSERI: It's not our bread and butter, but we think it's an important time right now for us to do everything that we can. And, often, the most important things for people or for businesses are the large government-based stimulus programs, coverage programs, et cetera.

So, we have done things like point people to to let them know that they might be eligible for benefits if they have lost their job recently, with -- as part of the Affordable Care Act. We have also pointed businesses towards the SBA, the Small Business Association, here in the U.S. around loan programs and other stimulus programs. So, just getting people to good information quickly, we think, is critical.

And so we're a little bit outside of our typical work, idea zone right now, but we're trying to just do what we can.

STELTER: This relates to the idea about social networks providing information, as well as entertainment, right? How you look to Instagram for diversions, for breaks, for pictures of my friends, but we're also seeing Instagram and other platforms focus more on misinformation and disinformation. What happens if I log on right now and I post some lie claiming that 5G is responsible for this? What happens to my post?

MOSSERI: So, if you are posting some misinformation related to COVID- 19 or otherwise that actually creates risk of real-world harm, we try to find it as quickly as we can and take it off Instagram, take it off Facebook, etcetera.

We do that by working with organizations around the world, health organizations around the world, to identify claims, things like drinking bleach will cure you of your COVID-19 symptoms. And then we fan out from those claims to hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of pieces of content. Someone's texting me right now. And try to find those things as quickly as we can and remove them.

Now, if you say, the sky is blue, that doesn't create the risk -- sorry -- the sky is green. That doesn't create quite the same risk of real-world harm, and so we will treat that differently.

STELTER: I feel like people are posting more honestly these days. Have you noticed this, anecdotally, that, you know, instead of a filter, instead of just posting your best life or -- you know, I see people just sharing the lonely experience of isolation.

MOSSERI: Yes, we're seeing people use Instagram in all sorts of new ways. Generally, we find that people shift --

STELTER: Yes, we're also seeing rap battles, right?

MOSSERI: Yes. Yes, the rap battles have been really, really, really big. Actually, this is -- someone's upset that I'm on T.V. with you right now.


STELTER: It's probably a rival network, Adam, that would rather talk to you.

(CROSSTALK) STELTER: But this is our new reality, right? Most guests on CNN now are coming on their phones, on their cell phones.

MOSSERI: Yes. I'm in my garage right now. We're definitely seeing people share all different parts of their identity. We see that happen more in Stories than in Feed, but we're also seeing -- we have seen -- OK, so, yes, rap battles have been big.

But, in my neighborhood, I have got restaurants posting daily menus for curbside pickup to try to figure out how to scrape by during shelter-in-place. I have seen -- there's a dancer I follow in France named Salif who does amazing stuff. He's been doing Live with, and having his fans dance with him.

So, people are coming up with all sorts of creative ways to encourage people to stay home, to give people a little bit of joy, or to just scrape by right now.

STELTER: Right, absolutely. Well, these rap battles are -- they're something. They have been an interesting new feature. Adam, thank you very much for being here.

MOSSERI: Thank you so much for having me, Brian.

STELTER: And now you can reply to that text. Look, there are other platforms that are also vital in this moment. Streaming video, of course, is up across the board, from Netflix to Hulu, Disney+, and all the rest. YouTube is seeing a big spike in views of news videos, this Bloomberg headline citing a "thirst for virus updates."

There are a lot of facets to YouTube. Mis and dis-information is a problem on that platform as well. I spoke with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, for her first interview since the pandemic really started to spread worldwide about the changes that YouTube has made to address the surge in viewership.


SUSAN WOJCICKI, CEO, YOUTUBE: We have served billions of impressions across our network that come from all the different public health organizations, and made sure that people understand what are the resources.

I never thought we'd have so many videos of handwashing, for example. But we have -- we -- that's just one example. But we have served so many different areas to make sure that users are getting the right information.

We have actually seen a 75 percent increase in the news coming from authoritative sources since the beginning of 2020. So, we have seen a lot of demand there. But then we also --

STELTER: What does that mean? That means an increase in video views for those?

WOJCICKI: Yes. And so we talk about that as raising authoritative information. But then we also talk about removing information that is problematic, you know. Of course, anything that is medically unsubstantiated. So people saying, like, take vitamin C, you know, take turmeric, like, those are -- will cure you. Those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy.

Anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy. And so remove is another really important part of our policy.

STELTER: So, you're not just putting in the truth next to the lie. You're taking the lie down. That's a pretty aggressive approach.

WOJCICKI: Well, I mean, we do -- we do remove, you know, across YouTube, in non-pandemic times, information that is a violation of our policy. And we have had community guidelines since the very beginning of YouTube. And we have always -- anything that is a violation of our policy, we do remove it.

And what was really unique about this was just how fast-moving the COVID-19 crisis was. And so we have had to make numerous policy changes, all within a really short period of time, to be able to make sure that we stayed abreast of the changes.

So, for example, just recently, there was a theory that 5G was causing coronavirus symptoms. Now, no established health organization says that 5G is the source of the issue. And so that quickly -- we quickly deemed that a violation of our policies with COVID-19 and removed that content.

STELTER: You know, everyone's YouTube is different. Are there certain videos that basically everybody has seen, because they are so important or they are from such authoritative sources?

WOJCICKI: Well, we definitely saw a really high click-through in all the different public health information that we made available. But this crisis has just moved so quickly. I mean, I think that's what -- just the speed of it has taken away everyone's breath in terms of how quickly we moved from just having a few infections, right, to having large parts of the world being under quarantine.

And you know, we certainly have seen how our users have changed, so first starting with just really basic information about, what was coronavirus, then we really focused on the stay-at-home messages and got that. And now, really interestingly, we're seeing a lot of users come to us and want to know about life under quarantine.

And so we see a lot of interesting things, like exercise at home, like, how do I fix my dishwasher? How do I fix my freezer? How do I give myself a haircut when I'm in quarantine? And so we have definitely seen an evolution across our platform in all these different ways.

STELTER: Do you think this crisis has caused YouTube to change in ways that will be long-term?

[11:55:02] WOJCICKI: Well, I certainly have seen changes. I think, in many ways, we have seen an acceleration of our digital lives.

STELTER: Right. Right.

WOJCICKI: I mean, we used to -- we used to see movies, science fiction movies, where we would talk about kids going to school in the future, where they would be on screens, and they would be going to a school that wasn't really in their neighborhood. And that seemed like science fiction.

And now we have all of our kids or so many of them are -- have some kind of digital school program now, because schools are closed, sadly. And so that is certainly an acceleration.

And I think, with public health, we probably would have gotten there in a couple of years. But, certainly, it's been a big acceleration of realizing the important need of working with established public health organizations to get the right information online to users, and we're seeing that opportunity.


STELTER: You can hear my extended conversation with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki at the RELIABLE SOURCES podcast through Apple, through Spotify, wherever you find your podcasts. We have a full conversation about misinformation, the upsides of YouTube, the future of YouTube, and all the rest.

But let me take a couple of minutes here before the end of the hour to talk about what a lot of us are going through. It's OK to not be OK right now. That's the main thing I want to say to everyone watching. All of us are grieving whether we sense it or not.

All of us have lost something in the past few weeks. Some have suffered the ultimate loss of a father or mother or spouse or relative. Others have lost livelihoods. They've lost access to family and friends. Just losing the rhythms and routines that make life what it is, is, is that profound loss. We're all grieving.

But I have to admit to you, I had tried to bottle it all up. I guess I was trying to be stoic for my wife and kids. It wasn't until this Friday night that I hit a wall. I was supposed to be finishing my nightly newsletter that I mentioned earlier, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't get it done.

I was so gutted by the death toll. I was so angry about the ignorance in Washington. I was so worried about family members and friends who are risk of losing their jobs or who have already lost their jobs. It was that mix of emotions that many of you also feel. And that's when the tears came. We don't talk about this on T.V. much. I think we should change that. I think we should talk about this.

Almost everybody is experiencing either isolation or stress or anxiety or other emotions as a result of this crisis. Look, let's remember, we've never lived through something quite like this. We have nothing to compare this with, so it can be incredibly alarming. It can be incredibly depressing.

Media can help. Making media can help, even if it's just posted on Instagram or taking pictures or writing, journaling, messaging others, talking with others, FaceTiming. But the emotions are real for everybody. They're a big part of the story.

For me, a good night's sleep worked wonders. On Saturday morning, I picked up where I left off and sent out the newsletter and wrote about this and the reactions were extraordinary. The outpouring of reactions was extraordinary. I'm still getting hundreds of e-mails from readers about this. And that's why I hope you can relate to this as well.

I mean, yes, there were -- there were some messages from guys trying to do that performative masculinity thing, saying that men shouldn't cry or talk about crying. But most people were so kind and so -- they related to this.

Here's what Melissa wrote to me on Twitter. She said, "it's OK to not be OK right now." And here's another post that says "it's important to recognize the need to grieve what we've lost and to acknowledge anxiety and uncertainty over the way forward." So my message to you is, when someone asks you if you're OK, right now, tell the truth. It's OK to not be OK.

I mean, 25 years ago today was the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. And then President Clinton went to Oklahoma City and said, if anybody thinks that Americans are mostly mean and selfish, they ought to come to Oklahoma. If anybody thinks Americans have lost the capacity for love, and caring, and courage, they ought to come to Oklahoma.

That's true now for every state, every community. It's true all around the world. Most people are good and want to help and there is help available. Here's the number for the Crisis Text Line. You can text the word home to 741741. There's also the disaster distress hotline, the helpline. We will put that number up as well.

We're all going to get through this together. You can even e-mail me. My email is Reach put to me but let's be honest about our emotions, talk through it and recognize it's OK to not be OK. We're going to wrap up this hour on RELIABLE SOURCES but Fredricka Whitfield picks up our coverage right now.

She is standing by for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's press conference which is starting any moment. Thanks for joining us.