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As Death Toll Rises, Trump Says "Fake News" More Often; Jon Karl On "Front Row At The Trump Show;" CNN Anchor Brooke Baldwin Documents Fight With COVID-19; Local Papers Expanding Obit Pages During Coronavirus; Carson Daly On Coping With Anxiety During A Crisis. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 26, 2020 - 11:00   ET



BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter in New York, and this is RELIABLE SOURCES, our weekly look at the story behind the story.

We have some big guests coming up in the coming minutes, including the president of the White House Correspondents Association, Jon Karl of ABC News. We're going to talk to him about his experiences in the front of the Trump White House.

Plus, CNN's Brooke Baldwin, she is about to be back behind the anchor desk after weeks at home suffering through COVID-19. She's going to share her experience with us in just a few minutes.

And later, "The Today Show's" Carson Daly is going to join me, talking about anxiety and the struggles so many people are experiencing now with this quarantine, staying at home, staying away from loved ones during these trying times.

Big guests coming up, but let me start here. We're all learning what it's like to live in the time of coronavirus. We are all adapting, adjusting, trying to figure out what the months ahead will be like. Keyword there, months, could even be years.

If only we could get certain politicians and media personalities to realize this pandemic is not about them. It's about a collective fight, a fight based on medicine, not magical thinking. It's about those we lost and what we're losing and what we can try to keep.

So would someone please tell the president? Because his administration's top experts say this virus will be with us for many months to come, through the fall, next winter, until whenever there is a vaccine.

And yet the president is tweeting like it's already over, saying every person needing a ventilator got one. In the past tense -- when new patients are being hooked up to life support every single hour.

And it's not just the president. His vice president is saying, quote, I think by Memorial Day weekend will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us. That is not what the experts say. They are contradicting what their own government experts say. As Dr. Fauci said recently, I'm convinced the virus will be here, will be across America in the fall.

So should we in the press even spend time on those quotes from the president and the VP if they're misinformed? Well, yes, because the public needs to evaluate the distance between their words and reality.

So how should we do this in context?

Here's what I mean. Last weekend, as the death toll in the United States topped 40,000 due to COVID-19, President Trump called Nancy Pelosi dumb. As the death toll rounded the corner towards 45,000, he lied about his approval rating. As the death toll was about to top 50,000, he talked about injecting disinfectants. Fifty thousand dea Fifty-one thousand dead d and he claimed he was just pranking the

media. and he attacked CNN's owner. Fifty-two dead, and he tweeted about

world wrestling. Fifty-three thousand dead, and he tweeted don't believe the fake news.

We're rounding -- we're on the brink now of 54,000 dead, he's attacking media and attacking dumb Democrats, and tweeting about world wrestlers?

We have to report this. Even though it's insane, we have to fact check what he's doing even though it's disturbing because here's why, because poll after poll shows most Americans don't trust what president Trump says, but some people do. Tens of millions do say they trust him, what he says, what he tweets matters to them and it reflects on America all around the world.

So, it's not about whether to cover what the White House is saying, it's about how to do it. And, by the way, this applies to governors and others, too. We should put politicians words in context all the time. Right now, I think some of the trouble con crucial context is the death toll.

I mean, look around, so many people are showing leadership. So many companies are making plans for the long-term. They're finding ways to honor heroes, lighting buildings up in blue, paying tributes to victims, trying to show empathy. Newspapers are printing special sadly needed obituary sections. They are adding reporters to write more obits of all the people that passed away. People's Facebook feeds, mine and yours, are full of tributes to lost loved ones.

And yet the president keeps tweeting about ratings and dumb Democrats.


That's news. It's sad, but it's news.

"The Washington Post" did something smart, they analyzed three weeks of White House briefings and found the president spent a lot more time about boasting than empa -- I can't say the word -- empathy -- empathizing. You know, "The Post" study is remarkable. It's on the home page of

"The Washington Post" right now. They found that the president spent little time talking about the victims of COVID-19 and lots of time portraying himself the victim of a bias press.

So, let's just talk about why it matters what he says, even though most Americans don't trust him. It matters because of, well, look what happened two months ago today. Here's what he said two months ago today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done. We're going down, not up. We're going substantially down, not up.


STELTER: That's why the president's statements are note -- newsworthy because he was saying that stuff two months ago, he was downplaying the virus, he was misleading the public, and now, two months later, we need to make sure people remember. We know what happened then and what may happen next.

The president's statements matter even though many of you say we shouldn't air the briefings, the briefings shouldn't be seen. The president's statements matter because they show his wellness, his competence or lack there thereof.

Let me put it this way, when a grandparent is not well, the entire family feels it. The entire family shares the pain. Thousands of families know what that's like right now. The American family is experiencing it too.

When someone is not well, when a leader is not well, we all feel it. Yet in this. the president has really powerful enablers in the media. I think we need to make sure we don't overlook this part of the story. This is a screen grab from Sean Hannity's show back in the end of February, February 27th. Hannity went on there with a big graphic proudly displaying that zero people in the United States died from coronavirus.

Now, Sean doesn't use this graphic anymore. He doesn't put this up on the screen anymore. So we took the liberty of updating it for him. There's the current count, 53,934 Americans confirmed to have died from the coronavirus according to Johns Hopkins University. The true death toll, of course, even higher and very, very hard to know.

So I think the news coverage needs to center not on Trump, not on Hannity but on those citizens, those who have passed, and also these citizens, the more than 26 million people who are unemployed right now. Again, the true number even greater, but that's the official toll -- number as of earlier this week.

You know, this story is happening on multiple levels. We have to focus on who has died, cover who has been lost. But also, note who is still here. The people that are fighting, the people that are fighting this battle.

How do we win the health war and how do we win the economic war? And where do we find leadership to do that?

Let's talk more about this now with former CDC disease detective and CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Seema Yasmin, and CNN Senior Media Reporter, Oliver Darcy.

Dr. Yasmin, you can tell I'm pretty frustrated by the lack of empathy, the lack of emotion that we see from the Trump White House, the lack of acknowledgement about this grim death toll that grows by the thousands every day. Can you talk to us through how these numbers come through every day and whether we're getting a true scope of this tragedy from the daily death toll figure?

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: So, how death tolls are reported is actually variable by state, Brian. So, let's just talk about quickly Alabama and Colorado as two contrasting examples. In Alabama, there are many people who have pneumonia, for example, die from that. If they didn't test positive they're not being included in the case counts of those who died from COVID-19.

In Colorado by contrast, people who clinically appear to have had COVID-19 and then passed away, even if they didn't test positive, they are included in the death toll. So we're seeing a patchwork effect across the state. Different states arguing that their way of doing it is more accurate.

The experts that I speak to believe that likely what we're seeing is an underreporting across the states. That's really alarming given for five days straight we've seen more than 2,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, the case count, as you just mentioned, is creeping past the 53,000 mark towards 54,000 Americans who have died.

I think it's really important every time we mention those horrifying numbers we remember the faces, the people behind those numbers. Those are children, those are grandparents, but likely when we look back on this, we will have undercounted the true number of deaths.

STELTER: Yes, there's these two different groups where we have a lot of data and statistics, yet the human faces are most important. One are the lives that have been lost to date and the people that are fighting for their lives in hospitals. The second group, Oliver Darcy, are the people that are unemployed or underemployed right now, fearing losing their jobs, losing their homes, their livelihoods.


How do you think the press has measured up in covering the economic part of the story?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes. You know, we talk a lot about what Trump is saying. We give a lot of time every day on air to the White House press briefings, but you don't hear a lot -- as much -- not a lot, but you don't hear as much about the people who are, for instance, trying to just access their payments on this IRS website.

I know so many people who are unable to do this. It's glitchy, it doesn't work. I think back to the Obamacare website, and how that rolled out, which is -- that was a story for, you know, weeks. It was every single day we were hearing about this glitchy site.

Here you have an IRS website that doesn't work for so many people, they can't track their payments, they're desperate for this money, we don't see hourly segments or daily segments on this. You had a few stories back last week, maybe some this week, but it's not in the news every single day. It's not the focus. I think when we cover this in the news media, we need to think about what the average person at home who is sitting there without a job is thinking.

Sure, they're very -- they might be concerned about what the president is saying and the president is not speaking to them necessarily all the time, but they also want answers to these very basic questions. The press's job is to get answers to the public. I think in some cases we can do better spotlighting what the average person at home who just lost their job is worried about and getting those answers to them.

STELTER: Or bring their questions and their concerns directly to government officials.

Dr. Yasmin, I said this only half jokingly, should the president's statements come with a surgeon general's warning?

YASMIN: Brian, I've been talking to people who feel that even the surgeon general is losing credibility for not quickly calling out the misinformation that's being declared at the White House podium.

STELTER: It's a good point, right.

YASMIN: So, I don't think that would help unfortunately. And I do think there's a strong argument for journalists debunking the misinformation, because sadly, it turns out many people take their medical advice from the president which can be very dangerous as we're seeing now.

But I think the onus is on journalists to, yes, debunk that misinformation, provide the accurate information, but then keep steering the conversation to where it needs to be, where are the tests? Why are some states, Texas, for example, not giving us clear data on who is being sick and who is dying from this? Where is PPE? Like these are questions we need to keep asking about, keep our eye on and keep reporting on those to not be too distracted by the misinformation and the disinformation.

STELTER: Yes, to keep up the pressure. Dr. Yasmin, Oliver Darcy, thank you very much for setting the table with us.

YASMIN: Thank you.

STELTER: Coming up next, Jonathan Karl, the chief White House correspondent for ABC News. He's going to tell me about his experience inside the briefings of President Trump and whether Trump is rethinking holding those briefings.



STELTER: Are we seeing an end to the daily coronavirus briefings at the White House?

This weekend, President Trump claiming he might put an end to the briefings, slamming reporters and saying the briefings are not worth the time and effort because the questions are hostile and the coverage is faulty.

This comes after weeks of correspondents holding the president's feet to the fire, challenging him for misinformation and misstatements at the podium. The president sometimes responding by calling them names. For example, calling ABC chief White House correspondent Jon Karl a third rate reporter.

Jonathan Karl joins me now. He's the current president of the White House Correspondents Association. You don't get more first rate than that. And he's out with a brand new book titled "Front Row at the Trump Show", which is on "The New York Times" bestseller list.

So, Jon, you used to be a CNN Capitol Hill correspondent back in the day. Welcome back to CNN.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, spent eight great years at CNN, including some time at the White House as well.

STELTER: Yes. So, now, you're there at ABC, at the briefings. What do you think about the president's comment now that he's saying they're not worth the time or effort? Is he really going to cut back on these almost daily briefings?

KARL: I'll believe it when I see it, Brian. I mean, he's cut back because he hasn't done one here this weekend yet. But, you know, I think he has found this to be an outlet. He can't go out, he can't travel, he may begin to travel a little bit, but he's not going back to his rallies.

He has that briefing room. It's really just 25 paces from the Oval Office. He can be before all of the cameras, he can fight with reporters. He can dominate the story.

You know, he may scale back for a little while, but I would not be surprised to see him back in that briefing room soon.

STELTER: Do you think that all this reporting about his aides and allies saying he should be holding fewer briefings, have they forgotten that the purpose of the briefing is to inform the public with accurate information about how to stay safe? Isn't that the point of these?

KARL: That is the point of the briefing, but what they do see is that the briefings have backfired for him politically. So we can have a debate over how informative they actually are. But the one thing that his allies see is that they aren't doing him much good.

A real tipping point was, you know, this -- you know, floating the idea of testing, whether or not somehow injecting disinfectants into the body could fight coronavirus. This -- you could tell this was something that set them back, because of how quickly they tried to put out different stories.

The president in that same briefing, Brian, denied he had said it. Of course, he had said it. And then his press secretary said he was taken out of context. Then he said he was asking a sarcastic question of the reporters in the room.


None of those explanations were true. Clearly not true. They've tried to spin their way out of it. But I think this was a moment where they realized that these things originally are not going the way that they planned.

STELTER: Right. He ends up insulting reporters, calling them names, including you and many others. A lot of viewers ask me, why don't you just walk out when he insults you like that?

KARL: I get that question all the time. And we don't walk out because that's -- our job is to cover these things, whether it's me, whether it's Kaitlan Collins, Jim Acosta, we are there to ask the hard questions of the president, of the administration.

You know, we can debate whether or not the briefings should be carried live. I mean, ABC, as a matter of course now, does not carry them live on the broadcast network, unless there's going to be a major announcement that we know. I know CNN is not going gavel to gavel on these things anymore.

But as reporters, our job is to be there. The insults don't matter. I mean, we get the -- who cares? Who cares if the president is going to make personal attacks on us, the reporters in that room? We are there to try to get the facts and to put the questions to those who are in power in this country.

STELTER: You mentioned Kaitlan Collins. Let me ask you about the kerfuffle from the other day. Apparently, a White House aide asked Kaitlan to move from her spot near the front to the back row.

Tell us how these seats are actually assigned, because that's basically your job as the head of the White House Correspondents Association, not the White House's job.

KARL: Yes, and that may seem like a trivial issue but it really wasn't, because what happened here right before the briefing on Friday is the administration said that they were going to pick and choose who sits where in the briefing room.

Let me tell you, you know, Brian, the White House Correspondents Association really since our founding back in 1914, where we were -- the reason we were founded is Woodrow Wilson wanted to determine who could come and not come to press conferences. But for as long as there have been seats in that briefing room, the White House Correspondents Association has had an association in who sits where.

The reason for that is you don't want a reporter, Kaitlan Collins, for instance, to worry that if she asks a question that upsets the president, that the president will retaliate by moving her to the back row or kicking her out of the briefing room. That is -- that is a bedrock principle.

So, we will -- we will fight for that. And, you know, it's longstanding, and it's been a practice that has worked.

STELTER: There's a low-rated right wing channel the president really likes called One America News. And they've been violating the social distancing guidelines and the White House Correspondents Association's set up in the briefing room. They had a reporter, kind of a personality, standing in the back and have the president call on her.

Is there anything you are doing about that? What does the correspondents association do about that?

KARL: Well, we don't control who comes in and out of the White House or who comes in and out of the briefing room. What we control is who sits in those seats.

So, you know, we went through some very difficult and painful moves to try to comply with the social distancing. And the guidelines from the federal government, from the Trump administration to make sure that the reporters could be six feet apart or as close to apart as we could.

So, right now, there are only 14 people at any given point, 14 reporters sitting in those seats where there would normally be 49 and lots of people crowded up and down the aisles. And this news organ -- this organization has decided to violate those rules and have somebody come in and it's, you know -- we don't -- unfortunately, we can't like -- we don't control the Secret Service, we can't say somebody has got to be removed. But we can say they will not now have a seat in that briefing room. It's done.

STELTER: Yes. You know, hearing you describe all of these situations, the title of your book is apropos, right? It's called "The Front Row at the Trump Show." You wrote this, of course, pre-pandemic, but a lot of people are finding it to be an engaging read now to think about what the past three years have been like.

What do you think is -- when you say the Trump show, what's the defining feature of the Trump show that you write about?

KARL: Well, it's the way he views his administration. It's the way he has always viewed it. He -- he tracks the ratings and he does that literally by tracking television ratings. We've heard him talk about the ratings of these briefings. He does it by tracking the size of his crowds or exaggerating the size of his crowds, but relishing in his crowds at his rallies.

He consumes the reviews of his show. He consumes more television and he reads "The New York Times," he reads "The Washington Post."

He spends more time looking at the way he is perceived and portrayed in the news media than any public figure I've ever covered or ever seen because that's the way he sees it.


So, the book -- I tried to explain what it's like to actually be part of all of this. You know, we have interactions with the president. I've known him for 26 years. And he has praised me. He has vilified me.

But the thing is he is engaging with the press more than any other president than I have seen. He courts us --

STELTER: Well, but the engagement -- the other day you had to say to him, that's not true --

KARL: Yes.

STELTER: -- when he said the media would never be satisfied by testing. You said that's not true. That's a pretty aggressive action by a White House correspondent.

KARL: It is. It is. And it's -- you know, frankly, I don't -- I didn't like to do that, but he -- he -- it was such an outrageous statement that he was making. It was completely not true. I just blurted it out.

And, you know, one of the themes in my book is I say that we have to be careful as reporters not to appear the way he tries to portray us, as an opposition party. But when the president is making such sustained and repeated statements that are not true and that we know not to be true, they've got to be called out. They absolutely have got to be called out.

STELTER: It's job number one.

Jonathan Karl, thank you very much. This weekend would have been the White House Correspondents Dinner.

KARL: I know.

STELTER: But you've rescheduled it for, what, the summer?

KARL: August 29th. And we really -- we really hope it will be able to be there. Kenan Thompson, Hasan Minhaj --


KARL: -- as our -- as our entertainer and host. We really hope it will still happen.

STELTER: Yes, life interrupted. Jon, thank you very much.

Please check out Jon's book. It is titled, "Front Row at the Trump Show", huge "New York Times" bestseller.

Quick break here, but first, a plug for our nightly RELIABLE SOURCES newsletter. Sign up for free right now at This is our nightly digest of all the world and media tech news delivered to you, at

Quick break here on the program. When we come back, CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin is here. She's about to return to the anchor desk after weeks at home suffering from COVID-19. Hear her account and what she learned, next.



STELTER: So many of you CNN viewers have asked me about Chris Cuomo and Brooke Baldwin, and now Richard Quest, three anchors who have contracted COVID-19 who have been battling the virus.

In Brooke's case, it's been several weeks and she's been sharing the experience on Instagram. Let me show you some of the posts that she shared from her apartment. She said that her husband was taking great care of her, but it was a real battle. This was a very, very tough illness.

And there you see, and let's show the video of the finale here, the good news part of the story. That's when she tested negative the other day with that swab. It goes way up the nose. Finally testing negative which means she is cleared to come back to work.

Brook is going to resume anchoring here on CNN on Monday afternoon, 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, but she's with me now to tell us about what the past few weeks have been like. Brooke, great to see you. This swab, what do they call it -- what do they call the swab up the nose?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Like brain tickler because it goes far up your nose.

STELTER: It looks like it.

BALDWIN: I, in fact, I said to my -- to my husband, I would never know -- if I was doing a self-test, I would never know how to shove it that far up but --

STELTER: That far up.

BALDWIN: -- that's what you have to do to see if you're sick or if you're not.

STELTER: So many viewers have asked about how you've been doing. It's been several weeks. So that's a sign of what an experience this is, how hard it is that this takes a long time to recover from. BALDWIN: Yes. And let me just preface this by -- I feel like I was one of the lucky ones. You know, COVID for me did not take a suffocating hold on my lungs. So I didn't have to add to the stress of the doctors and nurses in these hospitals by having to go in and certainly as I've heard from so many people on Instagram, you know, their loved ones being on ventilators.

That said, it was -- it was like going to hell and back, and it could have been much worse. For me, it was two solid weeks of just feeling like crap. And then the final week waiting before I was fully clear to the virus to be able to return to work tomorrow. Everything, Brian, from just really severe body aches, you know, to the point that I have not -- I wept a lot at night. It was this creepy, eerie melancholy that would seep in every night.

And, you know, I'm a glass half full, chemically blessed kind of gal. So all of these tears for me weren't natural, but it just, it took its toll on me I think psychologically in addition to physically. And just when you think you're getting better right after the first maybe week, and I thought, all right, I'm maybe seeing the end of this, day nine, day 10 were the worst days, worst fever spike, worse, chills. It was awful.

STELTER: Do you think you'll approach your anchor job any differently now, now that you're on the other side and you're part of this army of survivors?

BALDWIN: It's such a great question. Of course, I will. You know, I am one of those lucky, not lucky in the sense that I got COVID-19 but that I have been able to recover like thousands have in this country. And so many thousands other are worried so many thousands others have loved ones who are in hospitals, how can I not approach it differently?

You know, I think when I talk to family members who have loved ones who are suffering, how can I not understand it and have that empathy a bit more than another journalist who is fortunate enough not to get it? How can I not when I'm talking to doctors, you know, trying to understand why aren't there more FDA approved antibody tests?

I was reading a piece in The Times this weekend saying that out of like 14 tests, only three had fairly accurate results. Why is that, you know? And I would -- I'll ask doctors about plasma donation. I want to give my blood to people to be able to help others who get sick, is you know -- so hopefully viewers will be watching will understand that I have such a stake in this just like so many, you know, hundreds of thousands of other people.


STELTER: Yes, that's absolutely right. And we are lucky that we still have our jobs and we're able to tell people about this experience. Brooke, thank you so much. We will see you 1:00 p.m. Eastern time tomorrow -- 1:00 p.m. Eastern time Monday here on CNN. Coming up in a moment --

BALDWIN: Thank you. Thank you for being one of my first text when I was sick. I appreciated that.

STELTER: Oh, that's right. Of course. Hey, you know, we're all -- what's the thing, we're all in this together? It's actually true. Actually, the one I've been thinking about lately is when you're going through hell, keep going. It's that old adage. And it sounds like that's what you had to do.

BALDWIN: Thanks to all of you and everyone who reached out. That was my -- the biggest gift of this whole thing was the gift of connection, so thank you.

STELTER: Thank you, Brooke. I'll see you tomorrow. In a moment the Today Show's Carson Daly is here to share his struggles with anxiety in these trying times. And right after the break, surviving Coronavirus, but then laid off from work. We're going to talk with journalists who are on the front lines covering this story, but who were losing their jobs because of the crisis in local news.



STELTER: To understand the catastrophic toll of the Coronavirus, take a look at your local newspaper. Newsrooms across the country are adding more pages for obituaries, adding more writers in order to report out and write these stories.

The Seattle Times this morning launched a special series titled lives remembered. And we're seeing similar features and presentations and papers across the country. But who's writing these obituaries considering the local papers are dealing with pay cuts, furloughs, and layoffs?

This trend in journalism is, of course, mirroring the broader struggles of the economy right now. We know that so many millions of Americans are unemployed due to the virus and the -- and the national emergency is underway. But this just from this week, for example, Univision was the latest to announce layoffs, but they are happening all over the place. And there's a broader crisis in local news that's been going on for years. The pandemic is exacerbating those trends.

So let's talk more about that with Mary Spicuzza. She's a reporter that was furloughed at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I'm also joined by Amy Brothers. She's a multimedia reporter who was laid off from the Denver Post just a couple weeks ago while on assignment covering the virus. And Nikki Vargas is here. She's a travel editor who was laid off while she was recovering from the virus.

Mary first to you in Milwaukee. You've been furloughed, not laid off. Many, many media companies are doing this where they're furloughing staffers, having them take unpaid time off because of economic constraints. What's it been like your newspaper to go through these furloughs?

MARY SPICUZZA, FURLOUGHED JOURNALIST: You know, we feel really lucky to still have jobs. And I think we're all willing to make sacrifices because we care so much about our communities, and we really care about local news. We know and love Wisconsin better than a lot of other folks who might parachute in and we really want to keep doing what we do.

STELTER: Amy, what about you? You were at the Denver Post. You were on assignment when you found out that you were losing your job. And I saw a picture you shared on -- I don't know, maybe actually, Amy's shot might be a little trouble. We'll try to fix her shot on her Web cam.

Let me go to you, Nikki, because you were settling into a new job at a new place earlier this year in January, you tested positive for COVID- 19, and then you lost your job earlier this month. Tell me your -- tell me your experience.

NIKKI VARGAS, LAID OFF JOURNALIST: Well, thank you, Brian, for having me on. And in a word, it's been devastating. I was laid off about a week or so ago. And this comes after having been unemployed for most of last year where I was laid off from a different job as an editor, and it's been very challenging.

I've exhausted my unemployment benefits from last year. And while I qualify for emergency pandemic assistance, as of this interview right now, I can't say for sure if I will get it because I can't get through to the unemployment office and I haven't gotten a response to my application. This compounded with testing positive. It's a tricky time.

STELTER: So many people have those experiences where they're not even able to get through to the right offices. And Amy, we have your shot back. You're in Denver. Your tweet moved me. You posted this a couple weeks ago. You said, "Today was my last day at the Denver Post after five and a half years. I found that I was getting laid off on assignment. But I couldn't cry because you can't get your mask wet and it's dangerous to touch your face during a pandemic." How have you been doing since?

AMY BROTHERS, LAID OFF JOURNALIST: You know, I've been doing all right. I consider myself lucky as compared to some. Yes, it was -- it was pretty devastating to be laid off in the middle of such a breaking news event where so much news is breaking very quickly. And I really feel like the people of Colorado and Denver are doing, you know, really innovative things and they deserve to get their story told as much as people in New York or elsewhere across the country.

So it's hard when you really want to cover like the community and how well they're doing coping and what they're affecting, how are being affected.

STELTER: Right. Three-fourths of the United States Senate has written to the Trump administration saying, buy more ads in newspapers and local T.V. to help them. A lot of House of Representatives members has said the same thing. There's been talked about a local news stimulus. Do you think that those are viable approaches, Amy?

[11:45:12] BROTHERS: Yes, I mean, it's hard because I think this has shown that people do want local news. All of our numbers are up. People are asking us to tell stories, all of those things. And then just, you know, the numbers aren't working with the ad revenue being down.

So just like people are asking you to still support your local restaurants, I think that if companies do have the money to put ads in the paper, that they should do that because we want to continue covering, you know, the people in Colorado. And I'm sure most local people want to continue covering that.

And I think it shows this virus has showed how important it is. The news that's happening right here in Colorado is different than the news that is happening in New York or in Georgia. And you need to know really specific information to keep you and your family safe where you're at. So I think people know that it's important.

So yes, if you can support your local news, I would encourage people to do that. If you can't as an individual or as a company --

STELTER: Yes, and we'll see. Yes, we'll see what the government does or doesn't do. In the meantime, everybody watching can subscribe to news outlets and put, you know, money where those mouths are and help out in those ways. Mary, Amy, and Nikki, thank you all very much.

We'll take a quick break here, unreliable sources and then bring in NBC Today co-host Carson Daly. He's going to join me for a frank conversation about the emotional toll of this crisis.



STELTER: The Coronavirus is a stress test. In the same way that doctors put patients on a treadmill to test their heart, this disaster is a stress test for the economy, for the U.S. democracy, for countries around the world, for hospitals, for supply chains, but it's also something much more personal. It's a stress test for us, for our families, for our neighborhoods, and for each of us individually. For kids, for husbands and wives, for people who live alone, we are all experiencing it.

And I know I'm relatively lucky here, I have a job and my family is healthy and I get to be here with all of you. But this moment is hard on everyone. That's why on last week's program, I said it's OK to not be OK right now. It's OK. It's actually good to be vulnerable right now. We should talk about these things with each other, and online, and on T.V.

And in response, you all sent me thousands of e-mails and messages. I have never seen my inbox blow up like this -- like this before. So I just want to share a few of the messages with you. Brad said, it's OK to feel sad for our kids and scared for our parents. Tracy wrote, it's OK to be sad, afraid, and angry all at the same time.

Scott wrote, it's true I am not OK. I'm so worried about losing my house. Leslie wrote, I lost my job last week. I feel like part of my identity has been taken away. She said, I've been burying my feelings trying to appear OK. You don't have to do that, Leslie. Here's why. This message is from Dave. He wrote to me, it is OK not to be OK because no one is OK right now. That's the one thing we all have in common. No one's OK. That's exactly right.

Joe wrote to me, I always thought I was built for this. But it's been a rude awakening, a spiraling feeling of loss and have no control. So I do my part and I stay at home. And that's right. There's always something we can do.

So finally, this message from Jennifer. I'm not OK, she said. I'm quite frankly pissed off. She said, I'm just playing angry. This world's been turned upside down and inside out. Jennifer said, no, we're not OK, but I know that in time, we will all be OK together.

I think that's right. So thank you to Jennifer and everyone else who wrote in. You can always e-mail me at I know there are better days ahead. I just don't quite know when. So let's talk more about the emotional toll of all this with Carson Daly. He's the host of the Today Show and host NBC's The Voice. He's joining me now. Also, the father of a one-month-old Goldy. What was it like Carson, first of all, to have a baby while having to have a mask on at the hospital? Was it like for you and your wife?

CARSON DALY, HOST, NBC NEWS: It was pretty crazy, Brian. Thanks for having me on and thank you for speaking up, man. I love what you had to say publicly about the way you're feeling. That's really important.

It was bittersweet. It was obviously -- she's named Goldie because she is the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow. Meaning, hopefully, we're done having children. She is our fourth. And she was great. I mean, I have to give all credit to my wife.

We live on Long Island, so we went to North Shore. I dropped my wife off the night before she was having an induction and I couldn't go in so, you know, it was pretty gut-wrenching leaving your pregnant wife at the valet parking to check herself in. So she showed a lot of courage as did, of course, all the healthcare workers there.

So the experience was pretty crazy with the masks. And I could only be there for the delivery, then I was out. She slept there alone. There were COVID-19 patients, obviously, the wing where we were. So it was harrowing but, you know, when you see through all of that, you know, a baby come out on the other side, and it's been a nice warm welcome distraction, actually.

STELTER: Yes. Brightness at a time of darkness. You've spoken for a couple of years now about anxiety. You recently talked with Prevention Magazine about your experiences. Is it different now? How are you coping during this crisis?

DALY: You know, it's a crazy time for everybody, like you mentioned. And anxiety is different for everybody. It works in different ways. For me, I've had panic attacks and had to struggle with my anxiety in places and times in my life when you would think you'd be at your most secure and you're happiest, but anxiety doesn't really work like that.

So these times are -- for people who are mildly anxious, we're all probably -- our beakers are filling over with anxiety into panic. And it's just one of those things where I think you have to talk. You got to keep -- like you said, you said it really great. And Jennifer said it too when she said, it's OK to be pissed off. It's OK to be -- we have to start talking about it.

Once your feelings and your emotions are quarantined inside, that's the worst thing you can do. Simply talking helps a lot.


STELTER: So what do you say to people who can't let it out, who are afraid to let it out? How do you encourage them?

DALY: Well, I think they -- when they -- you just say, listen, you know, people ask me all the time what are some tips, like what do I do. So I -- when this whole quarantine thing started, my mind races. That's part of my thing. I need structure, right, so I need to focus. I need to go from like lily pad to lily pad mentally so I don't get caught in a compound worry sequence of events that can really trigger bad things for me.

So creating a schedule is big for me. We get up with the kids, we do schoolwork. Faith-based things, whether you meditate. I'm Catholic. We watched mass on T.V. every day. Prayer, breathing, those are all great things. Red wine, I highly recommend. Fire, candles, that does it for me to have a little bit of flickering flame that helps me.

Reggae music is huge for me. I've listened to Bob Marley for literally six straight weeks. So those are the things that bring my anxiety down and maybe they'll help you.

STELTER: This is so helpful for people to hear. It's day by day. Every day we're a step closer to being at the end of this. Carson, thank you very much for sharing. Thank all of you for tuning in. We will see you back here this time next week for more RELIABLE SOURCES. Hang in there.