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One-On-One With Biden Campaign National Press Secretary; Source: Melania Trump Among Those Telling Trump To Accept The Election Loss; Pro-Trump Media's Five Stages Of Grief; Interview With Newsmax CEO, Chris Ruddy; Reckoning With Inaccurate 2020 Election Polls. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 08, 2020 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter. Welcome to RELIABLE SOURCES.
Beginning with breaking news this morning. We know how President-elect Biden is spending his morning after declaring victory. Minutes ago, he arrived at his family church in Wilmington, Delaware. You can see him walking inside with family members.
He has been to church most Sundays. Recently, of course, the press has been following him everywhere. And so, we have these images as he is arriving at church.
We also know what President Trump is doing on his first full day as a lame duck president. Here he is departing the White House and then arriving at his golf club in Sterling, Virginia. He is there for the second day in a row enjoying a beautiful weekend, beautiful weather in the D.C. area. This, by the way, is about his 300th time at one of his golf properties since taking office.
It has been now 24 hours since President Trump, since the networks, all of the networks, and "The Associated Press," declared Biden to be president-elect. It's been 24 hours, still no concession from President Trump.
Now, let's get to RELIABLE SOURCES.
This hour, our long national election night is over. We will talk with reporters who had a front row seat to this history and ask how they are now gearing up for the next four years.
Plus, the pre-election polls. Some were spot on. Others missed the mark. So we are going to get into why with one of America's top pollsters.
And later, new signs that Fox News is still enabling Trump's delusions about the election. What if Trump is about to go off and be a rival of Fox? We're going to talk about that and much more.
Jonathan Karl, Abby Phillip, Jeffrey Goldberg are all standing by in the minutes. But, first, President-elect Biden's pledge to the country and to the world. He is pledging to make America kind again, to make the government honest again. The headline in many of the papers this morning is about his statement that it is time to heal.
But can he do it? Especially at a time of crisis.
On any other day, on any other week but election week, this would be our lead story -- COVID-19 cases resurging, a terrifying spike in the number of daily new cases of coronavirus. We're talking about 126,000 new cases just on Saturday. That's a new record just like we've seen in the days recently.
That would be the lead story were it not for the election. And I suspect it will become the lead story tomorrow when President-elect Biden announces a coronavirus task force.
Now, on Sunday, let's look at the front pages across the country capturing President-elect Biden's moment in history, showing Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris taking the stage in Wilmington. You'll see local papers here as well as national headlines.
Frankly, it's hard to find copies of a lot of print papers in the city today. Here in New York City, we could only find this one so far. A lot of papers are printing extra copies because people want to own this moment in history.
Look at some of front pages here, "Healing America", "It's time to heal". Here is another one. "You're hired," using Trump's old catchphrase, flipping it around for Biden.
And here is another one, talking about this as a seismic change for the nation.
So, let's talk about that seismic change for the nation with T.J. Ducklo. He is the national press secretary for the Biden campaign and he is joining me now from the site of the victory, from Wilmington, Delaware, right now.
T.J., thank you for coming on.
T.J. DUCKLO, NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY, BIDEN FOR PRESIDENT: Hi, Brian. Thank you so much for having me.
STELTER: Same question Jake Tapper asked a couple of hours ago to Symone Sanders. Has the Biden campaign, has the president-elect heard from President Trump yet?
DUCKLO: Well, Brian, we have not heard from President Trump yet.
But, look, I think what President-elect Biden and what our campaign is now focused on is the business of the American people. You heard that from him last night. I know you just mentioned the coronavirus task force that President-elect Biden mentioned will be -- will be meeting, and we'll be sharing more information on that tomorrow, because that's what the American people elected him to do. Now, this country is in a crisis. As you also noted at the top of the
show, you know, cases and deaths continue to rise across the country. You know, this pandemic continues to spread unchecked, and the American people elected President-elect Biden to do something about that.
And so, he is going to move forward with the business of the American people, with doing what we need to do to get this virus under control, and doing exactly what, you know, the 73-plus million people sent him to the White House to do, which is to make people's lives better.
STELTER: Does this moment remind you of 2008 when Barack Obama was elected president in the grips of a terrible economic crisis? The difference now is that Biden's facing both an economic crisis and a health crisis.
DUCKLO: Yeah, look, I think, you know, there is no one better suited for this moment than President-elect Biden for exactly the reason you said. He was a critical part of getting the Recovery Act passed in 2009, Recovery Act which passed with three Republican votes I would add.
You know, he knows how to make government work for people. He knows how to get to Washington, hit the ground running and deliver results immediately. I think that's what the American people wanted when they turned out in record numbers to vote for him in this election.
And, you know, I think that's what our country needs in this moment. You know, it's certainly an exciting time for the president-elect and for our campaign and those folks who fought for him for the last year and a half.
It's an exciting time for the country. I think as we saw last night from his remarks and from Vice President-elect Harris's remarks, you know, these are -- these are leaders who are putting the American people first, who are here to serve, who are here to deliver results.
That is something our country badly needs and we believe that is what -- that's why folks turned out and voted in such record numbers for our ticket.
STELTER: Let me ask you a question about the media and Biden's relationship with the media. Have you and your colleagues talked about what kind of tone you want to set from the beginning, given that for the past four years, President Trump has diminished and derided and demeaned the American media, calling them the enemy of the people? Have you talked about how that new tone will be set by Biden and his aides?
DUCKLO: Well, President-elect Biden believes that the media is a critical piece of our democracy. That transparency is incredibly important. You will remember we opened all of our fundraisers this campaign, opened to press so that folks could see what was going on and what was being said.
He also believes, though, that the media's job is to hold him accountable. He is there to do the people's work. And, you know, he welcomes that relationship. He welcomes their role, the media's role in our democracy.
And I think it will be, frankly, the polar opposite what we have seen the last four years. The media has an incredibly important job to do. President-elect Biden agrees that and believes that, and I think you'll see -- I think you'll see a huge change in the culture, in the way that this White House treats the media.
STELTER: Press advocacy groups like Reporters Without Borders have already said Biden should come out and immediately stand up for press freedom in a very vivid way.
But how do you think he can heal the country? How can he restore trust when there is this alternative universe of information, these QAnon conspiracy theories, this extremist content all over the Internet that's all about voter fraud, and all about crazy conspiracy claims? Has he thought about this information environment that is so poisoned?
DUCKLO: Look, I think when a record number of voters showed up to vote for Vice President Biden and Senator Harris, they voted for truth. They voted -- as the vice president likes to say on the stump, they voted for truth over lies.
And so, look, it's our job to continue to stand up for truth, to continue to stand up for facts. This is going to be a White House with President Biden and Vice President Harris that will put truth and facts first, that always give it to the American people straight. That is something that we've done this entire campaign --
STELTER: And we are going to hold you accountable to that.
But 70 million people voted for a candidate that -- I don't know how all 70 million voters feel -- voted for Trump feel, but some probably feel alienated this weekend, right? They probably feel like lost just like Trump lost. And I wonder if there's any chance that you can pop that information bubble and reach those voters.
DUCKLO: Well, look, that's our job. It's our job to bring the country together. It's our job to help the country heal.
And that's who the American people sent to the White House. They sent someone who knows how to help people heal, who knows how to fight through grief and fight through darkness and get to the light on the other side.
You know, Joe Biden has been doing that his entire career. He has done it in his personal life through unimaginable tragedy, and now, he is going to do it for American people. He is going to go to the White House and help us get through this moment of chaos and divisiveness and darkness, to the light on the other side.
And I think -- I think the country is incredibly proud to have someone like him in the White House. I think the excitement we saw yesterday in the streets all across the country, I think folks are ready for it. That's why they sent him there and that's what he's going with to do.
STELTER: T.J., thank you very much for being here. Great to see you.
DUCKLO: Great to see you. Thanks for having me.
STELTER: Let me bring in three journalists who have barely slept this week. Jonathan Karl of ABC, Abby Phillip of CNN, Jeffrey Goldberg of "The Atlantic".
Before I come to you all, let me read some breaking news we are getting about the president and the possibility of concession. I will read this directly from the D.C. bureau. First Lady Melania Trump has joined the growing chorus of President Trump's inner circle advising him that the time to come -- the time has come for him to accept the loss.
This is attributed to a source familiar with the conversations. She has offered it, this advice. She often does, says the source.
Abby, I wonder how you react to this breaking news, the idea that it's not just Jared Kushner or other members of the inner circle, it's now the president's wife telling him it's time to concede?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brian, as you know, president Trump, his family is the most important factor, I think, for him and a lot of the big decisions that he makes. And so, it doesn't surprise me to hear that this is coming first from his family. And we'll see how much further it goes.
But, yeah, I mean, Jared Kushner and Melania Trump, starting these conversations is important in this process because I don't know who else he would listen to other than the people closest to who him who he trusts. And I don't know that I see his other children, like Eric Trump or Don Jr. doing this kind of work.
So these conversations are beginning, and it's a process. I think it's going to be a process. We may be a ways away from hearing from President Trump still.
STELTER: Right, right. Definitely.
Jeffrey Goldberg, top editor of "The Atlantic", I intended to make this first segment all about Biden. But as is always the case, Trump sucks up all the oxygen, right? Now there is this intrigue about what is he going to do and how long is this going to take. It is a testament of the normalization of his narcissism, right, that this even a topic that we're still talking about.
So, I wonder how you as an assignment editor --
JEFFREY GOLDBERG, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE ATLANTIC: Right.
STELTER: -- leading the newsroom, is thinking about how to cover this moment. We are in kind of limbo, where we know who the next president will be. We don't know what the current president is going to do.
GOLDBERG: Right. On the one hand, the Trump presidency is not over. On another hand, after January 20th, Trump is not going away as a factor we assume in American political life. You know, it might be on January 22nd that Twitter decides to suspend his account, but he'll still -- he'll still find a way to make his views known. Obviously, he did get 70 million votes.
But I do think that it probably, this probably warrants pretty serious conversations in newsrooms about how much attention we pay to the lame duck pronouncements and the post-presidential announcements, pronouncements of Donald Trump.
I mean, what we -- what we ought to do, quite obviously, is cover the pandemic, cover the economic crisis, cover America's standing in the world.
GOLDBERG: These are the actual issues that a lot of these situations were created by Donald Trump and his mismanagement of various issues, but that's what we really need to be focused on.
But, no, he is going to occupy a lot of brain space for some time to come.
STELTER: Jon Karl, how did you balance this? You were on ABC's coverage for days on end? How did you balance the tension, right, knowing that Biden was eventually going to come through, but also wondering what Republicans are going to do, what is Trump going to do?
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, we have 73 days left of the Trump presidency. There are obviously some big questions. The first you alluded to with your question to Abby, what is he going to do by way of concession? Also, how is he going to use that time? Are we going to see a flurry of pardons on the way out the doors? Is he going to try to fire people like Christopher Wray and Mark Esper?
But the way we try to balance it is you've got to talk about Biden. I mean, we have a president-elect now, and there are real questions about what his administration is going to look like. There are real, you know, that's ultimately what's going to matter. I mean, I have no doubt that this Trump show is going to have a series finale that will be filled with cliffhangers and, you know, all of that.
Then I think, frankly, Brian, people will care a heck of a lot less after January 20th.
STELTER: I think that's already started actually to happen. Let's take a quick break here. I want to bring everybody back and talk about the change that's happened in the last 24 hours with regards to the president's words, how much they matter, does anybody care. More with the panel in just a moment.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:18:17]
STELTER: President Trump's first Saturday in office, back in 2017, was consumed by the inauguration crowd size controversy. So his presidency began with a lie about his popularity, and now it is ending the exact same way with lie after lie about his popularity. He is likely to keep tweeting he won the election, but the difference now is that his tweets are getting a lot less attention from the media.
It's almost surreal, isn't it? His lies suddenly have less gravitational pull.
Let me bring back two familiar faces of this election week, Abby Phillip and Jonathan Karl. And "The Atlantic" editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg is also still with me.
You know, we talked about Trump and whether he will concede and all that.
But, Abby, isn't it time for us to talk more about Biden voters and what caused them to go out to the poll in record numbers? There was all this coverage this 2016 about the Trump vote and all these cliche interviews of voters and in diners. Will we see the opposite now?
PHILLIP: I hope so. I mean, I do think that one of the things that happened four years ago was that rightfully we were asked to pay attention to the people who elected the president-elect, Donald Trump. Now we have the opposite situation in which a majority of Americans said they wanted something else. And I think as tempting as it is to always center our reporting around only a certain segment of the population, particularly white working class voters, there are millions of other people who made a very clear statement in this election.
And as reporters, we should spend as much time at least listening to them, too. And I think it's really an important message for the media to -- at the very least give equal weight to these two forces that are speaking up in American politics in this election.
STELTER: Right. Jeffrey, do you think it's fair to say the spell has been broken, Trump's spell on the media, has it been broken as of yesterday when the call was made?
GOLDBERG: What is that journalistic cliche? Too early to say.
STELTER: Too early to say.
GOLDBERG: Remains to be seen.
But I would say, yes. I mean, the salience of this administration goes down by the day, obviously. And, again, just to return to this basic point, there is a subject that we really haven't talked about that much this week for the first time in many, many months, which is the pandemic, which actually is -- well, making peaking and maybe not even reaching its peak yet.
So, you know, my -- my free advice to journalists --
GOLDBERG: -- is to focus on a very different question, which is what is the Biden administration going to do to vanquish the virus? That might be the actual most important question.
And we don't have to pay -- it's true, we don't have to pay as much attention anymore to a president who talked about injecting beach and a president who doesn't believe in masks and a president who makes fun of people who doesn't believe in masks and so on.
So, I think -- I think it's going to be -- I think you're going to picture Donald Trump a little bit more screaming into the wind and not the same kind of forceful reaction. I think it's going to become more and more irrelevant over time.
STELTER: Over time.
So, let's talk about what's new, the incoming administration. Jon Karl, ABC's chief White House correspondent, what can the press expect? What does the press expect from a Biden White House?
KARL: Well, first of all, I have a confession to make about the Trump tweets. I have turned off the notifications on my phone for Trump tweets.
KARL: I actually did that some time ago. They were simply, you know, they are less effective where when there was so many and when they are filled with so much disinformation.
STELTER: I guess I will do it now, Jon. I am going to follow your lead right now. Turn them off.
But about Biden, yeah, go ahead.
KARL: But in terms of the Biden administration, I mean, I thought that you heard from his national campaign press secretary saying the media's job is to hold us accountable. And I think that it will be interesting to see how they do that. One symbol that I think would be very powerful and very important is for the Biden transition to begin immediately to hold regular press briefings. They haven't done that as a campaign. It should happen now.
And it's the media's job to show that we ask tough questions of whoever is in power. We have certainly done that with Donald Trump. Now it's certainly time to do it with President-elect Biden and eventually President Biden. I think regular press briefings.
Obviously, we are in the middle of a pandemic. You know, steps need to be taken to be sure everything is done safely. We've done that actually at the White House.
The safest place at the White House in terms of COVID-19 has been the press briefing room. You have not seen any reporter reported transmission of the virus. It's the one place that has not been a hot spot at the White House. We can have regular press briefings and they should start now with the Biden team.
STELTER: Absolutely agree with that.
Let me ask you, Abby, about the last five days, what this election, this five-day-long election was like since you were on set with Jake and Dana living through this. There was one day you were all on for 12 straight hours, and then --
STELTER: -- got a few hours for a nap.
How much have you slept and what was the marathon like?
PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, not much sleep in the last few days. It's been an intense five days. I think the first few of those days were probably the most intense because of the uncertainty about what direction this thing was heading in.
But be -- and that's almost exclusively because of the rate the votes were coming in. I don't think we've quite been in that position before ,where we just have to -- we, ourselves, have to have patience and urge the audience to have patience with the process.
But there was a time -- a moment in which it was much more clear what direction this was heading in, and that's when you really start to have to pivot to start thinking about what this means for the country and start thinking and preparing the audience are audience for what is going to come next.
So, I mean, I actually think all in all, the media handled itself very responsibly in this process.
And the public, they were with us. I think everybody understood what was going on. They understood what we would be seeing and the shift in some states that might go from red to blue or blue to red, and at the end of the day when the call was made, I think the -- despite what's going on with the president, the majority of this country accepts what is happening and that is, I think, a testament to the system working in a good way.
Abby and Jon, please get some sleep. Jeffrey, please stick around.
Up next here on the program, the "X" factor in all of this, the messaging from right wing media. We're going to take you there in a moment.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:29:19]
STELTER: Democratic celebrations in the streets, grieving on the Republican airwaves. Certainly we have seen the images from New York to L.A. and many cities in between, these mass celebrations of President-elect Biden's victory.
There is, however, the same time, this right-wing media machine that is still promoting voter fraud lies, suggesting that this is going to the Supreme Court and Trump could still win a second term.
Pro-Trump outlets and some of Fox's biggest stars are enabling this alternative reality that claims that Biden is not president-elect, that claims he is not going to be president. And this is happening as we speak.
This is what Newt Gingrich said actually earlier today on Fox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think that it is a corrupt, stolen election. I suspect they're going to try to steal North Carolina next, and Fulton County, Georgia. We believe these people are thieves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: And what did the President do right away? He tweeted what Newt said. He quoted what Newt Gingrich said, spread it out over his Twitter machine. All this stuff, of course, outlandish, unproven, dangerous to democracy. But it continues even 24 hours after the race was called.
Let me bring in Oliver Darcy, CNN's Senior Media Reporter who's been tracking all of this, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and staff writer for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos. He most recently is the author of Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now.
Oliver, what matters in pro-Trump media right now? Is it a tug of war between some hosts, some stars, some reporters who are accepting reality, who are recognizing what's happening, versus others who are in denial? How would you characterize what's happening?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: I think you hit the nail on your head just a moment ago when you said that Fox is enabling and they're encouraging this President's worst impulses. Look, they did this with the Russia probe. They did this with impeachment. They did this with the coronavirus pandemic. And now they're frankly aiming to destabilize the U.S. democratic system, the foundation of our country. They are aiming to destabilize by telling their viewers, suggesting to their viewers that this election was stolen by corrupt deep state Democrats.
And look, Brian, we don't expect much of propagandists like Sean Hannity, right? He is this honest to his core. He knows that. And you can't expect them to grow a conscience overnight. But my question, Brian, is where are the adults in the room? Where is Suzanne Scott, the CEO of Fox News? Is she OK with her host and her commentators going on Fox's air and undermining the foundation of our country, how we elect the President of the United States?
STELTER: Well, let me channel. Let me channel what they would say. Oliver, I know what they're going to say. They're going to say, we are pushing back. Our anchors are pushing back. They're asking for evidence of voter fraud. They're pointing out the evidence isn't there, and they are pushing back on the guests who make up these claims about corruption. That's what Fox would say to you.
DARCY: Look, I watched, for instance, that Newt Gingrich segment earlier today. And he went on there and he peddled dangerous lies, unsubstantiated claims about a rigged election. And you know, there was a brief second of pushback. I think it was like one or two sentences from one of the hosts on there. That does not sanitize what Newt Gingrich just did on fox is air which is dangerous. It is downright dangerous.
And on shows, the big shows like Sean Hannity show, you don't see any of the host pushing back. He's encouraging. He is telling. He told his audience this past week, you should be angry. You should be angry. He is encouraging. He's fanning these flames.
And look, Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch, if Suzanne Scott is not going to do it, maybe they should step in. But it is dangerous. You think Fox News has hit new lows -- new low after low, but then they drill down into the earth, they drill down into the ground and find a new low. And it is -- it is beyond reprehensible. I don't know how to describe it. But if you watch it, you understand that it is -- it is just dangerous, dangerous stuff.
STELTER: Evan Osnos, how will President-Elect Biden navigate this information environment?
EVAN OSNOS, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, it's interesting. The strategy that the Biden campaign has adopted, and I was beginning to hear about this in the planning stages, essentially, even before Election Day was look, if it becomes clear that President-Elect Biden has won this race, what they're going to say and they are saying is, look, the law is clear here. The vote counts are clear. The only source of confusion is coming from the outgoing president, Donald Trump.
And what they did not want to do and so far, have not participated in is being drawn into the invention of a dispute to say that there is one where one doesn't exist. They're moving ahead. Their plan is essentially to convey the sense of inevitability at this point, and don't allow this to become stagecraft, that serves Donald Trump's personal ego and his political purposes.
STELTER: Right. Right. And I think that's the right strategy for the -- for the Biden camp. I do think at same time, we should all recognize that there is election denialism going on. There are crazy conspiracy theories out there being read by millions of people. Tens of millions of people are seeing this stuff on fox news about voter fraud, and it is real. And election denialism is real and it has to be called out although I understand why the Biden campaign is trying to move past it. Alright, Evan, stay with me. Oh, sorry. Evan, go ahead.
OSNOS: I was just going to say, their posture is what I would call sort of vigilant reassurance to say, look, there are grownups here. They happen to be on our side of the aisle. We're doing this, but we're not pretending there is not a serious dispute and a serious effort to undermine public confidence so they're waging as active battles they need to in the courts and then being above it all in the public opinion.
STELTER: I see. Right. By the way, since Oliver is here, a quick plug for our nightly newsletter, RELIABLE SOURCES' The Newsletter. Sign up right now at reliablesources.com. A quick break here on the program. Chris Ruddy, the CEO of Newsmax is standing by for a talk about Trump T.V. That's next.
STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter. Let me bring in one of President Trump's friends and maybe, just maybe a future competitor. Chris Ruddy is the founder and CEO of Newsmax, a conservative print magazine and cable news channel.
Chris, talking about a future competitor inside of Trump T.V. We'll get to that in a moment. But first, it's been 24 hours. Why has President Trump not called President-elect Biden and conceded?
CHRIS RUDDY, CEO, NEWSMAX MEDIA: Why don't you call me a future business partner?
STELTER: I'm gonna get to that as well in a moment. But have you talked to the President this weekend? What do you do know what he's thinking, the insight?
RUDDY: So, I did speak to him this week and I can tell you that he is not interested in conceding at this time. Newsmax has not called the election for Joe Biden not because we support Donald Trump, because we support democracy. Every vote should count, Brian.
You have two or three states of the contested states are less than one percent, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania is half a percent difference. Georgia's a quarter percent difference. Most election runoffs and recounts take place with a five percent margin. This is well close. These are -- Hillary Clinton said last August that --
STELTER: Chris, every vote counts. Every vote is being counted. That's not the question. The question is, the decision desk know that mathematically, this is over. Do you have a decision desk? Do you have statisticians there who are crunching the numbers yourself? RUDDY: We use Decision HQ for our data, but I can -- I also --
STELTER: And they called it. They called it days ago.
RUDDY: I'm listening to Hillary Clinton. She said in August that Joe Biden shouldn't concede under any circumstances.
STELTER: That's just trolling. You're just rolling. Newsmax hasn't called because you're trying to appease Trump. So, you mentioned a possible business partner. Do you want to partner with him for Trump TV?
RUDDY: I certainly would love to have Donald Trump on Newsmax a lot whether he's president or not. I think he's great television ratings. I mean, this guy, 15 years TV star in Apprentice, nobody has a hit show for 15 years. Look at the crowds he draws. He is very great TV personality. I think he's great to have part of Newsmax and we're certainly looking forward to having him on.
STELTER: When you spoke this week, did you all talk about this possibility?
RUDDY: No, we didn't, but we did talk about Fox News and he's very disappointed in Fox News at very crucial moments. The debate Chris Wallace is moderating was terrible. It really hurt, I think, the President. And then, you know, they call the election.
They called Arizona with 14 percent of the vote in. Many other networks never called it. Meanwhile, they wouldn't call Florida for hours. Why? What was going on at Fox News that they didn't want to give the president the sense that he was winning or had the potential shot of winning?
STELTER: Fox has a great decision desk. I respect their decision desk. They don't -- they don't -- they don't do it like that. They don't play games like that, Chris.
RUDDY: I think media malpractice. Let's look at the Fox News poll. It was off by what, eight points? Almost every poll was -- the data coming out of Fox was not good at all.
STELTER: Yes, we're going to get into polls, but the Fox -- the Fox polls are scientific. They were trying their best. You had a headline on Newsmax's television network last night saying Jeanine Pirro has been suspended from Fox News. Fox News flatly says that is not true. I've been texting with the head of P.R., she says it is not true. Where you're coming up with that bogus information?
RUDDY: We never said -- we said her show was suspended for the night.
STELTER: No. The banner on screen -- the banner on screen said Jeanine Pirro was suspended. And on the homepage of newsmax.com right now, or minutes ago -- well, you changed it. It had a headline about Pirro saying she's been suspended.
RUDDY: Look, Jeanine Pirro, just go to Newsmax and check it out yourself. We have the story. Jeanine Pirro's show was supposed to go on. She was going to make a very strong supporter of the president talking about vote fraud. They did not want that show to air. And Jeanine Pirro has not said that the story is bogus.
STELTER: OK, that's an interesting hint. You're implying that perhaps there's a dispute between Pirro and Fox. I don't know if that's true. I know that our show is preempted just like a lot of shows because Biden was speaking last night. You all cut Biden off. Is your strategy to go to the right of Fox News in the -- in the Biden era?
RUDDY: Look, The Nielsen rating out showed we had three million people tuned into Newsmax TV. We're on every major cable system in the country. We had another three million on OTT devices that Fox is not on. We are now a major player in cable news. And we just beat on Wednesday CNBC and Fox Business. The ratings --
STELTER: So, if you're a major player in cable news, you've got a responsibility to stop airing this bogus voter fraud stuff. Here are a few clips that we caught from this weekend, Diamond and Silk and others on your network. Let's watch.
RUDDY: Are you going to apologize --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK MORRIS, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: This is all the setup. The Democratic Party plans for this.
RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL ATTORNEY OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: This is a state where particularly Philadelphia is a place where voter fraud is a profession.
DIAMOND, VIDEO BLOGGER: This is a fraud, you all. I don't care who's looking at this. I don't even care what side of the aisle you're on. This is a straight fraud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Why is this election denialism airing on your network, Chris?
RUDDY: We have all points of view. We have all sorts of political points of view. We have liberals, we have conservatives. You know, CNN and other networks have Republican commentators, most of whom endorsed Joe Biden. Do you think that's fair? 90 percent of Republicans, Brian, voted -- at the exit polls voted for Donald Trump, and yet most of your Republican commentators supported John Kasich.
STELTER: They are reality-based. They recognize that Trump has lost. Your commentators are promoting bogus voter fraud lies.
RUDDY: Don't believe you, don't believe me, just watch Newsmax and make your own judgment about how fair we are.
STELTER: No, I think this is important. These alternative realities are very important to understand that there is this competition. Honestly, Chris, I think media-bashing is going to get a lot worse. All of Trump's lies about the media, I think it's actually going to get worse in the next four years, because some Trump voters are even more alienated now, and are going to be even angrier at the media. And it sounds like you want to tap into that.
RUDDY: Well, I think you're inciting the anger when you decide that Joe Biden, not the American electorate through the Democratic process --
STELTER: The voters decided. We see what the voters decided. That's what the data shows.
RUDDY: (AUDIO GAP) certified result yet across the country of 50 states. You decided -- half the country voted for Donald Trump at least. And I think we should let every vote be counted. Why are you rushing? When Al Gore had his recount --
STELTER: No one is rushing. It took five days. It took forever, right?
RUDDY: With Al Gore, you didn't project -- you didn't project Gore or Bush the winner until mid-December in the year 2000 election. So, why should we be rushing?
STELTER: Very different circumstances, very different models. But Chris, I do appreciate you coming on. I think this is important. As much as all the headlines say, President Biden, there is this alternative universe of information out there. And I appreciate you coming on.
RUDDY: Let's count every vote, Brian.
STELTER: Chris, thank you. Every vote is being counted. Biden continues to advance in the popular vote total. He's going to break records in the popular vote. It is taking a while to count votes in states like California, which means we don't know how right or wrong were the polls. We're going to get into that with a pollster in just a moment.
STELTER: What went wrong with the polls this year? Or to put it another way, how much went wrong and why? Clearly, some state-level polls really missed the mark. And the President's allies are seizing on that fact to try to discredit the entire profession and make you believe nothing you hear from the media or from pollsters.
Complaints are swirling. Let me show you some of the polls that -- here are some examples. People are asking, why were the polls so wrong? So, let me show you some examples of what went right and what went wrong. Clearly, some state-level polls missed the mark in terms of how well Biden was going to perform. The best example is out of Wisconsin. There was a poll that showed Biden winning by 17 points. And right now, he's winning by less than one point. Now, obviously, some votes are still being counted. We have to wait
for these numbers to settle out before we know exactly what went right and wrong. Clearly, there were some polls that really were spot on. Look at this one in Iowa, showing Trump up seven. Right now, he's up eight. And you see Texas, Georgia, other polls were right as well.
But let's zoom in on that Iowa poll because Ann Selzer is the famed pollster, the president of Selzer and Company behind that accurate result in Iowa. And Evan Osnos, the Biden biographer, is also back with me. But, Ann, do you first -- this idea that the polls were wrong. I've heard on Fox all week decided that the polling industry should be blown up. How bad was it really?
J. ANN SELZER, POLLSTER: Well, there were certainly some polls that did get it wrong. And the worst sin would be to call the wrong winner. Polling is a science of estimation, so it's always going to be a matter of degree to which you get it right, to which you get it wrong. But there are polls that did, in fact, get it right.
The thing I wonder about, Brian, is there's this thought that the polling -- the polling is like a commodity. It's that you can interchange. That it's just sort of, you know, one mass way of what the polls are doing. Each pollster has their own approach, and so far, mine has worked for me.
STELTER: It definitely has. We can see that. Is it because you're doing something differently to reach Trump voters, shy Trump voters?
SELZER: We had nothing in the way that we constructed our -- either our sampling method or our questioning and to go after that. But my approach is to let my data reveal to me what's happening. So, there's perhaps less on my part, as the principal investigator, of deciding ahead of time what the electorate looks like and what it doesn't look like.
I know that they're pollsters, there may not be a lot of them, but they're plentiful, so there are a lot of them, that poll backwards. They sort of look at past elections to model what this future electorate is going to be. My method is to pull forward and allow my data to show me what is likely to happen. And then I trust my method, I trust my data. We publish unpopular results. We are outliers sometimes, but so far that has worked for me.
STELTER: I know. Some folks didn't believe your numbers when they came out right before the election. You mentioned the word trust. It's the most important word. Do you see any data in your polling that Trump voters can be brought back to trust institutions?
SELZER: Well, I can't say we've pulled exactly on that, but we will be going forward. We're interested in that. What we did not see in our data were a lot of defections from Republicans crossing over. You had about almost equal amounts of Republican saying they were going to support Joe Biden as Democrats saying they were going to support Donald Trump.
The difference is really in people who self-identify as independents. And they're -- that's the swing group. That that can change. I don't know how much change you can have in this polarized electorate to bring people toward the middle who aren't already inclined to go there.
STELTER: That's why, Evan Osnos, you get the last 30 seconds here. Biden is pledging to try to unite this country. All I see are deeper and deeper divisions, crazy conspiracy theories, alternative realities of information. How can Biden do it?
OSNOS: You know, if you listen to his speech, he wasn't saying unity is easy, unity is inevitable. What he said was that polarization and unity are choices. Fundamentally, we make choices about how divided we want to be. And his basic idea that runs through his career is don't assume that the other person is intractably opposed to you.
That's the only basis from which you can begin to make any headway. And he's done it in the course of his career. Let's not pretend this is not easy. But assuming it's impossible is the first step to giving up.
STELTER: Yesterday, I invited over some new neighbors. I had no idea how they voted. I was kind of nervous how it was going to go. But we had a really fun socially distance conversation. And I'm not claiming that's going to solve everything because this country is very divided and communities are very integrated, right? Communities are very -- everybody votes the same way. But maybe if we try to talk to each other a little bit more, maybe we can help a little bit, a little bit.
All right, I'm trying to end on a hopeful note. Thank you, Ann. Thank you, Evan. And thank you all for joining us on this televised edition of RELIABLE SOURCES. We will see you back here this time next week.