tv Reliable Sources CNN July 29, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PDT
well, the international olympic committee recognizes a number of countries the u.n. doesn't. american samoa, aruba, bermuda athe cayman islands, hong kong, even palestine. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." remember how the media went wild over barack obama's overseas trip four years ago? mitt romney is getting a very different reception for his visit to london with the british press ridiculing him for a gold medal gaffe. >> i picked up a copy of the tabloid "the sun suhe sun" this look at the headline, "mitt the twit." the gun control debate explodes in the media in wake of the colorado movie massacre with pundits accusing each other of exploiting the tragedy. >> the left wing and gun control advocates are wasting no time politicizing the tragic shooting in colorado. >> when a mass murderer uses
100-round ammunition clip to kill and wound as many people as he possibly can, our government believes that we should do nothing. >> are the media inflaming the issue? plus, with the london olympics underway, nbc news pulls out the stops to promote the network's coverage of the games. >> back here in london with tower bridge lit up so beautifully behind us, with less than 24 hours to go now until the opening ceremony -- >> is this promotion in the guise of news? we'll talk about that and more with veteran sports writer frank deford. i'm howard kurtz, and this is "reliable sources." it's becoming standard practice for a presidential candidate to buttress his dippic credentials by meeting with world leaders when candidate obama did it in 2008, all three network anchors flew overseas to
interview him. [ applause ] >> i'll be reporting next week from the middle east. we'll have the first one-on-one interview with senator obama. >> the coverage of mitt romney's visit to britain, poland, and israel turned sour as he was arriving in london. when the visiting american offended the brits by expressing concern it security plans for the olympics, well, reporter and pundits were quick to give him a failing grade. >> what weather romnromney answ unbelievable, beyond human understanding, incomprehensible. i'm out of adjectives. >> he did it. after a day in london, the british press is actually saying mitt romney is worse than sarah palin. >> was this a major international incident or something that was pumped up by the press? joining us in washington, ryan luza, correspondent for "the new yorker" and cnn contributor. jim garretty, contributing editor at "national review." and kelly goff, contributing
editor at loop21. i'm going to be contrarian. mitt romney tells brian williams about disconcerting things about the security preparations for the games. he didn't say anything that wasn't in the british papers, and nbc didn't even use the initial sound bite because it didn't consider it particularly newsworthy. >> classic, classic michael kinsly gaffe. he said something that everyone else was saying, soming that was the truth. but if a politician says it gets you in trouble. remember, the british press has an outrage machine the likes of which we do not understand in the united states. and they have a hair trigger for the -- someone from outside of the u.k. offending them. and so, you know, this was a british press -- this was driven by the british press. i don't think the american press would have picked up on it unless we saw those headlines over there. unless we saw the outrage that the british -- >> a the -- >> the street generated. >> let me come back to historical perspective from kelly goff. you saw the coverage, we sought
coverage of obama in '08 when he went overseas. it's hard to see the same approach. >> no, i will say we have to keep in mind that there were specific reasons why the coverage was slightly different, howard. for one, if you remember at the time that then-senator obama visited in 2008, polling showed that the british public overwhelmingly wanted troops out of iraq. since that was the centerpiece of his campaign, there was a level of jubilation and sort of the red carpet being rolled out for the then-senator with this idea that he would help support all of these troops coming home. and so that was part of the focus of the coverage. then you had his speech in berlin, and that sort of solidified his international rock star status. you know, when you compare the coverage, it's not entirely a fair comparison because i think there are specific reasons why some of the international press was a little more excited that president obama was coming. >> jim garretty, i disagree with ryan to this extent. i think if the british press said nothing, the american press is on gaffe patrol and would have called romney out on this. he did spend a couple of days trying to walk back his remarks about security preparations and
some conservative commentators said he royally screw tupd. >> he gave -- screwed it up. >> he gave the mayor of london the excuse to say, this terrible american company -- we're not ready. one of the sishs they were 6,400 secure personnel short weeks before the election. the british press of beating the hell out of the security contractor saying this is an issue -- wait. that's our job. not your job -- >> why is the false setting of at least the american coverage that this was a really dumb thing for mitt romney to do if, in fact, what he said was basically true? >> because we're -- we have a hay trigger for outrage. basically peeg e people a-- peo for it. romney campaign said you didn't do it -- everybody who's rooting against romney needs something else. this was the most convenient, you know, raw tomato to throw at him in the circumstance. >> he said something that was true that -- we should stipulate. what romney said was true. it was disconcerting, that the brits weren't ready or had
security issues. as one -- >> shutting down heathrow -- >> it's rarely mentioned in the coverage. it's romney stepped in. he has a tin ear for this stuff. kelly? >> i was going to say there's more to it than that. we've had this conversation about when stories become part of a larger framework of a narrative that the media set up. they give lesleywles leeway whe stepped in it. people already have this narrative that we wasn't particularly intellectual or bright. with mitt romney, you know, we know he has issues with being aloof. about w being likeable. so this story plays into that, that he can't be polite, when he goes to a foreign country, therefore how could he be a diplomat. it's part of the larger narrative painted by governor romney. >> she hit a point there, it was true but not diplomatic. that's the peg for the press if you want to blow this up -- >> oh, my god -- >> i'm not saying -- i wasn't
very outraged with what he said. >> you know how fox shows deal with this, they didn't deal it with or played it down. obviously if obama had made a similar gaffe, i think it would have been big news on fox. is this the classic issue that pundits get exercise good, that becomes a two, three, four-day flap, and voters don't care about? >> yes. you know, i've actually had a lot of good political scientists studying this campaign, looking at the gaffes, and showing if any of the gaffes or any of the controversies that we cover so religiously, if they are actually moving the polls. so far this campaign they're not moving the polls. >> that's only partially true. it's death by 1,000 cuts. it's true that one gaffe rarely takes out a candidate. a series of gaffes becomes a thing that they go viral, become campaign ads. that's when it ends up making a difference in the campaign. >> jim? >> anyone who's undecided is not paying attention now. >> well, speaking of gaffes, even before romney touched down in london, there was this earlier flap -- kicked off by the british paper "the telegraph" that quoted an unnamed romney adviser saying
that the obama white house didn't understand the shared anglo-saxon heritage between the united states and the united nations. brian williams in that same interview we talked about asked the candidate about this in london. here's what he said. >> what's your reaction to this quote from an adviser of yours in "the daily telegraph" in london? >> first of all, i'm generally not in enthusiastic about adopting the comments made by people who are unnamed. i have a lot of advisers. >> okay. so unnamed adviser, quoted by "the telegraph," and the press pounces on the story. >> look, i agree with romney in this case. it's really, really unfair for a candidate or the president to be nailed by something controversial that an anonymous official who we have no idea who this person is -- like you said, these guys have a lot of advisers. i hate to be critical, but the british press and we have a similar situation in the israeli
press today with an anonymous quote about the obama side, they don't have the same standards we do in the states, all right? and i -- i don't necessarily -- >> you don't have confidence? >> i don't have a lot of confidence that this was his top aide telling the reporter that this is what romney believes. >> yet it hit the media megaphone in the u.s. >> if this is, you know -- stevens or beth meyers, it's a big deal. the copy guy who refills the water bottle, it's not a big deal. also,ing in in the statement said anything about -- racial or ethnic heritage -- it was talking about a -- >> that part -- [ all talking at once ] >> let's let keli in on this. >> we'll disagree. as heavily as the question on was covered no matter who said it, all the announcers left out the fact that president obama has his own anglo-saxon heritage. half english and half welsh on his mother's side. that gets lost in these conversations and in the coverage, frankly. in terms of -- i agree with ryan that there's a real problem here when you're going to use an
anonymous source for something this controversial. i think that goes for both campaigns. >> you know, i'm listening to you all talk about both of these incidents, and it sounds like -- >> we're being reasonable, aren't we? >> you may be reasonable, but it sounds like the press is driving stories that you all agree in one form or another, either not very important, flash in the pan, based on unnamed sources, hyped up by the brits. not a terribly impressive performance. >> i would say that the american press had every right, though, to cover the british press' outrage over the -- you know what i mean? >> even if it's utterly manufactured? >> basically, yeah. he's going over there, and you're basically -- you're covering this as a foreign story, and the story is local press absolutely bananas over this comment. that's a story. >> by the way, the other story you referred to appeared this morning in the israeli newspaper, unnamed u.s. official, again, unnamed, quoted as saying that president obama's national security adviser had talked to prime minister benjamin netanyahu about contingency plans to attack
iran. that is being denied by israeli officials. conveniently timed for mitt romney's visit. regime n israel, going to give -- romney in israel, going to give a speech. cnn will carry that. before break, i want to mention all over twitter i'm seeing talk about a fake op-ed piece by former executive editor of wikileaks. keller himself tweeted this is not him, please don't pay attention. other people re-tweeted, meaning they sent it out, including another "new york times" columnist. goes to show you can't believe everything you read on line. when we come bark the "washington post" says mitt romney is losing the like able sweepstakes cd that matter? ♪ this is our pool. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide. you have your idea of summer fun, and we have ours. now during the summer event get an exceptionally engineered mercedes-benz for an exceptional price. but hurry, this offer ends july 31st.
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"washington post" has a piece out by karen tumelte which she writes about mitt romney, americans don't like him as well as they do barack obama. citing a 60% to 30% divide on the likability question. in the "usa today" poll. keli, the president not wild about mitt romney either. he's been critical of his personality among other things. >> look, but the only good thing that happened for the romney campaign this week is the girl from "twilight" got caught in a love triangle or there would have been probably hundreds of other articles about the campaign. that took the heat off. we've seen this play out before, the only difference is there was a different leading man, but also from the state of massachusetts and also running for president. a lot of the dhoonchlg romney received in terms of likability is reminiscent to that was kerry -- >> that doesn't make it fair.
>> unfortunately, do you know what the most accurate predictor of the president has been for the last seven elections? the brew test. as in which candidate would you prefer to have a beer with. that doesn't speak particularly well of the western look trat, but -- the american electorate, but that's a fact. we can't entire blame the media for count something that dmounts elections, likability. >> and romney is a mormon and doesn't drink beer, but point taken. romney doesn't help himself with the relationship with the press. he's done a round of interviews this morning, we'll see those soon. he reacted to the bad olympic flap in london but talking about -- reporters talked halfway around the world and can't get a pool flrreporter in to the fundraiser. >> if you close yourself off it gives him a reason to dislike him more. i looked to see what was the favor ability ranking of folks in different years.
it's not that much better than romney's doing now. john, 1992, bill clinton had a favor ability rating of 60%. gennifer flowers was going on. bush in 2000, 37%. george hfmt w. bush -- these were not spectacular numbers. midsummer, americans don't like politicians much. >> especial when when you're getting pounded by both sides. both candidates' unfavorable rating up in the latest poll. let me come back to the likability question. is the whole thing overdone by the press? maybe this year the public will want somebody who can fix the economy and doesn't particularly care if it's the most charming person on the planet. >> well, look, i think one of the things holding obama up despite the bad economy is the -- the likability numbers. seems to be giving him a couple more point -- >> this is a legitimate story in your view? >> i think it's legitimate. i think actually because of the polarized electorate, these guys have a very narrow range they operate in. both their approval and their
likability. romney's approval or likability is never going to get that low, at least not in this election because the -- the base of the republican party is going to support him. same with obama. they have a -- a -- >> i've got to go. >> they have a floor. in the 40s. >> it is true that americans like to be comfortable with their president or presidential candidates. i don't think we've heard the last of this. jim, keli, ryan, thank you very much. coming up, in the wake of the colorado movie massacre, are the media playing the same polarizing role in the debate over gun control? and are news outlets focussing too heavily on the deranged shooter? [ mom ] dear chex cereal,
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there was no question that the gun control debate would be high the media's agenda after the movie theater massacre in aurora, colorado. i felt it should be a decent interview of a couple of days while we focused on the victims of this awful tragedy. after the weekend, the decibel level really got ratcheted up. >> predictably far left ideologues are demagoguing the
mass murder in colorado. >> tonight is the night to welcome bill o'reilly to the ranks of the far left loons who want more gun and ammunition control. >> so are the media conducting a responsible debate here? and is the news business lavishing way too much attention on the crazed gunman? joining us in washington, jane hall, former reporter for the "los angeles times," now an associate professor of journalism at american university. and fred francis, former nbc senior correspondent and co-founder of 15seconds.com. fred, we absolutely should have a gun control debate in this country after such a tragedy. not three seconds later, but certainly a couple days later. but some in the media seem to relish shouting over this. >> there's nothing else to shout at now. okay? frankly. look at the way the political campaign is going. it's pretty weak. and then when you see both candidates, governor romney and -- and president obama are running away association far away from this issue so fast as if somebody were shooting at them with an ah-15.
. it draws the attention of the media not because it was so horrific but because there's little to talk about. >> obama has uttered a single sentence about the shooting, maybe two. and romney has stayed away, as well. let's talk about the tone, jane. it's as if the media polarization matches the political polarization. i understand it's a sensitive issue. even when we get to something like should there be a limit on high havana pow high-powered magazines. should this guy have been able to get ammunition through the mail. are we bringing more heat than light? >> pundits are debating if t and are polarized. the straight reporting done by "the new york times" that pointed out that this man did buy 6,000 rounds on line of ammunition, i think we're not getting -- we're not getting enough of how is it that the nra has presumed -- although there's a new story out -- how is it that the nra is presumed to have
a stranglehold on congress? what do the american know? we're reporting as isolated, almost natural disasters. even the facts are in dispute by the pundits when, in fact, there's consensus among the american people that they would like for this to be dealt with as an issue. >> we try in the media to focus on gun control. but there's so many little things that can happen, that can get by the nra, that can get passed in congress to get some grip on this. so many little things that, as an example, what canada does, when somebody buys a gun. they have to have two people vouch for them. little, small thing -- >> i don't think the american people know what kind of gun laws we have on the books. and who the media should probably be doing more reporting about. what are the laws in the books now? >> the phrase gun control is almost inflammatory now. >> it is. >> it gives the impression that we want to take people's guns away, legitimate right to hunt
and defend yourself. when we get into the details of background checks, gun shows, how much ammunition you can get and how much does one person need -- i don't want to paint too broad a brush. good story in "time" magazine, "how guns won," by john cline. it takes about the nra and conception by democrats that is political suicide. >> when i talk about the little things that can happen, 40% of the weapons purchased in this country are purchased through private -- people who you don't have to get a background check. that's his little thing that you could probably get by the nra. listen, i own a weapon. i own an ar-15, okay? i don't mind if there are restrictions on me buying a 100-round magazine. that's a little thing that can get passed in congress. >> on some shows people would respond saying, you're politicizing this tragedy, pushing the agenda. i'm not saying you are. i'm saying there seems to be sniping, for lack of a better words, and excuse me for using that in this context, where anybody who tries to push natfo any change is accused of trying
to exploit the tragedy in aurora. >> i agree with you. i think the media -- publications what who -- "the new york times," they've done stories on the actual facts of how many rounds, who do you get it, who are these gun manufacturers? do nra member even support the right to bear ak-57 -- you know, it's a debate that's happening only on the periphery. it's not being reported. that's my point. >> before we go to break, this story burns so brightly because it was so shocking and heartrending. people going to a "batman" movie. after three, four days, it seems to have dropped off the cliff. you don't see many stories anymore -- >> i think it was dropped back for two reasons. the victims and families pushed back very, very hard in aurora about not coverage. then, of course, we're in the doldrums of summer. >> people would rather focus on the olympics. a story that's depressing. >> i think that the mainstream media are afraid of being
accused of taking sides. i think that is one of the factors here. >> i will agree with you. and i see that right here. i agree. >> i've got to slip a break in. i want to talk more on the other side about the coverage focusing on the man who allegedly did. this we'll be right back. ♪ pop goes the world ♪ it goes something like this ♪ everybody here is a friend of mine ♪ ♪ everybody, tell me, have you heard? ♪ [ female announcer ] pop in a whole new kind of clean with new tide pods... a powerful three-in-one detergent that cleans, brightens, and fights stains. just one removes more stains than the 6 next leading pacs combined. pop in. stand out. [ male announcer ] this is our beach. ♪ this is our pool. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide. you have your idea of summer fun,
the coverage of this awful shooting tragedy in aurora took a sharp turn this week when the alleged shooter appeared in court. >> the flame-red hair, dazed look. in the front row, parents and friends of the victims studying his face. the father-in-law of one of the the victims said he looked demonic. >> doesn't look like a good dye job. looked really weird. dressed in jail garb, a jumpsuit. of course he looks guilty. >> fred francis, i don't think we want to mention the name. feel free to do so if you want. people have a natural curiosity, who is this guy, why did he do. i agree with president obama, the focus should be on the victims. >> i disagree, i'm sorry. we need to know how this guy worked. how did he get what he got? we need to talk about him and talk about his life so we can see what led him to that theater. >> in doing that, the media are giving the sociopaths what they
want, a twisted celebrity. >> you're going to change 250 years of reporting history by concentrating on the victims of this thing? if one family can recognize in their cousin or their nephew or their son this kid in colorado, focusing on him is helpful. >> go ahead. >> i think you can do what the families have asked for. i think cnn and networks have done, to talk about the lives of the people who were lost. i want you to know, i think i'm less interested in his sociopathic behavior than how was a sociopath able to get the guns. i think you can do both. >> that's important, the guns and ammunition. the 6,000 rounds of ammunition through the mail. no background check. >> you have to talk about him and his psychology to get at that. you get into whether he could have gotten them or not. that's not the point. how did he get them, where is the gun -- where are the guns coming from in this country? >> fred, i'm not saying that the guy who allegedly did this
shouldn't be part of the story. what i am saying is because thedmyia like to reduce this -- the media like to reduce this to petersonalities that an almost obsessive focus on this person, we are scrambling for some ratione for how someone could do a despicable act, and there is none. >> you're asking why the story has dropped off the map. you're asking us to concentrate as the victims. as journalists you're asking us to concentrate on those left behind as journalists. after a few days that story goes away. now it's dropped off the map. now we have to concentrate on how he got what he got and what laws we can change to make that not happen. >> the gun control debate doesn't go away unless we choose to pull it back -- >> unless people say it's a non-starter. may not be a non-starter. 's been declared a non-starter. we're not connecting how many incidents, how many mass shootings have there been since gabrielle giffords? there have been a lot. if you see a pattern, you may want a debate in this country about what do we do about it.
>> jane hall, fred francis, thanks for helping illuminate a difficult and sensitive topic. hard story to talk about in light of what happened in colorado. after the break, nbc news is all over the london olympics. is this journalism or corporate promotion? we'll talk about that with frank deford and his colorful career as a sport writer. ♪ why not make lunch more than just lunch?
nbc has paid billions for the right to carry the olympics through 2020. of course it's going to pull out the stops in promoting the games that began this weekend. with matt lauer and savannah guthrie and brian williams having spent much of the week in london, to what extent should that include the news division? >> his easy-going, lighthearted manner may fuel some, ryan lochte has always been a fierce
competitive and contender. missy's family has been there every step of the way. >> good backfloat. >> encouraging her to swim when she was just 2 years old. >> good job. >> devoting much of their lives to helping missy follow her dreams. >> except for some final touches, the olympic park is ready. and the folks in charge of security say they are, too. >> the year of the woman. even before the torch is lit, these olympic games are making history. >> this is a case of journalists trying to build up the athletes. joining us from new york to talk about that and some other sports news is frank deford, senior contributing writer at "sports illustrated," commentator for npr, and the author of the book "over time: my life as a sports writer." good morning. >> good morning, howard. >> basic journalistic question -- is nbc news going too far in using these news programs to promote the olympics? >> oh, howard, come on. i think you can be naive to think otherwise. i'm sure that abc pushes the academy awards that way when
they own them. the proix no different. >> we've got the super bowl, world series. >> yeah. it's no different than a royal wedding. after all, you always have that standard pre-olympic story about the traffic, the local traffic. you goat interview the cabbies. and then, of course, mitt romney dropped from heaven. tone deaf and sensitive and made a real story. and so yeah, it's -- it's fair to have news. "the new york times" has a story about the olympic mall today tipped on the front page. so, you can't expect nbc to be any kind of shrinking violet here. >> nbc, by the way, getting a lot of heat on twitter and elsewhere for editing out of the opening ceremonies which drew about 40 million american viewers in the u.s. commemoration -- >> you should have seen bbc. covering that opening ceremony. i mean, catty kaye, a wonderful journalist and anchorwoman, was
like a giddy person talking about it -- >> prim and proper -- >> nbc, they were subdued compared to the bbc. >> i was going to make the point that nbc edited out of the opening ceremonies a tribute, dance tribute to the victims of the 7-7 lion subway bombings and instead -- london subway bombings and instead ran a ryan seacrest interview with ryan fire departments. heat ov -- ryan phelps. and sometimes we talk too much about an athlete who dedicates the medal to his dying grandmother s. there a sob story as we bring in the personal stories of these olympians that try to appeal to non-sports viewers? >> -- the last few words are exactly it. the olympics are different from all other competitions. they're more spectacular. people's passions are much more devoted to the team sports whether it's soccer in most countries or baseball and basketball and football here.
you're trying to reach a wider audience. another reason to excuse nbc from using the "today" show and its news resources to bring in the big audience. it's -- it's a sob sister kind of sport event. >> well, it does bring in huge audiences by any measure. fascinating to read your memoir and in there you talked about back in the '60s, the editor was worried that you he kept putting black stars, black athletes on the cover he might turn off white readers. >> it wasn't just the magazine that was scared of that. the nba itself and sports were afraid. too many black players are going to turn white fans away. not only was it our magazine who was afraid of that, endorsements -- it was common for the best african-american players not to get endorsements by lesser white
players did. you didn't want your product identified with the black player. you were afraid that that was going to scare, you know, some whites away from your product. it was across the board. no question. >> and frankly, you go a step further -- >> the fear of that. >> if i can quote from your book, you write, "given the existing journal stick mores, a great many white reporter were something of default racists." >> i think that's true. i think that we were going, us white folks were going through a transformational period. we still retained with us, if reluctantly -- and i think we were somewhat embarrassed, but nonetheless it was the case. so some residual racism that, thank the lord, was passing by. one thing about being in sports whether as a -- an official or, in my case, a journalist, is that you got to deal personally
with black athletes. and then that might have changed your opinion. in fact, i think it did with -- with a lot of sports writers. >> you mention -- i don't want to go out on a limb, but i think one of the reasons that beach volleyball may have popularity is the skimpy outfits that the women athletes wear. you mention that the "sports illustrated" annual swimsuit issue, obviously popular, sometimes accused of being sexist. you don't have any problem with it, based on your book. there we see it. >> i -- i don't have any problem in saying that it's sexist. i don't think there's any question about that. i don't think -- anybody is under any illusions. people always come up and say, i know why you have that swimsuit issue. it makes money. yeah. >> okay. >> that's okay. espn, the magazine, now has naked athletes on the cover. they have both male and female. so they're equal opportunity sexes -- >> pushing that envelope. speaking of coverage of female
athletes, you recall when you first wrote about anna kournikova when she was a rising star, only at the time ranked number 15 in tennis. and some women hammered you for playing her up. what was your reaction to that? >> what was her reaction? >> no, what was your reaction to the criticism you got? >> well, i was -- i was not altogether surprised. women are -- and i understand why -- very sensitive any time you talk about the appearance of a woman athlete. you can talk, you can call a male athlete hand some, strong, well built, you can use all those attractive, sex-related words, sexy-related words. but the minute, the second you use one with a woman athlete, they -- there's a certain element that comes down on you and says, all you care about is sex. and of course, that's not true. at that time, anna kournikova was an absolutely phenomenon.
there had never been anybody, male or female, like that in sports. she was a genuine story. the fact that she wasn't the best player in the world didn't mean that she wasn't the best story. >> right. you have been a sports writer for half a century now. you're known as a wordsmith. how much has the decline of newspapers in your view hurt or is hurting the art of sportswriting? >> i think what's missing so much, howard, is the good worldwiding. the long pieces have -- good writing. the long pieces have vanished from the sports pages. >> everyone wants to blog, say something quick, provocative, and punchy, right? >> not only that. i think we've been so overwhelmed by statistics. i mean, statistics have always been part of sports, but it's numbing the number of figures they're throwing at you. we have more numbers than words, i'm afraid.
that, i think, more than anything else has affected sports writing. the irony is, i think that there are more good sports writers than ever before. i think their profession is more respectable. all right for your child, your son or daughter, to be a sports writer than -- when i came in -- >> even before. >> thank you. thank you very much. >> thank you very much, frank deford, enjoyed talking to you this sunday morning. >> you're very welcome. next, veteran japanesem-- v frank cesno. [ buzz ] off to work!
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roadrunner: meep meep. meep meep? (sfx: loud thud sound) what a strange place. geico®. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. with charges and countercharges dominating the campaign, the basic facts can get lost. now george washington university is launching face the facts, using video, online tools and social media to illuminight the issues. joining me to explain the issue is frank cesno, director of public affairs and former cnn bureau chief. what is face the facts? >> what is t says, imagine that, facts going first. before you dive deep, you know some being. we'll take debt deficit, jobs, economy, energy environment, ten facts, within each of the areas. we release one a day starting
tomorrow, 100 days before the election. they'll tweet out, e-mail out. they'll be part of a deeper dive. and maybe, maybe we can put some orienting facts out and start with those. >> are republicans in on this, as well? >> this is bipartisan. republicans, democrats, even people in the middle on our advisory board. and we are aiming to be right down the middle. the facts, the sources of the facts are revealed with every single one of them. can't be "the new york times" says or even howard kurtz says, it has to be right down to where the stuff comes from. >> how do you -- i know you thought about this. how do you break through the static -- >> the political attack ads, media hyper ventilation. some would say this is something the media should do without an outside group? >> we're a cross between public and the associated press. we're philanthropically supported, and whether the league of women voters or the concord coalition, we're putting together guides for parents to sit down around their table at night and talk with their kids. what does it mean to be -- one
out of seven americans is on food stamps? that's a fact. what does it mean that 67,000 bridges in this country are structurally unsound? that's a fact. what does it mean when we have debt? and by the way, china and japan are not the largest holders of the debt. we are. >> whether it's the budget or foreign trade or gun control, facts are often in despite. why should we trust your facts? >> because our facts will come from original source information. we'll be utterly transparent about that because after you look at the fact you can look at the page and see what others are saying. we'll have left, right, center, white papers, academics and others who will weigh in. there are certain facts that are actually facts. what i want to do is turn it on its head and start with the fact. >> forgive me, but it sounds a little pie in the sky in terms of getting attention in a very crowded media marketplace. >> it's very hard to get attention in a crowded media marketplace, and that's part of the problem. part of the problem is that people are buried by information. and so that's why we're here
talking to you. we've got the word out. people can sign up. they can get it. i think that we can have an impact. i really believe that. maybe that's pie in the sky. but we have to try. we have to try. >> as a guy who spent most of his career before he went to the academic world in the music business including here at this network right here, okay, why is it that -- why do we need you? why don't news organizations -- and, you know, there are exceptions here. let's not paint wth too broad a brush. there are statements in the newspapers that try to provide an unvarnished look at the facts. but by and large, your whole premise here is that press isn't doing its job. why is that? >> i think part of it is because press is caught up in the same cycle that the politicians are. it's a vicious cycle of attack and response and horse race of the news media, commercial news media is caught up in circulation and ratings battle so it's a race for the noisiest rather than a race for the brightest. i think that it's an organizational issue. we are going to start with a little 60-second video. think of it as a fact psa.
or an info gracphic. and we'll make sure that things flow from that. we're not trying to put programs together or put together big long pieces. we're going to try to curate and we're building it to be viral. it might hit animation and hit tweet or send. >> you don't have an agenda. >> i don't have an agenda. >> i mean, you'd like -- >> my intention is i want people to start with facts. i want people to see facts first. fact, context, consequence. that's what we talked about. fact, context, consequence. >> we'll check it out. frank secno. >> go there now. >> is this guy a good pitchman or what? still to come, a change at the top for cnn. a "washington post" reporter actually breaks some news. "media monitor" is next.
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monitor." first, in speaking about cnn contributor david gergen last week, i made a mistake. i questioned whether gergen should have mentioned in every cnn appearance that he has had financial dalings with bain capital, mitt romney's former firm. but i used the present tense rather than making clear that gergen has in no connection to the company for four years. i don't agree with every detail of how this was handled, but i do believe gergen tried to do the right thing in disclosing his ties and i regret the error. jim walton, president of cnn worldwide, announced this week that he's stepping down after ten years prompting lots of media speculation about who will succeed him. cnn is launching a search. walton says in a statement he's proud of his tenure but that cnn needs new thinking. that starts with a new leader who brings a different perspective, different experiences and a new plan, one who will build on our great foundation and will commit to seeing it through. and i'm ready for a change. a "washington post" reporter prepared a story on the
collegiate learning assessment. dale devise gave the group a draft, allowed officials to suggest changes saying in one e-mail every detail is negotiable. and he suggested some of the suggestions, softened language. that goes beyond fact checking to letting sources help write your story. "post" editor has now tightened the paper's policy saying such instances will now require approval from a top editor. meanwhile, that "new york times" story on how some reporters for that paper, "the washington post" and other negotiations have been negotiating with obama and romney campaign officials letting them dictate the wording of what's on the record. the associated press, national journal and mcclatchy newspapers have all declared they are banning negotiations over quotes. finally, did "the new york times" bury the lead in the 38th paragraph? that's how long it took the
obituary on sally ride, first woman in space, to mention something the public didn't know. that sally ride was gay and is survived by her partner of 27 years. now, ride had every right to keep her private life private, and there's no reason for anybody to go overboard about this, but the fact that she was in a relationship with a woman for nearly three decades and was using the occasion of her death to come out seems a pretty important fact in summing up of her remarkable life. not something to be tucked into the bottom of a story. that's it for this edition of "reliable sources." i'm howard kurtz. you can check us out on itunes every monday. download an audio podcast. we'll be back next sunday morning 11:00 a.m. eastern. "state of the union with candy crowley" begins right now. i'm candy crowley in washington, and we are just moments away from mitt romney's foreign policy speech in jerusalem.