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tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  December 22, 2013 8:00am-9:01am PST

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approval ratings were at 87%. that is behind only the two bushes, george w. bush in the aftermath of the september 11th attacks and george h.w. bush after the gulf war. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i'll see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." >> did you hear about the "duck dynasty" controversy yet? how could you have missed it? here's a better question. did phil robertson's comments about homosexuality deserve so much discussion? and "60 minutes" facing a third round of criticism and clock is ticking for american correspondents in china. will they be allowed to stay in the country? we'll have that and a revealing interview with the ceo of politico and we'll be talking about this tweet that started a social media witch-hunt this weekend.
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it's time for "reliable sources." good morning. welcome to a freakishly warm washington. there were a lot of big stories this week. congress passed a budget. the stock market reached record highs, a roof collapse on a packed london theater, a federal judge said nsa's bulk collection of our telephone records was likely unconstitutional and the government continued to stone wall reporters who keep asking why the pentagon launched a drone strike that killed innocent people in yemen. those stories barely stood a chance against this. >> "duck dynasty" star phil robertson making comments.
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>> the home of "duck dynasty" has declined all of our interview requests this week. before i bring in our panel, i want to let you know i have an unusual relationship with a & e. lifetime is developing a movie based on a book i made about morning tv. so far i've had no contact with lifetime about the movie but i will in the future. keep that in mind as we go forward and if you think i'm being unfair, let me know. let's get to it. joining me in new york, an anchor for arise tv and we have a political reporter. >> was it the most important story of the week? important at all? >> of course not. this is clearly not the most important story of the week. guess what? it's a slow news week. we're in the holiday season and nothing is better than a faux scandal to generate faux headlines. >> you don't think we should cover nsa revelations or drone strike in yemen instead?
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>> why cover that when you can talk about phil robertson's racist rants? who cares about national security? >> you're channeling news editors and producers so well right now. is that how it works here in this town? >> it's not the most important story of the week. i think it taps into a nerve about the culture wars. i think people on both sides of the aisle felt strongly about this. from a conservative standpoint, this taps into concerns about liberal media bias. there was a politico breakfast where a lot of journalists sort of conceded that the media has a lot of liberals and few
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hunters. this misses the point that a lot of average americans share those viewpoints that homosexuality is a sin. part of that got him trouble and people of faith from around the world, the dalai lama would share those viewpoints but you wouldn't know it because of the way the press covered this. >> a column that was written that said story provided profound psychological satisfaction for both sides in the culture war. sounds like you agree with that. >> if you are a progressive secular person and you view this as yet another example of some red neck bible thumper who is intolerant. if you are a conservative, you see this as someone who is being punished for expressing a pretty conventional orthodox christian viewpoint and part of the industrial outrage machine trying to take down someone else and by the way when eminem or
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tracy morgan can get away with saying things that actually -- or alec baldwin, his homophobic sl slur, i understand the outrage but this is a personal viewpoint. >> this is from "snl" and seth myers. they mentioned "duck dynasty." >> we learn that you can judge a book by its cover. a large number of conservatives on thursday criticizing a&e for suspending phil robertson for anti-gay comments including ted cruz, glenn beck and governor bobby jindal or as they are collectively known, dork dynasty. >> you wrote a great story about intersection of politics and reality tv. why did we hear from people like bobby jindal on this? >> i think what we're seeing is politicians increasingly becoming more savvy about pouncing on these cultural moments.
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we saw this with chick-fil-a issue last year in which everyone tried to pile on on both sides to take ownership of the issue. in this case bobby jindal and ted cruz and sarah palin, all wanted to get in early and make it clear to evangelical christian voters they thought this was outrageous and they recognize for those voters, this isn't just a flack about reality tv star pushed aside on his show. this is much deeper for voters which is the sense that if you hold a biblically based point of view that homosexual behavior is wrong, you are being asked to keep your views silent. as gay marriage gains steam across the country, a lot of voters are becoming increasingly anxious about where they stand in the culture. >> who would have thought that "duck dynasty" would bring this to the surface. you used to write about television before politics. it seems like they had no choice but to suspend him but here's
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outrage. >> i heard speculation it was a plot to drive up numbers. i think media critics have made the point there's a bit of cultural opportunism here. do they want to show them in all of their unvarnished opinions. i think that's a serious question for the network. when you actually do a reality show and you are purporting to let people be who they are on television, are you letting them say their opinions? >> a & e is in a precarious position right now. this is the biggest show on their network. 14 million viewers tune in every week to watch this family. they are the hillbilly cosbys they can't afford to lose this golden duck. >> on screen we say fall of "duck dynasty" with question mark. could it mean the end of the show? >> not at all in fact. i think phil robertson will have to go to sensitivity training or
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meet with group leaders from various communities. the black community. gay community. i think this show will keep going as long as the "duck dynasty" continues to drive ratings, phil robertson and clan are here to say. >> a&e right now christmas week are showing a marathon featuring phil robertson. they are trying to cash in on this. i would say -- >> would you call it exploitation or normal television programming? >> it's capitalism at work. it's more outrageous they are going through this sort of hand wringing in the process of bowing to political correctness. i think we should encourage diverse opinions and debate. i think this stifles it and notion he would have to go to some sort of sensitivity training i think would -- i don't think you'll get phil robertson to go to sensitivity training. >> if he goes, they should
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televise it. here's the situation, brian. no one wants to find themselves in a paula deen-like fiasco. no one wants to see sponsor drop off that quickly and that aggressively. so of course they're going to try to get in front of this. >> to that point, i want to mention i think it's very striking that there's been much more attention paid on his remarks about gays and less on his remarks about african-americans. he made some pretty provocative comments about how great life was for african-americans. >> i can assure you that the post is better. >> i do think that shows a specific political motivation at work on both sides as you mention. everyone is trying to make the most of that issue focusing on his offensive comments about african-americans provides less of a margin for everyone in this story. >> thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you. >> coming up, first it was
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benghazi and then amazon and now a story about the nsa. has "60 minutes" derailed and can this news magazine get back on track? that's next. once upon a time, an insurance clerk stumbled upon a cottage. [knock] no one was at home, but on the kitchen table sat three insurance policies. the first had lots of coverage. the second, only a little. but the third was... just right! bear: hi! yeah, we love visitors. that's why we moved to a secluded house in the middle of the wilderness. just the right coverage at just the right price. coverage checker from progressive.
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welcome back to "reliable sources." another bad week for "60 minutes." i love the news magazine and so do millions of other viewers but it is struggling with bad publicity generated by the report on the benghazi consulate attack which relied on testimony from a discredited witness. the report was shamed again this week when it was given error of the year award. the show looked to bounce back with a report that took an unprecedented inside look at the nsa including an interview with the agency's director, general keith alexander. >> full disclosure. i once worked in the office of the director of national intelligence where i saw
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firsthand how secretly the nsa operates. general alexander agreed to talk to us because he believes the nsa has not told its story well. >> we need to help the american people understand what we're doing and why we're doing it. >> it was a puff piece that left many important questions about the nsa's mass surveillance unasked. "wow, "60 minutes" piece about nsa was just embarrassing. kudos to nsa communication staff. you guys should get a raise." joining us a ryan lizza and michael, senior media reporter for huffington post and, ryan, let's start with that tweet. i wasn't watching "60 minutes" so it was your tweets that made me curious. why a win for nsa and a loss for
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viewers? >> the reciporter who did it number one. nothing wrong with that experience who is now obviously a journalist doing the report, right? he's got access. he's got knowledge of the system. you have to judge it by final product and if you're going to have someone who has a conflict of interest like that do the report, it has to be tough. we're in the middle of a massive debate in in country about privacy and security and the entire piece was a one-sided show for the nsa to get their message out with not a lot of pushback on some of the pr that came out of the mouth of the director of the nsa. >> were you surprised we heard from no outside voices in that piece? >> it was strange. afterwards in the cbs overtime john miller says they went to outside critics and factored that into their questions. now, none of that criticism was evident in the softball questions he was asking general
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alexander and others. i didn't see it in there and viewers didn't see any critics at all. >> let's play a piece of overtime video where they talk about how the segment was managed by nsa pr people in real time. >> there were a few times where general alexander would do a time-out. >> did they find a foreign power that had identified this capability and discussed using it offensively. >> i need time-out on that. >> you looked over like this to the whole crowd of people over there in the dark and said can i answer that? >> i just want to say there will be no time-outs during this segme segment. were you surprised that wasn't on the actual television broadcast? >> it should have been on. we asked him this and this and he didn't answer. what i noticed recently, they've had a stream of exclusive interviews and not had challenging people on. getting jeff on was a big deal.
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getting general alexander on and a piece that will get more attention back in october about social security disability payments. they didn't have one social security disability advocate on or one person. it was about being ripped off by the taxpayer. you get access and nobody has heard from jeff. this is one of the first times. that's what they've got. it's going to draw viewers. i think we're all very critical but i don't think the public looks at it the same way we do. >> not every story has to be a hard edged attack the person you're sitting there interviewing. i don't think the story was that big of a deal. sometimes you want to do a profile of someone and what they're like. every news organization does that. my issue with this one is we're in the middle of the one of the most important debates in recent history. to just let the nsa go on there without any of the
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countervailing opinions was the big problem here. >> and we see a headline next day in the new york post saying cbs news man miller to rejoin bill bratton at nypd. he's in talk about going back from journalism into government. >> he left journalism twice before. when bratton was in l.a., he's worked as director of national intelligence and fbi. he disclosed only one of those for law enforcement roles on tv. i said are you going back to nypd? i heard speculation he could be counterterrorism chief. another writer that wrote a book on nypd heard intelligence chief. he said he had no formal offer and since then he hasn't made any additional comment but there's been story after story about saying that he's likely to get this job. >> my sense is we could have a deal by christmas. let's me put up cbs' statement.
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they defended john miller do this report. who better to report that story than john miller? who besides being a terrific reporter is a national security expert? so they are actually leaning into the idea that it's great for him to have this resolving door experience because it helps the story. >> absolutely. disclose it. just let the viewer decide. what people hate in general are surprises and finding out later. >> beyond disclosure, at some point is it inappropriate to do the story at all? >> i don't think so because john miller has this incredible background and access and experience and might not have gotten the story otherwise. i think had he said here's what's going on, i'm in talks, i've had this job and that job and they can factor in how credible the report is. >> maybe what we're seeing is the increasing power of sources to choose interviewers.
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>> that's always been the case with "60 minutes." bob woodward writes a book and wants to go on "60 minutes" first. >> it's by far the highest rated news program on american television. >> it's one of the greatest news shows in the history of television why i hold it to such a high standard. >> there's a difference between giving a celebrity releasing a movie, 12-minute segments. these are long segments. they have time to press these people. when a secretive person -- journalist would kill to get a minute let alone the access he had and he got to promote this drone story that was on everywhere on cyber-monday right as people are going to turn to amazon. >> people were on twitter, the more cynical people who watch "60 minutes" and snark at it were snarking at the amazon piece until the drone thing happened and then they were wowed by it because it was a
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great reveal. >> i think look at what happened this last week. we had three different reports about the nsa. "60 minutes," we had a federal judge, and we had a white house panel, right? so three of the four branches of government told you something about the nsa and unfortunately the one that was the most pro-nsa and least criticism was the one by "60 minutes." >> which is what we would expect would have the harshest criticism. it did seem like who deputized cbs to say we will give you the other side of the story? >> i did not understand that justification. it's a huge platform. 15 to 20 million viewers. a lot of viewers probably are not familiar with the story. a big, confusing story requiring someone with resources of "60 minutes" to step back and tell the whole thing and not assume viewers out there listening to
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car critics back the nsa so let's give nsa a chance to respond. >> general alexander has been on tv before. the administration defended the nsa disclosures. sources have come out from the government defending the nsa for six months now. it's not like the government hasn't been getting its point across. the government has been getting its point across for a variety of ways for six months. >> there was a we're going inside the nsa and this is how they do their story and look at this drone. the public likes that. we look at the news in such a different way than the general public. >> that's a good point. stay with us. we'll talk next about the tweet heard around the world. how should we feel about the how should we feel about the internet's mob mentality next. ne your smile. thanks for inspiring me. thanks for showing me my potential.
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welcome back to "reliable sources." i'm brian stelter. here's what happened on friday. a public relations executive justine sacco who owns websites like college humor, match.com sent out a racist tweet. going to africa. hope i don't get aids. just kidding.
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i'm white. then she got on a plane for a 12-hour flight to south africa. her twitter following spiked. iac released a statement condemning the tweet even though she hadn't landed yet. the twitter sphere was buzzing for contempt while waiting for her to land. the hash tag you see on screen now has justine landed yet trending on twitter 36 hours later. photographers headed to the airport to greeter and she had no idea any of this was going on until she landed. she deleted her tweet and account and yesterday lost her job. this morning she did apologize. let's put up the apology on screen. she said words cannot express how sorry i am and how necessary it is for me to apologize to the people of south africa. there is an aids crisis taking place in this country that weigh read about in america but do not face on a continuous basis. unfortunately it's easy to be cavalier about an epidemic that
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one has never witnessed firsthand. i've been e-mailing with her today and asked her to come on. she hasn't agreed to call in. but i do think it's notable that she did finally come out with an apology a day afthalf after all this happened. i would call justine about questions about her company for years. i didn't know about this side of her. we're back with our panel here. michael, ryan and alicia. you were watching this on twitter like i was. do you feel like this was trial by social media. >> the thing that bugged me is what if it had been a hacked account. no effort to say is this real? this is what we have to do all the time. we have to request this question. hideous the way people went after her. i hope her plane crashes. she should die. what a world we live in. >> it's not that internet is
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good or bad, it's that the world is good or bad. the internet is just everything. a reflection of society. >> what i was surprised about, i understand buzz feed plugged into social conversation. i was surprised "the new york times" while still in flight felt the need to do a story on this and they had something in there like she didn't respond to comment. she was on this flight to capetown. she wasn't going to comment. i think news organizations are caught between -- we don't want to ignore what's going on online but do we need to get in the mix and make it into a bigger story and amplify it by bringing in "the new york times" which leads to "nightly news" and other things. >> trial by social media. justine sacco said insensitive things but a mob scene is not right. tell me if i'm wrong. you can say media did her in.
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i think it was normal ordinary twitter users who got this thing lit up. >> that's when people took notice is number of retweets and number of followers she had. i guess the question is what's the standard for giving pitch forks out and going after someone like this. on one hand, i think most people had never heard of who this person was. in some sense she's not a major public official. the other side of the argument, people would say she represents and speaks for a major corporation and a public relations official and should know better and in that sense she's fair game. >> that's why i was interested in it for today. a public relations person. >> that is crazy. this is just another reminder though we don't need it that the mike is always on. >> you do need it. >> you represent the company that you work for. no line between your private life and public life. she tweeted that i can't be responsible for what i say when i'm drunk.
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yes, you can. >> that's the thing. i remember five years ago when there was all this angst over teenagers posting to facebook and young people realize what i put on facebook is public and there was a sea change. i think people in our generation maybe older realize what you tweet is what you say. you can't just say that was on twitter. i had too much to drink. >> even covering reporters who should know better, sometimes a reporter will tweet things saying i can't comment on the record. you're commenting all day every day on the record. this is a public forum. >> i do think this hurts twitter. as it tries to sign up more and more people, these bad news stories may scare nonusers away from the site. one good thing came out of it. let's put up on screen the domain name for justine sacco now goes to an aid for africa website. that may be the silver lining. >> kudos to that organization for reacting that quickly and
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doing something good out of something bad. >> absolutely. thank you for joining me. michael, stick with me for one more segment if you can. major media outlets versus the chinese government. i don't just make things for a living i take pride in them. so when my moderate to severe chronic plaque psoriasis was also on display, i'd had it. i finally had a serious talk with my dermatologist. this time, he prescribed humira-adalimumab. humira helps to clear the surface of my skin by actually working inside my body. in clinical trials, most adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis saw 75% skin clearance. and the majority of people were clear or almost clear in just 4 months.
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know about china. last month, "the new york times" reported an investigative story on hidden financial ties between one of the wealthiest men in china and the families of top chinese leaders. some employees were the one doing the leaking talking to the "times" about it. winkler said if we run the story we'll be kicked out of china. the story still hasn't run. some say it's an example of the self-censorship that news organizations tolerate to stay in china. even that is at risk for bloomberg and the "times." i turn to jim sciutto serving as chief of staff to former ambassador to china gary locke. thank you for joining me. >> good to be here. >> this is a tense time for any journalist who lives in china, isn't it? >> visas are issues for a year.
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people are renewing in december and for a number of years it's been a tense time because some journalists have been rejected. not a new issue this year but it's gotten worse. there's an impression among journalists there that it's a pressure tactic. if coverage isn't to pleasing of the government, they may not get their visa and that's proven true for some journalists who are rejected but are invited into the government office for a sit down and talk to say perhaps in the future these might not be the kinds of things you want to cover. this has been going on for a long time and it causes some real tension there. >> in what ways has it gotten worse this year? >> you have more journalist under the gun in effect. the journalists but in addition to that, over the span of the last couple of years, it's not just been the visa issue. "the new york times" website is
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shut down in china. bloomberg website interfering with "wall street journal" website in reaction to stories written about the leadership and ones that have gotten under the skin of the chinese are stories that look at financial holdings of the leadership. there's been a very -- it's not inference that there's a connection here. when those stories pop up, those websites get shut down. when journalists write these stories, they don't get visas. it's a direct connection. >> viewers at home wonder if there's anything the u.s. government can do to help journalists in china. is there? >> it's a subject of debate now. i can tell you u.s. officials have been raising this with chinese side for more than a year at a number of levels saying this is not fair. but to have vice president biden do it at that level, that's the highest level -- >> just a few weeks ago. >> on his visit to beijing. he didn't use soft language. he said we and china have profound disagreements about the
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treatment of u.s. journalists. the question is beyond raising it what can you do? some officials have suggested visa res visas so someone said it's not fair to give them but american journalists have a problem. there's a philosophical problem with that because in the states the u.s. doesn't want to do that. they want an open media environment. >> i wonder if this current tension says anything about the new chinese government and if they are being more suppressive toward journalists. >> it's a fair question. it's worrisome. i remember when there was the first press conference announced as new president saying there are loads of journalists there and he said having foreign journalists here is important because it helps us understand each other. helps mutual understanding between the countries and a lot of journalists said this guy is
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a guy we can work with and he's got this very friendly persona. he's traveled. lived in the states in iowa when he was a young man. he's kept those friends. he's got a good public profile. but this has been a very, very tough treatment of journalists so it's been disappointing. a sign in my experience of a more confident chinese government. if they want to do something, if they feel they have been wronged by foreign press coverage which they feel they're under too much criticism, they're going to react. >> jim, thanks for bringing us up to speed on this. i misspoke. gary locke is still the ambassador. he's on the way out but currently the ambassador to china. joining me now to discuss the escalating fight, author of the book "now i know who my comrades are." michael, let's start with you, bring us up to speed on what the
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status is of reporters in china and aren't sure if they can stay. >> a two-step process. you get press accreditation and use that with your passport to apply for a visa. they got their press card and are applying for visas. some of the "times" reporters in china between beijing and shanghai got press cards and applying for visa. the "times" should know a week into january whether or not they'll be approved. >> emily, this matters to viewers at home why? this used to be routine and now it's not, right? >> it matters to viewers at home because if we want information about china and we need information about china, this is the world's second largest economy, this is an increasingly important global power and western journalists are under a lot of pressure there. i think even if these visas do end up coming through for "the new york times" and bloomberg it will be a chilling effect on foreign correspondents in china.
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it's not somebody calling up a journalist saying you can't write that or do that, it's more that journalists are aware of the threat of what could happen if they cross the line. in that sense, by delaying the renewal of these credentials for journalists, chinese government sent an effective message of what could happen if you go too far. >> cnn's beijing bureau chief wrote about this yesterday. it's on the web now. i would like to read a bit from it from the column. it said "i feel little personal risk as a reporter but our biggest concern remains protections of sources who are usually more vulnerable to the government's control. none of us wish to land them in jail. and it sounds like that's as real fear for journalists on the ground. >> that's an absolutely real fear. that brings up a very important point that of course chinese journalists and chinese researchers are under greater pressure than foreign correspondent. it's his visa and could lose that while a chinese research assistant could wind up in jail.
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that's a valid point. there's a risk for foreign correspondents as well even if it's not being behind bars. for people who have devoted their lives to china and spent years studying the language and culture and who have families there, the threat of being told to leave of being expelled from the country and thinking you won't be able to go back is a real threat and people are aware of it. >> the american government is involved. let's play a clip of joe biden speaking on this issue. >> innovation thrives where people breathe freely, speak freely are able to challenge orthodoxy and where newspapers report the truth without fear of consequences. we should have many disagreements on some of those issues right now. the treatment of u.s. journalists. but i believe china will be stronger and more stable and more innovative if it respects universal human rights. >> that was from a couple weeks ago. michael, do you think this is the new normal perhaps for relations between reporters
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between these two countries? >> what we're seeing is a pattern where bloomberg or "the new york times" reports on a specific story. it's political and ties between wealthy families and government tied families and -- >> a story never published in china. >> these stories are important because obviously other news organizations can follow up on them and even if "the new york times" is blocked in china, you know, some people have an end run around that and may see stories. whenever the big stories breaks, that's when the "times" website gets cut off. that's when bloomberg's website gets cut off. bloomberg self-censored beforehand for business interest. they don't want to lose possible terminal sales in china. they don't want pressure on businesses to not do businesses with bloomberg. >> thank you for being here. a quick reminder on twitter we're live tweeting my show.
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check it out on twitter.com/brianstelter. a news outlet stepping into a new territory. i ask the ceo of politico where the website is going. that's next. >> we are a lender in rent regulated housing. we're positioned to create better banks down the road and by creating better banks we create real value for our shareholders. if we create greater value for investors and create safer banking institutions, everybody wins. new york stock exchange is where we evolve to. as we became a bigger and bigger company we needed to be on the new york stock exchan exchange. but with unitedhealthcare, i get information on quality rated doctors, treatment options and estimates for how much i'll pay. that helps me, and my guys, make better decisions.
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welcome back to "reliable sources." i'm not brian stelter here in washington. politico revolutionized news in this town. ever since media reporters like me wondered when and how politico would expand and in october we found out when politico added a publication called capital new york to its
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roster. earlier in new york, i invited the ceo and co-founder to tell us all about it. take a listen. jim, thank you for joining us. you have been a journalist for decades. you co-founded politico and you moved to the business side and are now ceo. it's an unusual thing for a journalist to do. why did you decide to make that move? >> to outers it seems unusual. to us it didn't seem all that exotic given that it was john and myself that spent the bulk of time building politico and in that i spent a bunch of time on strategy, what are we going to invest in and how are we going to market our company and what do we want to be? it may seen radical but it's not. it changes my day and my focus but to me we live in this awesome era of experimentation. you're an example of it. most of you are friends are examples of it. you can either experiment and go with it and try to figure out what works and what doesn't work or you can get in that defensive
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crouch and worry about what's going to happen next and this industry i think there's tons of opportunity and it's fub to figure out how do you connect awesome journalism with an awesome business model. it is very executable. the business part is tough stuff. there aren't that many people getting it right. a lot of people who people say are getting it right probably aren't if you looked at their books. to actually finance good journalism is tough. and we've learned a lot over six or seven years at politico. and what i'm trying to do now is take that and try to build politico into something bigger and try to test it here in new york with capital new york because, like you, i'm a journalist by training. i love journalism. i want to be one of the people figuring out how to make a go of it. >> with that in mind what is the political model today? what works and doesn't work in the last seven years? >> i've learned about a niche. if you specialize in an area where there is a robust demand
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for content, you can really make -- >> that's the opposite of "the wall street journal" or t"the washington post." >> i would hate to be a generalist. the era of the generalist is not over but it's a tough, tough time to be a generalist. if you're a specialist, if you look at what espn was able to do, there's a reason they are better than anybody else at doing sports. they're great at it because that's all they focus on. they wake up every day trying to figure out how do i win at covering the nfl? how do i win at covering socker? how do i win at covering baseba baseball? better than the sports, the world, local, weather, all of those things. so for us we've always benefited from being a specialty product. >> the critique of politico it's hyperactive and cares more about personality than policy. >> i would say guilty as charged that we're hyperactive. we have a high metabolism. a different spirit than you might find in other news rooms. do we obsess about
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personalities? again, guilty as charged. we obsess about personalities, politics, and about policy. the monks can sit back and say it's a nice dry piece about the policy. no you don't. nobody is reading those. the people behind a specific issue, you can get people to read it and to understand why that issue matters, who is behind it, why are they doing what they do. and to me when you bring those three together, you do great journalism. >> reporter: politico recently made its first acquisition here, in new york. for years people have wondered if politico would expand. and when you did to new york it wasn't at an office here. it was by buying capital new york. tell me about the reason you decided to acquire as opposed to just start something is here? >> the reason we waited, and i think people did wonder why we waited six years to make any expansion. when you're in business, you're always tempted. wow, we've done something right. we can do anything right. you're tempted to overreach.
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when you overreach the core of what you built becomes weak. when it becomes weak, someone else will come in and disrupt you. we wanted to make sure that the foundation was strong. >> reporter: and then you could start thinking about expanding? >> we were there last year and started thinking, where do we want to do in terms of expansion? we were ready to expand. and then everything in life, it's all about timing. why it did you buy capital new york instead of just start politico new york which, trust me, we thought about it for years. it turned out they wanted their take on a buyer or take on a cash infusion, they came to us and it was an easy call from our end and ultimately from their end because they want ed ed to exactly what we want to do. they want to do great journalism, to focus the journalism, break some china, make a difference in covering city hall albany in the media. it wasn't a hard stretch at all for us.
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could we have just done politico new york? probably. but, remember, the beauty of politico is its focus, right? and the name is confining like you really can't -- we couldn't go cover local schools. politics and policies are no doubt central to this place, but there's so much opportunity. to us this is a great way to experiment because when you think about what worked at politico and how do you apply that elsewhere you have to have readers, people who can afford to pay for subscriptions. you have to have people who have a voracious appetite for high-end content. and new york has more of that than washington. i think at the top of our list is going to be investigative journalism and then coverage of state capitals which, let's face it, these places are dying. you walk into a state capitol, there's nobody there. >> there's lots of stories but no one to cover them. >> what happens when politicians don't have people covering them? the answer is not good. and you need that. and if we can be one of the
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forces figuring out how to make a business model that can lead to a resurgence of coverage of state and local politics, that would be a pretty cool thing. vandehei didn't name any of the markets that might be next but he does have a list and sources tell me california is at the top of it. up next, what i thought was the funniest media moment of the week thanks to conan o'brien. diarrhea, gas, bloating? yes! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three strains of good bacteria. live the regular life. phillips'. thanks for giving me your smile. thanks for inspiring me. thanks for showing me my potential. for teaching me not to take life so seriously. thanks for loving me and being my best friend. don't forget to thank those who helped you take charge of your future and got you where you are today. the boss of your life. the chief life officer. ♪
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before our time is up, here's the best thing i saw this week. conan o'brien has gotten really good at catching local news anchors reading from the same scripts. this holiday themed one was the best yet. >> well, it's okay.
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you can admit it if you have bought an item or two or maybe ten for yourself. >> it's okay, you can admit it. you've bought an item or two or ten for yourself. >> it's okay, you can admit it if you've bought an item or two or ten for yourself. >> it's okay if you bought an item or two or ten for yourself. >> it's okay, you can admit it if you bought one or two or ten things for yourself because a lot of people do it. >> wow. >> it's okay. we can admit it. sometimes we don't write every word we read on air but we do try. good thing conan is here to keep local tv honest. that's all for this televised edition of "reliable sources." we continue online. right now there's more of my interview with jim vandehei and the editors of capital new york and why katie kaushg's day time talk show is ending after only two years. also, some details on an important acquisition this week. rupert murdoch's newscorp bought a news agency and the column by
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cnn's beijing bureau chief is worth a read. you can find it all on the reliable sources blog on cnn.com. thanks for watching this week. i'd love to hear what you thought of today's show on facebook and twitter. i hope you all have a merry christmas and we'll see you right back here live next week sunday at 11:00 a.m. "state of the union with candy crowley" begins right now. dozens of americans trapped inside an increasingly unstable south sudan. and imbalance at the nsa, security versus privacy. today a panel the president appointed tells him to rein in the national security agency. >> whatever benefits the configuration of this program may have may be outweighed by the concerns that people have on this potential abuse. and if that's the case, there may be another way of skinning the cat. >> we tal t

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