tv Reliable Sources CNN November 13, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST
ulysses s. grant and dwight david eisenhower, however all three men were victorious generals. if you guessed william howard taft, he was elected as a judge to ohio's superior court prior to his presidency. but you still get points. thanks to all of you for being part of my program. i will see you next week. hey, i'm brian stelter, time for a special edition of "reliable sources." this is our weekly look at the story behind the story, how the media really works, how the news gets made. a special welcome to our viewers here in the u.s. and all around the world on cnn international. first, something different. before i get to the tease, before i tell you about the great show we have in store today, let's level with each other. tuesday night was the culmination of one of the biggest media failures in many years. most journalists heading into tuesday night believing hillary clinton would be elected president at the end of the night. and most viewers had the same impression. you can see in this pre-election
data most viewers, most americans believed clinton would win. now this did not occur in a having satoshi uematsu. the donald trump campaign also thought it was likely to lose. wall street thought trump would use, too. but chalking this up to a surprise victory is not enough. this was a collective failure -- a fill your of imagination. in some ways, a mass delusion. and the media contributed to it. so now it's time for some serious soul searching. look, i don't subscribe to the argument that tv networks gave trump too much attention and that's the main reason why he's president, nor do i subscribe to the argument that reporters ignored trump's america. there were outstanding reports and eye-opening cable news debate this is year but i know some of you watching right now are having a very hard time trusting this channel and every other news source so we on the other side of the screen over here have to reckon with that,
not just for a week or two but for the long term. i have heard from thousands of you on facebook, twitter, e-mail, all over the place and some of you feel like the media paved the way for a madman to become president. others of you feel like journalism is completely irrelevant now. still, others of you feel like the media bias tilted the race in one direction or the other. many of you are wondering who and what you can trust. so the bottom line is there are lessons to be learned if we are willing to learn them. so let's get started here because we have special guests standing by, including nate silver who had strong feelings about how polls should be covered in the future and famed first amendment lawyer floyd abrams also standing by. he is preparing to defend the press against possible restrictions and attacks. but now the focus on journalism in the trump age, let's bring in our super panel. dodi stewart, editor-in-chief of fusion.net.
dan rather, now the host of access tvs the big interview. molly hemingway, senior editor at the federalist and political analyst jeff greenfield. great to have you here. dan, did journalism properly serve the public this year? >> no. not enough investigative reporting, not enough hard questioning and not enough listening p particularly throng that part of america which is called flyover between the two coasts. it was a failure, ours was not the only failure but it was a very important failure and going forward instability requires, particularly with new nations, and our nation is still a new nation from a broad historical sweep, it drives institutions to help keep the equilibrium and the press is an important institution and it needs to examine itself -- and i include myself in this -- didn't ask enough tough questions, didn't
do enough deep investigative reporting. we didn't do our job as well as we could have and should have. >> doddi, do you agree? was the work not noticed by some voters? >> i believe there was a lot of work done and i think right now we're unfortunately dealing with a situation where people don't trust the media. there's a lot of mistrust out there. when a candidate says the lying media we have a lot of people who actually believe that. >> but aren't there other reasons besides trump's attacks for people to distrust the press? >> of course. and i think part of the problem is where people are getting their news from and the other part of the problem is there's an echo chamber created on social media and you're only seeing the friends are seeing and that people that you know are seeing and if there's something else out there more factual it may never come in front of you. >> there's a media and then there's an anti-media. molly, i want to know from you
as a conservative writer at the federalist, how much do you chalk up to wishful thinking? because i believe there were a lot of journalists, most journalists, who were fearful of a trump presidency who were engaging in wishful thinking believing he couldn't be elected and that's why so many viewers were in shock wednesday morning to wake up to president-elect trump. >> yes, this was a complete failure at every step of the process during this entire campaign. the media definitely -- they clearly and overtly and even told us they wanted hillary to win and they gambled everything -- including their credibility, on defeating donald trump and electing hillary clinton and they lost and now where does that leave everybody? >> who is the "they" you're referring to? >> the "new york times" had on the front page of their paper in the middle of august that you couldn't give donald trump a fair shake. no one in the media gave a better example of what they felt about donald trump. and people in washington and new
york newsrooms had a really high view of hillary clinton that was unmatched in the entire rest of the country so you had people in our newsrooms, in our major national media telling us things we knew were not true. i don't know what the media can do now to regain its credibility. >> let's ask jeff greenfield. jeff, you have been studying the press for decades. what's your assessment of what went wrong and what went right? >> well, i don't have a unified field theory but i'll point out a couple things. four years ago we learned that data trumped impression. forget the lawn signs and romney crowd sizes, look at the data. this year if you looked at it carefully enough, all of the state polls that helped feed the narrative that clinton was going to win were like one and two points. and i think there was an enormous overreliance on data. but to the broader point i do think part of what happened was this -- once the election season kicked into high gear and the
hour-long uncritical open mike for trump was changed into very tough scrutiny i think what we didn't realize was that for people beyond our world the distrust in the media was so high that even when trump's liabilities were accurately reported people who wanted trump for all kinds of reasons said, no, you're part of the problem, you're part of the system we want donald trump to upend. so those are just two points. it goes way beyond that but, again, i don't think there is one unified explanation for what happened here. >> many different factors. is one of them, jeff, a false equivalence, the idea that hillary clinton's e-mails and other controversies were treated as the same as trump's many misstatements and offensive remarks? >> i certainly think in terms of coverage that's true but i think the other part was that the normal way that i've always assumed the press worked -- it's described in a book called "the
gamble, rise, scrutiny decline" the press reveals fact that damage a candidate, the public says, no, we can't accept that candidate. i think to some extent what a lot of us -- me, thought were disabling aspects about trump -- his supporters said no, that's him and we're so desperate for change we'll go with him. so i'm not sure i buy the false equivalency except in terms of 2 quantity of the coverage. >> mollie what do you think? >> the term "false equivalency" should die in a fire and the proof is that donald trump has been elected president. this is another thing the media kept pushing, the idea that to talk about hillary clinton compromising national security for her own personal gain was some false equivalency with all these horrible things that donald trump had done. the people aren't buying what the media are selling anymore and it's something that goes quite beyond just the coverage of this campaign, but going back to previous elections where people have so clearly put their fingers on the scale, media people have put their fingers on the scale in support of one
candidate over another and it alarms me to even hear this term used again after what we learned on tuesday. >> can i add a word to what you said? you said people don't trust the media. i would say some people do not. there's a divide in this country and it mirrors the electoral divide. this was a 50-50 election. >> liberals do definitely trust the media and why shouldn't they? they get everything they want to hear from liberals. conservatives don't and the media in general have lower approval ratings than both donald trump and hillary clinton so to talk about how unliked these candidates are, when we ourselves are loathed and detested for what we're doing and for how we bully people. we take people's views and we bully them and people are sick of being bullied, they don't want to hear it and they're having to shout to get people to listen and the alarming thing is that a lot of people in the media aren't listening. they're deciding to quadruple down on everything they got wrong, disparaging people they don't understand, don't even seek to understand and continuing to avoid dealing with the fundamentals of this race, what people were motivated by, they're not even interested in it. this is alarming and the media
need to wake up because it's actually a very important time to get our credibility back. >> dan, you're smiling, tell me why. >> well, i'm smiling because a lot of things said here, for example, that most of the people don't trust the media, i think most people have a skepticism about the media that's very healthy. that's number one. never cynicism but skepticism. secondarily i would challenge something you said earlier that, well, you didn't agree that the cable networks helped create donald trump. i don't think they created him alone but they gave him an awful lot of free time, maybe a billion dollars worth or more free time and that was a factor. there was a period particularly during the primaries when trump could get on this or any other air simply with a phone call immediately bauds he meant ratings. there's a lot in this -- >> i would say clinton could have it any time as well. she could have called in any time and gotten on the air. >> and one of the reasons she lost the election was because
she had this wariness of the press, she didn't hold a news conference for a year and a half, almost two years. >> about nine months, a full-fledged press conference. >> but this is the time the country needs to be steady. we'll be all right. you don't want to be polly annish and say, well, it doesn't matter. but donald trump, his promise of the press, he threatened the "washington post" saying if i get elected president you, the "washington post," i don't like your coverage and i'll make you pay the price, should come to no one as any wonder that journalists including myself tried to stand up and say wait a minute, that's not right and that's a new low in campaigning so there's a lot in this but his think the press can overreact to this. our job now is to stand up, look him in the eye, ask the tough questions, don't be intimidated.
trump prietsdes himself on beinn intimidator. early in the campaign he was an intimidator of the press. we should hope he wouldn't try it now that he's president but i wouldn't bet the double wide on that. >> all four of you, if you could stick around, take a quick pause here and talk about the polling failures because as we've been saying, tuesday night's results were a shock. that's because of what jeff greenfield were describing, the different polling result, especially on the state level that showed clinton the likely victor. now, 538, nate silver's web site owned by espn, put the odds of a clinton victor at 70% and trump at 30%. that was one of the more optimistic projections for trump. 538 may have gotten it less wrong than other forecast models. so i talked to nate silver about what he learned from his experience and what's going to happen going forward. >> was this the greatest polling failure of modern times? >> no, and this is why we think
the discourse before and after is irresponsible. the national polls will wind up being off by only two points which is less than they were in 2012. in the states you see bigger polling errors in the midwest. you also see clinton beat her polls in new york, in california, oregon, washington. >> that's interesting. i've been focusing on how some state polls underestimated trump's support by 7%, 8%. that's way beyond the margin of error. >> clinton beat her polls by 5 points in california. that means you rack up a huge number of popular votes and almost match obama's margin in the popular vote but lose the electoral college decisively. is so it's not a matter of polls underestimating trump, it's not catching up to the demographic changes under way in the country. >> is there a bigger failure among journalistings, among television anchor, among editors when we boil down the numbers into a very simple portrayal? >> there are a couple things. you can have a lot of polls say
the same thing. at some point it doesn't tell you that much more. to have 100 polls showing clinton two points ahead while she's still two points ahead for example. >> too many polls. there's an epidemic of poll, too much data out there, someone said to me. sounds like you might agree. >> it lets people confirm their biases over and over again. and the "des moines register" poll in iowa showed clinton losing by seven points, maybe the best country in iowa. people said she doesn't need to win iowa but it was true, it was a sign of how bad things were falling apart in the midwest and people tended not to look at day that confirmed their beliefs. so if you had gone to the "new york times" or the post-and asked people could you take a 30% chance of trump winning, they would say no way. the buzz throughout the final few days was that clinton was going to beat her polls because of early vote, ground game the
momentum was with her so it's not as though conventional wisdom was on the trump side of the bet. we're in huge fights with people for weeks who -- this has never happened before. i'm used to people when their side is trailing in our forecast to get in arguments with us but clinton people and some mainstream media people were shocked that we gave clinton only a 70% chance. >> let me underscore, you've gotten into fights -- this has never happened sfwhfr. >> we've always had fight but i never had a fight with the side that was ahead in our forecast. usually the side that fights with us is a side that winds up cherry picking the data more, being more smug at times. i just think that if we had shown or the powell polls had john kasich or marco rubio in a three point race and showed clinton losing ohio, tied in florida, ahead in pennsylvania,
the perceptions but would have been a lot different. >> what we're describing is so complicated, i have trouble with algebra, you're talking about calculus. i wonder if for the average viewer, even the average journalist if this stuff is overwhelmingly complicated, maybe too difficult to parse. >> well, you know, i do think people should go back to the old school method of when a poll is within the margin of error you should tend to characterize it as being a very close race. you can say which candidate is ahead but that's more of a true conception of how polls work. on the one hand it's true if you take ten polls instead of one poll you reduce that margin of error. on the other hand, the polls often always miss in the same direction. as they basically did on tuesday night. and so therefore, you know, if the race is within the margin of error, report that as a close race if you're a voter, treat that as a close race.
the polls aren't as perfect as you might think. >> does polling need an image rehab? >> i think polling has to get better about describing the uncertainties inherent in the polls and i worry about thing c >> what do you mean? >> look, when i left the "new york times," when 538 left the "new york times" a couple years ago i told my editor there make sure you don't hire someone who will build an overconfident model because there are a lot of ways to make models over confident and not to understand the complexities of something like the electoral college where a lead might not be as safe as it appears in some circumstances and that can lead to people being less well informed. >> i think what you're saying to clinton supporters is polling is not designed to make you feel better. >> no, it's not designed to make
you feel better. again, the polls are still probably a better indicator than anything else remember the buzz based on the early vote and the sentiment from people like us in the bubble is that clinton was safer than the polls might assume but wherever you take a piece of data or information you have to tell people how accurate or wrong it might be. one of the critiques i have of the way so-called data journalism has evolved and we try to avoid is that is people just present the data point and don't talk about the meaning context, alternate interpretations, problems of logic an inference so going deeper is cheap. >> will the news media learn this time around or will we fall victim to the same mistakes in the past? >> i think they will learn from
2020 and 2018 but let'ses say they have an accurate year from the polls in 2020, they might overcompensate for 20, 24. >> nate, thank you so much, good to see you. interesting stuff from nate silver there. now we want to look forward. as we were talking about with silver, what about future coverage? what about a donald trump presidency and its effect on the media. trump is gloding this morning. look at his twitter fweed. he says "wow, the "new york times" are losing thousands of subscribers because of their very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the trump phenomena. we have fact checked this with the "new york times." t "new york times" in a statement to me says "since election day the paper has seen a surge in digital subscriptions, three times what is normal. yes, there's been cancellations on the digital side when you factor that in the rate at the times haas added net knew digital subscriptions since election day they say is since times the normal pace. what the times is saying trump is wrong. the paper is counting its print cancellations in addition. it believes the numbers will be
the same on the print side but it's challenging trump's claim. trump went against the "times" in another tweet. he said that he believes the paper apologized for its coverage last week and that he believes they'll make the same mistakes in the future. we'll get into that now. the panel is back with me, dodai stewart of fusion, dan rather of access tv, so let me ask all of you to react to this and talk about how donald trump is using twitter to his benefit. molly, he says in a m"60 minute" interview, that he'll be restrained with twitter but will continue to use twitter and facebook. do you believe he's stepping off on the wrong foot by making these comments against the "times" and the media on twitter? >> i would say after this week the question about whether donald trump is doing things wrong is different than what the media is doing wrong. this is very common in president
obama. just because we may like president obama, we may forget he spent much of his presidency attacking fox news. >> he did not spend much of his presidency attacking fox news. he occasionally pointed out what he believed was unfair coverage from fox. >> okay. i guess what maybe you need to realize is that for a lot of people who don't share your political opinions that's what it feels like. what you're going through right now is what it felt like for the last eight years so to go to our fainting couches when donald trump points out the "new york times" completely crap it had bed this cycle they should be apologizing for how they covered it, their headline the day after the election was a joke saying that it was all about foreigners and allies, democrats very concerned about the victory after donald trump won the presidency this is a joke to not be taken seriously how bad the credibility problems are and how hostile they have been and now they need to cover him and they need people to believe what they're saying and why would they believe that? >> i'm with you we need to take
the credibility crisis seriously but let me go to jeff greenfield. trump on thursday criticized the press saying the media was inciting professional protesters, essentially mocking and ridiculing the protesters and blaming the media and then going after the "new york times." is he sending a message to the entire press corps, maybe a message of intimidation? >> he followed up the first tweet about the protesters by complimenting things on their passion. this is one of the central questions we have to ask. i agree that one of the things that happened here is that the media lost so much credibility not just from the right people on the bernie sanders left were critical that when they performed their traditional role it was not taken seriously and if donald trump and the trump
administration makes the media into an adversary or if the media beyond the normal adversarial relationship between the media and the press i think it will be tougher for the media to fight back because i don't think they have -- we may still believe we are the tribunes telling the public the truth about the powerful. but there's people out there encouraged by politicians to say whatever they tell you, you know who they are, they're part of them. don't believe them. and that's i think where we're going to be navigating. i don't know the answer to this yes. >> i'm full of questions and empty with answers so let me ask dodai about this. you wrote this week that fusion, owned by univision, a web site for young people, for millennials, for hispanics and other minorities but for all young people will be the resistance to a trump presidency. a, what does that mean? and, b, are you concerned about what jeff is saying that many people aren't interested, don't want to hear it from the press?
>> i believe that there are many people, millions, who resist the theirive that this candidate was running on. there were aspects of racism, aspects of xenophobia, aspects of misogyny and i believe that the there are -- young people, it's a more diverse generation than ever and i believe there is an audience that wants to hear a more tolerant a more cohesive message not about division that's about hope and coming together and that is really there for them in terms of, you know, covering undocumented immigrants, covering women, covering people of color, covering t covering the lgbtq community. >> are you preaching to the choir or trying to persuade people that don't have those views because it seems like you're going to write for people that already agree. >> here's the thing, though, the mainstream media has traditionally ignored these voices so providing a platform
to them i believe maybe there's preaching to the choir but there's also shining a light on people who deserve that. >> let's talk about one other thing that's happened since tuesday, dan. you know about this very well. the press pool is something that travels with the president, usually the president-elect, a small group of journalists meant to know where the president is at all times in case of a crisis or just in case he falls over or something. on thursday trump traveled to d.c. and did not bring a press pool with him. the administration, the incoming administration, says they will resolve this as they will incorporate a press pool. what does it mean that on one of the first days as flex he didn't have journalists traveling with him. how concerning is that? >> i think it should be noted but we're early in the trump administration these problems will get smoothed out. the more important thing, though, is that donald trump is off -- now that he's the president-elect, clearly he's off on a strategy of trying to intimidate the press, trying to keep the press's head down, what
he said about the "new york times" and the on reasonable professional reaction from the press should be get a gut check, this is gut check time for the press the press is an institution. our role is to be honest brokers of information, to be as accurate as we can be, to be as fair as we can be but to be independent, fiercely independent, bitingly independent when necessary. and to get back to if the press gets its head down not only is donald trump's presidency going to suffer but the country will suffer and i do think most people -- >> that we're better off with journalists, you're saying? better off with tough journalism? >> absolutely. journalists who take the view -- my job is to ask the tough questions, knock on doors and say what's going on and be skeptical and never cynical as i said before which i think is a very important point. but i think most people generally speaking americans understand the role of president. what they want is the press to
do its job better and there's a lot of improvement that can be had but we're in the very early stages of this that somebody around donald trump must be thinking whether they express it to him or not the history of presidents who try to be adversarial with the press, try to intimidate, try to cower the press those presidencies don't turn out very well and after all the issue here is not what we have a successful donald trump. do we have a successful count? a we need a vibrant press that's independent and not afraid to ask the right questions but to get that press we need the heads of the big corporations who control most of the mass distribution of the media to also have spine. it's not good enough for reporters to have the spine or for the bureau chief to have the spine it's the head of these big corporations. now in the early going, a trump presidency figures to be pretty
good for people who have money and have big corporations so where is the head of a big news organization to say i want my reporters to ask the tough questions? i want my reporters to do deep drilling investigative reporting, i want my reporters to take the case, i play no favorites, i pull no punches, we're going to -- and the president of the united states after all is not a descendent of the sun god. he got the most electoral votes, he didn't get the most popular votes and there's a tendency for the trump campaign to want to convince people that this was a wipeout, a f total blowout elec. now he won the election but it was a close election. i come back to having said all that, it's time to have a little bit of calm and see how the trump presidency shakes out. i am concerned about these early sign which is you have ticked off here that he intends to use the press as a kind of whipping boy. and what the press needs to say to the president is mr. president, we respect the office of the presidency, we respect
you but we ain't anybody's whipping boy. >> to the panel, thank you all very much for sharing your thoughts. we have plenty more ahead this hour on how journalists plan to navigate a trump white house. up next, standing by, floyd abrams, the famed first amendment lawyer here who discuss whether the president-elect poses threats to press people are. stay with us. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked.
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welcome back to "reliable sources" i'm brian stelter. before tuesday, journalism advocates said donald trump would be a threat to press freedom. that's why today there is palpable fear among many journalists that a trump presidency will be restrictive, litigious and down right dangerous for the fourth estate. maybe they are overreacting. but already some journalists are receiving threats and hate mail at home as a result of pro-trump trolls who have published their adresses online and we've seen the president-elect himself criticized in the "new york times" as we were just talking about. the big question is whether trump will follow through on statements like this. >> the media isn't just against me, they're against all of you. that's really what they're against. we're going open up the libel
laws, we should reinstate libel laws so that you can go after people now days when they make really egregious statement. >> right now they can say anything they want to say someday in the not too distant future. i'm a tremendous believer in freedom of the press. nobody believes it stronger than me. >> with me now, famed first amendment lawyer floyd abrams. he's also the author of the upcoming book "the soul of the first amendment." floyd, let's start with the conversation about libel laws. many months ago trump saying he wants to loosen up the libel laws. can he? >> no, he can't do it by himself as president and he can't do it if congress passed a law. we have no federal libel law, first of all. libel law is state, state, state, 50 states. but they're all subject to the first amendment so when he says he wants to loosen it or change it what he's got to do is to change the first amendment. what he's got to do is to persuade the supreme court to
abandon the level of very high protection for free speech that we have in this country. so, no, he can't do it, but he could try to do it. and who's to say. if he gets enough appointments to the supreme court, if they have views which are entirely different from where the court has been it could happen. but it's very unlikely. >> now, you're no friend of donald trump, we should make that clear to our audience at home. but i want you to share with me as objectively as possible what you think the possible threats are against individual journalists and against news outlets in the trump age. >> well, many of them are sort of extra legal. that's to say doesn't have a legal angle to it at all. president-elect trump has full first amendment rights so he is certainly entitled to denounce the press, to criticize it even in ways which lead people to behave as you were talking about earlier. >> anti-semitic messages, a lot
of journalists experiencing this kind of harassment. >> there's no legal limitation and there shouldn't be, on what he can say about the press. that said, the real threats are that as president, a, he could lead the public to be so anti-press that it would if not destroy it, limit its ability to do its constitutionally protected role. second, he could take steps as president to try to pressure it. one republican congress has recently said the fcc ought to do an investigation of the coverage of the campaign with the possibility of license revocation. >> let's talk about that momentarily. the local stations that broadcast of nbc, abc, cbs, et cetera, they have fcc licenses from the government. >> right. >> normally they get approved every four, eight years. but you're saying something like
an fcc license could theoretically be targeted? >> that's right. >> and what about irs audits? that's another way the government can use power against individuals. >> yes. we sound now as if we're talking about the nixon administration where that happened. >> so should we be talking about that? is it a risk to talk through these scenarios or is it prudent? >> i think it's prudent to discuss these possibilities, we can hope -- i didn't vote for mr. trump, i don't wish and i certainly don't hope that he goes down these roads. he may decide that as president he can take a difference stance or at the least as president he shouldn't do things which violate the first amendment on its face. we'll have to wait and see but we have to be thinking now certainly as a lawyer i have to be thinking what could we do by way of defense. suppose he goes down the anti-first amendment road.
suppose he doesn't just criticize the "times," which he has every right to do, but tries to take steps. suppose he expels the "new york times" from a presidential press conference. >> let's play that scenario out. during the campaign, trump rejected some news outlets from receiving press credentials from his rallies. they could attend rallies as members of the general public but they couldn't be in the press pool. they weren't given the benefits and privileges of having a press pass. is that possible in the white house? >> we don't have a lot of cases. i think that would violate the first amendment. that is to say, i think one could persuade a judge that punishing the press because of the content of what it runs by leaving out or expelling members of the press from full ability to cover him violates the first amendment. >> but this would have to go to the courts. >> but that would have to go to the courts. unless and until it happened he
has the secret service. he's the one who can say get them out of here. >> and we can't have a president-elect trump conversation without having a president obama conversation. president obama set a new record in terms of the administration's use of the espionage act to prosecute,ing to convict whistle-blowers who leaked information to the press. tell us about the reality check of how severe that was and whether we could see more of that with president-elect trump. >> there are two sorts of ways a president can go after the press in terms of covering national security issues, one is to go after sources and president obama's administration did that more vigorously and more consistently than any prior president. more charges against more sources to the press. the more direct threat is bringing an espionage action against the press for publishing that sort of information. >> so against the "new york times" or the "washington post." >> yes. yes. we have an espionage act passed
in 1917 that is so opaque, so vague as to make it quite unpredictable how it would be applied in a number of different possible circumstances. i mean, the press, to do its job, reports on classified information with regularity. now will a president trump -- and i hate to give him ideas -- but will a president trump think of having attorney general giuliani bring some sort of action against the press? that's possible. that would be a major, direct threat to the ability of the press to do its job. >> so we must be on guard. >> we have to be on guard and we have to be thinking about the down side as we hope it won't happen. >> floyd, good to see you. >> thank you. a lot of what we're describing here are possible chilling effects, something i'm very concerned about, whether donald trump takes any action against the press in the next
four years, there's already a cloud hanging over the white house press corps because of his actions during the campaign. up next here, my essay on media versus anti-media. plus, how should journalists approach the trump presidency. a great panel from all aspects of this world, from all across the country right after this. the pursuit of healthier. it begins from the second we're born. because, healthier doesn't happen all by itself. it needs to be earned every day. using wellness to keep away illness. and believing a single life can be made better by millions of others. as a health services and innovation company optum powers modern healthcare by connecting every part of it. so while the world keeps searching for healthier we're here to make healthier happen. i want my blood sugar i to stay in control.ck. so i asked about tresiba®. ♪ tresiba® ready ♪ tresiba® is a once-daily, long-acting insulin that lasts even longer than 24 hours.
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welcome back to "reliable sources" i'm brian stelter. as president-elect donald trump prepares to take power, journalists have a lot of questions ant trump and about our profession. did fact-checking matter in this election? did investigations matter? did newspaper editorials matter? did the accountability function of journalism matter at all? well, yes, it did matter to some people, to some readers and viewers but maybe something else mattered even more, something i would call anti-media. breitbart is anti-media. much of fox news is anti-media. fake news web sites and some right-wing blogs are anti-media. these outlets provide a different audience with a different set of facts about the
world, but too often what they are selling is opinion and conspiracy theory masquerading as fact. these sites, these outlets, present themselves as the opposition of traditional news sources, the antidote to mainstream media. vox recently said facebook feesds into this sense of unreality. i like to call it choose your own news, but whatever you call it, the arguments we're having as a country are a result of this media versus anti-media clash. in the coming months, i hope researchers will hone in on how anti-media persuaded voters in this election because today i cannot sit here and tell you i have that ti have all the answes or even many of the answers but i can tell you all real journalists have a responsibility to the truth and it's not elitist to value the truth. the truth is not in a bubble. it is not elitist to reject conspiracy theories or fact check obvious falsehoods. it should be done equally, but truth is the word we can keep coming back to. don't cower before the truth.
don't tell half-truths, don't shade the truth. don't fear the truth. and then we can focus on the other "t" word -- trust. winning back the trust of people who right now prefer anti-media. with that in mind, let's ask, how will journalism change in the age of trump? how should it change? joining me now is a perfect panel, dodai stewart is back, editor-in-chief of fusion dot net, john avalon, editor and chief of the daily beast, liz plank, producer for vox and john phillips, talk show host and political columnist at the "orange county register." you wrote the kaley beast will be part of the loyal opposition. what does that mean in the next four years. >> what i think that means is that we don't hope president trump fails like rush limbaugh said after president obama was elected. we hope he succeeds. but we recognize that we -- our job is more important than ever before to hold a president to account. our job is to inform, to separate truth from lies and to insist on a fact-based debate
that illuminates and hold power to account. that job is more important than ever before because maybe donald trump will be the first person in human history to campaign as a demagogue but not govern as one. we need to keep in mind the experience we've had a country, we need to hope for the best and prepare for the worst and the job of journalists is more important than ever before. >> hope for the best, prepare for the worst. you just described a hurricane. >> sure. i think we need to keep in mind the election of donald trump is not a complete reset. the past 18 months are prologue for what we might expect. maybe the office will ennoble, i hope it will. maybe he will be able to you mite the nation in the rhetoric. but the policies he's put forward represent a fundamental challenge to that effort and journalists need to learn from these election results as well. there's a degree of humility and empathy we need to understand to understand what trump supporters saw in this messenger. we need to do that job as well
but we cannot shirk our fundamental duty to insist of a fact-base debate without fear of favor. that's our job and that's critical to the country going forward. >> dodai, liz, let me go to the west coast to john. john, it's an an interesting week for what it means for people like you, trump supporters on television. on friday corey lewandowski resigned from cnn. seems like he'll take a job in the trump administration. you've been with us at cnn as a pro-trump commentator. i wonder what your takeaways about the media have been on this week. >> well, i have a theory on your essay and i think there's a lot of agreement that you and i have with what you just said. the media in this election picked a side. they tipped their hand and it was across all platforms. it happened in print, it happened in broadcast, it happened in entertainment mediums. let's not forget what happened. jorge ramos wrote in "time" magazine that journalists have an obligation not to be objective in covering donald trump and he was celebrated for saying that. jimmy fallon had donald trump on the "tonight show" and he treated him like he would treat
any other politician, he was excoriated for that. the huffington post had that ridiculous editor's note on there. in a certain point, media criticism of trump, whether it was legitimate or illegitimate just became background noise and people were sent looking for news agencies that provided by confirmation bias. i'll give you a story. i grew up in a republican family here in california and we grew up getting three newspapers daily delivered to our house. we'd flip back and we grew up my family now gets all of their information from fox news, golf channel and talk radio. my liberal relatives think that donald trump is the cartoon villain that the mainstream media projected. they think the mainstream media doesn't go far enough. where do they get their news? the daily show and cher's twitter feed. they were shocked because nobody told them donald trump could win
the election. if the media are going to regain their good name and relevance in this country, they're going to have to play it straight moving into this administration which they haven't done in the campaign. >> dodai, is he write about that? >> listen, i think the problem is that when it comes to situations of injustice, of course you're hoping for the best because we have a situation where there is so much hate that it's like you said, you want to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. >> you're saying it was fine for jorge ramos to speak out the way he did because he was speaking out for his community. >> of course you know i love jorge. i believe he said this before. he's quoted desmond tutu saying, if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you are on the side of the oppressor. we have people whose voices are not heard, all of the undocumented immigrants, women, people of color, and we have to be on their side.
we have to give them a voice. >> i'll give you another line. you ha0 flikt the comfortable a you owe -- a lot of conservatives would have said, why weren't you doing that for eight years? >> letting people speak for themselves is not social justice. it's journalism. one of the biggest mistakes or exposed through the last 16 months, wuchbt biggest failures of the media is it is one dimensional. the perfect example is that we missed disability is one of the most important be issues and storiy ies in the election. we did not put a single person with a disability on tv. i watched panel after panel of able-bodied commentators, pundits speak of donald trump mocking a disabled reporter. according to most polls, most americans thought this was the most egregious thing donald trump had done. yet we didn't put anyone on with a person with a disability.
>> charles krauthammer is on fox, for example. another scamp of diversity is hearing from americans in rural america who are not represented by these conversations where somebody like john comes in. john, you're on the radio hearing from your listeners. you may have a better sense of what the whole of the country is thinking and talking about. >> that's right. and at a certain point, they just tuned out the mainstream media. they just stopped paying attention. they made the determination that they had picked a horse, the horse was hillary clinton. they were out to defeat donald trump. they became advocate journalists. when they made that change people just said, we're gooding to our side and stay in the talk radio and fox world. >> to the other john. >> john phillips is speaking from an l.a.-based radio station, and at the center right prospective. he's done a good job advocating.
i think the bigger divide isn't just the media. there is an urban/rural divide we saw in this election that i think bleeds over. when only 10% of manhattan, donald trump's hometown, votes for trump that's an indication of a problem that's much more profound than a media bubble. and that's something to keep in mind as well. that's an old division in american politics. so this is not new found territory, what's different is we've never had a candidate like donald trump. so we need to resist the normalization while also keeping in mind our obligation to try to reach out and reach beyond and question our own suassumptions d being able to congratulate president-elect trump when he does things good as well as holding him accountable and hitting the left when appropriate as well. the main obligation that goes to brian's opening essay is this, the old quote more important than ever before, everyone is even titled to their own opinion but not their own facts. that's our spomt. >> liz, we talked about trump
vote rz and their views of the media. you were at clinton's event tuesday night. how do you interpret clintons' voters view of the press five days later? >> to your point at the beginning of the show, everyone is distrustful of the press right now, rethinking what the role of the press is, role of the media, and sort of what we got wrong and how to do it better. >> so we shouldn't lose sight of the anger. >> no. our job to your joint is to scrutinize, never normalize. donald trump is not our assignment editor. we can cover what we want and he's rewritten the rules and we get to rewrite them as well. >> donald trump is not our assignment editor. >> no. we don't need to cover the top news of the day and stay on that issue. we can choose to cover the things that voters care about and put the cameras on the voters. >> the begin fg a four h-year-lg conversation. thank you all four of you. that's all for this broadcast.
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president-elect trump heads to the white house after an earthquake election few expected. >> now it's time for america to bind the wounds of division. >> some say not so fast. as protesters take to the streets in uproar. >> not my president! >> what will donald trump's america and his white house look like? top adviser and potential cabinet pick rudy giuliani will be here. plus, trump made big campaign promises from obamacare -- >>