tv Reliable Sources CNN March 5, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PST
let's hope there were no baggage fees. . the american president doesn't travel light himself. "the washington post" points out president obama brought 56 support vehicles on his african tour in 2013. thanks for all of you for being part of my program this it week. i'll see you next week. it's time for "reliable sources." it's our look at the story behind the story. how the news gets made. this hour from the joint address to the shocking tweets, trump insider jason mill er joins me o talk about what makes his former boss tick. but first, the making of an alternative reality. the real news headlines have been hard on president trump this week. the "new york times," "washington post," cnn is other
outlets have been breaking new ground about the connections to russia. one of "the washington post" stories calls jeff sessions to recuse himself from russia-related investigations. trump was reportedly ticked off about this. . he didn't think sessions needed to recuse himself. so what happened this weekend? trump tried to change the story. in fact, he and his allies have created a brand new story line. castings a purgss on president obama. they haven't given any proof, but they have given trump supporters a talking point. that trump's problems are obama's fault. they are working overtime to promote this dmartive. let's take a look at what's going on here and how it start ed. this morning just in time for the sunday morning shows, sean spicer said, quote, reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling. by reports, does he mean trump's
own tweets? because saturday morning trump went on a reckless tweet storm making allegations rem any u isn't of his birther theory and bogus claims about an election. how low has president obama gone to tap my phones during the sacred election process? this is nixon/watergate. obama is a bad or sick guy u. where did trump get these ideas? where's he getting his information welcome this news story was circulating on friday and trump was infuriated by it. it asserted that obama has been trying to undermine trump at every turn. pfs inspired by a radio segment by mark eleven. this was not fresh reporting, it was opinion. attempts to connect some dots. that was on thursday. that's how this new story start ed. now it's sunday. the white house is calling on
congress to investigate this theory. here's sara huk by sanders on this week. z. >> these are extremely serious charges the president is making. where's he getting this information? >> there have been quite a few reports that jonathan and others earlier in the program mentioned that it was all conservative media, but that's not true. "the new york times," bbc, have also talked about it and reported on the potential of this having had happened. >> the times and other news outlets did not report that obama personally ordered trump's phones to be tapped. reporters have described ongoing investigations into trump associates. investigations that began when obama was still in office. martha asked was it the main source for trump's tweets. here's how sanders responded. >> i think the bigger thing is you guys are telling us to take the media seriously. . we are taking the reports that
places like "the new york times," bbc, multiple outlets reported this. >> "the new york times"? earlier this week trump said "the new york times" was evil. and one of his aids recently called the bbc fake news. >> the failing "new york times" -- >> you and your colleagues have fallen into the trap of fake news. >> so keep iing that in mind, let's go back to what sanders was saying on abc. . >> all we're saying is let's take a closer look. if this happened, why is the president saying this happened? >> he's going off information that led him to believe this is a real potential. if it is, this is the greatest overreach in the greatest abuse of power we have ever seen in a huge attack on democracy itself and the american people have a right to know if this took place. >> sanders is doing something that trump administration tends
to do. take the arguments and the allegations against trump and turning them on somebody else. trying to do this flip-flop of sorts. so we have seen this news story and started on thursday and it's sunday. . it gives trump voters a new argument. something new to respond with. what's the real story. let's bring in kathleen jamison, a director of the public policy center at the university of pennsylvania and bill plant, famous former white house correspondent for cbs news. have you ever seen anything like this? >> no n previous administrations, there was tension between white house reporters and president staff, but never in this this kind of situation where stories have been deliberately set up to take the place of whatever is actually happening and direct attention elsewhere. so this is new. but i think it's a very important that we not allow ourselves to become involved in
it personally u. that e we simply follow it to where it leads. >> do you see the trump administration taking the words that are being used against it and trying to turn them around? watergate, you were one of the reporters in washington covering watergate. trump is using the word watergate on twitter trying to turn it around and saying obama is acting like nixon. >> he's trying to shift the attention away tr the concerns over his administration, the ties with russians and other concerns and move it to this new idea he's put out there. but all we can do, i think, is point out that as martha did, no proof that this is actually t e true. >> does trump break journalism by saying something that's outlandish and has no evidence
backing it up. and then calls in journalists to report like it's any other claim by any other president? >> he creates a dilemma for journalists. ordinarily they would say the president said and would lock for the alternative and the documentation ask play through the narrative. when there's no proof, journ journalists have to find a way to say without proof trump alleges so we don't put in place the allegation as if it has some e legitimacy rather we should be saying where's the proof. what trump special liezs and shifting the burden of proof. make iing a charge with no evide and asking for an investigation shifts the burden of professor. someone is supposed to unprove an allegation. >> the "new york times" in print said with no proof, this is the headline. trump claim ost bam tapped. before you get to obama tapped and lay down that as a possible charge, you have heard with no proof and trump claims.
. i'd actually change to alleges that it has no support so far. >> there's also a deeper narrative. with taking hold in the press was a a story about cover up. notice what trump does. he displaces that story with the allegation that no, it's obama who is nixon and as a result anything that you're going to align with the cover up is innocent compared to the actual charge. he's actually got an associative logic. instead of a narrative of cover up, we have a narrative of nixon engaging in centrifuge to undermine his enemies. it's aufred without any proof. there's logic within one story of the other.
>> this morning sean spicer said we're not going to talk about this at all anymore until there's an investigation. is that going to hold up in the briefing room tomorrow? >> he'll come under sustained questioning tomorrow to offer evidence there's something going on here. he will deflect that as he has in the past because they haven't been able to provide any evidence. but again, the important thing for reporters covering this is not to get involved personally in disputing this or disputing how we feel about the claim. simply to drive home that there is no evidence unless the evidence turns up and that this has to be continue yulely investigated and discussed, but not to get involved. >> it sounds like you feel some
journalists are tag it taking this too personally and getting too emotional. is that fair? >> i see tweets from people and no names, but who are offended by what's going on. if if you are offended by what's going on, keep it to yourself. >> on that note, thank you very much for being here. kathleen, stick around. a quick break here. more on this weekend's claims from president trump and the fact checking of them. another all-star panel, right after the break.
welcome back to reliable sources. we see president trump trying to change the story. not talking about his own team's connections to russia, but president obama and whether obama's administration improperly investigated trump. let's talk about it with our excellent panel. so much to discuss here. molly,let me start with you. you have seen a weekend of re reactions to president trump's tweets. . how has the press react ed ed t this unusual situation? >> it seems that the press always reacts the same way, which is hysterically to
everything that trump says. not that it's not frustrating to deal with a president so inprecise. that is frustrating. at the same time, i think this constant level of hysteria causes people to tune out or get hysterical themselves. there are real issues at play. we actually have had reporting for months on surveillance of trump transition people. we haven't gotten a good digging sbo that story about why we have people both surveying these people and leaking in a coordinated campaign. that's a legitimate story even if trump talks about it in a way that's less than ideal. >> the way he uses language. president trump personalizes it and say it is in a shocking way. maybe taking off the edges or the caveats. that's different. reporters are reacting to it. i wonder if you feel you ever get a little hysterical as molly was suggesting they do. >> we have to dispense with all
euphemisms about whether or not he's using a precision in language or not. the president is actually lying. and we have to continuously say that the president is actually lying. that is an assault on the truth itself. it is an assault on the legitimacy of the presidency itself. another thing you have to it remember is that when we stop believing in the president, that's not just his credibility that's being burned through. that's american credibility that is being burned through. his credibility is linked to american credibility when he is the president. we cannot continue to grade him on some sort of curve where we have to translate and sift through the true parts of what he's saying from the things he's saying that are provable, demonstrable lies. >> when you say lies, polmolly,
that what turns off some of your readers? you say the lack of trust in media comes from saying trump is lying. >> on another thing. at the top of the show, you said sessions recused himself in response to "the washington post" story on his testimony. that's not true. he recused himself because of his involvement in the campaign. he said that explicitly and clearly. do i think you were lying? no, i don't. >> do you really believe that he was in the campaign months ago and knew that months ago and only one day after "the washington post" story he decided to chaung his mind? >> i think the question for jus journalists is to report what he said. >> do you think that's enough? >> during his testimony, he also said that he would be going through a review and recuse himself at the advice of his staff. the meetings were set up prior. you can't know what's in people's heart. you can only go by what they say. i think it's very much more devastating to say president trump said this.
here's what the facts say than to get into this very i moelgs state of calling people a liar or whatnot. again, we have all sorts of liars throughout government. clap canner was talking about stuff. he lie d before congress when senator widen asked it he was spying on millions of americans, he said no. . that was not true. e he knew that was not true. eric holder was held in contempt of congress for lying about his gun-running scheme that led to the murders of many people. . we didn't see the hysteria that e we see now. it would be nice for the media to treat everybody with the same standards rather than get caught up. i get that donald trump sets people off. we have to keep hold of ourselves. >> a tremendous amount of deception. he did lie. in fact, we are reporting on exactly what e he said in his own tweets. he did not say that he was responding to reports, which is
what sean spicer's statement said after the fact. he did not say that when he was tweeting. he said that obama himself, not the obama administration, not justice department officials underneath obama, that obama himself had targeted him specifically with wiretaps in trump tower. that's exact ly what he said. it's not hysteria. do not try to make that a an emotional plea. everyone in journalism because what our business is is truth. without that, without credibility, we don't have anything to sell. and when we see that the truth itself is being attacked, we must defend the truth from whoever. >> the bar needs to be high for everybody. >> the audience hopefully will
come along with us. people were saying trump was presidential. >> we got an hour with president trump acting presidential. >> the new testament trump. >> praising the president's tone. >> change of tone. . >> it was presidential. >> did commentators overreact and set the bar too low? have not a high enough standard for president trump that night? >> absolutely. trump being able to speak this is a president who waged war and was quite extraordinary to watch. we have put out a special issue how to cover media. and its role is to say whatever your politics left right or center across the spectrum, the
media needs to be a better job of covering president trump than it did candidate trump. . this is a a president who hates to attack the media, which in many ways helped fuel his win. media malpractice played a role. we need to find a way u to restore a blueprint of integrity and independence and trust in the media. that means doing our job. you heard from molly and charles. . the role of the journalists should be to cover fearlessly, accurately and e remind people why the media is the fourth of state. i think on the other news of the day, if i could, trump has debased our political sphere and discourse with trafficking and conspiracy theories, his use of twitter. e we should cover his tweets less. it degrades and debases our work. journalists should do the work. on the allegations of shifting the burden of proof, journalists
should report did the court give a warrant to tap trump or his associates. journalists need to do the digging, the hard work that makes journalism about accountability. he wants to destroy the infrastructure of democracy and media information. we cannot permit him. so i think it's very important. i disagree with bill plant. you need to jet san neutrality and access for journalism and democratic accountability. >> access is less useful and valuable if it the person is misleading you. access only goes so far if the person isn't tell iing you the truth. >> you have reported on this. we are seeing a tsunami of leaks in washington. there needs to be an independent investigation of russian conclusion. we do not know. we have unsubstantiated allegations. it is vital for our democracy and for the interests of this
country we learn a about the leaks. we learn through independent investigation about whether there were any ties. . it's colluding our discourse. we shouldn't be polluted by this ongoing idea that anyone who questions whether russia played a role in this election is un-american. >> i think some of that reporting is happening. molly, let me come to you on one more point. talking about high standards, also for the press. the associated press under criticism for publishing mike pence and his wife's private e-mail addresses. he wrote them a letter asking for an apology. the ap is not apologizing, but it took down the e-mail address when they realized his wife was using it actively. do they have less trust in the ap? >> it speaks to the challenge of our current media environment. we had so much coverage of wikileaks involving stole b information or hacked information. we need to have pretty clear
ethics on how we report and who gets caught up in the leaks. it's one thing if you're a public official and the information is of public interest. it's a different issue than when you're married or the child or something of a public official. i think we should be clear about what information gets shared and what we protect. >> i u don't see the node to publish the e-mail address. the e-mails were news. the e-mail wasn't news. i'm a reader of your twitter feeds. you noticed you have to rewrite your column because so much news is happening so quickly. on a personal basis, how do you keep up with what's going on? >> i have a weird -- i have a monday column. so there's a lot that happens between fridays and mondays. but something interesting that was said is we have to continue to go out and report this. james clapper was on television this morning, director of
national intelligence, saying there was no fiez is a order for wiretap. you have to see if the president was saying obama was behaving illegally. if you're saying that, that's an incredibly sensational charge. you b can't push that off into the mound of things that he has tweeted that may or may not have been true. that's an incredible charge. one president is saying about his predecessor that he had behaved in a way that is so illegal that it kind of adds up to watergate level. i'm sorry, this is an enormous story. there's no amount of heat that we as journalists can bring to it that's too much heat. something has to happen this week. we cannot have the press secretary say let's say congress investigates.
my understanding of this and there are other people that know this better. if the president actually wanted to know from the intelligencen community he could know this himself. there's no need for congress to investigate for him to know. he may not be able to disclose it, but he could know it. so this idea that this president has said this, this can't just be one or the other things. >> the point about credibility, folks do see it in different ways. i appreciate all of you being here. up next, an interview with former trump adviser jason miller. we'll be right back. break through your allergies. introducing flonase sensimist. more complete allergy relief in a gentle mist you may not even notice. using unique mistpro technology, new flonase sensimist delivers a gentle mist to help block six key inflammatory substances that cause your symptoms. most allergy pills only block one.
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welcome back. after the election, donald trump took to twitter to attack or critique the media pretty frequently. every day with a green check mark is a media critique. never more than a few days off at a time before hammering media. january you see much of the same, as one break there around inauguration day, but the green check marks mean more critiques of the press and much more of the same in february. but notice here in march. that's right, about a week without an attack on the media from president trump's twitter account. what's going on? is this part of a new strategy? joining me is jason miller, former senior communication adviser for donald trump's presidential campaign. great to see you. >> thank you for having me on. >> back on christmas day, you decided not to take a role in the white house. you were going to be communications director working alongside sean spicer.
why did you decide not to take the job? >> this wasn't my time. i needed to make my family a priority. i'm glad i made a decision, but still a supporter of the president and do anything to help out. >> has it made sean spicer's job harder? he's had a hard time. >> this is a demanding position no matter who is filling the role. sean spicer has done a good job. tough circumstance. and i think you have seen a particular of the past week he's become more comfortable behind the podium and has good command of what the job entails and how to advocate for this administration. >> you have been staying in touch with spicer and other aids, right b welcome. >> i catch up with folks and i'm still a strong support er. >> how has that relationship going? it's been all sorts of press
stories. some of these cases you call it unreliable. i think his performance behind the podium and the job that he's done communicating the message has been good lately. >> just you and me talking, president trump wakes up and posts a bunch of tweets about wiretapping. are you secretly happy that you're not working at the white house? >> big supporter of the administration. the one thing i don't miss are the hours.
>> we came away tr tuesday and the president saw what total messaging victory looks like. when he gives a speech, there's no reason to step on it. he had fantastic news coverage. that's it really put us into the last couple days. . . this was a very good week for the president and i think this speech really shows how unifying force he can be. >> that was an inciteful comment. leaks were attacking the presidential. typically a journalist sitting here, those leaks were trying to inform people. maybe they were whistleblowers trying to inform the government. but the trump team does form as a tax.
>> they are. the whole reason why these is trying to step on the president's momentum coming on to the speech. i u don't think you'd disagree on that point. maybe he's not using a a unifying enough tone, which we saw tuesday which he does use a unifying tone. but he's constantly being faced with these attacks from these nameless, faceless, anonymous sources and expected to respond and defend himself. there's a a real responsibility from the media is to where do we draw the line on these leaks and these attacks that are coming out. you can't ten thurn around and say i know they are off defending themselves. but we have to take a different tone. i think that's something that the media really has to take a close look at. >> you pledge not to be an anonymous source yourself?
>> i do my job and that's my job is career and also a strong supporter of the president and i'm a communications professional. so i'll do whatever i can to help out. . >> is he wise to not be posting those tweets calling juournaliss the enemy? is that a wise change and approach this week or recommend to continue to avoid doing that? >> i had a conversation with the president when he was still the president-elect before i left the team and went out to the private sector. he asked the question maybe a front page story that day. talking about twuter usage and it's a question i frequently get. he asked my opinion. he said mr. president-elect, keep tweeting. not only do you remind people to have an authentic voice with 22 people don't have to go off and check out every single tweet, but also you have the single biggest mega phone of anyone on
the planet. if you need to set the record straight or get the positive message out there, he's going right to the people. there's a way of bypassing the filter and is fput on a message of anyone. >> i'm glad you're not bypassing the media filter. thank you for being here this morning. up next here, can it be exhausting not just being the press sec toir, but maybe covering the white house on a daily basis. hear from two reporters, right after this. . i like that. [ all sounds come to a crashing halt ] ah. when your pain reliever stops working, your whole day stops. awww. try this. for minor arthritis pain, only aleve is fda approved to work for up to 12 straight hours with just one pill. thank you. come on everybody. aleve. live whole. not part.
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because i'm a woman, do you think i'm going to crack under pressure or conquer the field? defy expectations any day with always infinity. made with flexfoam, absorbs 10x its weight. rewrite the rules. always. welcome back. we were just talking about white house press secretary sean spicer. e he usually has a glass of wine when he gets home from a long day at the office, but he's giving up alcohol for lent. that's according to to one of my next guests. you spent some time with sean spicer with him in his office. he shared with you what he's
giving up for lent. what else did you learn about how he's feeling about his job nearly two months into it. >> i went in to ask a lot of questions, and what i came away with was his relationship with the. the. it was ash wednesday. e but i learned a lot. the president has never been in his office. he calls sean spicer a lot. and on a day i was visiting him, he hadn't even seen the president. but we talked a lot about how the the president has been pretty critical of sean spicer in public. . the day before he had had an interview on fox and friends where he criticized him of doing a a phone check on his staff and gave himself for c plus for messaging. it's a criticism of his communications team. >> we have that sound byte. here's what trump said about message iing. >> i think i get an a in terms of what i have done but in terms of messaging, i'd give myself a
c plus. >> not a very high grade. what did you read into that statement? >> that is a a slight at his own communications team to an extent b because they are the ones whose job it is to translate another agenda to the american people. it har kins back to the coverage rnd the joint address to congress. even in the media reaction, there was a lot of emphasis on style over substance. >> i think too much emphasis because what that interview with donald trump confirmed is he hasn't actually shifted his agenda with respect to policy. . his speech was very much centered on the same nationalist agenda he campaigned upon. for him, the challenge is not whether or not he needs to change his actual policy approach, but whether or not he's selling it effectively. the mode ya should focus on the fact that substantively his promise with respect to travel bans, immigration, nothing has changed in a meaningful way. >> that's been a critique of washington press corps for decades.
the idea that too much attention to style and not sub tans. >> why would he change his promises he's made over the last 18 months during the campaign. he promised the travel ban and all these things. when he did them, a lot of people were surprised because he followed through. that doesn't make it right or wrong, but he did do what e he said he was going to do. >> i think that's part of the point here where we should have taken him at his word. that is of desire because he is so unconventional and proposing policies that some members are uncomfortable with. they want to see a pivot. people are expecting that. surely he's going to shift his tone now. but as we learned, especially with the tweets around the wiretapping, donald trump has shown us who he is and how he operates and it's probably better to not look for those changes in tone and try to frame it as soft. we have seen on any given week, you don't know what to expect.
>> we were on a panel on friday. you made the point that we need to focus more on who is affected by these policies. you talked about your family as an example of that. >> the point of that was to say there are a lot of communities who are fearful of some of the proposal this is he campaigned on. especially because he is following through when it comes to deportations. we heard press reports they are not focusing on violent criminals. there's a travel ban that targets most of the majority companies. >> i don't mean to make it personal, but you wrote about what it was like to cover this campaign. do you feel there's not enough of that kind of diversity in newsrooms to reflect the impact of policies? >> i think that's what happens when people do focus on style over substance. they are missing how the policies will affect entire groups of people. sometimes it's because there's
not that diversity in the newsroom where you have individual who is are able to say i'm steeped in these communities and can tell you what these voters concerns are. the take in this election is we really ignored the rural american vote white working class americans, industrial areas, i thu we should not make the mistake of leaving behind other communities who feel like they don't have a voice in the press. >> the daily collar, a conservative news site, i think i could make the case that conservatives are not represented sufficiently in newsrooms. what are you experiencing in the are press briefing room? is there more diversity nowadays? >> there is more diversity. sean spicer does make the effort of going around the room and doesn't call on the ones that have been called on for the last eight years. that's created a lot of outcry from the people who were expecting that access as a privilege. and i think it's really good to change and get opinions frommen
different people because that's the reason so many people missed because they were asking the same people the questions ask not asking real americans. i'm there not to ask the same question that cnn or msnbc is going to ask. i'm going to ask the question my readers want answered. >> there was no blockade of recorders. did not happen this week so that was a good sign for newsrooms. thank you for being here. after a a break, more thoughts. right back after a quick commercial. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ sfx: engine revving
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popular technique of ronald reagan. she's with me now. she's the director of the annenberg policy center at the university of pennsylvania. reagan was very effective at using anecdotes to advance his agenda. you think trump has improved upon that kind of use? >> there's no problem with taking some specific instance and learning something from it. the question is is it generalizable? if you take the victims of crimes and you feature them with narrative under them and attach the label alien activity. you overjeblize how much that activity occurs. if you make policy over that generalization and you make a section ofevocative, the proble the evidence isn't consistent with the generalization. we may be addressing a need that doesn't exist to the extent that
the stories would suggest. >> that's what the president announced this week in front of about 50 million people. >> the office is called voice, victims of immigration, crime engagement. we are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests. >> so that office will be doing what you're describing, presenting these anecdotes essentially. really tragic, sickening anecdotes, actual crimes that have been concerned. the concern you're describing is if the data doesn't back up the idea that immigrants are creating crime ks at a higher rate than american citizens then it can confuse or mislead americans. >> it may also justify policy interventions that aren't warranted particularly when we have a definitional problem. during the campaign, the label criminal alien was used but it was associated with language about rapists, murderers and drug dealers.
when people come to this country and use false papers to work they've committed a crime but that wasn't a rhetoric surrounding it during the campaign. now you take the individual instances of aberent crime and you amalgamate it to the concept of criminal alien and you generalize out to a broader immigration policy, you've got a problem because you're generating a policy out of atypical evidence. >> we talk on this program about fake newsp i know that's a term that you detest. what should we be calling made-up stories instead? >> i'd like to call them viral deception. and i like to use the v.d. acronym because i'd like to associate it with venereal disease. if you find someone who has got it, you want to quarantine them and cure them. you don't want to transmit it. we ask the question what is real news and you invite people to label everything they disapprove of fake news. as a result it's not a useful concept.
we're really concerned about deception and of a certain sort that goes viral. much of that isn't imitating news, it's imitating news-like structures, narrative in form. if we say we're only concerned with fake news, we may be missing a lot of things that are going viral that are deceptive and things that are found in quasifake news sites trying to look like the cnn website, for example, aren't only found there, sometimes aren't found there at all. they're found in other kind of channels. i'd like to also say that when you appropriate the credibility of news you pretend you're the cnn.com website, that's identity theft. now we have venereal disease, viral deception and we have identity theft, i.t., we can flag it as vdit. >> let's see if it catches on. sign up for our newsletter. reliable sources.com. i'll see you here next week. when heartburn hits, fight back fast
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bombshell. president trump's shocking and evidence-free claim that president obama had trump tower wiretapped before the election. >> i think that president obama's behind it. >> will the white house produce any evidence for the president's claim? and what has the fbi discovered? marco rubio is one of the senators leading the probe and he'll be here next. plus, more russia revelations. >> i should not be involved in investigating a campaign i -- >> attorney general jeff sessions under fire for not being