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tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  March 12, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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sign up. don't forget do catch the most powerful man in the world monday at 9:00 p.m. here on cnn. thanks for being part of my program this week. i'll see you next week. it's time for "reliable sources." this is our weekly look at the story behind the story. how the media really works. how the news gets made. in this hour, where in the world is the secretary of state. dozens of outlets concerned about the new secretary of state inaccessibility. my panel set to weigh in. with the u.s. attorney pre-bharara hearing the trademark phrase, you're fired. what does this mean for an ongoing probe of fox news. trump said he got his military advice from watching the news. now as president cable news has inspired many of his tweets. is the president media literal?
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are you? am i? just halfway through his first 100 days in office, something has changed. is the president becoming press shy. let's look at numbers. it's been 25 days since his last press conference. it's been 13 days since his last tv interview and three days since he used twitter to take a swipe at the press. it's actually been longer than that. when you look at his tweets in terms of his tone and tenor attacking news outlets, she's changed his tune. this week the white house seemed to be limiting his availability to the press. allowing photo ops but not questions. take a look at this. she w he was trying to shout at the president. >> thank you. thank you. thank you, press.
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thank you, press. thank you. >> you see what happens there. no response from president trump. these photo ops are designed to show the president but not hear from him. it's important to know what the president is not talking about. what he's not doing. right now that's taking questions. let's discuss all of this with a super panel who we have assembled in washington with us. thanks everybody for being here. >> thanks for having us. >> lynn, you're on this beat every day covering the white house every day. covering all things washington. have you noticed this sudden change in the president's accessibility? >> yes, it has both on his morning twitter.
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the tweets he sent out last saturday were enough news to last us through this weekend. maybe he did want that to seep in and saturate the news cycles all the time. in the white house there's a difference when you don't have regular briefings. there's a difference when you don't have regular background briefings. it's a big budget coming out. he had the department of homeland security briefing with the secretaries who didn't take -- the attorney general, the dhs secretary and the secretary of state without taking questions. it's about getting information out to the public who have a right to know about government policies. >> i wonder if some think the journalists are being rude trying to shout at the president. how do you interpret these exchanges?
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>> when i saw that, i thought it's the ronald reagan playbook he's going through. one of the things that surprises me about the coverage so far of trump, is it's a constant friction. it's supposed to be that way. a push and pull and back and forth between the presidency and the white house. that's what makes the saturday night live skit with the podium that moves because that's really them literally butting heads and pushing back with one another. with trump, the thing is is that people have taken it to this extreme thing and gotten hysterical about it every time they push back. if i was him and looked at this say and say every time we engage the press, we are attacked. we're shredded. let's let the press go on its own for a while. why engage at that level if we're going to get pounded?
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that's a reasonable thing for him to say. when we say he's the worst war on the press ever. i wrote on that last week. it's not the worst war. he hasn't done what obama done. >> you're talking about actions not words. we have not had a living president call the media the enemy of the people. >> actions are what matter. when somebody names a reporter an aider and abetter and co c conspirator has president obama, that's a lot worse. when they threatened james risen from the new york times with jail, that's a lot worse than calling him enemy of the people. it is bad. it's awful. i wouldn't defend that or anything trump does but words are not angctions like that. >> yohere's my worry about word. let me show you a clip from the
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briefings. this is shaen spicer getting the facts wrong. he was referring to the situation where rosin's phone records were obtained. here is how spicer portrayed that incident? >> we've had your own network james rosen had multiple phones tapped. was that appropriate back then. i think there's a lot of concern out there about alleged leaks. >> he said the phones were tapped. they were not tapped. rosen has confirmed the records were obtain but they were not tapped. that's the casual mistakes that frustrates a lot of journalists. david is that something that bothers you also? >> absolutely. you can't do journalism without p precision of language. we all learn that when our editors drag us into the office and humiliate us. it's important.
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trump, sets the tone of careless loose language. it is particularly infuriating to us and dangerous really in many ways to democracy to not be careful with language especially for the president. there's no execute for what spicer did. that's mentally careless. it's verbally careless. she noushould know those facts. he should know the history if he's going to be a press secretary. >> since rosen was very explicit in what happened that a wiretap was not put on his phone or his parents tone. that's quite a public statement. let's see if sean spicer corrects the record. give him that. a little time to reflect. i think sometimes in the heat of the moment maybe he made a mistake. i think there's too many mistakes coming out and falsehoods out of multiple
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people in the trump white house that creates the troublesome situation that we're in now. there's too much. everybody can make a mistake once or twice but we're in a difficult period because of the number of misstatements that come out from multiple people. >> right the pattern. let me ask steve this, one of the biggest news rooms on the planet, how are you encouraging your staffers to stay knew trilli -- neutral. i know that's a concern you have. >> neutrality is not false equivalency. you're trying to get at the facts. you're trying to put them in context. if there's evidence behind allegation and you're pursuing it hard, that's very different from an allegation where there's no evidence behind it. you don't have to treat them the
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same. each time something happens we're trying to ask the question, is this important. or is it just a stray sort of distraction that you really don't want to spend a lot of time on. one of the big problems now is that the media is getting caught up with distractions. >> are we? how so? >> sometimes distractions are intentionally set or unintentionally by the white house. if there's a tweet that isn't really relevant to policy or something that's really important and everybody goes chases it, then they are losing concentration on stories that are important stories. what i encourage people to do, focus on news value. focus on what matters to our customers and readers and try not to get distracted by intramural battles by things that don't matter a whole lot. things that six months from now you're not going to care about. >> maybe it's good news the president is not tweeting so much. >> one of the interesting things is we're seeing the effect of technology.
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what's going to happen? the administration going to decide that mainstream media is a very important way to communicate to the world and in fact, does carry some trust with it. does carry some validity or is it going to decide that we can control the message by tweeting, by putting things out on our own radio broadcast and our own website. i think we're seeing this all over the world. there's real question. it's true in the business world too. it's a real question of whether executives are going to communicate largely through their own controlled means which technology allows them to or whether they're going to think there's some validity to be gained by working through mainstream media. >> as they do, as they go direct to the public, doesn't it create more pressure more journalists like you and i to fact check, to verify, to debunk what they're saying? >> that's always been our responsibility.
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we have to do solid, professional journalism. you look for facts. you check the facts. you go back to the sources and ask for fair comment. you correct mistakes. i think ultimately the president of the administration will decide what's in their best interest and i think that's going to go back and forth a bit. i do think mainstream journalism meet just a couple of billion people around the world and people continue to consume it. they continue to watch it in great numbers and they're watching it because they do care what comes out on it. i think the administration and most administrations come around to understanding it's a sybiosis and they want to participate with media organizations. >> great point about the audience levels.
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>> how do you tell viewers around the world about those sorts of comments? what's been the reaction from your viewers around the world? >> i think it's always important to what steve was saying is focus on facts and go back to the fact checking, the factual expose about what the story is and to remember whether, whatever organization you work for and i write also for foreign policy magazine. i've worked for other organizations in the middle east, in the u.s. and i think it's always important to make sure that the call for access, the call for access to officials is put in the context of serving the public and servserving. otherwise we risk making this
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about us. we don't have great, positive raltin ratings with the public. you look at confidence and it's low overall in the u.s. even though subscriptions are up at the new york times. there's a real eagerness to get access to good news. i think it's important to go back to the basics and the facts and try to put into officials that when we're asking for access, we're not just asking for the sake of access but because we have a service to render. i think there is an add justment period as well under this administration. they are finding their footing. period as well under this administration. they are finding their footing. period as well under this administration. they are finding their footing. it doesn't necessarily serve their interest or narrative to give access to traditional media outlets. they can sell their message to
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their constituents via other means. they're not the first ones to come to that conclusion. hillary clinton came to the conclusion that it wasn't going to serve her interest to engage with the media. >> i love your point about access. >> it's important to keep in mind that access is important. we need for which ever organization we work for we need access because it helps us tell the story, explain it to a broader audience. get into the details. there's different ways of telling the story that don't involve sitting in the white house briefing room.
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you can go outside of washington and now here in washington we see that even without access there's great investigative reporting that's being done by the newspapers. >> stand by. we're just getting started here. later this hour my look at how sean hannity disdain for reporters hurts his viewers. you're smart. you already knew that. but it's also great for finding the perfect used car. you'll see what a fair price is, and you can connect with a truecar certified dealer. now you're even smarter. this is truecar. imy moderate to severeng crohn's disease. i didn't think there was anything else to talk about.
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welcome back. earlier this week a dozen of the nation's top news outlets co-signed a letter asking the state department to allow the press to travel with secretary of state rex tillerson on his upcoming trip to asia. this has been normal for decades. journalists sit on the plane and fly all around the world with secretary of state. tillerson is changing that plan. on friday when asked about it, here is what sean spicer said about the reasons. take a look. >> press has been invited. there's a press logistics component to make sure they are getting everyone. an element of cost savings at this point that the secretary is trying to achieve. at the end of the day there's been a press component to every
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stop of the secretary's trip. >> cost savings. both my next guests say that's kind of bogus. joining me to explain why. journalists who covered three secretaries of state both democrat and republican for the bbc. she's also the author of the secretary about hillary clinton's time as secretary of state. you worked in the state department. you took to twitter over the weekend disagreeing with spicer. tell me why the answer doesn't add up. >> the most important thing we have to realize is as kim was saying in the last segment, this isn't about secretary tillerson made to feel important. it's because it is important. the traveling press corps is an important part of our diplomatic tool chest and making sure the secretary's message gets out to the world is a critical component of power projection for the united states. >> how is it part of the tool
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kit? >> as our press travel especially to place like china, we haven't run into a challenge with communicating the american perspective and the american message. you have journalists like kim, like others who have gotten to know the secretary of state who often travel and get to know other members of the u.s. diplomatic corps and come to understand their perspective. if we leave that to state owned media like china, the united states perspective isn't projected in the way it could be. that's going to really impact how foreign publics look at what we're trying to say and what we're trying to do and can hinder u.s. foreign policy. >> hinderson said he is taking a smaller plane. journalists can fly commercial and will fly commercial. is that good enough? >> it gets very complicated to try to catch up with a secretary of state who is flying on his
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own plane. when you're trying to catch up commercially, the timings don't always work. it's not like trying to criss cross america where you can cover the campaign trial without necessarily being on the plane of the candidate. it's important to remember that we pay for those seats. it's not cheap. perhaps taking a smaller plane does effect some cost saving but when we're on a big plane and there is room for all of us in the past secretaries of state have taken up to 20, 23 journalists with them on these planes. we all pay for those seats. again, there's an adjustment period here. i think that perhaps for someone like rex tillerson who comes from the corporate world, the oil business, where you really only talk to the media when there's a disaster at hand, when there's an oil spill or something. the idea you should be
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accompanied by the media where ever you go is probably a very foreign concept. it does help u.s. messaging. we're not an i used to cover the state department before, i don't anymore, but we're not on the plane to help the u.s. sell its message. we are there to try to understand it and give american officials a fair shake in our comprehensive coverage of the story that helps our audiences understand what american officials are doing. what american foreign policy is about. i want to make a point about the daily press briefings. i think that a lot of people in washington when it comes to that press briefing don't understand the importance of it. that's daily press briefing at the state department. these briefings are watched around the world. as a correspondent in washington you ask a question about south korea or about lebanon, you will see that sound bite pop up that
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same evening, most of the times, in that country's evening news broadcast and the anchor will say today in washington the state department spokesperson said that they supported lebanon's new government or they were pleased with developments in south korea. that is part of the messaging as well and that's a way for the united states to continue with its public diplomacy issuing support and warnings. that's what i think people in washington miss. it's not just about access for access because it pleases us as journalists, it's because it helps people everywhere understand the story better. >> i love the way you describe that. it's one of dozen examples of secretary of state being invisible. he hasn't given an interview since taking on the job. there's not been daily briefings since this past week. there's a lot of talk about obama aides trying to undermine the trump administration. are you come plplaining about t
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because you're part of the deep state? is that what this is about or something that's bipartisan or nonpartisan in nature? >> i think you hit it on the head. i'm part of the national security apparatus of united states. my first priority and those of my colleagues is always about advancing u.s. interest around the world. i think when we see the state department going dark we really are alarmed by just how much of the tool chest is not being used at a critical time for our country. when the secretary of state walks down on a tarmac it's usually on the front page of the paper in whatever country he or she is visiting. to not have that is a real loss. it's true that the secretary of state, tillerson, was a successful businessman often conducted his business in a very private way and adjusting is part of what he has to do. this is part of the job. he is a public servant,
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emphasize emphasis on the public. >> you have to wonder about how much of this is about the trump administration controlling the message. thank you very much for being here. >> thanks so much. up next, the big question in media circles this weekend. what happened to the investigation into fox news. now that the u.s. attorney leading it as been fired by the president. we'll get into that right after the break. (man vo) it was may, when dad forgot how to brush his teeth. (woman vo) in march, my husband didn't recognize our grandson. (woman 2 vo) that's when moderate alzheimer's made me a caregiver. (avo) if their alzheimer's is getting worse, ask about once-a-day namzaric. namzaric is approved for moderate to severe alzheimer's disease in patients who are taking donepezil. it may improve cognition and overall function, and may slow the worsening of symptoms for a while. namzaric does not change the underlying disease progression. don't take if allergic to memantine, donepezil, piperidine, or any of the ingredients in namzaric.
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welcome back. is this just a coincidence?
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one of president trump's favorite tv talkers calls for a purge then the next day there's a mass dismissal. take a look at this. this is a comment from fox's sean hannity. >> for weeks we've been warning you about the deep state obama holdover bureaucrats who are hell bent on destroying this president. tonight it's time for the trump administration to purge before it's too late. >> that was thursday night and the very next day president trump's administration asked for the resignation of all but two of the u.s. attorneys across the country. one of them was new york's bharara. he was fired on saturday after refusing to resign on friday. he was asked to stay on by trump in the beginning. his office is looking into fox's parent company 21st century fox skirted the law when it paid settlements to people when it
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charged fox news boss roger ailes. joining me now to go through this complicated case is jeffrey toobin. what are the chances of a coincidence of this? >> i don't think the justice department saw sean hannity on thursday and said, what a good idea. this has been in the works for some time. this anger in the trump administration of anyone who is not loyal to the new president. i think hannity was expressing a wildly felt view within the trump administration but it wasn't that jeff sessions was sitting there at home and said, wow, good idea. i'm going to fire everybody on
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friday. these are related but not cause and effect. >> they are bouncing off of each other. what about this investigation into fox. what happens now that he's gone? >> the way that u.s. attorneys office works is that there's really only one political appointee in the office and every else, all the other 200 plus prosecutors are career, non-political people. they will continue their investigations unless and until a new boss tells them the stop. the real power of a u.s. attorney is not to control investigations day-to-day but to say, we're not pursuing x or we are pursuing y. i will not sign an indictment or i will sign an indictment. the real question will be who comes up to replace him long term and whether that person has a similarly aggressive attitude
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as bharara did. >> what are you hearing about his possibility replacements? he wrote on the short list to replace him includes roger ailes one time lawyer and he said i wonder what happens to that fox probe implying he would put a stop to it. >> that's the name too. he had been mentioned for the u.s. attorney's office for the eastern district of new york which is brooklyn. his father was a judge in the southern district and later attorney general under george w. bush. he's widely regarded as a good lawyer and prosecutor but he's very closely aligned to the republican party. the question is if he's named will he have the independence to pursue cases not just against fox news. remember if there were any investigations involving trump
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tower, which is in the southern district of new york, all of donald trump's business interests were based in the southern district of new york. bharara, it's not fox, there are trump related inquiries that he knows something about if he's not running himself. >> totally. i don't want to get into irresponsible speculation. >> we're on cable. that's what we do. i take it back. >> it's one thing to ask this question. it's interesting there's this fox probe that's going on. it leaked out a month ago. it's dangerous to go further down the road into this theory about what will the next attorney do with this investigation. i do wonder for your take on this, it's been about eight months since ailes resigned and word comes of another settlement into this alleged assault claim.
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your take on what it means for fox news to continue to have these settlements. >> on this show we talked about it previously. i said i think this is an incredibly sick culture. this is nasty, it's ugly. this is beyond sexism. this is sexual assault in some cases and cut off the head. that's some place to start. get rid of roger ailes. brian we said it, you cannot do some of the things he's alleged to have done and other people now in management positions didn't know anything about it. how do you make payments to somebody and nobody is signing those checks or nobody is doing the accounting. no other big management heads rolled when the murdock sons stepped in and acted like they
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took over. you can't undo a culture overnight with one or two moves. i think that's what we saw this week. there are more problems there that haven't been looked at. this is really bad for fox new . because they do some good work and they serve a function with their point of view on cable even as we have seen with hannity it can be crazy, lecturing the administration they should have a purge. still, fox is important to have. they are tarnished their image so profoundly with this. they really needed to clean house but i think what happened is they said let's just get rid of ailes and hold on to the ratings position we have. all that matters is the numbers. if we go in and start roto
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rooting what's going on in the culture we'll expose ourselves to serious problems. i don't know which one is the way to go but i don't knknow we seeing the culture is deeper. look how long he's been in position. >> remember, who has been the focus of these sexual harassment cases besides roger ailes. bill o'reilly who is the most successful and profitable program on the air. they are not penalizing bill for behavior that we could get someone fired, i think here at cnn or at most companies. you're saying it's going to cost fox news. they are riding a tremendous high now. they're doing great in the ratings. why do you think they would mess with that formula? i don't think they are suffering at all. people like us notice there's a sick culture there but i don't think their viewers care very much. >> one more point about that
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attorneys investigation. fox said it's cooperating with it for what's that worth. thank you very much for being here. we'll have more on this in our nightly reliable sources newsletter. quick plug here, all the biggest media stories delivered to your inbox. up next, a totally different story but still involving fox. two tv talking heads in denial. you'll see what a fair price is, and you can connect with a truecar certified dealer. now you're even smarter. this is truecar. hey ron! they're finally taking down that schwab billboard. oh, not so fast, carl. ♪ oh no. schwab, again? index investing for that low? that's three times less than fidelity... ...and four times less than vanguard. what's next, no minimums? minimums. schwab has lowered the cost of investing again. introducing the lowest cost index funds in the industry
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if you have questions for monica crowley, you can go straight to hell. i'm quoting sean hannity who made some omissions this week. let's go to the tape. >> welcome back to hannity. she is back a good friend of the program. welcome back. how are you? >> hi. >> friend of the program he was a conservative commentator on
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fox until september until president trump tapped her to be a deputy security advisor. she never started the job. cnn discovered extensive plagirism in her book. some were really bla tent and inexcusable. politico and cnn found more in her phd dissertation back in 2000. she gave up the trump job a week later. a few months after that she's back on tv. did hannity ask her about it. watch. >> you were going to go to the administration. you got viciously attacked. i wanted to give you chance because you hadn't been out there publicly for personal and other reasons to respond to this. >> well, look, what happened to me was a despicable, straight up political hit job. my editor has supported me and backed me up. >> which editor backed her up.
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you can't find her book on amazon anymore because the publisher yanked it. there's no doubt she plagirized. you can look them up yourself. she said she is the real victim. >> in some ways i was something of the canary in the coal mine. the attack on me was a test. what happened to me, general flynn, attorney general sessions and others is all of a piece. there's a very dangerous and effective destabilization campaign under way against this president, his administration and his agenda. i'm not overstating this having been a victim of this myself. they are out for blood. >> what crowley called a campaign, a hit job what most of us call journalism. hannity does not recognize real journalism. rather than asking why she
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plagirized, he did the opposite. >> i don't think you should answer these questions. they can go straight to hell. >> he never explained why she really lost her job. he said a mutual friend debunked those unspoken charges. this kind of stuff hurts his viewers. by trying to rehab his friend's reputation on tv without honestly addressing what went wrong, he's allowing for really low standards. he should be encouraging high standards for conservative commentators. high ethical and moral standards to win the battle of idea, but no. let me show you another example. he's so anti-journalism he's been fanning this conspiracy theory that suggest americans conducted cyber attacks and made it look like russia's fault. all part of a plot to make trump look bad. here is how it played out on wednesday's show. >> you're telling me this whole
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russian story that the media has been running with for months and months and months that it was our people that did it and they just put the fingerprints of the russians on it. >> i don't have proof of it but i'm telling you this is what i heard. >> again, hurting his viewers. this anti-cia came from wikileaks press release. the actual documents don't support the claims. says who? one of his corporate cousins. it's too bad hannity didn't interview one of those real reporters. maybe he would have learned something. once again a sin of omission. we'll have more "reliable sources" right after this. ement. with 8 grams of natural protein, and 8 other nutrients to provide balanced nutrition. moms know kids grow strong when they milk life. and 8 other nutrients to provide balanced nutrition. how's tcheck it out.t going? lights. meeting configuration.
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learn how you can be prepared at together, we're building a better california. donald trump may be the most media-savvy president ever. but is he media literate? what does media literacy even
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mean? let me introduce you to someone who's opened up my eyes on the subject, the executive director of the national association for media literacy education and she's here are with me in new york. good to see you. >> good to see you, too, brian. >> we were on a panel about this earlier in the week. we were talking about how the president tweet what is he hears on fox news, tweet what is he reads on breitbart. is he media illiterate? >> you have to start with the definition of media literacy. to if you look at that as the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act using all forms of media, the president does some of those things quite well. he's communicating a lot, accessing technology but where he and many americans are lacking is the ability to analyze and evaluate. >> to know if it's true or not? >> and to understand the source and the things that go into making the media and who's telling the story. there's key questions that we need to ask ourselves to analyze and evaluate media. >> you're making it sound like
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many politicians, democrats and republicans alike, probably fall down this media it will ray is challenge. >> absolutely. it's not even just a political issue, right? as a country we are following down a little bit on a media it will -- literacy because we're not teaching it. it's not a mandate in our education system to make our kids media literate. that does them a disservice. >> and it's not just about news, it's about advertising. we're not teaching kids how to receive the message they're receiving. about news, i've been thinking about media literacy when it comes to fake news. stories on facebook designed to deceive people. is media literacy -- is becoming more literate about news a solution to this fake news plague? >> well, i think -- i do take issue with the conversation about fake news just because i think it limits the broader issue that we're dealing with. because the conversation about fake news really makes it seem like the information landscape is about this is fiction or this is fact. and it is much broader than that
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ch that. itlies in a gray area. >> it's a spectrum, you're saying? >> absolutely. if we focus on fake news we're limiting the conversation so it's important to have more nuanced conversation about it because we have to steer clear of believing everything we hear and see or not believing everything we hear and see. most of it is somewhere in between and media literacy is going to help us see those in-between areas. >> you're an educator, you do this everyday. you biggest piece of advice? your tip for president trump or anybody watching. >> we have to ask questions about the media we're consuming and creating. we have to know what is the purpose of the message. who made the message, what values are they communicating, what's missing from the message? and how do different people interpret the message? and we need to be good at doing that with everything, including when we're looking at our feeds, including when we're watching shows, what we're consuming in film. we have to be willing to think
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and to ask questions. >> when everybody's a source, what's reliable? that's what it all comes down to. >> yes. and we need to understand what the source. is i take issue with a lot of people that are like "well, i'm getting my news from facebook." the truth is, they're not getting their news from facebook. they might be cure rating the news. but it might be an article from the "times" or breitbart. and we need to recognize where those sources are coming from to determine whether they're credible or not. >> michelle, great to see you, thanks very much. i think newsrooms have to do more to invest in media literacy. up next, more "reliable sources." stay with us.
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we're out of time here on tv, but let me know what you thought on today's program. look me up on twitter, my handle is brian stelter, same on facebook. and our nightly newsletter, relier i'll send it out around 10:00 tonight. stay tuned for "state of the union" with jake tapper. heating up. the investigation into president trump's possible ties to russia intensifies as congress summons the fbi director to answer president trump's evidence-free claim that former president obama tapped his phones. while the president remains silent. what will congress learn? >> it's a very serious charge against the previous president of the united states. there needs to be some corroboration. >> senator john mccain joins us live for an exclusive interview. and republicans divided.