tv Reliable Sources CNN March 19, 2017 8:00am-9:01am PDT
algeria once had a rising tide of militancy. i wonder if an economic crisis would reawaken some of those forces. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i'll see you next week. i'm brian stelter. it's time for "reliable sources." this our weekly look at the story behind story. this hour an exclusive interview with pbs ceo. first to this, president trump's fox fixation. five of his seven sit down tv interviews have been with fox news. trump watches fox. he tweets about fox. he uses fox graphics to advance his agenda. he promote fox as fair while denigrating its rivals as fake. all of this amounts to a fox
news presidency. a presidency shaped by fox news in all sorts of ways, big and small. we saw it in action this week. let me show you how a comment on fox created an international incident. andrew napolitano, a former superior court judge now an analyst on fox said this. >> fox news has spoken to intelligence community members who believe the entrance did occur. that it was done by british intelligence. >> so he said his sources believe that the british helped obama spy on trump. not that his sources have proof, but they believe it happened. that was on monday afternoon. on monday night, he doubled down. this time on a fox newscast. >> sources have told fox that if then mr. donald trump, the president-elect was surveilled, it was done by a foreign
intelligence entity. >> okay so he said if it happened. if it happened the british did it. the next day he dropped all the caveats. watch. >> three intelligence sources have informed fox news that president obama went outside the chain of command. he's gchq. what the heck is gchq? that's the initials for the british spying agency. >> okay, now he is saying his sources don't just believe it happened. his sources are saying it did happen. now the weight of fox news is behind this explosive claim. two days later white house press secretary sean spicer bought the information to a press briefing and quoted it from the podium. why? to defend the president's baseless charge of wiretapping. british officials were furious. they said this new charge was bogus and then they were urging calls between washington and
london and maybe some regret from washington, maybe not. at friday's press conference when a german reporter asked about this president trump said we were just quoting napolitano. go call fox. the reporter didn't need to call fox because fox did respond on its newscasts. both disavoiing the cla inin ii saying he said it. we love him but we don't have any confirmation of what he said. this comes back from the two week old tweet claiming the former president wiretapped him. let me bring in my all star panel to dissect all of this. the editor and chief of the huffington post. the author of murdock's world. the last of the old media empires. there's a lot of unanswered questions about this fox story.
this series of reports on fox news monday and tuesday. we don't know if they vetted te sources before he went to air. >> he said fox news can report. fox news -- he is saying anthony napolitano can report this. fox news wants nothing to do with this. there's no offering if a news organization has done this on its own reporting site they would say here is what we know. what fox has to do was say we don't know. with have one of our pundits. they didn't want to vet it. >> by then it's too late. the damage was already done and the british were infuriated by it. >> the service was performed in trump in that there was some after the fact seeming validation offered on the network most important to the president. what you don't have is something that's done in reporting sense. you have a closed loop of content that the administration
would like to be out there. i don't think it's incident that napolitano close to roger stone. >> i don't think it has to be conspiracy. fox is host to a lot of that. the opinion and pundit tail wags the dog there. in this case it's redowning to the disservice of the president and to the public. >> maybe it's about blurring lines between news and opinion. i like to think of fox as two in one. it's a news reporting channel and then you have the sean hannitys. in this case it was shared on both news shows and opinion. i wonder if the blurriness between the two creates confusion. >> you talked a lot about media literacy. it's too much to expect that viewers will make a serious distinction between a news report and what a pundit has to say. all of the cable news networks,
msnbc, cnn and certainly fox news are hiring surrogates of each political side. stuff gets mixed up. i think some cable networks are very careful about this. i don't think that you would see jeffrey lord say cnn reports when something he personally knows. the fact that this line has been blurred across the industry, i think has created the space and the opportunity for these types of misdirection to happen. it's very dangerous. i think people already are not making serious distinctions between what's punditry and what's news. >> does huffington post have this problem? >> people see things and they don't distinguish whether it's opinion or news. i've said at the new york times there was this tradition of having ragged right rather than a justify right on a news piece.
we acted as if that with a clear signal to the reader that you're reading analysis and not straight news. >> we both know that doesn't work. >> it doesn't work. even though the op-ed page of the new york time is far removed from the news pages. if you read it in the new york times, you read it in new york times. this is a much larger media literacy issue. >> let me ask you about a fox news presidency. do you think i'm being fair to say trump's white house is being shaped by fox news? >> i don't think that's fair. i think there are people on fox news who probably share the same opinions and values and world view but i think that it's been proven time and time again that the president watches this network as much as he watches any network. all the networks have these blurry distinctions between pundits and reporters.
they are harder and harder to tell. donna brazile admitting she shared questions she got via her work here at this network at the same time she's working at the dnc. >> i think we're having two different discussions. i think you've seen fox news recalibrate itself. it was poised for hillary clinton presidency. they were willing to spend a lot of money on megyn kelly, to keep her there as a primary figure at 9:00. she walks and goes to nbc. she wants a different start, a different point in her career. they turn to tucker carlson but they elevate him to 7:00, 9:00. he'll all in pro-trump. he had some good questions the other night. largely a pro-trump figure at 9:00 there. they have really doubled down. if you look at their opinion
shows and most popular shows it's consistently a pro-trump line. trying to find ways to discredit not only criticism but journalistic reports that are uncomfortable for the president and the white house much like the white house itself. >> you wrote this week about rupert murdock saying he speaks regularly with president. >> he said he speaks multiple times a week. he's overjoyed. he's embracing the sense that trump consults him on regular basis. this is the kind of relationship he's enjoyed with prime ministers in his native australia and in britain. along with his conservative ied logicaldg ideology. in this country with fox he's a foothold in the republican base, sump such a strength
conservativ conservatives. >> is some of this about proportionalty. there's been a lot of attention about wiretapping. nobody seems to have any evidence if it was true. we have seen intel lead rs say we'll probably hear from the fbi director tomorrow. do trump voters or folks that are sympathetic to trump feel the press is piling on by trying to point out he doesn't have proof for what he tweeted? >> absolutely. he's still in campaign mode. there's this gigantic casm between what the public cares about and what the people support. the people really want to get to the bottom of whether trump was wiretapped by the obama administration. the press loves that story. they love the will he release his tax story. the thing on rachel maddow was a joke. >> you're saying you don't think americans want to know if the president was previously
wiretapped by the height of the election season? >> that would be an interesting story and i don't think that would enter the top 50. we poll people all the time on what you care about. it's going to be jobs, national security, income inequality. >> trump having made it such an issue on his twitter feed, he's made it front and center because there's other things he's having trouble with. >> you think you'll find people who care about jobs and the economy. >> he's taking on those issues. >> there are viewers who care about wiretaps because it's about the president's credibility. >> that would be that people would watch the story. i know i would watch the story like i watched rachel maddow the other night. i couldn't resist. the reason trump is president is he's correctly identified this giant gap between what reporters
want to talk about and what americans care about. >> another explanation might be he's exploiting the fact that reporters are distracted by shiny things. if you look at the opinion polls, trump's approval rating is tanking. he released a budget that's something for nobody budget like the gop hates it. the public hates it. health care. you're seeing thing after thing where trump is in his actual policies that he's putting forward is not getting traction. throwing out shiny objects like a wiretapping claim or something else is a way to -- >> that's a master showman at work. we haven't seen the results of the budget or health care. i think he's got a great shot of getting both through with some changes and negotiating. that's how he sold himself as a salesman. >> salesman. i always come back to that word. it's a big week ahead for the president. let's keep this going. stick around.
we're going to get to the bottom of this. we have a guest standing by who was one of judge napolitano's sources. you'll want to see this right after the break. pete's yard. and it's been withered by winter. but all pete needs is scotts turf builder lawn food. it's the fast and easy way to a thick, green, resilient lawn with two simple feedings. one now, and one later this spring. it takes grass from hungry - to healthy. pete may not be an expert, but look at that grass. this is a scotts yard. whfight back fastts, with tums smoothies. it starts dissolving the instant it touches your tongue. and neutralizes stomach acid at the source. ♪ tum -tum -tum -tum smoothies! only from tums like finding new ways to be taken care of.
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they tapped trump tower for president obama. the fox news division, the news division of fox news says it doesn't have any proof of napolitano's claims. he has not commented this weekend. when the new york times reached out to the judge, he had a trend call them back. larry johnson, in particular. larry c. johnson was one of his sources for the claim. he's a former intelligence officer and state department and counterterrorism official who joins me now from washington. larry, thanks for being here. >> let's be clear about one thing. i didn't call the new york times. the new york times called me. >> napolitano -- tell us what happened. he recommended that times call you. >> apparently, so, yes. >> you were one of his sources for the story? >> not knowingly. i'm part of a discuss group. when you put all the group in one room, you have a complete spectrum from right to left.
we all agree on one thing that the intelligence operations of this country need to be accountable to the law and need to perform in a way that serves the public and doesn't disserve the public. we've been writing. we've been critical of president bush, president obama. i'm sure we'll be critical of president trump. we're a bipartisan. we have a bipartisan point of view. >> some folks have said you're a right winger who is on the fringe who is making these claims. is that's why you're specifying? >> i can show you the transcript from rush limbaugh in 2007 where he accused me of being the democrats spokesman. >> he's said a lot of nutty things about me too. let me ask you about this claim. my sense is that on monday, he says this on tv. says he has intel sources who believe this is true. you're saying you were one of those sources but you didn't know that he was going to use you like that? >> apparently what happened is i
communicated. when donald trump tweeted what he did on saturday, two weeks ago. the next day i was interviewed on russia today. i had known about the fact that the british through ghcq were passing information back. this was not done at the direction of barack obama. let's be clear about that. it was being done with the full knowledge of people like john br brennan and jim clapper. i had been told this about two different people that i know within the intelligence community. they were very concerned about this because they saw it has an unfair meddling in politics but it was a way to get around the issue of american intelligence agencies not collecting. >> you had this second hand. you didn't get this information directly. you're hearing it from others? >> i'm hearing it from people who are in a position to know. that's correct. i posted that on the discussion
board and one of the individuals there shared that with the judge. i don't know what his other sources are. all i know is what i know. i had known about this before it came out. i think sort of -- here's the irony of this. one of the main claims that came out of the report that was issued in early january claiming russia was meddling in the election and one of the main vehicles was russia today. i spoke on russia today two weeks ago. this thing didn't surface until judge napolitano brought it out. >> you're saying russia today is not that influential? >> i'm telling you the truth. who watches it? it wasn't even a blip anywhere in the u.s. news media. if people like yourself very informed and up to speed on things don't pick up on something like that, you expect a coal miner in pennsylvania, an auto worker in michigan that they will be on top of russia
today. you can't even get here on verizon fios in the d.c. area. >> i can get it here on spectrum. why appear on a kremlin propaganda network? >> it's not a kremlin propaganda network. i was fired from fox or my contract was not renewed in 2003 because i had the audacity to go on the hannity and combs show in november 2002 and i said going into iraq would be diversion on the war. what i found is russia don't do pre-interviews. i've done pre-interviews with your people and when i've app r appeared on other networks. two days ago i did a pre-interview with bbc. they were going to have me on
air. once they heard what i had to say they said we don't need to use you. >> i'm concerned about the sourcing. the credibility here. you say it's not a kremlin propaganda network. it's funded by moscow. that's why i say it that way. let's put that to the side. do you think it's appropriate for the judge to go on fox and say this stuff based on this kind of third or fourth hand sourcing? >> i think judge should have had a different approach to it. what's ironic is i was a fox news analyst through 2002 to 2003. i never spoke to judge napolitano then and i hadn't spoken to him until he called me on saturday. there's a suppose a bit of irony here. the substance of what he's saying. he didn't get it right, accurate either. i'm not saying the british, ghcq was wiretapping trump's tower.
let's make a simple point. in the new york times, two days ago, they noted that the very first agency to notify that the dnc has been hacked was ghcq. the british version of the nsa. on march 1st the new york times said the obama white house was scrambling to get information out about trump's contacts and they cited in thatvided by dutc and british intelligence. there's only two types of british intelligence. you either got human intelligence from mi6 or ghcq information. i heard about it from sources who are within the intelligence community before trump tweeted. >> it was about obama
administration to preserve information. given your experience in media, do you think there's an issue for the judge that he needed to address. he hasn't said anything about this about who his sources were in. >> i've gotten out of business of giving other people like him advice. they don't listen to me any way. i think the judge is an hon honorable man opinion i think h i heart was in the right place. i would have gone back to president trump when he first tweeted that out. he shouldn't have used the word wiretap. i call it an information operation that's been directed against president trump and people like john brennan. >> my editor is about 30 feet over there. if i went over there and said here is what i got. larry said this, i would not be
allowed to use you as an anonymous source. you don't have firsthand information. >> when we lay out the evidence of what's been going on throughout the campaign. when jim clapper came out and implied 16 intelligence agencies plus his office agreed there was russian meddling, you knew that was nonsense because there was not a written didn't that had been circulated in the community. that's the only way you get the community aapproval. when they put out the report in early january, only three agencies. the nsa, the fbi and the cia coordinated on that. they left out the defense intelligence agency. the state department's bureau of intelligence and research. when i start seeing games like that being played by people if charge of our intelligence services, that tells me they're not doing a professional job. they are playing politics with it. that concerns me. >> i do appreciate your skepticism.
larry, thank you very much for being here. >> thank you. coming up next, it's one thing when it's fox news against the world but you got to check out this battle between an editor, a columnist from a sister paper owned by murdoch versus fox. with 9 lobster dishes. try succulent new lobster mix & match or see how sweet a lobster lover's dream can be. there's something for everyone and everyone's invited. so come in soon. sometimes, the only difference between a moment that fades from memory, and a moment that stays with you forever, is where it happens. that's why we're proud to help families like yours, live a lifetime of memories on beautiful, healthy, lawns. live like it's spring. make life better, with a beautiful, healthy, trugreen lawn.
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welcome back. continuing our conversation about president trump's white house being shaped by fox news. let me bring in brett stephens. he's the deputy editor from the wall street journal. i want to get your thoughts on larry c. johnson was saying before the break about his sourcing all about obama, trump and wiretapping. >> well, unfortunately, i'm not able to see the broadcast. i think this is the same larry
c. johnson who famously in july of 2001 penned an op-ed in the new york times saying that american fears hysterical and eight years later i think he was the same larry johnson behind an unsubstantiated rumor that michelle obama made an anti-white slur. since larry johnson is a fairly common name, i want to make sure we're talking about the same guy. >> you're being a little clever. we're talking about the same guy. the reason we wanted to have you on this week, you have this strange back and forth with one of your colleagues. sean hannity on the other side of the murdock house over on fox. you wrote a column this week. you described hannity as paranoid. you said the paranoid style in american politics is alive and well. make the case.
how so? >> well, it wasn't about hannity. i used him as an example because he was purveying or suggesting that the cia was conducting false flag or might be conducting false flag operations to spy on americans while making it seem that the spying was being done by russia, which is a classic example which happened in 1963 that was called the paranoid style in american politics. the idea there's a deep state that's surveilling you, monitoring you, reading your e-mail. this is a phenomenon on the left as well as the right. it's been in hollywood but it's a lunatic phenomenon. i think a right wing commentator offer a view that's worthy of a movie like the paralax view from the 1970s. >> when the fox host responds
and makes fun of you on twitter, does that create tension inside the company? >> i don't think so because we're separate companies. >> both owned by the murdocks. >> his first tweet -- yes but they are separate companies. it's a very vast empire and fox news and fox was split from news corporation several years ago. his first tweet was with respect to my comparatively smaller number of twitter followers meaning that i was essentially a non nonent nonenti nonentity which i found amazing. if i'm such a non-entity why are you reading and retweeting my piece. it's also a sophomoric put down that speaks to insecurities on his part. i tweeted back that my self-worth doesn't come from my number of twitter followers.
his response is i'm glad i help pay your salary which meant he didn't seem to be aware that our companies had split, which i think is astonishing if that's the case. when i pointed this out he then retweeted a quote from the economist calling news corporation a $7 billion company that includes the wall street journal and many other key assets as crap dot coe which i thought was an unpleasant comment about thousands of journalists and businessmen. >> hannity says journalism is dead. both of you report up to rupert murdoch. he doesn't e-mail you in situations like this? >> no. he's never once interfered in anything i do. i've never had any kind of
pressure from above to shape my writing or influence. i think what i'm saying now on cnn is fairly good testament to that fact. the wall street journal has remained under his stewardship, an independent newspaper where we we are form real journalism on a daily basis. there's a lot of real journalism taking place on fox news too. people like chris wallace and shep smith. it's a pity there's someone who doesn't call himself a journalist purveying viewing that are often mistaken as journalism by many of his viewers. >> that's what it's about. the blurry lines between the news side and opinion side. brett, you also commented this week about president trump, about what's going on with wiretapping, the budget. you've been an outspoken critic of president trump. do you think he needs to change his media diet?
>> it would help if he also read some of the so-called failing news or the enemy of the american people news outlets so he wouldn't purvey absurd and damaging and i would argue liablist conspiracy theories about intelligence services, about president obama and so on. that his news diet be a more substantial diet than whatever pops across his screen on tv. i would say to trump supporters, surely you can't be happy about a presidency that seems to consumed by these crisis that are manufactured by the president's media diet. maybe you lekked the president to get something done other than to have these kinds of weekly blow ups when he tweets
something unfortunate or untrue. trump isn't only letting down the country, i think he's letting down his core supporters who want to see the economy grow again. want to see the national conversation change. want to breakthrough politics as usual. if i had voted for trump, i would be a disappointed voter. of course i can't speak for them. >> thank you for joining me. quick plug for our nightly newsletter. coming out later today you can sign up at reliablesources.com. we'll be right back with more of program right after this. not back. it's looking up not down. it's feeling up thinking up living up. it's being in motion... in body in spirit in the now. boost. it's not just nutrition. it's intelligent nutrition. with 26 vitamins and minerals and 10 grams of protein. all in 3 delicious flavors. it's choosing to go in one direction... up. boost. be up for it.
1970s but they never succeeded. will this year be different? let's address the big bird in the room first. will these budget cuts take away shows like sesame treat. it's now paid for by hbo. >> let me explain how we're funded and where the money runs and you can understand how that also connects the our children's programming which is such a significant part of what we do. the majority of the federal appropriation goes to our stations. that represents 15%. that money is distributed out to stations public television and radio stations. 1500 of them in all. 179 television licensees. some that represents a smaller percentage to their budget. in urban cities where there's lots of opportunities for people to raise money. in rural parts of the country we have 86 stations that serve rural communities. it has represent as much as 50 or 60% of their budget. the reason we fight for this
funding so intently is that those stations would immediately go off the air. we care very much about making sure that every child in this country has access to sesame street and the kind of program that we produce. it's very important that this public/private partnership between the federal government and the money that we're able to raise in support really comes together to enable that every american has access. >> i'm sitting at home last night. me and my wife are about to have a baby. we're watching a pbs series about pregnancy but we're watching it on netflix. i notice it's partly funded by the british broadcasting company. i'm thinking to myself, aren't i paying for this by watching via netflix. why do you really need taxpayer money? >> it's really a partnership. when we were formed it was always envisioned that we would be charged to go out and raise money. we take the amount that the
federal government provides to stations to ensure that they have access and then we work to either generate philanthropic support or through relationships with organizations like netflix and we work with other producers. we worked with other public broadcasters like the bbc for years as a way to leverage that money all together. our entire programming operating budget is less than netflix spends on the production of "the crown." that gives you a sense of how we leverage the amount of federal money we get in order to provide a robust service that meets the needs of everyone. >> you're saying the federal government money, $450 million a year is seed money and then it creates a lot from that money. that's your argument to congress, right? what do you expect congress to do? >> this is a moment. you commented on this earlier today when i think everything
needs to be examined very carefully. we never take the federal appropriation for grant. we recognize these are hard decisions that have to be made. i think the reality is we care very much. i spend most of my time on the road. i'm going to be in detroit on friday. i can tell you that there's so many people around the country. there are a lot of people that watch television over the air and they really count so intently on the work that we provide both the work for children as well as what we do for the full audience. >> i think that's really important point. i was talking about netflix and streaming but not everybody has that. not everybody has internet access at home to stream programming. >> here is a statistic that maybe will blow your mind. 40% of the children that watch our preschool programming are watching over the air. i think often times we get caught in this argument that with all of the cable and with all the broad band, what is the
relevance of public broadcasting. in many communities and many homes that cannot afford cable or broad band, we're the lifeline. we're the way people are receiving information and most importantly for the half of the kids in this country that are not enrolled in pre-k programs, we are their access to information that will help them succeed in school and in life. that's what we're relentlessly focused on and that's why this federal appropriation is so important to enable us to continue to provide that service in communities across the country. >> this is the beginning. one slice of this budget battle getting under way. thank you very much for being here. >> thank you. >> we'll be back with more "reliable sources" after a quick commercial break.
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. hey, welcome back to "reliable sources." some big news today about secretary of state rex tillerson's first big trip to asia. the editorial board weighed in as secretary silent. tillerson brought only one aid on his plane. tillerson brought just one reporter from the conservative leaning ijr. over the weekend, he did give an interview to that reporter, erin mcpike, there was some news in it, but there's this broader concern about lack of access, lack of availability with rex tillerson. let's talk about it with our panel. lydia, how big a concern is this to you, your reporters trying to cover foreign policy and foreign
affairs. >> rex tillerson seems to be under the impression that the immediate where is there to service him. >> you're no longer the ceo of exxonmobil, you now serve the public, and the public has the right to know what the secretary of state is up to. and that's the whole purpose of having a traveling press corps with the secretary of state. big news happens on these trips. this whole flap with him reported as being tired by korean state media, that wouldn't have happened if he would have had legitimate media along. he hurt himself in some ways by allowing this false story to blossom. >> ken, you disagree? >> i totally disagree. i listened to your entire podcast with karen swisher, who hates everything about donald
trump. the idea that this administration is not getting enough media access is ridiculous. but every single cabinet member has to have a press pool, they're disrupting it. this guy did not come from a tradition of politics like secretary kerry had and secretary clinton had. he came from the private sector. he's got a different approach, and give him ten minutes to see what happens. >> let me pivot to some sad news that came in just about an hour ago. legendary news columnist jimmy breslin dies at 89 years of age. what stands out to you about his career? >> he was a classic new york columnist, who put his heart into it. it was combative, he was
colorful, at times he was combative. but he had heart. he stuck up for the little guy, the working class guy and he also believed firmly in the working class process. you think one of the quintessential, half century ago, jfk dies, everyone's writing about the funeral in a somber way and goes to the gravesite and go to the grave digger and says here's how an ordinary man was affected by the death of this great person. >> lydia, there's some fair critiques to make about media being too elitist. you said you want "the huffington post" to be more a part of the working class readers. >> if you're the next jimmy breslin, call me. >> we can learn from breslin.
last thoughts from you about breslin's legacy. >> those guys, represent a dying breed, not just columnists and newsrooms, but sort of america. it's a shame that our country doesn't have these cross over people in newspapers and on television. >> ken, lydia, david, thank you all very much for being here today. great to see you. ken mentioned our "reliable sources" podcast, i recommend it this weekend, this week's guest, karen swisher, we talked about trump, about tech, about south by southwest, many other topics, check it us on reliab reliablesources.com. stay tuned now for state of the union with jake tapper. with tums smoothies. it starts dissolving the instant it touches your tongue.
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presidential persuasion. trump tries to make a deal on health care with reluctant republicans. >> these folks were nos and now every single one is a yes. >> can the president get his own party on board? the man behind the plan, department of health and human services secretary dr. tom price will be here live. and no joke. >> as far as wiretapping, this past administration at least we have something in common. >> the fbi director heads to congress to testify tomorrow, will he tell them