tv Reliable Sources CNN September 23, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT
thanks to all of you for being part of my program. i'll see you next week. i'm brian stelter. it's time for "reliable sources". a look how the media really works, how the news gets made and how we can make it better. a blockbuster story from "the new york times" and headlines about rod rosenstein. the sourcing and motives and sean hannity, the president's favorite interviewer but at this point aren't they more co-hosts? the death of the white house daily briefing. there really isn't a daily briefing anymore. what's the press core doing to get it back?
first, reading from the front page of the "new york times." the facts are still in dispute about a bitter he said, she said case. a supreme court confirmation drama unfolding but lawmakers are being accused of a lack of sensitivity and some prominent politicians are saying hey, what's the rush? we need a little more time to follow up on the accusations and allegations. all of this playing out in washington, a city where men have always made the rules and the senate is an overwhelmingly male club. this case is sending what one expert called an electric current of anger through women and a greater conviction women must be represented in high places in greater numbers. all of that from "the new york times" from the fall of 1991. days before another senate confirmation hearing. the title of the story by the way was my maureen doud. the title was "the senate and sexism." it was about the male club was
mishandling anita hill's allegations against clearance thomas. 27 years later, some of the same men in the same club are in charge of a sequel of sorts. doud says in this morning's "new york times" it's unnerving to think how far women have come to find ourselves dragged back to the same place. it may be tempting to think that a lot has changed since this day, since anita hill sat down to testify and certainly some things have. but america seems even more divided along gender and part s partisan lines and the media is complicated and a mess. viewers are hearing about the same set of allegations but reacting to them in very different ways and keep in mind as we head into what could be a consequential week for the united states, judge brett kavanaugh was supposed to be on his way to confirmation right now but the interview with christine blasey ford went into
detail about the night she says kavanaugh sexual assaulted her. but much of the account is in dispute and for a week now, there has been story after story, ramped speculation about what is going to happen next and whether she'll testify and in what way and form. at the moment, there is a tentative agreement for a thursday hearing. let's talk about the media's role in this. what it was back then in 1991 and what it is today with an all-star panel as former executive editor and managing editor of the "new york times" and the co-author of the strange justice about the clearance thomas, anita hill hearings that had so much vital information and charles blow, a columnist for the new york times and a commentator that was fire shot up in my bones, a memoir and here with me, rachel sclarr.
great to have you-all here. i'd like to start by going back in time to the anita hill, clearance thomas hearing. do you look at this and see a sequel? do down see parallels today? >> i see tremendous parallels. i was in the hearing room back in 1991. in fact, sitting directly across from maureen doud for "the new york times" and this has so many erie parallels down to the fact that even though now we think we're having a hearing thursday, that's no time to really get to the bottom of the facts in this case. to report stran"strange justice book i co-wrote that had a large amount of new evidence showing that anita hill absolutely told the truth when she testified and
that clearance thomas' category denial amounted to perjury. to put that case together and find all the people who knew exactly what happened back then was difficult and took time. >> years, right? >> took us almost three years. >> right. >> so, you know, just the parallels where anita hill's story leaked out to the press. >> right. >> she had signed a sworn avid but wanted to keep her identity con confidential in the beginning and same thing for dr. blasey ford. how their stories leaked out in the media similar to what is completely different is there is no pafacts back then and no socl media back then both of which have served to, you know, intensify people's emotions
about this and incited some of the regrettable reaction to dr. blasey ford. >> hill wrote a piece, an op ed describing what ford makes. we can put part on screen. she says the difficulty of testifying on national television about sexual assault, i want to think about what that had to have been like for hill and what it could be like for ford. hill also points out in this piece, ford may have encouraging letters, support from friends but cannot match the organized support judge kavanaugh has. anita hill, her voice being really important at this moment even though decades have passed. it's interesting to see that. >> it's fascinating. anita hill continued to speak out over the years on behalf of younger women and, you know, i think it's true that judge kavanaugh has tremendous organized support but what i've been struck by is the anger of
women who i've heard from and like are oall over social media and this touched a nerve. every woman in america has a similar experience from thirteen age girls that they haven't thought about. it was traumatic. they tried to bury it and this has lit a match for them. >> with that in mind, the difference between -- >> if they feel unhurt at the end of these hearings, there will be big political consequences like after 1991 when the senate rushed to confirm clearance thomas after the anita hill hearings. there was anger among women and then in '92, the election of six new women senators and the so-called year of the woman. >> the difference this time is the midterms are just -- or that election is just a few weeks away. 1991 a year later, we had the '92 election.
>> it is warped speed. >> it makes us feel more intense and consequential. isn't this sort of a strange way what we're experiencing and the debate about gender and power and how to handle allegations of assault feels like the end of two years of discussion that started with president trump and the allegations against him during the campaign. >> there is no question that he's certainly a lightning rod in all of this. the why i didn't report hashtag flared up directly in response to donald trump grope explaining what christine blasey ford would have done had she really experienced this. she would have filed a report or her loving parents would have and many people piped up and myself included saying that guess what? this happens and you don't tell your parents and you don't file a report because of a variety of reasons which again and again
women have to take to social media and layout their personal stories in the hopes that maybe, just maybe the tide will turn and they will be believed. >> this is the hashtag why i didn't report. the president's tweet started to cast doubt. >> that's what he does, deny, deny, deny. this happened with the hashtag not okay after the "access hollywood" tape came out we know what he said. am i allowed to say it? >> you're on cable? >> okay. all right. he said that he -- talked about grabbing women and when you're a star, they let you do it. and then women came forward with credible allegations against him of sexual assault. >> and i appreciate you saying, am i allowed to say this. by bringing up the words, the specific words seems like you're trying to remind people. i think there is a numbness or it is possible to sort of for some people to forget what we
learned during the campaign. >> anybody whose been grabbed there, sorry to use that language, it's not my language but if that's happened to you, you don't forget it. >> not going to forget. interestingly, the why i didn't report hashtag takes off friday, rain is the advocacy group that tries to help people that suffered sexual assault. they have a hot line 800-646-4673. we had a 42% uptick in calls since friday. 42% uptick in calls. it's clear there could be -- people are paying attention. there is an awareness of the conversation and the ability for folks to share on social media their accounts can make a difference. it might be helping some folks to choose to call the hot line and seek help. >> the under reporting of childhood sexual abuse.
this is a child. she was 15 years old. when children are abused, they have a different sense of urgency than adults. there is under reporting for adults but for children in particular, it's an acute problem. because they don't know, you know, you're trapped. you go to the school you go to. you can't make your parents move. maybe they don't have the option to move. maybe this is a family acquaintance. all these things are happening and that child is forced to make a decision about do i disrupt the school? do i disrupt the family relationships? do i disrupt what my parents believe is a happy existence for me? these are big questions for a child to have to comprehend. at 15 years old, she's coming out of fresh man year. we've all seen these guys, whether you call them hound dogs. there were all kinds of names for them, the guys that want to reset their reputation by
praying on the freshman who come into school, right? that is a real thing that occurs all the time. there are a lot of different ways in which older children pray on younger children. i try to remind people all the time about the statistics around childhood sexual abuse. the number one age that has the most aggressive is not an adult. it's a 14-year-old boy. we have to stop thinking about this type of abuse as to catch a predator. that television show where some grown 40-year-old man shows up with beer and condoms. that's not really the way it happens. it's very often an older child praying on a younger child, and that is what is happening here, and i really think that the media makes a mistake when they allow people to come on air and say well, these were just two
drunk teenagers as if there is not a huge developmental difference between a freshman and senior. i have three kids. it's like different human beings. they have a freshman and then almost an adult. >> we'll hear the line, boys will be boys. i'm cringing thinking we'll hear that. >> why are we sending these messaging? not like these 15-year-old boys and girls not watching tv but getting it through some form on their phone. why are we sending them these messages? there should be a category no. like enough is enough. this is terrible. it is shocking to me. no. it is still shocking not surprising, but shocking that the leadership in this nation and senate judiciary committee and some of whom were on the committee -- >> charles grassly and hatch.
>> they want to minimize the testimony and the concern for brett kavanaugh, my goodness, how is this affecting him? is this going to quote unquote ruin his life? how is not getting a supreme court appointment a life ruiner? this is the point of a confirmation hearing is to assess fitness for this lifetime appointment and presumably anybody casting a vote will be doing so with an open mind. >> i think that we have to stop and think just for a minute as we contemplate what is going to happen on thursday, just the courage that it takes in this media environment for dr. ford to walk into that hearing room, sit down and tell her story because. >> play that out for me. >> sitting there back in '91, it's almost too painful for me now to watch the beginning of the '91 hearings on tv.
it's been replaying all week because i know what's in store for anita hill while watching that and yes, i think the senators and the all male senators on the republican side may have learned some lessons but still, someone who is unschooled in the ways of washington who hasn't led a public life until now, it is just unutterbly difficult and painful. >> considering how there is only a couple photos of her. a week full of coverage. we've barely seen a photo of her. this is not a public person with loa lots of instagrams we can look at. >> i want to give a shoutout to the washington post she came forward to with her identity to first last sunday and i thought they did a very sensitive and
thorough job in the first story about her. >> they have been able to follow up with her since. the post is the only outlet she's talking with. >> it's interesting, she called them first. she called their tip line first and one assumes that in all of the ensuing months, they contacted her but they respected her desire to remain confidential. >> this is reporting. this is gis good reporting and investigations that take time. jill said a meticulous investigation takes three years. there is no effort to have a slap dash investigation. >> final word how the press needs to treat the next few days? >> like jill said, it's a different media environment. there was no fox. there was no msnbc or internet. no internet like we have now. so that's a very different thing. i would like to raise one point. there is some big ways in which it is very different.
we were remembering clearance thomas merged from the hearings incredibly popular. 62% wanted to confirm him after anita hill gave testimony and part of that was because of the spectacle of this black men and white guys. if you recall 1991, this was a few months after the rodney king black lives matter citizen video showing on national television and so in the wake of this guy on the ground being beaten by all these white officers comes this hearing in which this black man is being questioned by this panel of white guys and that whatever black people might have thought about it, the image of that was a circle the wagon kind of moment that did not give full airing to anita's very credible account but because of the racially charged climate, it
changed the dynamic of how the hearings played out in america. >> this time with the mid terms right around the corner, this is primarily about gender and about what was already the year of the women coming to vote and running her office super charged on a higher level now. to our panel, thank you for being here. quick break and a look at the smears, the overflow of misinformation coming out about ford. this is something that we've been seeing for a week now and these lies have to be taken head on. we'll get into that in just a moment. dogs have evolved, but their nutritional needs remain instinctual. that's why there's purina one true instinct. real meat #1. a different breed of natural nutrition. purina one true instinct. now, try new purina one true instinct treats.
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see real results at botoxcosmetic.com/men. try to put yourself in christine blasey ford's shoes for a minute. you lived with this and back in july you confided in a reporter on it but insisted on confidentiali confidentiality. you thought about going public but decided not to, to keep your secret buried but your name started to leak out. reporters started to knock on your door. you felt like your civic responsibility to speak out outweighed your anguish and
terror about retaliation. that was a week ago. that was the quote from the first washington post story. if you're ford, you're living in a hotel staring down death threats, you're thinking about testifying. the president of the united states is tweeting about you casting doubt on your story. and everybody on tv is talking about you. of course, none of them actually know you but sound like they do, they sound so confident like they want to know the truth or do know the truth but only you know your truth. maybe you turn your tv off in disgust and look at your phone but it's worse on the internet. soe social media full of lives about you. you're a private person, not a public person. you're not used to people talking about you and all of n sudden, these these smears and hoaxes. let's step out of her shoes. i want to show you examples. it's been a problem all week
long. on monday the smear machine gave up reviews from rate my professor.com, these were said to be reviews. a protrump side said she was dark, mad, scary and troubled but the only problem were the reviews were a different professor ford. the drudge report and other bright lights of the right promoted this stuff. and this was just the beginning. all week long actual news outlets had to chase down and debunk lies about ford. some of these hoaxes were about straight up trying to discredit her as a democratic activist determined to take down kavanaugh. some of it was about sewing doubt, creating uncertainty, some of trump's allies on capitol hill and tv wondered maybe she just accused the wrong person. >> human memory is notoriously unreliable especially over time. >> she can't tell you where it was, how she got there, how she
left. >> maybe the people there don't remember it. >> kavanaugh wasn't. >> maybe it was a case of his sta dissta -- mistaken identity. >> a kavanaugh reporter and president of conservative ethics put forth a conspiracy theory blaming an entirely different man or suggesting maybe a different man was responsible for the attack on ford. he's that of an ethics center. and he had to apologize and everything. ford clapped back perfectly and said she knew kavanaugh and this the other man and there is zero chance she could confuse the two of them. fox, "fox and friends," president trump's friends brought up the idea and talked about the theory and gave it validity as there was apologies like it never happened. again, a week of smears.
a week of lies. put yourself in her shoes. what would you be feeling right now? it's going to be an intense week ahead whether she does testify or not but we should try to keep in mind what she might be feeling and what kavanaugh might be feeling as everybody else talks about them all around them. quick break and we'll move onto the other big news of the weekend. the rod rosenstein story and reaction since. where did the story come from? should "the times" have p published it? we'll talk about it next.
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this just in, president donald trump responding to the story about deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. trump calls the controversy surrounding rosenstein a sad situation, kind of a muted response by the president so far. hopefully we'll hear more coming up. the controversy is about "the new york times" story that said rosenstein in may of 2017 talked about secretly recording trump and discussed the 25th amendment option. the idea of rosenstein maybe thinking about wearing a wire, an extraordinary revelation and reactions were all over the map. people have been asking me, is the story true? should we believe it? there is a lot of speculation about "the times" sources and what the motivation was. were they trying to provoke
trump into firing rosenstein? were they trying another maneuver? leading to thinking on the right, left, all over the place. look at the ways some of the hosts on fox news reacted. laura ingraham said trump needs to fire rosenstein today but he did the tweet. maybe she changed her mind. there has been a divide right away among some on fox but by the end of the day, when this story broke, tucker carlson said maybe this was a trap. watch. >> i have a message for the president tonight. under zero circumstances should the president fire anybody. >> maybe this is trap. >> they are trying to trap the president. >> this may be a political trap for the president. >> he needs not to fall into a trap. >> it's a setup they were saying and by saturday night, judge jeanine was throwing this out. >> is he looking to be fired? is he setting this up? >> was rosenstein the one
leaking to the "new york times"? in response to all of this, "the times" said hold up. we're working on this story for months. this was a product of hard work. we weren't just handed this scoop. let's talk more about it with media critic for the "baltimore sun." what is interesting is we're expected to process the news on multiple levels. it's not enough just to read the story but who were the sources and motives? how will the president react? will fox tell them to do? we're expecting to play 3 d chess when the view of the "new york times" is we're trying to report the news. >> right. everyone is a media critic these days but the problem is not everyone has just a basic understanding of how the media works and how reporting works and i don't think it's helped by the fact there are people who support the president in the media who are i think actively pushing incorrect information and conspiracy theories but what is interesting to me about this
in part is that throughout donald trump's political career, i have noticed people on his staff in the campaign and white house kind of cannot believe that a story could emerge through reporting and through other reporting and calling sources through getting documents, corroborating their accounts. they always think it's a product of a leak or conspiracy or something else at play. the story is never just a story. it's always what is the story trying to accomplish in a broader political sense and just noticed this time and time again when you talk to people in the white house, they think every story is a product of somebody pushing it from within their own ranks to which is a certain end and it's very bizarre. it's not surprising given their general opinion of the media and of reporters but this seems like a pretty extreme example of that. >> it sounds stressful but is
there any reason to wonder about the sources in this case? it seems like some folks are out to get rod rosenstein. is that conspiratorial to think? >> i don't know how helpful it is. we do not know who "the new york times" sources are. we're probably not going to find out. they are protecting their sources and stand by this story. "the new york times" has proven time and time again they are a legitimate news outlet. they are doing fantastic reporting, and i don't think there is any reason to kind of grant legitimacy to judge jeanine's claims that are based on what? they seem to be based on nothing except her hunch. >> you're laughing? >> i'll take these two reporters over judge jeanine in the kitchen cabinet on fox news. any day of the week. the president should watch show time's "fourth estate" to see how the washington burro of the "new york times", how seriously
it takes its business. donald trump is from this tabloid world where they get paid for putting stuff on their platform. all of this -- it the sleazy and bottom feeding and i don't want to say journalism of information in this country. he cannot and a lot of people around him i think cannot conceive of the high end of american journalism and those of us who go out every day with this mission and by his standards make lousy money and were fools and why the hell would we do this anyway but we believe in the role we play in democracy. he doesn't get that. he'll never get that. >> thank you. i like to hear that. i just want to add, yes, people are trying to leak against each other and trying to manipulate reporters in this white house and on brbit, that's true, but
have to trust the reporters at the "new york times" are doing their job and making sure they are not being mislead and used as political tools. i certainly trust them but i also, when you look at sean hannity saying i have a message for the president, it's important to remember the president is likely watching. it's possible and even likely they have talked about this privately, sean hannity advices the president on a regular basis. and i think we do have to take what these people on fox news say very seriously for that reason because it is directly into the president's ear. >> let me show what michael schmidt said. whether wroesen stein was being sar tas ti sarcastic, he says the people that have access to this information knew what had gone on and knew it wasn't a joke and wouldn't talk to us. he said if this had been a joke, we don't think it would be so
hard to get this information. if it was a joke, it wouldn't be memorialized, documented and s discussed the way it was. they were working hard on this story. it wasn't just handed to them and they don't believe the denial it was scarcastic. the idea that anybody, even if they were beinging sarcastic sps to how dysfunctional this administration is. >> absolutely. brian, when you look right now, i was looking at the state that rosenstein was supposed to be in mentally at this time, you have bob woodward's book documenting how agitated he was, how upset, how off kilter he was when he said this because trump was using his memo as the reason for firing comey. plus, there is a documentary on
front line coming out october 2nd that i screened and it dove tails perfectly how agitated rosenstein was and how troubled he was. that context triple checked with three of the best news sources or news platforms we have in this country. that says this is pretty good stuff. and it's just ridiculous. when you have judge jeanine up there. i look at her, that we even talk about a character like this. she should be in 1940s new york sitting next to walter with people feeding her tips for tomorrow's gossip column and she's in the world we live in, we have to listen to judge jeanine because she has access to this president and it's insane. she's an insane character for a serious journalist to even be considering for half a second but because she has this conduit part of this talk back loop,
this echo chamber between fox and sinclair and trump, we got to listen to her and she's the most unreliable person. so we got woodward, front line, and we have schmidt and goldman. judge jeanine says, that's the world we live in today. >> we'll be back with you and much more in just a moment. (man) managing my type 2 diabetes wasn't my top priority.
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effectively killed the white house daily briefings. so far this month, just one. it no long really a daily briefing so why does this matter? let's ask the president of the white house correspondence association and the host of sirus xm olivia knox. >> let's talk about why the briefing matters. the briefing that became an on camera event under bill clinton opened it up to cameras, the briefing has both a symbolic and substantive context. it's not the end all and be all to the work but shows the most powerful political institution is not above being questioned and on the substance, it helps to have an on camera q and a. you can range widely among topics and see if the press
secretary is answering or not. it has real value. this is probably the thing i hear about the most from the white house correspondence association membership. in particular, a lot of what i will call not in a non-derogatory way, the smaller outlets. the folks that have a harder time getting e-mails returned by white house staff and the folks that don't have senior officials on speed dial used to find the briefing to be a good space in which they can ask questions that might not be on the number one or two topic of the day but on important issues. >> so why is the association not screaming more about this problem? we've essentially lost daily briefings. >> we certainly haven't had a lot of them recently. i don't find the screaming to be productive. my conversations with senior officials i have taken my members' concerns to the white house communication shop, to sarah sanders. she's heard us out.
i don't want to characterize the behind the scenes back and forth too much. a lot of what we do is logistics and confidential. i don't think the screaming has a lot of value in the relationship. >> we seen rollbacks in access in other ways. tell me about that? >> one of the things administration has done is claw back government information that's public in the obama and bush and clinton years. i'll give you one example that's dear to my heart. there is a law called the war powers act, under that the president is supposed to submit a letter laying out where american troops are in harm's way and how many of them are in harm's way and under this administration, the white house has stripped the number of americans in afghanistan, the number of americans in iraq, the number of americans in syria from the public war powers letter. that makes it harder to hold the
government accountable. it makes it harder to hold the commander in chief and people in congress who seem adverse to wanting to debate america's role most notably. so when you pull that kind of information out of the public eye, you're making the job of holding the federal government accountable for difficult and that's the kind of stuff that really that actually probably worries me more than the frequency or infrequency of the daily briefing. >> i'm glad you brought that up. i see you tweeting about the war in afghanistan and wars elsewhere. i get the sense you're trying to get folks not to forget that we are in these seemingly forever wars. but that's pretty easy to do. it's 2018. we had the 17th anniversary of 9/11 and every year it's getting easier for americans to look the other way. the press core has to make sure we don't. >> i agree with that. this week also brought us the an
ver anniversary of the 2001 amamf. not just for the war in afgh afghanistan but under pins the entire war on terrorism as george w. bush labeled it and yes, as long as congress funds wars without debating them as long as -- and as long as americans -- i don't think -- it's definitely not the forgotten war for people who have a father, an uncle, a sister, a brother, an aunt in conflict. >> right. >> but we do tend to forget about it and i think we owe it to the people who are in combat and the people who love them back at home, we owe them constant scrutiny, constant questioning. hear more from him on our pod cast. this friday night on cnn, tune in for randi kaye's special look
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since then that's made trump vulnerable to claims of obstruction of justice. so the trump team is trying to change the truth of that conversation. >> you know that when there are interviews there are edits and there are longer transcripts. when you review the entire transcript, it is very clear what happened. >> you see what's happening there? he's suggesting something's amiss. he's suggesting more than that, he's saying don't look at the second part of the interview, look at the second part. he said i knew when i fired comey that this would make the russia probe last longer. nbc has released 13 minutes of the interview on the website, but not the whole thing. first of all i think every outlet that interviews the
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