tv Reliable Sources CNN March 10, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT
limiting the tech use of troops. the pentagon has prevented deployed troops from using social technology including fitness trackers and dating apps. finally something the american and russian military agree on. thanks for being part of my program this week. i'll see you next week. i'm brian stelter it's tyim for how the media works, how the news gets made and how it can get better. did president trump try to use his power to block the at&t time warner deal. one of the dems seeking answers will joining me live. plus, an opening in the communication department. bill shine leaving. little later, digital media, the state of the internet.
"buzzfeed" ceo sits down with me for an optimistic view of the few c future. let's begin with the week's biggest media story. you cannot understand the trump years without understanding fox news. you can't understand fox these days without understanding trump. the members of his cable news cabinet sometimes have more power than his appointees. the new yorker decided to take a deep dive and tried to wrap it up in a single story. her story drove much of the media news with the democratic national committee saying fox will not host a primary debate. let's get to it. jane, your story suggests the network has moved from partisanship to propaganda.
did that word keep coming up in your interviews? >> it did. this is not just with liberal sources. liberals have been on fox's case from the start. what i was hearing was a number of conservatives who were finding what fox is doing alarming. we're talking about conservatives who maybe have differences with trump. they find that increasingly there's no dissent allowed on fox's prime time shows. >> there was reporting last year by cnn that you followed up on about the stormy daniels story. that fox knew about it 2016 and tried to report about it and was stopped by bosses. >> she has said -- she's under a nondisclosure agreement with fox. she has a gag order. what she has said to others is that her story was spiked for
political reasons, that she had the story about stormy daniels being paid off with hush money by the trump organization. she had it by october 2016 and her editor at the time, the top editor of the website at fox said to her good report kiddo, but rupert murdoch wants donald trump to win. so set it aside. obviously an explosive thing if true. ken mccourt has claimed that -- he said in my story that he didn't say that. she had quite a bit of reporting done and there are a lot of ways to check it. her lawyer at this point is calling for that nda to be lifted by fox so she can defend her herself. >> one of the other developments is the departure of bill shine from the white house. he describe him in detail in the story. what do you make of his sudden
departure? >> i think he became baggage. as i wrote in the story he was getting millions of dollars still from fox news while he was the director of communication for the white house. you've got this incestuous relationship already between fox and the white house. it was too much of an issue. that's what he said when he was talking to colleagues in the white house explaining his departure. he felt he had become a distraction and that it wasn't going to go away. >> do you think the president ever worries about these optics? this incredibly cozy inappropriate relationship with fox news? does he worry about that? >> immediately after my story came out, as if to illustrate it, he tweeted yet again something about "fox and friends." if he's worried he's not showing it. he needs fox as much as fox needs him. it's a similar bio tick
relationship. trump needs the fox viewers. they are his base. both fox and trump have the same sort of business model which is in order to keep their support in place they've got to enrage their viewers, enrage the base. >> fear based, anger based model. >> read the story and you can read quotes from people who worked at fox. when she was at fox she said the number one thing they always said when picking the story, this is going to enrage the viewers. that was the mantra. so this is how they decide -- it's their journalistic load star. >> you describe the relationship between president trump and rupert murdoch, the boss of all things fox. you say that murdoch motor vehicles mocks or criticizes trump behind his back. >> i've got this from a number
of people. murdoch got off the phone with trump and called him an expletive deleted idiot. he's enjoyed regaling stories of trump's short comings to his friends in new york and los angeles. i think he enjoys the relationship. he puts down a lot -- trump knows it i'm told by people in the white house. trump deals with needs murdoch's support. >> he needs murdoch. others are doing similar reporting. others are looking at this relation. what other questions do you still have? >> i started the story taking a look at bill shine and the question i had was does fox program the white house or does trump program fox. is it state return tv or is it a tv run state? i don't think we have a definitive answer on that even though i spent months on the
story and interviewed over 75 people. it goes both ways. it's a very unusual situation and particularly for our country. >> we've never -- >> we don't have state run tv until now. >> thanks so much. >> great to be with you. >> so many developments in the days since her story was published. bill shine stepping down. members of congress looking for information about possible white house interference in the at&t deal. then the former fox reporter demanding a release from her nda. all that fall out. let's begin with this debate conversation. the democratic national committee saying fox news won't be considered as a partner or host for a democratic primary debate. nbc and msnbc have the first. cnn the second one.
fox not on the list. joining me now is my panel. ange angela, what was your reaction to jane's story? it tied all these strands together, two years worth of conversation about fox being the propaganda arm of the white house. why did this matter? >> partly because of the story telling and it validated -- it's a big moment for fox news. it's kicking off advertising season right now. the major story fox news is saying we know our prime time people are out there, our opinion people are out there, but our news is dependable and reliable. this story cut against the narrative. >> they've been emphasizing the news division. they have a news division. it's huge compared to the opinion division which has the highest rated shows.
both exist. it's getting uncomfortable for both to exist in the same body. why would democrats consider going on fox for a did ebate? >> democrats want to attract as many people as possible. that's why it might have been under consideration. democrats have not been participating or having fox news as a media partner in debates prior to this. it should not be surprising or be controversial that democrats made this decision. it's a rationale decision based on facts and reality. >> your view? >> i think they're missing a golden opportunity. let's assume that fox is state tv. if during the cold war we had given him 30 minutes on soviet tv, would he have taken it?
this would be a place to call out fox. second, one of the things that's different democrats have learned who they're not reaching. not everyone at fox is a coal aid drinking trumpist. the democrats are already in a little bit of trouble because they're so anxious to appeal to their base. it has nothing to do with respecting fox as a real news institution. this would have been to their political benefit. >> do you think so? >> the best way to persuade a voter and all the data supports this, is face-to-face contact. if democrats want to effectively reach voters who do not share their political views, the best way to do that is to go into those communities. we have access to voter files.
we know where registered republicans are, where registered independents are. you can go into communities and have a face-to-face conversation. why would we invest in something? democrats should invest in things that work in terms of reefing vot reaching voters. a frequent commentator said he left because it's a propo gan da outlet. >> i think it's important to speak to people who may not be persuaded. the fox viewer is seeped in this. every single major narrative, there's a symmetry because what's happening on the news programs. >> ed henry one
weekend conservative talk show. there's so much blurring of the lines every day. >> this is why you have a chance to break through this. if you can reach 3 million people -- when john kennedy went to houston in 1960 and then took that exchange, and used it political advertising it helped. i think -- i worked on a few campaigns myself before i became a virgin journalist. one of the things that was most effect is saying to people you and i may have a disagreement. here's where i stand. i think it is tactically -- it doesn't validate fox. >> hillary clinton did many interviews with fox news. >> not many. she did a few. >> she did a town hall. >> and so did barry sanders. >> what's the problem doing a
debate with three journalists where you say here's why your network is poisoning the conversation? >> because of what's in jane's piece. it shifted to being something different, more akin to propaganda. that's why it's a more dangerous beast. >> hosts of fox have been saying people like me should be standing up for them to host a dnc debate. >> what if we said a bad doctor who does something terrible, other doctors should stand up for that doctor? that's a ridiculous argument. here's what we know about fox. it's a revolving door for talent to come into the trump administration. there are many fox contributors working within the trump administration. roger ailes was advising president trump following his
departure from fox news. bill shine was working there. this is dangerous. it doesn't make sense to validate this as normal. >> would you have had adrian sokirof go on tv? >> would i? >> would you have had him -- had that opportunity emerged would you have had him go on soviet tv for 90 minutes and tell the people this is a dictator regime? >> i'm not going to engage in something that was before i was worn. what i will say is that at the end of the day we know -- i want to talk about what we know now in the present. what we know here and now about fox news it's basically completely aligned with the trump administration.
there are other ways to reach voters. there's podcasts. there's channels that can be distribution channels that can reach voters. why wouldn't we use those channels? >> there should be solidarity in certain situations. if a fox news reporter was blacklisted from the white house, we should all stand up for that fox news reporter. this is a democratic national committee issue. fox's fight is with the dnc, not the media. so many d.c. reporters were supporting fox about going on fox. there was a kind of -- i don't know what that was about. >> if you think -- it reflected someone in fox's response. they said the dnc is banning chris wallace and brett. they made it personable. in that case it's not about solidarity. they're helping out their
friends which i think is understandable. i also think that's part of it. the other thing is they're not making the separation between it's possible to have media solidarity and in this context say i don't have to advocate for fox news to be a debate partner for the dnc. i think it's important to make sure -- >> as i say, my view of this is tactic tactical. the dnc can pick its forum. tactic cli, i think they're blowing it. >> we'll find out after the election. quick break here and then more on some of the fall out from the new yorker article. we'll talking to the congressman who wants records about possible interference from the doj. that's coming up after a quick break.
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has president trump been using the department of justice to attack media outlets he doesn't like? that's been a question since the first day of his presidency. given to his opposition of at&t to buy time warner. in new reporting it's said that gary cohn was in the room when trump railed against the deal and gary cohn had to sue at&t
block the deal. the government did sue. the doj denied there was political interference at all. the deal did go through. because of the reporting, there are new questions about whether trump tried to interfere and abused his power. democrats in the house and senate say they're inve investigating. they want to get ahold of records from the white house and doj about contacts that may have happened. let's talk more about it with the congressman joining me now. great to see you. thank you for being here. what are you requesting, what documents you want to attain? >> good morning. when this was first reported, i asked attorney general sessions directly whether the white house or anyone on the president's behalf reached out to him in
connection with the at&t time warner proposed merger. he refused to answer my question. the chairman refused to require him to tdo that. we made requests for documents from the administration with request for documents. we have renewed that request. again asking for any documents that relate to any conversations between the white house, the administration and the department of justice with respect to this. this is very disturbing. anti-trust enforcement is law enforcement. in the same way it would be completely inappropriate for the administration to interfere in a criminal prosecution to charge someone or not charge someone and urging the department of justice to do that. >> executives at cnn and at&t suspected this for a long time.
they suspected trump was interfering. suspicions are not enough. there has to be evidence. do you believe you'll be able to find a smoking gun email or text message or something? >> we certainly have a responsibility to look at it. i raised my own concerns about the merger. setting aside the merits, it's clear the president cannot interfere or attempt to interfere to reward his friends or punish his enemies. this is reminiscent of the nixon days with the itt case. we have a responsibility to call in witnesses, to get at the truth. we need to protect the rule of law and make sure people have confidence it's being done in the appropriate way and not -- free from any political interference. we requested documents. if we're compelled to, we'll issue subpoenas and bring witnesses in. we'll get to the bottom of this
and make sure we can ensure the american people we're not permitting political interference by the president to punish people he perceives as enemies. it's inappropriate. >> he thinks "the washington post" is an enemy. he criticized are you looking into his attacks on amazon? >> this was a proposed merger. there's been a persistent attack on the rule of law, on the free press. we're going to look at all these issues. >> congressman, thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> coming up former fox news executive and white house aid bill shine is out of the white house. can anyone be communication director for president trump? my mind off it all. maybe you could relieve some stress by calling geico for help with our homeowners insurance.
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does anybody want to be president trump's next communication director? look at the polls. most americans believe trump committed crimes before he took office. not only that, most americans recognize the president is not trustworthy and most people think that most minds are made up about the president. most people aren't going to change their opinions no matter what information comes out. if you're the person tasked with improving trump's image, maybe you're not doing such a great job. either way i'm guessing the job bill shine had is going to remain vacant for a while. bill shine was brought to run the white house communication
operation. his departure was announced on friday in the worst possible communication style. the president was about to leave washington to go to alabama and yet he stepped on that trip by announcing shine's departure? i don't get it. color me confused. let's talk about it with a staff writer from the "washington post." we know shine is going to the trump campaign. he's going to be a senior adviser for the reelect. >> most people say it's a soft landing job. that remains to be seen. it's key whenever anybody leaves the trump white house they're given this kind of role and continue to be paid as a way of keeping them inside the tent. >> what does it reveal about the president that he's gone through five or six communication chiefs? >> he's found that job to be so important that he needs to kemp
refilling it, yet he's left so many other key positions unfilled. it says something about the way this president values his media coverage and his unwillingness to address the policy issues that continue to make his media image unpopular. >> if he's going to try to please ann coulter and sean hannity, he's yelling about ann coulter and insulting her on twitter, how do you get through to the rest of the country? >> shine was not a strategist. he was not someone who knew how to appeal to other sectors of the population. trump already had the fox audience. you can either have ann coulter like you or broaden the tent. >> you can't do both. >> you can't do both. trump keeps going to pleasing ann coulter. shine was not going to be able to see around those corners. no one can do this job.
that's the biggest point of the conversation. this is a losing proposition. nobody would want to try to do it. bill shine was not the kind of person to change the game for this president. the biggest thing he was able to do was to do these rose garden -- on the frontline of the white house he would tape interviews with trump. >> wed videos. >> he banned kaitlan collins from a rose garden event. >> he advocated for acosta's press pass to be banned. >> he canceled press briefings. >> 41 days without a white house daily press briefing. under shine they were even less frequent. >> exactly. jane's article was a tour de force. signs were there that shine was out with the president for a
long time. the fact he was at cpac instead of going to vietnam was a real tell. the fact he went on vacation during the shutdown irked the president according to my sources. he should have stayed there by the president in the white house sort of adding moral support. this was a relationship that was deteriorating for sometime. >> as you said, it's an impossible job. look at this week's headlines. paul manafort sentenced to only four years in prison. in hillary clinton's campaign chairman was being sent to jail -- >> you don't even -- >> imagine the smoke coming out of the heads on fox news. it's impossible to imagine. that's situation trump is in. >> we never had a sitting president under investigation by a special prosecutor and the
sdny. michael cohen's testimony alone would be insurmountable for a communication director to change the discussion away from that. of course it's an impossible job. this says much more about this presidency and this president than it does about the person who is sitting in that job. i think that -- i agree with you no one is going to be signing up for that any time soon and i can't imagine what they would do if they got there. >> sarah, that's for being here. the former justice department spokes woman whose hiring by cnn is no longer taking a job as political analyst. she's going to be here on cnn.com. a bit of a resolution about that. some of the folks criticizing her hiring as an editor is
the story this week wasn't so much about who is running for president, but who isn't. several people deciding not to run. i'm here with connie schultz who is a journalism professor at kent state. she's a columnist and sherrod brown's wife. you were inside one of these decisions. you probably wanted your husband to run. what's it like to be on the inside? >> well, it's quite an experience, not one i've had before even being married to a senate candidate. i was really happy overall media coverage. one of the things i want to remind democrats who are running
right now, every stop they're being covered, they've had an entire staff get there, where all the reporters and photographers are driving themselves. they're clearly more tired than we are and i wish we would keep that in mind. >> today the president is saying the media is the most hostile and corrupt in the history of american politics. how do you think other politicians, including your husband, should respond to those kinds of attacks? >> one of the best ways to respond is to give full access to journalists. it struck me -- a number of times we were asked when are you going to shut down all this access. we tend to gab with them in the airport and talk off line. we're all hanging out tot. that was instructive to me. it meant most candidates do that. the way you show you mean it when we say don't agree
journalists are the media of the people is to act like we mean it. these juournalists are trying t do their job. the only coverage i object to -- it's small. it was after sherrod announced he wasn't going to get in. a number of journalists said he had clearly spoken to joe biden. they have not spoken since last october. the only time we heard from the biden campaign is when one of the people -- one of his camp called our campaign and complained that -- they accused us of planting a story that had favorably contrasted sherrod to joe biden. we had nothing to do with that story. i think that's a bad look, bad form. i hope nobody does that anymore. you don't need to be attacking other candidates. just run your best race and be accessible to journalists. >> right. kind of simple in that way.
putting on your journalism hat, it's the start of sunshine week to encourage government to be more transparent. to mark sunshine week here's a sad and true headline from the associated press about the sun setting of local papers. town by town local journalism is dying in plain sight. are you noticing this? >> i used to work for the "plain dealer" for decades. it's not even being delivered now. i loved meeting local journalists. i know from being a regional journalist and staying in cleveland, writing nationally from the city and from the state, how much we're harmed when we don't have that access. part of the problem, brian, i know you've been talking about this, when you've got a president demonizing the media that trickles down. all of a sudden you have a mayor
calling media the enemy of people. you have the county commissioner saying i don't have to give you information which he or she must give to us. con sich we constituents have the right to see that. with their numbers diminishing, they need the backing of their publishers to push for that. that's what it means to be a journalist in this country. >> let the sunshine in. we need folks in those news rooms being employed. connie, thank you very much for being here. i appreciate it. >> sure. >> quick programming night. tonight full of 2020 town halls. 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. eastern time jake tapper moderating live from austin. up next behind the scenes of gayle king's block buster
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was this the network news moment of the year so far? gayle king's sit down with r. kelly sparked an outpouring of support for king, people praising the way she handled this interview, the way she showed so much poise. we saw this parodied on "snl" on the weekend. you know something has broken through when it's the "snl" cold open. >> i humbling await your decision miss jail king. >> my name is gayle king. >> you're not the jail king. what am i doing here? >> why did he even do the interview in the first place? angelo, what do you take from
that interview? >> she did not sensationalize. it was flawlessly executed. >> why did r. kelly do this interview? >> r. kelly should not have done that interview if i was advising him. i would never advise r. kelly. the fact he was so threatening and looking clearly in my mind to intimidate her. the way she maintained her composure, here steeliness was really impressive. >> on fox news the interview was compared to oprah's interview with jussie smollett. >> gayle king totally redeemed herself after the smollett interview. >> that was not gayle king. >> i knew that. >> robin roberts did that. >> what can we even say about that? >> it is what it is.
it is what it is. >> right. >> perhaps not surprising. >> speaks for itself. >> i would like to turn to the most upsetting news of the week for so many millions of television viewers. the news about alex trebek being diagnosed with stage four pancreatic what is the importance of "jeopardy" in our culture? you were on the show back in the day, right? >> on a version of it, where they don't make the questions quite as difficult. >> but you had your "jeopardy" experience. why do you think this show is so special? >> if prime time access time is a vast waste land, which it is, "jeopardy" is an oasis. instead of talking about kim kardashian's body size, you're honoring and rewarding people with knowledge, and you're doing it in a way that makes it fun and interesting to get this knowledge. i watched this recent all-star
tournament with more interest than i watched the super bowl. certainly this super bowl. and i just think that's something that tv doesn't do enough of, and trebek, who has done this for 35 years now really deserves a -- not just you're wish our wishes and hopes he beats the odds but real thanks for putting this on the air. >> the television world united in a way i rarely see when this news broke. because everybody is rooting for him. and rooting for what the show stands for at the same time. >> that -- to me, that is the key. the idea that you can celebrate knowledge in a way that millions of people watch. and by the way, for the people who do the show, make a fortune. that's a win-win. >> yeah. jeff, thank you. tara, angelo, thank you for being here. an interview with buzzfeed's ceo. the company has been through a difficult period, recent lay justifies. i asked him about that and his vision for the internet.
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could share with your friends, learning about the world, connecting with other people. and then there's times when people think the internet is a mess and you see content by anti vaxors and racists and hate and trolls. and there is more focus on that right now. and for a lot of reasons, part of it is some of the shifts we've had in our culture in the last couple years. but i think it's important to remember what is good about the internet, and it's important to fight for that, and to realize we have a choice in the matter and we can actually work together to build a better internet. >> has the pendulum swung too far in the direction of people focusing on all the damage that can be done online? >> i think that part of what you have to do is put the dumpster fire out. and so paying attention to all the problems of the internet is important, because then you can fix the problems. but you can't just focus on getting rid of the bad content. you also have to figure out ways to build an ecosystem where really great content can thrive and you need both at once. >> in the press sometimes, there is a focus on digital media
struggles and all of the companies that have had layoffs. what is the fact of the recent buzzfeed layoffs. tell us about your business. what does it mean about your business? >> the biggest thing it means is the industry is shifting from a period where there is a lot of venture funding and investment from strategics in digital media. when the focus was growth. can you grow bigger than your competitors in the digital space. and so i think we did a good job outrunning everyone and being the leading digital media company. i think we have seen a shift now towards more austerity because the focus now is not can you outrun everyone. it's can you outlast everyone. and the digital media companies are starting to be run like real businesses. >> so where do you see this going? let's take the thought that, yes, the platforms are going to clean up this mess. what do you want to do to help take advantage of that? >> well, i know, you know, mark zuckerberg wrote this memo recently. >> the privacy memo? >> the privacy memo. and i think what you're seeing
in that memo and also i think in the broader industry, is that the platforms have gotten themselves into this position where they're kind of in between being a phone company and a media company. you know, so nobody -- so there's a lot of people who have u know, racist conversations, or say terrible things or hateful things over the phone. >> over the phone. >> nobody is going to tell at&t, you should moderate that or shouldn't let people do that. it's communication, a first amendment right and should be protected, right? and then a media company wouldn't put anti vaxer content or content that's inappropriate. so if you're a phone company or media company, you don't have these problems. if you're this weird hybrid between the two, you spend billions of dollars hiring moderators and trying to deal with the fact that you're not quite a communications company, you're not quite a media company. you're in between. and you're getting attacked on both sides. you're getting attacked for censoring and not doing freedom of speech and getting attacked for, you know, not having quality content. >> complicated indeed.
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