tv Matt Taibbi Discusses Insane Clown President CSPAN April 10, 2017 8:30pm-9:47pm EDT
>> npr political reporter talks about an article she wrote looking at the state of the affordable care act and the council on foreign relations for the foundation of defense of democracy looks at the challenges facing the trump administration and the deals with syria. be sure to watch c-span's washington journal live at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. >> next, rolling stone editor, matt taibbi, gives his thoughts on the 2016 presidential election. his book is "insane clown president: dispatches from the 2016 circus" note portions of this show may contain language some viewers find offensive. >> hello, everyone.
welcome to power house books. we are happy to host "insane clown president: dispatches from the 2016 circus". the book tells the story from the beginning to the conclusion to a sharp on the round reporting and humor. matt taibbi's book isn't a blow by blow recount of the bizarre and disturbing election but the widest stories of american democracy. matt will talk a little bit about his book and read a section from the book to and then afterwards he has a chance to ask a question and get the book signed. we have copies up front and encourage you all to pick up a book that allows us to do this great event and support independent publishing and bookstores. matt taibbi is the author of new york times best seller the
divide, bridge topia and the great deraignment and the winner of the 2007 national winner for magazine commentary. please join me in welcoming matt taibbi. [applause] >> thank you, everybody for coming. before i start tonight, i want to speak with a bit of a heavy heart. i just got the news on the way here that the great investigative reporter wane
barrett has died this afternoon. wane was my first boss in this busine business. he did -- he did dedicated his life to getting out bad news in new york. nobody new donald trump better than wane. he was wane's first biographer. he took the election very hard. wane represented an old school approach to this job.
when i was 17, wane was obsessed with evil characters and would dig into everything they did and hope to find something. at the time he was obsessed with donald man woo was the queens burrow president and involved in a spiring scandal involving cable television and other things. i got all the plans for that, the permits, and brought it back and he said did you go to the house? and he said what do you want me to go to the house and i said to see if you built it.
i had to go to dawn's house and i go there and there is an enormous fence and you have to pass through his property to get to the back of the house to the fence and you can't see the swimming pool. i went back to wane and i told him i couldn't see the pool and he sent me back there and insisted i climb over the fence to see if there was in fact a pool there. he wasn't into seeing it with his own eyes and i think he is one of the last great ones. anyway, good-bye, wane. i was looking at my old notebooks from last year and this is new hampshire 2016 and i found, i used to write down comments and jokes from journalists who were standing next to me and were in the
peanut gallery and this one said a year from now when you are doing a speech about the trump administration this shit won't seem as funny. typically what i used to do is i used to -- so this side of the page would be the actual speech and this side would be the peanut gallery comments from other people in the media. so for instance, you have one where it is saying trump is saying the heroin problem, the drug problem, all that stuff they are bringing in here is incredible. it is incredible. and here the heroin quote and it says i want some now myself. there is another one where trump is giving a speech and while he was talking the microphone went out and the first thing he said is we will not pay the rent. if the mic doesn't work i am not paying the rent. i am not going to pay anything.
that is the problem with trump. it is one of the funny thinks but also horrible. i kept getting stuck into vorof trump and gravitating toward it in the end, all the reports we end up writing for "rolling stone" became the core of the book. this is the fourth presidential campaign i have covered for "rolling stone" and i said covering the campaign trail for them is a sacred iconic jock passed down from generation to
generation. i have never not been conscious of the tradition and amazing work that came before me. the highlight is hunter thompson's coverage of richard nixson in 1972 and that is the gold standard and always will be and it is hard not to be conscious of it when you work for the magazine because when you come in the first thing you see is this amazing tapestry of original illustrations of people like nixon and george wallace. so for those that drove the illustrations in the book -- drew -- we are aware this is what we are aspiring to in this job.
what made hunter thompson's work special and what made it art as opposed to really crisp snappy magazine writing was thompson had this level of obsession, hatred/love/disgust. he had this chipotle with nixon that was far beyond the pail -- relationship -- and far beyond anything he felt for any other politician. thompson had an ear for evil that made him attuned to the vibe of moral death nixon radiated and they had this satanic link throughout their lives as a result. nixon touched a nerve in thompson that made him physically convulse almost.
he started talking about at the end of life how he defined himself by nixon. he said some of my best friends hated nixon, my mother hates nixon, i hate nixon and this hatred brought us all together. there was another line that cracks me up. nixon was so crooked that he ne needed servants to help him screw his pants on in the morning. even his funeral was illegal. the thing about obsession is you can't force it. it as a once in a life time thing. a combination of disgust, physical and moral reversion and mixed in with fascination and attraction. for some people, ugly is ugly. but there are other people who are sensitive to the horrible side of life and the endless
amounts of ugly and i am one of those people. if you grow up looking at thousands of faces until one day you see that one face put on earth that is just for you and you fall in love in that moment for me trump was like that but it was the opposite. i thought this was a person who is unique, horrible and amazing, terrible charistics were put earth for me to appreciate or unappreciate or whatever the verb is. i had been spending a lot of the last 10-12 years fpreparing
for donald trump to happen. i have to give background on how this works. most people who get sent out to cover the campaigns have these hellishly busy schedules. on top of the travel it can be grueling. it can be from 6:00 a.m. to midnight every night with three or four flights packed in between. you have to be constantly working. they had to write at least one story a day usually more. the tv had to do one a day. as the news progressed and the internet that workload expanded. you had people writing a story for the newspaper but blogging
and vloging and had to tweet and do 10-15 things a day as well as the tv people doing the same thing. they were constantly busy and writing. after every event they would herd the press into whatever the worst room was in every building they called it the filing room and put us in and gave us 45-50 minutes to do your story and then they would drag us to another room, a bus and repeat and do it again. all these reporters are constantly busy and never not focused on either candidate, what the candidate is saying or they are writing it up. that was everybody in the plane except me because i was a
magazine writer and i worked for a magazine that had a very, very long lag time. at most, i was writing every two weeks but in reality is was less than that. either once a month or every six week. while these other reporters were working and working their asses off i would be sitting doing nothing for almost the whole time. this started to arouse a lot of rese resentment. i remember in orlando when i was following john kerry i got in trouble because i was too loudy flipping the pages of a "sports illustrated" while everybody else was working. this was back when actual magazines existed. i had a rubrics cube once in new orleans and they were shushing me about that.
eventually i put it to the side and the only thing i could do after a while was nothing. and i had to sit there and this is a super naturally boring endeavor watching politicians. it turned out to be hours of watching the process and after a while it was urgent questions like who is up in the poll, with this or that runningmate make a differencex is the person getting a convention bounce or are the poll numbers fake? i was having tarbing darker thoughts like what the f are we
doi doing. what is this activity we are engaged in? i thought this cost a lot of money. the best food in the world is catered everywhere you go. who is paying for it? why? what are the financial inceptives of this activity? after you unpack it and think about what is going on it is really bizarre. because really there is two things going on here. i think it is obvious if we are flying around the country and talking about this we are selling but what are we selling and to who? you might think the voters are
the customers and the product is the vote but it isn't that way if you think about it. there are two groups of actors in the campaign plain. the politicians and their staff on the one hand and they are sponsored by more or less a small group of super wealthy financial donors with particular interest. on the other hand, the other group are the reporters and they are supported by advertising dollars and the general public. what are the two activities? the donors are employing politicians to try to sell the public on policy prescriptions they want. they are not doing this to help the poor and make life better but it is because they are self-interested.
conversely, the reporters financially they are completely dependent and paid on how many eyeballs we can attract, ratings, hits, subscriptions, we are out there trying to generate activity. it is an entertainment activity. we were unconsciously lifting up and embracing candidates who were entertaining and who helped us toward the goal of making money. even if we were not conscious of it that is what we were doing.
the vicars, the people who won presidentialal races have been people who managed to most effectively sinnenergize what i going on. if you can find the candidate who is most eye grabbing and gives the most away to rich businessman that is what your major party candidate looked like typically. after a while, reporters got a six sense of what that thing was and we have a world for it. we call it electability. what we mean is we are looking for somebody who has a moshl interest on the other hand.
these imperatives sort of exclude certain types of politicians automatically and rule out people who don't have the right look for television. people like dennis kusinich and people who are too earnest about politi politics. as a reporter with the whole reporter of electability, it is kind of like the goldie lock stories. you are looking for the porridge that is just wrong. not too boring or not too interesting and not too ideological but not too shallow at the same time. i will get to that in a minute how donald trump fits into this. because the whole dynamic is crucial to how we got elected
but another thing we started to mo notice over the years. people were devoting a lot of thought to certain things and no thought at all to other things. for instance, the politics portion of the campaign experience is just an incredible and simplistic and stupid. most of you here if you are listening to standard campaign rhetoric from the past you probably couldn't identify the party. that is how cliche it became. i am going to read a couple campaign cliche for millions of americans the dreams which i grew up has been shattered. the choice is between the right change and the wrong change.
between going forward and backward. we need economic growth that makes a difference for hard working men and women who don't need reminding that the economy is more than the stock market. we believe in preventing crime and punishing criminals and not exploiting their behavior. that last one was a democrat. that was bill clinton. after a while, if you listen to enough of these speeches and they get so boring after a while, they ended up having a coding system for the cliches so i memorized howard dean's cliches. i am not just a product of the american dream but i am a product of it. that was two. so at his speeches i would just write two three 1911. i didn't write it down anymore. after a while, you started
noticing every the years, the speeches were becoming less and less specific and they were being written more and more haphazardly. they were not even in a real sense really rhetoric. they were not writing. they were just sort of strings of words piled together almost randomly so candidates could deliver key words and phrases that were pleasing to the years of the voters. this was born out later on and if you go out and look and want to google things like dial surveys for instance that campaigns would do things like bring in focus groups and have them listen to lists of words and say if you like it turn the dial this way if you don't like it turn the dial that way. what they did is strung together speeches that were collections of using words. after a while, that is really all you really here is just the key words. you know, it is blah blah blah, family values, blah blah blah
work ethic and . democrats like words like compassion and safety. republicans like words like trust. but the connection is the same. this is a level of sophistication in terms of marketing strategy that is incredibly high. they put a lot of thought into how to get people to respond to just collections of words. it is enormously sophisticated the technology they had to try to figure out, to try to use technology to test and create speeches that were mechanized. but the level of political
thought in these speeches was d idotic. think about the color of the walls in most burger king and mcdonald's? yellow and orange. anyone know why that is? scientists discovered people eat more when they are in a rom that is painted yellow and orange so most fast food restaurants use those colors. same reasons prisons are painted light green and light blue because it makes people less violent. it is the same thought process that goes into making political speeches. they are trying to sort of move people in the direction of making a decision by using key words that are the equivalent of a paint color on the wall. it is just the color. it is completely unsophisticated verbage. if you look at a lot of things
in the campaign they are incredibly sophisticated and advanced. not just this marketing technology but also the production values and the amount of thought they put into things like the background and things like the staging and lighting. the music they play. everything looks fantastic. it is a very high production television show but the content is just completely stupid. you ask yourself why that is. and it is ultimately so strange. they are choosing a leader of the free world and the level of sophistication was high but the level of thought wasn't all that high. it is like building the world's most advanced rocket ship to send the worst cheese burger to
the moon. it is a very strange activity. why is it like this? if you think about the answer it is bizarre and the reason is there are two different things going on. the candidates are trying oo get your vote but on the other hand it is also media companies trying to get people to renounce all other activities to turn on the tv for this period of. what is harder? getting people to chose between one of two political parties or getting people to reject all other forms of entertainment and not watch monday night football or keeping up with the kardashians or cat videos or porn or whatever and getting them and attracting them to watch a political show for a period of time? that is clearly much harder than getting people to chose between one or two political parties they probably have been a member of their entire lives.
the reason that the politics aren't that smart is because they didn't have to be. the amount of effort to get people to make the political choice they needed much less effort to do that than they needed to get people to actually physically watch the show. people realistically only have three choices. they can vote democratic, republican or not vote at all. amazingly the most poplar choice out of these three has been the third, neither. but why is that true? well it is because apart from the welfare of the country nothing depends on people having a high turnout. ....
so if you think about this, after a while. >> i thought, well eventually somebody is going to figure this out. they're going to point the finger at us and say, all of you people in the media and this entire campaign process this is proud of the problem. and i knew the person who is going to be smart enough to point the finger the process, the person was going to score a lot of points. donald trump was really the first person who did that. trump, very smartly, let me back up for a moment and talk about another thing that goes on in the campaign which is the assignment to blame. elections are like criminal trials. they are about assigning blame.
the same way a da wants to get someone in the jury box to say who's at fault. someone's dead but they want to say this person is the reason or it was -- and they were upset about that. they're trying to convince people who to blame. elections are the same. techniques that candidates on both side of the aisle use to get people election is to stand up before crowds and say, i know your life is terrible and things are hard and i will give you a list of people to blame. the difference between republicans and democrats comes down to who the bogeyman are. on the right, it is a minorities, foreigners, liberal professors. they have a much longer enemy list and the democrats do. that's what they do. they say this is where the anger should go.
i understand why you're upset and this is why you should be upset and i will articulate why you're angry. on the left with the democrats, we do essentially the same except where different bogeyman. the corporation and insurance companies, it is waste and in the health insurance company. it is right-wing republicans in the congress who don't want to let anything go through and legislation happen. trump, very smartly early in the campaign he broke the mold. typically the politicians stand their lanes. the republican politician stick with one set a bogeyman of the democratic politicians stick with the others. trump, he is a gluttonous personality. he does everything to access. eating, women, tension, fame, and political positions. he swallows up everything in
sight. he also appropriated all the bogeyman, he was against the corporations come his against the health insurance companies, he was against foreigners, mexicans, muslims, et cetera. he took the bogeyman from both sides of that freaked out people in the political world because of his beginning to be effective. i remember watching him in new hampshire of a dissertation on the anti- trump exemption enjoyed by the health insurance companies and i thought this was bizarre. no republican politician would ever do this wherever enter this territory. it's a different kind of politician. so, he had already swallowed up this blame cliché. he has followed up the entire spectrum of normal clichés by the time the middle of the primary campaign rolled around.
and then around new hampshire around this time he started to point the finger at the process. this is what i was talking about before. he made us part of the act. for me this is the moment where i first realized donald trump was different when he was onto something, i could not have been more repulsed by him as a politician in person, but what he was doing was brilliant. so reporters are typically in the hall in the middle of the hall and there is a rope line. usually there's a riser where the cameras are on the riser so the cameramen are filming and the rest are sitting with our pads watching the event. we are surrounded physically but the audience. jumpstarted to say things like, look at these the bloodsuckers, they've never come so far as an event, they don't want to be here.
they didn't think i could win. they thought i lost the debate last night but i one. he would egg the crowd on to physically turn in our direction. they would hiss and boo and he turned again, the campaign the speeches are typically the most supernaturally boring. it's hard to sit through them. he turned the campaign stump speech into a physical, immediate, pulsating angry, wwe wrestling event. and we were part of the act. unfortunately for the press, where the only representatives of this conspiracy of elites he kept talking about who are against ordinary people. where the representatives of the process. where the only ones in the room. so even though he talked about the campaign donors and how they control people like jeb bush and
hillary clinton and he talked about companies like goldman sachs, obviously it's funny now that he has five goldman people on his white house. but at the time he would say i know those people from goldman sachs and i'm going to be controlled by them like ted cruz and hillary clinton. he talked about leadership of the two major political parties. he would make fun of the leadership of the rnc. but none of those people were in the room. when the press was in the room and trump correctly identified that there is this interest that have been a barrier to outsiders getting through in the past. in the past you needed the donors, the two major political parties in the press, you needed them on your side to become the nominee. that's a process i was talking
about before. in order to be that person who told the line and found the sweet spot, who is electable. you needed all of those people. the journalists would not right that i candidate was electable if the candidate didn't get his money from the right place. if you remember howard dean and his campaign, he was the antiwar candidate. dean made a decision that he was going to issue all the regular donors and get all of his money through regular people and online donations and reporters pounced on him. this meant to him that he was an outsider without being conscious of it that was a signal that he was not electable. the disapproval of the democratic leadership of the donors, or of the press, and it
could be fatal and had to have all to be a nominee. trump identified this dynamic. he said this is undemocratic. i know this because i'm a traitor to my class and i know how things work. when he talked in the debate seat he donated money to hillary clinton because he knew he could get something for it. that she would come to the wedding or vice versa if he gave her money. and he talked openly about this is how things are done. we buy influence in the country. you think jeb bush is going to do something about pharmaceutical prices because what did johnson do? the finance chairman. of course is not going to do something about it. this is something i think on the eve of donald trump becoming president's important to remember that as horrifying as it is that he was elected, there
are concrete reasons why he was successful. it's not just that it was hatred are misogynistic, as all those things. but he animated his campaign was small truths, sometimes even large truths here and there. he is that energy to direct people to get them to feel a so trump was a true outsider. his victory over us in the media and over the geeks in the room throughout the campaign was one of the primary ways he was able to demonstrate to his audience that he was for real. look, they said i wasn't going to win now go down in the polls after i told john mccain is not about john mccain. they said i wasn't going to be able to compete will now i have. people love that. it's important for people trying
to understand and come to grips with why donald trump is president, it's because he did things that even if you didn't think them through he understood that he can make the process and put that on trial and when.. >> instead of a final irony, the horrible irony of the stories that donald trump isn't this great iconoclast or a messiah of truth sent from above to bring down and destroy fake political process. within the ultimate demonstration of murphy's law, he was a perfect wrecking ball for a system that was falling
apart. the solutions he offered were a million times more stupid than even the original problems. i think this is a characteristically american thing. the moment we finally decide to act on our suspicion that everything is wrong and we lash out and search for the truth, the first thing we do is replace one truth with a stupider and worse truth. this is another theme in the book. the something that have been thinking about for many years. in fact, years ago i have been covering different things including the iraq war, corruption in congress and at the same time i was covering extremist movements on the left and right. and those people were not only
beginning to lose faith in their leaders, but in various national institutions like the political media. they were beginning to see through everything. but this be in america when we opened our eyes to one set of ugly truths, the first thing we did was replace it with truths that were more vicious and corrupt than before. so this is the core idea of a book i wrote 2006 called the great arrangement. there's a next hurt from a book included in the front of the president, i will read it for you now. for me it is foreshadowing asked what was going on during this year. the country was losing. our national political system was doomed because voters were no longer debating one another
with using a commonly accepted set of facts. there is no common narrative except in the imagination of the elite that long ago lost touch with the general public. a nation of reality shoppers were shutting the blinds on a common landscape to tinker with their own recipes of salvation. they voted in huge numbers about voting at a loathing against enemies and against the system in general but not really for anybody. the elections had basically become the form for organizing the hatred of the population. no bible principles and play, just hate and distrust. the system had nothing left out for the people, so the people were leaving the reservation. where were they going? that was ten years ago. i guess where they were going was to tomorrow's inauguration. i cannot say that i saw donald trump coming. i don't think anybody did.
what this book is about the center for trying to understand why this happened we have to understand first wire system was so dysfunctional and so weak that all the mechanisms we should've had in place to prevent someone like this from being in power all failed. they fail because they had been weakening a bankrupt and going back a generation. it should've been obvious to people for a long time. i saw some of it but not all of it. it became strikingly obvious during the selection that donald trump was able to walk right through to power almost unopposed by all the traditional mechanisms. if you think about the mighty republican party and its chosen favorite was jeb bush who struggled to get two or 3% of the vote. did he even get any delegates? i don't think so. he had a hundred million dollars. talk about the power of money in
politics. that did not work this time. trump managed to get past that and he got past it because our system have been feeling for a long time. that's what this book is about. it's not a story, even though it's probably funny to relive it, it was certainly crazy narrative and a lot of things happened along the way that were entertaining in the moment, although their last 20 now in retrospect. it may make you feel better in terms of understanding why this is happening. it shouldn't be a mystery to all of us. we need to come to grips with the reality of the trump presidency and understand it happen for a reason. that might help us move forward and find a way for it to on happen going forward. so thank you. i will take questions about the book. [applause]
[inaudible question] >> i live there for 11 years. interestingly, that's part of the recent my campaign experience was so weird because i was the first thing i did after coming back to the united states. it was to go out on the plane enjoying this weird atmosphere. going from russia to that was very odd. like most people i am fairly convinced that russians hacked the dnc. i talked to the people who are cyber security experts and they make a convincing case a circumstantial case that had to
be them. there's some evidence they give it to wikileaks. the sister is problematic and dangerous for journalists because we don't really know, clearly that dossier as somebody who lived over there and talking to my friends were journalists at the time. they were like when did the kremlin turn into a high school cafeteria where everybody could hear these amazing rumors going on. they run a tight ship over there. it's hard to believe that dossier is real, on the ahead, none of it defies belief either. i remember vividly in 1999 turning on the television and seeing the new cheap i vladimir putin given a broadcast about a prosecutor general and saying, we've conducted an analysis so we know this is indeed -- in the
video and it was a sex tape. they had had another person a couple years before that. they blackmail people routinely. the ex- prime minister got blackmailed a couple of years ago. i would think they do that not only to the russian officials, but also businessmen of high profile donald trump. so it's not an unbelievable story. i just don't think anything they showed us constitutes evidence. the only thing we know for sure is the fbi thought enough to investigated and the intelligence community is clearly convinced enough is something like tell the israeli intelligence community not to share intelligence with donald trump because they believe him to be compromised. so i would like to see what their basis for believing that is, but they have not shared that with us.
i don't know it puts us reporters and real bind because it's hard to accuse somebody of treason or bring it up absent something that is concrete. >> you mentioned thompson at the beginning, some of my favorite portions of that book are on the democratic primary side. for humphrey and muskie and what he gave them. i was curious if you put your hunter had on what you think he would've made of the democratic primary on the selection go around? >> that's an interesting question. my hunter hat is a bald head. >> we joke that i may not be hunter thompson but i'm as bald as he is.
>> it actually came up during the election cycle. hunter's editor at the time wrote an endorsement of hillary clinton for "rolling stone" last year. he specifically referenced the fact that back in 1972 "rolling stone" had backed george mcgovern who is a figure to bernie sanders. jan's reasons were well thought out. basically what he said was you cannot win an election running that far to the left. you cannot rely upon the enthusiasm of young people to carry forward. we have learned this leads to defeat and we need to win. we need to support hillary clinton. i asked permission to dissent from young. that is in this book.
i gave my reasons white and i think this was true. hunter is not a live now but i would guess he would've been a bernie supporter because the things that he help mcgovern and other politicians he wrote about going forward, carter before he became president, he thought mcgovern was nerdy in a policy geek and was awkward but he loved the fact that he was honest. in the book mcgovern is almost like an angel for hunter. the book is like a religious quest for salvation. he is hoping that mcgovern or will win and carry us to paradise. it's more than a political book, it's a grand literary story. i think hunter was a romantic at heart. i really pragmatists.
i think he would be caught up in the bernie thing. [inaudible question] >> i talked to sanders after the election, this is not really my problems, but what he was saying is when you think about how the conservative movement and trump succeeded, it's a lesson for everybody. a lot of people were depressed by politics going into the selection cycle. because they felt the matter what they did they couldn't achieve anything. but in a weird twisted way the mighty powers to be in america are not so mighty. and if you have a good enough
but he conquered the system and sanders was explicit about this. he thinks we should take this as a lesson that power, influence and our ability to achieve things are within reach. in order to do that he points to the fact that people on the right more involved with politics and they join organizations to their church, they organized, get out the vote, he thinks if there were double the number of people involved in politics especially among young people that would have impact. the democratic party especially looking at the coalition obama put together demographically in 2,082,012 they should be able to stay in power and achieve great
things. people have to get involved a little bit more. put just up so depressed about politics. i think that's what happened, people were turned off by politics itself and they did not get involved because it was so oppressive and horrible that they turned their eyes and watch netflix instead. [inaudible question] [inaudible question]
[inaudible question] >> it is so funny because i talked to wayne about this. one of the things he notices is that donald trump cannot stands prepared remarks. he has a problem with it. in his entire life he has never given a prepared speech until his father's funeral in 1999. when you follow trump on the trail, sometimes they would hand you the speech in advance or you would see the teleprompter from where you are sitting and you could read the first sentence. would say hello citizens and trump a look at it and go yeah, no, whatever. he would go off on a tangent and
he can even read one sentence. it was a physical problem for him. there is speculation that george bush that he had a learning disability or dyslexic retreated a picture of him writing it did anybody see actually writes with a legal pad and he had an amazing look on his face. i don't think he has written the word. he obviously had a ghostwriter. so it's hard to say. he doesn't like say one of the people had given him to read. of the same time the eyes of the world are going to be on him tomorrow. i will say at the convention he stuck to his script at the convention almost word for word. that to me was because he was
extremely nervous. if you watched him and that performance he was down during that entire week. i think he thought he was losing in the convention was a fiasco. he is not pumped up so he did not improvise. he's on top of the world now so anything could happen tomorrow in the speech. >> you talked about him doing things instinctually. how much, if any self-awareness is the about him having these strategies that have defeated the conventional system versus well-being instinct or luck? >> it's like an unknowable mathematical puzzle. was an intentional or incredibly lucky. it's a combination of a couple of things.
on the most simple level trumps main innovation on the campaign is that it's just a television show, and a bad one. a show that was trying to have stars like lindsey graham and scott walker. if those are your leading actors, it's a crappy television show. trump is a reality star, he understands how television works. he's good at the tv. instinctively she understands how to generate drama and controversy and be talked about. is good at this on tva and on twitter. so psychological narcissistic mechanism is perfectly designed to keep people talking about him. so on the one level he manipulated and understood we have to make money in this business. so we need those ratings. so on some level that is how you
got all that free coverage. but i don't think he would interest saying i'm going to navigate our way through all these obstacles. he just was who he was and that happened work. another side effect is he understands celebrity. celebrity is a quantity other politicians don't have a great grasp of. . .
talked about, so it's probably the. >> you talked about journalists being in this business. in the last year and a half, which journalist or people among your group would you say have bucked the trend and see what the rest of the group didn't see, who are the emerging bright lights among the journalists? >> let's see. i mean, a lot of them are friends of mine that were not really on the trail.
there was a tendency they said trump is such a unique and threatening figure that maybe we need to rethink the formal journalistic practice and become more like advocates and less like reporters. on the one hand, i understand the thinking that on the other hand that is a reason a lot of people lost confidence in the media to begin with because they hatheyhave lost this perception whether it was accurate or not that the media was too liberal and they were out to get them and we were trying to push a narrative on them and so, i would say it's like looking at both sides of the same story and trying to be balanced and how they cover things whereas the legacy media i think they actually helped trump and they start to adopt especially in the
middle of the summer because it created the perception that these journalists were all against him. i would love to hear your thoughts about your dad's care career. >> i never get that question. for those of you that don't know my father is a television reporter. he was a news reporter here in new york city and worked for w. nbc and probably the big story he's most famous for its you remember back in the 80s, my childhood was basically the movie anchorman. my dad when i was growing up, he had the muttonchops and was
crazy in bowties and 70s outfits. my father is very old-school journalist. he's been doing this since he was 18-years-old. he taught me so many critical lessons about how to do this job and in fact some of them influence the way that i look at this election because this just to tell a story when i was a little kid when my dad came home from work i was going to play with my father when he came home from work that he had this thing called the phone attack first. he would get a pack of camel cigarettes and a drink and he would take his telephone and a rolodex and would just randomly flip through and call people that he knew from various government departments and cops and stuff like that and it just sort of touch base with people. he had to do that for like an hour and a half every day after he came home from work. what he talked me through that is the journalists job is all
about human contact and staying physically in touch with people. you have to be able to proceed tiny gradations of people's moods and how they feel about things and whether something is extremely unusual or a little unusual and you only get that from talking to this huge array of people all the time. one of the things going on in modern journalism is we do things that rely on experts so when journalists want to research things come of a google it but to understand things you have to go to the place and talk to people. you have to be willing to be surprised. you can't go with the preconceived notion of what things are. sometimes it turns out to be something else completely. and my dad was great about that.
he's different from me. he's not as much an editorialist. in fact last year he gave a speech where he said he subscribes more to the fact-based journalism as opposed to my son. [laughter] but no, he is totally righteous, old-school great journalist and he taught me so much. thanks for the question. >> thank you for your talk. many political scientists, and there's hundreds of books about this consolidation of the media that took place over the last 40 or 50 years you had the companies that owned the major sources and now you have four or five companies that own the whole process, the mainstream aspect of the process and if you look at any research talking about consolidation of the media in the country is, you would be
hard-pressed to find in other industrialized country that has a more consolidated media in this country. so, having said that and having seen what took place in this election, what do you think -- how do you see the role of the four or five major players in the future, the cnn of the world, fox? all of them i think do a disservice to the process. what is your comment on that? >> that is a great question and other industrialized countries don't have the system that is a fancy way of saying third world countries have the system. i lived in russia and i've been to other third world countries and our setup is typical of what you would find in an autocracy you have a small oligarchy of interest with a few powerful financial interests to control all of the major press.
that's typical of a country that is undemocratic and has him concentrated poweronconcentratef course in this cycle, the legacy media was upended. i think people like alex jones and breitbart.com became the major powers in the media because i think what you're talking about people have been tuned into that reality o of there's only a few people that control the flow of information and that is part of what trump was hitting a nerve saying these people are controlling information. and our problem is legacy media has gotten lazy. it had done its job well enough and so in the future the thing you can be encouraged about is the internet has created this
whole new world you can get a gigantic audience almost overnight the problem is in order to be good at it and do things like fact check and research and to devote time and energy investigators need money and independent small media companies don't have money so what do they do? there's a lot of conspiracies and that leads to a lot of what we saw in the last year with the fake news phenomena and people not knowing what to believe and that is dangerous, so i worry about that. maybe one more question. >> first of all, thank you for all of your work. i think not only has your work as far as contributing to the overall discourse, there's something about the current affairs and the way in which you
look at and examine power and through i think these relationships also bring about and raise some question about human nature in an interesting and powerful way and i appreciate that. so, if i could, i'm kind of curious now looking at many of the different point you've raised while being on the campaign trail and some of the marketing and the sort of visceral responses that trump voters or supporters had for him and his approach. what are some of your thoughts for an analysis on overall the agency moving forward and people that want to think critically and analytically and those that want to and are gravitating towards these more emotional responses and where is it that
politics in your view may end up going the next few years especially for the trump administration and another question that i have, you mentioned trumps ability to leverage celebrities and also really to take advantage of the social media and one of the things that i have noted is how powerful channels like youtube and other social media platforms, but how powerful the days and promoting a new particular that is interested in re- appropriating terms like oppression, like white male oppression in any kind of notion that i think are for me personally are incredibly scary and i'm curious if this question grabs you more what are some potential strategies that may be you have seen to combat this
rhetoric? >> it's what can we do to combat this. trump succeeded on a level he was signaling things like defiance, discussed but it was more about his posture and response to things. he sent short bursts of half thoughts and they rocketed around the world and impact of all these people and people on the other side that were reading these articles like me, you're never going to get the mass
audience to respond as well to the complicated thing as they will to the simple thing and that is part of his i don't want to say genius but it's part of the effectiveness of him is that he uses small words and speaks in crowd speech. they did that and ellis as he speaks at a sixth-grade level, the lowest level of any politician in history. and that's what it's going to be going forward. people -- if we are going to have some kind of movement that is going to upended this attests to use those kind of technique is it with different messaging. the problem is the hate translates a lot better in short bursts than love and acceptance and peace and harmony thos of te are more complicated ideas and so it is a challenge. i don't have an answer to it but people have to look at what he did and say unfortunately this is the future we have to figure out a way to communicate with people on this level that is
even more simplistic than what we were doing with the code word the candidates were doing before. they have to use a motion. he was in the his crowds with these events. he connected with people and other politicians haven't done that. they've relied on the media and need the press appearances. those don't connect with people as much and so, i think it's just getting back to the pavement and just interacting with people is where it starts. thank you so much. appreciate it. [applause] thank you so much. he will be signing books and the wind willine will go this way ae have copies of the front. we have all of the books here
that he talked about so thank you. [inaudible conversations] massachusetts congressman jim mcgovern will be part of a conference on food policy. the agenda include hunger in the u.s. command and nutrition and food safety and it is hosted by the consumer federation of america lives to get a:30 eastern on c-span2. the "los angeles times" has been putting on the festival of the for more than 20 years, and it has become an institution. it's part of the community and
it's a way that we can celebrate with the readers of the paper and with the city as a whole the very notion of reading and today when the idea of there being something called fake news is out there, i think that books help us celebrate the way that words and facts are grounded in storytelling and history. >> watch live coverage of the festival of books all weekend april 22 and 23rd on book tv on c-span2. [inaudible conversations]