tv Meet the Press MSNBC January 1, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm PST
from nbc news in washington, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. >> good first sunday morning of 2017. and a happy new year to everybody. on this special "meet the press" broadcast, we will look at the difficult and sometimes mutually beneficial but often contentious relationship between donald trump and the media. mr. trump of course has made no secret of his contempt for those of us who report the news and cover his campaign. along with promising to build a wall, press bashing was the surest route to an applause line. >> the media isn't just against me. they are against all of you. that's really what they're against. they're not against me. they're against what we represent.
among the world's most dishonest people. the one thing we have done, we have exposed the credibility of the press. they have the lowest credibility. >> given trump's reliance on free publicity and the access to plenty of news shows, including this one, it is worth remembering the joke someone cracked during the campaign. donald trump complainingbo media is like an oil man complaining about the smell of crude. so this morning, we will take a close look at this love/hate relationship between donald trump and the press. i will talk to the editors of the "new york times" and "the wall street journal." to a group of top media critics from around the country. but i will start with three people whose job it has been to work for a president and deal with him every day of the week as well as deal with the relationship between the president and the working press. joe lockheart who was bill clinton's press secretary in the
second term. nicolle wallace, communications director of george w. bush and ari fleisher, president bush's first press secretary. i asked them about the art of working with a president and what they think we can expect from a president trump. let's dive right in. all of you have had to move from a campaign to the white house. how hard is it to transition from being a campaign sort of advocate to suddenly the spokesperson for the united states of america? >> it's a very different reflex. and there's three phases to it, frankly. when you are in the primary, you talk to the party voters. the general election, you talk to the nation's voters. at the white house, you are talking to the world. it's a very different need for how to communicate what to say, how to be non-partisan at appropriate times and finally you have to know a lot of policy, because the job is politics, spin, but there's a lot of policy and you better learn it fast. >> i guess i would say -- how hard is it to kick the partisan thing at the beginning of this when you go in -- when you
transiti? how hard is that? >> well, i mean, we worked for someone whose top priority after winning an election was really bringing the country together. the first time he ran as a uniter. he came in after the recount which was excruciating for the country. he was acutely aware of that. so he didn't have an urge to continue campaigning after he had won. re-election was even more so. we were a country engaged in two wars with uneven trajectories at the time of his second inauguration. so there was no resistance on his part to sort of refocusing the country's attention on governing. >> i think it's an exercise in -- as a candidate you are responsible for nothing. all problems are made by someone else. all solutions are magically doable. you can implement that. >> you say it. >> you just say it. all candidates know that. then the transition period i think is sort of delaying taking responsibility.
everybody comes in and their first instinct is every problem is the last guy's fault. you wake up one day and sometimes it's in january, sometimes it's in february, sometimes it's later and you realize, nobody is blaming the last guy anymore. then you -- it gets to the policy and to the fact that this is much more important. the stakes are higher. the words you use, the way you say it, the -- where the comma is matters. it is a much more difficult job. >> my boss -- president bush instructed me, never look backwards. no matter what happened, it doesn't matter. it's up to us to lead. no blaming. no looking back. it's an instinct you have, blame everything on the other guy. now it doesn't matter, because it is up to you. >> you got different advice than i got. i walked into the oval office between the re-elect and becoming white house communications director and he said, are you ready for the big league? this is the stuff that really matters. i think presidents realize that
what you said, that what happens in a campaign is -- when it's over, poof, it vanishes. but what happens when you are president is permanent. >> this is a unique challenge for the trump communications team in this white house because there is an already an antagonistic relationship between the press corps and the incoming president, because the incoming president wants to have this. >> i think there's always antagonism and particularly with the president there's no president who ever woke up in the morning and called their press secretary and said, you are doing a great job, i love the way i'm being covered, everything is fair. even the criticism is helping me grow as a president. never happened. >> i'm shocked. >> but i think there's a real difference is this time to -- we're on opposite sides of the parties, but i think our transitions were really similar, because we shared a couple of things. we shared the idea that the press/president relationship was mutually beneficial.
the reason people sit down in the briefing room every day is because both sides get something out of it. i don't think that's the case coming in here. i think that will -- the second is, while we might use a strange spin in some cases, traditionally for the last 50 years, we've operated on the same basic fact set. ari and nicole will look at the facts and i will look at them and we will have a great argument about who is right and who is wrong. we're really in a place where -- we haven't seen this i think since the '60s with nixon where they use -- they create their own facts. somewhat or wellian, you redefine the past and you are define pres eent and the future and that is going to be very difficult for both sides to come to grips with. >> i think there's a different trend going on.
it's two parts to it. the first is it's a double barrel hostility. this press corps can't stand donald trump. and donald trump is happy to return the favor. he uses it to his advantage. he can use it to his advantage because as the gallop poll indicated, confidence in the press to report the news fairly has never been lower. they have lost the trust of the readers and the viewers. >> this is on the press? >> absolutely it's on the press. >> i understand that. why doesn't -- why isn't there any responsibility on the partisans? >> i didn't say there wasn't. >> partisans have to -- >> a gallop poll which is something the media has to grapple with. >> should it matter to the democratic and republican actors in here that they have helped de-legitimatize it? >> we are staring at the trees missing the forest. we have elected a man who bullies female reporters at his rally as an applause line. a man who started a hot war with a female anchor instead of attending a debate she moderated. we are in a new place. i don't think it's good. i don't think it has any parallels to the past. i don't think that trump needs
the press, but he craves it like an addict craves their drug. >> the press corps is one of the least re -- the most reluctant institutions to change. technology has changed. everything is changing. the white house press corps is still largely dominated and defined by the habits of people in the '90s. it hasn't changed much. >> let's make some changes here. you could make changes. i have my own ideas. i will wait until you -- what are some changes in the relationship between the white house press corps and some traditions you think deserve -- there's been talk of upending some of them. what would you like to make? i'll start with you, nicole. >> i'm most intrigued by the notion that trump doesn't think he needs or wants to have a protective pool. the protective pool exists so that on days like 9/11, a president can speak not just to his press or to this country but to the world. i think changing his mind about the need for the protective pool, and maybe getting the press to be more inventive and modern iwhat thaprotective pool is made up of.
>> i would make a suggestion for the press. you don't need to follow the president around -- you don't need to put every word he says on tv and have a story every day about what he said yesterday. it's easy to find that. all you have do is put on twitter or facebook live. it's all there. if more resources were put into not just what was said today but what's actually really happening, i think it would be much better service to the public. >> i would make two changes. one is i would take the briefing off of live tv. embargo it, and make it much more serious, and make it a tv show where both sides are postureizing. the second is i would democratize the room. change the room makeup. on monday, let it be the traditional press corps. tuesday, business journalists. wednesday, foreign journalists. thursday -- i would love to put breitbart and think progress right next to each other, and ask questions. and friday polling question day. let them ask questions.
it would be social media day. on friday, go back to the white house press corps. you will get more substantive. >> i was the unpopular guy among my tv colleagues. i am -- i believe televised briefing destroyed the white house briefing. >> so has mike mcmurray. >> so does everybody involved. the reality -- >> i miss the gaggle. you get more information out of you at the gaggle. >> that's when you should go -- >> and you and you. >> that's why i would take it off of live tv. i would keep it so they can use clips. after ptember 11th, this country needed to hear the live messages from the white house. there is a room and a time and a space for -- >> can i stop this. does anybody think that the press secretary is going be in there standing the room and trump is going to be sitting in the oval tweeting something that might make bigger news or cona tra dikt -- >> the think the -- >> critiquing the press secretary. >> i don't know that this conversation will hold up 60 days into the trump presidency. the idea that he will be able to
tolerate watching someone at a podium delivering news that he thinks he can do better from his -- whatever he tweets from is an assumption i'm not comfortable making. >> by the way, that's something you guys all i think never have had to experience, which is a principal that will go off the reservation a lot and not tell you the people in charge of sort of -- >> it's his reservation. he is never off, and the staff needs to catch up. >> with what the staff thinks is the reservation, and the guardrails that they were trying to put up. >> the difference is probably the most part of having the job is staying close to the president so you know what he is thinking, you know what he is doing. >> at least following him on twitter. >> in this case, the president -- this president is not -- doesn't like to share his views with his inner circle. try it there. he wants to share it with the world first. everything is a trial balloon. nothing is real. there's nothing that gets -- that he tweets that's written in stone, because everything he does is to get a reaction and to judge. people didn't like that, i won't do that. at's not operative anymore. it does go back to i think the
nixon days where poor ron ziegler -- you are too young. but had to go out and someone would say, you told us yesterday this. he said, yesterday's news is not operative. >> the real communicator here is donald trump. we are talk staff. we have to see how donald trump handles the huge power he will have as the president and communicator. >> there's one other job you have that people don't realize unless you are a member of the white house press corps and go overseas. you go overseas, we're all on the same team. there's fights that take place overseas when it comes to press access, more in the small d democratic way. every press secretary has fought for this in different ways. this is something that i will be honest some white house press corps are concerned, is that going to be there with this team. are they going to be the protectors of the american press freedom in china? >> i remember fighting with some members of our press corps sometimes. and i said when they would get their back up, i said, don't
yell at me because when i walk back through that door, i'm the only person that gives a hoot whether you get what you want before 5:00 p.m. today. >> there's a phrase that all presidents eventually get when they look at their spokesman or communicator. it is your friends in the press. like you own them and it is -- >> president is playing you as if you work for us, right? >> there is a bigger thing here which is you do have to fight for access. not to get too serious here, what we do here does have an impact around the world. we do believe in democracy. we do believe in a free press. and when we undermine it the rest of the world is watching. when we go to russia, which is always a fight, china, always a fight, on access things, it senda message to the people there that a president of the united states will say, i'm not going into that eting unless my press corps can come. when we're doing that here, that's a problem. >> one of the little known parts of the job is your desk sits between the front door of the
oval office and the podium in the briefing room. the press secretary is paid to represent the president. but you also have to work with and represent the press corps. it's a terrible balancing act. >> i think it's harder for these guys. >> it gets harder because he made so many of them -- our own correspondents personal targets. one of the things i'm most hopeful will start is the -- will stop is the targeting by name of individual journal iist in the room. because going -- people don't understand -- >> it's the one thing i asked of him. hit the organization, not the person. >> the people that cover him will wake up every day and go to work at the white house. that's their place of business. their desks are under the briefing room. people don't realize that. they don't work in a far away bureau. >> the real down side for the president is, he helped his election bid by undermining the press and having people trust the press less. he is going to find a time where he needs the press to send this
message both here and around the world. and that's the real trick. that's a transition he is going to have to make. >> give him credit. he goes around the press and through the press. since election day, he has done interviews with "today," with "60 minutes," "new york times," "wall street journal," "time." >> in every one of the interviews, there was -- the important message was, people out there trust me. don't trust what you read or you see. the problem is that there's going to be a point at which at a time of crisis he does need a press to get his message out. i believe. >> you guys delivered. this was a fascinating discussion. i will get yelled at by my television colleagues for wanting to get rid of the televised briefing. a lot of fun here. turning the tables. when we come back from press secretaries to press critics. i sit down with four people whose job it is to cover the people who cover the president. in other words, us, the media.
welcome back. throughout the campaign, we at nbc news sent a team of yoger journalists to cover all the candidates running for president and all the states where they were running. it was a 24/7 job literally. if you are a young political journalist, there may be no better way to get into the political world. so we thought we would ask them to reflect on their journey throughout 2016. >> the hardest part about the campaign in so many ways is that it's sensory overload from morning to night, there's so much information coming at you. >> it was nonstop for seven days. a different city every night, sometimes three cities every day. >> one of the things that i liked best about the campaign trail was watching candidates get grilled by voters in places
like new hampshire where people would just be able to walk right up to them and ask them the most pressing questions of their lives. >> the kindness of iowa voters was one of my favorite parts of the campaign trail. there was this one time i remember i was at the iowa state fair, very much lost and confused. a farmer came up to me and showed me around, helped me understand where i was inside the pig barn at the time. he said, i want to do this for you because i hope if my son ever goes to new york, someone would be kind enough to do the same for him. >> my most memorable interaction with donald trump was when i was taken into the buffer area around the stage over a rally during christmas and asked to shoot cuts of the candidate up close, which is a normal piece of being on the campaign trail. as i got up there, i was holding my camera. and donald trump in the middle of his speech turned and pointed to me and said -- >> look, here we have nbc. they're supposed to be back there. but that's okay. >> that was probably the most memorable and definitely the most bizarre interaction.
>> one of my favorite moments from the campaign trail happened in new hampshire as governor bush was on a bus tour. it was in the middle of a snowstorm. i'm outside the bus with my camera raised ready to film him. as he is walking by me, he bends down and he forms a snowball and throws it at me. he gets this big laugh out of it. it was this moment that i will always remember his personality really shining through. >> you can't do anytng about it. that's not fair, actually. >> the night mike pence's plane goes off the runway, new york city, rain coming down, the plane lands. it veers, started to smell the rubber come up. it's one of the moments where you still got a job to do. you pick up the camera and start filming. you realize, you can't believe this is happening. >> having a room full of voters who are there to see dr. carson at a campaign event in iowa, break out in a happy birthday song for me at a staffer's direction was one of the most memorable moments on the campaign. you are going so many places and sometimes you are giving up your birthday. that made it special. >> this was absolutely the best
year and a half of my life. both professionally and personally. and i think what will make it so special is that i probably will never do it again. at least not this way. >> never do it again, but you will never forget. unbelievable group of young journalists. we're very lucky here at nbc. we will be back with our panel of media critics. flawless... ...his signature move, the flying dutchman. poetry in motion. and there it is, the "baby bird". breathtaking. a sumo wrestler figure skating? surprising. what's not surprising? how much money heather saved by switching to geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
welcome back. let's face it, the press has had a rough year. in our latest poll, just 16% of those surveyed had a great deal or quite a bit of confidence in the national news media. 55% said they had very little or no confidence at all in us. talk about uniting a polarized country. that by the way puts us behind the financial industry which almost destroyed the economy and the federal government. you know how people feel about those guys.
a few days ago we decided to bring together four people who make it their business to tell us what we're doing wrong and on some occasions what we're actually trying to do right. david, hal, claire and gabe, who is also an nbc news media analyst. you have a president right now president-elect but a president who made no bones that he wants an antagonistic relationship with the press corps. it's almost -- he is almost goading the press corps, goading folks like us to have an antagonistic relationship. not since nixon has that been this up front and perhaps not even -- it wasn't even that up front then. >> i think that's right. i think he prospered politically by being hostile to the press, suggesting he would create policies, make libel laws easy, reince priebus saying they will perhaps dispense with briefings in the white house. to show his hostility to the press in a way that makes it
hard to have that usual kind of honeymoon feeling when a new administration sweeps in. the press has to be open to the fact that this could be a conventional presidency, it would be a successful one. it could be one that ultimately has some notions of transparency and accountability. but i don't think it needs to sit back on its heels and find out agnostically. i think it has to be ready to be a aerobic and it has to sort of operate on a split track where it really watches the president's rhetoric and his administration, but also saying, we're going to watch rules, the r regulations, and we dispose of from the obama administration. >> so if any report that donald trump doesn't like and you have the president of the united states tweeting out, don't believe the "nbc nightly news," don't believe "the new york times," they don't know what they're talking about, his people are not going to believe "the new york times," they're not going to believe "nbc nightly news."
what do you do as a member of the press when you have that where he is telling essentially half the country, ignore? >> keep going. keep doing your job. you are serving the whole public, not just mr. trump's supporters. keep remembering that. more people voted for other candidates than donald trump. going back to that question, i would say his business is central. that needs to be explored. i think that has great repercussions for what's going to happen in the next four years. what are his connections with other countries, the family? i think that's central in the early days. >> that's a big question will be ultimately how much does the media ase the shiny object that trump is throwing out each morning? the fact that he is tweeting is not news at this point. we have to cover what the president-elect and the president says. but the fact that he is going to say something outrageous that becomes the focus of the coverage i think is abdicating the role which is the media should set the agenda in
deciding the news. when the president says something we cover it. but we should not be ping-ponging back and forth from his tweets. >> what can the washington press corps learn from donald trump's incredible interactions with the tabloids of new york over the last 30 years? >> that's a great question. >> since you are at "the new york post." >> he is a creature of "the new york post" and the tabloid world. >> and he loves it. >> feature of our front pages for many years. does love it. he obviously loves reading the paper as well. and i think he is a lover of all journalism. i think he reads things closely like you say. he is in contact with journalists. i feel like -- i'm an immigrant, obviously. i'm from england. i voted for the first time in this election. and i was very taken aback by the results, as i think a lot of people were. and when i'm chatting with folks out there, they tell me two things. they tell me first that the media whiffed on this campaign
completely. >> heard that a million times. >> then they tell me that they don't know what's real. even very smart people tell me, i don't know what to believe anymore. and i think that's a really shocking thing that we're in this world where people don't know what the facts are and if the facts are out there, then there's people denying them. it brings us to the whole world of fake news. i wanted to bring the up the topic of the economics of the media business. they are really dominated by google and facebook, digital advertising is going to be top tv for first time next year. $200 billion in ad spending on digital. google and facebook have this huge role to play as members of the media fein they're not actually employing journalists. people are getting their media from the fake news sites that are funded by google ad words, the stuff that turns up on facebook. facebook said they are starting to ask users to flag fake news.
so i think what this whole -- >> sounds like a nightmare, by the way. it does not -- >> they want to keep their hands clean. they don't want to be sensors. they want to have other people crowd source the news and review it. >> the tabloid press has this great symbiotic relationship with trump, because he gives them -- he feeds them stuff that sometimes is critical about himself to them over to the decades so they can put it on page 6. >> one thing i want to say about that is our page 6 editor emily broke a big story about the news meeting that donald had. there were tons of stories out there about how he planted it. completely wrong. our good reporting found out what happened. >> i'm thinking about going back to coverage of his matrimonial scandals and stuff like that. there's the distraction factor. he can divert us any time he wants. he sees something on tv, he will tweet about it. we report on tweeting "hamilton," whatever, that could be a box on page 6 every day, mr. president tweets.
>> i covered the trump campaign, the media. i find the trump campaign more transparent than a lot of other institutions i have covered. if you rewind to the obama administration, incredibly non-transparent. trump sources love to gossip. they love to talk to reporters. trump loves to talk to reporters. i think there's a little bit of an overplay that this is the least transparent -- >> i will say, he loves -- he loves old school press. loves magazines, all this stuff that -- this could be a honeymoon for old media. >> the best reporting since the campaign began. >> let's differentiate two kinds of transparency. he has done more interviews. than you have seen in perhaps ever. it has been astonishing to see. he doesn't necessarily always be forthcoming, but he is there. his staffers are engaged with you and talking to people who cover the campaign. that's a good thing. but when it gets to the meat of
the matter, when it gets to what are these layers upon layers of llc and corporate holdings, what are mr. ump's taxes, we don't know some of the key things that i think we need to evaluate him. >> how do you define objectivity in the age of trump? i say this because, trump will have his own version of it. who is fair and who is not. trump has what i call concierge media friends. i'm not going to name names here. we know who they are. people that can steer a conversation for him or get rid of it. it's in multiple networks. it's in print publications. how does a mainstream press corps deal with that? >> harvard kennedy school had a report out last week. they analyze news reports. they found during the election, trump had a 77% negative and clinton had 64%. it was almost the inverse for the full campaign. the point they were making was -- >> they both got negative -- >> they both had negative press. >> both negative favorable ratings. >> exactly. and i think the point there is
the press shook these candidates upside down for two -- almost two years. what did they find out? did we really get the answers we wanted? >> was it fair? >> i think both campaigns -- you talk to the clinton people, they always feel besieged. when you let candidates decide what's fair, that's wrong. the journalism industry as a whole should sort of assess, was the coverage fair? that's what these panels like the harvard gathering were about. we come together to sort of hash out how was the coverage. i think the consensus was that while there was good coverage in 2016, some great enterprise coverage, e media missed this election. >> let me ask you this. define media. i like -- define media. the journalism of the mainstream media i thought was outstanding this year. the loudest voices, hal, are not mainstream journalism. >> that works when you say it's a report in "the new york times." when you are specific then it
registers. when you are saying the media, you know, we're just a punching bag. i don't think -- it just doesn't matter. >> we get our news by our phone. we don't get a big news newspaper. the ability to read 1,000 word story on a phone can be difficult. my friends tell me, i wanted to know about that health care topic. i had a popup and i couldn't get to the second page. this is the reality how people consume their news today. >> when we think about fairness -- i think that's now the standard increasingly that people we think of as journalists aspire to as opposed to objectivity. are we being fair to the subject? are we being contextual or rendering it in a way that is understandable and that people recognize themselves in? i think that we have -- wart of what we are trying to figure out is an asymmetrical campaign
year. this isn't bush/gore. you are examining with 100% name recognition who has never held or run for elective office. you are examining something with hillary clinton who has held a bunch of offices and been a public sphere for two and a half decades. she's been gone over every element of her candidacy and her record in 1,000 different ways. he has had none of this done. he is having everything scrutinized, particularly i want to say in the general election. i gotta say in the primary season, i wouldn't say the conventional press did wonderfully. the cable outlets essentially acquiesced to his programming. there wasn't a lot of scrutiny. even though he led except for 72 hours, pillar to post for year in the primaries, people didn't really think it was going to happen. so they didn't give him the scrutiny that suddenly you saw an incredible tsunami of in the general election. it seems to me when you are having one finding after another about trump with implications, it looks negative. that's the fact checking. on the clinton side, you also
found the news hijacked by the russian hacks and the wikileaks dump. this was as asymmetrical a pace for the two campaign coverages that i think i have ever seen. >> they were just both so unpopular. i mean just unpopular. i went home, asked my dad and my brother, would you have ever thought voting for hillary clinton? they both laughed and they dropped so expletives and they went off on how corrupt they thought she was. so then my dad starts criticizing trump. i'm just like -- he goes, well, he has to be better than what we have. so i think maybe the media missed this frustration out there in the heartland. i think that may be one strand that wasn't in the coverage. >> will the media's reputation be worse -- final question. keep it short. be worse or better at the end of 2017 in the first year of the trump presidency? >> i hope it's better.
i hope that once trump is the president that the conventional media will cover him and he will be accountable. he will no longer be a candidate. he will be the president. his voters will want to know, is he delivering on his promises? >> i think there's the great potential for it to be better. it took a lot of hits that were unfair as a lot of hits that are fair. at that same time, i think the reputation will all be a result of conscious choices being made by journalists, their executives, their corporate backers to say, we're going to be up for challenge and we're going to embrace this fairly. >> i hope it's better. i think a lot depends on how he reacts and how his white house reacts. >> i think it's fair. >> i think we're going to see the apple cart completely overturned. we're going to see news outlets take precedents they haven't before. i have a stat here, steve bannon's breitbart website went from 132 in the top news sites in november to 38 to put context around that.
huff post was 40. we will see new outlets come and dominate the news cycle. what's real and fake i think will be up for debatstill. >> individual outlets will be better and the overall reputation will be worse. both things are true. we will be back with the view from basically the other side. the editors of the "new york times" and "the wall street journal." now with zero-dollar copays on select plans... ...and rewards points on all prescriptions, walgreens has you covered. so drop by and seize the savings! walgreens. at the corner of happy and healthy.
we are back. to hear donald trump tell it, most news organizations were politically biased, going out of business or both. but the challenges of reporting on trump went beyond his habit of taking aim at journalists. i talked with two of the most important news editors. gerard baker, and dean mckay, executive editor of the new york times. and i startedith asking if he
would have, would have covered him differently? >> i would have tried to go deeper and understanding the anger in the country. the same anger in the country that led to the rise of bernie sanders and led to the rise of donald trump. i think if news organizations made a mistake -- i can only speak for my own -- i think that we wrote stories about anger in the country, we even did a series called anxiety in america, but of course we should have done more. i think people would have been less surprised had we done more. that's what i would have done differently. >> how much of this do you think -- here is what i chalked up some of the trump coverage to in our own, which is we in the corridor of the media from new york to d.c., knew donald trump the person too well. and let that almost cloud or dominate our own focus in ways we didn't realize really until after the fact. >> you know, i guess i'm going to make the case that the coverage of donald trump the person and donald trump the candidate was quite strong if you look at the whole of the press.
given what he didn't share, like his taxes and information about his income, we learned a lot about him. we learned a lot about his business, we learned a lot about him as a person. i think what we could have done better was to understand why the country found donald trump appealing and why the country found him more appealing than some of the more traditional candidates like jeb bush. >> you feel as if he is well vetted even though we have never seen his tax returns? >> no. i think he was wel investigated. >> got you >> i think there's some huge unanswered questions. we don't know how wealthy he is. we don't actually know what he owns, what he doesn't own. we have taken stabs at how much debt he has. we don't quite know the full extent of his financial dealings in some of the countries where he will have to make huge decisions. there's a lot we don't know. i was addressing the issue of what the press could have done differently. but i think there's a huge amount we don't know about donald trump and his finances.
even i would say what he believes in. i think that the -- that donald trump himself has said many things about different issues. he said different things when he met with "the new york times." he has said different things in large rallies. i think that there are a lot of question marks about donald trump. >> it is interesting that you put it that way, because when it co comes to are donald trump's opinion of "the new york times," it depends on who his audience is. let me play two clips of him talking about "the new york times." it was two very different audiences when he talked about it. here they are. >> the failing "new york times" -- and it is failing. it won't be in my business more than three or four more years in my opinion. they said in an article, in a major article, let's face it, balance has been on vacation since mr. trump stepped on to his golden trump tower escalator. >> "the times," it's a great, great american jewel, world jewel. i hope we can all get along. >> i agree with the second characterization completely.
>> the audience was you and the rest of the "new york times." the first was a rally. this presents a difficult situation. i face it myself personally from him sometimes. we face it as a network. he personalizes coverage and disagreements about corage with the organization and sometimes with individual reporters. you are a human being. i'm a human being. it's not easy sometimes doing that. how are you instructing your journalists to handle the personal attacks that may come his way in a very public setting? >> i have two points. first off, the things he has said about the press in general are troublesome. i mean, whatever audience he is playing to. he has said things that should make all journalists nervous about his view of the first amendment, about his view of a press that's supposed to ask him tough questions. that makes me nervous. on the other hand, in covering him, what i instruct my staff and what i try to do myself is, we have a huge obligation to
cover this guy aggressively and fairly. and that means not letting personalities get in the way. of course, it's annoying if somebody says that you are the failing "new york times." especially by the way since it's not true. >> you want to scream, what -- no, no. then you look defensive. >> that's right. the way my view is the way to deal with all questions about journalism is more journalism, more journalism, deep investigative reporting and to put whatever personal stuff he says about my institution off to the side. other than the fact that some of the things he says about journalists and journalism is troublesome. >> let me ask you two more questions on this front. one has to do with having an op-ed page. we have one on television with cable. on certain parts of a different cable channel. it's a question i asked of -- it's -- we have had editorial pages and regular newspaper coverage for years all over the
country. the conflation that's taken place today between opinion and news is harder and harder to sort of unwrap, unravel. do you think it makes it that your job is harder today because of that? even though the opinion page has always been what it has been. >> sure it is. it's harder today partly because the medium where people read us most, let's say on the phone, it's a little bit -- there is a vast space between the front page of the "new york times" and the opinion page of the "new york times," literal space. it makes it easier to create a separation, just a geographic separation that's a lot harder to do on phone. that said, i do think -- i do think readers sort of understand that paul krudman does not work for me. >> you do think readers do know that for sure? >> well, paul, who i think is a fabulous columnist, criticizes me sometimes. >> he hits us all.
>> i didn't mean personally. i think they do. i think we have to work harder to make it -- to make the distinction clearer. i think they do. i don't think -- let's not kid ourselves. even in the print era, people didn't always make the distinction. i think it's harder to do now, pecially in the presentation on the phone. but i sort of think they do. >> my final question to you. i thought it was a fabulous op-ed in the "new york times" from mid december, it was by masa gessen. it was writing about trump. by denying known and provable facts, as when mr. trump denies making statements he has made,
or by rejecting facts that he has not made and it is challenging over the public sphere. the resulting frenzy of trying to prove either the obvious known facts or the classified and therefore unknowable facts, two fruitless pursuits creates so much stat knowing what it is really. and i think it's especially challenging for reporters when you want to fact check the guy you are covering and he wants you to fact check some small thing while avoiding the bigger story. >> yeah. i actually think we had a really interesting debate in our daily news meeting about how to handle donald trump's tweets. i was hearing from so many people. i thought we had to discuss it. in the end, he is the president of the united states. in the end, everything he says, small and large, bears scrutiny and reporting. will there get to be a point a year from now where he is tweeting about what he saw at the theater last night and that's less interesting? maybe. on the other hand, you gotta admit that if the president of the united states tweets something about something he watched or something that upsets him, you gotta scrutinize it. these aren't press releases. these are the personal utterances of the president. i think we have to treat them with balance.
if he tweets about a world issue or about russia, big story. if he tweets about "vanity fair" small story but a small story that offers a little bit of insight into his temperament. >> dean baquet, it's going to be interesting times up ahead. i'm with you. i'm optimistic about the future of journalism. >> good. so am i. take care. >> next i talked with the editor of "the wall street journal." i asked how the journal responds to the public broadsides from the president-elect. like "the new york times," like nbc news, donald trump has targeted "the wall street journal" specifically. here is one time in south care carolina in the middle of the primary. >> i don't like the "wall street journal," and it is going to be out of business very shortly just like the rest of them.
>> obviously, filled with hyperbole and sarcasm. how did you handle the direct attacks? >> you know, you have to get used to it. you get used to the -- those kind of attacks. you get used to this strange tough love that donald trump kind of -- he would say things like that. he would attack our reporters individually. he would attack anything we had done, anything he didn't like. then at the same time, you know how much he actually reads the newspaper or watches tv. >> it was interesting. there was i guess a leaked memo where you went to the newsroom and you said, re-emphasizing everybody has to be fair to him. were you concerned the personal attacks were going to make some of your reporters -- we're all human beings. when you personally get attacked, it's hard to sort of set that aside. were you concerned about that? >> i was concerned about that. i think there's -- it's certainly true that donald trump is a different kind of -- has been a different kind of candidate, presume he will be a different kind of president. he operates outside the mainstream. he says things that are challengeable to put it mildly that are questionable. and i think a lot of reporters
feel that -- somehow feel very much that they are part of the -- they're in the contest really and that it is their job to take him on. of course, it's a reporter's job to take everybody on in the sense to test everything that a politician says against the truth. but i was concerned -- it was things like twitter. a lot of our reporters, your reporters, too, your colleagues tweet the whole time. social media has become an important part of it. they would go beyond the reporting of a story. >> it became like a bar conversation. >> they would offer commentary on a story. i was concerned, look, i don't -- you are entitled to your views about donald trump. you are entitled to your views about hillary clinton. it's about trust. if our readers see you are saying scathing things about donald trump on twitter or they hear you on tv saying things in a commentary way that appears to be critical and hostile to donald trump, they are not going to trust what you write. you absolutely report fairly. if they think you are coming from a position, they won't trust you. i was concerned we be fair to all candidates and not engaged in the political debate.
one of the problems with trust in this country is that for a very long time people have seen news presented by news organizations in a way that they think is unfair. it's no accident, there's the old joke about fox news when richard mourdock and roger ails started fox news 20 years ago, they said, they were catering for a niche of audice. it turns out it's 50%. people were unhappy with the mainstream mediawhether it was newspapers, television or whatever. they did see an opportunity. >> the issue of facts. people say, you have to fact check. but we sometimes -- there isn't an agreement on what the facts are. this is yet another challenge for you and everybody here. do you feel comfortable saying so and so lied, to be that, you know -- if somebody says an outright falsehood, do you say lie? is that important to put in reporting or not? >> i would be careful about using the word lie. lie implies much more than just
saying something that's false. it implies a deliberate intent to mislead. i think it's perfectly -- when donald trump says thousands of people were on the roof tops of new jersey on 9/11 celebrates, muslims were celebrating, i think it's right to investigate that claim, to report what we found, which is that nobody found any evidence of that whatsoever, and to say that. i think it's then up to the readers to make up their own mind to say, this is what donald trump says. this is what a reliable, trust worthy news organization reports. i don't think that's true. i think if you start ascribing a moral intent as it were to someone by saying that they lied, i think you run the risk that you look like you are being -- you are not being objective. i do think also it implies that people -- this is happening all the time. people are looking at what donald trump is saying and saying this is false, it's a false claim. people say, hillary clinton said a lot of things that were false. i don't recall the press being so concerned about saying that she lied when -- in headlines or stories like that.
>> if you could wave a magic wand and became the arbiter of what the relationship of the press corps should be with power people in washington and wall street, what would you change? >> i think that it's a little -- it's interesting. we are going back to what you said about the british media. the british media have lots of flaws. i wouldn't want to replicate what they do here. they have a slightly -- they have an edgier approach. there are many things that i don't like about the british press. but there's a lack of deference. if you take -- if you take any of the big -- the way in which the media cover stories, there's -- i think there's in this country still a slight sense -- it's understandable, because the presidency itself is an institution of state. it's very important. it's very much a part of the constitutional arrangement. i think there's a sense that people have some kind of deference towards it. there needs to be a little less deference. a little less insider behavior. a little less coziness that there's been sometimes between the media and the major
political institutions. >> i agree on that, too. thank you very much. >> thanks, chuck. there you go. two men behind the print journalism that drives a lot of coverage. dean baquet and gerard baker. when we come back, data doesn't have any emotions. you can't hurt data's feelings. or bruise its ego. that's a very good thing because data, you had a very bad year. no one is happier to see 2017 than, well, data. it's a long way of saying, our very special data download is next. elps prevent your urge to smoke all day. it's the best thing that ever happened to me. every great why needs a great how.
welcome back. data download time for 2017. let's be honest, 2016 was a bad year for data. from the united states to our friends across the pond in the uk, this was a bad year to use data to create odds, a bad year for trying to predict things and on top of that list, donald trump winning the presidency.
going into election day, 538.com had trump as a long shot with a 28.6% chance of winning. the new york time's upshot had him at 15%. others had him as low as 2%. we know how this story ends. hillary clinton did win the popular vote, donald trump marched to victory in the electoral college. his inauguration is just a few short weeks away. even before trump bested the odds makers politically, we had a sign from britain that this might be a tough year for political predictions all around the world. in june, on the eve of that referendum vote to determine whether or not the united kingdom would leave the ropean union, british gambling company ladbrooks put the odds of a leave vote at just 10%, and of course, brexit won. today, uk politicians are trying to figure out how to unwind their eu ties. the shortcomings of data went beyond the world of politics and into the other world where i like to spend time, sports. in june, the cleveland cavaliers
overcame their city's losing streak to win the nba championship. after the cavs fell behind in the series against the warriors, 3 to 1. the odds of king james taking home the title at that point had climbed to 40-1. we know what happened. the cavaliers became the first team in nba history to come back from a 3-1 deficit and raise that larry o'brien trophy. in october, the chicago cubs shook off a 108-year-old world series drought and overcame their own 3-1 deficit. in fact, before this year, there were 34 world series where one team took a 3-1 lead and the trailing team only came back to win five times. that's fewer than 15% of the time. another upset. finally, let's travel back across the pond to leicester city coming from nowhere to win the english premiere league soccer championship or you might call it football. before the season started, their odds of winning were a whopping 5000-1. all right.
all of these results, of course, made these numbers look silly. there's been a lot of focus, especially in politics, on how pollsters yoet un -- quote, unquote got it wrong. the bigger lesson for ose of us in the media is to not worry so much about predicting the future. as joualts, we will report on what is actually happening. history matters, but history is made to not be repeated sometimes, too. so maybe we shouldn't try to offer odds on what may happen. but since nothing has been turning out how anyone predicted it would, with the nfl playoffs around the corner, it might be time to start shorting the new england patriots and thinking that they are some shoo-in for the super bowl. that's all for this first sunday of 2017. thanks for watching. have a safe and happy new year. enjoy all the football in the next 48 hours. because we'll be back next week, because in 2017, as always, if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." my name is pam.
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