tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC August 23, 2009 10:00am-10:30am EDT
>> this is "the chris matthews show." >> ask not what your country can do for you. >> tear down this wall. >> i can hear you. >> the time for change has come. chris: stop the presses. can we imagine boston without the globe? how about philly losing the inquirer? can a country that runs on news run without newspapers? what happens when there's nothing delivered to the driveway? how will we know what's happening without newsprint in our fingers? love the one you're with, newspapers go bye-bye, what will replace them? we just go online?
will websites like politico and salon be the papers of tomorrow? finally, who's watching city hall? who will do the investigations in those towns and cities where papers are dying? who will catch the crooks without reporters? who's going to blow this town wide open? hi, i'm chris matthews. welcome to the show. tina brown is editor of the dailybeast.com. bob woodward is associate editor of "the washington post." gloria borger is senior political analyst for cnn and joe kleine is a columnist for "time" magazine. the excitement of the news business runs in the american bloodstream. movies celebrated newspapers and on tv, we love watching this. >> mr. white -- >> who gave you permission to barge in like a bull? >> there's a dirigible with a guy hanging over a rope. >> you get down there, lois, and assign a tote graffer. two of them -- a photographer. two of them. chris: we're down to 1,400
ilies. this year alone five including denver's rocky mountain news and the seattle post intelligencer have printed their own obituaries. major cities like san francisco and boston may soon face a future without a single daily broad sheet. "the san francisco chronicle" and "the boston globe" are in big trouble. they're institutions really, as much part of those santos as rice-a-roni. bob, we're getting down to it. in the seven years this program has been on every week we've lost a fifth of circulation of sunday papers right now. >> it's sad. but the question is, the newspapers are going, are changing, there's no question about that. we're going through a real convulsion. but does journalism live? and i am really optimistic about journalism. that what tina does, magazines, television, there are great stories out there, great journalism is being done. and i think the younger generation really mainlines the
information. they get it free. and i think if it is not available, people -- young people are going to say ok, we need to develop business models like tina's doing and it will work and people make money. so, you know, a period of deep trauma but there is life at the end. chris: tina, what people like bob's newspaper have, "the washington post," "the new york times," the big papers have is a whole team. you have the goods to do that. does anybody? online? >> what we don't have right now are knows kind of budgets to have those kind of investigative teams. i believe it will happen. baugs we're in a sort of -- because we're in a sort of terrifying transitional phase where that business model isn't quite there. but what i am finding we can do and it's very exciting is you can almost have a vertual news team all over the world particularly with foreign reporters. at the daily beast we have terrific reporting from everywhere. from right as we're developing
in those places. so i don't think it has to necessarily be all done from head office like it used to be. chris: the great thing about the mornings for most of us is to get up at dawn and with the coffee, coffee, we read a couple of good papers. when you look out in that driveway and there's nothing there, where are we going to be at? >> we're going to be on the internet. but, in my own world, i do both now. because i have this sense while i love picking up my "new york times" and "washington post" in the morning, i've already read what's in them largely on my blackberry the night before. because i'm a news junkie and i log in. and so i know what the news is. so by the time i see it, it almost seems a little ol to me. and i love newspapers. chris: i always find something on the a section. joe kleine, you're with "time" magazine. which is the last standing "newsweek"ly. >> i don't trust myself on this story, on this topic. because this september, i will -- it will be my 40th
anniversary in this business. and yeah, i blog now. and i get a great deal of satisfaction from it. but i sure -- i would go into withdrawal if i couldn't pick up the daily newspaper and flip the page and see a story that i didn't expect to see at all about haircuts in burma or something. you don't get that on the web because everything is targeted. chris: all these online groups are grabbing things off the papers like "the washington post" and selling it in the secondary market. when's the post going to get that money to pay the reporters? >> the younger generation is going to figure out that business model. what's missing now, right this year, is a crisis. we're going to have a crisis. the crisis is goi to be big. people are going to turn to television, the newspapers, and magazines. to tell them what the hell is going on. chris: newspapers are essential to understanding complicated stories like health care, like the economy especially. you got to sit down and read it for 10 or 20 minutes to get
your head around it and people like that are not going to be hired by television. joe, they're not going to be out there. you just got back. you've been spending a good part of this year overseas. who's going to pay joe kleine to go to iran and places like that? >> one of the reasons why i'm going to iran and places like that is because "time" magazine and other publications are closing bureaus all over the world. i'm thrilled to be able to go there. but there has been a diminution. but the other thing i would say is this -- on complicated stories, you can do this stuff on the internet. in fact, you got more space to do it on the internet. chris: who's going to fact check, glorgia? >> we fact check, our editors. chris: online, who's going to fact check? bloggers don't fact check. >> nobody fact checks. the print magazine, time magazine has elaborate fact checking. but time.com, no. >> in a way, one of the things that amuses me now when i think about it is we have online to fact check. there is no information that you can't find out online.
the fact is this idea that fact checking has to be disassociated from the reporting -- >> i'll tell you -- chris: "vanity fair," every story, line by line, you got people checking out the truth or falseness of statements made. but they're checking it out very often online. >> but who does the fact checking is really interesting. >> our readers. >> my commenters -- you said paul wolfowitz said that but on september 8, 1997, he said this. it's there. and it's the media. >> flase a difference between fact checking -- there's a difference between fact checking and the quality of the journalism. the quality of the journalism. chris: who is your source. >> what we all worry about. chris: bob, you've had great editors all your life and probably the greatest reporter and you've always relied on people to back you up and scheck this guy, who is this guy? >> you don't have it yet, kid. you have more sources, do more work. but it leads you to even longer
form which are books. where you can spend a year or two, i wound up doing four books on bush and his wars. and it's tedious. but it tells you what happened. and if somebody wants to go find out, what was the turd about this or -- what was the attitude about this or -- it's in books. i find probably 10 to 20 stories a day from books i have written that come through. chris: and you're the primary source. >> an alert. chris: you're the primary source. what will you be reading in five years when you get up in the morning? >> i don't know. but i know it's going to be there. and if you look at the really prominent great newspapers, "the new york times," "the washington post," "the wall street journal," they are -- they're going through a business problem. but the journalism in many cases is fabulous. the editors, the new editors we
got at the "washington post," i don't want to kiss his rear end too much, but he really gets it. chris: tina, what will you be reading in five years? >> online. a newspaper that combines online and multidimensional things and video. as all the best blogs are doing. that stuff is going to become far more vibrant. chris: do you think we'll have the time to post -- >> whether we have newspapers physically i'm not sure. chris: i say this as a contributor, it really is great -- >> i think they are going to be digital. chris: we'll have them online. not physically. >> i think we're going to have both but if you get it digitally you're going to have to pay for more content. chris: we're going to get it online and something electronic. is that what we're going to get? >> what i do right now is get up and go to my computer and start -- and start reading the stuff online. and then when it's warm much, i can put on my clothes and get "the new york times" in the driveway. but you have to be able -- for me at least, i really want to
see how the stories are played in print. on the front page. chris: is there a danger, without actual broad sheet newspapers that you open up, that you only go to what you're interested in, and never pick up that story through peripheral vision? joe? >> that's exactly it. you never know what's on the next page. chris: i turn the page and plook at something i didn't expect to read. >> our eyes are trained that way. we have been editing something online compared to print, my ee eye understands how to graze and roam. chris: graze and roam. will we still graze and roam online? >> yeah, i think we always will. chris: grazing and roaming, i will never another get that phrase and i will continue to graze and roam until i'm on miami beach at a park bench having this argument. whatever happened to the "new york post"? i miss that paper. >> next year or so? >> we don't understand is -- the devotion is the passion. if i went out on myront doorstep and the newspapers weren't there, and somebody came and said i'll sell them to
you for $20 apiece, i would pay. chris: you would. >> i would pay. chris: but enough people wouldn't. >> it's a habit. and tina's right. you put this online, you develop new habits. there's a new generation coming along. the old people like myself will probably find some way to print it out. chris: getting back to where we started from, jimmie olson, lois name, perry white. don't call me chief. movies have captured the great muckraking reporters like emil zola, the great french writer who exposed the truth about the dreyfus affair and brought us the guys who cover city like like the ones in front page who nailed the bootleggers that celebrated the press barons with orson wells, william randolph hearst, in "citizen kane." >> our circulation was the greatest in new york. 684,000. >> 684,132. >> right. chris: better than today. that is so classic. and of course, there was all
the president's men celebrating bob woodward, karl bernstein and ben bradley who led the biggest expose of the 20th century. >> the covert activities involving the entire u.s. intelligence community. >> and people's lives are in danger. >> yes. >> what else did he say? >> he said everyone is involved. >> the results of the latest gallup poll, half the country never even heard of the word "watergate." go on home. get a nice hot bath. rest up. 15 minutes. and get your your asses back in gear. we're under a lot of pressure and you put us there. nothing's riding on this except the first amendment and the constitution. freedom of the press a maybe the future of the country. chris: bob, any thoughts on watching that? >> yeah. it didn't happen exactly that
way. we woke bradley up at 2:00 a.m. and told him, you know, there may be eavesdropping going on and so fth. you got to come out of your house and he was in his pajamas and bath robe. and he did. and i thought he said oh, our very private part of our anatomy is on the chopping block. not the constitutional speech that's in the movie. and i went back and actually looked with carl and wrote out notes and you know what he said? everyone's involved, nixon, and so forth. he looked at us like -- he said "what the hell do we do now?" >> right. >> which is exactly the right question. because we were in uncharted territory. but he knew how to lead us through it. we were kids. i was 11. carl was 10 or something like
that. and we didn't know. but he did. and, you know, he really had all of the instincts and the sense. and what he did say in many ways is that we have this duty that is not just to journalism. but as that scandal exploded, fyffes bigger than journalism -- it was bigger than journalism. it was really about the country. people realized that. and people ask this question, can you go back and do that kind of a story now and my answer is an emphatic yes. chris: as newspapers fold, who will keep things honest out there? who's watching city hall? speaking of which scoops and predictions from the notebooks of these top reporters. tell me something i don't know. i'll be right back.
chris: welcome back. more eyeballs, especially the young ones look online, newspapers continue to break some of the top investigative stories of our day. "the boston globe" blew the cover off the pedophilia case in the catholic archdiocese up there and ram rodded that story until even the cardinal was forced to leave town. if it wasn't for "the washington post" investigation two years ago, veterans might still be dealing with the horrors at walter reed hospital and "the philadelphia inquirer" uncovered corruption by a big state senator up there which just resulted in 137 count conviction in federal court. bob, who's going to do the dirty work, catch the bad guys? >> i still think it will be the newspapers. they'll find those business models that work, thatctually make money. but the issue here is not just getting -- vegging the priests and the a-- investigating the
priests and the abuse and neglted veterans and so forth, but kind of establishes the moral authority of the newspaper. chris: what if the globe is gone? we've seen a rocky mountain paper, seattle, what happens when a town lacks a broad sheet with some clout? >> somebody will come along and do it. there's this outfit, i don't know the name, in san diego, calirnia, that all online, they do serious investigations. they cover the daley story. and they pay living wages to journalists. chris: will online do it? will your operation? >> absolutely. it's a question of resources and the will. there's a lot of rigor online of journalists who are doing it in their individual blogs and need leadership and budget. it is expensive to dig and report. that will come and it will be done. >> there's also an online organization called pro-publica which is run by the former editor of "the wall street
journal" which is devoted to investigative journalism. you have to figure out a way to keep that model, to finance that model. because otherwise, news organizations lose any moral authority they have. and what i -- what i fear is we're going to lose the ben bradley model from the newsroom that we had during watergate with all the young reporters working together. there was a group effort. blogging is very solitary. >> that's because blogging is -- implies solitaryness. when you grow these sites you have a newsroom. like at our office. chris: but you're still going to be competing against -- i mean, tina is one of the great editors, i've worked for her. and i would love to see those kind of sites work. we're not sure that they are yet. and the other thing that you really missing that i loved about journalism is the group sensibility. the fact that you're all in the newsroom together, and that creates stories. you don't always have the pure idea by yourself.
your pal over there might say to you -- chris: do we need a katherine graham? somebody with the resource to say i'm backing this to the hill even if you're up against the president or the mayor? bob? >> yeah. >> she was publisher of "the washington post." but "the washington post" made a great deal of money. somebody told me this just a couple of years ago during watergate, having a meeting with the advertising staff and the guy who sold advertising, automobile dealerships in washington area said they don't like the watergate coverage, these people own the dealerships and we're down $7 million. you know what she said? it's a good thing we can afford it. >> there's nothing like -- >> joe said, i have never worked for tina. but i've known tina for a long time. i will bet my own money she's going to make this work. chris: ok. >> you heard it here. chris: i'm going to be right back with scoops and predictions right out
chris: tina, tell me something i don't know. >> even as we talk about newspapers, five years from now, we will have a whole bunch of new titles that are running all our news gathering and we will not even be thinking about what -- how to keep journalism alive. chris: bob woodward. >> former president george w. bush next year sometime will come out with his memoir and it will actually be riveting. chris: we're going to talk more about that in a minute. >> a leader of the republican party will finally emerge. in the next year. i'm not going to tell you who it is because i have no idea. >> it's summer. you love movies. one movie you got to see this summer is this documentary about the afghan version of american idol called afghan star. it is moving. it's funny. it's heartbreaking. chris: when we come back the big question this week which relates to what bob just said, george w. bush, rummy himself,
the former secretary of defense, the former secretary -- the former secretary of state? >> condi is a book that i think women are going to want to read. because she was buttoned up for so long. if she shows an inch of stocking it's going to be news. chris: will she break out? >> i think she wants to. >> i think so. >> i don't thinkhe will. not in her nature. i think bush's memoir will be riveting. i think the one that no one will read, particularly the women, is don rumsfeld's book. >> i think dick cheney is going to be the one to spill the beans. particularly if he gets all the memos declassified so he can use them. chris: will he admit he was calling the shots? >> i think deck chiney will tell the truth as -- dick cheney will tell the truth as he sees it. he's already out there. chris: he's promoting. >> i think cheney might sell as many books as the other thr combined.
because he's going to pick up that devoted conservative book-buying readership. and i think he's -- i think he's going to drop a couple of dimes. especially on the president and especially about scooter libby. chris: thanks for a great roundtable. tina brown, bob woodward, gloria borger and joe klein. thank you for being here. we'll see you next week.