tv ACLU Membership Conference - Panel on the Media CSPAN July 1, 2018 6:35pm-8:01pm EDT
stability and even-handedness kennedy's e anthony retirement brings a significant change to the supreme court. on c-span. story from president donald trump reblazement. the senate confirmation hearings to the swearing in, on c-span, or listen on the c-span act let's a look at the state media during the trump president say. people from lude "washington times," "the washington post", and the "the nation." part of a conference hosted by the american civil liberties union. it's under an hour and a half. [ ♪ ] good afternoon. it's a pleasure to welcome you to this luncheon. because the topic we are here
near and dear to my heart. doing inall of you are your home states, here in fighting have been for racial justice, l.m.p.d. reproductive rights. religious liberties and, all days, immigrante rights. for 32 years, i worked in the business. i cut my teeth as a reporter in connecticut, where is out there?t [ cheering and applause ] >> good. autofill back then, it would have been so much indicted r me to get politician on the screen every i ended my newspaper career back home in texas, not perry put his k arm around my shoulders and proud i wasd he was his home-town newspaper editor.
effect - perhaps. so it's obvious the media and first amendment are things i have dealt with pretty much life. day of my adult and now those issues are something all of us are dealing with every day. i still think the mission of journalism is to shine light on powerful o hold the accountable. to broaden our horizons. we hear daily reports about news, disinformation, distortions, about a total news media. f the what does it mean for our democracy, and freedom of expression? this is an important discussion, and nowhere is it more important than right here, we a.c.l.u.
members seek to learn to be to arm ourselves with the knowledge and the arguments we need to continue our vigorous defense of the first amendment. today.lp us do that we have an excellent panel. variety represents a of media and view points. and i think you'll know their names. first of all, there's david keene, the opinion editor of the "washington times," president of the national rifle association, a political presidential d a advisor. among his many other accomplishments. collaborated with the a.c.l.u. on issues of prison reform and limiting government surveillance activity. reporter, uished editor and columnist for "the washington post", ruth marcus with the newspaper for nearly 35 years. she graduated were harvard law school.
she's currently deputy editorial page editor and for her weekly column has been for the pulitzer prize in commentary. editor and publisher. "the nation." she's written for just about major newspaper in the country and a frequent contributor on television news shows, for her work on behalf of civil liberties she has among ed awards from, others. the new york civil liberties union. the american anti-arab diswims community. and the anti-american arab fund.rimination katrina vanden heuvel. i want to welcome all three of them to the stage now. [ clapping ]
[ ♪ ] >> yes, david, we are putting you in the middle. that's a comfortable for you. before we start we want to know about you and your news consumption. i'll ask some questions. all you have to do raise your hand. you can raise your hand multiple times, there's no one answer. place you he first news?every morning for - do you go itter to your local newspapers? well, who said no? how about your national "the washington post", the "the los angeles times", the "new york times". latter. this is an -- all right.
this is an aclu crowd. how about local television? divide sort of a room here, i think. television?cable okay. you've our hand in increased your media consumption in the last months. so now that you are getting trust the do you media? guys, i'm worried about you guys. i got out. do you think the media holds our institutions and elected leaders accountable. it can't. well, i think we see that landscape whole new here from when some of us started in this business. space, you know, of a little more than 55 years. from a president who
held an average of 23 press conferences a year. president who a averages 10 tweets per day. many of them directed at our institutions, including the press. people s to reach the directly. we have gone from all of us same way, r news the from journalists exercising judgment. providing breadth and depth and to the demock ritisation of information, to the plays you get your news. twitter, facebook, instagram, search engine newspapers, some that we may or may not know whether they use what we once thought of professional journalists. 25,000 newsroom jobs have been in the last decade. some of our neighbours would thing. at's a good we have a president that won
regions with y in low newspaper subscription from a nd journeyed newsroom ere we had conversations, whether stories had the right context. landscape dominated by quick bait in places we never before would have called centers of journalism. so our conversation today could annual-day symposium, instead we have an our and a half. we'll quite it up in a couple of parts. starting with how did we arrive media in ate of the the age of trump, and where we, goit, and, therefore, in the future? a expect this group will have robust conversation. they are not without opinions. and i have a conversation or two, and then i probably will just stay out of way. in march, katrina, in your
magazine, tom engel hart wrote every day it's a news tweet storm, a news trump storm, a new outrageous statement or a new liar misstatementment. a new bit of news about storm, and on. nd on so how did we arrive at this moment. use twitterresident to distract us from the real catastrophes of the administration, as you wrote saturday, bruce? this is a very dangerous moment, not just for the media, institutions rule of law. those institutions which check and an dent administration. i think it's particularly dangerous because this - esident and his war media and, by the way, the war media saying it's trump the war on the people, today
say it's the end of net neutrality as we know it. that's a real speech fright and the aclu and attorney-general's fight for the freedom. means that you are giving our use of the internet over to big telekom, and that disaster. but the structural changes in the media, happening before trump collide with donald trump. so you have seen the consolidation of media, you have seen the loss of local journalism. jobs, ss of journalists the obliteration of the line entertainment.and so a raghty star like trump can escalator, and they are different media in the because there is the nation, there's democracy now. there are "new york times", "the washington post", and i will say cable, in many ways, the last two years, as not served the public interest for
mart. st and has gone for quick bait, cable style. over public ctice interest news. i think we face the moment changes in theal media collide with a president who is determined to delegit media's role as a check on his power. let me end. it's not just this president. journalistan italian who covered berlusconi, you he was.o he was someone like trump. -- that joumpist said it journalist said it would be a mistake to focus on the the man, because it allows him to portray victim, versus the establishment. focus on the sources of trumpism, we'll have trumpism after trump leaves the stage. do well. will and many media favors this. trump's the sources of
strength - economic, social, political factors. the election in 2015. played a role. so did the fact, i would argue, stop with the first election since the post financial crisis in this millions of people felt left behind, not listened to. against s a backlash the first african-american president - that's not news to you. hard on we need to fix the structural interests, rebuild the public interest media. focus on the thoughts of allow him to don't make the media an elite institution, because there's a media need for a public in this country if we preserve like racy in institutions aclu. [ clapping ] >> who wants to champion next? david: me. an older guy. sometimes i don't hear the
monitors. say about the structural changes are true. and have been going on forever. know, politicians have never liked the media. they or good reason, and are not supposed to. but when i first came to washington and was involved in presidential politics. ruth might know. okay.: i still am, david: if someone wanted to be president they had to go to george town with leading journalist, scotty, and be better. primary, if best the people decided within the establishment that the candidate was okay, he would be mentioned. possibly could run, et cetera, et cetera. down, and to break every candidate in both parties was trying to find ways around that. what we have now is a breakdown, partly technological structural. and canada is taking advantage
of that to get their message way they want if, rather than the way it's media.ed by the existing it's technology that did that. nixon years the process was banned from press conferences. he wanted the local people. he could get the message out way. it worked a little bit. as much as he liked to. other candidates tried different things. i remember when i worked with went to eagan, he florida. we were trying to get a specific message out. press e his head of conference and all the national media got it because it was a than what message they'd been hearing. the local media we targeted didn't get it. they liked the general lines. the wrong story was in the wrong place and we had to bring back to have a press conference where he would just talk about that so they'd get through their heads. what happens when you have an
infrastructure that breaks down, and when you have multiple ways to reach people, you have the kind of chaos that also place when you are free. the other problem that we have, which goes into that. you know, many years ago, daniel pat rig morningham said we all have a right to our own opinions, but not to our own facts. out we do have a right to our own facts. you watch m.s.m. b.c. or fox news, you don't get you get t opinions, different facts, and it's reflected in public poles, 20 years ago, if you ask voters about the state of the economy. it was et a sense that an economic answer. today if you ask voters, and if republican president. the democrats will say everything is terrible. great. icans say it's and the same is true the other way around. questions that are issue based are politically
a sed as we break into society where we get our news in a boat eke way. we grew up, the older people among us, i talked about of that.tives there was a source of facts and could disagree with it. we were all operating on the same plain. pob said it nk at -- president obama said it point we live on different planets. we don't on the agree on solutions, we don't agree on the problems. that's part of the chaos going on. probably that will be resolved in some way, i don't think it predict howsible to it is. the only thing i add, it's a generational thing in part. when you raise your hands about how many get your hands on facebook. nd i don't do either one of those, if the "washington times," we certain number of op-ed pieces over the tran some.
and sometimes from people you know, some are good. if i get back to them and say the editioned up in online, theirt it response tell me how old they are. if it's my age, if it isn't on paper, it doesn't exist. younger writer they say "that's fine." i think that that structural chaos, which can be destructive and constructive is something trying to liveis with and grasp. think katrina, we'll come back to you in a minute. i think you are eager to answer this. katrina: the marriage of the trump moment and the technological moment is an phenomenon. every president - i didn't know story, trying n to exclude the national press, but every president tried to
go around, over the heads of - circumventing media nly the national and getting terrific headlines from local newspapers when local newspapers weren't thriving enough to have people them. ver but trump has just taken advantage of this technological can - he can you allmunicate unfiltered with of these people. i look at the twitter feeds the above day, he was 50 million followers, and this president of at a the united states has had a sledge news conference in the 500 plus and days of his presidency really tells you everything you about the ow president and the media right now. moment ways he is the bizarrely accessible candidate.
called some reporters directly. questions. lots of and yet he is not held normal able in the mechanisms this that we have all grown up with and expect to be held accountable. tod then we forget sometimes say "whoa, this is a strange moment that is going on here a president without white house press conferences". normal president would have had ex in his presidency. he has had one. and then you get into a debate responsible news organization should cover his tweets. as if cover his tweets they are - i love the feed that on official white house letterhead and puts it in you. ext for or do you understand them as official policy that should be
reacted to or as a distraction mechanism. have to er is you understand them both both, and ously as at the time. and look at which ones to respond to and not allow them serve as a distraction mechanism to distract you from the underlying policy that is made while we are all mesmerized by twitter. this is a really hard phenomenon, particularly hard as the trump -- moment non as the trump collides with the construction of pre-existing financial model we the news industry, and have tried to find something out. weird way, trump has
of that ted some problem, even though there may news fatigue.e of the results on cable news, and newspaper iballs. definitely -- eyeballs, created with has his reality show "presidency", interest. of he said, incorrectly i believe, rooting for him and urging his re-election understand can only the way we think of our jobs in financial terms, because what when he's gog. maybe our subscriptions will viewer strip had been television will go down. in some ways i will end the beginning on a hopeful note. the trump moment has product something i have never before. ced i know there was grumbling in
the room about the degree to media is capable of holding the president accountable. time in my time. first time, people are thanking me for what they are doing, it's not me, it's the news media generally, that is a a w thing as you have president who describes what you are doing as being the enemy of the people. do play an they important roam. that, for me, is the upside of trump administration. >> we get thanked all the time for publishing stuff we don't in the "the post." >> you're welcome. back again. we are living in a radically changing time. live ometimes when you through the history. on the front lines experience it.
the old order is disappearing dying. the new is not yet gone. again - i was this by the other this by the story the other day of the trump administration beginning a leak investigation. and seizing a journalist and maybe three others' emails and notes. country people in the may not thing it's a danger. i think it's an extraordinary sign of this justice department willingness to curb the press. hand, we can't live ahistorically. several people in the media noted that president obama left with the use of the espionage act. thomas you, knowing drake, what happened to snowden, who i think deserves a pardon. i disagree with my colleagues at "the washington post."
a public nk he did service. to put some of we are living through in context. by abue favoured in 1865 legsists and like the aclu this ed in 1920, we think is our moment to show resistance, and renewal in a we ferent way, but i think need some history here. just a footnote on edward snowden. who languishes in moscow and speaks out against abuses there. - i am horrified, i have former by how many intelligence heads have been heads on as talking cable. you may not. clapper perjured himself twice. he's giving advice to all of us to combat intelligence lapses.
bring back snowden to be a commentator on nbc or csn. that will be more helpful. will say that i think you are so right, david. there's a breakdown of the but at the same time in the olden days, there gatekeepers who defined and policed the parameters of way of s possible by opinion, and i think in the chaos, there's an upstop. side.d: a plus katrina: a plus side. not e whose voices were heard, considered marginal now can have a voice. downside. its david: the tribal nature of our politics, today is - you hit it with the - i had hoped obama fter the administration we'd be past the period of going after reporters, because that was, of course, that happened more during the obama administration then the entire - since woodrow
wilson. but we are not. what is interesting. i remember when clapper first persured himself before congress, i wrote he should resign, be fired, got rid of. that, e left was all for it was on an issue we shared. now clapper, for some reason, is a hero. he's attacking trump. same lying intelligence officer that pursues his own beliefs today, then. was >> that i agree with. >> let me jump in here a second take us a little different direction. you all made reference to the when you ed to be started out. when i started out. you know, and i've talked to a lot of reporters in the past few weeks saying in some this is the golden age of forms of n and all journalism. but how is it changing the way your work. i mean, katrina, you are an
run or, you editorial pages. not just what you like, how you staffs, how you choose. what is the it. what changing? how is trump changing. that changed the way you approached, in your case, your case iting, in choosing news articles, things to investigate. there a new approach? >> how has trump changed it? >> yes. us, it's been a fascinating challenge. a very diverse - i would say op ed page, it's not a page any more. first of all, there are two pages in the print paper those that see the print op er on most days of edcolumns, it's not a section with an abundance of opinion online that ranges the gamut.
one of the things that we of trump d in the age was that our conservative columnist actually were more anti-trump than our liberal columnists. they were - who disliked trump griffin, s it michael or george will or god bless him it rles crowd-hammer, and created a big challenge for us a kind ofhat was once vibrant fray of disagreement and een liberal conservative columnists just "we hate donald trump" echo jam ber. a vibrant place if you want to do something. we had to do something, which i room would in the not encourage us to do or think we should spend all our energy but try to find, like, diacknowledgea news. intellectually honest protrump
or prump empathetic columnists. and that has really - that has for me central challenge editor of the trump earra. the second is as columnist or overreact to trump or under-react to trump. there are things that the things thats doing, any republican president or most republican presidents to ld do, that i happen disagree with, that the editorial board might disagree kind of within the norms of republican behaviour, and that means that we should accordingly. hem i disagree. i lament this, we should stop it. but, it's not, you know,
authoritarianism. at the same time, we shouldn't under-react to things that donald trump does that are not like what a normal president i mention before the failure to hold news conferences. the enemyng the press of the people. the very disturbing seizure of the basically the from the reporters had obama aviours of the administration, behaviours that if they weren't completely contained by at least - or attempt with in some guidelines, that would make the rare occurrence, guidelines, little unclear whether or not they are enforced. just because there are 10 in the space of a tweet storm or the space of a
day, that doesn't mean we to two of them. we need to figure out a way, an era of ard in constrained resources, we have to responds t how to all of them. >> i had a bunch of stuff that last ted to yell about week. and decided i was going to use write about the administration's really lament not to defend the constitutional reality of the affordable care act. not just the health care law. because of the impact on the law, and the terrible. most extreme cases for administration to an active statue. that not under reaction or over rehabilitation not in underrehabilitation to the excesses of this
administration. katrina, how are you approaching your work, if differently or not. the morning after trump was elected. ae came in blurry eye and did cover. mourn, resist, organise, onwards. in some s a template, ways. we continued - founded in 1865 not to make a profit. but to make change, and in the journalism can build a democratic and equitable world. areas that can build out in the trump era. rights d an immigrants reporter, we were committed to coverings those on the front lines of what we saw would be injustice. but we have covered insurgency for progressive politics 153 years, and ramped up in the if the if theal belief that social
makes change, we black lives matter. the economic movement of the equal justice. d.n.a. in our we covered the bernie sanders campaign. whether you love or hate him he put issues on the agenda that is part of the debate and discourse, we follow those. fight for 15, medicare. just.al medicare. war and peace. they don't go away. the a.c.'s a strain in war was founded by anti- activists. war and peace is not high what we believe is an agenda. when there's talk of a president like trump on the nuclear button, that has peel war and peace,in saying democrats, (witness does as requestwh
why are you giving him for when you are worried. we try to do investigative reporting. ruth talks about limited resources. resources, i'm proud on the eve the coverage of for profit. yate, and others of the doa leading to them being down. we have to go back again and make change. i will end. ruth or know about david. but there's no question as a journalist in these times, as editor, you wake up some mornings, with some despair. out. se you look and part of journalism is to shame, to make change. trump, but a have lot of people around them who seem incapable of being shamed. wonder what is my work accomplishing. what is the change. have to be in it for the long haul.
and the investigative it. rnalism is part of making change to expose of course, proposing, through people's attention, and enlisting the movement and people. and finally, i will say part of what we do is put new ideas on agenda. i mean, i think - medicare for have s something we championed for 20 years, and i should cede ideas that may seem radical. like, you know, abolish the second amendment - no. [ laughs ] david: good luck to that. sure, a: i know, i'm not but what we try to do - there's a set of issues that may seem have to wake you up with that radical. and in these times it's ands tant for the nation nation and the a.c. ou in the
great work it does, and the is about the aclu playing a larger role in the spirit of the aclu -- a.c. ou of changing the politics this country. there's complexity in that. the a.c. ou was founded in that spirit. one of the nd say things we have, are great eric phoner e is who writes about the civil war reconstruction. eric phoner. during the campaign of 2016 he emailed one night - he emails late. a tie d does anyone have to bernie sanders campaign. to said can you tell him stop talking about denmark. can he retrieve this country's existence to remind people what is possible. even in the dark ers times, which -- darkest times which these are close to.
i submit we have seen dark before, the country is resill yents and the judicial the a.c. le tos which fought and won. it is a long battle. this resistance reminds why the media checks, and is legitimate. and continues to work even if president calls it fake news is vital. [ clapping ] david, do you want other gh in on something than repealing the second amendment? david: that's in one caveat. longer the full opinion editor. large, w editor at because i spend more time fishing than i do editing, and i write a column. let me talk about the way we look at it. we have three things. one, i don't know - i try to -
we have to do some. of this reaction, because readers speck. we are not pro or antie donald about prince plls, we try to get it out. we are interested in accomplishing things, we are the conservative in washington. when irst op ed published i took over the editorial page "washington times" was writtenen by a fellow by the ram airel. in order to hat accomplish goals, there's a lot of goals to share. work together. 97% of people in the room - my us, are here, two of not possible too much of what donald trump is doing. happen to like a lot of
agenda. candidate for president. but the change that we see, and the change that we might see are different things. that is legitimate. is what we should be fighting about. just opposing everything, because it's the other team, as of the things that i really dislike in washington is our team and their team. it doesn't work that way. at least in my mind. there are things we all want to accomplish. some things she wants to accomplish, some that i want to accomplish, but we have to work together on. incredibly t's important, for conservatives, the a.c.l.u. worked together over many years, i closest friend in washington have been activists with the a.c.l.u. nixon era. your younger members will not some of these people.
anthony - there are areas where we believe in freedom. l one of the things - this may be of the ater part discussion. i think it's important to remember what we are about. and what your organization and other organizations are about, simply get into a fight cal or tribal food that not just obscures, but difficult to make progress on issues that are incredibly important. we have greater assaults on privacy. we don't know how to deal with it and are faced with a to some degree do not care about it. that makes it difficult. questions, mportant and shouldn't be buried by the fact that we like joe, we don't like bill. they should bet people of like
mind to get together. work together to accomplish real things. [ clapping ] you o you - i think all of mentioned agenda setting in one way or another. of hands went ot up about trusting the media - and the media's ability to hold elected officials, public officials accountable. in the old days, i mean, we had thought about editorial pages agenda to to set an lead local conversations, from that talent square of discussion and debate. katrina you talked about investigative reporting leading the way. too often i hear from some think that's ey biased journalism. and, of course, i contend it's bias the day you decide what you cover, you are showing a
bias. you overcome this feeling that the agenda setting really a conservative liberal bay bias. david: that probably affects us. was asked by a producer for one of the networks - not too long ago - to sit down off the record and talk about certain things. noknow, if this was i'd do it. o 20 years ago people would observe the norms, if i say something off the record it would be off the record. today it's not so true. i'd do i don't think that. he said "i really can't blame you." we live in a different world, and we live in a world now, 15 years ago, 10 years ago, reporters, whether they are conservative or liberals, bias, we have certain beliefs and things we very, very dear.
but there was a professional that e to try to not let show up in reporting. the we are in an era where "new york times", for example, said reporters have an let the views on donald trump affect their reporting, it's a crusade. you can't expect the people on the other side not to to that. and today - in today's world, world different kind of you are dealing with than you were some years ago. been involved in politics aside from journalism town, for more than 40 years. time, i have hat never had - well until last two had a ee years, never problem dealing with any journalists. you sometimes had a problem dealing with local journalists who'd kill his grandmother to with o washington, but "washington journal"ists, you
didn't. -- with washington journalists, you didn't. they could gra or disagree with you -- agree or disagree with you. that has changed. conservatives feel cornered by this and fight back. saying that others don't feel the same way. >> i have a feeling... . someone told me the reason people don't trust the media, years ago in their local paper, their kid played on a junior high school football team, and the report in the paper was wrong. so everyone knows that things wrong, and they decide when they report something they don't like, that it was probably wrong. so this links up to some of conversation about changes for the media in the age of trump. one of the central challenges is when he is enemy of the he people. when he is at rallies reporters as scum. a lot of reporters who are
supposed to be. the most part. when i was a newspaper strove objective. and how are they to respond. simultaneously. how do you cover fairly a candidate. and now a president who size things that are demonstrably untrue. and there's a lot of frustration on the left with lies.ng to call out i am not actually a big word lie,in using the because it imagines an ability to get inside someone's head i personally don't have. i think the news organizations struggled. we first created fact checkers. campaign in the 2016 kind of embedded the fact news ing in the body of stories, and when it was wore n war ented embedded fact checking in the body.
warranted s super when it was clear you knew you something we could show to be untrue, back to the occasion when you use the word lie. has created a set of changes for people - i'm an opinion writer now. used to be a news reporter. my job as a news reporter was completely different. he has created a lot of changes position.le in that marty barren, the executive editor - i'm not sucking up to "the washington post", because he's not the boss of me, i don't report to him. he gets it right. he said we don't go to war, we go to work when we are attacked by the president. it's hard as a matter of human see a to sustain, and i lot on social media where i my colleagues in news rooms across town are not serving themselves or their news organisations well by
kind. nding in rather than simply continuing to do their jobs, and letting - facts and let the facts speak for themselves. - d when you set yourself when you allow the president to turn you into the opposition, create your own set of oppositions, and that's not a healthy... . david: i'm not sure that the building of one side of the but part of as all one side, if you know what i mean. hostility. mutual i will say this: that, i mean, just today butot before, there's a lot of reporters that feel about presidents the way donald trump feels about some reporters. the difference is those things be out in the public. part of the problem is not - age, wherehe changing everything we say is in public.
and politicians shouldn't do that or other people. told me my father never to do anything that you wouldn't be ashamed of that page. s on the front "new york times". . david: i use the example years fax machine, if someone was mad and wrote a letter. would stick it in the drawer. then they had a fax machine, it worse, and now there's twitter. told me someone there's an app shut down at a certain period. of trouble a lot for many people. i want to come back, this whole sit and i respect what ruth said, you were a news an opinioned now for. there was interesting debate - if you have a chance it out.k between glenn greenwald, and someone i think highly of. his twitter feed is worth read.
editor of e former the "new york times". on objective versus adversarial journalism. liningk, and others too, gray wolf came out. this is where the nation stands, it's not fair and of that. and all but it's being honest where you and disclosing your values and principles, but core, giving up on the which is fact, evidence and verifiable data. and i think in there... [ clapping ] david: even if they are doing facts. katrina: the whole issue - a danger about the trump administration and how many agencies have data either funding to collect data suppressed or cut. that has long-term consequences. debate. the idea of objectivity in my complex one, we sit and stand in different place, and i do think you
witnessed the seeping of objective noose stories without the honesty about where you stand. debate to important be had. in terms of standing for principles, absolutely. this event i hope to meet a congress person you should a arn about, roe connor, leader and fighter on a number of issues and maybe see senator paul. these two people have written on op-ed on the need for and realism in foreign policy. rand paul wrote an op-ed with carmel harris a few months ago on bail reform. there are fundamental issues where you can subsume your differences, and we certainly have differences, major difference, but find the areas of principled agreements and i story needs to be told more. than is more of that in the news where it is often
tribalism - or terms i don't like. stood for e asou principle, and i recommend that debate. in a moment e are where i amount saying - it is true what ruth said, this tried to insight journalists. insight violence against journalists at rallies. when one tries to bring history again, and who can forget syria agew, the attack on media and journalists is not a new one, but this has a new edge to it. would say that journalism as a profession has fed some of that. not in any way allowing incitement to violence, but professionalisation of the profession, which does lead to a disconnect with people. because it becomes - let's say
humility, use more there could be more humility, and your executive editor is right. to war, do the work. do the work, show the work. i have a and different definition of what be. work is or should because i really - the work, likeas opinion journalists me, but my colleagues in the to not m needs to be respond to the provocations and do their job, even when, for example, the the r day a spokesman at environmental protection agencies referred to a reporter of trash. in my world, you know what you do, the best thing you can do and tell it town people. say adverse n i aerial journalism. i mean holding it. calling trump a
back. when they go high, we should go high, or local. i mean, adverse aerial in the accountable.lding >> i have to raise an historical point. came to town to work for vice agnew in 1970.al most of you will not remember to as ou were referring the famous speech. that was a campaign thing, the des moines speech was a famous attack on the print media that agnew delivered in iowa. and as a result of that, and i's this we if op ed pages. if i said this, we have op ed all the publishes and
we are not bias, we better higher all these we have both w sides. >> i want to get to the future journalism. bill clinton said the press easy on president obama, and a whole host of folks on right say that the media to been incredibly unfair president president donald trump. discuss. asking, me? re you >> let's start with katrina and down the line. katrina: when did clinton say he's been busy all of last week. >> he was in the middle of all of that. that he thought the press had gone easy on
was ident obama because he the first black president. katrina: i think that's too media ind parts of the the country went beserk about president obama. certificate and all the conspiracy. i can speak i think in retrospect in the belief that you need an inside outside strategy and you want to push a president to listen to movements and take certain steps, there has to be a different calibration. president obama, i think he was savaged by core elements of the press in this country. >> the press has been unfair to president trump. >> again, the problem with the coverage of president trump and said with humility because it's not the case all around, is it is too fixated on the palace
intrigue, scandals, the man in the character. but how can you not? at a certain level we are playing his game because it becomes all about trump. [applause] >> and not about the forces that will continue to afflict our country after trump is gone. in that sense, we need a recalibration. >> i rarely agree with things that bill clinton says, but i think he's a little bit right about this. i don't know what the motives were, but i'd like to use a concrete example. back during the bush administration, the press was all over, and properly so, gives -- against violations of privacy over the security and the like. and i agree i wrote a lot that the bush administration was overreaching after 9/11 and a lot of the power should be given to government and there should be a little reason involved.
i stood at that one of the meetings and i said i'm willing to join in the criticism of bush. i related this story when the patriot act is set to be passed, paul wyrick, the late paul wyrick and i were at the two critics of the patriot act and the justice department said some -- sent some people to see paul, and he called me right after. he said we know this is extraordinary power, do you have nothing to worry about. he says we are the good guys. and he said what about when the bad guys have that power? they didn't come to me because i'm so obstinate that probably visit was of no value. i said paul, i'm worried about when the good guys have the power. when you have these powers, there is a tendency to abuse them. barack obama became president and a lot of these issues that have been hot issues during the
bush administration were not covered anymore. a major reporter who i had said before the obama administration, a lot of this is political. it's not that these people care about these rights. it's that they want to beat george w. bush over the head. he covered these issues extensively for a major publication. he came to me afterwards and said, i thought that was hyperbole on your part. but it was tru,e because these issues were not covered. barack obama, as presidents always do, didn't back off. he doubled down. and yet it was covered differently. that is a thanks -- fact-based analysis. because a lot of people for whatever reason saw him as part of their team and this includes people in the journalism profession, well, we don't need to do that. we've done that before. >>
well, i think there may have been -- i think president clinton may be a little bit right in terms of media who are pretty enamored of barack obama for the first time they saw him at the democratic convention, giving his keynote address, going a little bit easy on him. it certainly was not my experience with the obama white house that they were pretty much ever happy with anything they were writing about them. i think they probably felt, hey, ,hy are you so hard on us because they probably perceived us to be incorrectly on more of the same team. i think it's telling president clinton would see it that way because he was on this kind of, tour.a victim of xyz
some of it as i had it so much harder than barack obama, so i think the more interesting question of whether we were too easy on barack obama is whether there is an element of us being too hard on president trump. and that kind of gets me back to my, what is the baseline. i really believe we can't grade this president or any president on a curve. we have continuous series on the editorial page called what a presidential president would have said. we sort of take a trump moment and kind of model like parents do a proper presidential behavior might look like. but we shouldn't conflate, we shouldn't treat all trump acts as heinous and respond to all of them at the highest level of
high-speed when some are what a republican president would do with the regulatory policy at the epa under president romney really be that much different than it is under president trump. it doesn't mean it's not worth writing about. it's just a question of whether there is a degree of feeling besieged and frustrated and everything else in the media in terms of responding to trump that is leading some people to respond to all trump acts with the same kind of knee-jerk reaction. i think it's really worth for us to continue to think about as we try to cover him resolutely and aggressively, but also fairly. >> that's great. let's switch gears here a little bit and think about the future
of journalism. katrina is laughing. she's written about this a lot. she talks about the fact we need real reforms in media, real accountability centered journalism. not necessarily valuing profits over public interest. we have six companies today in this country that own the vast majority of metropolitan newspapers and television stations. regional newspapers, et cetera. sinclair as we all know has the potential to reach 72% of all households in america because of their ownership of television stations. so, do we need some antitrust enforcement? or should the government start propping up independent journalists and helping them out?
if you do either of those things, how do you do those things without risking what i might call the slippery slope, the loss of state neutrality? katrina: i may have been writing about this, but how it gets to where one sees the real future of a robust public interest journalism is a tough one in these times. we do need to revive antitrust. i say with some encouragement that there are key democrats reviving, and i think you will hear from senator warren after this. she's been a big player in talking about the need to address this consolidation. not just of media, but of corporate power, with a vigorous come a vibrant, antitrust structure. that shouldn't be republican or democratic. think of theodore roosevelt, who
was a serious antitrust trust buster. one can begin in the states, but right now with the federal government we have control of both houses it's difficult. i also think at the same time, i i do need -- and my colleague john nichols has been writing about this for two decades. the founder of free press, which is the net neutrality consolidation. we do need to think about the way for citizens to get -- citizens to get a tax write off for contributing to certain media. the public broadcasting experience in this country has been a political football. but when people talk about the slippery slope and government control, look out across the industrialized civilized world in their example. i will not to the cliche of the bbc, but i will do other examples where you have government funding, the decentralized and protected. it's hard to see that right now and i don't think would fly with the trump administration. for-profit models.
finding the martial product a few years ago, which is doing terrific work. one of our editors just left us ron -- run a nonprofit criminal justice news organization called the appeal. there are these models, pro-palooka, investigative reporters and editors, but they are across the country and also operating in state, because one of the things we forget is that corruption at the state, local level can metastasize about some oversight, some media appeared in states around the country there's a nonprofit models to make a barely for the loss of statehouse reporters and the decimation and local news. it is not a perfect model, and i hate to kind of throw it out there, but what happened to the "washington post" with all the complexities, jeff bezos buying it, putting god 110th of his fortune into the "washington post," if you could find civic
minded millionaires and billionaires across this country like at the denver post, which you may have followed. the denver post, very good newspaper has been ravaged by private equity company. these people live far away. if you could find people come in a private equity, but people in a community who to band together to support papers, that would be a first step. i also think you've got to find a way to claw back from facebook. google has already set up a fun to support journalism, but it's a tiny amount. europe is ahead of us on this privacy protection, but finding ways to shame or claw back from facebook, which as we learned it took a model and has over a data -- and has raked over our data.
these are first steps, but there is no silver bullet. david: i find it interesting because those are often stated concerns, and they are not unimportant concerns, but we're talking about that at the same time we talk about proliferation out there in the breakdown of the old structure. i'll tell you i don't know the answer, and i'm not going to claim i do, but i do know one thing i am worried about. and that is when the government decides it will start regulating the news and say what is valid and what isn't. katrina: i didn't say that. there is a move on as you know for government to play a role with fake news and regulation. just last week the french president announced the freedom of the press is so important in the next day he asked the government was set up a bureau
to make sure the freedom of press is used the way they want it to be used. whatever the problem, whatever the chaos, whatever the abuses, the one thing you can say about people in denver, chicago, washington, they are not the government. i would rather fight with them because you can find ways around it. you can find ways to communicate. that's one of the things we talked about earlier, is getting around the existing media. people are inventive, technology has amended. things will sort themselves out and i have great faith they will do it in a much better way than would happen if the government decided to get into it and help. ruth: especially when you've had the president talking about licensing, you know, yanking licenses and pardon me, but very nixonian conversations and threats like that.
the last model that i would look to would be government support or government funding because you will inevitably go down a very dangerous slope on that. katrina puts her finger on the same that kind of worries me most about the journalism landscape out there, which is the evaporation of coverage of state and local governments because if you don't have reporters covering statehouses, you'll have rampant corruption at statehouses, just like if you don't tend your garden, it is going to get really noxious weeds all over. the really bright thing that i would say in an otherwise very difficult business climate for journalism has been the growth of subscription models. as young people get used to paying for things on the internet, whether it is their netflix or hulu or whatever,
they are also getting used to paying for news. you see at "the new york times," "washington post," other places, people are understanding if you value this, you need to pay for it. and that to me is the best way to ensure our future. we can't all have jeff bezos, but if we got 2 million of them paying a little bit, that is the way to get it to be able to keep going in the climate direct to the business model collapse. ruth, do you think the president's attacks on amazon are connected to jeff bezos ownership of your paper?
ruth: well, i think i renounced my ability to read the president's mind, but i think the facts kind of speak for themselves. he has called it the amazon "washington post," so i leave it to you to make that exact connection. terry: i ask it in a more serious vein. is that not a little frightening , the threat to the first amendment? that is a veiled threat. katrina: in the totality a comeback to it today is a historic. the ending of net neutrality has really been taken over by telecom, not public interest is potentially very dangerous. we were told there was going to be this great flourishing on the internet. that could be shut down. it's become paid to play, a civil rights issue, a digital divide issue, a free speech issue and we haven't seen the full result yet.
we have to fight hard as best we can against state level attorney generals to retrieve some of that. like the u.s. post office, postal service, which the nation, by the way, the nation has championed. whenever we do a story on the u.s. postal service, it is like click a. -- click bait. i don't know what is going wrong or right. that is a very tricky thing for a lot of publications, even though print people say is dying. when they jack up the price is -- prices and go to five or six days a week, that is also part of the shutdown. david: they have to do that for amazon to deliver. just on a historical note, if you look at journalism history, we are now getting back to the kind of chaos that existed
before the war in the 19th century when there were hundreds of publications, most of which were bought and paid for by politicians and it's sort of like cable news today, except that was an era and i'm not saying this is good, but it solved itself and then we had this sort of peaceful era, in part because of advertisers who didn't want to advertise in publications like you and i would like, but one of these more general things, and then craigslist came along and wiped out the most profitable part, which was declassified and new technology came along and we are sort of back to the 19th century. it solved itself once and it will probably solve itself again. so, let me ask you this. we talked about the different models of journalism. as all of these folks go back to
the 50 states in the territories, the places that don't have congressional representation, what can they do to support their local journalism, if they're short of being a billionaire who buys the paper, what can they do to promote better journalism at home in those protections are -- those protections we have talked about over this last hour and a half? what would you suggest? ruth: i was really disappointed in low number of hands that i saw from people who said they turned to their local newspaper and maybe it is like a chicken and egg thing, where your local newspapers are not as good as they used to be or as good as they should be, so it's not the best place to turn to for news. if you do not subscribe and
support them, they cannot have the resources to do that job. so while you shouldn't totally subscribe to the "washington post" and read online, you should also subscribe to your local newspapers and get them delivered to the extent that they are also getting delivered and thanks for doing the both of it. we need both national sources of information and local sources of information. katrina: i agree with ruth. i think local papers are vital. i tried to read the local paper every day. the cincinnati inquirer on the opioid crisis, the palm beach news and investigation under charter schools, but go back to your community. write letters to the editor. maybe try to find a network of people who might raise funds to take over a local paper. that is not unimaginable. i say follow the news in the sense of news about the media. you're not going to get from
cable or television. net neutrality, if you can go to free press or follow a set the nation. i think those are vital for a healthy community. david: i don't disagree with that. i think the real tragedy of the nationalization of global newspapers, turning them into this has resulted in the lack of oversight of state government in particular and the investigative reporters that used to do that kind of work don't have jobs anymore. there are two ways i think that is being dealt with and on the right there have been some of those people picked up by public-interest firms to do the same kind of thing. and i hate to say this, i told the story earlier, but there are very few newspapers that are going to exist five years from
now in print form. that is just a fact. but in the states, not in all states, but in many states they are developing digital, very good reports on state government, state politics, better stuff than we would've gotten in the past. i think it's a real problem. it is a problem because states are so important. federalism is so important. a lot of what affects people takes place not in washington, but the state and you need a vibrant journalistic community to make sure there is some kind and for somelity, time, that almost vanished in some places. terry: what a wonderful nonprofit publication, the texas tribune. one of the things i appreciated so many of their stories get picked up by local newspapers.
they share their report with everybody. the newspapers that don't have the capital staff that they used to have can charter for the -- can turn to the tribune. we are about to run out of time. last question. we talked about whether this is the golden age of journalism again. what would you tell an aspiring young journalist about the business today, and what they ought to pursue? so, i think what i would say honestly, and it's funny because our interns from our new class of interns started today and i didn't go to their lunch because i was coming to your lunch. i think what i would tell them is, do it if it is what you are really compelled to do. you're not going to make a lot of money. you are going to work a lot of
long hours. but there is nothing more fun than being a reporter and if that's what you want to do, you should do it, but understanding it is a different set. i left law school and chose to go be a reporter knowing that they were kind of different financial routes. i don't know if i would end up making that same choice now but i did many decades ago because of the perilous state of the industry. but what i would really say is that this is what you really feel you were put on earth to do, it's what you have to do. if you don't feel like it's what you were put on earth to do, there's a lot of other interesting ways to make your way in the world. david: when i talk to young people, i say there's a million ways to make a living. it's sort of parallel to what you are saying.
if you're big interest is money, go read a hedge fund. if that's not going to make you happy, do what makes you happy. there are people who want to be writers, who want to be reporters. it isn't a question of money. it's a question of doing what you want. there are a lot of people in this country who are very rich and very unhappy, and there are people who are poor and unhappy, too. a lot of people make a living doing what they want to do. if that is what they want to do, they should. are we ending? terry: we have a few more minutes. katrina: last week, journalists from around the country, from all places, community colleges, historical black colleges, they came together for a day of learning how to cover movements.
and within that some of the core concerns of the aclu and it was a real passion. many of them are doing podcasts, videos, some are just doing the basic journalism, reporting, writing. you need a whole new skill set and a flourished in all arenas but they were really excited about a journalist they felt could make change. that is what moved them and that is the kind of journalism i have been part of. now it can also not make change, it can cause trouble. that's good, too. i recommend the nation's internship program, 40 years old this year. i mentioned one of the interns went on to found the marshall project. at every moment, three of the editors for progressive publications had interns so we enjoyed our friend of the washington post who was a great intern so check that program out. but if you believe in journalism
making change, and not forgetting that there are facts and verifiable evidence, but if you believe there's a larger role or journalism over time, i think there's a passion to it . but you have to have the passion, as ruth said. you can make a living, a better living, in other arenas if you wish. terry: it's been a wonderful discussion today, thank you. [applause] thank you so much. we will wrap up now and as i understand it, senator warren is our next speaker in this very room. thank you for joining us. thank you david, ruth, katrina. it has been great. announcer: next week on 8 p.m. from themonday,
atlantic's conference on the american idea. >> if you look at the rhetoric, the elites are looked at as a little minority controlling the .edia, hollywood, universities want toe immigrants and help the poor in africa, but they don't care about real americans. what happens is really bad on campuses. in terms of not reading certain books because people might get triggered by them. the people making this decision are often the baby boomers. through itould go and say, this is worth what it is worse -- worth because i, the government, say it is. not for me. i do not own bitcoin.
goldman sachs as far as i know has no point. but if it works out, i could give you the historical pathway of how it happened. black fears of white people are totally justified. white fears of black people are not. announcer: and kirk cameron speaks in colorado. ms 13 is a vicious gang. it is violent and inhumane. they kill, rape, and control. announcer: next week on prime announcer: tonight on c-span, q and a with syndicated columnist and author mona charen, followed
by theresa may taking questions from members of the house of commons. later, take a look at the state of politics as we head into the midterm elections. ♪ announcer: this week on "q&a," syndicated columnist mona charen . she talks about her book, "sex matters: how modern feminism lost touch with science, love, and common sense." brian: your new book, "sex matters." to find what that word means. mona: the phrase? i wish i could say i came up with the title myself. it is actually my friend and colleague who had this inspiration.