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CNN RELIABLE SOURCES
Stumping Trump on Foreign Policy; FOX News Vs. Black Lives Matter; Battle of Late Night TV Hosts; The Role of Media in Joe Biden's 2016 Decision; Should Journalists Respect A Victim's Privacy or Share Publicly?. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired September 6, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:08] BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Hey, good morning. I'm Brian Stelter. And it's time for RELIABLE SOURCES.
We have a fantastic lineup of stories for you this Labor Day weekend from what looks like a campaign at FOX News to label Black Lives Matter a murder movement, to the Colbert-ization of the late show. Yes, Stephen Colbert preparing to step out of character and maybe break some big news with Joe Biden.
But let's begin with a name you've heard once or twice on this show before, Donald Trump. All summer, critics have been accusing the political press of letting Trump run amok, reveling in the circus atmosphere of his campaign while giving him a pass on substance.
Well, this week, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt did not give him a pass. He threw Trump some curveballs, and everybody is talking about it. Here's just an example of what happened.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HUGH HEWITT, RADIO HOST: Are you familiar with General Soleimani?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. I -- but go ahead, give me a little -- go ahead, tell me.
HEWITT: He runs the Quds Forces.
TRUMP: Yes, OK. Right.
HEWITT: Do you expect his behavior --
TRUMP: And I think the Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by us.
HEWITT: No, not the Kurds, the Quds Forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Forces, the bad guys.
TRUMP: Yes, right.
HEWITT: Do you expect his behavior to change --
TRUMP: Oh, I thought you said Kurds, Kurds. HEWITT: No, Quds.
TRUMP: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you said Kurds.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
STELTER: So, what is it like to stump Trump?
Let's ask Hugh Hewitt. He joins me now from Denver.
HEWITT: Good morning, Brian. Happy birthday weekend to you.
STELTER: Thank you. You being here is a great gift.
So, tell us your intent with that interview, because you've interviewed Trump many times before, and you told him this time you wanted to ask him some commander-in-chief questions.
HEWITT: Yes. I have talked to Donald Trump four times in 30 days. And I don't do gotcha questions. And I'm very open to being criticized by people if they think it's a gotcha question.
But when I asked Jeb Bush, would he be hesitant to invade Iraq a third time because of his brother and his father, when I asked Jeb Bush if he was worried about dynastic politics influencing young democracies, these are tough, focused questions. I ask everyone straight, hard- hitting questions. But I have no favorites or disfavorites.
So, I didn't think it was really a gotcha question. It was in my mind it was a lead-in to talk with the anti-Iran deal rally that I had done with Ted Cruz the day before.
STELTER: Were you surprised he seemed caught off guard?
HEWITT: Well, sometimes people are caught off guard, and he had a great interview, by the way. The rest of the interview, he actually had a tough question for me on how would he respond as president if the Chinese were to sink accidentally or intentionally a Japanese or a Philippines vessel, and he gave a very sophisticated I would almost say Nixonian answer about why you don't tell people what you're going to do in certain situations.
So, he didn't like some question. He liked the other questions. He took a shot at me, that's fine.
I tell people I'm not perfect. I'm just the best on radio. I think I am the best interviewer on radio in the United States.
But what's important to me is that people know the debate is coming up. I have no favorite. I have no disfavorite. I'm going to ask them all hard questions because I think the job of hosts is to ask questions that Republican primary viewers, and there are millions of them, and they're across a broad spectrum want answered. And some people want hard questions. Some want softballs. I think I
keep in mind the Republican primary voter, who do they want to nominate to run against in all likelihood Hillary Clinton, and how are they going to do that and are they prepared to beat her? So, that's my objective coming up on September 16th when I'm working with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash on the next debate.
STELTER: Let me ask you about that in a moment. But let's talk about Trump's reaction to you. Here's what he said on "Morning Joe" on Friday morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP (via telephone): By the way, when you say Quds versus Kurds, I thought he said Kurds, this third-rate radio announcer that I did a show. And he was like gotcha, gotcha. Every question was, do I know this one and that one. And, you know, it was like he worked hard on that. But I thought he said Kurds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: He says he thinks you worked hard to prepare for that interview. Maybe he is just now punching at the messenger.
HEWITT: Well, look, I got my Donald Trump tattoo and I'm proud to join Krauthammer and Chuck Todd.
But listen, Donald Trump is the great interview of America. I would lead every show with him every time. He has been on four times this month and many other times. He endorsed my book "The Queen" on air.
So, I'm like -- you know, if he wants to take a shot at the question, that's fine. If -- in our business, we have to be willing to listen to the criticism.
Interesting thing that I did after the conversation with him which I had on air about -- oh, I'm sorry, did you think it was a gotcha question? I didn't.
HEWITT: I immediately contacted Carly Fiorina before the interview aired, asked her to come on, did not tell her what the questions were and taped an interview of the questions so I could have a control group on whether or not -- because I hate gotcha questions. Who is the president of Nigeria is a gotcha question.
I think the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah is significant.
[11:05:02] But the audience can decide. I will ask them all the same questions.
STELTER: And Carly Fiorina received a lot of compliments for the way she answered your questions, some of the same questions.
HEWITT: Yes. And she also admitted which is a good thing, sometimes she gets the names confused. Abu Bakr Baghdadi, sometimes Julani, sometimes -- are we talking about Nasrallah and Hezbollah. Are we talking about the guy running Hamas?
It's easy to get confused. But what matters to me and where I was going with the interview is Israel is surrounded by proxy states and proxy terrorists of Iran.
STELTER: Looking ahead to the debate. You're going to be a questioner. Jake Tapper, the moderator on the September 16th debate. You and Dana Bash will be participating in the questioning.
And some people wonder if you'll be fair to Trump. We saw Breitbart.com coming out saying that you can't be fair to Trump, that you're clearly biased. What's your response to them?
HEWITT: I'm going to be fair to everyone. I am not biased to anyone. I have no favorites. Same question set I had before. It will not be impacted by Donald Trump's criticism or his praise.
People can send me love notes and valentines. They can say horrible things about me. It's not going to change my point of view, which is to ask questions that the Republican primary electorate wants answered. And I hope to do more debates after this.
And if the criticism that comes comes and the praise that comes comes, I don't think it should affect our job as journalists. Like I say, I've been doing this for 25 years on television and radio. A lot of times, people have been upset with me. A lot of times, people have been happy with me. It doesn't change my approach and I'm not anti- Donald Trump.
STELTER: Hugh, we'll see you at the debate September 16th. Thanks for being here this morning.
And before we look ahead to the debate, let's look back, because the Trump show has been, without a doubt, the blockbuster event of the summer. We wanted to trace the arc of the story back to June before he even entered the race. Here we go.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: Donald Trump's once again making noise about running for president. Why is anyone taking this talk seriously?
TRUMP: They don't think I'm running. Nobody, it's really a funny thing.
You maybe surprised.
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: I will only be surprised if you say you are running.
GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: He will be tempted to run, be predictably shellacked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not tell me that Donald Trump is in this to win this, OK? He is a side show.
RON REAGAN, COMMENTATOR: This is going to turn a three-ring circus into a freak show.
TRUMP: I am officially running for president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's running for president. He's running for keep me famous.
LOU DOBBS, TV HOST: I thought this was maybe some strategy for a new reality show.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: How should Republicans handle Donald Trump?
KARL ROVE, GOP STRATEGIST: Ignore him.
TRUMP: They all said I'd never run. I announced I was going to run.
ROVE: This guy is not a serious candidate.
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: He has not filed his FEC election papers.
TRUMP: Well, he'll never file his forms papers. I filed my form papers. Oh!
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: He is tapping into something, and angry at politicians, Republicans included.
TRUMP: He's a war hero because he was captured.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Don Voyage", it says. "Trump is toast after insults."
KELLY: You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs.
TRUMP: She starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions and, you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He creates controversy because that in turn creates media, which in turn keeps him in the headlines.
TRUMP: The ratings! They say, if I didn't get ratings, they wouldn't be here.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I mean, look, it's all entertainment. He is having the time of his life.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Donald Trump is God's gift to the Democratic Party, cable TV pundits and late-night comics. We're having a Trump-gasm.
TRUMP: I'm really doing well. I mean, you know, hey, are we leading in every poll? Every single poll.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putting Donald Trump atop the field of U.S. Republican presidential candidates.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can anyone stop the Trump juggernaut?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's clear that Donald Trump is not what some people think, which is a summer fling.
TRUMP: It's the summer of Trump.
How good is that for my ego?
STELTER: Well, that demonstrates that the summer Trump has confounded the predictions of political talking heads. So, before Labor Day gets here, we thought we'd look back and do some self-examination. It's a clip from mid-July when Trump was taking a lot of heat for seeming to criticize the war record of John McCain.
My guests on the program that morning were Nate Cohn, Washington correspondent for "The New York Times", and Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist who has been one of the summer's biggest critics of Trump. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATE COHN, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Now, what you're going to see the rest of the Republican Party is going to rally against him. That was totally change the way that he is covered for the rest of the campaign. He will now face scrutiny from across the party and from the media. That will eventually blunt his surge in the polls and eventually reverse it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Blunt his surge in the polls. Cohn's prediction was that the McCain insults would, quote, "probably mark the moment when Trump's candidacy went from boom to bust."
And since that didn't happen, Nate Cohn and Rick Wilson rejoin me right now.
Gentlemen, thank you for being here.
COHN: Great to be back.
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good morning.
STELTER: I think this is sounded kind of rare on cable news, to go ahead and look back on what was said before.
So, Nate, tell us -- are you surprised that weekend was not more of an infliction point in the race?
COHN: Absolutely. I think the clip captures that pretty well.
[11:10:00] I think that there were two things about what Trump looked like then and what we see now that suggest a much more robust candidacy than it seemed at the time.
The first is it looked like Trump was a media-driven candidate. You know, that sounds like it's not important but it really matters in terms of where his support is coming from. If it's just about news coverage and there's nothing else underpinning. Then once the coverage changes, Trump goes away.
But I think now we can at least say that he's not just benefiting from media attention. He's driving media attention in really interesting and important ways that allows him to deflect the debate away from maybe things that would otherwise hurt him.
The Megyn Kelly thing distracted from his refusal to pledge to stay with the Republican Party. His comments about Jeb Bush speaking Spanish deflected from a very strong attack ad about Jeb Bush -- I'm sorry, about Mr. Trump's record on policy issues that were quite liberal.
This is a skill. It's not something that would be like Kim Kardashian, which I think when I was at the show, I joked that Kim Kardashian would benefit from the same media attention.
I think that's right to some extent. But Mr. Trump is showing additional skill that wasn't evident at least to me at the time.
STELTER: Rick, this was one of those moments where that line, past performance is not a guarantee of future results comes to mind. I mean, you've called Trump a cancer, a giant hair shadow with a delicious hint of fascism. And those are just the quotes I can say on the air.
Do you think you've had any impact this summer then?
WILSON: You know what? I've come to recognize that the folks in the core of Trump supporters as I like to say, they are post-rational. They don't care what his history, what his record is. They are in love with the celebrity candidate. They're in love with the character Donald Trump plays on TV. They've stopped caring about policy.
I do think that the one driver of policy for him is immigration, but the rest of the things -- even when you point out inconsistencies in Trump, they don't care. They're so locked into the dynamic of being with this rebellious media character and the reality TV show that he's creating instead of our normal political dialogue, our normal political discourse, they love it. And the media folks love it and he loves it.
We talked about this in the beginning of the summer. The spectacle is great for ratings. It's great -- there is a dynamic there in the fact that he'll call into any show and that everybody will take his calls, you know, has led him to continue to eat up cycles.
And the other candidates, you know, they don't have the same privileged position where they can -- you know, Marco Rubio can't call up Sean Hannity and say give me an hour on TV. It's just not going to happen, or Jeb Bush or anybody else. So -- STELTER: Maybe it would. I mean, we don't know if we know that for
sure. I think some shows would take phone calls from other candidates. But I think you're right to some degree. There is a unique quality to a Trump interview. You're guaranteed to make some news. He is guaranteed to be unpredictable.
So, in the minute I have left, we're here all revising our predictions from July. That's great. But a lot of TV pundits are not held accountable very often. There are not a lot of consequences when we or they all get it wrong. So, I wonder if that's a factor in Trump's success -- you know, that voters are tuning out the usual political voices.
Rick, to you first. What do you think?
WILSON: Well, look, I think there is a certain degree in the Trump base where not only do they not want to listen to the normal political voices, they are now declaring them to be an anathema. They're throwing them off the island. I mean, we are in the point in the conservative movement where the Trump faction believes that FOX News, "The Wall Street Journal", George Will and Brit Hume, Charles Krauthammer are insufficiently conservative and pure.
It's a Jacobin kind of feeling, though. They're after people who disagree with Trump, not just ignoring them.
STELTER: Nate, what do you think of the idea that because that pundits are not always held accountable. We sometimes forget or move on from what we see here on TV, that people tune it out, they tend not to believe our predictions?
COHN: I think that's often true. And I can't blame people for that. I do think, though, that, you know, if you have a well-grounded analytical framework for the way you understand candidates, you're going to be right more often than not and I think it's fair to take risk and apply that, you know, across the board. Sometimes, they'll be wrong but that's part of usually being right.
STELTER: Nate and Rick, thank you so much for being here. Thanks for being good sports about this.
Coming up here, finding a new foe on FOX News, as a number of anchors and guests are going after the Black Lives Matter movement for what they see as hateful speech. Or was it hateful or misunderstood? Dr. Cornel West and Marc Lamont Hill have a message for the critics when we return.
[11:18:06] STELTER: A hate group, a murder movement -- these are some of the terms floated by FOX News this week to describe the Black Lives Matter movement, a movement that says it exists to demand accountability and justice for victims of police violence.
Here's a few of the comments made on FOX this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEMALE FOX ANCHOR: Kevin, why has the Black Lives movement -- Black Lives Matter movement not been classified yet as a hate group? I mean, how much more has to go in this direction before someone actually labels it as such?
BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: I think they're a hate group. They hate police officers.
JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS ANALYST: Well, they have strong feelings about --
O'REILLY: No, they hate them. They want them dead. Pigs in the blanket is dead.
WILLIAMS: No, I think --
RICHARD FOWLER, RADIO HOST: I don't think we're watching the same Black Lives Matter movement. I think if you talk to any of the organizers on both in Ferguson and Baltimore and New York, they will tell you they are a nonviolent movement. All they want to do is end the disparities --
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Why are they chanting pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon? That was the Black Lives Matter movement in Minnesota.
FOWLER: Wait a second, Megyn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Here's some context for you. This on-air offensive came after recent killings of police officers and the reaction to chants at a Black Lives Matter march in Minnesota where some in the crowd could be heard saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEMONSTRATORS: Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon. Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon. Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: For some reason, some of the organizers said that was actually in humor. Some attempt at being playful.
Let's talk about the backlash against Black Lives Matter in some corners in the press. Is it warranted? Or is a dangerous connection being made between the movement and a misunderstood message?
Joining me here in New York, Cornel West, professor of African- American studies at Princeton University, and in Philadelphia, Marc Lamont Hill, a CNN political commentator and professor at Morehouse College. Welcome to you both. Thank you for being here.
CORNEL WEST, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Thank you.
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good to be here.
STELTER: First, that clip that we just saw, "the pigs in a blanket" comments, Cornel, doesn't the movement itself, don't some of the people that support the movement undermine it with hateful remarks like those?
[11:20:00] WEST: I think, we have to keep in mind that, you know, they said the same thing about Martin King, said the same thing about SNCC. Anytime you have black rage expressed based on black suffering in the face of white fear grounded in white privilege, that clash is one in which you're going to get, in fact, some hyperbolic rhetoric. There's no doubt about that.
STELTER: You're saying it was only hyperbolic?
WEST: Oh, absolutely. Have you seen them going about engaging in injurious harm to police? There's no evidence of that whatsoever.
STELTER: It seems to me the video demonstrates the double edge sword of this digital media age, that everything is being recorded means that these protesters can get their message out but can also potentially undermine themselves.
Marc, when you saw that video, what did you make of it?
HILL: I didn't make much of it, and here's why. You know, I have been on the ground in Ferguson. I've met with and met in terms of organizing the BLM founders and many people engaged around the country. And that's just not part of the planning dialogue, that's not part of the engaged action that we see on the ground.
Every struggle I've ever been part of, there are always outliers, there are always occasional folk who show up who often co-opt and twist the message. And to Professor West's point, yes, there will be people who engage in hyperbolic rhetoric. But that's very different than being genuinely committed to injuring law enforcement. There's no evidence of that.
STELTER: So, do you feel the FOX News host were seizing on these comments in order to paint with too broad a brush? What do you think happened this week? It seemed like FOX had a narrative very clearly.
HILL: Of course, they were.
WEST: Oh, absolutely.
HILL: They did have a narrative. And it's very different than the narrative they had when the Tea Party had people with racist signs and people who had Obama looking like a monkey. They said, oh, those are outliers. They don't represent the Tea Party movement as such. Those are extra folk who don't -- who we dismiss. Why can't the same sort of generosity and -- be given to those
involved in this movement?
STELTER: You made a comment earlier, Cornel, about Dr. Martin Luther King. You suggested the same attempts were made to delegitimize the civil rights movement in the 1960s, that you're seeing now?
WEST: Oh, yes. Brother Martin was viewed as a hater --
STELTER: Tell us the example.
WEST: Brother Martin was viewed as a hater. He was viewed as a trouble-maker. He was viewed as a divisive figure, trying to undermine a status quo in which white persons were living in a world of denial. And yet he persisted because he had integrity.
STELTER: Marc, have you found this to be effective this week, the new rhetoric from FOX News and from conservative commentators describing Black Lives Matter as a literal hate group?
HILL: Well, I think it's been effective in ginning up the base. I think it's been effective in distracting us from the fundamental issues that we should be preoccupied with. Now, we should devote time to saying, "Wait a minute, what happened to those police officers is wrong." It's a moral atrocity if someone stalks and murders a police officer. But we should be able to do that and still have a sustained conversation about police terrorism, about state violence, about mass incarceration.
The problem is when that rhetoric spikes up about BLM, Black Lives Matter movement, being a hate group, it distracts us. Some of -- many of us have become -- turn it into a defensive posture where we're trying to defend that and we're having our conversation about that instead of the core issues.
I think that is exactly what particular media outlets -- and I'm not just talking about FOX News. I'm also talking about pockets of social media, what they're committed to doing, their purpose is to troll the world essentially and convince us that the suffering we're facing is not as essential as the distracting conversation.
STELTER: At the same time, the voices of police officers need to be taken seriously. We've heard them on CNN. We've heard them on FOX. We've heard them elsewhere. Many of them do believe there is a very serious threat to them because of rhetoric, not because of the movement necessarily but because of a climate that we're in.
WEST: I don't think that -- I don't think that they have grounds for that.
WEST: No. I think part of the moral impulse behind the Black Lives Matter is that innocent life must not be violated, must not be taken. Yet, unfortunately, oftentimes, the innocent lives that are taken by state-sponsored figures tend to be black and brown people.
STELTER: Before I have to go, Marc, I'm curious, because -- like as you mentioned, you were in Ferguson multiple times in the past year. It's been a little bit more than a year since Michael Brown did die there. Do you feels the Black Lives Matter movement has been overall winning the media war for attention?
HILL: They're winning the war for attention, but it's important to note that the work they're doing is not just to create the spectacle. The spectacle is the entry point into significant social justice, significant social change and policy change.
So, a year later, we're talking about body cameras. We're talking about state violence. We're talking about oversight of police. We're talking about citizen review boards.
You can't run for mayor in a city right now and not talk about what your plan for policing is. You can't run for president and not talk about black lives mattering. That is a testimony to the power and strength of this movement, and to the power and strength of those three black women who created a movement that has the world on its heels.
STELTER: Marc and Cornel, thank you both for sharing your thoughts with us this morning.
Coming up the guy who added truthiness to the national lexicon is getting ready to make his late show debut. And just wait until you hear who Stephen Colbert has booked for next week. Maybe our nation's next president.
My behind-the-scenes reporting from "The Late Show," next.
[11:29:25] STELTER: The wait is almost over for the Colbert Nation. On Tuesday night, Stephen Colbert starts leading "The Late Show" on CBS. His team is eager to get on the air. They've been practicing all summer, writing jokes, writing bits that nobody could hear.
As one of his writers said, "It feels like we're firing bullets into the sky."
But some of it has been seen in public. One day, Colbert took over a Michigan public access TV show, and interviewed Eminem. In another day, he went on Jerry Seinfeld's show, comedians in cars getting coffee. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY SEINFELD, COMEDIAN: The weird thing, of course, is that New York is now the center of talk shows.
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Isn't that interesting?
SEINFELD: That's the weird thing. [11:30:01] But both you and Jimmy Fallon are adult enough not to get
into any of that...
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Oh, I think nothing would be more boring than late-night war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Well, I think Colbert was right to shave off that beard, but he's wrong about the late-night wars.
It's getting very interesting between Colbert and Fallon and all of the rest of the hosts out there. Colbert has Jeb Bush his very first night and Vice President Joe Biden on his third night, Thursday night, while Fallon has Donald Trump on Friday night.
These shows are not usually, pardon me here, reliable sources of news. But maybe that's changing. What can we expect from Colbert?
Joining me now, actor and comedian John Fugelsang, the host of "Tell Me Everything" on SiriusXM.
John, what do these early bookings tell us about Colbert's plan for "The Late Show"?
JOHN FUGELSANG, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it says that he's launching it at a very good time, considering there are 400 Republican nominees for president. I'm not really worried about a booking war.
And I think that getting into that sort of thing is not really going to be Stephen's style, as he indicated in the video with Jerry Seinfeld. It will be fun to watch him make Jeb Bush look entertaining, but I think that Colbert is going to go more for content and quality of his segments and his jokes, rather than trying to win any kind of war over the guests they can book.
I don't think most people actually -- I could be wrong, but I don't think most people actually tune into a talk show for the guests. They tune in because they like the show.
STELTER: Well, that's awkward for my guest to say. But I will let it go. (LAUGHTER)
STELTER: Think about it. Colbert also has Elon Musk on week one. He's got the CEO of Uber. So, he's got some Silicon Valley starts. And then week two, he has got Bernie Sanders.
And I think, most incredibly, he has got a Supreme Court justice, Stephen Breyer. It's going to be a very different "Late Show" from David Letterman's just based on those bookings.
FUGELSANG: It will be like Letterman in the sense I think it will have a lot of heart.
One of the things I was thinking about when we were growing up, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, they used to have authors on all the time. It wasn't just reality stars and shiny things. I think that "Colbert" was one of the few shows back on Comedy Central where authors could go on TV and do an entertaining conversation about their books.
I do think you will see a certain more cerebral quality of guests. And I think that will speak well to the kind of show he wants to do. It will definitely be funny. It will definitely be entertaining. But I think that he's so excited to be dropping the satirical persona of this Bill O'Reilly character, that a lot of the quality will come through the humor of the sketches and the jokes..
STELTER: Going back to Biden for one minute, do you think Biden would agree to appear on Colbert's show if he didn't have an announcement to make about some sort of presidential bid?
FUGELSANG: Oh, do you think Biden would have leaked to Maureen Dowd that his son wanted him to run or do you think Biden would have leaked that he met with Elizabeth Warren secretly in D.C.?
STELTER: You're making a little bit of an assumption about the leaks there, but I hear what you're saying. This information always comes from somewhere.
FUGELSANG: Well, Biden is always good TV. And he's always a good talk show guest. I think whether he's running or not, it's good for him to make this appearance. And the show is lucky to have him.
STELTER: If he is not making an announcement on the show about any presidential ambitions, it will at least keep people talking and speculating, guessing, about his plans. So it might be a win either way.
FUGELSANG: They're a good mix together.
One of the things I think that will inform the quality of Stephen's show that doesn't get talked about too much is his lifelong commitment to Catholic principles of social justice. Stephen is a practicing Catholic, but he is the kind who uses the Bible in the tradition of Matthew 25, to help the least among us.
He testified for migrant workers before Congress. That kind of morality has always informed his humor. And I do think that even though he is not going to be doing an overtly political show, it is going to be a hell of a presidential season. He is going to be doing tons of presidential jokes. And I do think you can look forward to seeing an underlying morality and love of humanity informing the outrage behind a lot of his sketches.
STELTER: That's an interesting point.
We were trying to get a glimpse behind the scenes this week. We interviewed some folks who went to the test shows. You were able to go to The Ed Sullivan Theater, line up, and see a show, but it wasn't taped and never going to be aired.
But in one the shows, they did a Hillary Clinton sort of lampooning segment, showing lots of clips of Clinton evading questions about her e-mail server. It sounded a lot like a "Daily Show" or "Colbert Report" type of clip reel. Maybe they're bringing some of that Comedy Central focus on politics to "The Late Show."
FUGELSANG: I hope they will. I think late night needs that.
And I think that Dave would be doing that sort of thing as well. And the great thing about not playing that character anymore is that he's now able to go after Democrats and Republicans equally for their mutual silliness.
STELTER: Oh, that's an interesting point, yes.
FUGELSANG: Also, the band is going to be dynamite. Jon Batiste of New Orleans is a terrific musician. And it's going to be a real different energy and tone for late-night music.
STELTER: And you know some folks with the show, by the way. Any other previews you can give us from what is going on there?
FUGELSANG: Oh, we had a party at my place the other weekend. And it was David Crosby and me trying to get our friend who writes for Colbert to tell us more. All she would say is that it's going to be extremely creative.
And I think it is going to be -- it's going to have the same exuberance that "The Colbert Report" had, while being more of a traditional variety show, late-night talk show format.
STELTER: All right, Colbert starting this week, Trevor Noah taking over "The Daily Show" at the end of this month. It is going to be a very interesting month.
John, thanks for being here.
Up next, we just talked about Joe Biden being on "Colbert" this week. But what's that all mean for the Democratic race for the White House? We are going to take a look at the press' role in building campaign drama after the break.
And later this hour, the boy on the beach. Can one image change coverage of the refugee crisis gripping Europe? Stay with us.
STELTER: After a summer full of Donald Trump and GOP infighting playing out in conservative media, many are left wondering, what about the Democratic race? Is all this media emphasis on the GOP helping or hurting the candidates on the other side? Well, one Democrat's announcement this week might put the party back
in the media's spotlight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The factor is, can I do it? Can my family undertake what is an arduous commitment that we would be proud to undertake under ordinary circumstances? But the honest-to-God answer is I just don't know.
If I can reach that conclusion that we can do it in a fashion that would still make it viable, I would not hesitate to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Could a Biden decision be a game-changer?
And, in the meantime, isn't all of this catnip for the press, which loves to build up rivalries and possible competitors for Hillary Clinton?
Joining us now to talk about that here in New York, Maggie Haberman, presidential campaign correspondent for "The New York Times" and a CNN political analyst.
And, Maggie, you know better than anybody, we experience these waves where there are candidates going up and down. Do you think it's largely a press-created sort of cycle, where the talk is all about Biden right now?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No.
I mean, I think that -- I think events are dictating the coverage, frankly. And I think that, in every presidential cycle you see, right before Labor Day, it's when you start to look at the field again. It's not just on the Democratic side. You had this on the Republican side in 2012, when you had a sitting president, with President Obama, and Rick Perry was the person who came in late in August, and he was supposed to be who was potentially going to help the party when it was restless and its then front-runner was capped at 25 percent.
Hillary Clinton obviously is not having that kind of problem. She is much more popular, even with her poll numbers taking a hit, than Mitt Romney was last time. She is also not a sitting president, but she has been treated as an incumbent.
I think, when you have a sitting vice president who is putting out signals that he's seriously considering a campaign, I think the media has to cover that.
STELTER: In my last block, John Fugelsang made a great point about all the leaks that we have seen involving Biden. He was suggesting Biden himself is doing the leaking. But, clearly, somebody has been doing the leaking about his meeting
with Elizabeth Warren, for example. Those leaks have helped to build up this possibility.
Can you give us a little inside sense of how that works, about how those stories come out?
HABERMAN: I think there's actually a couple of things going on here.
I mean, and certainly people around Biden are talking. There is a split in Biden land about whether he should run. Not everybody is on the same page. A lot of his aides believe he will run, even though some of them don't think it's a great idea. That doesn't mean that he will, but they're preparing for the idea that he will.
But this draft Biden movement and a lot of Biden's aides are not completely working in harmony. So, I think there are -- some of what you're seeing coming out may seem like it's completely orchestrated. A lot of it is very organic.
STELTER: Huh, that's interesting.
Let's take a look at one of the other candidates -- well, one of the declared candidates -- had to say about the media this week, Bernie Sanders, speaking to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. It's one of his favorite critiques, to criticize what he calls corporate media.
Here is what he said to her the other day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (VT-I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we need -- and I know I'm going to be critical of the media. You're probably going to cut this out.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I will keep it in.
SANDERS: Keep it in, all right -- is that what we need is a serious debate on serious issues.
That's what the American people want. People want to hear why it is that, despite increased technology and productivity, people are working longer hours for lower wages. And I would hope very much that media will allow us to have that discussion, rather than just get involved in political gossip and soap opera-type approaches.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Maggie, has this been effective for Bernie Sanders?
HABERMAN: That's one of the most conventional things that a sort of unconventional, progressive candidate is saying. It's very conventional to say that everything is the media's fault. I actually think that there has been a fair amount of discussion about wage stagnation and about the issues that Bernie Sanders really does care about. My colleague Pat Healy was very early on the notion that Bernie Sanders was attracting a lot of crowds and that his message was resonating.
So, I think it's very easy to blame the media. I'm not even exactly sure what specifically he's talking about in that clip.
STELTER: Well, you wrote this week about the debates. We know that Bernie Sanders wants to have more debates. So does Martin O'Malley.
What is the dynamic at play right now? Is it possible there will be more Democratic debates, given that we have already seen one from the Republican side, one more coming up in two weeks? Many fewer are scheduled for the Democrats.
So, what happened this cycle, people who support this schedule for the debates would say this is actually no different than what we have seen in previous cycles.
STELTER: The first Democratic one is in October, for example, on CNN.
STELTER: And then how many more are scheduled after that?
HABERMAN: There's going to be five more. But two of them come after the votes in the early states have basically been cast. So, really, we're only talking about four.
Now, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley are not completely in harmony on this issue. Martin O'Malley is going very hard at the DNC. Bernie Sanders really isn't doing that, although some of his supporters are very upset.
There is a perception this was done to help Hillary Clinton. It's impossible to say. Debbie Wasserman Schultz has very strenuously denied that. The reality is, it always benefits the front-runner to have fewer debates.
HABERMAN: But the other reality is that Hillary Clinton is actually a pretty good debater. So, there isn't a great reason to not do it.
STELTER: Hmm. Interesting.
Maggie Haberman, thanks so much for being here this morning.
HABERMAN: Thank you.
STELTER: Great to see you. Up next: an example of how the close-up is sometimes so much more impactful than the wide shot -- one photo of a dead child on a beach in Turkey. Hear from the photographer and from a journalism ethics expert when we get back.
STELTER: Is one tragic picture able to do what countless hours of news coverage and gallons of ink have failed to do so far, that is, wake us up, wake us up to the human suffering wrought by the migration crisis in Syria and the wider Middle East?
Before we discuss this, we should note that the picture is sensitive and disturbing to some viewers. We first saw it on Wednesday, a young Syrian boy, a toddler, dead on a Turkish beach. We have since learned more of the story.
His name is Aylan Kurdi, 2 years old. He and his family were traveling from Turkey to Greece, hoping to join relatives in Vancouver. Their overcrowded vessel capsized in the water off Turkey. Only the father survived. They were buried Friday at home in Kobani, Syria.
I want you to hear from the photographer, the woman who was on the beach. Here is what she said to CNN Turk -- quote -- "There was nothing to do except take his photograph, and that is exactly what I did. I thought, this is the only way I can express the scream of his silent body."
Now let that sink in for a moment, the idea there was nothing she could do except share the photo. And it has been shared all around the world. So, when a picture like this, so powerful, yet so personal, comes across the wires or comes across Twitter, what do we do as journalists?
Do we honor the victim's privacy or do we share it as publicly as possible?
Kelly McBride of Poynter Institute thinks about these things all the time. She is one of the leading experts in the U.S. on journalistic ethics. She joins me now from Saint Petersburg, Florida.
Kelly, there have been a lot of cases recently of imagery of people either being killed, dying or having already died. This is a case, of course, of such a young person lying there already dead on the beach. What was the proper response by journalists?
KELLY MCBRIDE, VICE PRESIDENT, POYNTER INSTITUTE: Oh, I think you have to publish the photo. You have to publish it widely. You have to let people see it, because it symbolizes so much.
As soon as I saw that photo, I recognized that it was going to become one of those photos that changes the course of history. And I still believe that. So, as a journalist, as painful as it is to invade that private moment of a young child, a baby, really, of his death, to invade that moment with his family, our obligation is to the greater good.
And the greater good is that people understand and recognize the gravity of what's happening. And to this point, it has been very hard to do that.
STELTER: There have been so many stories of the whole, of the group, of the masses of people. But it took this individual story. And that has been true throughout history, hasn't it?
I mean, think about the girl fleeing napalm in Vietnam or the child fleeing famine in Africa in the early 1990s with a vulture lurking nearby. Those were photos that changed the world. And I think this is happening with this photo too.
I mean, look at what happened in Britain. David Cameron said that he was going to allow in thousands more refugees as a result of this.
STELTER: Let's think about some other cases recently of imagery of death.
Every case, of course, is different, but there were headlines last week -- and we talked about them here on the program last week -- of the shooting in Virginia. Frank Sesno on this program talked about images of the moment of death and how television networks were restrained about showing the moment of death.
This is obviously a different case in Turkey. But how do we make sense of all the various elements in a situation like this?
MCBRIDE: Well, I think one thing is, you have to think about what preceded that moment of death and whether there is a systemic failure that led to that moment of death.
And in the case of the Syrian child, there certainly has been. In the case of the shooting with the reporter and the photographer from WDBJ, that was a place -- that was an incidence of workplace violence, which is very different.
So the incident that led up to that moment of death is quite different. And so, as a journalist, you have a different response, because I don't think you want to be gratuitous about showing that moment of death. You want to do so with a purpose. And that's why those two images are so very different.
STELTER: Here's another complicated case out of San Antonio this week. A local station published a video that raised a lot of questions. It was acquired from a citizen bystander for $100. It seemed to show the police shooting and killing an unarmed man.
Then, later, there were reports he was holding a knife in one of his hands. The police department put out a message on Facebook saying, call the station, complain to the station for being unethical.
Do you think the station was on solid ground showing this video online of this moment of death?
They were on solid ground, and they needed to do more. Videos and photos don't tell the whole story and they always require additional context. And in that case, the video had the power to either exonerate the sheriff deputies or to hold them accountable.
Either way, that is the station's job to do that. But, without the additional context, viewers didn't quite know what to make of the video.
STELTER: So, they needed the video, but they also needed more and more reporting.
STELTER: And that is maybe the one similarity to the case that captures the world's attention in Turkey this week, more reporting about the refugee situation, as well as the images.
MCBRIDE: Well, yes, and more reporting in the micro.
This little boy's story is a dramatic one because he had a path of escape, but the bureaucracies were standing in the way. He was trying to get to Canada. His family was trying to get to Canada, and international bureaucracies got in the way. So, the story in the micro is quite important.
But the story in the macro is just as important. How many refugees are there? How is the European Union responding? What are international and national governments doing to alleviate this crisis?
STELTER: Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute, thank you so much for joining me this morning.
MCBRIDE: You're welcome.
STELTER: And we will be right back in a moment.
STELTER: That's all for this televised edition of RELIABLE SOURCES.
But we will see you online all this week, CNN.com, for our coverage of Stephen Colbert's launch and all the rest of the week's media news.
I will see you back here next Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. And please set your DVR, in case you miss us live.