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CNN RELIABLE SOURCES
Does Trump Want Senate Probe of "Fake News"?; Why Trump Sticks to Friendly TV Interviewers. Aired 11a-12n ET
Aired October 8, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:09] BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is RELIABLE SOURCES, our weekly look at the story behind the story, of how the media really works and how the news gets made.
Ahead this hour, in the aftermath of the tragedy in Las Vegas, how was the NRA using the media to shape the gun debate?
Plus, we'll have a rare look inside "The Washington Post" with editor Marty Baron.
And we'll have the latest on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, with Weinstein taking a leave of absence after numerous allegations of sexual harassment were published in "The New York Times". Why did it take so long for these allegations to come to light? We'll get into that.
But, first here, this was moron week, right? Moron, the word of the week.
We see President Trump renewing his war against the media, with his overuse of his favorite phrase, or shall we say his favorite slur -- fake news. You remember how he started tweeting about fake news and politically motivated ingrates when it came to coverage of Puerto Rico and the ongoing crisis there. He then retweeted attacks against MSNBC and other members of the media, from Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly.
And later in the week, he went back to this fake news idea in a big way. This was through the report by NBC News that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on the verge of resigning over the summer. Of course, Tillerson pointedly did not deny that he called President Trump a moron in a conversation in the Pentagon. That news story from NBC and the confirmation from CNN and other outlets really driving the political news cycle for days.
We have seen even more fake news tweets from President Trump as a result, at one point even suggesting that maybe the Senate Intel Committee, which is looking into Russian interference, should instead look into American networks, what he calls fake news networks producing made up stories.
Let's separate fact from the president's fiction now with April Ryan, a correspondent and Washington bureau for American Urban Radio Networks, also a CNN political analyst. Another CNNer, Brian Karem, he's the White House correspondent for "Playboy" magazine and executive editor at Sentinel Newspapers. And here with me in New York, Joanne Lipman, she's the editor in chief of "USA Today" and the chief content officer at Gannett.
Welcome to all of you.
BRIAN KAREM, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, SENTINEL NEWSPAPERS: Thank you.
STELTER: April, first to you, take me through all of these fake news critique this week. Is it true when President Trump, when the going gets tough for President Trump, the news gets fake in his mind?
APRIL Ryan, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You hit the nail squarely on the head, Brian. What really happens is the fact that this president is trying to create a positive spin when all chaos is happening. And he doesn't want to nation to know. So, then, therefore, we are fake.
It's been nine months, this president doesn't still understand or doesn't want to know the dynamic of the press, particularly the White House correspondents who are embedded in that White House, and this has been going on for president after president after president after president, we are back into the framework of this nation, and the president, when he doesn't like it, he lashes out.
And I'm just thinking about what he said to Sarah Huckabee's dad in an interview talking about the hate that goes against Sarah Huckabee Sanders in that briefing room. I'm just thinking about everything, you know, wanting to investigate the press, we are doing our job. We are getting all sides and he just doesn't like the facts that are coming out, even from his own party, and within his own inner circle.
KAREM: He's the chaos.
STELTER: To that point about the investigation, Brian, do you think he actually wants the Senate Intel Committee to actually investigate news networks or is he just venting, blowing off steam?
KAREM: No. I think he's punking out, I think he's trolling us.
STELTER: Punking us?
KAREM: Everything that he says is all about, look this way, don't look that way. For example, earlier this week, you said, you know, this is the calm before the tomorrow. Anybody who's covering the White House knows there has been no calm. There's only been storm. So, you know he was trolling us from the very beginning. His tweets are that way when he talks about the fake press and a fake news media.
What April said about chaos, he is the chaos. He likes to promote chaos. There is nothing other than that than the promotion of chaos.
And nobody hates on Huckabee Sanders. Nobody hates the woman. What we want -- as I asked her earlier this week, do you -- she made a very valid point. We are responsible to give you vetted facts and the truth when possible. But is not the White House responsible for the very same? Ands who's fallen down more, us or them? I would submit to you that they've been nothing but blow smoke and
mirror since they walked in to the Oval Office. They continue to be such. And anything they can do to keep you from looking and focusing on there foibles is what they'll do. So, they hate everybody that's not them and they --
STELTER: Who is they? The White House aides?
KAREM: The White House. I think the White House, the entire administration is focused with Donald Trump at the apex of that, focused on dissuading from looking -- you know, it's much like don't look at he man behind the curtain.
[11:05:00] Who are you going to believe, your lying eyes or me? And they want you to believe them.
STELTER: I want to come back to the briefing dynamic in a moment.
STELTER: But, first, Joanne, as a news executive, someone who runs a media company, do you take these kinds of serious from the president when he says maybe the Intel Committee should investigate fake news networks or he said yesterday, maybe there should be equal time for me on television? Is that a threat to the free press or is it just -- you know, is it something that you just roll your eyes at?
JOANNE LIPMAN, EIC, USA TODAY: So, the first to know about Donald Trump, I covered him as a reporter and he was a real estate developer. He was not the wealthiest, nor did he have the most buildings, but what he did have was a singular ability to market himself. And we saw it when he was on "The Apprentice" and created you're fired, and we've seen it now. We saw it with crooked Hillary. And so, fake news has become one of -- you know, one of the memes. And so, it's really more about him and his ability to create these memes.
You know, in terms of the threats of the press, look, the press -- it is essential that we keep your eye on the ball, right? I oversee "USA Today", as well as "USA Today" network, which is 109 local publications like "The Arizona Republic" and "The Cincinnati Inquirer" and "The Des Moines Register" and it's essential to us that we keep our eye on what is the news, right? What is the essential truth here?
So, you know, we've got people now in Puerto Rico covering the storm. When we get into these issues of the press, of this, you know, palace intrigue, and about -- you know, was he called a moron or wasn't he called a moron, I mean, you know, frankly, the issue there is really, is there discord in our administration and what does that mean for the people of America? What does it mean for our allies and what does that mean for our enemies? And we really need to keep our eyes focus on that.
STELTER: The president repeatedly denied the thrust of that NBC story. We can put the headline back on screen because the story really drove the news cycle for a couple of days. He repeated denied it, suggested it was made up. So, how are viewers supposed to evaluate the information they read or see on a story like from NBC, or from CNN, which is matching a lot of this reporting? If it's all based on confidential sources, what should we believe?
LIPMAN: So, we have extremely strict rules about the use of confidential sources and try our utmost not to use confidential sources. You know, there are times when that is the only way to get important relevant information. So, when you use a confidential source, there are few -- the bar is very high. First of all, your confidential source needs to have direct knowledge of the incident. This cannot be hearsay or rumors or third hand. Secondly, when you do hear from a confidential source, then it is -- the onus is on the report to then go and do reporting all around that to be able to check every possible angle, to make sure, if this person said this was said at a meeting, well, you better make sure that there was a meeting, you better make sure you know who was in the meeting, you better make sure you contacted those in the meeting, right?
LIPMAN: So, the bar is very, very high, and I did -- you know, the NBC, I'm not privy to NBC, but they did say they spoke to something like a dozen or more --
STELTER: A dozen sources, yes.
LIPMAN: -- sources. Yes.
STELTER: I mean, this gets to this question, Brian, of who do you trust? Do you trust Tillerson on the record saying I wasn't going to quit, or do you trust these dozen confidential sources that are telling NBC and CNN and other outlets the same thing?
KAREM: Well, a couple of things in regarding what Joanne is saying, though. Look, first of all, I don't like to use confidential sources. Now, I've gone to jail for using a confidential source, but no one in the press uses them as if you're chewing bubble gum or candy. This is a very serious thing.
So I trust the people that they interviewed and I trust the bar which is set very high. But I also think that in regards to what Donald Trump said this week regarding the press, you have to stay focused on what the administration is doing. But at the same time, you must keep your eye on what he's doing with the press, because if it ventures over real actions against the First Amendment, then we have to react to that.
And that's a very tough roe to hoe for us. We are walking a very middle path, trying to do our job, while at the same time making sure we can do our job. So, at the end of the day, yes, I trust the sources because I know what we have to go there in order to get that information.
And Donald Trump's denial doesn't mean much to me. I haven't been able to see anything that he's tweeted or said in public that I've been able to verify as 100 percent accurate since he's been in office.
STELTER: Brian, April, you're both regulars of the briefing. I went to one of the briefings this week and I was struck by how it was even more tense in the room than it looks on television. You know, on TV, it can be awkward sometimes. There's some aggressive questioning, there should be. But in the room, it's even more aggressive. It's even more tense.
April, has it always been that way or is that new in the Trump era?
[11:10:05] RYAN: It depends on the moment in time.
RYAN: And this is a moment where there is tension. And yes, you were there. And we even had a conversation after the briefing. But -- and I remember that day.
The question is, and why there is tension, is it the fact that they are giving us or they are spinning us? We want to know the truth. And sometimes we don't feel the truth is coming out. And there is a bit of tension.
In the past, Brian, you know, it all depends on the moments. You know, I have been there from the second term of the Bill Clinton era. I remember times of Katrina, I remember times of Monica Lewinsky, I remember times of war.
STELTER: It was tense, yes.
RYAN: Tense times. But, for the last nine months, from the day that Sean Spicer walked out into that briefing room, talking about the crowd size, we knew that information was skewed one way or not delivered accurately or truthfully. So, there is a concern and when we leave that room, most thought like -- we shake our heads because, and I hate to say shake our heads, but we shake our heads some times because we know it's not necessarily the way it's happening because we're hearing from inside the inner circle, we're hearing from what Republicans who supported this president was saying this is not the fact.
KAREM: And we see it.
RYAN: Yes, you see it --
STELTER: And I remember hearing a couple of chuckles in the briefing room when Sanders said the president is a tremendous advocate for the First Amendment.
STELTER: A couple of reporters couldn't help but laugh.
RYAN: As he calls us enemies of the American public. KAREM: As enemies of the state.
RYAN: The opposition party. I mean, you know, he's labeled some of us, even here on CNN as enemies of the administration, thwarting his agenda, which we're not. We're just reporting, telling the truth, getting the facts.
STELTER: You all could all stick around. I want to bring you all back after a quick break, because there is a new interview the president gave with one of his friends, Mike Huckabee. He defended this scene in Puerto Rico, tossing out those paper towel rolls. We're going to ask, why hasn't the president sat down for an actual TV news interview in five months?
[11:15:52] STELTER: Eighteen days since Hurricane Maria and only 11.7 percent of the island of Puerto Rico has power, just 29 percent of cellphone towers are back online.
The crisis continues there, but President Trump is patting himself on the back a bit. This week, he was interviewed by two of his friends. First, FOX's Geraldo Rivera, then former Governor Mike Huckabee, father of White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
You see this formal sit down White House set up? It looks really great, right? We are used to seeing these interviews. Every president does them.
But Trump hasn't done this with a TV journalist since May. That's when he sat down with Lester Holt of NBC. It's been five months no formal TV news interviews.
Now, if Huckabee were a news journalist, he would have pushed back on some of Trump's claims in this next clip. Instead, I want you to see how he reacts to Trump passing paper towel rolls into the crowd.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, we did a great job and we weren't treated fairly by the media, because we've really did a good job. I mean, one example, they had these beautiful soft towels, very good towels, and I came in and there was a crowd of a lot of people. And they were screaming and they were loving everything.
And were -- I was having fun. They were having fun. They said throw them to me, throw them to me, Mr. President. And so, I'm doing some -- so the next day, they said it was so disrespectful to the people. It was just a made up thing.
And also, when I walked in, the cheering was incredible.
MIKE HUCKABEE, TV HOST: You were rock star (ph). I saw the video of it.
TRUMP: Oh, it was crazy. It was crazy. The cheering was -- it was deafening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Rock star.
Let's bring back our panel, April Ryan, Brian Karem and Joanne Lipman.
Brian, your reaction?
KAREM: Well, when I stop laughing, I'll give it to you.
I think whoever was in charge of that visual should be fired. Look, Larry Speakes once said during the Reagan era, don't tell us how to stage the news, we won't tell you how to report the news.
The simple fact of the matter is, in this administration, they can't stage the news very well and they are trying to tell us how to report it. That was a horrible looking moment. It was very demeaning to the people. Anyone who saw it saw that. I don't know what the deafening cheers were. I didn't hear those.
But the simple of the fact of the matter is, is this administration does not manage its visuals very well, and they need to get better at it. And this is a very good example of not managing your visuals very well, plain and simple.
STELTER: April, we have seen the president appears on "Fox and Friends" and other really friendly format. This Huckabee interview, it's for a new show Huckabee is doing on the Christian Broadcasting Network. What we have not seen are real news interviews by President Trump in recent months. He gave a couple of interviews to "Reuters" and "The New York Times" but nothing on TV, nothing formally on TV with journalists, the way that were used to seeing from past presidents.
STELTER: Maybe the closest was Geraldo Rivera in Puerto Rico a few days ago, but that was a standup, a short standup interview, especially on the topic of Puerto Rico.
Are missing something when the president of the United States does not grant these formal interviews from time to time?
RYAN: The American people definitely, they are missing something. And the press is missing something and the president is missing, because sometimes questions actually help inform presidents as to what is going on or things that they don't know. And it's actually helped and changed some policy before.
But for this president, seeing Mike Huckabee, the father of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, we understand why that happened. And Mike Huckabee even swore allegiance, and he would vote -- his whole family would vote for him, because the president said he loves Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who he does take to task sometime if she doesn't do what he or says, or relates things the way he wants them to be related. But at the same time, when he does not allow news organizations,
outlets and I'm going to go as far as to even say, people like American Urban Radio Networks, my radio network, when you don't hear from other people that are going to ask you real questions that affect other parts of America, not just your base, you're missing out and so is the American public.
RYAN: And not only that, I remember, you know, the angst of FOX News when Barack Obama, they thought was not doing interviews them.
[11:20:00] Barack Obama did various interviews with FOX News, and he did it with a lot of other organizations --
STELTER: They were few and far between, though. Let's be fair.
RYAN: There were few and far in between, I remember --
KAREM: It's better than none.
RYAN: -- while he did those interviews, I remember him getting beat up -- I remember him -- a BET interview, he was beaten up by BET. I mean, there are outlets that are not necessarily embedded and friendly with this president, and they need to hear. And they represent other parts of America, which is part of America. So, I think it's doing this president a disservice to just talk to those who are friendly to him versus all of the media.
And I'm not saying that we are bashing him, but we're going to just not ask the questions. We will challenge. We will ask when he was lobbing the paper towels and talk about these pretty towels, you know, we will ask, what were the optics when you were lobbing and what were the optics about your wife wearing the heels when she walked out to the hurricane? He brought that up. So, we would challenge that?
STELTER: I have a suspicion that the reason why, one of the reasons why we haven't seen more serious news interviews with the president is because the Robert Mueller investigation is now almost five months old.
KAREM: That's true.
STELTER: There's an overlap between his lack of interviews and the Mueller investigation.
Joanne, last word to you.
LIPMAN: Yes. I've got to say this, the issue on the throwing the paper towels --
STELTER: Yes. LIPMAN: -- what it did unfortunately was take attention away from the real important issues that are going on that you mentioned at the top of this block --
STELTER: It's not the press's fault for focus on it.
LIPMAN: It's the press's responsibility to get away from the paper towels throwing and talk about the issues. We had reporters on that island and photographers, before, during, after the hurricane.
LIPMAN: And we are documenting that -- we talked to an official who said the hospitals in Puerto Rico are on life support, right? You've got 88 percent of people who don't have electricity. There is a humanitarian disaster there. It's our responsibility to cover that.
STELTER: It's a long-term story and it's a difficult story to cover over the long-term.
LIPMAN: Yes. And we have to, you know, the paper towel throwing to me was a just a diversion. That's why we --
STELTER: April, go ahead.
RYAN: I tried to ask about that in the briefing room during the week and Sarah Huckabee Sanders shut me down. I talked about the controversy. I tried to talk about it. But she shut me down. She only wanted to take my question.
KAREM: I showed them a tweet from someone on the ground, I quoted a text from people on the ground in Puerto Rico and asked them, why is there a disconnect between what the White House says and what is actually going on there? And they don't want to hear that.
I was there when April asked, tried to ask that question, they'll shut down anything they don't want to listen to.
And to the other point, specifically, yes, we have to stay focused. But everything that they are doing is to keep us from being focused.
LIPMAN: It's our responsibility --
STELTER: Let's keep trying.
KAREM: And that's a very difficult rap to handle. You have to be able to stand in that press room every day and be willing to go after them tooth and nail because they are going to dissuade you from reporting facts, they're going to dissuade from talking you out the Mueller investigation. They haven't even answered.
And you talk about the one interview that he had with Lester Holt. Hey, how many -- how many press conferences has this president had? The most we can get, I have been able to question him directly on the South Lawn of the White House three times.
RYAN: One solo press conference.
KAREM: He will spend 10 minutes -- right. One solo press conference and the rest of the time, you might get nine or 10 minutes with him if he decided the new normal is to stay on the South Lawn when he's leaving, and, you know, pretend he can't hear you at first and walk up the lines and take a few questions. But that's it.
STELTER: All right. Joanne, April --
KAREM: There has no real answer of any question.
STELTER: Sorry to cut you off, Brian.
Thank you all for being here. I would love to have you back very soon.
Up next here, how the right lost its mind? That's the title of a new book by former conservative radio host Charlie Sykes. He'll join me right after the break.
[11:28:12] STELTER: As soon as you saw the video, as soon as you heard the sounds you knew, the sound of so many gunshots, the screams of so many concertgoers, you just knew somewhere deep down inside that the casualty count was going to be unbearable. And now, one week after the attack in Las Vegas, these crosses, these memorials are now lining the Strip.
The conversation is all about guns -- gun violence, gun safety, gun rights. The National Rifle Association, whose executives are all over TV now.
And my next guest says the NRA has really turned gun policy issues into a culture war issue. Quote: The debate over guns has become a subset of a larger cultural clash that pits us against them, liberals versus normal Americans. Normal in quotes.
Normal American Charlie Sykes joins me now. He is if author of the excellent new book, "How the Right Lost Its Mind".
Charlie, has the NRA turned itself into a basically far right wing media company?
CHARLIE SYKES, AUTHOR, HOW THE RIGHT LOST ITS MIND: Well, first of all, good morning, Brian.
Yes, I think this is one of the key things is that the NRA is no longer strictly about guns and gun control, and they turned the issue from being about, you know, whether bump stocks, or this regulation or that regulation. They really have made themselves central to the culture war and tribal identity on the right. I think this is an important thing to understand, which is why they are injecting themselves into all sorts of issues, including, the NFL players, because this has now become a key issue of cultural identity. And it's one of the reasons why the Republican Party and Donald Trump are not going to break with the NRA anytime soon.
STELTER: What about the idea that, in your book, you present this idea that increasingly, there's a lot of folks between the conservative movement who are immune to information from the mainstream?
[11:30:02] Is that affecting the conversation this week in the wake of Las Vegas?
We -- we generally have segregated ourselves into these intellectual ghettos, the alternative reality silos, which I know that you have written and talked about before.
And I do think that that is getting worse. All of the trajectory of the media is for us to be more divided, to pull back into our corners, to go to the safe spaces where our biases are confirmed, where our narratives are pushed, and I don't see that changing any time soon.
STELTER: I notice on page 103 of your book here -- your excellent new book out this week -- you say, what you just said there, all of this is likely going to get worse.
And I found myself -- I had to put the book down that moment, because it gets very depressing to think we are going to be even more siloed, even more walled off.
Why are you fundamentally pessimistic about this?
SYKES: In part, it is because we have created this ecosystem now where if you are a conservative -- and, by the way, these exist on the right, as well as the left on both sides.
But we have developed almost an immunity to this. Sorry. We have broken down our immunity to false information, hoaxes, and propaganda.
STELTER: Immunity is a really interesting word, an immunity to false information.
SYKES: Right. Yes.
And because that was the shocks I think that -- and I describe in the book -- to realize that we had created an alternative media to tell the other side of the story, but at some point we had broken down all of the guidelines, all of the referees.
And as a result of that, we have this flood of -- we have the flood of false, bogus information. And I think one of the things that President Trump is doing -- and I think he is doing it, let's be honest about it, rather effectively -- by seizing the term fake news, by turning it around, what he has done is to continue delegitimize any sort of independent voice out there, any sort of fact check, any sort of pushback.
And I think that part of that is to immunize himself against negative stories and legitimate reporting.
STELTER: Do you think President Trump is stable?
STELTER: Remember, Corker came out a little while ago and questioned the president's stability?
STELTER: We have seen President Trump Corker on Twitter today, claiming that Corker lacks the guts for reelection.
And Corker just responded on Twitter and said the White House has become an adult day care center and clearly I believe he is suggesting someone didn't show up for their shift to baby-sit the president today.
Do you think this is only worsening on a daily basis, this idea that there are some Republicans like Corker who believe the president is not stable and we see this war of words on a daily basis that just confirms that is the case?
SYKES: I think what you're seeing is people willing to say what people have known for a long time.
Look, Brian, anyone who has paid any attention to Donald Trump over the last two years should not be actually surprised by any of this. He is an erratic narcissist, a serial liar, somebody who went through a campaign mocking women and the disabled, thin-skinned, vindictive, all of those things that we saw during the campaign that for whatever reason the conservative movement decided to embrace, enable, or rationalize.
Now we are seeing it playing out in the White House. And guys like Bob Corker I think have reached the point where it's like can we not pretend that the emperor is not naked? Can we not pretend that the emperor is not unstable, in a way that we should have understood very, very quickly more than a year or two years ago?
STELTER: Why are there then so many conservative media heavyweights willing to defend Trump at all costs, not willing to admit the stability problem?
SYKES: I think this goes back to the nature of the conservative media.
And, again, one of the surprises to me was the willingness of many people in the conservative media to roll over, to abandon long-held conservative principles and to embrace Donald Trump. Whether they did it because they were playing some sort of eight-dimensional chess, like Rush Limbaugh, or whether they were doing it like FOX News, because they had blundered into it, look, frankly, at this point, Brian, this is the business model of the conservative media, that they understand that conservatives are still behind Donald Trump.
And a lot of people on the right just simply -- they look to conservative media as -- and I mentioned this before -- as their safe space. They don't want to hear things that rattle their confidence in this administration.
And I think that it's very, very difficult. I'm a former conservative talk show host. And I try to imagine what it would be like to be doing the show now with an audience that frankly does not want to hear it.
So, I do think there are true believers out there. There are the orange Kool-Aid drinkers out there. But there are some people who I think have just cynically made the decision that if they want the clicks, if they want the rating, if they want to be able to stay within that conservative tribe, there's only route. And that is to be a Trump rationalizer and defender.
STELTER: That's our reality right now.
Charlie, thanks for being here.
The great book "How the Right Lost Its Mind" goes into this in-depth.
Up next here, Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Bill O'Reilly, what all of these powerful media men have in common.
STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES.
Let me show you the scene in "The New York Times" newsroom as the editors pressed publish on a story about Harvey Weinstein.
You can tell how significant the story was because the paper's top editor, Dean Baquet, is standing by the cubical in the picture.
The story had been in the works for months. Reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were determined to find out the truth about Weinstein's behavior. Was there more to all the whispers about him harassing actresses and assistants and models?
Well, "The Times" found a lot more, at least eight settlements with women from as far back as 1990 and as recently as 2015.
The behavior, as it's described and alleged, is disgusting. If you haven't read the story yet, it is on the home page of NYTimes.com.
Now, Weinstein, in response, said many of the accusations are patently false. But, at the same time, he admitted to behaving improperly in some cases. And he apologized for the pain he has caused.
Now his future at his movie company, his future as a Hollywood mogul is in doubt.
And one question lingers in the air, this question. It's in the original "Times" story from Thursday -- quote -- "How could allegations repeating the same pattern, young women, a powerful male producer, even some of the same hotels, how could the allegations have accumulated for almost three decades?"
The answer has to do with power. Bill Cosby had power. Roger Ailes had power. Bill O'Reilly had power. Donald Trump had power. And Harvey Weinstein, he had a lot of power to make or break careers, to buy silence, and to bury stories that embarrassed him.
Weinstein reportedly tried to bury the "New York Times"' investigation too. He hired a battery of lawyers, including the man who led the takedown of Gawker.com.
Weinstein's ad spending had to have crossed someone's mind. I mean, he could be a big spender at awards season, buying full-page ads in "The New York Times."
But the newspaper went ahead and published anyway.
Notice the button in the cubical there? It says, "The truth is hard."
The truth is also uncomfortable. One of Weinstein's advisers was Lisa Bloom. She is normally on the other side, standing up for women who are alleging harassment by men like Bill O'Reilly.
But she's in business with Weinstein. His company bought the TV rights to her book. Now, Bloom says Weinstein has always been respectful around her.
But thinking about her book deal, I couldn't help but think of Roger Ailes and how he harassed anchors and other employees at FOX News for years, while keeping them on the payroll. And, sometimes, he struck settlements to keep them quiet.
We learned about Ailes' behavior because of Gretchen Carlson, because Carlson sued Ailes. We learned about Bill O'Reilly's alleged harassment first because a producer named Andrea Mackris sued him way back in 2004, and then because "The Times" investigated in 2017.
But think about the gap in time there, 13 years. O'Reilly still denies all the charges, and he's attempting a comeback of sorts with the help of Sean Hannity.
Weinstein's strategy has been a bit different. Like I said, he admitted causing some pain. But, in both cases, we have heard the same dinosaur excuse.
Here is Lisa Bloom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) QUESTION: Why did he come to you in the first place? Was it...
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Because these rumors have swirled around him for a long time. And he knows that he's made mistakes. And he needs to improve.
You know, a lot of men who grew up in his generation grew up with a whole different mentality towards women. And, as I have said to him, Harvey, that may be, but it's not an excuse. He says the same thing himself. Times have changed. It's 2017.
You know, Harvey is a dinosaur in certain ways. He doesn't know how to work his iPad very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: Ah, the old, "he can't work his iPad well" excuse.
Well, that was back on Thursday.
On Saturday, Bloom quit Weinstein's team. So did lawyer Lanny Davis.
We will see what happens with Weinstein. But there are bigger points here.
You know, the Weinstein scandal is unfolding on the one-year anniversary of this tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping.
She wanted to get some furniture. I said, I will show you where they have some nice furniture.
TRUMP: I took her out for furniture. I moved on her like a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) but I couldn't get there, and she was married.
Then, all of a sudden, I see her. She's now got the big phony tits and everything. She's totally changed her look.
I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know I'm automatically attracted to beautiful -- I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. I just kiss. I don't even wait.
And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
TRUMP: You can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: It's even more shocking one year later.
But you know what? Actually, it's not the one-year anniversary of that tape. It's really the 12-year anniversary. Remember, the "Access Hollywood" tape is from 2005. It sat on the shelf at NBC for 11 years, until it got leaked out to "The Washington Post" one month before Election Day.
Later, that October of 2016, we learned about these women who accused Trump of harassment. There are 11 cases you can read about on CNN.com. This is a scroll of all of the cases.
It's really not so different from O'Reilly or from Weinstein. In each case, women either stayed silent or were silenced for decades.
You think about O'Reilly, Andrea Mackris, 2004, and then, in 2017, the investigation came out.
Now, each of these cases is different. But is it too much to ask for some consistency of outrage?
These allegations are alarming, whether the person is a Democratic donor or a Republican candidate.
The man on that tape is now president of the United States. The woman who ran against him is now just left to tweet about it.
But Clinton has yet to tweet or otherwise condemn Weinstein's alleged behavior.
Then again, so has Trump. He was quoted yesterday saying, "I wasn't surprised when I heard about it."
We are in the middle of a profound cultural shift in this country. But I emphasize the word middle. We're not all the way there yet. The political arguments about who is the bigger hypocrite, you know, who is the bigger hypocrite, those are a sidebar.
This is about how all men of all political leanings treat women in 2017, especially men in power.
The story is also about the power imbalance that remains at many media companies and at many other kinds of companies.
It's a good sign these stories are finally coming to light. The Gretchen Carlsons, and Ashley Judds and Rose McGowans deserve our respect.
But America still needs to make it easier for all women to speak up and have equal pay, treatment and positions of power. And that won't happen so long as it is only women fighting. Now, we will have all of the latest on the Weinstein scandal in our
nightly newsletter. You can sign up right now at RELIABLESOURCES.com.
We are standing by for new developments today and into the new workweek about Weinstein and his future at his movie company.
Sign up at RELIABLESOURCES.com.
Up next here, Marty Baron, "The Washington Post" executive editor. It's his first time since Election Day. And I have lots of questions for him about the media in the age of Trump.
STELTER: Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES.
"Democracy dies in darkness" is the slogan at "The Washington Post," but the lights are shining pretty brightly at the paper's headquarters on K Street in D.C.
We all know President Trump is a frequent critic of the paper, but on Saturday, he took a different tone. Look at this. He said: "I can't believe I finally got a good story in 'The Post.'"
An amusing tweet, because I was speaking recently with Marty Baron, the executive editor of "The Post."
And, in a rare TV interview, I asked him about Trump's critiques, the complaints from the administration, and how gathering news in Washington has changed in the Trump era.
MARTY BARON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": We're not stenographers.
We're not just supposed to write down what somebody says. We're actually supposed to find out what really happened. And it's not just what people say. It's what they do. And so that's what we're endeavoring to do.
STELTER: Is the president and his administration making it more difficult to find out what's going on in Washington?
BARON: I think, in many ways, they are.
First of all, they have created a very hostile atmosphere. It's not that we had such a wonderful relationship with the previous administration. There's sometimes an assumption that the press had a warm, cozy relationship with the Obama administration. That wasn't the case.
We had a lot of conflicts with the Obama administration. And you may recall that they had more leak investigations against -- involving the press than all previous administrations combined.
So, there wasn't a warm relationship. But it's been -- there's been a hostility, I think, fomented by the administration over the course of the campaign, and certainly during the course of the administration.
That makes it difficult. And, at the same time, the administration has restricted access to certain kinds of information.
Let's start with the president's tax returns. We don't have access to those tax returns. They weren't made available during the campaign.
Let's move on to visitor logs for the White House. We don't have access to those either. Let's move on to there used to be some data that was actually available from various government agencies, and this administration has taken that information off of those -- off of those Web sites, so that we don't have access to that.
STELTER: You had a meeting at the Justice Department this week about the department attempts to change how it interacts with journalists in newsrooms amid leak investigations.
Can you tell us anything about what happened?
BARON: Well, there was a meeting with the Justice Department, as has been reported.
It wasn't just me. It was a group from the press, a couple of lawyers, but mostly -- mostly journalists. And there was policy established in the prior administration, in which we would receive notification if the government, as part of a leak investigation, wanted to obtain a search warrant or wanted to -- intended to subpoena records from third parties, like telephone companies and Internet providers.
They have said that they want to revisit the subject. Now, they haven't said what they intend to do. And I think they have indicated that they haven't decided on a policy yet.
STELTER: What are you and your colleagues advocating for?
BARON: Maintaining the existing policy.
STELTER: This war on leaks, as it has been described, I look at the track record so far, and I see only one case of someone being prosecuted, a government contractor, for leaking to a reporter.
To me, it seems like it's not a successful war on leaks that the Trump administration is waging. But you're saying it could actually be a lot more complicated underneath the surface, right, because there could be other investigations going on that we don't know about.
BARON: That's entirely possible. We just don't know.
STELTER: Just don't know.
BARON: They did have a press conference where they said they were conducting a variety of leak investigations, so I have to assume that there's more than the one that's been made public.
STELTER: Are leak investigations the biggest threat or danger that your newsroom faces as it tries to navigate the Trump waters?
BARON: I don't think it's the biggest threat.
I think a bigger threat is certainly the administration's continuing attack on the press and its effort to undermine our credibility. That's what they are trying to do. They have tried over the course of the campaign and over the course of the administration to delegitimize us, even to...
STELTER: Hasn't it failed, though?
BARON: Well, I think that one could argue that.
If you actually look at approval ratings for the press over the course of the last year, they have actually gone up because of the work that the press is doing, because of the kind of work that's taking place here in our newsroom.
And -- but that doesn't -- I mean, you may think it's failed, but I'm not sure they think it's failed. And I think they believe that this is something that appeals to the president's base of supporters.
STELTER: And it's not something to actually talk about in the past tense, because it is ongoing. It's not something that's ending. It's something that the president is continuing to do.
BARON: Well, it happens every day.
It's almost become like background music to the work that we do every day.
STELTER: Have you tuned it out a bit?
BARON: A bit, yes, as a matter of fact. As I say, it's become kind of like background music.
We know that he's going to say it pretty much every day, maybe every other day, but it's -- we just know that this is part of the environment in which we're operating these days.
STELTER: It seems to me there's a handful of big newsrooms that have really focused on Trump and Russia and Russian interference, "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," CNN. I think I would add "The Wall Street Journal."
What have you told your staffers about how to approach these stories? They're obviously really complicated, really sensitive. Do you read them, for example, before they come out?
BARON: I read pretty much all of the stories before publication, maybe not every single one, but certainly the vast majority of them, particularly the most sensitive stories.
But we have a lot of other editors involved and we have some tremendous reporters who are involved in that coverage, of course.
So, look, their job is to do what we expect on every story. And that is to do a thorough job, do an energetic job, to dig, to look beneath the surface, and to be careful, to be honest and honorable, to be accurate, to be fair, but also to tell people what the truth is.
You know, the -- when we walk into this newsroom, the principles of "The Post" are on the wall. And the first one is the -- is our -- it talks about our mission to ascertain the truth as nearly as the truth may be ascertained.
And there's a sense of striving there, right, because the truth can be elusive. But it says that there is a truth. There actually is a truth. It's not just a matter of opinion, that there is a truth, and that it's our obligation to try to find out what that truth is, and to continue that process of striving.
STELTER: Quick break here. We will be right back.
STELTER: Before we go, a plug for daily media coverage on CNN.com, including my interview with Senator Amy Klobuchar about the latest on the investigations into Russian-linked ads that targeted American voters on Facebook.
You can watch the interview on RELIABLESOURCES.com, along with our media team's latest reporting on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, Trump's attacks against the media, and even last night's "SNL."
Log on, RELIABLESOURCES.com, and we will see you back here next week.