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CNN RELIABLE SOURCES

Would White House Ever Act Without Media Pressure?; Sanders: "Highly Inappropriate" To Question Kelly; Trump Says His Media Attacks Are Working; Bill O'Reilly Paid $32M Settlement. Aired 11a-12n ET

Aired October 22, 2017 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:00:13] 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.

This hour, breaking news about Bill O'Reilly and a previously secret $32 million settlement. I'll talk with one of the reporters who broke this story, now raising the question about O'Reilly's future anywhere on television. Will he ever be back on FOX News?

Plus, a little later, an exclusive interview with Gretchen Carlson, the former FOX News anchor who sued Roger Ailes 15 months ago. Now, she has a new book out talking about sexual harassment in the workplace. It could not be better timed, given the Weinstein scandal. She'll join me with her view of Bill O'Reilly and the rest, coming up.

But, first, how the press pressures the president to do his job. We all know how President Trump's tweets make journalists jump and react. But how do the questions we ask affect him?

Once you start to look, you can see it happening all the time. Niger was the biggest example this week.

All the way back on October 4th, that's when there were initial reports of several service members killed in the African country. At first, reports of three dead. Then we learned of the fourth.

The next day, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders opened the briefing with a statement of condolences. But then the ambush fell off the national radar.

The following week, CNN's Jake Tapper and Chris Cuomo pointed out the president's silence on the matter. Trump finally spoke out about it on Monday, October 16th, 12 days after the ambush. Why?

Because CNN's Sara Murray asked him this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Why haven't we heard anything from you so far about the soldiers that were killed in Niger and what do you have to say about that?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've written them personal letters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: You know what happened next. Trump misled the public. He said his predecessors didn't really call the families of fallen service members. This triggered days of follow-up coverage proving him wrong.

But Sara Murray's question may have also triggered something else. Trump's calls to the families of the men who were killed in Niger. His call to La David Johnson's widow caused days of controversy.

But if Murray hadn't asked, would any of that have happened?

You know, another ripple effect was this "Washington Post" scoop revealing that Trump told the father of a different fallen army sergeant over the summer that he would send him a $25,000 check. The conversation happened a few months ago, but the check never arrived.

Now, of course, when "The Post" called the White House for comment, the check was sent right away. Coincidence? Come on.

Time and time again, the Trump administration reacts to embarrassing news coverage. It is the news coverage that causes belated action. On Tuesday, the president's pick for drug czar, Congressman Tom Marino, withdrew from the job barely 36 hours after Trump watched that damning "60 Minutes" report about Marino, the DEA and the opioid crisis.

And speaking of that, you know, Trump promised to declare the drug epidemic a national emergency back in August. But hasn't actually done so yet.

So, journalists keep asking, when is it going to happen?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We're going to have a major announcement probably next week on the drug crisis and on the opioid massive problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: All right. That was six days ago. So we'll see if this is the week Trump takes the action.

Again, this is where media questioning matters. Sometimes what the president doesn't do is just as important as what he does do. What he doesn't say is just as important as what he does say.

For example, a month ago, Trump tweeted about Hurricane Maria the day before it made landfall in Puerto Rico. Then he waited five days before tweeting about the storm again. The administration's sluggish response generated a batch of critical headlines and, of course, White House reactions.

But with power restored to only 20 percent of the island one month later, the Puerto Rico crisis continues every single day. Another reason why journalists must keep up the pressure.

Let me bring in an all-star panel now, reporters covering the White House every day. Olivia Nuzzi is a Washington correspondent for "New York" magazine. Brian Karem is the executive editor of "Sentinel newspapers, a regular in the briefing room, he's also a White House reporter for "Playboy", and a CNN political analyst, and retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, now a CNN military and diplomatic analyst.

Great to see all of you.

And, Admiral, I'd like to start with you on that Friday exchange in the briefing room that got a lot of journalists kind of shocked by the reaction. This is what Sarah Sanders said to Chip Reid in the briefing room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIP REID, CBS WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: He was wrong yesterday in talking about getting the money.

[11:05:00] The money was appropriated before she came into Congress.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If you want to go after General Kelly, that's up to you. But I think that if you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that's something highly inappropriate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: Highly inappropriate, those two words generated a lot of reaction. CNN's Jake Tapper said it was one of the most shocking things he's ever heard in a White House briefing.

So, Admiral, how did you react to hearing that?

JOHN KIRBY, CNN DIPLOMATIC AND MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, I was a little gobsmacked too when I first heard it for a couple of reasons.

First, it's just very ignorant of military culture. No admiral or general ever when they achieve that rank shuts down debate and discussion or questioning, either from the public and the media or from their own staff. And that includes John Kelly who I worked with for two years under Secretary Panetta. He was the military assistant there. I saw in General Kelly a leader who absolutely wanted to be questioned and doubted and scrutinized and was open to critique.

So, it was ignorant on one hand, and I think just on the other hand, not a healthy thing for the press secretary to be saying. And she ended up, as you know, having to walk it back just a little bit later, I think, in lieu of CNN coverage that very afternoon she walked it back and said that, well, of course, anybody can be questioned but nobody should question his service to the country or what he had to say about Gold Star families.

And as you showed in that clip, Brian, that's not the question she was getting. They were questioning his accuracy -- the accuracy of his statements about Representative Wilson's speech.

STELTER: Brian, was she just trying to wiggle out of an uncomfortable line of questioning?

BRIAN KAREM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as I told her and as I told the president in response to what's going on, put on your big boy pants for the heaven sakes and, you know, realize what you signed up for.

She liked to use that to the military, how about he realizes what he signed up for? We're there to ask questions. They're there to supply answers. They're short on answers.

And quite honestly, what the Kelly exchange proved to me the day before when General Kelly is there, is there is no truth to be found anywhere in that pressroom. It's all theater. It's all there to put their -- not only their best foot forward but to deny reality. And when you're denying reality --

STELTER: That sure sounds like an overstatement, Brian, that there's no truth at all at the briefings?

KAREM: Well, I'll tell you this, if there is truth there, OK, overstatement maybe 5 percent, 6 percent of it. I mean, most of it is all theater. They have not -- in the nine months that they have been there have not once admitted one mistake. While they're anxious to go after us as being purveyors of fake media, they have not once even admitted they made a mistake.

We have to retract our mistakes. They haven't. They won't even admit that they make them.

So, they cover them up. And when Sarah comes forward and says what she said on top of what Kelly said the day before, then you continue to look and become numb to it. You look at it and go there's nothing worthy of reporting. There's several reporters that have been in that room that have said, look, man, this is -- this is really getting beyond the pale.

It is unprecedented what's going on. Larry Speakes, you know, famously said that don't tell us how to produce the news and we won't tell you how to cover it. That's fine. You want them to put their best foot forward, but you also want them to be cognizant of reality.

And in this White House, there is no recognition of the fact that facts matter. It's their facts and the rest of us be damned.

STELTER: Olivia, what do you make of my original thesis about media pressure, that whether it's the ambush in Niger or whether its response to Puerto Rico, it's journalists asking the question over and over again that finally provokes the White House to engage in a subject?

OLIVIA NUZZI, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Right. I mean, this is a pattern with the president from during the campaign, right? He will claim to have donated to somebody or to some charity and it's not until the media follows up on that that he actually writes the check.

But to the point about the White House briefing room, this is also a pattern. Sarah Huckabee Sanders when she is backed into a corner, when the White House is backed into a corner, she often responds by calling the question inappropriate or by implying that there's something somehow impolite about reporters doing their job.

And that's I think when you know that they have no other options left, right? When the president lies, the press asks about the lie. The White House then often lies in response to us asking about the lie. And then when we ask the White House about their lie, then the White House says, well, that's inappropriate and you shouldn't even be asking the question, as though the fact that we need to ask the question is our fault and not the White House's fault.

This is a pattern that's happened again and again for nine months.

KAREM: And we ignore it for the most part.

STELTER: Sorry, Brian, go ahead with that?

KAREM: Now, I said we ignored it for the most part, but it's very difficult to do your job when at every time you're asking a legitimate question, they're trying to delegitimize the press and promote their agenda. Any recognition of reality would be so welcomed in that pressroom. It would be a breath of fresh air.

STELTER: Let me hone in on Niger and the reactions to it. I'd love to know, Admiral Kirby, how you felt about this belated response. It's strange to me that there was this sort of week-long period where there was almost no attention.

[11:10:00] There was a little bit reporting from the Pentagon about what happened. But it wasn't until Monday's impromptu press conference where Niger really became a national news story.

KIRBY: Yes, I was really, really disappointed to see that, Brian. I can understand why nobody said anything for the first 48 hours because they were still looking for Sergeant Johnson, that makes perfect sense, especially if you don't know where he is or what condition he's in.

But after that, there should have been more explanation. So, they put Sanders out there to do it from the podium. That should have been from the president of the United States. You have four soldiers killed, two wounded, all in one action, in a part of the world where frankly a lot of Americans don't realize we have troops. They should have been more forthcoming.

I also have faulted the Pentagon press operation for the same thing. I felt like they should have provided more context as well in those -- in that first week after the ambush.

Just Friday, Brian, Africa Command put out a press release, a two- pager, sort of providing background and context about what our troops are doing in Niger and the mission there. That should have been put out 12 days ago.

So, I think that the whole government here, all the inter-agencies have been slow to provide some context. Nobody is asking them to violate the investigation that's going on, nobody is telling them to give information that, you know, would put our troops in jeopardy. But just putting some context around this and issuing a condolence statement from the commander-in-chief would have been wholly appropriate in those first days following it and real disappointing that they didn't.

NUZZI: And, Brian, to this point, the president is always reacting in real-time to events that help him prove his points he's always making, right? He's never reluctant to weigh in on something that helps him confirm his world view, confirm that he's right about everything.

But any time something is more complicated than that, any time it may not look good for him or may not be part of his narrative that he's trying to sell the American people, all of a sudden, you know, we don't have the facts and, therefore, he can't comment. There's no leadership --

KAREM: Well, it's actually being worse than that.

NUZZI: There's no leadership in most instances when there should be.

STELTER: Let me --

KAREM: He flips the script. That's the thing. Brian, he flips the script.

The whole incident with -- the first question I asked Kelly was getting past the condolences to the family, why were we there? There were reports of no air cover, that they weren't in armored vehicles, and there were other reports about what happened in that location, about a body found a mile away from where the ambush took place and faulty intelligence. All of those questions were important.

But the president wanted to make it about something else because he did not want to face the real issue. Why is the military there? What happened and why were Americans killed?

It's a case of older men sending younger men out to die and we're not getting the reason why.

KIRBY: I was going to say that's absolutely true. Sara's question was why haven't you talked about this? It wasn't, have you called the families? Have you sent them a letter? I mean, he didn't even answer the original question and it was not until Friday that we got any context.

STELTER: That's a great point. I haven't thought about that.

Yes. Let me show the cover of "The New York Daily News" from this morning because I want to make sure we don't lose sight of this piece of the story. This is one of La David Johnson's children with the headline "Honor my father." And I wonder, Admiral Kirby, if this is one of though cases where an

individual life, an individual death is personalizing the forever wars that America has committed to, that we've learned more about these four fallen service members as a result of Trump's controversy and his wrong statements. I wonder if cameras should be at these funerals.

Is it appropriate for us to see the daughter on the front page of the paper?

KIRBY: It is if the family wants them there. Those are the rules we follow at Dover Air Force Base too when the remains come home. If the families want cameras there, it's OK. And if the families --

STELTER: OK.

KIRBY: -- obviously invite. So I think that's appropriate.

But you raise a much bigger and better point, Brian, in your question, and that is that if there's a silver lining to this sad, sordid week we've had, it is that the American people are becoming more acquainted with the sacrifices and the struggles of Gold Star families and what is a Gold Star family and what that means and the need for the country to continue to wrap their arms around these people as they work through their grief.

That young widow is 24 years old. She has two small kids and one on the way. And her life now has been devastated and it's going to be completely different going forward for her. So, I think it's really important that as a result of all this ugliness, we've at least been able to focus on her and what she's going to need, as well, Brian, as those three other families we haven't been talking about too much.

KAREM: And why are they there? Why are we continuing to be there?

KIRBY: Yes.

STELTER: Admiral Kirby, thank you so much for being on the program today.

Brian, Olivia, please stick around.

When we come back, I want to get your reaction to this. It seems like President Trump has finally found a poll he likes. Is it proof that his media attacks are working?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:18:30] STELTER: Hey, welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter.

President Trump says the real Russia investigations are fake. And left is right and up is down. And I know it can be confusing trying to un-spin what he says is fake and correcting what he says is real. But that's what journalists are for, right?

This week, the president repeatedly said that Christopher Steele's dossier full of allegations about potential ties between Trump's campaign and Russia has been discredited. That's the word he used, discredited.

To the contrary, parts of the dossier have actually been corroborated and U.S. intel officials have taken the dossier quite seriously.

So, while the Russia investigations roll on, the president continues to try to tear down news outlets. He sometimes calls the media's polls fake, but he seemed to love a new poll by "Politico" and "Morning Consult" this week.

Here's how "Fox & Friends" covered the poll.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Politico" did the poll and people wonder why there's an erosion of trust of the media, and President Trump calls it the fake news media, because people feel like it's being made up. Look at this poll from "Politico". Do major news outlets fabricate stories of President Trump? Forty-six percent of Americans believe they do. You add to the unsure --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of 17 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- that's almost 50 -- almost 60 percent of Americans saying my news might be fake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: All right. Full disclosure here, normally, I would not report on this poll, normally, I would not show that sound bite, because CNN, like other big news outlets, has standards for which polls are reportable and which are not. We generally do not report on polls that use online, non-probability panels as a sample source.

[11:20:02] That's what "Politico" and "Morning Consult" does. So, normally, I wouldn't have talked about this poll at all.

But I want to bring it up because President Trump is bringing it up. He's touting this poll over and over again on Twitter as recently as this morning. Here's his most recent tweet about it, celebrating the fact that 46 percent of people, he says, believe that major national news outlets fabricate stories about me.

Of course, that's what he's been telling people for months. So, it's no surprise some of his supporters agree with him.

Let's bring back our panel and add a voice to the conversation. Brian Karem and Olivia Nuzzi are back with me, and Noah Rothman is also here. He's associate editor at "Commentary Magazine".

I'd love to get your reactions to this kind of feedback loop that we're seeing. I mean, Noah, isn't it obvious that if the president says over and over again that stories are made up about him that you're going to find a big portion of the country believes him? NOAH ROTHMAN, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, COMMENTARY: Sure. And it's probably

no coincidence that 46 percent is precisely what he got in the general election, the popular vote.

It would be a mistake to say that there is no basis for this. Over at the "Washington Examiner", Beckett Adams has a really great piece where he spent the first four months of the Trump administration documenting stories that dropped with a lot of heat, a lot of passion and were really damning of this administration only to kind of lose some credibility once we started examining them.

But the notion that all these stories are fake that Donald Trump doesn't like is not supported. And it demonstrates the extent to which Trump supporters are committed to supporting the president in any facet, in whatever he says. And when he says that this story is fake, it becomes a proxy for job approval.

STELTER: Right. And I love your point about the Electoral College result and the 46 percent.

I wonder, Olivia, if you see a sort of worsening of this fake news swirl that President Trump says it more often as the Russia investigations continue. We know that Sean Spicer, for example, was interviewed by Mueller's team this week.

NUZZI: Right. I mean, but look at what Donald Trump normally says about polling, right? He's very selective in what he trusts. And I think that we should be too. Like you said at the top of this segment, this is not a poll that you would normally report on or that I would normally take seriously. And any one poll doesn't typically tell us anything. It's only when we really have an average of polls that we can get an idea of what people really think.

But the president, you know, he's trusting "Politico" here. This administration has been very critical of "Politico" for the last nine months.

STELTER: It's true. That's a good point.

NUZZI: It's like why suddenly now is "Politico" a credible source? And it's because it's backing up what the president says. But it's -- tomorrow they came out with another poll that said something different that was not positive for him, he would be saying the opposite, he would be calling the poll fake news.

So I think -- we shouldn't be taking this seriously, you know, as any sort of document that tells us how people feel, but it is very interesting to see the president selectively using media organizations as credible to make his point.

STELTER: Let's dissect one example of fake news here, actually fake news, meaning a story designed to trick you, because, Noah, you wrote a column titled "Fake news will never die." Sadly, I think I agree with you.

Here's the example that you showed, the example that inspired you to write the column. This is a picture in the Seattle Seahawks locker room. We're going to show you the real picture first, then the photoshopped fake one of this flag being burned.

OK? So, that's not real. That was photoshopped. It's actually pretty obviously photoshopped. Take the flag away and you can see the real picture again.

Noah, you wrote about this because you said, hey, there's a portion of the public that actually believes a photoshopped picture like this.

ROTHMAN: Yes, you'd have to look at that picture and see leaning into fire. There is -- you're in a small windowless locker room.

STELTER: Right.

ROTHMAN: Nobody is looking at the actual fire. I mean, it's quite obviously fake and a bad fake at that. So, to the extent that you pass that around as something you wanted to believe in, there were tons of posts on "BuzzFeed", et cetera.

STELTER: Yes, it's pro Trump, anti-NFL.

ROTHMAN: It went everywhere, 142,000 people liked the group on Facebook that posted this. It's a very popular meme. And it means that these people really wanted to believe it. They wanted to suspend disbelief and that's the problem with going after social media outlets, the regulatory mechanisms in Washington. You're up against human nature here.

And to that extent, you will never regulate away fake news. It's about education and not about imposing standards on social media companies.

STELTER: Brian, question for you about another story in the news this week. I want to flag what Attorney General Jeff Sessions said when he was before Congress. There was a question from Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, about whether the Justice Department is going to go after journalists in new ways.

Here's first what Sessions said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Will you commit to not putting reporters in jail for doing their jobs?

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I don't know that I can make a blanket commitment to that effect, but I would say this -- we have not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: That's true, so far at this point. You know, the Obama administration --

KAREM: At this point. STELTER: -- was harshly criticized for its actions trying to find leakers, sometimes ensnaring the journalists in leak investigations.

[11:25:00] What did you make of Session's comment about not ruling out the possibility of jailing a journalist if they won't give up their source?

KAREM: Well, since I've been to jail for not giving up a source, and I'm one of about 14 people on the planet in this country who have, yes, I'm righteously indignant towards it and I'm quite upset about it.

The government is fond of -- and this is part of the fake news stuff as well -- they're all fond of criticizing the media but they take away all the tools that we need to do our job.

So, right now, I happen to know that in Maryland, Jamie Raskin is sitting on a bill that he's going to introduce in the next two weeks that will be a Shield Law, a national Shield Law to keep reporters out of jail. I know John Yarmuth from the third district in Kentucky is behind it. I happen to know that it was part and parcel based on Mike Pence's bill that he introduced when he was a senator. There is some support in Congress to help us do our job.

The bottom line with all of this is you want to complain about the media, we're still doing our job. So when they sit up there and tell us 46 percent, well, a minority of people, think that we're fake media, I'm still doing my job. I'll still going to do my job. And I'm sorry if the president doesn't like it, we're going to do it.

And some of us have faced going to jail. Some of us have died. You call us the enemy of the people and we are the people. There are 200 people in this country who were journalists died during the Vietnam War.

Now, without -- as we talked about in the last segment, pressure on the White House, without that pressure from the press where would we be now? So, if Jeff Sessions wants to say that he can't preclude the possibility of putting us in jail, I cannot preclude the possibility that we won't investigate him for the things that he's done. And that's not a quid pro quo, that's our job. That's what we're here to do.

So I always see the government when they come after us for this as merely scared to death of what we're going to find out when we look into what they do.

STELTER: We'll keep an eye on the DOJ's (INAUDIBLE).

Brian, Olivia, Noah, thank you all for being here.

KAREM: Thank you very much, Brian.

STELTER: Coming up here, a new bombshell about Bill O'Reilly. He paid out $32 million to settle a sexual harassment threat and suit against him. We will talk about why it happened and why FOX News renewed his contract right afterwards, right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:31:34]

STELTER: Hey. Welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES.

Shocking developments this weekend in what we thought was an old Bill O'Reilly scandal.

You will remember, of course, back in April, FOX fired O'Reilly after "The New York Times" reported on secret settlements in his past with women that accused him of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

Well, then this new story hit on Saturday. You see it right there. O'Reilly settled a new harassment claim, and then FOX renewed his contract.

What is this about? It's about a $32 million sum of money paid by O'Reilly to an accuser in January.

And we can show you the affidavit.

Let's put it on screen.

This is an affidavit signed by longtime FOX News legal analyst Lis Wiehl essentially promising not to sue or go public with her allegations against O'Reilly.

Now, right after she signed the affidavit, right after she accepted $32 million, FOX presented O'Reilly with a new contract, renewing him at about $25 million a year.

Then, three months later, that's when "The New York Times"' investigation came out. That's when advertisers fled O'Reilly's show. That's when FOX dropped him and brought in Tucker Carlson instead.

So, that's the timeline for what is a bombshell story.

How can we get past that number, $32 million? What does it really mean?

Let's bring in one of the reporters who broke this news wide open, Emily Steel of "The New York Times." She and Michael Schmidt reported this story over the weekend. And also with us, David Zurawik, media critic for "The Baltimore Sun."

Great to see you both.

Let's take this piece by piece.

Emily, first to you.

This story came out on Saturday. It was -- it was shocking to everybody who read it. How did you all learn that he paid this much money to an accuser? EMILY STEEL, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": You know, we did some very extensive reporting. This is myself and my colleague Mike Schmidt.

We talked to about a half-dozen sources. We obtained a number of documents. Those documents included what's known as a term sheet for that agreement that outlined kind of the terms of the deal. And we also saw an e-mail from FOX executives that mentions this agreement as well.

STELTER: So, you had absolute proof about this.

Obviously, you didn't know about it in April, when your initial investigation came out.

STEEL: You know, this is something that we have been chasing for a while.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: It -- we did think that there was some sort of allegation, some sort of settlement, but that wasn't something that we were able to report until our story published yesterday.

STELTER: Yes, O'Reilly and Lis Wiehl, that had sort of been a rumor inside FOX, right?

There were rumors that the two of them were together, that there was a sexual relationship. But it hadn't been proven, written until your story this weekend.

So, what do we know about the circumstances of their relationship? What would be worth spending $32 million to keep secret?

STEEL: Right.

So, what we know is, that's a huge sum, $32 million. Just for a little bit of perspective, it's the highest known settlement involving sexual harassment allegations at FOX.

We know that the woman Gretchen Carlson, who sued Roger Ailes the previous summer, she was -- she reached a settlement for $20 million. And the largest previously known settlement regarding O'Reilly was with a woman named Andrea Mackris, who had sued him in 2004 over allegations of sexual harassment. So, that's -- that's where we start with this number.

In regards to the allegations, a lot of the details with -- with her complaint are not exactly clear. But what we do know is that her allegations included repeated sexual harassment during her 15-year tenure as a legal analyst at FOX News.

[11:35:10]

We also know that she made allegations of a nonconsensual sexual relationship, and that her allegations included that he sent her pornographic material that included gay pornography. STELTER: When viewers hear the words nonconsensual sexual

relationship, they think rape.

But that word is not in your story. Is that what you mean?

STEEL: So, what we know is that 21st Century Fox and our other sources have said that the complaint included allegations of a nonconsensual sexual relationship.

STELTER: OK.

STEEL: We don't know exactly what that means. And I'm not going to speculate.

STELTER: The alternative theory is, it means they were in a relationship, she didn't feel like she could get out of it, and thus it was nonconsensual.

STEEL: Well...

STELTER: So, for our viewers -- yes.

STEEL: Well, the other -- and the other thing that we do know too is that Mr. O'Reilly wielded a large amount of power over Lis Wiehl.

STELTER: Right. Right.

STEEL: She regularly appeared on his show. There was a special segment that she was featured in called "Is It Legal?" -- she's a Harvard grad and a former federal prosecutor.

And we also know that she is a very prolific author. She published a number of books over the years. And he frequently promoted them on -- on his show.

STELTER: Right.

STEEL: And we also know that there were a couple of times when kind of sexually suggestive remarks spilled onto the air.

There was this one exchange on a radio show in 2005 when he suggested that she learn how to dance for a $10,000 tip when they were talking about a strip club.

STELTER: Right.

So, David Zurawik, your reaction, hearing all of this? I would love to hear your reaction, given that we know there was a renewal of his contract right after this settlement was reached.

DAVID ZURAWIK, MEDIA CRITIC, "THE BALTIMORE SUN": You know what? This speaks to the larger question of FOX News.

You know, when Roger Ailes was fired, I wrote a piece saying, look, this doesn't change FOX News. Twenty years of a culture that Roger Ailes established and that continued takes more than firing just the head of it.

And now we see how deep-seated it is. And we see that the Murdoch sons, you know, this deal really looks bad, that they waited until they had this document, and then they resigned O'Reilly after all of this.

STELTER: And they say they didn't know about the price tag, right? But they did know there was a settlement.

ZURAWIK: Of course, that's what -- yes. That's -- I don't think anybody disputed that in Emily's story, did they? No.

STEEL: No.

STELTER: No, they have confirmed it. Yes.

ZURAWIK: Right. They have confirmed...

STEEL: And what we know is that the company knew about her allegations and that they also knew that there was a settlement.

(CROSSTALK)

STEEL: And they also knew that there previously had been five settlements regarding allegations of harassment against O'Reilly at the time that they renewed his deal.

ZURAWIK: And that -- and that...

STELTER: So, this raises two big questions for FOX, doesn't it?

Number one, what's going to happen with that federal investigation? The Justice Department has been looking into the other settlement payments in the Roger Ailes scandal.

I think it's notable, David, that even though the Trump administration is in charge, and Rupert Murdoch is very tight with Donald Trump, that this investigation is still taking place inside the Justice Department.

ZURAWIK: Yes, you know, that's interesting, because the Justice Department -- I thought about that this week, because I wrote about the Sinclair deal to take over Tribune.

And the Justice Department is looking at that in terms of antitrust. And I thought, well, that's a good thing. And then I thought, wait a minute, this is Trump's Justice Department. I don't know.

STELTER: Right.

ZURAWIK: I mean, that -- and that's a response we have in this country. Wait a minute. He's put these people in charge of these agencies that we used to trust, and now we don't know if we can trust them anymore on this sort of thing.

But this is outrageous. STELTER: But, hey, FOX still thinks the investigation is happening, so that's -- that's worth something.

ZURAWIK: Well...

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: Let me ask David about what this means for O'Reilly, because the statement from O'Reilly's spokesman is really telling.

First of all, O'Reilly has always denied the harassment charges. He says: I never mistreated anyone.

But here's what his spokesman said overnight: "In the latest diatribe against Bill O'Reilly, 'The Times' printed leaked information provided by anonymous sources that is out of context, false, defamatory, and obviously designed to embarrass Bill O'Reilly and to keep him from competing in the marketplace."

Let's hone in on that last sentence right there.

ZURAWIK: Yes.

STELTER: O'Reilly is trying to get a new TV job. He was back on Sean Hannity's show a month ago.

I don't think he will ever be back on FOX, in the wake of this revolution in "The New York Times."

ZURAWIK: I agree with it.

STELTER: But what about Sinclair or Newsmax or OANN?

Do you think O'Reilly will ever be back on TV?

ZURAWIK: You know, I don't.

I think he's been pushed to the margins, although, Brian, especially with conservative media in this country, I predict nothing. Any -- nothing surprises me sometimes, when I see...

(LAUGHTER)

STELTER: OK.

ZURAWIK: Well, no, once you take your news platform and say, we're a political tool, or, like Bannon, we're a weapon, nothing surprises me, because I look at it through a lens of journalism, you know, and that's not the lens they're looking at it.

[11:40:00]

But I will tell you something about O'Reilly. I think he's been marginalized in some ways the way Glenn Beck has been marginalized. And I think in -- if he's going to put his credibility up against "The New York Times," he's going to lose. And I think these reports, this hard-nosed investigative -- this is

the best of our profession. It went after a story here, and it's proved it. He's never going to back that down.

He can use all the words he likes, like smear and attack and all the words he uses. You know, I have to tell you, I saw him September 22 in Baltimore, his tour that he and Dennis Miller did.

I went to it at Royal Farms Arena because I wanted to see what kind of effect this had on his audience. Tickets -- it seats either 11,000 or 14,000. They wouldn't tell me how many they had reconfigured it for.

Brian, you -- I put -- posted pictures. It was -- if there were 2,500 people in that audience, it was surprising.

STELTER: Huh.

ZURAWIK: I bought a ticket in the upper tier. They came up before the show and said, would you please sit down on the floor so that it looks -- essentially looks like we have some people here?

Bill O'Reilly has been marginalized. Even his hard-core audience -- you know, he's always been talking on those shows about selling out this arena. This arena was almost empty by the standards of a sellout. It was empty seats in the second row, empty seats in the third row. Nobody is going to want him on TV if that's where he is.

And, also, Brian, I know Gretchen Carlson, I'm sure, has talked about this as well. This is a larger cultural change away from patriarchy that we have seen since Bill Cosby. I think the 2016 election was very much about that, except Trump won. But he's the guy, the Little Dutch Boy with his finger in the dike about this cultural change.

You take Bill O'Reilly on, and you are on the wrong side of history. FOX is on the wrong side of history. It can talk all it wants about its ratings. This is an epic cultural change that's taking place in terms of predatory sexual oppression of women in the workplace, and they're on the wrong side of it.

You want to hire him, thinking you're going to get ratings? Good luck. You're going to get infamy. That's what you're going to get.

STELTER: And reporters are the ones exposing it, like Emily.

Emily, thank you for being here.

David, thank you, as always.

And up next: a Sunday morning exclusive, Gretchen Carlson. She will join me live in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:46:26]

STELTER: Welcome back. Before there was the Weinstein scandal, before all of the dominoes

that have fallen as a result involving Amazon boss Roy Price, who you see there in the middle, and the new revelations about Bill O'Reilly this weekend, before all of that, there was Roger Ailes, the boss at FOX News, the all-powerful founder of FOX News, until the day Gretchen Carlson sued him.

That was 15 months ago, when Carlson filed a sexual harassment and retaliation suit against the FOX News boss.

Two months later -- two weeks later, he was out at FOX News.

Now Carlson is the author of a new book, "Be Fierce," about sexual harassment, an epidemic, she says, of harassment in the workplace.

She's joining me now live from Los Angeles.

Gretchen, great to see you.

GRETCHEN CARLSON, FORMER FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for having me, Brian.

STELTER: I have to ask first about Bill O'Reilly. Your reaction to Saturday's "New York Times" story and this jaw-dropping $32 million settlement?

CARLSON: Brian, I think it's horrifying and outrageous that any company, after dismissing somebody for allegations such as that, would not only resign a contract, but allow that person to come back on the air.

It's outrageous, and it's one of the reasons that I wanted to make sure that I chronicled so many other women's stories in my book, because now we are on a movement.

We are on a movement to speak up and be heard. And there's no turning back for women in the workplace. Why should women have the American dream taken away from them? We work just as hard as anyone else. And it's time that it stops.

STELTER: But FOX said it had cleaned up the culture after your lawsuit and Ailes' ouster. It said it made changes.

And yet O'Reilly was renewed after this settlement. Were they lying about that?

CARLSON: I mean, I think is the corporate culture, Brian, that we were dealing with before July 6, 2016, in so many ways, in that the way in which -- look at Harvey Weinstein and the way the board allowed him to have a contract that allowed him to still sexually harass. He just had to pay a fine if there was even just a case.

This is covering up. This is enablers. This is shutting up the victims. And I think it's absolutely horrifying that we have allowed this to go on for so long in our corporate culture. It's one of the reasons that I'm asking people to join this be fierce movement to stand up and speak up and say, enough is enough.

STELTER: You accepted a big settlement from FOX. Lis Wiehl accepted this $32 million settlement from O'Reilly.

Should women accept these payments? Is that part of the problem, Gretchen? I have to ask you.

CARLSON: Yes, it's part of the huge problem.

Listen, we've decided as a culture there's two ways that we're going to settle sexual harassment allegations, settlements -- that shuts up the victims -- and also forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts. That's a secret chamber. That also shuts up the victims.

So, we're fooling society into thinking that we don't have a problem with this issue anymore. Why? Because we don't hear about these cases.

But why, Brian? It's because the women are shut up into silence. And that is what's been so heartening over the last couple of weeks, seeing the Weinstein story develop and so many others, is that women are saying, we're not going to be silenced anymore. We are going to be fierce.

It's the whole mission of this book for our young people, Brian, to make sure that this doesn't happen for your daughter, my two kids and anyone else who is watching out there.

STELTER: And you say that men have a big part of the responsibility. You devote a whole chapter in your book to men. Why?

CARLSON: Men who defend, because we need to turn men from enablers and bystanders into allies.

[11:50:00]

And so many men out there want a safe work environment for women. That's why it ended up being my longest chapter, Brian.

It's just these random jerks that we have to try and get rid of, but to try and get rid of the enabler and give the voice also and the courage to a man to stand up for women.

Can you only imagine how that would change the dynamic within the corporate culture? It would change it exponentially.

And so today I'm reaching out to men as well to join this be fierce movement. It shouldn't just be on the shoulders of women to fix this.

STELTER: Gretchen, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate it.

The book is titled "Be Fierce." It's available in bookstores all across the country.

You can watch more of my interview with Gretchen on RELIABLESOURCES.com. We're going to talk in-depth about some other issues as well.

And we will be back with more RELIABLE SOURCES in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

STELTER: Before we go, a moment to discuss the cowardly and cold- blooded murder of this woman, journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

[11:55:02]

She was an investigative journalist in Malt well-known for her really important work revealing corruption there.

She was killed in an apparent car bombing near her home. Her son called it an assassination because of her work on covering corruption involving top officials in her native country.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says the investigation into her murder must be thorough, credible and timely.

But experts say her killer is likely never to be found, an appalling murder and another reminder of the dangers journalists face all around the world.

We're out of time here on TV, but we will see you online at RELIABLESOURCES.com. Sign up for our newsletter and our daily coverage of the media world.

And we will see you back here next week.