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CNN RELIABLE SOURCES
Source: Fox News Suspends Jeanine Pirro for Two Weeks; Are Tech Giants Doing Enough to Protect Users?; An Unsolved Mystery: Fox's 2016 Story About Stormy Daniels; Trump Complaining About Late Night Comedy Again; C-SPAN Celebrating 40 Years Of Government Transparency. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired March 17, 2019 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:19] BRIAN STELTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, I'm Brian Stelter. And it's time for RELIABLE SOURCES. This is our weekly look at the story behind the story, of how the media really works, how the news gets made and how all of us can help to make it better.
This hour, the mosque attack in New Zealand and how it was made for social media. What more should the tech giants be doing to protect users? We'll get into that.
Plus, Dan Rather is here with his view on how white supremacist terrorism is being covered by the media.
And later, an unsolved mystery about a Fox News story that wasn't published before the election.
Lots to get to, but let's begin with exclusive reporting about someone who's on the president's mind right now. That's his Fox News friend Jeanine Pirro.
As you know, Pirro was widely denounced last week for doubting Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's patriotism. Fox publicly condemned Pirro's statements. But here's the part you don't know, Pirro was suspended by Fox after the episode according to a source familiar with the matter. That's why she was absent on Saturday night.
Now, Fox is declining to confirm or deny that she's been suspended. They're not saying either way. The network says, quote: We are not commenting on internal scheduling matters.
So, will she be back next weekend?
Well, President Trump hopes so. Bring back Judge Jeanine, he tweeted a short time ago. You can see his three -- his full three-part tweetstorm here. We'll put it up on screen.
What's remarkable about this tweet storm is that he's telling Fox News what to do and giving free advice to the network. He's essentially telling the Murdochs, hold firm, stay strong, don't be pressured by anybody, be what you want to be.
He's saying Fox is number one. No one can take that away from you. So, that's where we are. The president telling his favorite network
to toughen up, stay strong, partly due to this. Did you see this the other day? It was a protest right outside Fox News headquarters in New York City. This protest on Wednesday coincided with a big fancy event for advertisers. Fox was bringing in ad buyers trying to pitch them to spend more money with Fox.
So, the anti-Fox group Media Matters organized that protest and, of course, they also organized the release of those offensive clips of Tucker Carlson, those clips from 10, 15 years ago on a shock jock radio show, actually from 2006 to 2011. Media Matters says those clips are relevant today because of Carlson's behavior on the air today.
So, look, Fox right now has multiple issues on multiple fronts. Carlson is one issue, Pirro is another. And these attempted ad boycotts might be the most important issue of all.
Joining me now to talk about this is Katie Rogers, a White House correspondent with "The New York Times." Nayyera Haq, she's a former Obama White House senior director and a host on SiriusXM Progress. And "Baltimore Sun" media critic, David Zurawik.
Katie, let's begin with the tweets about Judge Jeanine Pirro. The president loves this show. He must have been flustered when it wasn't on the air.
KATIE ROGERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right, he watches it every week, I think. He tunes we know that he tunes in every week. It's a primetime Saturday night things for him. He tweets for his supporters to tune in with him. It's like a live experience for him.
We know that he calls in when he feels like it. In January, he spent I think 35 minutes talking to Jeanine the need for a national emergency over the border. So, to cut this sort of oxygen off --
ROGERS: -- is a big deal to him.
STELTER: Right, even if it's temporarily, even if it's only for a week or two weeks. By the way, I have no indication that she's been fired. My source specifically says Pirro has not been fired. So, she will be back, David Zurawik, but she's in the penalty box right now.
Does it surprise you that Fox postponed, preempted her show this weekend? Does it surprise you that they're drawing a line on this?
DAVID ZURAWIK, MEDIA CRITIC, THE BALTIMORE SUN: You know, I was expecting -- last night I went to record it because I wanted to write about it. I said, whoa, she's not there, what's going on? And your reporting now that she was suspended.
So, you know, I think -- I'm not surprised given -- look, it's news in this sense to me, Brian. I think them suspending her and the president sending out these remarkable, just utterly remarkable tweets for the president of the United States telling a cable channel what to do, you know, with three tweets in a row, I think it says that the "New Yorker" story last week, pulling together the things all of us have been writing for two years, and the boycott, and Media Matters, is having an effect on them.
And I really think it's a bottom line effect. They can say, oh, no, we're just moving Tucker's ads to other day parts, blah, blah, blah. Look, you take ads out of prime time and move them to another day part, you're talking about a smaller audience, a reduced rate, unless you give them multiple places.
[11:05:07] You can't keep doing that forever, you know?
STELTER: Let me put on Tucker's Friday night ads versus Chris Hayes on MSNBC. And viewers can see the difference, 11 minutes of ads on Tucker Carlson's show, versus 16 minutes of ads on Chris Hayes' show. Other cable news shows, up to 20 minutes of ads.
So, Tucker's show has definitely taken a hit as a result of this progressive group ad boycott.
Nayyera, I wonder what your view is on these boycotts, though, because they are very controversial. And a lot of folks on television network say it's inappropriate for -- anybody partisans on any side, to be advocating an ad boycott.
NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: Well, there's two ways that people make their voices heard in our democracy, at the ballot box and also when they fork over money for a product. In that sense, what you end up watching on TV is part of the product that you're receiving. So, organizations across the political spectrum, right and left, have been using this tactic of social consciousness and awareness to influence how coverage is done.
Now, to be frank, Judge Pirro's show is not a news show. It is an opinion show. So, it's interesting to see that that opinion that she espouses on her show is now being countered by the opinion of many consumers and them using their power.
It would be shocking, I think, if after her comment about Muslims having -- not being part of the fabric of American life and not being able to be loyal to America, and the New Zealand attack happening the night before her show is supposed to air, if she was on air, having to either apologize, which I don't think that anybody at Fox is ready for her to do publicly, or for her to double down in light of what these attacks were.
Either way, the comments that she had made last week about Ilhan Omar were a part of a much broader fabric of how people are justifying the attacks on immigrants, the attacks on immigration policy, and are part and parcel of a broader white nationalist rhetoric. So, probably better for her and all involved that she wasn't on TV last night.
STELTER: That's an interesting point. I mean, she had advertisers say they're avoiding her show. Carlson's show had the same. And there's that graphic showing Tucker versus Chris Hayes, one night, to show you the difference between the two programs.
Look, David Zurawik, Media Matters is clearly an anti-Fox group, a liberal group. They unearthed all those clips of Tucker on the radio. Then, "The Daily Caller", which was co-founded by Carlson, brought up some old comments that the head of Media Matters made in the past that were offensive and gross.
So, there was a back and forth, both sides pointing figures. Is it all about distraction?
ZURAWIK: Brian, it's much worse than a distraction. When I saw that, when I saw the show last week that Carlson did where they brought up the blog post of Angelo Carusone, I looked at it and I thought -- I was so dispirited, it reminded me of 2009, one of the low points in cable news, when Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck were calling on air for, quote, dirt on the other party. It was almost as if they were putting a bounty on each other.
And I thought, is that the conversation of democracy that we want on cable news? No. The marketplace -- not the marketplace -- well, maybe the marketplace, I don't know what.
But both of those folks got pushed to the margins. They didn't get silenced. They got pushed off the big platforms they were on, MSNBC and Fox. I thought that's the way it should work. Don't silence 'em, move 'em off.
But that's exactly where Tucker Carlson was taking this thing again with his attack on Media Matters rather than responding to the charges.
And by the way, Brian, what he said on Bubba the Love Sponge in 2006 to 2011 is one thing. It's sickening, it's disgusting, it's vile. It says so much about what kind of person he is.
But what bothers me more is what he said in December about immigrants, about letting people into this country and that making us poorer and dirtier and more divided. That's the rhetoric of Trump. And that's the rhetoric going to the base of anti-immigration, racist talk.
He got a pass on that. The boycott started and then the holidays kicked in and it kind of fizzled. It's coming back. I think that's part of what we're seeing now. That's ugly, ugly stuff that he does.
And I'll tell you what. I don't like an ideological group necessarily starting the boycott, but you know what, if it gets people like him off the air, I'm fine with it.
STELTER: Tucker is claiming that most media outlets want Fox to get shut down. Here is what he said at one point this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: They would like Fox News shut down tomorrow, the other news channels agree with that. They would like it too. They're trying to do it now. (END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: That's not what I want. David, is that what you want, Fox to be shut down?
ZURAWIK: Absolute -- listen, when President Obama went after Fox, you can look it up, Jake Tapper and I were the two who said the executive -- the executive branch does not get to say what is and what is not a legitimate news organization.
[11:10:14] I defended Fox. I thought it was good to have voices from the right. They went to a different place when they threw themselves in totally as part of propaganda arm of the Trump right wing machine.
And, by the way, great point about what's going on with these tweets. I wonder if it shows, and this is something I've been writing about a little, is that Trump's plan for this great right wing messaging machine with Fox and Sinclair and Breitbart and all the rest, it's cracking up. He's really lecturing Fox, saying, you guys have to do what I say, Judge Pirro is upset about this, I'm telling you put her back on.
If they stand their ground on this, I'm sure it's Fox trying to say, hey, we're not totally under his control. We're not a propaganda arm. And they might need to do that for their own financial reasons right now.
STELTER: I mean, for the record, if Tucker Carlson is watching -- I don't want Fox News shut down. I just want Fox News to be a healthy part of the media ecosystem. And the spread of misinformation that happens on these programs is unhealthy. I think it's an as simple as that.
Anyway, stick around. We're just getting started here. I want to turn for a moment to the live streaming of a massacre.
We know that people keep streaming these killing sprees on social media. So, what are Facebook and YouTube doing about it?
After the break, I want you to meet Andy Parker. His daughter Alison Parker was shot and killed on live TV by a man who streamed the whole thing. And now, Andy has a challenge for Google. That's next.
[11:15:30] STELTER: A man picks up a weapon and a camera. He streams his massacre. He lets the whole world watch. Facebook, YouTube, they say they were trying to take the videos down as fast as they could.
Facebook says in this case in New Zealand, people tried to repost the massacre at the mosque more than 1.5 million times in just 24 hours.
We've said it before. We'll say it again. It's the world's worst game of whack-a-mole. This gruesome video gets posted, these sites try to take it offline, they don't move fast enough. But if you're looking for simple answers, there aren't any. There are
not simple answers to these problems. You know, in the past, before the age of online radicalization, in the past, racists would meet up and share ideas in person, at Klan rallies. Well, now, the Klan rally can come to you.
This journalist quoted Jill Finkelstein of the Network Contagion Research Institute, saying something that really stuck with me this weekend.
He said here: White supremacists aren't just going to a KKK rally anymore, they're living in a KKK rally. And this rally isn't just happening once, it's happening 24/7, all the time, with hundreds and thousands of others. Occasionally, someone will leave it and go kill people.
That's the best way I've seen this expressed, this explosion of white supremacist terror all around the world, enabled by these online communities where people can share these awful ideas. And yet, the Internet has also been a miracle that has connected the world and provided thousands of wonderful opportunities and capabilities that we didn't have before. There's this tension between the positive and the negative social media. And that's why I say there are no easy answers here.
But unfortunately, staging attacks for an audience, using social media and the camera on your phone, it isn't just happening in New Zealand. The terror attack in New Zealand was not the first time that we've seen a murder play out live on Facebook. It was not the first time we've seen an attack posted onto YouTube. It's just the latest, worst example.
Think back a few years to 2015. You probably remember a terrible day when two reporters at WDBJ in Virginia were broadcasting live, 6:45 in the morning, when a gunman came up to them, an ex-employee, came up and attacked them. Both journalists died. The woman they were interviewing was wounded. And a few hours later, after the attack, the gunman posted his own video of the killings on social media for the world to see.
He posted the body camera video. He wanted people to see what he had done. That was the beginning of this age of streaming death, an age we're all still in.
So, I want to talk more about that and what can be done about it. I'm joined now by Alison Parker's father, Andy Parker. Alison was the reporter there that day, just doing her job. Andy is remembering her with a new book titled "for Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father's Fight for Gun Safety".
Andy, I don't mean to take you back to that day, but when that video was posted on social media, these companies tried to take it down. They said they were doing their best. But here we are four years later, another example of this problem, these companies are not able to keep up. What is your view of the responsibility these technology companies
have, when people are using their platforms to post the worst, most obscene kinds of video?
ANDY PARKER, AUTHOR, "FOR ALISON": Brian, thanks for having me on.
I seem to be in the middle of a confluence of events here. As I wrote in my book, I've taken on the NRA in my fight to prevent gun violence in this country. I figured now while I'm at it, I'm going to take on Google for what they've done or what they, I should say, have failed to do.
The videos of my daughter's murder, which thankfully I've never seen, is like a landline out there that I've been able to avoid. They're still up -- they're still up there. And they're still floating around on Google platforms.
And to your comment earlier about Facebook taking down 1.5 million attempts to repost the New Zealand videos, Google hasn't done that. They just -- they -- and, you know, the frustrating thing is, Brian, they have the technology to do this.
[11:20:08] And they just simply won't.
And that's why I've engaged the Georgetown University Civil Rights Law Clinic to help me go after these guys.
STELTER: But you know what they say. They say, this is a really hard problem. We're doing everything we can. Do you believe that?
PARKER: I've heard that B.S. now for two years. The response that they came out with in the aftermath of New Zealand is the same thing I've heard again for two years. Well, we're working on it. We're creating new terms of service.
And all it is is a tap dance. Google profits, ultimately profits from the deaths of the people at Sandy Hook, the Parkland families, my daughter's murder. Every time you click on -- you know, any time you click on a video and it sends you to another related video, Google collects your data then turns around and sells it. And I can't tolerate and won't accept the fact that they're profiting from it.
STELTER: And that's the larger problem, this radicalization engine that exists on YouTube and other sites. You watch a video, it gives you more videos just like it, and if you're watching hateful conspiracy videos, you're going to be given more of that junk that's going to fill up your mind.
You've been the target of some of these conspiracy theories. People have claimed Alison didn't actually die that day. How have you responded to these insane conspiracy theories?
PARKER: Sure. And of course I'm a crisis actor and Alison is living in Israel with cosmetic surgery.
You know, I don't really pay attention to it. I think it's a lot of noise. But Google and these social media platforms, they have a responsibility to have some human decency. And frankly the onus should not be on me or Lenny Pozner or Sandy Hook families or the Parkland kids to flag content, you know, this conspiracy content, murder videos, basically what's tantamount to a snuff film.
PARKER: They shouldn't be putting the onus on us.
STELTER: Right, it shouldn't be the victims that have to find it. Right, it shouldn't be the victims.
PARKER: Right. No, it shouldn't. They should be able to -- they should demand that any of these cretins that are trying to upload this stuff, you tell me why we need to upload versus why, you know, Mr. Parker, tell us, watch the video of your daughter being murdered and then tell us what's objectionable about that content. Nobody but ISIS would do something like that.
STELTER: I do want to ask you, Andy, about one counterargument that's been made in the wake of the New Zealand massacre, Virginia Heffernan, for example, writing for "The Los Angeles Times," saying, why do people need to be protected from these videos -- this murder in New Zealand, for example. Shouldn't people see the horror of white supremacy?
That's the argument she's making this "L.A. Times" column. But it's definitely an argument that many people are fighting against. What's your view as a person who has been the victim of this?
CARTER: Well, you know, I see the argument. I don't agree with it. There is -- there's a limit to free speech, just like you can't yell "fire" in a theater. There's a limit to free speech.
There needs to be some measure of human decency out there. Showing murder on video, that shouldn't be out there. If affects people that -- you know, families, victims of -- family members and victims of gun violence, you know, they shouldn't have to see that.
STELTER: Yes. Andy, thank you so much for coming on. My condolences to you, and thank you for continuing to stay active about this. Google needs to hear from the people that are affected by this.
CARTER: Well, between me and Lenny Pozner and the Honor Network and the Georgetown University Civil Rights Law Clinic, and with Senators Warner and Kaine standing by, we're going to take these sons of bitches to heel.
STELTER: All right. Andy, thank you so much.
CARTER: Thank you, Brian.
STELTER: Again, so much light that comes from the Internet, so much light, but also so much darkness. We're going to continue this conversation after the break. We're
going to talk about the president's reaction to what happened in New Zealand. Dan Rather and others join me, right after this.
[11:28:46] STELTER: Hey, welcome back to RELIABLE SOURCES. I'm Brian Stelter. Political leaders in this day and age need to be tech savvy. I mean, we all knee more tech literacy in this world.
But that's not what we're getting from the president, are we? Take a look at these examples in the last few days. His views about climate science are hurt by his friends at Fox News. When that climate denier showed up on TV, Trump approvingly quoted and added his own reaction saying wow.
So, he's promoting the idea that climate crisis is fake but border crisis at the border is real. Meanwhile, that keeps happening.
Look, there a lot of other examples of tech illiteracy, and I don't just mean calling Apple CEO Tim Cook as "Tim Apple." This week, Trump claimed that referred to Tim Cook as Tim Apple to save time, remember? And, of course, Trump took another stab there at fake news.
There's other example of this lack of technology information and expertise. Sadly, this came up again after the tragic crash of that Ethiopian jet. The president's tweet about it, you know, his comment about how planes have gotten too complicated, he said that the pilots don't know how to fly these planes anymore. What he effectively said was it was better back in the olden days.
And that's the message from the president over and over again, even though he's also calling for a space force. There's this tech illiteracy that we see over and over again that reminds us more of this day and age than 2019.
[11:30:00] Let's talk about it with a number of folks here with me including legendary journalists, a former CBS T.V. News Anchor and current anchor of The Big Interview on AXS T.V. Dan Rather, back with me here Katie and Nayyera as well.
Katie, you wrote about this this week so I want to ask you about this first. You wrote about the President oftentimes thinking that older is better, and we've seen this for the past two and half years or is this new?
KATIE ROGERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I don't think it's new at all. I was -- after I wrote that piece, a cable guy messaged me and said he and installed the President's cable back in Trump Tower and they had to consolidate from two remotes to one because it was too confusing. It's just he's 72. He's of a generation where he you know, is not technologically adept at a lot of things.
He's masters Twitter and his DVR but like this is -- this is who he is, but also he relies on the extra advantage of being able to go up in front of his supporters and say come with me to the past when things were better.
STELTER: Yes. Let's go back to the good old days.
ROGERS: Yes. And so I think a lot of that, it's like he likes tech that he likes and then the rest of it is an opportunity to fit into this wider message of America was good when we had coal and steam power and you had jobs. And it all fits into like come back to the 50s with me.
STELTER: Yes, to a narrative. And here's why I think this matters. I think it matters because we're all reeling from yet another white supremacist terror attack from a man who apparently lived online. The suspect has this awful digital history. But if the President and his aides don't know how the web works, don't know how the digital age works, if they're not savvy about this, how can they effectively respond to this rising threat of extremism on the Internet?
DAN RATHER, ANCHOR, AXS T.V.: Well, the answer is not very well. But look, we have -- we have to deal with reality. This is a whole new age and the president has this the strongest, the most powerful platform for propaganda that humans have ever had. No president has ever had this kind of reach accommodation of television and radio the internet, social media tweet.
STELTER: Twitter, he does love Twitter. That's his one tech savviness, yes.
RATHER: Well, with all respect, I don't think his age being 72 is any excuse of not keeping up. He's basically anti science. When you talk about being -- he says about climate change, oh that's in a wider context. Actually this administration led by the president is downgrading science at a very time we need to be leaping forward keeping up with science. They're cutting research and that sort of thing.
But you know, with Twitter much of the time, not all of the time, much of the time, I sense the public has -- the public has a sense that they're facing a manure spreader in a windstorm. It just keeps coming -- this keeps coming and coming in coming at you. It's ridiculous but it's unrelenting and he understands the value of that.
But for the rest of us and for the public at large, it's time you know take a deep breath, say to yourself stay steady. Keep in mind that this is a tremendous tool for propaganda seeing that context and do the best we can.
STELTER: The President also said on Friday, he doesn't believe that white nationalism and terror attacks, as a result, are a growing threat. He claimed there this is a small group that's engaging in this. Isn't this another example of the president disregarding his own intelligence agencies, right? Not only is he not understanding what's going on on these devices, but he's also disregarding his own government agencies and intelligence.
NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: Yes. It's absolutely willful ignorance that plays into his own political agenda. Because let's be real, there's a -- he would not be messing up the name of Vladimir Putin at any point. That's not a name he's going to forget anytime soon. And that situation there where he ignored his intelligence, 17 came together to say that Russia was interfering in elections because that suited Donald Trump's agenda.
It suits his agenda given that he has the support of Stephen Miller, and when it comes to policy that Steven Bannon was his major instigator on his campaign. He even had Seb Gorka who used to actually wear Nazi uniforms openly as people who have guided and advise them on how to build his coalition and to maintain his presidency.
Each of these individuals has in their own lives advanced white nationalist narratives. And these come from actually the well even before the Donald Trump administration, right. You look at in 2016 while this campaign was going on, you had Ammon Bundy take over a federal facility with his militia in Oregon and it took about a month for police to actually make an arrest.
There is absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that if those perpetrators were black or brown that the police would have waited that long. So they tapped into the sense in American culture that white militiamen are standing up for their rights in a way that terrorists are not.
So it's that language that they take advantage of and continue to put into policy where you fast forwards of actual Trump administration in 2017 they downgraded white nationalist networks and right-wing extremism from the networks that Department of Justice and FBI were looking at. And they're countering violent extremism program.
They literally said the only people we are going to focus on our radical Islamists even though the majority by far, majority of attacks that have happened on American soil in the last ten years in which Americans have been victims were done by right-wing extremist.
[11:35:46] STELTER: That's it's a lot of information that folks need to understand and I hope that the press continues to shine a spotlight on it. Nayyera, thank you. Katie, thank you as well. Dan, please stick around. We have a little bit more for you after the break.
Up next here on RELIABLE SOURCES, a Sunday morning exclusive. I'll speak with an attorney who is at the center of one of the biggest unsolved Fox News mysteries. Stay tuned.
[11:40:00] STELTER: Did Fox News shelves this explosive story to help Donald Trump win the 2016 election? You know the story. It's involving Stormy Daniel. It's about the alleged affair. CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Fox like several other outlets were -- was pursuing a story about an alleged affair before the 2016 election day.
Fox Reporter Diana Falzone wrote a draft of a story about this but her editor tabled it, said it wasn't ready to publish. Well, Jane Mayer's recent New Yorker article brought this case back up. And Mayer reported that Falzone was told to "good reporting kiddo, but Rupert -- meaning Fox boss Rupert Murdoch wants Donald Trump to win so just let it go."
Her editor denies saying that and Falzone is not allowed to comment. When she left Fox, she signed a nondisclosure agreement. But maybe she's now found a way out of the NDA. Falzone's Attorney Nancy Erika Smith is joining me now. Nancy thanks for being here.
NANCY ERIKA SMITH, ATTORNEY OF DIANA FALZONE: Happy to be here.
STELTER: What's this way out of the NDA?
SMITH: It's not a way out, it's the law. The -- an NDA cannot stop people from participating in a government investigation. How could it? you can understand why.
STELTER: So this week you went on MSNBC and you floated the idea that if Diana Falzone was subpoenaed, then she'd have to cooperate. A few days later, the House what, which House committee reached out?
SMITH: Both oversight and Judiciary.
STELTER: So was this all kind of planned by you?
SMITH: Not planned at all. What happened was Jane Mayer wrote an article. I don't know who her sources were. Fox chose to send Ken LaCorte out to say things that are demonstrably false and that defame my client's journalistic integrity.
STELTER: Well, I don't know if he was sent out or not but Ken LaCorte is the editor who says he tabled the story for journalistic reasons, not to protect Donald Trump.
SMITH: Right. Well, he no longer works for Fox and somehow he had the draft, one of the early drafts where did -- he keeps that in his bedroom in a closet or something. So it seems to me like he was doing Fox's bidding by saying they didn't have the story. And it dawned on us while that was happening that Pecker from the National Enquirer had been charged with an illegal campaign contribution.
So when I was asked about it, I thought well, if there's an investigation, if there is a government investigation, I mean, it could be investigating lots of things. I mean it could be bribery after Fox News kills a story two weeks before the election that could be very damning. Not only that there was an affair with the porn star but that she was paid off. That's what Jane Mayer reported.
Then we know recently that the president specifically told the Justice Department to try to stop the AT&T and Time Warner merger which who are his competitors. And he regularly is tweeting and saying Fox News is a great news station and denigrating other media. I don't know whether that's a crime but somebody's investigating it and of course will cooperate in a government investigation were required to, and no NDA can stop anyone from doing so.
STELTER: So Falzone is going to hand over documents. When is that going to happen?
SMITH: This week.
STELTER: This week?
STELTER: And do we know when she's going to speak with the Democrat -- the House Committee?
SMITH: We're going to schedule that hopefully for later on this week.
STELTER: And when Fox says this is all about the Democrats trying to hurt Fox, what do you say?
SMITH: I say this isn't about Democrats or Republicans. This is about whether a media organization has made illegal campaign contributions or is bribing a president and whether the public has a right to know about it.
STELTER: Is that really possible? That sounds like you're stretching to me a little bit.
SMITH: Stretching what, that it's an illegal campaign contribution?
STELTER: That it was an illegal campaign contribution to shelve a story.
SMITH: To shelve a story that could change an election that was -- the Electoral College was won by 78,000 votes. I mean, he lost the popular vote by three million but 78,000 votes may not have been affected in the Midwest where the votes counted for the electoral college by the idea that the president paid off a porn star at a higher -- to cover up an adulterous relationship right after the birth of his child.
STELTER: I will grant you. It would have been a heck of a story in the final days of the election.
SMITH: It would have. It would have.
STELTER: Nancy, thanks for being here.
SMITH: Happy to be here.
STELTER: Good to see you.
SMITH: Thank you.
STELTER: A quick break here and then some other news, a story you might have missed about late night T.V. An interesting moment for NBC breaking up the late-night boys club. We'll have that in just a moment.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:45:00] STELTER: Hey, welcome back. What did this weekend's SNL have in common with the President's tweets? They're both reruns. Trump begin at Sunday morning saying, "It's truly incredible that shows like SNL not funny, no talent, can spend all of their time knocking the same person -- me -- over and over without so much of a mention of the other side.
He also complained about the Late Night show. So I'm not even going to bother mentioning that Jimmy Fallon knocked Beto O'Rourke the other night in this sketch on The Tonight Show. I shouldn't even waste my time pointing out that Fox and Friends showed the Fallon video this morning and loved it. I shouldn't bother because Trump's tweets are about rage and resentments not reality.
But this next tweet does matter. This next tweet from Trump does matter because someone's got to keep track of every time he invokes the use of government power to punish his critics. He wrote about those late night shows, should the Federal Election Commission and or the FCC look into this. So see he's technically just asking. But everyone gets what he's saying.
He finished the tweet by claiming he's got a 52 percent approval rating. You should probably wondering who's telling him that. Well, the conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports poll did have Trump at 52 percent for a single day last month but now he's back under 50 percent. And more importantly, Rasmussen Polls don't even meet CNN standards because among other things Rasmussen doesn't call cell phones.
Among more reliable polls, the latest Gallup Poll from early March has Trump at a 39 percent approval rating. But he's telling himself and his fans he's at 52 percent. I just want to unpack that. And for more unpacking, I'd bring back David Zurawik and Dan Rather. David, Zurawik, first to you. These threats, these empty threats the President makes about late-night shows, are you still disturbed by these or are you totally numb to them at this point?
[11:50:29] DAVID ZURAWIK, MEDIA CRITIC, THE BALTIMORE SUN: Well, we all get more numb, but I am disturbed by them. I'm cheered by the fact -- remember when he tried to interfere with the FCC an approval of the Sinclair deal and Tribune and he tweeted what a great organization they were and all that? He made it so obvious that the chair of the FCC ultimately rejected that deal.
So the president is really with his grotesque, over-the-top tweets on these things and showing his hand may be hurting himself. But man, the fact that he thinks he can interfere this way is still scary.
STELTER: It is. And here's something interesting about Late Night. You know, we've been talking about YouTube, the dangers of all this online radicalization, what's going on on social media, I've got to give a moment for a bright spot of the media this week.
Lilly Singh is a YouTube star who's getting her own show on NBC. She's going to take over Carson Daly's 1:35 a.m. slot on NBC this fall. She's going to be the only female host on any of the big four Network late-night shows. It's a big deal, David, to see a YouTube's are getting this platform.
ZURAWIK: Yes. I'm thrilled with the diversity. It's the right thing to do. It's the righteous thing to do. It's also good business. As you said, 14.5 million viewer -- subscribers to her YouTube channel. Look, any neck any network would like just a piece of that action so it's good business. Congratulations to NBC and to her especially for making this move. It makes us richer to hear more voices.
And I hope she gets a little more political in that spot during this election which is in some ways on the Democratic side at least very much about diversity.
STELTER: Yes. And one more turn for you, David, before bringing Dan. This is about C-SPAN. It is the 40th birthday for C-SPAN. I love C- SPAN. I bet both of you do too. C-SPAN is going to change its logo a little bit, get a little fresher. David, what's the significance to having C-SPAN give us access to the Congress every day for 40 years.
ZURAWIK: Bryan, I worship at the altar of C-SPAN. I love it. I love what they have done. Not only is it that they have put an eye in that Congress -- and you know is this is at a time when the schools and everybody else are cutting back on civics. You can turn on that channel and see it.
They've also given us a record. Their library of congressional hearings is invaluable. You know during the Affordable Care Act, I used to go to bed at night listening to C-SPAN radio and I knew every player in those hearings and what they did. So when the Republicans tried to lie in the midterms and say, oh we got you. Even -- insurance company can reject you. No, I heard all of them fighting it in those hearings. C-SPAN is great. It's just a wonderful --
STELTER: Happy birthdays C-SPAN. That's right, happy birthday C- SPAN. Dan, I'm going to ave to turn from C-SPAN to Breitbart. This is a tough turn. I mean, Breitbart, you know maybe a little more critical of in C-SPAN. They had an interview with the president this week. In the interview of Breitbart, the President made a comment about how his supporters and the police the military are tough.
He was basically threatening violence in the future. Does this remind you of any presidents in the past or we are in wholly uncharted waters?
RATHER: I think we're in wholly unchartered waters. When you have a president who isn't autocratic as autocratic as President Trump has been --
STELTER: Isn't he just an autocratic want to be though? He's just a want to be autocrat.
RATHER: Want to be autocrat. Sometimes, want to be autocratics turn out to be autocratics. And when you talk about using the military and the police, look, I'll cut my repertory teeth on the police beat. I can tell you there are a lot of lot of police and a lot of military people don't agree with President Trump at all. But to the larger point, when you have a president talking in these
terms, it's like way back in the presidential campaigns (INAUDIBLE) remember. When he's sort of threatened -- encouraged people with guns on Hillary Clinton. Remember, he said, well maybe our friends at the NRA can handle that.
He knows what the effect of that that is. And this is -- and I do think that people are increasingly recognized this is very dangerous to have a president talking in these terms. Words matter and what the president says matter, and it affects people particularly in the social media, internet page. It affects people not just in this country but all over the world. And it's something we need -- we really have to think seriously about.
One of the differences between President Trump and President Nixon, I'm keeping in mind that Tricky Dick the series is coming up.
STELTER: Yes, CNN has this series premiering tonight and it's all about Nixon. But when you watch it, you see these possible comparisons to Trump off the routes.
[11:55:05] RATHER: Well, you do. But one difference between Trump and Nixon, President Nixon tend to work through surrogates and behind the scenes, President Trump is out front. And some people say, well I like that he's out front. But he's out front with some very dangerous political thinking and rhetoric.
And a one difference between Trump and President Nixon, President Nixon said I am not a crook. President Trump's attitude is if you think I'm a crook, what are you going to do about it. That's a big difference.
STELTER: Dan, thank you. David, thank you. Speaking of that series, it is called Tricky Dick. It's premiering tonight at 9:00 p.m. here on CNN. And some of the similarities are remarkable. Some of what Nixon was saying in private, Trump is saying in public.
All right, that's all for this televised edition of RELIABLE SOURCES. We'll see you back here on T.V. this Sunday -- next Sunday 11 a.m. Eastern Time on CNN. Thanks for joining us.