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tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  October 28, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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remember horses were also used early in afghanistan by u.s. special forces, but that was not an official cavalry unit or official cavalry charge. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. i will see you next week. stay tuned for "reliable sources." every presidential campaign has its offbeat moments, but many in the media now seem to be gravitating toward the freak show. all kinds of strange stuff from ann coulter, gloria allred, sarah palin, and the donald's absurd $5 million offer to barack obama. >> we both know, everyone knows he's never going do this. so what was the primary -- >> i don't know that at all. piers, i don't know that at all. i think he will do it. >> there's nothing offensive about the word "retard" applied to the president? >> why are so many journalists covering the clown campaign? mitt romney spends the final debate agreeing with much of obama's foreign policy. >> i supported that entirely and
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feel the president was right. i want to underscore the same president the president made. i felt the same as the president did. >> i think romney's leaning obama. [ laughter ] >> but where on earth is the serious press coverage of their exchanges on libya, on afghanistan, on terrorism? plus, obama's media blitz from brian williams to jay leno to mtv. >> what are you most worried about? malia getting a driver's license, malia going out on a date, or malia being on facebook? >> i worry about facebook right now even just for security reasons. you know, she doesn't have a facebook page. >> are the media giving the president a friendly platform? i'm howard kurtz, and this is "reliable sources." did you know that mitt romney engages in spraytanning
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before major events? that is what buzz feed is reporting and "mass conjecture" in social media despite a denial from the romney campaign. this is ephemeral stuff that's been coloring the campaign challenge, a challenge from media organizations that ought to focus on sbons such azerbaijas foreign policy debates. all too often we have side shows like donald trump. >> if barack obama opens up and gives his college records and applications, and if he gives his passport application and records, i willing give to a charity of his choice, anything he wants, a check immediately for $5 million. >> you think the donald will be holding on to his money. are journalists spending too much time on what i've come to call the clown campaign? joining us in washington, michael shearer, political reporter for "the new york
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times." lauren ashburn, editor-in-chief of, where i'm also a contributor. and craig crawford who blogs about politics at and is the author of "the politics of life." michael shearer, i know there are good reporters at cnn and elsewhere, but is sounds like a lot of so-called clowns have hijacked much of the media coverage. why is that? >> i think for many of the reasons that they've been doing it for the past couple of years is that it -- you know, it gives them a platform that they wouldn't otherwise have if they didn't say outrageous things. >> the reason we're giving them platform is? >> well, i mean, i -- you know, i think in part it's because we are -- we have sort of descended to the bottom, you know, we're bottom feeding as a media. but i would argue, howie, that these things are having less impact today than they had six months ago or a year because they -- i think they have having trouble breaking through. the donald didn't break through with that in the way that he did or would have six months ago or a year.
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>> he didn't. but any individual story maybe not. when you combine -- look at the last week and clips i played. we could have played more. we'll come back to specifics. lauren ashburn, you were holding up your fingers -- >> let's talk money, right? you talk ratings, subscription sales, this is the stuff that americans love. they love this politics, the sport of politics. and it sells papers or whatever it sells, subscriptions now and ads on line. and i think that that's why you hear things like spray tan, and that's why you hear the candidates just talking about binders full of women. >> so it sounds like we are pandering to folks rather than giving them the campaign contribution they perhaps deserve. >> you and i disagree on this, howie. you want to cover -- you want to look at foreign policy, go to "the new york times." you want to go to the superpac app to find out what people are doing, there is serious news to be had. and serious reporters are writing about it.
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but i think the american people like their desserts more than they like foreign policy meat and potatoes. >> i want to get craig on this. the dessert has pushed the meat and potatoes almost off the plate. yes, you can find certain things. but take the issues, the polls show people care about -- tax cuts, medicare are. they too complicated, too boring to be on the newscast and top of the fronts page as opposed to donald trump or ann coulter? >> i think people do want more substance and aren't getting it. one reason they tune it on, it's like the twitter effect. if it takes longer than 140 characters to talk about it, we don't talk about it. it's easier to talk about spray tanning in that limited environment. >> you agree with me that it is easier, more fun, and potentially more successful to play the game of sport as opposed to this serious business of -- >> i'm not robbing a bank because that's where the money is, but i agree that drives it, as well. but i don't let the candidates off the hook. i think -- you know, when we
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start beating up ourselves in the media, we deserve our blame. but we've got campaigns that have no substance to talk about. i mean, and one what are their -- do they get on twitter, goat youtube with the ads? they spin us about polls. you ask the romney people to explain how they're going to pay for their tax cut. you don't get an answer. you want a jobs plan from obama, you don't get an answer. >> on that point of what the campaigns themselves are serving up, and of course we tend to cover what they are talking about, obama campaign ad has gotten a whole lot of attention the last couple of days. lina dunham, creator and star of hor's "girls," saying this about why she is swooning for the president. >> the first time shouldn't be with just anybody. you want to do it with a great guy. a guy what cares whether you get health insurance and specifically whether you get birth control. >> i said this on dailydownload, i wrote a piece on this. this is something that the campaign is doing to reach out to younger female voters. conservatives are going crazy about this kind of thing.
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but it is getting younger women to talk about women's issues. >> i didn't have any problem with that ad. had a couple of down to entendres, but so what? >> it's funny, interesting, at least that segment. it's outrageous to the conservatives. it's one of those things that people can latch on to and say, yes, i am for women's issues, she's right, this their is a joke. but i find it to be compelling because it's this young woman, an actress, who is being very cheeky. and in a way, that relates to younger people. >> you know, when the younger people see those conservatives complaining about that, i think it backfires with them. >> fuels the fire. >> makes them look like old fogeys. >> if you go back to the beginning of these debates, the beginning of october, i think between the debates and the myriad of campaign commercials that are focused on issues, they may not -- you know, they may be taking liberties with the issues, they may be distorting the issues, but i think the conversation that has happened
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in the last six weeks has, despite all of these things, has largely been a conversation about tax cuts, about the military spending, about -- >> numbers -- >> i'm not defending the quality of the discussion, but it's not been a discussion about the donald. >> on social media -- i do a lot of coverage on social media. on social media, it is so much easier to throw some snarky comment up there about binders full of women or about any of these little big bird things that sort of trend. >> but that's not what happened -- i mean, if the critique is social media being taken over, that's one thing -- >> social media is driving the mainstream unique option. here's why you're wrong -- it was only this past monday that barack obama and mitt romney met in boca raton to have the foreign policy meeting. substantial debate. bob schieffer let the candidates go at it without a firm hand. i predicted after the next day when everybody was writes being who said what and romney appeared more passive, that it would vanish. by the next day i looked at the
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front pages of the major newspapers and newscasts, and it was about the extent to which the debate might impact the outcome but no comment on what they said on syria, terrorism, afghanistan. let's look at how the folks at fox and more than reasnbc react third debate -- >> i thought the president was way too aggressive. the thing is -- they don't use horses and bayonets. >> the president came off at times petulant, angry. na, na, na felt. >> this was the worst performance of any candidate on foreign policy i can remember. >> he didn't sound like the hawkish guy who had gone to the hard far right rail in the primaries and caucuses to win. >> why does the substance of that debate vanish so quickly? and it wasn't just on twitter. >> part of it was that they agreed, right? had they disagreed more -- >> okay -- >> there might have been more. i think, no, i'm not defend -- there's always room for more of
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that. i'm just suggesting that i think some of the most outrageous stuff that has happened hasn't really caught on. hasn't really -- i haven't seen the donald's thing other than a side mention -- >> you watch cable news? >> well, maybe i should. >> part of is was how romney was moderating himself and endorsing a lot of obama -- >> i was going to say -- >> i agree -- >> the story -- >> that was part of the story that did get covered, but i think there was some reluctance in the media to give him credit for doing it because they don't believe. they don't believe he's actually moderating on these things. it was just a show on his part. and i think a lot of people didn't want to cover. >> there's also an issue of group think here. on my twitter feed, i follow a lot of journalists, i follow a lot of polls. everyone starts in on that one binders full of women or big board, and it keeps snowballing and snowballing and snowballing. and that's sort of the fun for journalists. they are three-screening it. they're watching tv, they have
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their computer, on their blackberry twittering, tweetsing, doing these three things. that's the point of it as opposed to writing the lead-all story. >> and than the debates themselves, i can tell you from firsthand observation. let's talk about comments that attracted attention that are serious but became more fodder for the war. you had sarah palin talking about president obama's dish on libya, accusing him of trying to shuck and drive. a lot of liberals jumped on because it's a phrase associated with african-americans. and john sununu on behalf of the romney campaign talking about colin powell's endorsement of barack obama and saying, well, i think because they're the same race. he later backed off that. it seems like everybody's always looking to pounce on any hint of racial phraseology, racial, you know, playing the race card as we like to put it. >> yeah. and i think, look, we have the first african-american president that we've had in our history, you know, and some of those feelings in the country have if
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anything intensified. i would polling would suggest over the past four years as people have, you know, have assessed his performance and race, obviously, comes into that. >> should we jump on these kinds of comments? >> no. i mean -- ideally i think, you know, to the extent that we cover race as an issue we should cover it as a serious issue and not jump on -- >> gaffe of the day? top of the hour? >> exactly. >> i think there's a strategy behind these comments. i mean, the white men that romney needs to build this campaign on, to win, i think this was a dog whistle to them. and i think it's worth noting. and i was fascinated to see sununu backing away from it, which i've never seen him do. >> right. but what was blunt and probably dumb, but the idea that african-americans would feel some solidarity with the first african-american president doesn't strike me as a horribly racists thing to say. >> it's the way sununu says things. he's the perfect angry white man. >> he's inflammatory which is why he's out there because he
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gets attention. come back to the contrast between the high and the low. we have 70,000 troops, 70,000 troops in afghanistan, even after the foreign policy debate, you said because they agreed. little discussion compared to li lina dunham and the ad. that got 20 times the discussion. >> coming back from the debate, i was at an airport and overheard a woman and group of average women talking about the war in iran. and i thought to myself, wait. should i go tell her it's really not a war in iran? but then later they're talking about things like we have been talking about here that are very lighthearted. and so i do fault the media for playing in this sort of fun game. but it does have serious consequences. >> i say if there's nothing they're saying that's significant and detailed and specific about how we're going to get out of afghanistan, when we're going to get out, what we're going to do in iran, it's all rhetoric that we hear. what is obama going do about -- really going do about jobs? you know, how is -- how is romney going to pay for his
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taxes -- they don't answer any of these questions. >> so you say that the candidates themselves are running somewhat empty -- platitudes. therefore you seem to let those of us in this business off the hook because -- >> i don't say -- >> we can do bayonets and binders -- >> i'm not shifting blame. i'm adding blame. >> you blame both sides? >> i think the candidates have given us so little to talk about that we run off in all these directions. i mean, look at their speeches. they're valpredoid stump speeches, a billion dollars in adsflation -- >> there's a place for some of the lighter stuff. i not the volume has gotten -- isn't this much more a valprepi campaign that 2008, the coverage? >> it was barely a force. >> right. >> there is a tendency to look and say this is worse than it's ever been. i think if you go back in 2009, in 2004, there were lots of examples of place where's we focused as a media on, you know,
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sort of -- >> but it wasn't really big. and this is the year of social media. in this presidential campaign, are you seeing social media roll over traditional media in a way that you didn't see in 2008. >> you think it's driving the conversation in many ways? i've got to get a break. up next, we go go to the cnn center in atlanta for the latest guidance on hurricane sandy. [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role
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with hurricane sandy threatening to blow away much of the political coverage and forcing the candidates to cancel many events, we want to go cnn cent center in atlanta and bonnie schneider with more. what can you tell us? >> right now the storm is several hundred miles away from making landfall. we do have the exact position -- 575 miles south of new york city. what's interesting on the 11:00 advisory is that the increased height for storm surge has occurred. this is for long island sound,
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rareton bay and new york harbor. six to 11 feet. higher than it originally was. people might be wondering, well, what is storm surge. it's an abnormal rise in the water due to a hurricane. as the hurricane works over open waters, we can start to see the wind working across the water. that might lift the waters height a little bit. when it starts getting closer to land, there isn't enough depth in the ocean floor. so the closer it gets to more shallow coastal areas, we tend to find more storm surge and the water goes up and over. the track takes it onshore late monday, tuesday, near the delmarva or south of new york city. this is a massive storm, the size is so large the wind field where tropical storm winds, several hundred miles. it's going to have a huge impact in areas inland, as well, with wind advisories posted. that's likely to cause a massive amount of power outages. you know, when you look at new york city, philadelphia, ten million people likely to be impacted. and then you also have these storm wind fields stretching
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further west. so cities like cleveland and pittsburgh may see power outages, as well. >> far from the atlantic ocean. people tend to forg get that the impact of the storm itself will be great. but it's the aftermath, days and days of people going without electricity that i think is going to be the true legacy of the storm that will affect the storm, as well. bonnie schneider, thanks very much for the update from atlanta. i will make one prediction which is that i will lose power. happens even when it sprinkles here in washington. in weather more coming up in a moment. cleaner energy,able, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air - by monitoring air quality and reducing emissions... ...protect water - through conservation and self-contained recycling systems... ... and protect land - by reducing our footprint and respecting wildlife. america's natural gas... domestic, abundant, clean energy to power our lives... that's smarter power today.
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>> i think you'll see a lost of people doing that now. no, why, why bother? you can get access in this age of social media to things snantdly. why do you need to talk to somebody off the record? you can get the stuff that you need. >> editor rick greene of "the register" told us he kept pushing for this to be on the record. couldn't get the campaign to agree. thought would be five or ten minutes. ended up being a half-hour. how do you have that interview off the record and then write a column scolding the guy who you just agreed that he could stay off the record? >> yeah, also i'm getting back to my obsession about -- here's an example of a campaign, candidate decides to talk to the media, takes serious questions from serious journalists and want it off the record, and we accept that. my blame for the media is accepting how these candidates don't give access. when i was on the traveling press corps for dukakis, he did pressers every day. these candidates, we've gotten used to -- >> sounds like 100 years ago. >> i know. i know. now we've accepted that we never have access to them. >> in the white house before it caved in, where the campaign
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complained about the editor's blog saying the fact that it should have been off the record. once they decided to make it public, it wasn't like barack obama had said anything differently than he says just about every day. >> we in the media are complicit in letting lots of people if off the record when we shouldn't. i think especially the president of the united states. i don't think whether it's ten days before a campaign or the first two weeks of his administration. i just think that the idea of putting the president of the united states off the record is not a good idea. there are occasions i good where you'd have to do it -- i guess where you'd have to do it. i think in particular in a case when the interview is pegged to -- you know, an editorial endorsement that's going to come out in a matter of days, just -- >> you know what, iowans got what they wanted in the end. and i say that this is because, again, of social media. so the editor writes that note, right? in the past he would have written that note, and where would it have gone? in his paper the next day. but now, it spreads like wildfire across the internet. and there's this public outcry saying, why is this off the
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record? this shouldn't be off the record. >> and what would happen if you said something newsworth? -- if he said something really newsworthy? would the writer have gone off the record and written it? >> to let the campaign wait and see what happened in the interview before you release it to make sure nothing bad happened, that's just no good. >> let's get to the larger issue here, "new york times" this morning endorsing barack obama, not a shock. "washington post" did the same the other day. "the des moines register," of course in a crucial swing state. do newspaper endorsements in this age of social media and blogs and everybody popping off every ten seconds, do they still matter? >> no. except when you're "the des moines register" and since richard nixon you haven't endorsed a republican and you do now. i think that in these momentous decisions where maybe even in 2008 newspapers endorsed barack obama and now they're endorsing mitt romney, that's interesting and newsworthy and i think could sway voters. others than that, no. you know the "washington post" is going to endorse barack
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obama. you know "the new york times" is going to endorse barack obama. >> right. clearly the newspapers matter in local elections and can matter in low turnout primaries. the "des moines register" and caucuses is gold. the argument is it's not just saying, hey, votes for this guy, a newspaper like the "times" makes arguments in favor of a candidacy, which can get picked up by others and commentators. does that just disappear into the echo chamber? >> i think it largely does. i agree with lauren. i would point out that many of these editorials are substantive in their pointing -- they're pointing out important stuff which goes to our last conversation. i'm not sure about the "des moines ridgester's" endorsement. i don't know how many people are really left who are in that persuadable category -- >> about 12. >> right. so 12 people -- >> in ohio -- >> maybe that will make a difference. >> i think you have to make tv ads out of joan doermof endorsem to have impact. >> they don't have the impact they used to. >> i think tv sad a good idea except that a lot of people will have no power this week and
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won't see them. lauren, michael, thanks for an interesting discussion. ahead, barack obama goes everywhere from leno to mtv. first, the horrifying abuse scandal at the bbc that stretches all the way to "the new york times." a. tell me fiona, who's having a big tire event? your ford dealer. who has 11 major brands to choose from? your ford dealer. who's offering a rebate? your ford dealer. who has the low price tire guarantee... affording peace of mind to anyone who might be in the market for a new set of res? your ford dealer. i'm beginning to sense a pattern. buy four select tires, get a $60 rebate. use the ford service credit credit card, get $60 more. that's up to $120. where did you get that sweater vest? your ford dealer. [ man ] hello!!!! hello!!!! [ all ] ohh! that is crazy! are you kidding me? let me see! oh! what! that's insane! noooo! mr. woodson? oh hello! hello!
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media organizations, it turns out, aren't very good at investigating themselves. a revolting sexual abuse scandal at the bbc justice keeps on getting worse and is echoing all the way to new york. jimmy savile was an incredibly popular bbc personalities. now this are accusations that he abused more than 200 boys and girls before his death last year. the bbc program "news night," to its credits, started looking into the allegations and interviewed at least one alleged victim. the program's editor killed the investigation last year. what i would call a cover-up if it were done by the government. instead, the british network, itv, interviewed alleged victims and broke the story. the former head of the bbc, mark thompson, is the incoming chief executive of the "new york times" company. and "times" ombudsman manager red sullivan has urged them to
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cover his role more aggressively. the "times" ran a lengthy piece on thompson's role. earlier he told them, "i was not notified nor briefed about the investigation, nor was i involved in any way not to complete and air the investigation." "during my time as director general of the bbc, i never heard allegations or received complaints about jimmy savile." later he also told the times he had heard from a colleague that "news night" was investigating savile but didn't know the details. he said he shared this with other bbc managers and was told the story would not run for "journalistic reasons." this is to see the least a serious problem. the bbc has approved an internal investigation and will have an expert look at sexual harassment claims dating back to the '70s. chairman patton of the governing body writes in "the mail" can it really be the case that no one knew that he was doing? did some turn a blind tie criminality? good questions. the whole thing is a bloody shame. would have been far better had the journal still "news night"
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been allowed to do their jobs even though their target was an icon at the bbc. up next, with all the focus on trump and coulter and binders and bayonets, have the media dropped the ball on mitt romney's move to the center? omip with the theory of relativity, the next... stop, stop, stop! my car! not so much. but that's okay. you're covered with great ideas like optional better car replacement from liberty mutual insurance. total your car, and we give you the money to buy one a model year newer. learn about it at liberty mutual insurance. responsibility -- what's your policy? ♪ ♪ one, two, three, four ♪ you say ♪ flip it over and replay ♪ we'll make everything okay ♪ walk together the right way ♪ do, do, do, do
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we're going to put aside ann coulter and donald trump and lina dunham and hurricane sandy for a moment and focus on the substance of the campaign coverage. joining us for that here in washington, matt lewis, senior contributor at "the daily caller," and john arvosis, founder of "america blomerameri" arvosis, where is the driving day-to-day media coverage about mitt romney especially in the debates moving to the center, away from where he had been? >> i don't think you're seeing a meta narrative which is what's going on with romney, what's the larger question about he's not just moving to the middle, he seems to be continuing this series of flip-flops, lies you might call it, on issue after issue that's been going on for years. whether it's gay rights, whether it's immigration, guns, whatever. my suspicion is that the media sort of doesn't want to be in a position of being arbiter. they think our job isn't to police whether you're telling the truth or not, we'll do he said/she said. i also think that the media thinks, yeah, he is lying and
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all politicians do that, who cares? >> lying is a bit strong because politicians do modulate their positions. but it seems to me that journalists do love flip-flop story, that was earlier in his career as massachusetts governor. maybe you'll disagree in this instance, i think>> reporter: has gotten a pass. >> i think you're rights. it's baked into the cake. people know that mitt romney has held different positions on different things, and i think that barack obama tried to make that points desperately. >> rom-nesia is a favorite line? >> right. it reminded me of republicans trying -- voters don't care. i think for the last debate, what they wanted was somebody who passed the commander in chief test, who seemed moderate and reasonable, and i think mitt romney gave him that. i think he passed the test. and i think that, yes, the press hasn't focused on it, but i think it's because people -- it's part of the narrative for him, old news. >> here's my problem. the guy campaigns for two years and talks about tax cuts and obama care and the whole panopoly of issues.
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then mentally he changed -- he is in different tone and emphasis at the least. the question that the press seems to be asking is, is it working? >> i think it's twofold -- >> it probably is -- >> is that the only question that journalists should be asking? >> no. i think matt's saying, it may be working, but again, from my perspective, you get to a certain point where you change your story so much as a politician that you have to -- and frankly, i would go so far as to say, you know, romney putting out ads talking about obama's apology tour or -- or today on the auto bailout where he's fundamentally changing his story 180 degrees. and you have to ask, is there a character question involved? even with obama, look, i wasn't happy four years -- i forget what it was, a main issue that he had flip-flopped on. it was a main issue i was ticked about. i think like there's so much going with romney that it's fair to ask, is there some being this guy's character that is wrong. >> i've intuitively believed that mitt romney is a moderate. he feels like a mort, and i think he had to go to the right in order to win the primary.
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by the way, some of it's tonal, right? both sides conflate ylg with -- >> when he was saying i was a severely -- now he's revertsing to what he feels more comfortable with. i think that's right. >> absolutely. >> doesn't that raise questions of credibility about what he was doing for those two years? and isn't it fair for journalists to say, well, exactly which president romney would we be getting? >> i think it's entirely fair, but i don't think it's going to move the public. i think that going back to the whole -- >> why would voters not care if a guy is all over the map? you say old news. >> i think it's old news, and i think that people intuitively believe that mitt romney is a moderate. i think that when he showed up -- let's go back to 1980. inkeep -- we like it bring up ronald reagan if you're a conservative. they wanted to cast him as this bellico bellicose, crazy right winger. he shows up, he's like animal,
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sen -- likeable, sensitive, moderates. that's what mitt romney has always done. but i think matt is correct people may not care. i agree with you that i think people should care. i care about when i'm not going to lose health insurance if mitt romney gets elect because i have pre-existing conditions, and i do. i brought this up before. i care about whether mitt romney would have bailed out the auto industry like president obama did or we would have lost a million jobs. i can't be at that voters care about those issues. they should. >> voters can care about anything they want. but journalists ought to hold candidate accountable. the same is true on barack obama's side. he hasn't been talking lately gay marriage -- >> the reason why -- >> he's -- if he flip flofs four times in a day on pre-existing conditions you hold hoim on it. >> "politico" did a story and "the daily beast," too about the romney transition, how he would govern. do the stories help him by
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creating a sense of momentum? >> no. as long as they're covering both sides, i don't care. if it's just a story about the romney transition -- >> you don't need a obama transition because he's already president. >> what's john mccain going to do when -- who's going to run the transition? >> nobody was doing three weeks ago what mitt romney was doing -- >> nobody believed that john mccain would be president at this point. people think mitt romney could be. i want to go back -- talked earlier about this clown campaign, rights, but how we're focusing on small things that don't matter that much. part of it is that we are responding to a marketplace. fair or not, good or bad. media and journalists -- look, i've written a lot of stories in the past months about the manufacturing crisis. and rustbelt states, it's going away and how hard it is on families. nobody cares. they get two commentses on it -- comments on it. it's frustrating, but if i write about trump, i get 100 comments. >> president gives a "rolling stone" interview and says he think romney is a bs-er.
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that's godden media fla-- gotte media flack. should it? >> i don't think so because we had george bush repeatedly flipping the camera at the camera. i put it on my blog once. dick cheney's famous -- the "go "f" yourself"? >> major league a-hole or something -- >> we don't have to go that far. >> new york times reporter. my suspicion is that -- my suspicion is it was intentional because it was meant to be little rough and tough, you know, the raw obama you don't see. i don't care. i could see the right trying to make hay. >> basically you're saying to the extent that the campaign gets attention it's because of marketplace forces, it's fun, easy. what about the extreme weather campaign? it seems that the hurricane is about to -- not just mess up the candidates' schedules but dominated certainly television. how much is that going to obl obliterate for a few days, the final week of the campaign? >> i think the things that drive
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reader ship, the salacious stuff, small stuff, big bird, i think whether it supports -- another world series happening now, by the way, as well. >> not close. >> weather is a houge story. all of us in the media feel pressure to report on things people like because honestly we're not making a lot nowadays with the economy. the weather is a huge story, what's going on. it will interfere with the campaign. >> it will take away from the amount of substance i predict. you'll see more processed stories. more moment sum building for mitt romney -- you're not going to get into the foreign policy minutia. >> the television has been known to hide weather stories. i don't think the storm is going to do a lot of damage, it's going to be a legitimate story, but sure is going to -- at least in part overshadow the campaign. john, matt, thanks for joining us. after the break, from leno to mtv, barack obama all over television these days. have these platforms been too friendly? ♪
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appeal award two years in a row. ffor help finding a plan that's right for you, give unitedhealthcare a call today. barack obama has been on a television blitz in the final days of the campaign, much of it centered around snrmt shows. from "the view" and "the daily show," he talked about the debates this week on jay leno's couch. >> the truth is this is not a natural way of communicating,
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right? you're sitting next to somebody and -- having an extended argument with them like that. and -- >> but you're married. [ laughter ] >> well, i am. but the difference is -- is that with michelle, i just concede every point. >> yeah. concede every point. yeah. >> president also let brian williams tag along with him for two days, producing a wealth of coverage on nbc programs. >> after the excitement of '08, given the power of incumbency, you got bin laden. you did not expect to be sitting on a more substantial race than we are as we sit here today? >> no, brian. listen, you guys have some short memories, all right? folks in your business were writing me off a year ago, saying there's no way i would win. >> so what portrait of the president are these shows giving us? joining us is david zurich, television and media critic for "the baltimore sun." let's start with leno. you were not a find of the way jay handled the president's appearance. why not? >> as i said, they gave him the whole show except for the
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monologue and music. that's a lot of time. that's not oh, president obama dropped by today, jay. he got the whole show. that's a lot of free advertising. and jay spent it literally like a guy on his knees keying up one question after another so obama could drive -- like a driving range, drive him off into the distance. you saw even that where he asked him about the debate. you'd say, well, he asked him about a poor debate performance. >> he feddome. >> fed him the deadline make him look great and let him reconstruct the narrative of this is an unnatural act of debating. you want a real man like me here. >> is this because leno is a soft interview and wants to keep things light, or are you suggesting this he is leaning toward the president of the united states? >> honestly, i don't want to go there in terms of bias with people. i think that the president's campaign team is really, really savvy, and they only take him in to safe places, and they vet all this stuff. there are no surprises. kills me that veteran journalist was washington who are so
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cynical write, you know, the president's really witty and really fast on these replies. i'm going, you don't think it was scripted? look, on leno, this upset me about leno -- me about leno. they had facebook questions they said from viewers. and one of them is how do you cure romnesia. that's going too far. you're mocking the opponent. >> and using campaign talking point. what about mtv when bill clinton did it in 1994. does it still rock to go on mtv? >> it was boring. i was like why do you care. anyway, sway callaway, the dj was the interviewer, and sway asked good questions. he asked about president obama please address the people that graduated from college with so much hope for your campaign 2008 who now don't have jobs. he really laid it out. then president obama said well, you know, a college education
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will earn a million dollars, that study, sway never asked a follow-up, never came close to asking a follow-up and only would say uh-huh, thank you. he was kind of cowed by being with the president. >> the president doing morning joe, spent a couple days with the morning anchor. brian williams got extraordinary access for rock center and nbc news. >> you know what a fan i am of rock center with chelsea clinton and the bowing anchor where he bowed the president. in fairness, i thought he did a good job deconstructing what the campaign team was setting up, when they went to the fair in iowa, put hay bails around two men in suits, brian laughed about it, pulled it out, said folks, they put this here so you know we're in iowa. he did a good job, but didn't follow-up on questions. given what he did he deserves credit. >> the attack on libya he could
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have followed up. >> yes. >> mitt romney hasn't been on the shows since he did kelly ripa's show. not seeing him talk underwear on mtv. does it put him at a disadvantage? >> it gives president obama an advantage to reach different audiences as bill clinton figured out 20 years ago now. here is what i think is dangerous about it. you know, when president obama talked about the deaths in benghazi with jon stewart not being optimal, using that language, after a joke, a set joke where he said that's not very sexy in terms of something else, and stewart said you don't know what may be sexy to me. it demeans those kinds of -- four deaths should not be yuck yuck in the middle of a conversation on comedy central. >> on one hand, jon stewart is
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trying to get serious questions, not just a laugh fest. on the other hand, you say the ajay's ensee of kidding around about deaths of american diplomats troubles you. >> it says to me you demean the presidency. what we lose on this, president obama is great on the shows but we lose the gettysburg address, that end of the presidency, when you can speak to better angels and elevate us, he is taking us into late night tv on the couch instead of to gettysburg and that's a danger because we need that, too, from a president. >> these days the gettysburg address would be way too long for television, you would get a ten second sound bite. still to come, "the new york times" banned in beijing, a technology pundit outlasts arianna huffington, and a sobering message about journalism. media monitor is straight ahead. full-size pickups on the road. so, what do you think? [ engine revs ]
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time now for the media monitor. we look at the hits and errors in the news business. here is what i like. "the new york times" did deep digging into the family of chinese prime minister. they found his wife, son,
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daughter, brother, brother-in-law, and mother who was a school teacher control assets worth nearly $3 billion. beijing's reaction? blocking chinese access to the times website. michael arrington is returning as a columnist. this is why it is interesting. a couple years ago he sold his site for $30 million to aol, last year left after clashing with ar and a huffington after becoming the chief. she formed a crunch fund to write about silicon valley companies. huffington found it to be unethical. arrington is able to come back because arianna is no longer overseeing that unit. arrington says he will disclose any conflicts related to the investment. he should be either an investor or journalist, not both. my first taste of newspapers and maybe yours involve a certain reporter of "the daily
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planet." >> superman who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel with his bare hands, who disguised as clark kent, a reporter for a metropolitan newspaper, fights a never ending battle for truth, justice, and the american way. >> clark kent with low is lane and jimmy olson worked on important stories, when he wasn't disappearing into a phone booth. they had phone booths then to don his special uniform. in the latest edition of superman, he quits the daily planet with a speech about how journalism is giving way to entertainment. he is probably going to become a blogger according to usa today. you may call this a super stunt or another sign that newspapers can't catch a break. that's it for this edition of "reliable sources." i am howard kurtz. you can find us in the nonfiction tv section of the itunes store. back nextun