Skip to main content

tv   Reliable Sources  CNN  August 18, 2019 8:00am-9:01am PDT

8:00 am
...again and again and maybe just one more time. indulge in irresistible freshness. febreze unstopables. breathe happy. i'm john avlon in for brian stelter. it's time for "reliable sources," a look behind the stories, how the need yeah really works and how all of us can make it better. this hour we'll have a special focus. welcome to the disinformation wars. how weaponized lies are being spread through social media with the goal of inflaming divisions and undermining not just the free press but democracy itself. we'll have an exclusive report on the massive disinformation economy with aid quarter of a billion dollars being spent to put ads on websites devoted to fake news and hate news. also cnn's own clarissa ward is the subject of a russian disinformation campaign. we'll speak to her live.
8:01 am
donald trump hits a dark new milestone, raising new questions about how to deal with disinformation emanating from the oval office. first, the right has long accused the media of bias, but now some on the left are echoing those accusations. bernie sanders lashing out at "the washington post," accusing the pape of taking orders from its own, amazon owner jeff bezos. this comes as tensions over coverage of trump and race hit a fever pitch in "the new york times" news room with slate publishing a full transcript of the paper's town hall this 35st week where "new york times" editor spoke out on covering the president. saying, this is hard stuff. we're covering a president who lies and says outlandish things, but our role is not to be the leader of the resistance. with me to discuss is adam serwer, mary curtis, jim rootenberg and writer for "the new york times" opinion section,
8:02 am
bari weiss. welcome to "reliable sources. this resistance issue is not necessarily unique to "the times," but does journalism need to update its approach to confront the unique challenge donald trump presents? >> yes and no. i'll quote another executive editor at another newspaper whose transcripts are not out about their internal meeting. that's marty baron who said, we're at work, not war. i've written about this a lot. really, the truth is that the job doesn't change. it's being really aggressive about telling the truth. the trump administration, trump era forces us to be a little more aggressive because we're met with so much to report, so much disinformation, so much misinformation, so much division, so much direct affronts to what we do as
8:03 am
reporters. >> adam, you've been tough on "the times" with regard to their coverage of trump and their reluctance to brand trump as a racist, but do you rithink journalists risk playing into the -- >> i don't think that should be a concern one way or the other. the question is whether or not they're describing things accurately. if the president tells a bunch of women of color to go back to the crime-infested places from which they came, that is a classic racist trope and should be described as such. i don't think it's a question of -- this argument over whether they should be the resistance is actually a sort of straw man distraction from what's actually happening, which is people demanding that the time not moderate its coverage with elaborate euphemisms to describe things that can be described in more straightforward language. >> elaborate euphemisms, i like that. bari, do you think there's a growing problem with what is
8:04 am
termed -- >> yeah, i think that trump is the very, very obvious threat to the job that we're trying to do every day at places like "the new york times," which is to tell the truth, to surface surprising stories and to tell readers to basically be curators rather than almost like giving readers like a rat with a heroin pellet. giving readers what they want. >> i didn't see the rat with the heroin -- >> in a sense twitter and social media in general has become a bit -- has become another incredible pressure source on news rooms. that happens in more benal ways. jeffrey epstein is trending, we should get more op-eds on jeffrey epstein because readers are interested and they're going to do well, right? but then it can be -- it becomes almost like -- what i mean to say is we know that readers, our readers feel -- have very, very
8:05 am
strong feelings about -- let me just take an example -- transgender athletes. we know they have very strong feelings and that creates incredible controversy. we need to be very careful about the right way to write about that as to not isolate our readers. where once it was advertisers we feared angering. now it's readers. not only is it readers in general as an abstraction, you get the feedback from them immediately and right away. and that is an incredibly insidious threat, i think. very different one from trump, which is very blunt and obvious and blatant. but this one is, i think, more subtle. >> interesing. >> mary, you know, part of the conversation is the importance of reaching out to understand understanding. donald trump is supported by many, many people and there's an obligation to try to reach out beyond our various echo chambers to achieve that understanding. that's been a core part of what you've done as a columnist. is that sufficient in these
8:06 am
times when you're trying to build bridges or do you need to, as adam says, just call it what it is and if that shuts off debate, so be it? >> i agree with both of those things. you can call a thing a thing, as adam said. there was a reluctance to call trump's words racists. also, as you know, i have often reached out to different folks. i did a narrative on confederate heritage groups. i covered the first tea party in opryland and met a lot of folks whose rhetoric was personally offensive to me in some ways but i wanted to meet them as human beings. i do think that's incredibly important. at the same time you shouldn't soft soap what they're saying. you should quote them accurately, as jim said, we have to keep doing our jobs as journalists. and so i don't think it's basically getting into their heads and becoming empathetic so
8:07 am
much as shining a light and seeing what it is they're saying. also we can reflect, i can, as a columnist on what their rhetoric and their policies, and that includes the president, what effect that will have on all americans. i do believe after trump was elected when folks were saying it's economic anxiety and we bent off and looked for those examples of white folks who voted for him, that there was a reluctance to say underneath that may have been the resentment of a first black president. it may have been a certain tribalism and we're coming to that now. i think we have to walk that line. quote folks accurately. take into consideration their concerns. but also, you know, every journalist frames their story. we are not immune either. we bring our experiences as well. we have to be honest about that. >> be balanced about that but also wise and not be distracted by convention. >> don't be distracted by that and don't frame it in a way. look at our own biases. i think we -- we can't basically dismiss all the concerns from the candidates that we may be
8:08 am
biased. we should discern what it is -- what that kernel is. >> adam, i'll go to you. it was striking this week to see bernie sanders call out "the washington post," to see joe biden say his -- his team say, look, the coverage of the gaffes is totally disproportionate given who the president is. is the left catching onto this accusation of bias? is it warranted? >> no, i think these are two distinct lines of criticism. i want to say i disagree with biden and sanders' assessment of press bias against them. biden's verbal errors are newsworthy and sanders' accusation that the reporters at the post are following bezos' marching orders.
8:09 am
i think that in general the left has been critical of the media for a long time. it's a criticism of emphasis, of framing and sometimes of facts. as far as critiques of the media is an anger and frustration at the mainstream's press. unwillingness to necessarily create the same -- replicate the same alternate reality that trump and his supporters live in verbatim in the way pro trump outlets do. i think those are two different critiques. different in nature, different in substance. i wouldn't necessarily say i agree with either biden or sanders' critiques in this particular instance. >> you're saying asmet trick polarization. stick around. the white house is taking action against a reporter by officially suspending brian karem's hard pass for 30 days.
8:10 am
he states, i won't be the first and the les. white house press sect stephanie grisham has remained silent. a reminder, it has been 160 days since we've had a formal on-camera press briefing. up next, cnn's chief international correspondent clarissa ward is being investigat investigated. she joins us next and you don't want to miss this. -motor? -it's pronounced "mo-tour." for those who were born to ride, there's progressive. -it's pronounced "mo-tour." cdc guidance recommends topical pain relievers first... like salonpas patch large. it's powerful, fda-approved to relieve moderate pain for up to 12 hours, yet non-addictive and gentle on the body. salonpas. it's good medicine. hisamitsu.
8:11 am
8:12 am
trust us. us kids are ready to take things into our own hands. don't think so? hold my pouch. at t-mobile, for $40/line for four lines, it's all included for the whole family. like unlimited with netflix on us. and now with each new line, get one of our latest smartphones included. $40/line for four lines and smartphones are included for the whole family.
8:13 am
8:14 am
welcome back. cnn's chief international correspondent clarissa ward is fresh off a stunning months long investigation into putin's private army. exposing russia's mull hi prong presence in the region as well as links to kremlin cronies. she struck a nerve because a sa-minute video surfaced on a russian propaganda site showing surveillance of ward and her team. clarissa ward joins us from where she is on assignment. congratulations on a truly investigative report. you've covered some of the world's most dangerous conflicts but has anything like this happened to you before and did you feel in danger? >>. >> thank you, john, for having me on and saying that about our investigation. i have been to a lot of dangerous places. i have been the victim of propaganda and disinformation campaigns in the past. but this was certainly unique. this was a highly produced
8:15 am
15-minute video in which it was cleared we were being followed, we were be -- men said i paid them to say bad things about russia. this is deeply disconcerting, the fact that we were being followed. while we were in the central african republic, the deeper we started to dig in, john, and as we went out to the area where the mines are to look at russia presence in the diamond mines, we found ourselves being followed by a car full of white russian males. that really was deeply disconcerting because it was just a year ago that three russian journalists who were pursuing the same story about mercenary activity, russian mercenary activity were ambushed and killed. while this may have been just about intimidation, it certainly gave us pause for thought and concern about our safety as
8:16 am
well. and it hasn't stopped. i should add. just today another report from the same group surfaced, demanding that we admit to paying bribes and lying and threatening us with legal action in some countries if we do not do that, john. >> that's the convey they play ball. not the way we do. it's evidence of how close you cut to the bone of the kremlin, especially putin's chef, who is funding putin's in central republic as well as internet research agency for which he was sanctioned by the u.s. do you believe the chef is acting at putin's behest? >> broadly speaking a lot of analysts would say no way he could be doing what he's doing around the world without the direct blessing of the russian president, vladimir putin. and i think part of the reason we struck such a nerve is that very few western journalists have actually gone to the
8:17 am
central african republic. this is an incredibly poor, war-torn nation that has been largely forgotten by the world's media. once we were there on the ground, we were able to see how it worked, john. essentially he is sponsoring the mercenary muscle but he's also in charge of the company that is doing the mining in those diamond mines. and he's in charge of these -- i wouldn't call them news sites but websites pumping out propaganda and particularly that pernicious smear campaign against us. clearly we were talking about something they didn't want us to be talking about. in terms of the direct relation isship between he and putin, nobody rns the exact relation slip but everybody agrees there's no way he could be doing this without the blessing of the president. >> it's extraordinary to see you outline that closed loop between the business, the intimidation and the sites disseminating disinformation. clarissa ward, thank you very much.
8:18 am
when we come back, an exclusive report from the global disinformation index about how advertisers are unwittingly blank rolling hate news and fake news sites. we'll take a look at the lucrative disinformation economy. all money managers might seem the same, but some give their clients cookie cutter portfolios. fisher investments tailors portfolios to your goals and needs. some only call when they have something to sell. fisher calls regularly so you stay informed. and while some advisors are happy to earn commissions whether you do well or not. fisher investments fees
8:19 am
are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management.
8:20 am
8:21 am
the disinformation economy is thriving, according to a new report obtained by cnn ahead of its release. in a sweeping look at a nearly 20,000 domains suspected of forming the public, they peg revenue from promisetic ads placed on these sites at $235 million annually. that's a quarter of a billion
8:22 am
dollars at a conservative estimate. the gdi called the tally just the tip of the iceberg. here's one example of what we might call a misplaced ad. a clothing label advertising next to an article about how kim trails can, quote, infect men with homosexualithomosexuality. not a thing. a well insured article about a sandy hook conspiracy theory. that insurance company has broken ties with some lights on gdi's list. here to discuss the startling numbers is chief text nolgs is dan. how are these numbers just the tip of the iceberg? >> we took our catalog of about 20,000 sites we've collected we assess having a risk of disinforming the public. among those we took a sampling
8:23 am
and measured a number of different aspects of those sites including the traffic, the ad tech ecosystem elements in which they interact and tried to make as conservative an estimate as possible on things like how much money they make per visitor and what those traffic numbers -- >> this is at least that number. we should say some numbers are outright fraudulent. some are catering to the extremes and some ugly elements of human nature and others label themselves as satire but thir to skirt the rules. >> some label it as satire because it lets them get away from sending toxic narratives and saying we're only kidding. it's clear they're not kidding or there's no way to tell the difference. >> fascinating. matt, breitbart traffic has dropped significantly since 2016. take a look at this. they were enormously influential. traffic has fallen off.
8:24 am
that's in part because of the work y'all have done. that's not your word for it. that's steve bannon. let's take a listen to what he said in a recent documentary. >> this group called sleeping giants, a group of tech executives, they literally stripped out -- they took the 35 exchanges that saw the ads and they went away so ad revenue dropped 90%. >> how unwitting are advertisers when their ads end up on articles they want nothing to do with but they're, in fact, subsidizing. >> they're not very aware at all, to be honest. when sleeping giants got started in 2016, it became really apparent right away that advertisers were not aware of showing up on the site next to articles like hoisted high and proud, the confederate flag proclaims the glorious heritage. we let them know and they left. as steve bannon said they lost 90% of their ad revenue. we count 4300 advertisers have
8:25 am
left publicly the site. basically steve bannon is telling the truth, if he is, 90% of advertisers have left and they were pulling in $3 million from free advertisers that didn't know they were on that site. that shows you something is really broken in ad tech. >> i want to ask both of you, what do you i think this the next steps are that the platforms need to take? we'll start with you, danny. >> so, you know, it's partly the platforms and partly the advertisers themselves. they -- often as matt said, they don't actually know where their ads are ending up in this programatic world. they really have to demand of the platforms more transparency and more ability to block those sites and block whatever it is they end up paying for. because these are the folks that pay for the internet. they have right now in this, you know, distributed ad tech ecosystem very little say over what they're paying for. i think given the choice, they
8:26 am
would actively choose to not subsidize this kind of content, but right now they don't have the choice. >> so with great power comes great responsibility, as one said. matt, give me your concise solution to this problem. what do you think advertisers need to be doing and the platforms themselves? >> i think danny's right. some of it lies within ad tech and some lies within the customers that are buying the ads on the internet. google and facebook are, you know, two of the biggest players. they basically have a duoply. there's no competition. there's no regulation. even if something breaks there in terms of service, it's pretty clear they're not taking action and removing those sites from their ad network. it becomes incumbent upon advertisers to do something about it. they don't have the tools to do it so they unwittingly not just show up once but three times on sites they don't want to be on.
8:27 am
it comes down to advertisers -- for a long time they viewed media as reaching frequency and now they -- it doesn't only make them look bad but it's bad for society if they're funding hate and disinformation and harassment. >> it's called enlightenment self-interest. thank you very much. coming up, facebook is consolidating, whatsapp and instagram.
8:28 am
8:29 am
8:30 am
8:31 am
disinformation wars online, what are tech companies doing to contain the chaos? this comes as a "wall street journal" report says major companies are avoiding posting to real news sites to put their ad near controversial content. with me to discuss is dodi and cnn senior media reporter oliver darcy. i know you've been doing a lot of reporting on the disinformation economy. i want to quickly get your take on that stunning quarter of a billion dollars report we just released exclusively from gdi. >> i think when we think about disinformation, there are multiple factors that encourage it and are behind it. we've spoken the past three years about the political, ideological state, what we saw with russia posting disinformation. what we haven't talked a lot about and which was referenced in the global disinformation report is the financial. there are people out there, whether it's in macedonia, the philippines, anywhere around the world, running sites designed to look like u.s. news sites.
8:32 am
they're not particularly interested in ideology either way but it's purely for money. and who's supporting that? i mean, they're not selling these ads themselves. it's gooding. it's big ad networks. google said they're cracking down on it but clearly they have not done a good enough job. >> on the flip side is this new "wall street journal" report because this shows advertisers are blocking their advertising from digital campaigns. that number has gone up -- grew 33% from just last year alone. take a look at the -- the word isis, more than 200 blocked the word russia and more than 83 blocked the word obama. that's extraordinary. we're heading into an election and the emphasis downstream are serious. >> politicians are becoming radioactive and as the country becomes more divided, they don't want to be associated, it seems like, with political news stories. they are blocking articles with trump, also taking action
8:33 am
against stories about mass shootings. i think it's worrisome when you think about it on a larger scale as brands are losing money to google and facebook and they're already facing declining revenue, this makes it even more difficult for them to sell ads to major companies who normally would spend a lot of money with them. >> the alternative is what the romans called bread and circuses. let's talk about congress and facebook, two big stories out of facebook. bloomberg saying -- publishing an exclusive new report saying facebook has been paying hundreds of contractors to transcribe users' voice from the messener app. they were going to let users false information on the site to report that information. what took them so long here, man? >> i think what we see here is a trend with facebook. when this story was broken at bloomberg earlier this week, facebook said, well, the users who were involved in this opted in. when bloomberg poked a little
8:34 am
further they said, well, actually, we never mentioned there was human reviewers of this content. so always we see with facebook, i remember in the days leading up to the cambridge story, they say, this is standard industry practice. it's always yes, boss. as senator mark warner said this week, what the company is telling users they are doing, even if users read those terms and conditions, it's not always borne out in reality. users in this case, if they read the terms and conditions, they would have said machine learning is translating this for you. you read that and don't think any humans will be listening to snippets of your audio, which, in fact, they were. >> in addition to that, facebook owns instagram, they say you can flag misinformation to them and they might take action to reduce how much it's circulated. what's interesting is for months and months and months not only have users been flagging this but media organizations like cnn have been flagging to facebook
8:35 am
they have a problem with vaccine misinformation on their platform and still months later after facebook -- or instagram says they've taken action or going to take action, if i search right now, i just did it before the show, if i search vaccines on instagram search, i will be given and served pages that serve misinformation about vaccines. they're not showing the human and health services -- they're showing us misinformation and it's dangerous. facebook and instagram have said they are going to take action. months and months later these billion dollar companies have refused to do anything. >> we have to leave it there. the theme is, responsibility, folks. more responsibility. thank you very much. still ahead, with the great documentary "the big hat," revealing the dark political power harnessed from people's personal information online. the reporter who uncovered the truth will join us next. four lines, 40/liner it's all included for the whole family. like unlimited with netflix on us. and now with each new line, get one of our latest smartphones included. $40/line for four lines and smartphones are included for the whole family.
8:36 am
the first person to survive alzis out there.ase and the alzheimer's association is going to make it happen by funding scientific breakthroughs, advancing public policy, and providing local support to those living with the disease and their caregivers. but we won't get there without you. join the fight with the alzheimer's association.
8:37 am
but dad, you've got allstate. with accident forgiveness they guarantee your rates won't go up just because of an accident. smart kid. indeed. are you in good hands?
8:38 am
8:39 am
2016 campaign taught us a lot about disinformation and how harnessing personal information, targeted ad and intentionally undermine our ability to reason together. that's the focus of netflix documentary "the great hack" which shows how cambridge analytica. featured in the documentary is the journalist who broke the dam on the story.
8:40 am
invest gr carol cadalla and i asked her how she dug into this story. >> i think i had this different perspective on this. the people i was talking to right from the very start were saying, well, this doesn't actually even sound legal what they're doing with data in britain. and, in fact, the very first big article that i wrote on cambridge analytica, very early on, 2017, it triggered these two major investigations, both of which are still ongoing. one of which became this -- it's the biggest investigation in data protection investigation in the world. and we hope we're still going -- this was the investigation that seized the service from cambridge analytica office and fined facebook its maximum ever fine. >> one of the open questions,
8:41 am
speaking of an ongoing journey, is we know the mueller investigation interviewed people about cambridge analytica, in particular brittany kizer who was a principal and a whistle-blower. what was so striking to me is cambridge analytica is not mentioned in the mueller report. do you, based on your sourcing, think that's because it's an ongoing investigation, counter intel or somewhere else place, or they didn't find anything or chose not to pursue it because it's outside what mueller deemed as his purview? >> it's another ongoing mystery. does it form part of the counterintelligence aspect of the mueller report which is, you know, out of public sight, is that the reason? because it's not just that we know nothing about cambridge analytica from the report, we also know nothing about what
8:42 am
actually happened on facebook during the u.s. presidential election. and that question about whether there was any overlap between the targeting that the trump campaign was doing and the targeting that we know the russian government was doing with its advertisements, that's -- that question has not been answered. and it seems that hasn't even really been asked in america yet. this should be in public sight. this is -- you know, it's of paramount public interest that that information is transparent and it's made public and it can be studied by academics and by forensic analysts. >> we know also from "the great hack" one of cambridge analytica's study which -- the creation of a third-party movement not to vote. so, i think as you look at patterns of trying to suppress voeshgts that was one of cambridge analytica's stated
8:43 am
expertise. >> i find that so fascinating. we know, for example, we know that it was claimed that the trump campaign was running through different voter suppression campaigns. we know that at least one of those was racially targeted. >> one thing that is definitely disturbing that you've experienced personally is the kind of threats and harassment that come to many reporters these day via online sources but you have experienced very personally and legally as a result of the investigative work you've done. i want to give you a chance to tell folks about that. >> there's a pattern of harassment that i've experienced now over 2 1/2 years in trying to investigate and write about these subjects. and it has been difficult because it's very personal. it's directed at me. they found it very hard to attack my reporting because it's
8:44 am
evidence-based and it's led to multiple legal investigations. actually, around the world. one of the individuals who i've been reporting on for a long time, who is a businessman in britain who bank rolled the brexit campaign, who's been close to trump. he's a man called aaron banks. the day after that -- the trailer for "the great hack" was released, he filed formal legal proceedings against me in britain over a line in a ted talk i gave earlier this year. i have very robust defenses. but the idea is to sort of tie me up in litigation for a year to make it more difficult for me to report upon him. and it's -- you know, it's not -- it's not just an attack upon me. it really is an attack upon journalism. >> there is much more to my full conversation on this week's reliable sources podcast.
8:45 am
tune in on your pod app of choice. how should journalists cover a president who consistently lies? hold my pouch. trust us. us kids are ready to take things into our own hands. don't think so? hold my pouch. (gasp)
8:46 am
(singsong) budget meeting! sweet. if you compare last quarter to this quarter... various: mmm. it's no wonder everything seems a little better with the creamy taste of philly, made with fresh milk and real cream. with the creamy taste of philly, ♪ ♪ award winning interface. ♪ ♪ award winning design. ♪ ♪ award winning engine. ♪ ♪ the volvo xc90. our most awarded luxury suv. ♪ ♪
8:47 am
nowtattoo studio gel pencilf. from maybelline new york. smudge resistant. sweat resistant. waterproof. up to 36-hour wear. tattoo studio gel pencil. and now in liquid liner. from maybelline new york. cdc guidance recommends topical pain relievers first... like salonpas patch large. it's powerful, fda-approved to relieve moderate pain for up to 12 hours, yet non-addictive and gentle on the body. salonpas. it's good medicine. hisamitsu. mno kidding.rd. but moving your internet and tv? that's easy. easy?! easy?
8:48 am
easy. because now xfinity lets you transfer your service online in just about a minute with a few simple steps. really? really. that was easy. yup. plus, with two-hour appointment windows, it's all on your schedule. awesome. now all you have to do is move...that thing. [ sigh ] introducing an easier way to move with xfinity. it's just another way we're working to make your life simple, easy, awesome. go to to get started.
8:49 am
passed a milestone with more than 12,000 lies and faults hoods during his presidency to date, according to "the washington post." for those of you keeping score at home, that translates to more than 20 a day. that's a reminder we live in unprecedented times with a unique for the press corps. how do you fairly cover a president who lies all the time inhe twisted fake news and has deployed it more than 400 times on twitter since taking office. that's more than times he tweeted freedom or the co constituti constitution. seriously, and literally. as we approach another election, journalists are facing with pressing questions. how do you cover the blizzard of lies without amplifying misinformation, or if we ignore the lies, do we risk normalizing them? that's what i want to talk to the next panel about. catherine rampell is joining us from "the washington post," jim
8:50 am
and barry join us again. catherine, this week, the president falsely accused the media of trying to crash the economy. he tries to put the role on the opposition. how do we avoid taking the bait while at the same time confronting him if lies? >> when the economic numbers were good and obama was in office, they were fake. when trump inherited the same economic numbers. they were real. now that they're turning south, they may be fake again because the media is, you know, fabricating them or economists are lined up against him or maybe nine economies worldwide that are in recession or tipping into recession. you know, it's all made up. to make trump look bad, and it's quite challenging. you know, as someone who has debated trump surrogates, including on this network, i can speak personally. attest personally to the challenge of figuring out do you let every single falsehood go by? do you challenge all of them? or do you let the other side
8:51 am
control the narrative by having to sort of fact check in real time? it's quite challenging. as a journalist, i think the best we can do is go out there and say what the truth is. and when it's relevant to fact check in real time, do it, but otherwise, tell americans what the real story is. >> but jim, that really is kind of the crux of the debate, and you're working on a book writ large on this subject now. do we spend all our time fact checking a president who lies 20 times a day, and does it make us, as jack schaefer from politico said, the president the assignment editor for newsrooms across the nation? >> in fortunately in a way, it can. but we're lucky enough, and unfortunately not everyone else is in terms of sides of our staff, where we can walk and chew gum at the same time. now, the industry is changing. a lot of newspapers are losing staff. and you know, there's a resource issue for sure. but what we can't do is ignore misinformation. that's our most fundamental job. the most basic thing we do is
8:52 am
separate fact from fiction. that's the job. so when we start making decisions that sort of how is this going to affect the president or our relationship with the president, then we're being sucked into a more political debate. but the flip side of that is do people start turning us off. you're constantly arguing with him, a certain segment of the population. it can't be argumentative, the tone is important. >> how do you walk that line, and what's the line in particular of not normalizing lies through repetition? because they do provide amplification, but he's president of the united states. >> right. i think a huge part as you said before is not letting trump be the assignment editor. one of the huge stories this week was the fact that benjamin netanyahu decided to bar the entry of two democratic members of congress, ilhan omar and rashida tlaib from entering. but another huge story, one that
8:53 am
has not been covered by any mainstream network is the fact that their trip to israel, or as they're calling palestine, is sponsored by a group that said it supported female suicide bombers. hailing them as heroes. that's a scandal. if someone like steve king was going to sweden or norway and neating with neonazi groups, that would be front page news. one question we have to ask is the fact that trump has lodged racist horrible attacks on these women, has it made them untouchable for us to cover in an accurate way? it's very hard to cover complicated stories like them because the president, everything he tumps becomes toxic. >> yet, that's our job, catherine. you deal with the economy. there's not much more complex than that. just asserting the facts and trying to keep a sense of the broader waterfront of stories so we keep things in context to retain our credibility, is that
8:54 am
credibility the most important asset we've got, quickly? >> yes, i think the way you get the american people to trust you is by sticking to the facts. calling them as you see them, and you know, telling the american people when the president is lying and when it's irrelevant that he's lying and what the broader picture is. >> all right, i want to thank you all for joining us today on "reliable sources." be sure to check out bari's upcoming book, how to fight anti-semitism, out september 10th. before we go, my take on being fearless and fair in the trump era. after the break. let's see, aleve is proven better on pain
8:55 am
than tylenol extra strength. and last longer with fewer pills. so why am i still thinking about this? i'll take aleve. aleve. proven better on pain. but some give their clients cookie cutter portfolios. fisher investments tailors portfolios to your goals and needs. some only call when they have something to sell. fisher calls regularly so you stay informed.
8:56 am
and while some advisors are happy to earn commissions whether you do well or not. fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. -[ scoffs ] if you say so. ♪ -i'm sorry? -what teach here isn't telling you is that snapshot rewards safe drivers with discounts on car insurance.
8:57 am
-what? ♪ -or maybe he didn't know. ♪ [ chuckles ] i'm done with this class. -you're not even enrolled in this class. -i know. i'm supposed to be in ceramics. do you know -- -room 303. -oh. thank you. -yeah. -good luck, everybody. -oh. thank you. -yeah. ♪ (music plays throughout♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ doprevagen is the number oneild mempharmacist-recommendeding? memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere. prevagen. healthier brain. better life.
8:58 am
there's been a lot of debate lately about the proper role for journalists as we head into the election, but we know the disinformation campaigns in 2016 were just the beginning. we know the sources of this disinformation will be foreign and domestic and we know they'll try to divide americans into warring tribes while attempting to undermine not just trust but truth itself. the russian exile of garry kasparov said the point of modern propaganda isn't just to misinform, it's to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth. those are the stakes. against that backdrop, it's easy to understand why powerful
8:59 am
interests including the president as well as social media on the right and left try to destroy the credibility of the free and independent press. we can't let them and we shouldn't help them, because the job of the press is not to be the resistance to any particular president. the job of the press is to be the resistance to lies. that means being the defender of truth, insisting facts matter and context is crucial. this shouldn't be a partisan issue. if it is, that says more about our critics than ourselves. the ideal of perfect objectivity may be elusive. we cannot be stenographers to people in power, but we also can't give up the goal of fairness, empathy amid a fact-based debate, reporting without fear or favor. i still believe we'll look back on this as one of the best times to be a journalist. not because it was easy, because it was hard and our mission was clear. i'm john avlon. brian will be back from paternity leave next week, and
9:00 am
tonight at 9:00 p.m., our eernl series, the movies, concludes with the early years of cinema. from casablanca to citizen kane to king kong. don't forget to check that out and we'll see you here next week. enflaming the debate. president trump uses a foreign ally to exploit the partisan divide here. and punish his political opponents. >> keep america great, because we have these socialists who want to take it away from us. >> that score settling as a new poll shows trouble for the president against several of his 2020 rivals. will the politics of division work a second time? >> and recession jitters. president trump said to be rattled as economic alarm bells cause a wild week on wall street. can the president convince voters that he is still the best guy for their money? >> let's