tv Sean Spicer Apologizes for Hitler- Assad Comparison CSPAN April 17, 2017 8:32am-9:31am EDT
girls are out of school today. they may not have their studies and they may not know the statistics but they understand that education is the only part to guide the future. >> secretary of state rex tillerson on u.s./russia relation. >> we frankly discussed the current state of u.s.-russia relations. i expressed the current view of u.s.-russia relations is at a low point. there is a low level of trust between our two countries. the world's two foremost nuclear powers can not have this kind of relationship. >> c-span programs are available at c-span.org, on our homepage and by searching the video library. >> next, journalists on the first days of the trump presidency and the future of the press. speakers include cnn's brian stelter and bob schiefer of cbs news. this was part of a day-long
forum hosted by the newseum. it is an hour. >> what is the future of news in this divided and connected world? we've heard multiple participants say that the news environment is changing, changing rapidly. that's the big question for our next panel, moderated by a man who covers the ins and outs of the media story every single day, the host of cnn's "reliable sources," brian stelter. >> thank you. [applause] thank you very much, a little bit of a live edition of "reliable sources." there is a lot to talk about even reaction what kellyanne conway was saying a minute ago. let me start further away from me. carrie brown. editor of "politico." covering the obama presidency for "politico." david kirkpatrick.
author of the facebook effect. we'll talk about facebook's role in the future of news. next to see, cecilia vega, abc. senior white house correspondent for the abc she was covering the clinton campaign. covering the trump administration. joined abc six years ago. kelly conway said the press is presumptively negative about the man you cover every day. are you presumptively negative? >> i'm presumptively cynical. that is my job. >> not just skeptical but cynical? >> skeptical and cynical. i think we have to be a little bit of both given this administration's relationship with the truth. and, how tough it is for us to get at that right now. but do we start our day, i think i can speak for all of us who sit in the briefing room every day, in a negative manner? absolutely not. that is not the tone, from my
perspective of our coverage. but, and my sense is, this perception that there is this adversarial relationship much more comes from the white house than it does from our end of the briefing room. it, they want an adversarial relationship or they perceive this to be the case. we're just doing our jobs. i don't think the complaints that they have are any different than the obama administration has had about coverage or negativity than the bush administration or any administration before that. that is just the nature of this beast. >> you're saying same complaint but maybe they're louder about it? >> i think so, yeah. i think, ari fleischer would have told you the exact same thing. he was unhappy with coverage then too. >> carrie what about the policy coverage, style versus palace intrigue. what about the border that was ignored by a lot of news outlets. "politico" covered that yes he had.
i'm not sure why she said it wasn't covered. what is your impression of lack of policy? >> i cover the obama white house. i started covering him in 2007 and 8 when he was campaigning an covered him for six years. i guarranty you i heard the exact same thing about the obama white house, "politico" cared way too much about palace intrigue and different cover policy. i was a policy reporter covering health care. boy go to them and basically hear the same thing. and sean spicer said it this morning, that they want us to cover policy and not the palace intrigue. the challenge is that the white house itself is very, very focused on palace intrigue and who is up and who is down. it is not just the press that is engaged in this. like cecelia said this is a long-standing complaint. we do cover policy at "politico" itself. we have 125 reporters and
editors who cover policy alone and agencies and departments that is a huge invest what is going on in this town. we do that. we give it play. yes i would give them a point in that the palace intrigue stories typically do pretty darn well. people are really, interested knowing what is going on inside this white house as they were with the obama white house. this white house really engages with our reporters talk what is going on in the white house. that is when spicer and others really push back and try to internally say they will talk to reporters when they themselves are talking about reporters. >> euphemism for back-stabbing each other, for leaking? >> they're saying don't talk to reporters. they say it privately. yeah, don't leak. but we have a story two days ago we quoted six people inside of a meeting of 30 talking about the strategy at 100 days. that is remarkable level of
people leaking and talking to us. >> how does that work? do you know all the sources yourself? >> i typically ask who all the sources are, yes. >> do you cecelia. >> i'm fascinated by john are karl at the white house and myself. happening more in in my story, number of sources being reported gets bigger and bigger. "washington post" spoke to 18 sources, spoke to six sources. sign how much people are talking. you ask about policy versus palace intrigue, i would say until syria last week, throw a percentage out there, 80%, 70% of the content that gets asked about and discussed in these white house briefings is press corps asking about who's doing what to whom inside the white house or can you carefy something that the president tweeted about? this is a lot self-generated fact we're not talking about policy. >> one more question about this before we talk about the future of news more broadly.
the president's anti-media attacks came up a bit earlier but i want to ask from you all's perspectives, what has the impact been, carrie, on this venom, this poison we heard from this white house? has it hurt us with our audiences or has it not? >> i think it is created, a more challenging environment. >> talking about all the pages you're getting, right but are people trusting what you're reporting? >> i think that is, like i don't have data on that. i feel pressure of divided environment and my response to that is how i set the tone for a newsroom and how we report and reminding our reporters and editors that the rules at that basically rules of journalism still apply even in an environment where it doesn't feel normal, it is still absolutely imperative we conduct ourselves just as journalists would in any era. you verify information. you try to get as many sources as possible.
you try to be transparent about how we got the information. i believe that will, doing that and appearing to what the basic rules of journalism are, giving people chance to respond, engaging with them, that does not change. if we do our jobs as we always supposed to do, i believe that is the best insurance for the long term. so long-term play. we're in a weird environment right now. it may not be like this five or 10 years. all i know what i can do at this point make sure my newsroom is living up to all the standards of journalism i learned 20 years ago, 25 years ago. i think getting as many sources as possible, i think that is sort of where we get 18 sources, six sources. really want to have a preponderance of evidence and feel completely confident about what you're putting out. i think that is good for journalism. we're under a lot of scrutiny that requires us to be responding and airtight as possible. >> divided world. also connected world. that is the title of this session. we're wrapping up the morning about the future of news.
david, i wonder how you view facebook and other social media impact on the first 100 days? i could sit up here and make the case his tweets don't really matter. president's tweets only matter when "politico" and cnn and on twitter they're not reaching that many people. facebook an twitter as kelly conway say go around the media on daily basis. how do you see it? >> i think the landscape created by the facebook and twitter changes everything. this very well-programmed morning started exactly right, not only pulitzer prize winner but someone who won a pulitzer prize for reporting using social media to include his sources, to include his audience as his source. to create a collective process. because the fundamental difference of a connected world, in my opinion is that it is a participative age. every wants to participate and everybody will participate whether you like it or not.
every single person in this room probably has one of these. when they're on it, they're not just receiving they're also broadcasting. that changes landscapes. i think trump's tweets matter a lot. one of the things i would comment on, this thing that was said in the journalist panel about, you know, how trump's tweets can't be responded to. you can't follow up like you could in a press conference. that's a legitimate complaint in a sense but on the other hand, if you listen to what happened with fair ren holt when -- farenthold, used trump's handle in tweet about his philanthropy, trump called him immediately, you can actually direct a comment to the president in a way that you never could before. i might argue that it is counterbalancing factor. but the, regarding facebook versus twitter, you and i talked about this a little bit before, i think it is easy in washington in particular, given that we
have a president who is so twitter-centric to forget the primary way most people get their information is through facebook and oddly not just in the united states. increasingly, pretty much definitely, now, on a global level, the primary source of information for people is facebook in all but like three or four countries, right? that is a big, big change that is going to continue to change the landscape. a lot more to say to follow that up. >> you're saying facebook is the internet and facebook is the news to a degree we may not appreciate in our twitter bubbles? >> it's a place where people receive the news. because it's a two-way medium it create as context fundamentally new -- i'm a baby boomer. in my lifetime it is fundamentally new to basically have the ability to react as a, in the position where you former ly were just a passive recipient. >> cecelia, kellyanne conway
said some reporters tweets are a hot mess. this was also an issue. many so were printed out, she would show examples. do you worry, do you double think before you tweet? >> yes, without a doubt. but it just goes back to how we started this conversation. the pressure is on all of us now more than ever to not screw up, get everything right. twitter as medium for me is no different than going on the air on world news or night line or gma. you can't screw up on twitter. you can't screw up on air. i can't screw up in my reporting online. there is no differentiation anymore with the outlet any of us was on. i want to go back to what you were talking about right now in terms of how this social media impacts us in real time. just yesterday in the press briefing when i'm sure all of us were aware sean spicer made that comment about the holocaust and
syria that has since blown up, rightfully so, he made it, it kind of landed in the press briefing. none of us i think sort of really knew what to do with it. it took five minutes or so, a few minutes. real time. sort of we're -- in there sometimes, looking on my phone, suddenly we're seeing on twitter and seeing from our newsdesk this thing is blowing up. and so, it, we came back around, hey, sean, do you want to respond to this? it was in real time in that press briefing that that comment was gaining traction. we gave him the opportunity to clarify. we all know how that ended, kind of didn't go very well from him. ended up doing apology tour all night into this morning. so, you know, this white house, i think is even struggling with how to deal with this. it certainly impacts our reporting on a second by second basis. >> that is a fascinating example. i did not know how that happened. we heard quite a few times this morning, particularly from
fleischer and palmieri that the press is biased. ari fleischer in particular. i actually found that a very anachronistic point of view i think in fact, fox news is the number one cable channel, right? "breitbart," we couldn't have the session we had here this morning without "breitbart" being represented. we're in a new landscape with where there is a much broader range of voices on, in the media generally and it is because of the internet made that possible in general. fox notwithstanding. but, that anecdote goes to show the tail is wagging the dog a little bit. the world is much bigger than the press. i do think that, you know he, the internet has broaded the range of voices dramatically and included literally everybody. just one final point. there is a professor at harvard who did a study of media
landscape on the internet. actually, the landscape of the right is bigger than the landscape in the center and on the left. one of the other scary things in the analysis he did was that basically there is almost no communication across the divides. just doing mathematical analysis of traffic on the internet which is very disturbing. >> isn't that the biggest story of all up here? the biggest story up here about the future of news those two alternative realities. "breitbart" versus "the new york times" or cnn up on this stage earlier. is there anything facebook or other companies can do to heal that? that is profound wound. a gaping wound. >> this is big question at twitter and facebook. anybody who has read, you should read, mark zuckerberg extraordinary 5800 word essay a month ago, five weeks ago he contritely acknowledged that fake news was a problem. >> before we go there, can you
remind us about november? you had him on stage. >> i had him on stage. >> couple days after the election, two days after the election where he said, i was interviewing him. it is a crazy idea that fake news affect election which he now essentially retracted. >> you've seen them evolve just in a few months? >> he evolved. i have a lot of respect for mark zuckerberg, why i wrote a book about him. he is extraordinary. he is racking thinks brain about this there are a lot of extremely conscientious people at facebook who are asking themselves, what does it mean that we are the fundamental landscape of information dissemination? what is our responsibility? i think it is very healthy they're asking that question. but i think it is scary for society, all of my respect for the company, that a commercial enterprise is in the position of having to make many of the decisions that they're going to have to make about how they prioritize public dialogue and it is truly a global issue. just to throw in one data point
on that, there was a great story in the guardian about a week 1/2 ago how the fake news problem is almost in every country. in germany alone, there are 500 people working for facebook in berlin just combating fake news in german. it is a huge -- >> they're required to by certain -- >> taiwan, taiwanese government is worried about what facebook is doing. they're in all these countries. it is hard for a company to do it and i'm not sure a company would be and the position they're in. >> we invited them to be here and facebook declined. you're in a particularly rapidly evolving. folks said they don't have a responsibility to pop your filter bubble. now i think they have a responsibilit. >> they're responsible people. >> very responsible people? >> david, they let me post lies innuendo and spam on facebook. they didn't have to do that 13 years ago. >> it is not that easy for them
to police all two billion people in real time. tough -- you have to keep that in mind. existence of platforms is put on us. we're making it big by using them. whose fault is anything. i do think facebook takes their role very seriously. i don't think they have the answers yet for many of these problems. >> carrie, does an outlike likes "politico" write stories reaching folks in alternative reality where pizza gate is real or where the pope did endorse donald trump? do you feel need to pop those bubbles? >> the pope did not endorse? >> too soon. >> we feel a need to report on what is the facts, you know pizza gate or donald trump claiming he created 600,000 jobs on his watch, writing story for context of that. that is what we attempt to do. yeah, we try, that is not sort
of our soul mission these days, to write -- but when we're presented with sort of glaring, factual inaccuracies, i do think we have an obligation to make that clear in the course of our writing and reporting on something. >> i think it is interesting to watch the evolution of this over the course of the campaign into day, i don't know what we're on now, 89, or something of donald trump's candidacy and presidency how we as a media have struggled to correct the record. >> have we struggled? do you think -- >> i think it has been. i think, because, let's just take the tweet on wiretapping, for example. >> do we have to? >> do we have to? too soon also? but you know, at what point do we say in our stories, print or broadcast, digital or otherwise, this is just not true? outright this is just not true. i think we are now at that point we're doing that.
i think it took us a while to get there because there was this sense of, is that our job as a media to be fact-checking every single thing? can we possibly fact-check every single thing we're reporting on? i don't know we can. i do think we're doing it much more than we were. >> fact-checking to narrative checking, when he says he has 600,000 jobs created what is he really saying? what is that -- >> i will build a wall. >> right. you could make the case, carrie, this white house has been pretty conventional. we heard this word couple times, conventional with the media. not doing daily facebook live shows with the president. has not been creating a new form of media through social networks in a way that has been that disruptive. would you subscribe to that idea? we've seen some experimentation but the world has not been flipped on its head the past 12 weeks?
>> i agree with that. there are lots of tools the white house can be using the white house used to great effect, amas, alternative ways to reach out to folks through different platforms. using white house media apparatus to do videos and their own sort of news-focused projects. and i haven't seen that yet. we're only three month in. it's early going but we saw, sort of a more nimble media team out of the obama white house just in terms of using all the possible tools at their dispose al. we see typical twitter, sean spicer does do media briefings every day. i think that is a good thing. i support that. that is something he threatened not to do at beginning. he is doing as i thought at the time, he was threatening not to do, you realize power commanding an audience, 45 minutes and an hour.
as he does he is changing the way, he reads off a lost prepared remarks at the beginning of his briefing to get out a message. they're using that. when the president decided to bomb syria last week, the value of the press pool was clear. it was 10:30, 11 at night he had a press pool ready to broadcast what he did. that is what he is saying beforehand. he will realize the power of having this white house press corps there to broadcast what he does. >> speaking of that syria, briefly, cecelia, live reports from the networks. shoddy awed yes when he speak but the cameras were ready. >> what night? >> syria strikes, did you see anything about media tactics or techniques from the white house that stood out to you? >> nothing that comes to mind. i mean -- >> i was disappointed, for example the audio quality was troubling. camera wasn't -- there were issues with the rushed to nature
it of it. >> i don't know. i guess i will give them a little bit of slack on that one. first time anything like that happened. they were in mar-a-lago. they have to get the technology together. this is not the biggest offense in the world. just in terms of coverage, this white house's policy has been when it comes to military action we will tell you about it after the fact essentially. i think that will be a struggle going forward in terms of our reporting. >> in our last few minutes the future of news at large with the white house beyond, david, what sort of predictions do you share at your conference, and what sort of predictions would you share with this audience about, we're going to see happen between now and let's say 2020 when we're all talking about re-election? >> for one thing any politician with a head on their shoulders should emulate trump as much as as they can between their twitter and social media
presence. it serves him well. this is major differentiator from anybody who came before him obviously that he tweets so much. it is a good thing as he has, kellyanne conway said, a direct pipeline channel to his audience. frankly good leaders should probably do that from now on. one of the ironies about the obama administration, many of us in the tech world were critical of, he got elected with social media. when he got in office there was none in essence to speak of. there was nonusing governing and marshall support for his policies in office. trump is definitely doing that whatever you say about the briefing, totally not my world which has been discuss ad lot up here today, what happens in the white house briefing room, it's a little bit beside the fact at this point because, there is another set of channels that exist and ultimately media is going to have to operate more in those channels than in the old one.
i really do think there has been, especially when i heard fleischer and palmieri talk, they're just like, sentimental for something that is no longer the landscape. >> do you agree? you're in the briefing room? >> yes and no. i mean i do think that as a reporter from the journalistic perspective, we need the briefing room. i think there is huge value for both sides of this. the president needs that to get his message out. sure i can circumvent media as much as he can via twitter. you can't get the message out in 140 characters. maybe he can prove me wrong. it has happened before. to me the mission in terms of reporting in this administration administration and beyond, no different from starting my career and all my colleagues became before me. it is the truth. it matters now more than ever. we just can't screw up trying to get there. stay in your lane, just do your
job. it is no different now than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago. >> you say it is no different. you imply that is enough. reporting the truth and being clear on air is enough. >> as opposed to what? what is the alternative? >> could i say so? i think the alternative it is not an alternative but it is addition, celebrating and including diversity of voices that now exist that were not available before. truth is all fine and good, i believe in it, believe me. but it's a new landscape. if you don't recognize that operate accordingly, farenthold is ultimate proof point for. you will not do as well. >> carrie what about "politico," how it views future of news? who how is the company changing to adapt what we're describing up here? >> as i said earlier, making, i guess, it is, i guess an intensive process of examination of all like all the stories we put out or stories that i believe have higher impact or
get a lot of scrutiny. i would say we're looking for new ways to reach new audiences and new forms of story tell telling. new platformses to get that out. thinking about diversity of my newsroom, racial around ginder diversity, geographic diversity, political diversity. that is important as well. i think there's, it is also a time where i spend a lot of time talking to reporters how they're doing. you know, there is, our newsroom folks have gotten threats and things mailed to their homes and, they're in a very, you know, sort of difficult time doing their jobs. and that can wear on a newsroom and i have to be very conscious of that. make sure that i as much as an editor, i'm also a psychologist for some folks, monitoring the room to see how people are doing. it is a different environment than the white house i covered
and they're doing very important work. and, it can be adversarial, the unhidden story, the white house is accessible in a lot of ways, to my reporters, and other reporters, there is a lot of access. that is a good thing. maintaining that sense, doing a good job. we have to be airtight. got to stick to the principles. we got to be aboveboard. we have to, our business is, we are non-partisan newsroom. >> what you're describing though is evolution, not revolution. doesn't sound like you see evolutionary changes right now? . .
>> i wanted to wrap up by going to the title of the entire event this morning. of course the first amendment is in the title. the first amendment and the first 100 days. we could could make the case there have not been the legal and other kinds of threats against press freedom that semester before inauguration day. >> right, not yet. i'm not saying that, i don't know that they will, or that they will not come but there were threats before. he's made the menus are clear. in fact, it's funny you rate this. someone tweeted on my facebook today, i wish president donald trump would carry out with his threats to improve the libel laws in this country take it out of the white house. look -- >> you don't reply to the person, do you? >> no. that's why i don't check my facebook.
it could happen. it may. i don't know that it will. i know that part of my job is to the president accountable for the things he said early on in his campaign to cut them into office. i think the breitbart reporter that was on the state earlier raises one of the most important points of covering this presidency, that there's huge swath of this country that elected on trump because they want libel laws to be strengthened. they want a border wall to be built. they want pick a controversial issue he campaigned on and we have to hold him accountable and ask questions about those promises as also once he is making out and not following good on it. we will see i guess is the answer. i've given up predicting. >> i'll make you -- i'm sure you are all lawyers, but through some of his age is before inauguration day. mable we are far alert than in the past. is there anything to say so far about how things have gone?
>> there's a lot of awareness of leak investigations that sort of we hear that, there's a lot of education going on in terms of me and my other top editors about the possibility of more leak investigations and then preparing now for how we can protect ourselves. how you talk to sources, what you agreed to do. a lot of sort of offensive discussions about how we can protect ourselves now with the assumption that we'll see more leak investigations out of this white house and the white house -- the last white is even to the last white house had a comma was pretty aggressive so that's all we're hearing. >> david has technical logical solutions. some of the problems opposed by leak investigation. >> what are you referring to? >> new apps and new messaging software that people using that are perhaps -- >> right, so he's very
secretive, highly encrypted message systems. >> they are wrapping up. >> tools used to evade a lot of things these days. >> are we more divider are more connected in this world? >> i think we are more connected. other cultivation is to some degree a function of connectedness. i think a function of the proliferation of voices which is allowed, voices to come to the surface that were essentially suppressed before. that's part of what trump himself a sing. the breitbart people are saying. in the long run i think that's healthy even though i don't agree personally with a lot of those voices. >> something the president and the press have in common, reckoning with the ability to hear from everybody at all times. to the panel, thank you very much. thank you for being here, and thank you all. [applause] >> that was great. thanthank you, brian, i think y- thank you to the panel.
return to washington journalism. just as he close to face the nation for many years with thoughtful commentary that make sense of it all, schieffer is here with us to share some closing thoughts on where we go from here and how we might do better. it's a special treat to welcome him back to the newseum. of course he's a cbs news contributor and has spoken to the nation for decades about what's happening and how to make sense of it. he's been thinking a lot recently about the future of news, and that's the topic of his fifth book entitled overload, finding the truth in the deluge of news. that will be published this fall by rowman and littlefield. it's a pleasure to welcome bob back. [applause] >> thank you so much.
thank you all so much for being here and i want to congratulate you on your bladder control. [laughing] i understand a lot of you have been here since 8:30 this morning, and i'm greatly honored that there still somebody there. good advice is like news. it's where you happen to find it, and i want to start this talk with some of the best advice i ever got. i did not get it in my 60 years as a reporter on the job. i did not get it at a journalism school. i got it at an art school. second only to my love of journalism is my love of art. and back in the day when i was struggling to find my artistic style, and art instructor gave me some of the best advice i ever got on anything. he said, look, stop worrying about your style.
just find an artist that you really like and copy them. copy everything he does. and he says, as you do that, you understand how he resolved the problems in your own style will evolve out of that. so i want to tell you this morning, if there are any aspiring reporters, if there are news executives who are wondering what is it that a report is supposed to do, what is the role of the journalist, i say this, get the story that david fahrenthold wrote about how he covered the campaign, and copy every single thing that he did. if you do that you will be just fine. and that's the best advice i can give you this morning. i really enjoyed the discussion. i thought the previous panel was one of the most pertinent of the
morning, and i thoroughly enjoyed hearing brian stelter and his crew there. it was quite good. i want to try, and i've been asked to try to put all of this in some context. this was my 14th presidential campaign, and i will say this, it was not like the others. normally a campaign of some slogan or something that always comes to mind when you think of the campaign or the remind you of the campaign. i like ike, nixon is the one, all the way with lbj. but the question i was asked most often anything that always comes to my mind that will make me remember this campaign was have you ever? and i want to tell you the answer to that is a no. i have never seen anything like this campaign. i say that so often during television during the campaign
became a drinking game from my younger colleagues at cbs. every time bob just said that,, they had to take another drink. we had a lot of designated drivers. it all came out fine. [laughing] this was to a campaign like no other. it was the campaign where for the first time in a long time money didn't seem to matter, just as -- just ask jeb bush about. the campaign first time in modern history that two parties nominated candidates that the majority of people neither liked nor trusted. where body parts got more attention than foreign-policy at times and were attitudes often counted more than facts with voters. it was a campaign that provoked the former speaker of the house, john boehner, to brand candidate ted cruz as lucifer in the flash.
and the devil worshiper society challenge that and said no, not true, he's not one of us. it's true. you can look that up. [laughing] strong lettered to follow but this was in my opinion the worst campaign i ever covered and perhaps the first of my life. i'll chop one the presidency but the biggest winner was this massive cottage industry that grown up around our political campaigns. once again this year a lot of people made a whole lot of money. i don't know what the voters got out of it but they did very well. some of us were pleased with the outcome. some of us were cast in despair but i think the overall the notion felt by most people on election night was one of surprise. even among the trunk people who i am told on good authority that their own pollsters give them a
20% chance of winning. they were surprised, too. those of us in the press were roundly criticize but all sides. we should always take criticism seriously and learn from it here and there were lessons to be learned this time. but we must also keep in mind that this is nothing new. every campaign has its all the fault of immediate phase. we were the -- during the nixon administration. we were the pointy-headed intellectuals who couldn't park our bicycles straight when george wallace ran. and this year they hung some less clever but really nasty names on us. this is all part of the job. it is something that we all know about and expect. it's not that part is not to be taken seriously. but let's talk a little bit about this years criticism.
first, the press was accused of electing trump because we gave him so much exposure. then we were accused of missing the story because we did not take him seriously. finally, we were at said to have not really make much difference because trump used social media to go around us. well, my boss said you can pick your own adventure here, but all three of those things simply cannot be true. and they are not. my own belief, opinion clearly stated, is that trump one because he played by new rules. he broke all the old rules and his opponent played by the old rules. he understood, and this is sort of obvious in retrospect but as sherlock holmes said most things are obvious in retrospect, he understood that if he offered himself to enough television programs he would be invited to
be on some of them. and that is precisely what happened. i disagree with those who say that host didn't push back. they pushed back many times, that he was going on so many programs, so often that the exposure overwhelmed the pushback, while people were pushing back on something he said yesterday, he was already on another program laying out new allegations. whether he knew it or not he was practicing the political strategy that was first identified by an australian political consultant named lynton crosby. he called it the dead cat theory. the way that works is, no matter what the conversation people are having at a dinner party, if you throw a dead cat in the middle of the table, the conversation immediately turns to the dead cat. donald trump through cat dead
and alive on the table every time the narration with his wife, and suddenly the attention was back in what he was talking about, and was on him. i think in contrast the campaign of his opponent hillary clinton did it the old way, concentrated on fundraising and controlling the narrative, as they say in politics. in other words, never leave your candidate in the position of having to answer a question that does not fit the theme of the day, limit live interviews, responded old questions with well rehearsed focus group tested answers. after trial had been on morning shows a number of times, i called them up and asked, why don't you ever have another clinton on? she said, giving an interview with hillary clinton is like getting an interview with mother theresa. and i think it the way that sums up this whole campaign in what happened.
i was the story of the campaign, and by the time that the other candidates understood what was happening, it was simply too late. people were disgusted with the gridlock, with politics as usual, with both parties. the number of people i know identified themselves as democrats and republicans is at an all-time low. people didn't like the choice but they one change. maybe it was no more complicated than what former first lady arbor bush had mused early in 2015 when she was urging her son jeb not to run. she said, maybe it is that people are just tired of kennedys and clintons and bushes. bushes. she may have been right. i found many people last year either really liked or really dislike both of these candidates, but i found no one who said they needed more information before deciding which one to vote for or to vote
against. in that sense, and i believe that is some evidence, that perhaps those of us in the press did our jobs. even so, there are some really serious lessons we learned here. i think too much information made its way onto the national conversation, and once it got there it was difficult to remove. we have to be quicker from now on and more vigorous in challenging what we all came to know as fake news. only now are we beginning to understand the danger that it poses. and only now are the big distribution companies we heard the discussion about facebook, only now they are recognizing they simply have to take some responsibility to what the information is that they are distributing. they are news media companies, just like cbs news and the "washington post" and the "new york times."
we take responsibility for what we distribute. they are going to have to find a better way to do that, too. in an effort to show balance, i think too many so-called surrogates and strategists made their way onto television and were given a far more credibility than they deserve. i kept wondering, i would see some on television say republican strategists for democratic strategist. what did that mean, that they put out yard signs in the previous campaign? i mean, clearly, and it didn't take long to listen to them to understand they had no understanding and really no contact with either of the campaigns, but there they were. i think for whatever reason, perhaps to add drama to increase the horse race tension, we tended to make i think too much of slight changes in the polls. we talked about one candidate or
another leading by a single point when, in fact, that shifts in those polls were well within the margin of error. there is no such thing as a one point lead in any poll. i think we also placed too much faith in general in polling. the truth is polling is simply not as good as it once was, where respondents were once honored to be part of polls. now people want nothing to do with pollsters. fewer than 20%, i beg your pardon your fewer than 10% of the people polled now i willing to actually talk to a pollster on a phone. that raises really serious questions. i don't care how you wait these goals. what did the 90% of people who refuse to talk to a pollster, how do you determine what it is they had to say?
jill lepore, the harvard historian who writes for the new yorker told me something that ii found fascinating. she said we are tending to look on polling data as some sort of higher truth. and she brought up an interesting point with the closing of so many newspapers and shrinking staffs. she says that too many times we are replacing a lot of beat reporting and man on the street interviewing simply because news organizations don't have two poll people to do it anymore. with polling data, we replacing it with what many news organizations use to do. they would go to the local pta meetings, go to the local bar. they just talk to people and say how do you feel about this? what do you really think about it? surprisingly, the dean of polling in america, peter hart who heads the "wall street journal" and new york times poll, i beg your pardon, the "wall street journal" abc poll i
guess it is, peter said that he agrees with what jill lepore said. he told me that we have started thinking in statistics, and dynamics and analytics, and that just doesn't work. because analytics will tell you certain things. they will tell you where people shop. they will tell you what movies they like, but he said they don't tell you what is in peoples hearts. that is something that i think we in the media need to take to heart. we need to get back to knocking on doors and asking people how they feel. yes, we want polling to back it up but we need face-to-face participation and checking with people in these communities. what really complicated this whole situation was all of this is being played out, this campaign which was a most unusual i can recall in the
midst of a technological revolution that is having a profound effect, not only on how we get news, but on our entire culture. the web gives us access to more information than any people who have ever lived on this earth at any one time have ever had access to. bubut i would just overwhelmed with information, so much we can process it, or are we wiser? i think at this point we probably are just overwhelmed. so much information we can't deal with it. the web gives us this unbelievable access, but there are some downsides. for one thing, the nuts can all find each other now. [laughing] i don't care how bizarre your attitude or your feet is about something, you can find somebody out there that agrees with what you are thinking. false news, some of his news
false by design can go around the world in a millisecond, and it is simply going to have to be dealt with. the coming of digital has also turned local newspapers into a downward economic spiral from which many are not going to recover. we lost 12 126 newspapers in ths country over the last ten years. other newspapers are down so thin that your water bill is probably thicker than the local newspaper some people are getting in their communities now. this has had a huge impact on politics, how politicians campaign, how people are finding out who is running. i think, in less find some entity that can somehow do what we've always expected of local newspapers and, we are going to have corruption in this country, not just in politics, but just
corruption in general, at a level we have never seen in this country. this is a great crisis in journalism right now. the good news is that some of the bigger news organizations, especially the "new york times" and the "washington post," are finding ways to exist in this new and very different communications landscape. they are no longer just newspapers publishing a paper newspaper every day. i have become 24/7 multi platform news organizations. companies that provide breaking news, video coverage, running commentary, websites, newsletters, podcasts. they are looking for more and more ways to reach people. and the good news is, this is working.
while circulation of the paper newspapers is down, during november of last year, both the times and the post in one month were reaching as many as 70 million viewers, 70 million people were reading or finding some contact with those news organizations. the news organizations executive will tell you that while this technology is giving them this great reach, verifiability will still depend on whether they are giving news that people need to improve their lives. if you can do that, if you can make your news organization relevant by providing information that people have to have, then they will survive. and there must be new concentration on that but all news organizations as we go forward.
but at the local level, many of the things that these big newspapers have figured out how to do, they can be a pattern for news organizations at the local level. at cbs news, for example, we now have inaugurated a 24 hour all news streaming network that you get on your phone or your laptop or your computer. you don't get i on your televisn set in less you go through lulu or one of those organizations like that. during both political conventions last summer we would sometimes have more people looking at that than watching cbs news on the television network. so there are ways, and we will find a way to accommodate. but this is just like we are in a place here now where the world was after the convention of the printing press. martin luther said it was gods extremist greatest gift, but it
took a while for the world to work its way through that. it was also, over 30 years of religious wars after the invention of the printing press. eventually, equilibrium was reached. we are in a much. like that. equilibrium has not yet been reached but we have to recognize where we are. i want to close by just talking about in this new and very different world, what is the goal of the individual journalist? and quite simply it is what it has always been. we are not the opposition party, as some would have you believe, nor do we believe we are. nor is it our place to sit down and shut up and let the world pass by. as some have wished that we would do. the politicians, government officials, and journalists all have very different roles.
the politicians are there to run the campaigns. government officials are there to run the government. they are there to deliver a message. our job is simply to check out the message, determine if it's true, and if so, what will be its impact on the government. in a totalitarian society there is only one source of news, and that is the government. in our form of government, and independent press gathers accurate information and provides it to the citizens and they can take that information and. to the government terms of events and then decide what to do about it. those who would underline our role are quite honestly, and i mean this directly, undermining the foundations of this country
and what it was founded on. we must always remember and never hold ourselves out to be the exclusive source of wisdom or morality. we are not. our job is something to ask questions and to keep asking until we get an answer. that will not always be easy, nor will always be the most popular people in the room, but that is what the founders intended. and it is as vital to our form of government as the right to vote. i've been a reporter for 60 years, and i've never been prouder of my profession than i am today. thank you. [applause] >> this week in prime time on
c-span, tonight at 8 p.m. eastern former senior advisor to president barack obama valerie jarrett on her time in the white house and future plans. >> i think i'm in a different phase of my life. i do want to continue to be a force for good. we just made public today i signed on to be a pro bono adviser to the obama foundation and i'm very interested in what he can do. [applause] >> tuesday at 8 p.m. eastern, doctor ezekiel emanuel. >> i predicted in my book reinventing american healthcare we would get rid of 1000 hospitals we are taking care out of the four walls of medical institutions and delivering, at home or another facility big, big part of the transformation. we should not be in facilities. >> wednesday at 8 p.m. eastern, personal profiles of president trump's cabinet including rex tillerson, jeff sessions, rick perry and nikki haley. >> we will now start to do is show our strength.
we will not be afraid to stand up when we decide to make an action, we will follow through with it and we will make sure that that is known. i don't think we will be shy about the values of america. >> thursday at 8 p.m. eastern will will continue with personal profiles of president trump's cabinet including betsy devos, tom price, ben carson and scott pruitt. >> states to join together and it into an agreement to address water on the issues and that involves the epa to serve the role is supposed to serve the something should be commended and celebrated. >> friday at 8 p.m. eastern maria shriver and physicians testified before the senate committee on aging, but research efforts to cure alzheimer's disease. >> i believe studying the women and getting more women into clinical trials could possibly lead to the cure for all of us. >> this week at 8 p.m. on c-span. >> check out our c-span classroom firstname.lastname@example.org/classroom.