tv After Words Ari Fleischer Suppression Deception Snobbery and Bias -... CSPAN August 9, 2022 10:36am-11:39am EDT
former george w. bush white house press secretary ari fleischer argues that mainstream media has a bias and is dominated by the left. he is interviewed by fox news senior political analyst and author juan williams. "after words" is a weekly interview program with relevant guest hosts interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> host: ari fleischer, thanks for joining us today. >> guest: thank you. >> host: let me begin by giving you the p opportunity to tell people about the book, the thesis. >> guest: my thesis is that the mainstream media is one of the biggest causes of the polarization in america today. that the number of stories they put on the air that were wrong, most of all of which were to get donald trumpmb and hurt republicans or conservatives, the number of stories that they suppressed which would've hurt joe biden particularly during the campaign, have added up to a nation that no longer trust the mainstream media. our democracy needs to have i
mainstream media that people rely on, believe in and trust. and the press has let us down. >> host: i think lots of people on the left would say, gee, you know, during the 2016 campaign it looked like c-span, msnbc, certainly fox, all were very much putting donald trump on the air repeatedly and they would say o gee, looks like the press, whether or not for ratings, you know, for eyeballs and clicks, were pretty support of a donald trump in the 2016 campaign. >> guest: i might rebuttal to that is the press made in news judgment of the judgment was donald trump was newsworthy because the press thought he was so bad, so outlandish that the more they put him on the air the more the american people would reject him. and and i think the tremendous damage done, and i write this in the book, was also done not just to conservatives who don't trust
the media but to liberals who do. ios think back on 16 when most democrats and liberals were told that hillary clinton was going to win in a landslide. you couldn't watch cnn, you couldn't watch msnbc without being convinced that donald trump was going to go down in flames. and then when he didn't lead to the search for howhi could this have happened? everybody i knowha knew donald trump would lose, and that was one of the things that made collusion more of a credible notion for the left because there had to be an explanation since donald trump was supposed to lose this race. if the media have done a better job being in touch with america, the coverage and 16 what it said donald trump actually may win because there are t rumblings in this country. there is tremendous discontent in this country, particularly and rural areas, particularly from people who pray every day, particularly for people who have guns or wantse to go hunting or fishing or whose grandfather shoot at a how to young age.
i just think that is the most part of americama that the mainstream you doesn't see. libn many way were the victims of the bad coverage that the press gave the 2016 campaign and the rest of the next four years. well our in the book, you're pretty critical of the new york times, but on this front, you know, my memory serves to say that the new york times was the one that broke the hillary clinton email story and was very very strong and critical in saying that there was something wrong there of course ultimately. found nothing's wrong, but gee that's the liberal press going after the liberal candidate. and i acknowledge that one in the book. i repeatedly docite stories from the new york times the washington post and other other sources and i make the point in the book of saying they're not always wrong. but when they are wrong, they're almost always wrong in a direction that hurts republicans or hurts donald trump the whole collusion narrative the whole
sealed dossier narrative, which received the the lion's share of coverage and donald trump's first three years. it was a relentless non-stop feeding frenzy. all based on nothing all wrong all polarized the nation all gave liberals a reason to think that donald trump was illegitimate. and it was destructive if the news was anti-trump it got a bump and that's what i saw for three years of coverage. yes. they covered the hillary email scandal they broke that news and then when it was clear, there was a fbi investigation. they did cover it. but as soon as james comey said that there were no charges to be made the story went away and the press reset about how dangerous donald trump was. well, you know, we were just talking you mentioned the whole collusion business. ultimately the mueller people said they didn't see evidence specifically of collusion, but i don't think there's any question. i don't know how you feel, but that the russians put their thumb on the scale in favor of
donald trump and you had paul manafort. you had that russian lawyer going up to trump tower you had the emails that were hacked many believe our intelligence community the us and tells his community believes hacked by the russians. i personally had you know to john podesta some of my emails got trapped caught up in that it was no fun. so to me, i don't see how it was wrong to have some critical, press saying hey, there's something going on here between russia's desire to get trump elected and events taking place on the ground like the emails being fed into the american media ecosystem and popping up in the press. it's a fair question one, and as i said repeatedly in 2016 live on the air. an attack on one party is an attack on all parties and i regularly denounced what russia did i didn't think it was as much to elect donald trump as it was to hurt hillary clinton who they didn't like when she was secretary of state and as much as to so turmoil into the
american system and weaken our democracy. i think that's what motivated russia but the question immediately will became did donald trump do it was donald trump working with them and here the press went to overdrive and put numerous stories. especially cnn on the air that they later had to retract all of which said that donald trump has colluded with russia on the hacks of the dnc and on the hacks of hillary clinton's campaign. so there are two distinct issues here. yes. russia was a guilty party barack obama sanctioned russian officials. the trump administration went after and punished russian officials as a result of it, but that had nothing to do with whether donald trump was involved and this was the feeding frenzy that i objected to and frankly one. it's what inspired me to write the book. i try to call balls and strikes why i've agreed with president trump on many of his policies. i've regularly disagreed with him on much of his behavior. i've regularly tweeted about when donald trump did something i thought was inappropriate rude
or offensive. so i'll continue to call the balls and strikes but when i saw the press pylon all the stories about collusion all the damage done to our nation all the credibility given to the steel dossier. i blew the whistle. i just thought it's unfair it's biased it's wrong and the new york times and cnn were a massive part of what really pain became a disinformation campaign to get donald trump, and i don't want to see that happen to any president. democrat or republican and part of what i write in the book is there's a suspicion and politics that whoever your opponent is is illegitimate or somehow criminal or that they really have crossed the line and i've tried to resist that my entire career. i believe that the other party is the loyal opposition. i believe that people's motives are good. i disagree with the liberal solutions for what can help america, but i don't question their motives and i don't like it when people question conservative republican or
donald trump's motives, and that's why i try to stay fair, but i do blow the whistle on the mainstream media, which i think lost its bearings. so, you know, i came up as a as part of the mainstream media at the washington post and i was taught to be adversarial to the people in power, you know the words you question them you are critical of the people who are in power asking the questions that the american people want answered that they may be curious about. so, how do you distinguish between a critical press and adversarial press which is what i think the founding fathers had in mind and what you would say is the overly i don't know. i guess you would say overly adversarial. no, it's not that there were overly well. they were overly adversarial to donald trump, but they were relentlessly easy on joe biden. i want fairness if you're going to be a tough on one you need to be tough on the other and let me get let me give you an example. it's in my book. i use the pictures of it when ruth bader ginsburg died front
page banner across the fold headline on the new york on the washington post pioneer devoted to equality when anthony scalia died front page banner above the fold headline same paper, washington post supreme court conservative dismayed liberals. why isn't it the same? why isn't the headline that ruth bader ginsburg was a liberal who dismayed conservatives or why wasn't it that antonin scalia was devoted to equality. but they lionized one and buried the other same thing with the brett kavanaugh's hearings when brett kavanaugh ducked questions didn't answer them because no nominee anymore answers questions about cases that are pending before the court the headline on the new york times was he ducks questions when elena kagan before her nomination hearing in the senate did the same thing and didn't answer questions the headline in the new york times was she follows precedent. time and time again want the media is easy on the democrats
and relentless on the republicans. and that's where i blow my whistle and i'll give you one final example that's in my book. in 1998 when stacy abrams lost their governor's race in georgia by a margin that was four times the size of donald trump's defeat in georgia. she lost by more than 50,000 votes trump lost by about 12,000 votes. she refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of her opponent's when the republican win senator cory booker booker of new jersey said the election was stolen senator sherwood brown of ohio said the election was stolen if the media had called them out and said you should not say elections were stolen you undermine our democracy. the election was settled fair and square. how dare you use those words. the press would have had so much more credibility taking on donald trump when he said the same thing in 2020. the election wasn't stolen donald trump did lose it. i've said right from the start. but i will not be hypocritical if i can call that donald trump. i'll call out stacey abrams, but
the mainstream media shield is stacey stacy abrams. lionized her made her a hero and then called out donald trump for saying the same thing. this is the hypocrisy one. i won't participate in it, but i will blow the whistle on it. well, i wonder if people would say that you're you know jumping over some context. they're clearly stacy abrams believe that governor kent republican in the race had taken steps that she felt helped him to win in the total vote. but so did donald trump well, so the trump supporters, they're both wrong. but you can't say one cause is right. so therefore they can say the election was stolen and the other causes wrong because they're republicans. all you do is empower the other side then to say we're going to
go even further because the press isn't fair and that's what i object to the president blow the whistle on hillary clinton when two years after the 2016 election. she said that donald trump was illegitimate president nor did they blow the whistle and jimmy carter two years later when jimmy carter said donald trump was illegitimate president. so when donald trump says things
like that, the press goes nuts when democrats do things like that the press yawns. area you were press secretary to president george w bush, and i'm sitting here thinking is there any press secretary? who's ever been in the white house? would say oh, you know the press treated my guy or yeah, my guy fairly and i have no complaints, isn't it? just part of being in the big game in the combat of the modern world, especially modern media to say, you know what? i don't think my candidate was treated fairly. yeah, but that's my point about president trump. i wouldn't necessarily say i didn't vote for him in 2016. i did vote for him in 2020. i don't work for donald trump and again one i try to call the balls and strikes as i see them. so yes if you're a partisan working for a candidate in office. yeah, you always feel like the press is tough on you, but let's go to a neutral source. there was a study done. it's in my book of the coverage of the five most recent presidents and they determined that no none of the last five god as soft and as easy coverage in their first 60 days in office as joe biden, he got easier and softer coverage than barak obama, of course the two who got the hardest coverage where trump and bush so clinton was the fifth. so empirical studies show that joe biden got the softest easiest press conference and go to the 2020 campaign. the biden press corps could not have been any easier on joe biden there were numerous scandals. there are numerous things joe biden did wrong one of them, which i relate in my book. he gave a event. it was one of his typical events from the basement where he gave a speech on a teleprompter to a friendly audience the afl-cio and a young woman asked him a
question about how to get more people to join unions. and joe biden's answer was move it up here. move it up. and then he gave the answer. his teleprompter got stuck. it was clear. that the afl-cio not only gave him the question, but then his staff wrote the answer. so would all appear on his teleprompter. now you would think that the mainstream media hard-hitting reporters as you cited earlier adversarial. that when they see a candidate who might be the oldest president in history if he gets elected would be if he gets elected white turn on the campaign and go into feeding frenzy mode and say how did you have that on the teleprompter? did you get that group to give you their cues and a's ahead of time does he need the answer to how do you get people to join a union to be written down? is this a stage event? what other groups have you gone to give you the cues and a's ahead of time. this was all the feet. they're making of a feeding frenzy, but you know what? it was joe biden. if they had covered it that way it would have helped donald
trump so they wouldn't cover it that way softest easiest coverage imaginable. well, i'm just thinking to myself we're making assumptions about the teleprompter. obviously, we didn't mention that you you said very politely from his basement, but you know, it was during a time of a coronavirus so it limited campaigning for many people. i'm not a i'm not objecting to his doing events from the basement during the crisis. i'm objecting to the fact that the afl-cio gave him the cue ahead of time. it was loaded on his prompter. the answer was there totally staged event and the press doesn't care. well, you know, it's interesting. i think that the press has covered for example biden's age much more aggressively than they cover trump's age. what do you say? no, i disagree with that. i think when joe biden fell walking up there the steps of air force one. all the coverage was by an aid say he's okay when donald trump walked slowly down a ramp from west point after a speech front
page of the new york times raises a serious questions about his health and the only people they asked were critics of donald trump's so when biden falls they asked the biden's staff when trump doesn't fall they ask trump critics, so no, i don't think that's fair now. i do think there's been a turn in mainstream mess. press coverage about joe biden since the boxed withdrawal from afghanistan. i think that did unleash a lot of reporters who then finally got tough on joe biden and it's continued ever since then i think interestingly the new york times of most recent date. it's hard to publish on the front page polls showing that democrats don't want to run again for re-election their coverage of joe biden and saudi arabia was brutal so i can't help but think if the new york times is going through a little of a phase right now sending a signal they actually do want a different democrat a younger democrat to replace joe biden for him not to run for reelection, but i also think it's a passing phase. and if joe biden does run they'll be right back to how
vigorous joe biden is and how important it is to defeat whoever the republican may be now last week. there was quite a controversy about a conservative outlet getting something wrong, which was the wall street journal on this case of a rape a horrific act against a 10 year old girl who had to then be transported across state lines, you know. i'm sitting here. i'm thinking is airy fleischer cherry-picking. to remind us of the partisan divide in the country rather than saying, you know what the press can get things wrong. and the press does get things wrong, but my point here in the book is so much during the trump years everything they got wrong was was information that never should have been put on the air in the first place the steel dossier. that's not cherry picking. that's a whole forest of cherry trees. everybody ran with a steel dossier it dominated washington they all wrote it was
unsubstantiated unverified, but that didn't stop them from covering it. i mean, i guess one i grew up in an era and you did too when if an editor thought something was unsubstantiated and undocumented and unverified. you don't put it on until the substantiated. and verified but we've blown past that the internet is part of it social media is part of it. journalistic organizations, particularly the biggest most prominent legacy organizations. no longer can have the restraint they used to have because they get beat by the internet. and it's damaged good journalism. it means everybody's in a rush to put things out in the case. you just cited, you know when i hear things like that and this is always my reaction when there's a shooting. i always wait 24 hours before i try to before i comment because you have to wait and let things settle you have to wait and see what's truthful. what's not truth will let the clouds clear but the pressure on reporters to report immediately has led for a lot of incorrect information to get reported.
my beef with it, is that pressure to report combined with what i do believe is liberal bias reporters increasingly becoming activists the lack of conservatives and newsroom the overwhelming tendency of reporters to be democrat and to think the same act the same tweet the same has led to a terrible rush to condemn and that's what was done to donald trump and that's what's going to be done. i think to whoever the republican nominee is in 2024, even if it's not donald trump, you know, you just said something and there's a little bit of this in the book as well. i just advise people to pick it up. it's worth the time but you mentioned social media sort of encouraging people to make flash calls, and that that has now extended beyond social media into what we call legacy or mainstream media, but there's a breakdown in terms of the gatekeeper function that editing function because people want to be first so is that the real target of this book?
is it the liberal media? it's it's both. you know one of the things i did in this book one is i hired up position research firm to go in and pull the public records of the white house press corps the 49 reporters who sit in those seats and see what party they're registered to and it came back 12 to 1 democrat to republican in the white house briefing room. now one why isn't it one to one? or could you imagine if it was 12 to 1 republican to democrat how different the news would be? journalism has an original sin the people who go into journalism are too much by and large cut from a very familiar similar cloth overwhelmingly democratic voters, and of course college educated. and what you have then is a slice of america college-educated democrat voters who increasingly only know how to talk to fellow college-educated democrat voters and another site poll that i have in here at some of the pew
organization shows. there's only one group of americans who think the press understands them. and as college-educated democrats if you're a democrat with just a high school degree, you say the press doesn't understand me independence with or without high school degrees college degrees. say the press doesn't understand me and of course republicans all say the same thing. the media has driven itself into ideological cultural cul-de-sac. they can only relate to one group of people and that's why they carve the news create the news cover certain stories the way they do. it's why colon kaepernick when he nailed at a football game became a symbol of heroism to so many college educated democrats including reporters, but to the rest of the country, it was an act of disrespect. but the presidents see it that way. they thought that was a narrow-minded take and intolerant take bordered on racism and this is where i will blow the whistle when you have so many people cut from that same cloth become reporters who see the world the same way you
reinforce a very narrow thinking in newsrooms, and it's the same narrow thinking that was said that donald trump is a danger to the republic and we need to protect america by getting donald trump which led to so many false stories be putting on the air that had to later be retracted. i make the case in the book for more ideological diversity in newsrooms. i think a booster shot of independent thought will be very helpful to keep newsrooms and help them. go back to being more objective more fair fewer errors. well you make this point and effectively, but i just think from my perspective the number one newspaper in america is the wall street journal which has a very conservative editorial page i think about you know, the power of internet websites boy dominated by the right. i think they are like number, you know -- maybe more than five of the top 10 political websites dominated by conservatives, you know, like the drudge report for
many years and when you think about talk radio my gosh rush limbaugh, you know rest in peace, he's gone, but still it's conservatives who dominate and talk radio. so aren't you like again, you know being very selective and picking on the lip what you the liberal news media. yeah, i think there's a fascinating split in our country and my book is about the mainstream media and i define that by saying the new york times the washington post abc nbc cbs cnn msnbc and keep in mind most americans still do get their news from the networks. they don't get it from fox or cnn or cable. they do get it from abc nbc cbs. well, hold on a second because the evening news they do get it from the internet. that's now the number i'm gonna get there. okay. yeah, i'm again there and talk radio is long been dominated by conservatives and in recent years. there has been a growth of
conservative media, especially on the internet the daily wire the washington examiner the federalist all of that is relatively new and none of it would have happened. if the mainstream media didn't lose so many customers and the reason that lost so many customers and allowed these splits to develop was because they continued to tell the news from a left point of view. so a number of customers just said we need a breakaway. we need something else that we can relate to because the existing product is not serving us. the media is the only organization business. i know that loses customers and says what's wrong with our customers instead of saying what's wrong with us? and one of the key points i'm making the book is i lament this balkanization of the news. i would so much rather pick up one paper or watch one source of and i'm done for the day. i believe what they're
telling me and now i'll tell you what hai think about it but the problem is too much of the media now tells us what we're supposed to think, what we're supposed to conclude. it's to editorial but my book is about the mainstream media. other people have written their books about fox news or conservative media. i've written a book the other direction >> no question about that. what about the idea that you, ari fleischer are such an intriguing figure to write this book because you were the press secretary for george w. bush and of course even people on the right are critical of the walk up to that war especially the issue of weapons of mass distraction and whether they existed and didn't exist. ultimately they didn't exist and people will say well, is arifleischer really not the guy to be making this argument . >> i'm glad you asked me that . i defended the media on that because the media faithfully and accurately reported what we all believed and when i
say we all i'm not only talking about the cia which concluded during the clinton years that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction, they made the ansame conclusions in the bush years and everybody knew that was their conclusion including us in the bush administration including israeli intelligence, the world thought that long so when i hear people go back and say the bush administration lied or anybody lined, it's such revisionism. we were wrong. no question about it and as a result of being wrong a mission was formed into why the intelligence community could have gotten this wrong . the american peoplethrough republicans out of office . our system corrected itself. president bush i'm sorry to say left office extremely unpopular so the corrective mechanisms in our system switched into gear but not because anybody lied or
misled but because we had wrong information in large part because saddam fooled everybody and created a whole network to make people think he had weapons of mass destruction and we picked up that network and believed it was accurate . so it's all right question but the right conclusion and i wish people would say this in general. when somebody you don't like says something you don't like it's not that they're lying. they might be wrong or they might be mistaken. they might have bad information.ng i don't rush to contradict or challenge other people's motives, i tried to figure it out no question. the bush administration, we were wrong. >> but in that scenario clearly the press was quite well, i don't know. should we say gullible? but they went right along with it. they were not antagonistic towards you or the bush administration. they told the american people this is what is being, this
is what is told to us by the administration and in fact the opinion people were quite supportive. >> i think it's very hard for the media when they're being told by the intelligence community and they've been told not just during the bush years but clinton years as well that subdocument has wmd, how is the press to get that right when the intelligence community gets it wrong and that's why going back into the 2000 i defended thepresses coverage because they were in a superior position to know . there were a few isolated people, scott ritter, one of the former arms inspectors was one of the few people who called it out and said we were wrong. he didn't have credibility, ultimately hedid turn out to be right but how is the media to assess that ? put that into the current context and go back to the steel dossier, etc.. nobody in the media had anybody's conclusions but
what they did have is suspicions and this is where the press puffed those ve suspicions up into just a feeding frenzy against president trump even though they did not have evidence. the press ran with it and as the press likes to say when president trump says something without evidence, the press didn't have evidence of their charges against trump that he didn't stop them. >> let's get back to the bush years when you were press secretary, then you had the whole episode over the torture memos and it looked like the press was saying this is what the administrations telling us, others need to defend america, these people are enemies and subsequently then people begin to ask questions and it looks like the press and simply bought in to what the bush administration was telling them. >> as soon as the pictures from abu gharaib, everybody
was telling the story and the demonstration took the heat ck for it. i don't know how much you want to get back into these years. one of the decisions president bush made his after september 11 we were told by the cia it is not a question of if, it's a question of when the second wave will be and the second wave could be biological, it could be chemical and president bush made the determination to do everything in his power to prevent it from happening and some people now that it never did happen we were able to prevent the attacks, some people have said he went too far and shouldn't have taken the steps that he took . he will live with the decisions s he's made and he's comfortable with those decisions because he knew he was doing things that drone strikes to protect the country and enhanced interrogation techniques as he called them.all that is what you did when he was told it's not a question of if, it's a question of when.
hacriticism is understandable but i point out the drone strikes and military tribunals have now been carried out not only by george bush but by his three successors, barack obama, donald trump and joe biden. >> when i was talking about weapons of mass distraction and the torture stuff, you were the spokesman and that's why i'm saying people as they read through this book may think ari may be making points but is he a flawed messenger? >> i instantly acknowledged the bush administration was wrong. how many reporters have said we were wrong about collusion and the steel dossier, they can sweep it under the rug and they keep being wrong . how many stories does cnn put on the air about donald trump junior havingaccess to wikileaks before they released the hacked emails they had ?
cnn reported it. feeding frenzy. cbs news said it confirmed the same story. it was never true to begin with and as soon as it was found out by the washington post wasn't true it just stopped talking about it. eathey didn't retract it, they didn't say we were wrong and this is what the media continue to do throughout the f trump years. remember the story about donald trump was removing blue mailboxes from street corners so he can steal the election? it was because the political service was refurbishing mailboxes but that became a feeding frenzy for two weeks every time a blue mailbox was removed evil thought donald trump boarded it off the street. on election night this saturday the election was called for joe biden church bells in paris, fireworks went off in london . abc news , nbc news, abc, all reports were that it was an
international celebration of joe biden's victory and donald trump's defeat and you know, it had nothing to do with america's election. it was the weekly call to ngmass in paris when the church bells rang and the celebration of hundred-year-old holiday in england called guy fox day and nothing to do with america's election but my case in the book is that when you are a reporter who can't stand donald trump. when everybody in your newsroom wants donald trump to be defeated and donald trump is defeated, the election is over, joe e biden is declared winner and fireworks go off you assume everybody around the world is just like me, they're all celebrating when it had absolutely zero to do with our election and yet somehow these three news outlets put it on the air as a reaction to our election.
this is deception that i see that reporters subjected themselves to in an effort to get trump where they allow them to put their guard down and put anti-trump information on the air time and time again . it wasn't that they were wrong, it was that they were out to get trump and put things on the air they didn't check. >> we've been talking about the past in terms of you were the press secretary for george w. bush. now you sound as if you are supportive of donaldtrump . is that correct assumption? >> i'm supportive of accurate journalism and that's why i wrote my book. i haven't made my mind up about donald trump in 2024. abi will be, depends on who the primary opponents are. i hope he does not declare his candidacy prior to the november election. i would rather this presidency be a referendum on joe biden i. if he declares before the election i think that would be a dream come true for the democrats so i don't want that to happen .
i do want the republican party to keep moving. i do want the republican party to be a simple party but i admire president trump's ability to get things donefor this country, whole , to destroy isis. to have the lowest poverty rate in america since 1958 pre-pandemic u. there are a lot of successes on his watch. a lot of years to, mostly failures of behavior. >> what about the january 6 committee's revelation about the fact that president trump appeared to be in different to the violence at the capital, even knighted some of that violence and when he learned people were armed was not discouraging their presence at the capital doesn't that raise some questions in your mind ?
and as we talk about the press, the press has been slow to catch up with the january 6 committee. that's not the press making those revelations, it's the political body. >> i wouldn't say the arpress is slow, most of the press is covering it live but i do write about it in my book and i took on the president when it came to january 6 and i said live on fox news that the presidents worst mistake on january 6 was holding a rally on theb& the same day there was a vote in congress. you don't put nitro and glycerin anywhere near each other when you're a leader. he should have had better judgment and i criticize everything about january 6 and i have done it live on fox news. anybody who toattacked the police, trespasses on the capital, walked through the capital ordid anything worse deserves to be prosecuted, end ofstory . and i thought the presidents behavior and i tweeted it that day was wrong . he should have been telling the writers to go home. so i explained that and i'll
continue to say that but i don't think that excuses the coverage of donald trump prior to january 6 because everything i've written about in my book preceded the january 6 right. the coverage they gave to him was really in essence the press saying the american people aired in 2016. that they never should have elected donald trump and our job as reporters is not to be ec fair or objective or down the middle . our job is to write that wrong because donald trump is a threat to the eirepublic and that's what i object to and that's why my book is about journalists and their coverage. it's less about president trump or president bush or any future president. it's about journalistic behavior and journalistic coverage. >> i think that's accurate and for the readers out there al it's about the journalism, not about the politics but you are a political figure. i think that's how most people know you.
even before president bush you were with elizabeth dole. you work for people in the senate but your known as a political player, that's just a reality. so when you think about something like donald trump, it seems so political and i think donald trump has helped to polarize not only the country but in some sense of media coverage. and when i think of this i think of people going on the air and having trouble just calling out statements he made that our total lies but they say the press can't say lies, new york times, washington post very reluctant to write that word when in fact that's whatthe man was doing . whatwould you have the press to ?>> was cory booker lying when he said the election was stolen? i think the context was missing. he explained why he was making this comment, itwasn't an outright statement . >> it was. he said it was a stolen election . >> this is my point. the press gives judgment to
some, mostly conservatives, certainly populists and i won't do that. i'll be fair on both sides. my book begins with a cnn show, donald lemmon hosting the show where he was bashing president trump but this time it went beyond criticism of trump. he started to mock and his two guests on the show marked trump supporters.disdain for trump supporters, laughing uproariously at trump supporters talking about how one of his guests put on a fake southern accent and was looking down his nose with disdain for trump voters as he expressed the way they talk and act and think and don lennon couldn't control himself. he was laughing uproariously, wiping a tear from his eye and after his guests were
done he picked himself up from the table and literally put his head on the table and he said thanks, i needed that. and ouif you don't think what's contributing to the polarization of our country is a media that can mock half the nation and the people they mock to put points on it these are people who carry guns, people whose grandfathers and fathers taught them how to hunt. people who pray every day, that think that life begins at conception. these are people the press box. these are the people who voted largely for donald trump or maybe for ron desantis and the problem the media has is don lemon laughs at them. we cannot be a strong democracy if the media laughs at half the country. take on political leaders, go hard after a candidate for office, be fair but leave the population out of it. don't mock the people who support them. donny deutsch said about
trump supporters you are like the nazis standing at the door saying this way for that way. he likened trump supporters to nazis. you don't think that'swhat polarizes the country ? >> let's get back to the question i asked you about lying and the big steel. this is alive that has now affected people who call themselves republicans. i think it strikes three quarters according to the polls who still believe the us 20/20 election was stolen from donald trump . why did they believe it? because he told them the election was stolen. ari fleischer says that's not true so what is the press to do when you see not only a lie but the lie succeeding in persuading what was once and still is a major political american party, most of their supporters that the lie is to believe believe? >> and right after 2000
democrats thought george bush stole the election from al gore and the chairman of the committee said that george bush stole that election. so both sides to it donald trump does it the most. donald trump does it more and louder than anybody else but don't think donald trump is the first . there are examples that democratssaid bush stole the election in 2000 . numerous democrats saw how close ohio was. eyesight cases where democrats said the machines were painted in wisconsin in the 2004 election. there are cases where hillary clinton questioned the absentee vote i'm sorry, the popular vote because it didn't match the exit polls and she allegedsomething had 01to happen to turn the election away from john kerry . but democrats in 2016 ace after case democrats after
democrat objected to the trump vote and how many democrats tried to overturn the election in 2016 ? all through lies saying donald trump wasn't the legitimate winter. a lot happened in 2016 because they said members of the electoral college need a classified briefing to find out what happened. he didn't t collude with russia but they said he did and demanded a classified briefing of the electoral college. >> i'm thinking as i'm listening what the difference between people having questions. clearly al gore stepped aside . he didn't exercise his influence as vice president to try to undo the election results and clearly there was no attack by clinton-gore supporters on the capital that turned violent and led to people dying. there was no suggestion from any of the democrats that somehow therefore bush was not to be president.it seems like you're comparing apples and oranges.
>> my point is you asked about the use of the word steel and therefore lie. nothing is going to justify the january 6 right. there's nothing i will ever say that justifies it everything about it was wrong but when it comes to one party saying the other stole an election you still want to criticize stacy abrams for her refusing to concede this race or refusing to call governor kemp legitimate you won't criticize cory booker . even though theysaid it was a stolen election so you got a little bit of what's good for the goose should be good for the gander going on here . >> their argument was about the context. about how things were set up. i think what president trump did was clearly to say it was stolen without any evidence but i'm not trying to excuse anybody. i just think that's s a wholly different context and when we presented as the same i think that's way out of proportion for the viewer. >> but the stacy abrams
evidence was wrong and donald trump's evidence was wrong and for either of us to say it stolen? i think the media would have so much more credibility and republicans would believe the media more if they called out both sides but you're only willing to call out one side. you're still making excuses for stacy abrams right now. she had no evidence to support her claim. none. she just had a hope and wish that so many candidates have that something must be wrong and it just baffles me that to this point you're not willing to criticize cory booker or sherrod brown, senator from ohio for their statement inthat the election was stolen. you're making excuse for one side and you blame theother . >> i clearly don't think that's right. i think when you talk about issue like voter suppression and possibly changing districts, i think that's
palpable real factual and that's what was cited by stacy abrams and senator booker but let's move on. you absolutely are known also as a press agent and you have had vetremendous success past the time of being press secretary to the president as a press agent but people go on the air and they don't always identifyhey, i represent this group, i'm with this group. it could be a gas company, an oil company . how do you feel about this? because you're a talking head , well known to the american people and trusted. do you think this is the way business should be done? >> if you've got an example you want to bring to my attention rdo so but if you're asking me if i have business interests , i'm not sure what you're referring to. >> wait a second, i meant it in general.
i know who ari fleischer is, i think i've known you for some time but i think people aren't always aware of when they see people talking often times identified as all republican consultants, a democratic consultant, a strategist and they don't know who these people are working for. could be an antiabortion group, i don't know but often times not said . >> i was a contributor for cnn and fox. if you make money, if you have a client and you're y talking about that clients on the air you must disclose and i've tried to live by that. i've notified fox who my clients are if there's a topic that could come up on the air. i think there's something much more pernicious and that's anonymous sources. i'm convinced the press today gives an animated anonymity to sources like candy and
they need to stop. how do you know what to believe when you leave read on the anonymous source? sometimes it's in the case of the new york times where they gave somebody named wanonymous and editorial page to write an op-ed, it turned out to be miles taylor who was the deputy chief of staff to the department of homeland security . you hardlyinsight to anything going on in the west wing or at the oval office . if there op-ed says this is to miles taylor nobody would have to seriously but the press gives anonymity to sources as a way to pump up the source especially if the quote is juicy enough and it's done tremendous damage to good journalism. cnn .bit the most by getting anonymity to sources and putting information on air they often had to retract . so if there's any one area for improvement it's only give anonymity to somebody if it's an intelligence operative or they're going to
lose their job. don't get it in any other circumstances. i can't tell you to this day how often the press will call me on things and they begin by saying we can do this on background or emkeep you out of it and i'll almost always say no, put my name on it. reporters get to need more of a spine. tell the resources i can't use what you say if you don't put your name on it. if we did that would be a a much less polarized country because if you put your name on something chances are you're not going to go as far say something that's nasty. you're going to say something more legitimate because your name is on it and reporters should change that. >> would like to do that in the journalism business,the question is can they get the story ? remember the bush administration by valerie plane. that was a woman who was over. that whole thing of anonymity
can be difficult if you're trying to get the facts of the story and you have people who fear that they would be clinically punished or vulnerable even. >> reporters don't even try anymore. reporters begin so many conversations by saying we can do this onbackground and especially stories that have just a enasty quote in them. there's no need to get somebody anonymity so they can say something negative about the other party. if that's what you think , put your name on it and reporters shouldn't protect them. this is where reporters have done good work and written a lot of stories that otherwise wouldn't have seen the light of day because people in p intelligence can't talk, they know they'll be fired or if somebody would be fired if they said something but that's the one issue particularly in political coverage. even pollsters they won't put their names on istories then don't quote them. find somebody else toquote
and journalism will be better . >> i think it should be the goal to get ageverybody on the record. i'm just thinking that again a matter of trying totell stories protectively and i see that across political lines liberal and conservative media . >> yes. >> you again as a public relations agent you take on very difficult clients. i think one of your clients is saudi arabia . >> you got it a little bit reversed. my client is an american group funded by saudi arabia. >> that's a difficult t client. i'm thinking ari is going to have to shine through here but when you'repldoing something like that , but people then say ari, you can't be straightforward in terms of criticism of the saudi's. >> you wanted that?lo go look at my twitter feed. i have been critical of saudi arabia and i've also praised
saudi arabia. i'm on a sports game indications sperm and i've done this since i left the white house. i've worked in ffthe world of sports working at all kinds of different lease for athletes, owners, commissioners, players and when it comes to this issue, i've criticized saudi arabia when they had athletes that refuse to compete against israeli athletes. i've criticized them for this on twitter and i praise them, saudi arabia earlier this year when they had a tennis player play and is really tennis player. it was one of the breakthroughs underway where we're watching the middle east change dramatically. especially the sunni nations working closely with the united states and i truly in a reformist peaceful direction, most of it with work to hamas and yemen. these are the most important reforms underway in the middle east but i'll always
call balls and strikes but my job here is golf. it's the sport. it's the commercial enterprise of golf and i'm proud to be working for a living. >> i'm wondering in that capacity as i say your job is to sell something and i think that's a legitimate and that's appropriate but again, it would raise questions when ari fleischer writes a book and said these people are biased people say that's just part of the mix of the big game when you have something and a big name like ari fleischer, ari fleischer is out there as a proponent for live golf while many people are critical, even some of the most well-known golfers like tiger woods. >> i really think liz golf has nothing to do with whether the press made a mistake when they talked about the church bells and fireworks in london or blue mailboxes removed. one has zero to do with the other. >> but i'm saying for ari fleischer to be making this point, they say his job is to
sell the press, is due in fact fear the press and when he then says the press sometimes is critical. >> i wrote the book because i laments what's happened to the press. i want our democracy to have a press where people say when somebody says it i trust it. i want the press to tell us the facts and leave the interpretations and decisions to the people. that's how the press should work in america but as i quote to editors at the new york times saying their newspapers have become increasingly opinionated and as jill abramson the former n director of the new york times said that the news pages of the new york times ' and washington post were distinctly anti-trump that's wrong and when people inside the media say that about themselves , yes i'm going to amplify their voices and blow my whistle cbecause it's not good for the country .
i can easily and proudly wear two hats. one is woworking for the companies i run. a sports company and to being a student and observer of the american media. wi have a lot of experience in the latter. and what i've seen in the media is what led me to write this book. i want the media to do better. i want the media to be critical. i want more conservatives going into newsrooms and more newsrooms to have a booster shot of independent thought. it would be held sohelpful to the press if they were so like-minded, if it wasn't a 12 to 1 ratio at the oowhite house . i've twice done a columbia journalism school to address young graduates. these things mean a lot to me because i like the press and both times i went i asked in previous elections if you vote for the republican or democrat . 24 to 0 was the vote for the democrat to therepublicans . this is hekilling journalism. at any other field that came
up and they said plwe're so ideologically lopsided we might be missing astories. people would say that's right. in journalism it justseems a cycle . i'm trying to break that cycle. >> we're running out of time but i think it's such a rich topic. isn't it the case that if you , ari fleischer created an independent network that you wcouldn't compete in terms of cable news. you couldn't compete if it was an online website. you couldn't compete if it was the newspaper that in fact what you see is that people want especially in prime time on cable and especially on the opinion pages of the bigpapers they want to see apoint of view . they want that opinion . >> i think it's cyclical. people are increasingly getting sick of that. i give this question all the time, where can i go to get the news straight t? this is i think where the american people will end up.
where a nation with a pendulum that swings and i think we're a pendulum that's one so much in the direction of opinionated journalism n, particularly in the new york times with its story selection and its bias and washington post and the nd networks as well, that pendulum is swinging and people want to get objective news as well. it exists on the right to but conservative media is booming while liberal media is declining and that tells you something to about the american people. i want objectivity and neutrality particularly from reporters covering our government . that's not the place for them to put their opinions into news stories. it's a place for them to put the facts into news rostories and let people decide what the right opinions should be as a result. that would be an improvement for the american people and that's why i wrote my book. that is something i hope commercially can be er supported. let's see what tchanges they make.
they're trying to change that. i'll be curious to see what the cnn experiment leads to c. >> congratulations, here's the book. snobbery and bias, why the press gets so much wrong and it just doesn't care. thanks for being my guest, it was a pleasure to talk with you >> thank you, you're always a gentleman . >> weekends are an intellectual feast. every saturdayamerican history tv documents america's stories and on sunday book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors . hunting comesfrom these television companies and more including charter communications . >> broadband is a force for empowerment. that's why charter has invested billions building infrastructure, upgrading technology, empowering opportunity incommunities big and small.
charter is connecting us . >> charter medications supports c-span2 as a public service. >> tell your smart speaker to play c-span radio and won't listen to washington journal. important congressional hearings of other public affairs events and weekdays at 5 pm and 9 pm eastern catch washington today for a fast-paced report on the stories of the day. listen anytime. just tell your smart speaker play c-span radio. c-span: powered by people. >> recently on the author interview program "after words", former nassau deputy administrator provided a firsthand account of the efforts to modernize nasa and expand space exploration . here's what she had to say.
>> the administration decided if we could carve out commercial technology programs, sciences, everyone wanted to protect the web telescope. we agreed the government could have a big launch program and the capsule could continue. those programs cost us together with the ground systems around $40 billion. they were supposed to be launched by the end of 2016 and they haven't launched yet in 2022 . currently on the pad hoping for a successful test. they will then go back to the hanger, come back out fora lunch . no people on board. august at the earliest. that's in comparison after $40 billion to commercial crew which we have flown it now five screws and space x got 2 and a half billion dollars and we have, they
have flown private citizens on dedicated missions. is one of these things where it took a while but we came out of the gates fast because of the success of space x and now these hopefully bowing soon and the suborbital with origin and virgin galactic but if you look at the comparison between the contracts and what we call a commercial crew, the return on investment for the public is not comparable. since then the private sector, space at ask and blue origin have invested their money and they launch vehicles so those are comparable vehicles. orion much bigger and able to take more payload further away but space x and blue origin vehicles. the falcon heavy pack and go almost as heavy payload to low earth orbit as will be in
this vehicle that costs $40 billion. it's just very frustrating to mebecause we didn't have to do it . that was something that in 2010, 2011 when this deal was made it was obvious. >> "after words" is a weekly interview program with relevant guest hosts interviewing top nonfiction authors about their latest book . to watch this program and others visit booktv.org/ afterwords. >> onwelcome to tnt live, i'm proud ground along with my anwife lives. we are very pleased to be hosting journalist brian karam here to talk about his new book three the press. the death of american journalism and how to revive it. the couple brief housekeeping notes.