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tv   Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter  CNN  April 11, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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good-bye, ma, i love you. thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week and i'll see you next week. fareed, i just want to share the cnn family's deepest condolences to you and your family. i think as viewers, we are all so grateful to your mom for giving you the education that you are now paying forward by teaching all of us. her life was such an inspiration. and may her memory be a blessing. and here we are live in new york. i'm brian stelter and this is "reliable sources." so let me tell you what we have coming up in the hour ahead. we're taking a special look at parallel political universes and what the left is up against with
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the right's intensifying anti-media rhetoric. amanda car pender, philip bump, and matt gertz are standing by. and the disputed cbs story targeting florida governor ron desantis, we'll get into that and the controversy over clarissa ward's trip to myanmar. she's going to answer the critics, coming up. but first an interview with the ceo of the anti-defamation league. the beginning of the bider years is not the end of trump's war on truth. the factures and fault lines are still with us. i'm talking about the mainstreaming of conspiracy thinking, the demonizing of others, the gaslighting that is going on. trump himself can't tweet any more so he's not quite as visible and lots of folks don't want to hear about him at all any more and everyone said move on and forget about his years of
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misconduct. but it is not over. it is not in the past. he's lying about the last election right now. this weekend. at mar-a-lago. besides, it is not really about him any more. it is about his acolytes now, the trump era war on truth is being waged every day by his lieutenants. and i know some temper -- some are tempted to tune it out, i respect that. but you don't know what is happening in american politics right now if you don't know about the lies. you can't make sense of politics without wading into the nonsense. you can't make peace with a family member if you don't know where they heard it from. and that is ultimately what this is about. it is about whether we could talk to one another and whether we could have fact-based debate without conspiracy theories getting in the way and anti-immigration crap getting in the way. and right now that is almost impossible. because so many millions are
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being seduced and being deceived by an alternative reality. trump is not really the leader of this any more. tucker carlson is. from downplaying the pro-trump riot of january 6th to mainstreaming a white supremacist conspiracy theory. remember when he said white supremacy was a hoax. but his comments were another new low as he recognized the white replacement theory by name. this is something fringe on ratist websites but he put it out for his viewers to her. and it is been played a lot. i know the fox segment has been replayed repeatedly so i'm not going to air it here. but tucker knew exactly what he was doing. he predicted people would be disturbed by the argument, he said democrats are trying to, quote, replace current with morrow bead yent voters from the third world. you know exactly what he's talking about. he said he wasn't talking about white replacement theory, but
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that is like saying you're not o eating an apple while you take a bite out of a granny smith. he spoke against the rights of a majority of voters just a couple of days earlier when he downplayed the insurrection, the attempt to overturn the lawful election. and he acted like the rioters were on a field trip. he bashed the government and said the rioters with were prosecuted for expressing their political opinions in public. when they are actually being charged for everything from unauthorized entry to assault to conspiracy. and the fed, some of them tracked down the bombing suspect and everyone is for getting there were other uprising in other cities that day in state capitols. there was a bloody insurrection months ago and conservative channel are trying to make you think it was a picnic. good thing i brought apples. this is the trumpian war on truth still waging.
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it is raging because murdock encourages and men like paul ryan sit silently on the fox corporation board of directors. murdock knows better. ryan knows better. they know tucker is cynically preying on his audience's fears of being replaced, fears of a changing growing america. but the show goes on. the profits go on. they act like tucker's invincible. they seem to think he's the boss, when in fact they are the bosses. but some people are speaking out. while the murdocks tay silent, while fox is not commenting on carlson's behavior, some people are speaking out. including my first guest here today. with me for an interview is jonathan greenblatt, from the anti-defamation league. thank you so much for coming on. >> thank you for having me, brian. >> you penned a letter to fox news media susan scott on friday saying carlson has been race
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baiting for years and it is time for him to go. have you heard back from fox yet? what has fox said back to you since friday? >> well, look, it is sunday morning. we were closed yesterday for shabbat and we sent this out friday afternoon but we vrnts hear anything yet. but i'll tell yu this is so problematic. as you pointed out, tucker carlson has a history of sanitizing stereotypes and of spreading this kind of poison, but what he did on thursday fight really was indeed as put it a new low. the great replacement theory as it is known is this toxic idea that there are a cabal of jews plotting to overrun the country with immigrants, muslims and black people and commit what they call white genocide. it is literally, brian, a staple of white supremacist and extremist ideology. so when tucker carlson
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introduces it to his 4.5 million viewers, he's serving as a gateway to one of the most damaging and dangerous conspiracy theories out there and when i say that, again, let me be clear, this has real consequences, from 2017, unite the right rally in charlottesville where it was invoked, jews will not replace us and in 2018 where 11 worshipser were killed to the shooting in christchurch where muslims were killed and to the murders in el paso where 20 some odd latino people were killed and again and and again, it is the replacement theory that has been invoked by these extremist murderers. so when tucker carlson invoked it on his show, when he dismisses it, right, it is so dangerous. and i think as you pointed out, the question is really from fox
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management, to the fox board, to fox shareholders, how could they count nance their network being used to mainstream the most violent and toxic ideas. >> as you say, there is a long history of carlson's racist comments. i was about to say racially charged but there is no need to beat around these bushes. let's put a scroll of some examples from the past. remember, his top writer resigned last year after secretly posting racist and sexist remarks in an online forum. so there are other examples on screen here. i put these up to make the point that fox has promoted him, elevated him, he is the biggest star on the channel, the highest rated host, so what do you expect fox to do. >> father cough got great ratings with anti-semitic and racism rants until he was taken down. and people like lou dobbs or
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glenn beck before him got great ratings with the wild, racist and ugly conspiracy theories. so what do we want fox to do. first and foremost, tucker has got to go. again, it is a risk not just to the corporation, it is a risk to our society, to be promoting these anti-semitic and racist myths that literally were used by people on january 6th to try to not just interfere with the election, but to murder lawmakers. i think we've really crossed a new threshold when a major news network dismisses this or pretends like it isn't important. this has deadly significant. so number one, carlson needs to go and they need to look at their entire prime time lineup and ask does this work because at the end of the day, let's acknowledge, fox isn't alone in this.
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they have advertisers, they have affiliates. there are cable companies who carry their signal. if fox won't act, it may be time for the advertisers to act. it may be time for again the affiliates an the cable companies to act to finally once and for all say that america is simply put no place for hate. >> but you know how it goes. tucker just said i'm talking about voting rights and the murdocks will say we don't cancel people. you're trying to engage in cancel culture. coy hear them in my ears because that is exactly what they would say. >> well, look, this is not cancel culture. let me unambiguous about it. there has always been room for fringe ideas in america. that is a function of our first amendment and i embrace that. the question is does fox -- fox should take the fringe ideas and put them where they belong, on the fringe. not place them in prime time where they serve as a gateway drug to tens of millions of americans. to literally con script them
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into this conspiracy theory of violent white supremacy. we can't afford to look away any longer, brian. it is incouple b-- incumbent upn them to the shareholders and the assers to say there is too much risk in his racism and he's got to go. >> my elderly neighbor who is watching fox morning, noon and night, who is a great gentleman. but, you know, think about what millions of people are hearing without realize that it comes from white nationalists, white supremacist texts because they hear their friend say it. tucker is their friend. they trust him. they love him. >> right. >> and that is where this is scary. that is where this is dangerous. but i'm at the view point -- >> deeply dangerous. >> the murdocks think tucker is in charge. someone needs to remind the murdocks, they pay trucker. he's their employee. they're allowed to sanction him. they're allowed to, you know, give him some guidance.
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but it doesn't seem to ever happen. there is a lack of leadership that is emphasized by the fact that lock lan murdock is away from new york and so you're giving them the benefit of the doubt saying it is only sunday but i think they have plenty of time to replay to your letter if they want to. >> there is a reason why people like richard spencer or david duke praise tucker carlson because he's taken their talking points and used his prime time platform to mainstream them for millions of americans. so there are the questions, where are the murdocks and the rest of the board, where are the shareholders, the institutional investors, right, who have large positions in the company, need to ask themselves, can they really continue to ignore this
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kind off intolerance. it has consequences. january 6th made this clear. the body counts is high enough, high enough, brian, that finally we've got to take a stand. >> jonathan greenblatt, thank you for coming on. let us know if you hear back from fox news. >> look forward to it. people ask me, does tucker really believe what he said? i was getting this question via email and a lot of viewers asking me in the past week. i worked on the book called "hoax" and he does believe it. he has been radicalized by, you know, folks like alex jones and he really does believe this stuff. but don't take it from me. take it from tucker. here is his 2003 book. he wrote this at the time. he said, he always gets this question and amazed by how many people assume that talk show hosts are pretending to be outrages in the things they talk
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about. you don't believe all of that stuff. i've been asked dozens, hundreds of times, actually i believe every bit of it. sometimes more than i say on the air. people hate hearing this, talking about liberals, but it is true. in fact, i do believe everything i say. okay. i rest my case. he really believes it. now let me bring in two more moises. philip bump is from "the washington post" and writing about tucker this week and amanda carpenter. john boehner is on a roll and paul ryan succeeded as speaker of the house and ryan is on the fox board of directors and never talked about these issues. he never addresses in public the fox problem. why is that? >> well, i mean, maybe thinks he won't be persuasive enough. but i do think a lot republicans are deeply concerned about the events of january 6th.
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and i want your viewers to take in the of is how well this white replacement conspiracy theory fuses with the big election lie. it is really the same idea. that democrats in the media are conspiracying to displace the white republican vote, okay. these are not separate subjects about immigration and voting rights it all goes together in a powerful nationalist way that republicans should reject. but if you let the strongest voices in the room like tucker control the krconversation, it only going to get more radical. >> philip bump, you wrote about tucker and he said it is ahistorical, what is your view. >> it is dumb to put it frankly. it doesn't make any sense. no illegal immigrant who is trying to stay away from the federal authorities is going to cast a vote illegally, just cast one vote out of millions. it doesn't make any sense. and over the long-term, the thing that we've seen, and the reason it is ahistorical, you
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look at says lombardi coming from switzerland and he moved to new orleans and he was teased because he only spoke italian. 20 years after he arrived in new orleans, one of the biggest lynchings in american history occurred, 11 italian immigrants were murdered on the streets of new orleans. lombardi was tucker carlson's great, great, great grandfather and it shows how the history of america has for people for certain parts of the world to incorporate new americans. a second generation american citizens and tucker carlson is doing essentially is trying to leverage fear to the extent that he can, while ignoring the country's history. >> john boehner said that but how to folks break through the fear. amanda, what is the antidote to this ongoing white lash.
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>> it is a long process. it has to be combatted among the republican right. and i'm optimistic that maybe we're coming to the end of this. tucker is very smart. fox news realizes that they are a problem. they are losing older voters and they need to cultivate a younger audience and doing that by chasing people that are addicting to donald reddit threats and lifting the same narrative and talking points and putting it on fox news. while that may gain viewers in ratings in the short-term, i think it is a long-term problem politically when it comes to power and you could see that by the results of the 2020 election. >> finally, philip, let's just all recognize the ultimate immigrant success story is rupert murdoch, right. >> yeah, no, exactly. this is the thing, i mean, over time, over the course of american history, the thing that we've seen repeatedly is that
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immigrants broadly become assimilated into the american population and the thing that most americans pride themselves on is the fact that america is the land of opportunity for everyone from around the world. we still have these weird debates now focused orn immigration and the border with mexico which fails to recognize who is arriving at that border which is mostly families with kids that are seeking to escape violence and seeking political asylum. that is not the narrative we have about immigration and that misnarrative about immigration feeds into things like the big lie around the election and tucker carlson's language because people are not aware that this is the story of american immigration over the past 150 years including for people like mr. murdock. >> you got it. philip, amanda, stay with me. you're coming up later. tonight on cnn, "the people versus the klan." 9:00 p.m. here. a look back at a time that is
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quite timely today. are the covid vaccine safe and easy shots but have you noticed who is not doing their part. plus a new look at the trump administration in tv exile. we'll speak with matt gaetz, no, that is matt gertz, he is next. on a formula only found in preservision. if it were my vision, i'd ask my doctor about preservision. it's the most studied eye vitamin brand. if it were my vision, i'd look into preservision. only preservision areds2 contains the exact nutrient formula recommended by the nei to help reduce the risk of moderate to advanced amd progression. i have amd. it is my vision so my plan includes preservision. i always dreamed of having kids of my own. ♪ ♪ now i'm ready for someone to call me mom. at northwestern mutual, our version of financial planning helps you live your dreams today.
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the top of kilimanjaro. a million custom framed pieces and counting. you can framebridge just about anything. framebridge. live life, frame more. and welcome back to "reliable sources." i'm brian stelter. there has been so much attention here and elsewhere on the pro-trump media but what about the post-trump media. fox news has certainly been nope for its steady stream of trump campaign administration hires and people going to the trump white house. but now, now that trump is down in mar-a-lago, the resolving door is in the other direction. fox has picked up, you could see
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here, nine folks from the trump family, from the trump white house, from the trump campaign. at least nine paid contributors and in some cases kayleigh mcenany, now a co-host. and mats gertz has been keeping track of that. from the watchdog group media matters. and i'm glad someone is keeping track, because it is good to to know what fox has chosen to do. this is all choices by the network. they have could have chose tone break with the trump years and move on and treat these folks as persona non grata but now they are news commentators. >> i think the timing here is pretty important. if you recall, after the election trump got very, very angry with fox for he believed not doing enough to help him stay in office after losing. and so he was telling his supporters to switch to go to oan, to go to newsmax and so i
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think within fox's halls they understood they needed to keep trump supporters on board. and the best way to do that was to put familiar faces from the trump administration, from the trump family on the network. as you say, this is a choice. i mean, you are not hiring donald trump's daughter-in-law for her sterling commentary, you're hiring here because you want to hire donald trump's daughter-in-law. for what that says about your network. >> yeah. here is some good news that might seem unrelated to your job at media matters. covid vaccination are hitting another record. 4.6 million shots recorded on saturday, half a million above the prior saturday and it is important to see all of the tv anchors, personalities showing themselves getting the shot. we've seen a lot of vaccine selfies from lots of folks at different networks.
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it is been really inspiring to see. the "today" show even brought the co-host outside for a live group vaccination this week. and rachel maddow on friday on msnbc talked about how she was fearful of the needle, worried about and yet it was important to get the shot and there she is talking about it on air. so i say all of that to make the following point. where are tucker and sean hannity and laura ingraham and steve doocy and brian kill, where are the biggest stars on fox getting vaccinated. i get it is a personal choice between the host and their health care provider. but everybody else is doing it. all across trelevision, all of those anchors are rolling up their sleeves why hadn't we seen the biggest on fox news get vaccinated or show us their vaccine selfies. >> i think fox has a unique responsibility here. >> yes. >> the network hosts have been telling viewers for decades that
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they cannot trust any other network. they can't trust cnn or the newspapers, the only people who are telling them the truth, they say, are the people at fox. and so during a public health crisis, the network is the only way to reach its viewers with information like that. and they are the ones that the viewers trust. and so when instead of telling your viewers, look, go get the shot, it is in your interest, it is safe, it is incredibly effective, it will get us back to normal, they are raising questions about its effectiveness, raising questions about whether it is dangerous. that does a lot of damage. steve doocy should get vaccinated live on "fox and friends." >> absolutely. >> it would save the lives of his viewers. i don't understand why they won't do that. >> by the way, it happened in friday and it is april. where are they? and again they're making a personal choice. fox will give you a little of all of the personalities that
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have said they've been vaccinated, some of their news anchors and commentators but the biggest stars are the ones most trusted by the fox audience and they're choosing not to spread the word. it is a really curious choice. hey, matt, i almost called you matt gaetz by accident early. >> it is a running meme on twitter. that people are mixing you up with matt gaetz. what is like to be mixed one that congressman? >> it is a little weird. i mean, matt gaetz is someone who knows that he could gain power by finding the spotlight, when he finds the spotlight he gets a positive attention from right-wing people and he gets negative attention from left-wing people and some of that kind of spilled over on to me from time to time. i like to have fun with it. it is misplaced aggression. at most. and i like to bring a little bit of humor to twitter which could be kind of a miserable place from time to time.
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but, you know, i do wish that things would calm down a little bit in my mentions. >> it reminds me of my friend elizabeth holmes, not that elizabeth holmes. sometimes you don't choose your first or last name. matt gertz, not gaetz, thank you very much. up next, who knew the venmo app could be a reporters best friend. how reporters are advancing the matt gaetz story and how they are uncovering more detailed about his behavior. and katie brenner will tell us how next. okay, imagine this... your mover, rob, he's on the scene and needs a plan with a mobile hotspot. we cut to downtown, your sales rep lisa has to send some files, asap! so basically i can pick the right plan for each employee... yeah i should've just led with that... with at&t business... you can pick the best plan for each employee and only pay for the features they need.
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investigative journalism 101. the coverage of matt gaetz just keeps flooding in. from word of an associate expected to plead guilty to the house opening an ethics investigation to reports of staff members leaving his office to "the daily beast" reporting on his questionable venmo transactions. that is right. some of the transactions happening out there in public view. so let's talk about how journalists are advancing the story. katie brenner is on the beat for "the new york times" and breaking stories about the gaetz scandal and phil bump and amanda car penter are back with me as well. how are there so many allegations against gaetz? >> from the moment we reported the congressman was under investigation, it is clear that people involved in the investigation, people who have been talking to the fbi, were not taking seriously the investigation, they were not locking down social media
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accounts, we saw payments over apple pay and over venmo over cash app. "the daily beast" had a story about that very thing. and so it was really easy to track down potential sources. and then if you look at the investigation itself, it involves characters that also incentivize for various reasons to talk to the press. it stands in such stark contrast to the other big political investigations we've seen over the last couple of years. especially the mueller investigation where nobody was incentivized to leak and nobody did leak. this is a much different, different situation, ar. >> are you surprised how much has been written in public view, what he wrote in his book and the venmo transactions that the daily beast found. >> it is shocking. it does feel like if people thought they were doing something wrong, they won't use venmo and apple pay. if they understand the gravity they wouldn't have text messages saying meet me at this hotel and
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there will be $1,500, some of the texts that we have review and that is shocking and also shocking is that people had not locked down their social media accounts even though we know that fbi started interviewing and investigating people in december when we started working on this story in march, all of those things were in plain sight. >> this is one of the first post trump candals for gaetz, and grats is trying to follow the trump playbook. here is what he said to his supporters. >> i may be a canceled man, in some corners, i may even be a wanted man by the deep state. but i hear the millions of amer americans who feel forgotten, canceled, ignored, marginalized and targeted. >> he sounds like a 2024 candidate not a congressman under investigation who might be in really big trouble. >> he sounds more like a 2022 potential house candidate who needs to hold on to his base.
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i think the idea that matt gaetz has any significant future beyond the house is tarnished. he comes from a district where it is plus 30 republican. he doesn't need to worry about that assuming he doesn't face a significant primary event. it is fascinating to see the echoes went what happened with matt gaetz and the january 6th rioters. there is a sengs when you post on social media that you aren't being seen by the outside world that it is just you speaking to your small community and we've seen examples in which sordid or questionable behavior has been unearthed because people aren't treating social media what it is, this internationally viewable format for information. >> and have you noticed, philip, what is happening on fox news. this is gaetz top channel and on all of the time, practically on air commentator on fox, and he has disappeared from the channel and so have most mentions of gaetz. we compared cnn and msnbc and fox and viewers could see what a difference it makes. >> matt gaetz for the year prior
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to this march was averaging 90 minutes about of air time on fox news each month. that is essentially a three minute hit every single day which is a lot air time for someone who isn't an employee. but you're right, as soon as the scandal hit it tapered right off. >> and amanda, this time for coverage of the derek chauvin trial, of course cnn and msnbc have been showing the testimony, it was like going to medical school this week and it was very important to see and hear. but fox is barely covering the trial. why do you think they're avoiding it? >> well, i mean, i think they like to pick their news coverage, their bias is displayed in the stories they pick. i have to push back on the idea that matt gaetz is following the trump playbook. he's following a playbook that a lot of men accused of sexual misconduct follow. it could be bill clinton, roger ales and andrew cuomo, first they go out and deny the allegations to the fullest
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extent. they try to control or fight the investigation and then they hide behind a wall of women. you saw that in matt gaetz issuing a statement from the women of his office pushing photos of him and his fiance, so they are not covering the matt gaetz or derek chauvin, but this idea that sexual misconduct allegations belong to a particular person or a party is just false. it is a bipartisan problem. and they -- >> it is a bip problem. >> and with bipartisan solutions. >> amanda, thank you and thank you all for being here. coming up, amanda, we are go to talk to clarissa ward about her trek to myanmar and what she learned on the ground and after the break did 60 minutes give a fair shot to florida governor ran desantis.
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open talenti and raise the jar. to gelato made from scratch. raise the jar to all five layers. raise the jar to the best gelato... you've ever tasted. talenti. raise the jar. 60 minutes is one of the
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most popular news programs in america. so when it decides to cover matters, it matters a lot. so do the editing practices. and that is why this segment from last sunday is under so much scrutiny. the story questions florida governor ron desantis' vaccine rollout strategy. specifically the deal with grocery chain publix, suggesting there could have been a link between that partnership and campaign donations. tom jones questions 60 minutes saying the program missed the mark. "the washington post" said the story relied too much on innuendo. so more on this, let me bring in one of the writers who called out 60 minutes before anybody. robby soave is a editor for reason magazine and he wrote that the story was wildly flawed. thank you for coming on. folks could read about this in detail at reason.com, but tell us what 60 minutes should have
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done differently. >> sure. well very importantly, they allege this kind of serious matter of corruption involving the governor that it was a kind of campaign kickback for publix, the supermarket chain to handle vaccine rollout because they donated to desantis' campaign and that is what 60 minutes claimed. but they didn't provide any additional evidence of that, anything to substantiate it and when they talked to desantis about it, he gave reasonable explanations for it. he said the decision didn't originate with the governor's office. several democratic officials have backed up this -- this assertion, have said that the emergency managers officer wanted to do it and it was a desantis thing. and there are 800 publix in florida and cvs was vaccinating as well and it didn't hold up and they cut the clips of him explaining that and that was bad practice as well. >> i think the concerns about
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inequality in the vaccine rollout are real and important. this question of are some people being disenfranchised, not getting access, these are important. but the way that 60 told the story opened the program up to a lot of criticism. and then when people like you and cnn's oliver darcy started to call this out, what did 60 do? they put out a statement saying we stand by our story, the story speaks for itself. and robby, isn't that a mistake in this climate just to say, well our story speaks for itself, we're not going to de defend it or explain it or respond. >> yeah, i mean, they should have put out a statement apologizing. someone should have gotten fired for the decision not to air the legitimate defense that desantis made. it was misleadingly stitched together and this causes people, trust in the press has just plummeted among republicans, but also independents and it is this kind of thing that feeds into
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it, when the media on occasion, the mainstream media gets something very wrong, a very famous and well respected outlet like cbs, like 60 minutes, and then when they don't reverse core, when they don't make up for it, when they get it wrong, i think that causes people to have a lot of -- to lose trust in the mainstream media. part of story, declining trust in our institutions over the last several years, this is an example of that phenomenon. >> is it fair to say that this instance, which again cbs is still defending, they think more is going could to come out and more revealing issues here, but is this a win for desantis from a political point of view? because in a possible run for president in 2024, he is now positioning himself against cbs, against the media. >> yeah. and right and in this case it is kind of deserved because it was kind of a -- it was a really bad hit job. so i think this is raised the profile because at tack on him
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was so weak. >> that is interesting. so these kind of things would raise the profile. this said being anti-media is now part of the gop identity. do you think that is fair or an over statement. >> think being anti-media is the single thing that united republicans, there are disagreement on policy and who they want to see lead the ticket moving forward or who wants to be the national spokesperson for republicanism and conservatism but everyone agrees that the media is unfair to the right and in cases like this story you see why people come to that conclusion. >> robby, thank you very much. we're going to keep seeing this. 2024 candidates in the gop calling out the press for various reasons. when we come back, cnn's exclusive access in myanmar. clarissa ward is here to discuss the sensitive story. don't miss it. (burke) get your policy perks by calling 1-800-farmers. go ahead, phone it in. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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. now for the truth about what it takes to get to the truth in a place like myanmar. as the death toll rises in the southeast asian country, there are hardly any journalists able to operate. newsrooms have been raided, reporters arrested, internet connections mostly cut off. what we do see is usually from citizen journalists or activists who are able to get video out. all of this, all these scenes are because the military is in control. the pro-democracy protesters want their country back. that's why it's vital for journalists to supply the world with firsthand accounts of the situation. vital, but incredibly difficult. cnn's clarissa ward, brent swales and scott mckinney pulled it off this week. the military allowed the cnn team into the country, escorting them everywhere, controlling their movements, but still the cnn journalists were able to see and hear the resistance. brave calls for democracy, and
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some of those citizens were detained just for speaking to cnn. this reporting trip was quite controversial in some corners. let's hear the story behind the story. clarissa ward is back in london and she is joining me. clarissa, when you arrived there, there started to be news stories about you being there. this is pretty unusual, that you were noticed. myanmar citizens spread the word about you being there. some were worried you were there doing the military's bidding, basically. how did you approach this? >> i think, listen, it's always a difficult situation when the only way to get into a country is to go through the brutal, ap press sive regime that is responsible for the massacres that are happening. so you have to ask yourself, what are the potential merits, what are the potential pitfalls. this is a situation we find ourselves in, brian, over and over again as journalists, whether it be in syria, in north korea. we're often faced with this very difficult choice.
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in this case we felt it was so vital to go into myanmar to have the opportunity to directly confront the junta with their brutality. those local journalists that you mentioned who have been doing extraordinary work, who are braver than i could ever imagine being, the one thing they can't do for their obvious security reasons is to sit down with the senior leadership of the military and say how can you call this a cycling accident when you're showing video of a man being shot dead in cold blood. that's why we made the determination that it was worth going, and you have to be transparent about the way in which you're going there. i don't view to be sure that you hold feet to the fire. what i had never anticipated brian, was that the minute word spread among the myanmar people that we were there, it went viral. i suddenly was getting thousands and thousands of messages on social media from people saying, listen, we know you can't see it, but we hope you can hear us.
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that was incredibly moving, incredibly intense to have that level of scrutiny. certainly for me, i think all the team felt like we have to rise to this occasion. we have to do justice to these people's story because they're watching closely and they deserve better. >> what about the residents who were detained when they spoke with you? you were walking into these markets. people were coming up wanting to speak. you must have been weighing this risk/reward of whether they would be in more danger because they were talking to you. >> obviously, it's every journal it's worst nightmare that somebody talks to you and faces reprisal for doing that. we were so cautious. when we were out in the market, we did not approach a single person. we were not expecting people to approach us. the first thing we did when people started coming up to us, are you aware of the fact that we're here with the military, completely surrounded by security forces. they said yeah, we are. we know, and we're not afraid
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and we want to tell our story. at that point you have to make a very difficult decision, brian. is it my job to deny these people their chance to have their voice heard? they are grown adults. they understand the risks. by the way, once they approached us to talk to us, even if we hadn't recorded those conversations, there were probably going to be consequences to pay for it. so what we felt was the right thing to do was to give them that opportunity to tell their side of the story and the minute we knew they had been detained, we did not stop lobbying for one minute to get them released. we sat across from that general and said to him, you must release these people. we had him concede on camera that no crime had been committed and we continue to follow up with them on a daily basis to make sure they're okay and to make sure they don't face any further reprisals for doing such a simple and small, but incredibly brave thing as saying, we want democracy.
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>> unfortunately myanmar isn't the only country where we're seeing demock see threatened, repression of these populations. this is happening around the world. it would seem to me what you're describing, this reporting process, is going to have to continue in various places, in the same way it has in north korea in the past and other countries. >> i think what's really important to keep in mind, brian, this is just one part of the puzzle. we went in on the ground, the first journalists able to fly in since the coup began. our reporters have been doing extraordinary reporting while we were on the ground, they were doing heavy-hitting pieces, incredibly damning to the myanmar junta. whenever you're covering a conflict, whether in syria, me and arwa damon in with the rebels, fred pleitgen in damascus, you have to approach it from different angles.
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>> that's what we have to do. do you hope you'll be able to go back to myanmar some day? >> i very much hope to go back. i have been completely overwhelmed and profoundly humble by the incredible outpouring of people there who are so grateful to have an opportunity to have their voices amplified across the world, particularly in the u.s. they want people to be engaged with what's happening. they want people to care. they want people to really try to put pressure on their governments to try to do something to resolve this terrible situation. it's unlikely i'll be invited back by the military after this last trip, but you can be sure that all of us at cnn will keep reporting this story and keep holding their feet to the fire, brian. >> clarissa, thank you so much. for more on the investigative reporting experience i recommend collar risclarissa's book "on a
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fronts." this week it's about the future of the "jeopardy" franchise. my guest is author claire mcnear. we'll see you right back here for more "reliable sources" this time next week. bridging the divide, president wide were set to meet with senate democrats and republicans as they argue over the president's bill and what exactly infrastructure is. >> infrastructure is the foundation. that allows people to live and work well >> but will that message work for both parties? i'll speak with transportation secretary pete buttigieg next. and power play, a key democrat says he will not vote to end the filibuster, imperiling his party's agenda on key issues such as voting rights. >> let me get a better

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