Brian Stelter

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  • Here Are The Media Figures Calling Out Trump's Sham Reinvention

    Carl Bernstein: “We Talk About The New Trump The Same Way We Talked About A New Nixon”

    ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ & BOBBY LEWIS

    After Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump began persuading some in the media that he will start acting more “presidential,” others in the media have expressed skepticism of Trump’s attempt to change his image and are warning their colleagues to not forget his insulting and extreme statements.

  • CNN: Fox’s Megyn Kelly Meets Privately With Donald Trump

    CNN Money Reports Meeting "Raises Possibility Of A Kelly-Trump Interview"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Megyn Kelly met GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump at his Manhattan skyscraper, Trump Tower, Wednesday morning for a private meeting, CNN Money reported.

    Trump has been feuding with Fox and Kelly since she questioned Trump about his offensive remarks toward women during a Fox News GOP primary debate in August. Trump said Kelly “had blood coming out of her eyes” and “her wherever” after the debate, promoted a tweet describing her as a “bimbo,” and called her a “lightweight reporter.” Trump boycotted the following Fox News debate co-hosted by Kelly in January. Although Trump is a frequent Fox guest, logging more airtime than any of his competitors, the network pushed back against his frequent attacks on Kelly, saying his “sick obsession” and “vitriolic attacks” were “beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate.” CNN's report notes that Trump has not attacked Kelly since April 1.

    CNN’s Brian Stelter reported that the meeting was prompted by Kelly reaching out to Trump’s office, and may indicate the possibility of a Trump-Kelly interview in the future. From CNN Money:

    Donald Trump and the Fox News host Megyn Kelly met at Trump Tower on Wednesday morning, people with knowledge of the matter told CNNMoney.

    Fox News chairman Roger Ailes was not in attendance, the people said.

    An NBC reporter spotted Kelly entering Trump Tower shortly before noon.

    Representatives for Trump and Fox had no immediate comment. But Kelly is planning to discuss the meeting on her prime time program Wednesday night.

    Kelly reached out to Trump's office to set up the meeting, one of the sources said.

    The face-to-face chat raises the possibility of a Kelly-Trump interview sometime in the future.

    Kelly is known to be seeking high-profile guests for a Barbara Walters-style prime time special on the Fox broadcast network in May.

    Later, during an interview on CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, Stelter said the meeting was "the culmination of Kelly reaching out to Trump, seeking a face-to-face," suggesting Kelly has been seeking a meeting for some time. From the April 13 edition of CNN's CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin:

    BROOKE BALDWIN (HOST): A source tells CNN the Republican front-runner and Kelly met at Trump Tower in Manhattan. Trump's intense dislike of Kelly has been on display all throughout this campaign, so let's talk it over with the man with the scoop, CNN's senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, host of Reliable Sources. So what is the scoop? She rolled up into Trump Tower incognito?

    BRIAN STELTER: Yeah, there's a real mystery about this. She hasn't commented on it yet. Neither has Trump. But my sources say this meeting was the culmination of Kelly reaching out to Trump, seeking a face-to-face. It was on-again-off-again for a while. It finally it happened this morning. And it is intriguing because if you think about all of Trump's targets, all the people that he seems to dislike, Megyn Kelly would be at the top of the list. He has criticized her viciously at times. He says that she is unfair to him, that he can't stand to watch her show. So if he's out, maybe having a détente with her, it would suggest to me that at the same time we're seeing him talking about wanting to unify the party, find unity within the GOP, maybe he's even trying to break bread or make amends with one of his critics.

    UPDATE: Fox News issued a statement on the meeting, confirming that Chairman & CEO Roger Ailes and Megyn Kelly contacted Trump about appearing on Kelly's upcoming special on May 23. The statement said the results will be announced on tonight's edition of Fox News' The Kelly File:

  • Why Won't Interviewers Ask Trump About Campaign Manager's Alleged Assault Of Reporter?

    Blog ››› ››› TIMOTHY JOHNSON

    Sunday political talk shows on NBC, CNN, Fox, and CBS all failed to ask Donald Trump during interviews about the allegation that his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, roughed up Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields.

    According to Fields, she was "grabbed" and "yanked" down while attempting to ask Trump a question as the GOP front-runner left a March 8 press conference. Audio of the incident obtained by Politico indicates that Fields told Washington Post reporter Ben Terris, "That was insane. You should have felt how hard he grabbed me," and that Terris identified Lewandowski as the assailant.

    Fields filed charges against Lewandowski but is encountering blowback from the Trump campaign, which denies the incident ever occurred, and from her own employer Breitbart News. Critics have noted that Breitbart News has an especially cozy relationship with the Trump campaign and have pointed out that the news organization has failed to strongly take Fields' side in the controversy.

    Although Sunday news shows Meet the Press, State of the Union, Fox News Sunday, and Face the Nation all asked Trump about his condoning of violence at his rallies during March 13 broadcasts, none of the shows asked Trump about Fields' assault allegation.

    By contrast, the two Sunday media criticism shows, CNN's Reliable Sources and Fox News' MediaBuzz, both mentioned the incident.

    On Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter provided an update on the story, reporting Fields "is hiring an attorney, she's the Breitbart reporter who was roughed up by someone, possibly Trump's campaign manager, at a press conference earlier in the week. The campaign denied that the campaign manager was involved, suggesting she made it all up."

    While Fox's MediaBuzz did air a pre-recorded interview with Trump where host Howard Kurtz did not ask Trump about Fields, later in the show Kurtz brought the incident up during a panel discussion.

    During that discussion, The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky slammed Breitbart News, saying, "I don't think, of the 25 years I've been doing this, I don't think I've ever heard a news organization not stand by its reporter in a situation like this. It's just an unbelievable thing to me. It makes them a not a news organization, it makes them a Trump organization, at least with respect to this incident. It's just unbelievable."

  • Wash. Post's Erik Wemple Doubles-Down On Criticism Of Morning Joe's Donald Trump "Puff Session"

    MSNBC Hosts Were "Essentially Giving [Trump] A Pass" By Glossing Over His "Record Of Offenses And Outrages"

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTIANO LIMA

    The Washington Post's Erik Wemple defended his criticism of MSNBC Morning Joe co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski for their "puff session" interview with Donald Trump during the network's exclusive February 17 town hall with the Republican presidential candidate.

    In a February 17 piece, Wemple criticized MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski for not questioning "Trump's shameful record of racism, bigotry and rampant disrespect" during a one-hour presidential town hall that evening. Wemple asserted that "any hour-long session with Donald Trump that doesn't ask him about those obscenities is a puff session" and that the MSNBC duo's failure to challenge Trump was a "journalistic shortfall." Wemple joined a chorus of media critics calling out the "softball" treatment of Trump. After receiving direct criticism from Scarborough and Brzezinski, Wemple issued a satirical apology in which he reasserted that he stood "by every word of our review of the Scarborough-Brzezinski Trump town hall."

    On the February 21 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources, Wemple again doubled-down on his criticism of the MSNBC hosts, saying that "it's the media's role" to keep bringing up Trump's "record of offenses and outrages of racist, and sexist, and bigoted nature":

    BRIAN STELTER (HOST): The campaign trail wars have nothing on the cable news wars. The latest example, dueling town halls. CNN airing a town hall with three GOP candidates while MSNBC set up an hour-long town hall with Donald Trump moderated by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Now, Scarborough was criticized for some of the questions in his town hall. Let me show you one of the examples here. This is from Erik Wemple of The Washington Post. He said that "MSNBC and Morning Joe hosts let Trump skate on bigotry and racism." Well, Erik Wemple of The Washington Post joins me now in Washington. Erik, I want you to respond to Scarborough because, as you and I both know, he's been the subject of media coverage, including here at CNN, describing a -- maybe a cozy relationship with Donald Trump. He's been defending himself and dismissing those criticisms. Let's take a look at what he said about you on his show the other day.

    [...]

    So he says he's being tough on Trump. You said he let Trump "skate."

    ERIK WEMPLE: Right, I mean, I think that there -- it's one of these great Washington situations where both sides can sort of claim, "hey, look at this question, look at at that question." My point here Brian is sort of a larger one, and that is if you allow Donald Trump -- if you engage him only on like say Social Security, Iraq, and the issues, and how he's going to unite the Republican Party, you're essentially giving him a a pass. You're allowing him into the polite company of a presidential election. Where I think that there's a bigger issue here, and that is that he has compiled this record of offenses and outrages of racist, and sexist, and bigoted nature. And I think that if you have an hour to spend with him, and you don't talk about any of that, a lot of it came in 2015 -- I think that some media people have moved on. But I think Donald Trump has never apologized for any of his outrages. He's never made amends, he's never adequately explained any of it. And I don't think that it's the media's role to sort of let that go by the wayside. I think it's the media's role to keep bringing that up. Now, The Huffington Post has this footer that they attach to every story on Donald Trump where they recite all his various outrages and they link to supporting documentation.

  • Media Laud Megyn Kelly's Debate Questions, Ignore Her Record Of Misinformation And Fearmongering

    ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN

    Prominent media figures are cheering Megyn Kelly's performance as a moderator in the January 28 Fox News Republican presidential debate as "brilliant," while lauding her for asking "the toughest questions" and"throwing fastballs." Such praise ignores the conservative myth-filled questions Kelly has a history of asking guests on her show the rest of the year when she's not in the presidential debate spotlight.

  • CNN's Stelter: GOP Candidates Debated "Based On Misinformation" After Faulty NY Times San Bernardino Report

    Stelter Details The Times' Year Of Faulty, Anonymously Sourced Reporting

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    CNN's Brian Stelter hosted a panel discussion of The New York Times' latest reporting blunder, in which the paper cited anonymous sources to claim that one of the San Bernardino attackers "talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad" but still passed three background checks.

    Right-wing media trumpeted a December 12 front-page New York Times piece that used unnamed sources to claim that one of the San Bernardino attackers "talked openly on social media" about violent jihad. As explained in the Times' December 18 correction, his claim was later contradicted by FBI Director James B. Comey, who clarified that Tashfeen Malik's online communications about jihad involved "direct, private messages." However, by the time the correction was issued, this falsehood had made its way into the December 15 CNN Republican debate, where candidates claimed that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was prohibited from reviewing the social media of potential visa applicants out of concern for "political correctness." But DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson explained that the agency has been consulting social media as part of immigration application reviews since early 2015. The Times' public editor Margaret Sullivan penned an op-ed calling the report "a failure of sufficient skepticism at every level of the reporting and editing process," and executive editor Dean Baquet called the "really big mistake" a "system failure that we have to fix."

    The New York Times came under scrutiny in July for falsely claiming -- again, based on anonymous sources -- that investigators were seeking a criminal probe into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. In fact, Clinton was not the target of a criminal probe.

    On Reliable Sources, host Brian Stelter pointed out that the Times' San Bernardino report "is the second time recently that this has happened" after they "erroneously reported -- also in a very high profile way -- that the Justice Department was considering a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails." American University journalism Professor Jane Hall implied that the paper violated the rules of "Journalism 101," and Stelter explained that "the real reason why this matters more than anything else is because ... people argue about policy as a result," adding that the GOP candidates on Tuesday's debate stage "were arguing in some ways based on misinformation."

    From the December 20 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources:

    BRIAN STELTER (ANCHOR): First this morning, terror and errors in The New York Times. Last Sunday, it seemed like the Times had broken a big story. This was the headline on page one. It says the "U.S. Visa process missed the San Bernardino wife's online zealotry." Now the Times reported that the woman who carried out the massacre along with her husband passed three background checks by U.S. immigration officials and that "none uncovered what Ms. Malik had made little effort to hide -- that she talked openly on social media about her views on violent jihad." The key word there is openly. It makes it sound like she was posting on Facebook for everyone to see and the U.S. ignored it. This bombshell quickly became politicized and was even cited at Tuesday's Republican debate here on CNN.

    [...]

    STELTER: But that story was wrong. On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey revealed that Malik's social media activity was in fact private, encrypted, and invisible to the public. He called The Times story "a garble." Then the newspaper revised its stor, it attached an editor's note and basically blamed sources in the government for getting their facts wrong. This is the second time recently that this has happened. You may remember that over the summer, the Times erroneously reported -- also in a very high profile way -- that the Justice Department was considering a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. Now the word "criminal" was wrong, and that article was written by two of the same reporters that wrote the San Bernardino story, Matt Apuzzo and Michael Schmidt. So does the Times as a whole have a serious problem with its use of anonymous sources?

    [...]

    JANE HALL: I think law enforcement sources often have gotten things wrong or had an agenda. And you know, I think I agree with David, it seems almost to come into the area of you need to say as a reporter, "What are we talking about here?" And be sure that you and the source are talking about the same thing. And I saw that the Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was quoted later after the Republicans went after them as saying we have been looking into social media. So it is more than a garble. I mean I think you have to -- if you have a high level source or somebody's saying something, they're telling you something -- you need to be sure you're talking about the same thing. I mean that's kind of Journalism 101. Although I don't want to, you know, second guess the Times too much but you do need to be sure you're talking about the same thing.

    STELTER: And the Times has acknowledged this was a big error. Dean Baquet, the executive editor, telling the public editor of the Times, Margaret Sullivan, this was a "system failure" and that there has to be a review of what happened. Eric, the real reason why this matters more than anything else is because debates happen as a result, right? People argue about policy as a result. But when we see the candidates on stage on Tuesday they were arguing in some ways based on misinformation.