This is a rush transcript from “Life, Liberty & Levin,” October 7, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARK LEVIN, HOST: Hello, America. I’m Mark Levin. This is “Life, Liberty & Levin.” We have two great guests. Mollie Hemingway, how are you?
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: Great to be here.
LEVIN: A pleasure. Joe Concha, good to see you.
JOE CONCHA, THE HILL: Mark Levin, thanks for having me.
LEVIN: And we’re going to talk about the media today. I especially want to talk about the recent media and events that have been taking place and how the media has covered them, and no better time to talk about the Kavanaugh nomination than now.
The Media Research Center says that 90 percent of the news coverage has been negative toward Kavanaugh. Honestly, I’m surprised it’s that low. It looks like 99.9 percent to me. You’ve both written about this. What’s your take on this, Mollie?
HEMINGWAY: I think this has been a really telling couple of weeks as we watched the media cover a very contentious issue and a very complicated issue. You have allegations of assault and you have a man who’s denying them and the media coverage, I don’t think could have been much worse.
When you saw the standards that were used in stories about — usually as a journalist, you have ideas what standard must be met before you publish a story. I feel like a lot of publications have not held to those normally high standards. They are publishing allegations that are on their face, farcical and treating them as if they were serious. They are running with stories for which there is no corroboration and they’re forgetting that this is a very serious issue. That this is a real man who has been accused of something and has no evidence to support the allegation and yet had his life and name and honor and reputation just dragged through the mud. It’s even more important than the Supreme Court nomination, it’s about who we are as a people and how we treat people who are accused of crimes.
LEVIN: It seems like basic norms, due process, you know, these things that western civilization has created over hundreds and hundreds of years. Due process, presumption of innocence, evidence, a standard of proof. All of these different things went out the window. Did they not, Joe?
CONCHA: Brett Kavanaugh, by many in the media was deemed guilty until proven innocent. You brought up the Media Research Center, 344 minutes dedicated to the accuser’s accusations of Kavanaugh; 21 minutes to Kavanaugh’s denials. I am not very good at math, but I believe that’s more in the 15:1 ratio and I compare it to the 2008 financial crisis, where everything just went off the cliff financially.
For our media everything went off the cliff here because I think some people were holding out hope that because this is a Supreme Court nominee and the hearings that go around that that there would be some semblance perhaps of balance, and that didn’t happen here.
I’ll give you see stories that really stood out to me. USA Today, a sports columnist writes an op-ed saying that Brett Kavanaugh should no longer be around young girls and coach his daughter’s basketball team because of the way that he’s been shown to act around young girls. In other words, he’s now a pedophile. That’s amazing. They had to retract at least part of that story.
Number two, NBC News puts Julie Swetnick — that’s the third accuser represented by Michael Kardashiani — I’m sorry, Michael Avenatti, I always conflate those two people — and they give her a national stage to make the claims against Kavanaugh accusing him of gang rape. And apparently, she has three years out of high school and she went back to high school parties, which in my day, if anybody from college came back to a high school party one year out, you thought that was weird. Two years out, three years out, you are probably calling the police, like what are you doing here? And then, oh by the way, there are gang rapes going on, so why are you going back there?
But then NBC News says, as a disclaimer, before the interview, we cannot corroborate anything that Swetnick is saying. So instead of killing the interview, which do you in those situations, they want to be first instead of accurate and go ahead and give her a national stage anyway.
Number three, New York Times story. Brett Kavanaugh threw ice during an altercation at Yale in 1985 in a bar. No charges were actually leveled in this situation, but the New York Times goes ahead with it anyway, and by the way, one of the co-writers of that story is an anti-Kavanaugh critic. If you look at her Twitter feed, the paper has to retract, not retract the story, but admit they made a mistake and they said literally, she is not a news reporter, she shouldn’t have been assigned to it. Then how the hell did she get there?
So you look at those three example us and you say to yourself, “My goodness, our media is broken,” and many, many people in this country will never, ever trust it again.
LEVIN: Mollie, do you think this was a watershed? Do you think the media have exposed themselves in the aggregate as utterly ideologically driven and in one direction? Do the media lead the Democrats or do the Democrats lead the media?
HEMINGWAY: It used to seem that the media were the communications arm of the Democratic Party. In recent years, they had behaved more as the generals who are directing which way the country should go and directly what the Democrats should be doing.
That’s a serious problem because the media should be at least trying to attain some standard of objectivity, and I think the media has had a lot of benefit based on this view that they are good people who are trying to report the facts. We’ve given them a lot of credibility and honor and, yes, this is a watershed moment in that a lot of people are appalled by what they’ve seen.
I think we just had three really good examples of what is so bad. But, in fact the last few decades have been — including a lot of these moments. And I think that you can even understand the Trump victory when you talk to people about why they voted for Trump? A lot of people mentioned that they were so frustrated with the media coverage.
Even in apolitical senses, people are frustrated with the way they see the media cover a natural disaster or a celebrity or any number of things. So yes, this was a very important moment. People could not — people could not see anything other than how biased everybody was being, but it’s just actually the latest in a series of problems.
LEVIN: You know, Joe, even Ted Turner, the founder of CNN and Ted Koppel, the other day, he was on a panel, they were critical of CNN. Too political. What would CNN do? What would the ratings be if Donald Trump wasn’t around?
CONCHA: Koppel said they would be in the toilet.
LEVIN: They’d be in the toilet. I’m very curious about this, what really is CNN at this point? Is it a news organization? Is it an opinion organization? Is it both? Is it neither? What is it?
CONCHA: Jeff Greenfield who is with CNN, ABC, CBS, he’s been in this business for decades, he’s pretty well respected. Here’s what he told Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” last Sunday. Quote, Greenfield to Stelter, “When I look at CNN, hour after hour after hour, I see panels rather than reporting, exchanging opinions. The overwhelming majority of which on this network I regard as quite critical or hostile to Trump.” This is a guest and a former employee of the network telling a CNN anchor this is who you are now.
HEMINGWAY: But I actually think …
CONCHA: And as you said, Ted Turner and then Koppel as well criticized the network all in one week. So you’re not just noticing that and we’ve seen it for a while, and I used to go on the network quite often quite frankly. It’s a different network than it even was maybe three years ago, and the difference is because Donald Trump came onto the scene. They used to film him — they used to film empty podiums during the campaign instead of Hillary Clinton giving a speech because he rated and plus, they thought he would never win.
And then, once he won, now, they’ve gone overwhelmingly anti-Trump and Harvard came out with a study showing that they are 91 percent negative towards the President. How do you say you’re objective when numbers like that don’t support it.
HEMINGWAY: And I think it’s worse than if it were just opinions, if it were just panelists giving their analysis where they might have — it’s the news reporting that is a serious problem, too. And one of the examples you gave was of an opinion column, but a lot of what we saw that was so bad with the Kavanaugh stories were done by people who claim to be straight news reporters.
We even take an examples from CNN, when you had the ex-boyfriend of the initial accuser against Kavanaugh say that he saw some stuff that he thought was worth sharing including that the accuser had once coached a friend on how to pass a polygraph, when later she’d given testimony saying that she didn’t know anything about polygraphs and a variety of other claims she was making. They didn’t report that. They only reported when someone denied that that had been the case.
CONCHA: And that’s called bias of omission. And that’s what people don’t see at home. You can be outwardly bias if you are an anchor and you clearly show you’re supporting one side, but when you don’t report things, then people at home don’t even know what exists. If you watch CNN, you wouldn’t know that happened.
I think one other problem that they have is that they label anchors who are not anchors. They are opinion people. Don Lemon is still called an anchor at 10:00 at night. Chris Cuomo is called anchor at night. Anderson Cooper is called an anchor at 8:00. You watch their shows, they are clearly giving opinions, and that conflating the two things I think is what builds to more mistrust, when you are not labeling people as they should be.
And there’s nothing wrong, as you said, with being an opinion person. Hannity, Ingraham, Carlson on this network. Mark Levin, you are opinion people. Embrace it. It’s fine, but stop pretending that you are anchors when you don’t fit the label just asking questions and getting to the facts.
LEVIN: Let me ask you this too, though. I watched some of the coverage, a lot of the coverage, most of the coverage, of the Kavanaugh hearings, and I was very unimpressed with most of the “analysts,” quote, unquote. They were highly critical of Rachel Mitchell who was hired by the Republicans, the Maricopa County sexual crimes prosecutor. She was going through it methodically, interrupted by this five-minute rule, which was very annoying, but you could tell, the audience could tell, we could tell she was going through it methodically, pointing out the contradictions, pointing out the lack of corroboration and she was trashed, almost uniformly trashed.
They bring in some professors who trashed her, some of the analysts are trashing her. I went on the radio and said “Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. She’s the one that’s actually laying out the case and some of the problems with Dr. Ford.” Did you see that, too?
HEMINGWAY: Yes, and it was very frustrating to watch because if you are a casual observer and you saw her going through these questions, well, Professor Ford was answering and revealing a lot of really interesting information, such as that it was false that she was afraid to fly. She’s actually a global frequent flyer, and yet in previous weeks, we’d heard that she couldn’t fly out to the hearing because she had a deathly fear of flying.
Now, it was because of Rachel Mitchell, bringing out these inconsistencies or flaws with her own story that had been pushed and just flooded the zone of the media that you begin to think through this a little bit more seriously.
And yet when you saw people analyze both Mitchell’s questioning and also Professor Ford and even Kavanaugh’s statements, everybody responded so emotionally rather than logically. And I understand that emotion is something that is very important for a lot of people, but we shouldn’t lose sight of reason and logic and other principles that were in play, too.
You don’t convict someone in any court because you feel like it. You actually have to have evidence. Nobody pointed out that going into that hearing last week, there was no evidence to support the allegations. Coming out of the hearing, there was no evidence to support the allegations. That was not a major theme of the analysis, and it should have been.
I don’t really care, some people might find Professor Ford credible; a lot of people did not. A lot of people had problems with the testimony and it had a lot of gaps that didn’t make sense. I didn’t see that coming through in the news coverage. I didn’t see it coming through in the analysis either. And there’s no reason there couldn’t have been a straight news story laying out some of the flaws and inconsistencies with her testimony.
CONCHA: People wanted “A Few Good Men” and Colonel Jessup and Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise and they wanted Cruise thundering, “Did you order the Code Red?” And then obviously Nicholson says, “You’re damn right, I did.” Right? That’s what they wanted out of this prosecutor or they wanted Johnnie Cochran back in the OJ hearings, you know, if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit, like something that rhymes. And again, if it’s methodical and it’s fact based, that doesn’t play well in cable news for pundits, but they want drama.
LEVIN: Let me follow up on this point. I think you make an important point. Is the audience smarter than the people making the presentations in the media?
CONCHA: Absolutely. And how do I know that? Because before the 2016 election, The Hill does an analysis of all the major newspapers across the country and their endorsements, and we narrowed it down to 59 papers based on, I believe, subscription levels. Fifty seven endorsed Hillary Clinton, two endorsed Donald Trump. You know what that got Hillary Clinton, a concession speech. In other words, people didn’t listen when they were told how to vote or how to think.
They said, “We could do our thinking on our own, thank you.” So, I always go back to that status, yes, influence of the media is one-tenth of what it used to be back when we were going up in another time that I won’t name.
HEMINGWAY: But it’s also why it’s very important for people not just to have good reporters who are reporting the facts, but analysts who actually represent that portion of the country that is largely ignored or derided by others in the media. If you are watching the hearing with your own eyes and a lot of people did that and then you hear people giving analysis that doesn’t make any sense and people being very focused on emotion and then also for being focused on emotion being pretty biased in how they’re focused on emotion because both Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh gave very emotional testimony, but only one seemed to get the benefit from a lot of the analysts.
CONCHA: And that’s saying that journalists primarily live in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
CONCHA: And don’t represent the middle of the country. Okay, Bob Schafer, who I like, he observed on “Face The Nation” last year that one in five journalists live in New York, DC, or Los Angeles. Those are only three cities, and yet 20 percent of the people that work in this business live in those places. It’s called the Acela journalistic corridor that we’re on particularly with New York and Washington, and yes, they are living in their bubbles or they’re in their elite towers and they are not listening to people.
When I go to parties, I was at a block party last week, and yes, there was beer there, a keg.
LEVIN: Did you throw ice?
CONCHA: I did throw ice, yes. I threw a bag also in a game called corn toss, but that’s another story for another time, but the point is that I just spoke to people conversationally and I got feedback that I was not seeing on television, particularly when it came to Christine Blasey Ford or Julie Swetnick or anybody else that’s involved here. So yes, get out and talk to people once in a while, go to a bar, have some fun, maybe you will get another perspective.
LEVIN: Don’t forget, folks, almost every week night, you can you catch me on Levin TV by going to crtv.com/mark, crtv.com/mark or give us a call at 844-LEVIN-TV. We’d love to have you at our conservative community there. We’ll be right back.
LEVIN: Mollie Hemingway, I feel like during this hearing, as in so much the news, we’re busy hearing the left’s agenda, debating the left’s agenda. I mean, individual liberties rarely discussed, private property rights rarely discussed. National sovereignty, when it comes to immigration — all of these things related to court decisions, the Supreme Court — instead, it’s all the social issues that the left pour into this nomination, and also the attacks. You’re a racist or you’re a misogynist or old white men and white privileged. This all came out, and not just at the hearing. The media perpetrate this. What do you think?
HEMINGWAY: It is frustrating to watch how the stories are framed and how frequently the stories are framed around a leftist agenda. Again, when you are dealing with an allegation of sexual assault, certainly, there are interesting areas to explore dealing with the relationship between the sexes, how people come to report sexual assault, what it’s like to be accused of a crime. It’s really important when you are having that discussion to think about the higher principles in play.
In this country, we believe that when you are accused of a crime, you have certain rights and that you are innocent until proven guilty, and that these are cooped into our Constitution. They are to our core as a people, and it unites you whether you are wealthy, poor, black, white, male or female. These are some of the few universal values that we are all to share.
I rarely heard them mentioned. I rarely heard any pushback against Democratic senators who were ready to convict without any evidence at all. That is a very frustrating thing to witness and it’s something that we see overall in how so many things are covered. And what’s wrong with that is that it just keeps the conversation so one-sided and it’s a disservice to both left and right.
The left doesn’t even understand how the right views various issues. The right knows all too well what the left thinks and they get frustrated that so much time is spent responding to it rather than being able to have a lot of time and valuable energy spent on their own issues.
LEVIN: Joe, is it because this seat is viewed as the Kennedy seat, the swing seat, and it was we’ll do whatever we have to do, including throwing a western civilization out the window in order to keep this man off the court, get through the midterm elections and then control the process in some way, if they take a majority.
CONCHA: Yes, I think if you look at Neil Gorsuch in April of 2017, there was some pushback, but that was seen as a one-off that while Scalia and Gorsuch are basically the same, so the court is going to remain the same with Kennedy, then the stakes went much higher and maybe that’s why Dianne Feinstein, when she did get the letter from Christine Blasey Ford in July held it and didn’t even present it when she was questioning Kavanaugh to the 11th hour, and you keep hearing about how Democrats care so much about Christine Blasey Ford and what this is doing to her life or even to Kavanaugh’s life, and all of this could have been prevented if they began an investigation without the media being involved, without any hearings being involved into what may have happened back in July, it would have given them plenty of time until they got to September and that didn’t happen.
I also think now however, this is having a boomerang effect. NPR has a poll out this week that shows the enthusiasm among GOP voters is skyrocketing. I speak to pollsters all the time and it seems like now Republicans that were kind of apathetic about the midterms, “Oh, shucks, we’re going to lose the House. I don’t really want to vote for this establishment Republican because I’m a Trump supporter and I don’t want to go that route.” This has turned now and I think that — Wall Street Journal had a poll about enthusiasm out about two weeks ago and it showed that Democratic enthusiasm is 63 percent. Republicans were 52 percent.
Now it’s 64, 61. I’m willing to even bet now because people are so angry about the way that this was handled and the way Brett Kavanaugh was treated that Republican enthusiasm could end up being more than Democrats and that can make the difference not only with the House but the Senate as well which is in play.
LEVIN: But much of the hearing was spent on the left’s social issues, and it’s a little frustrating to somebody like me. So we have this non-debate on abortion. It’s just assumed that abortion is in the Constitution, you know it’s not. That precedent applies, and I listened to this debate about precedent.
Well, precedent is the way we go then Dread Scott is the case or Plessy versus Ferguson, Slavery, separate but equal. Korematsu, the rounding up of Japanese-Americans. Surely, they don’t mean precedent stands forever, what they mean is the precedent they like stands forever, but we rarely have here, a perfect time, rarely have a discussion about the Constitution, the job of a Supreme Court Justice. Have we now reached a point at these hearings that have been so destroyed since Robert Bourque in 1987, where it’s just a matter of the left saying, “Here’s our agenda, if you don’t support our agenda, then you’re not going on the Supreme Court?”
HEMINGWAY: It was like watching two different hearings back weeks ago when they were actually discussing the nomination in good faith. You had a bunch of people asking about Brett Kavanaugh’s constitutional understanding, his jurisprudence. There were really interesting discussions about his view of different amendments and different approaches to the law.
And then you also had people saying all they wanted to talk about was abortion. It’s not just that this is a fight over the direction of the court, but really this is a fight about abortion. So it’s good that you brought up that.
And yet, nobody is actually being honest about that. And the reason why that’s important is that there are certain things that people who love abortion are willing to do, including destroy a man without any evidence because they think it’s worth it, that’s so important to them that they’re actually willing to throw out any standards that they might have and how they do their journalism.
LEVIN: Do you think that some of the Democrats who are positioning to run for President — Cory Booker, Kamala Harris — do you think they helped themselves or hurt themselves?
CONCHA: Boy, I think the news cycle moves so quickly that we’ll forget about this in three weeks, and then again, the 2020 election starts basically in January 2019 if you look back at the last election. They helped themselves with their base, I suppose, but you, as Donald Trump showed in 2016, you need more than your base. You need to take down red walls like Donald Trump took down the blue wall in Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and getting say, Bernie Sanders voters to come over and vote for him because he supported trade.
But you mentioned precedent before, Mark. The precedent that this sets, I think why so many people care, I don’t know if it’s so much about Kavanaugh, and yes, maybe it is about conservatism, but I think the other half of it is, the precedent that this will set. If he somehow doesn’t get confirmed means that any person that is up for any job that’s high-profile in government will be susceptible to these sort of accusations that don’t have any evidence, that don’t have any corroboration. You could take down anybody going forward if this succeeds, and I think that’s why people see this confirmation as so important because you want to say something …
HEMINGWAY: It’s not just that they will take down anybody, they will take down anybody on the right. And that is where the media come into play. If this type of approach were tried against someone who is on the left, the media would actually probably do their job and push back a bit. And I think that’s actually what’s helping with the situation is that people — Republicans understand what you just said. That this is a situation where you actually have to stand up for this rather than succumb to it.
LEVIN: We’ll be right back.
LAUREN GREEN, CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: Live from “America’s News Headquarters,” I’m Lauren Green. Tragedy striking in upstate New York. A limousine crash killing 20 people in upstate New York, some 170 miles north of New York City. Police say, the vehicle failed to stop and plowed into an unoccupied SUV parked across an intersection. The crash killed all 18 people in the limo and two pedestrians. Local, state and Federal officials are investigating.
Nature dealing another deadly blow to Haiti, a magnitude-5.9 earthquake striking Northern Haiti Saturday night killing at least 12 people and injuring another 188 people. The epicenter was 136 miles from the capital of Port-Au-Prince, and strong aftershocks made rescue operations difficult. In 2010, a 7.1 quake devastated Haiti and killed an estimated 300,000 people. I’m Lauren Green, now back to “Life, Liberty & Levin.”
LEVIN: Now, you both have mentioned that this hearing seems to have united the Republican Party, the conservative movement. You indicated the enthusiasm is through the roof and it’s building among Republicans. What of these never-Trumpers?
CONCHA: What are they?
LEVIN: No, what of them?
CONCHA: Oh, what of them. Well, they get a lot of TV contracts, which is very interesting. So when you watch some other networks and even this one for that matter, you will see never-Trumpers on the air talking about how horrible this presidency is or this President is, right? And to the viewer, it looks like, “Oh, my god, there’s actually people rebelling within their own party against the President. The Republicans don’t even like him.” I mean, let’s listen to what Steve Schmidt, the former McCain campaign chairman or manager saying or Nicolle Wallace who worked in the Bush administration. Trump isn’t liked by people in his own party, and then you look at polls and see how people are really thinking about President Trump, and he is now at a 90 percent loyalty rating within “Gallup.” That is the highest …
LEVIN: In the Republican Party?
CONCHA: Yes, in the Republican Party, right, that is his party loyalty. That is the highest of any president ever. George Bush had higher loyalty after 9/11, so you have to kind of put an asterisk next to that, but higher than Reagan, higher than Obama, higher than Clinton. Higher than Kennedy. It is a remarkable stat, yet the people you see on TV are mostly never-Trumpers and it doesn’t represent obviously, again, we’ve talked about this before that the real feeling among the Party about President Trump throughout the country.
LEVIN: Why is he at 90 percent, the President?
HEMINGWAY: Well, the American people clearly, and the Republicans who elected him and the independents who elected him were very frustrated with politics as it was being done normally and they were ready to try something else. I think what’s funny about media coverage of Trump is that they always say, “Oh, he’s got DC all upset, and DC is very much not liking what he’s doing, the establishment is totally opposed.”
And for the average American, they hear that and they go, “Well, that’s what I voted for, that’s what I was hoping for, so please keep doing it.” So they think why is this negative media coverage not hurting him as much as we would like it to? Well, partly because it’s actually cooked into what he’s doing.
LEVIN: Isn’t it also partly because he gives the Democrats what they give to him? He gives the media what they give to him? We saw George W. Bush take it on the chin time and time and time again, and people said, “Why doesn’t he say something? Why doesn’t he fight back?” Well, that’s not Presidential. Donald Trump says, “You hit me, I’m going hit you back twice as hard. I’m going to call you out on the media when I think you’re not telling the truth, I think when you’re attacking me,” and a lot of Republicans and conservatives are saying, “Well, it’s about time.” Is that part of it?
HEMINGWAY: It is absolutely such a big part of it and it’s shocking that more Republicans haven’t figured out how important that is to people. I think when Lindsey Graham spoke up last week, you saw that same spirit of understanding that he was sent here not to play a game with the establishment or play a game with the media, but to actually speak out in favor of truth and justice and what not.
There have been a lot of Republicans who have not learned this lesson. Although, I do think that this week and the previous week were a very big separating moment, where the people who were never-Trump. You heard a lot of them say, “Now I get it, now I get why people were voting for him.” A lot of people who openly renounced they are never-Trumpers and I had a lot of e-mails from people’s, and then you had the people who were even more focused on their opposition to Trump, even at the sake of giving up rule of law, defense of the rights of the accused and the Supreme Court itself, so I think they have separated themselves.
CONCHA: Democrats actually bought together, Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham and Donald Trump. That’s remarkable. And that’s what I mean around enthusiasm. I think ultimately that people that support the President and why that is at 90 percent is they don’t really care about his rhetoric. They kind of accepted it. it’s built into the stock.
Donald Trump is being the same person. I grew up in New York. I read the New York Post and The Daily News, and he has been in that paper well before he ever became a candidate. And this is who Donald Trump is. So they kind of accept that he’s not going to be Presidential. He is not going to be polished and homogenized and perfect.
They look at results and they look at a President that is presiding over an economy, where the GDP is above 4 percent, unemployment is below 4 percent. They see that North Korea is no longer lobbing missiles over Japan, threatening Guam and the United States and they see 98 percent of the ISIS caliphate, the territory that it controlled in Iraq and Syria now taken back.
So they see those things, they see economy, they see national security and anti-terrorism, those are three pillars of a presidency. I’m not cheerleading for him right now. I am saying, media coverage is at 90 percent negative towards the President, yet his results probably should dictate something much, much different and I think, ultimately people will boo the opposition party in the media, that’s what Steve Banning called it. They will boo the media and they will say things about CNN far more vigorously than they ever will about Schumer or Pelosi or Kamala Harris. I think the media is actually — put above as more of an opposition to Republicans than actual politicians, and that is remarkable, Mark.
LEVIN: You know, the President talks about the media being the enemy and he has to clarify this all the time, of saying certain media outlets, certain — and the media gets very angry about this and yet when Barack Obama actually sic’d the FBI on the media, whether it was Fox or whether it was AP and you have these New York Times writers saying the way they were treated was absolutely brutal, we heard very little from the media, and yet, Trump we’re told has the dictatorial tendencies, he hates the media but Barack Obama is still loved. isn’t that more of this ideological issue that we have here?
HEMINGWAY: And even a few weeks ago when Barack Obama came out and said something like, “I never was bad with the media,” the media coverage of that should have been pointing out that those were false statements that he was making. That in fact, he had put his Justice Department against the Associated Press and various other reporters, that he had very serious problems even if he had a friendly and cozy relationship with the media.
They couldn’t even call him out a few weeks ago and did language where President Trump usually says the fake news are the enemy of the American people, it is too much, I think, but weeks like we’ve seen recently show why that language resonates with a lot of Americans because how do you defend what we just witnessed. How do you defend the complete cratering of standards and the open partisanship? I don’t know how.
CONCHA: Here’s the thing about the First Amendment and apparently President Trump is trampling on it. How are book sales going lately for the Bob Woodwards and the Michael Wolffs and the Omarosas of the world? You write a book about Trump, it’s going to become a bestseller. How is the New York Times and The Washington Post doing in terms of revenue? In terms of digital subscriptions? They are through the roof.
In other words, reporting has never been more vibrant than it ever has been before. No one is being prevented from saying anything. And as you said, under President Obama, he spied on James Rosen and his parents, called him a flight risk, a co-conspirator. He seized AP phone records like you spoke about. He jailed journalists, you mentioned “The New York Times,” it was James Risen who said this is the worst President since Nixon, and we never heard it before.
Let me give you an Axios poll. All right, around how much people don’t trust the media in this country? Ninety two percent of Republicans. Okay, we’ve talked about that. We get that. Seventy nine percent of independents don’t trust the media and a majority of Democrats as well. So that’s why I say, boy, this isn’t just a Republican thing, guys. You better wake up, because even independents and even Democrats, who you think support you? A majority of them say, you’re not doing your job the way you should.
LEVIN: Ladies and gentlemen, don’t forget, most week nights, you can check us out on Levin TV, Levin TV. Give us a call at 844-LEVIN-TV or check us out at crtv.com/mark, crtv.com/mark. We’ll be right back.
LEVIN: Welcome back. Mollie Hemingway, I want to read you a quote from The Daily Beast, hardly a right-wing source, about the New York Times during World War II. And this has been supported through books and other publications, including by the New York Times itself. New York Times published over 23,000 front page stories and 11,500 about World War II from 1939 to 1945. Twenty six about the holocaust during the height of the holocaust, the greatest genocide in modern history, and they said the New York Times editors made a conscious decision to bury the paper’s holocaust coverage.
This is the New York Times. The so-called paper of record. I doubt very much if any other news organization, any other news platform had that as part of its record. That it would be considered the paper of record, and used by so many in Manhattan, and Washington, DC, and LA as the first thing they read for a source of information. What do you think about that?
HEMINGWAY: Well, it’s appalling, and it’s hard to argue with numbers like that, that there are problems with the way The New York Times approaches stories and that they go back decades. They also hid a lot of the death from famine in the Soviet Union. They have a legacy of shading their news coverage to match political or other goals and even we see it up to the recent weeks with the way they cover these stories.
What’s frustrating is there is no industry that has less self-reflection than journalism. Despite the failures, despite these problems that are objectively — they have failed. They failed in how they covered the 2016 campaign and actually the New York Times was probably better than most and they still were horrible, not understanding what was happening, and yet they think that they have the authority to tell people how things are and should be, and they brag about how good they are when, as you can see, covering up the holocaust is not to anyone’s credit.
LEVIN: Why is the New York Times the paper of record? I’ve always — is it because it’s liberal?
CONCHA: Because it’s in the largest media market in the country.
LEVIN: And that’s it?
CONCHA: It’s one of the oldest publications that are around. We’ve been talking about endorsements before. The last time they endorsed any Republican Presidential candidate, you’ve got to go back to the 1950s. So think about that. The guy you worked for, Ronald Reagan, they endorsed Mondale in ’84 who was lucky to win one state.
LEVIN: So New York Times and Minnesota, pretty much.
CONCHA: Yes, pretty much.
HEMINGWAY: But they do drive a lot of coverage. They do set a lot of the conversation and they do also, it should be said, occasionally do really good reporting, but people take them seriously and they get to set the agenda and they do have a lot of power.
LEVIN: I just daresay that any other institution in America, corporate institution, that’s not in the media business or whatever, if they had a record like that, we’d know about it.
Before the show, I read this to you, you had never really heard about this before. It really isn’t something that even the media talk about. It’s like a big cover-up. It’s in the closet what the New York Times did during World War II, and for me, it is emblematic in so many respects.
When I watch the media today, I see an ideological agenda. Now there’s, of course, it’s big enough where you have exceptions to that sort of thing, but I see an ideological agenda. For instance, when was the last time we ever had a real report on the national debt? They are few and far between.
When was the last time we really knew what was going on at the border? Other than the propaganda. It’s few and far between. When was the last time we had a real report on what China is up to? I saw one the other day, my eyes almost popped out of my head.
China is a great threat to the United States. We have so many issues that the media could be reporting on globally or in the united states, and instead I have to read about ice being thrown at a bar when Kavanaugh was in college or something like that. So, I think it does a great disservice as a matter of competence, but I also think it’s ideologically driven.
You gave us the figures. You gave us the figures. And I’m not the only one who thinks that. The American people think that.
CONCHA: And remember, people may be thinking at home, well, I think all of these people are perhaps skeptical of the media in this country, that maybe they always saw some sort of ideological bend. Gallup has been doing trust in media polls going all the way back to the 70s. 1976, I’ll ask you both, what do you think trust in media numbers were, approval numbers or I trust the media yes or no, where do you think that number was at?
LEVIN: I’ll guess because I think it was much higher, 50 percent?
CONCHA: Okay, Mollie?
HEMINGWAY: No clue.
CONCHA: Seventy four percent — 72 percent, excuse me. And that was post- Watergate. That’s now dropped in Gallup. The last time they did it, the most recent poll is 2016, before Trump took office, you can only imagine where it is now; 32 percent. Forty-point drop, and I think a lot of that particularly in recent years is due to social media. I think a lot of reporters who are supposed to be objective and nonpartisan are being exposed because their Twitter feeds, there is no editor, there is no buffer and they are sharing their feelings, and you’re like, “Oh, that’s how really you feel about that report you were supposed to be reporting on.”
LEVIN: We’ll be right back.
Social media really has upset the traditional media, even the less traditional media, cable and so forth. People think that’s a very, very bad thing, social media. Aren’t they like the old pamphleteers before the columnist during the colony leading up to the revolutionary war and after, you’ve got good ones, you have got cookie ones, you have what you have.
HEMINGWAY: Social media has done so much that’s good and that now, the conversation isn’t completely controlled by a few media outlets, and I love that about it. I love that anyone can become a reporter, anyone who has expertise can put forth some ideas and have them be picked up. For journalists, for traditional journalists, I think social media has been something of a disaster. Just as we were talking about, when you get to see what these people actually think, their utter disdain for their fellow citizens, their bias that is not even close to being in question, I think it has done a lot to hurt the credibility of the mainstream media.
CONCHA: May I can quote Bob Woodward?
LEVIN: You can quote him. You don’t have to do it anonymously.
CONCHA: That’s true. Very good point. He said quote, “The tone is the big issue here.” He is talking about reporters, he says, “In a lot of reporting, particularly on television commentary, there is a kind of self- righteousness and smugness in people kind of ridiculing the President. When we reported on Nixon, it was obviously a very different era, but there was — we did not adopt a tone of ridicule. The tone is what are the facts? They see the smugness,” Woodward says. You can agree or disagree with the way Woodward goes about his business, but that is as dead on as I’ve seen.
LEVIN: But he is not only right about that, the smugness, the attitude, the tone, but it’s also the mind-set, which is I don’t see any news shows go by, particularly on the left without them discussing race, with attacking their own audience and their motivations of the audience.
Rush likes to say, I’ve never seen a business succeed that trashes its own consumer, and yet that’s what they do. We have on MSNBC, we’ve seen on some of their programs where they’re calling Trump supporters neo-Nazis, racist, deplorables is mild, where you actually have media outlets talking about other people this way, and that could explain part of the reason why their ratings are way, way down. Does it matter to them that their ratings are way, way down?
HEMINGWAY: I think that they are ideologically motivated beyond everything else and that, in their own circles they receive a lot of praise, they receive a lot of “attaboys” for what they are doing. They used to perform a function. The media used to perform a function of helping create civil discourse as you’re pointing out with the way that they talk about their fellow Americans. That is no longer.
LEVIN: We’ll be right back.
Mollie, next five or ten years do you see the media getting better professionally or do you see this getting worse and more divided?
HEMINGWAY: Sadly, I think it is going to get worse. You saw this after the 2016 election where there was an objective failure. What should have happened is the media should have returned to reporting facts instead of pushing narratives. Changing their new rooms, they have more conservatives or fewer liberals that are in their newsroom and being humble and admitting their failures. They did not do any of that. They got worse.
In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen that they actually have a capacity to get even worse than we might have imagined, so I am not very optimistic for the future.
CONCHA: Profoundly worse, particularly in the near future when the 2020 campaign begins for President. You saw this now during the Kavanaugh hearings. That’s a flavor of what you’re going to get in 2019 all the way up to November of 2020.
And let me give you two stats that show that things are going completely in the wrong direction. More three out in four Americans, 77 percent say they believe that major traditional television and newspaper media outlets report fake news.
You know what the number was last year? Sixty three percent. That’s a 14 percent jump, 32 percent separate fact from opinion. They believe that the media has a hard time separating fact from opinion. We talked about that. That was 58 percent in 1984. In other words, everything is moving towards opinion, feelings, not actual reporting like we talked about and it’s only going to get much, much worse.
LEVIN: I think you’re both right. the media, largely, is a progressive ideological movement. I think social media is the answer. Competition, the modern-day pamphleteers in my view. Thank you so much. It’s been great.
CONCHA: Thanks, Mark.
LEVIN: I appreciate.
HEMINGWAY: Thank you.
LEVIN: God bless. See you next time on “Life, Liberty & Levin.”
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