August 16th, 2015
02:41 PM ET

Journalist Jackie Calmes: “…as much as FOX is valued by conservative voters...there is a really healthy strain of people who have now grown suspicious of FOX News”

Today on CNN’s Reliable Sources, The New York Times journalist and spring 2015 Joan Shorenstein Fellow, Jackie Calmes, joined host Brian Stelter. They discussed the conservatives growing suspicion of FOX News and her recent study titled, "They Don't Give a Damn About Governing", which was released by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. Also, they talk about the financial links between select conservative media and some political & campaign organizations, as well as whether Donald Trump can win the GOP nomination without FOX News.

Reliable Sources airs Sundays, 11 a.m. to noon (ET).

Video & Text highlights and a full transcript from the show are available below.

MANDATORY CREDIT for reference and usage: “CNN’s RELIABLE SOURCES”

VIDEO:

Conservative distaste for Fox News?

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS:

The New York Times journalist, Jackie Calmes, on conservatives growing suspicious of FOX News due to bias: “…as much as FOX is valued by conservative voters...the Pew Research Center found that about half of self-identified conservative voters get their information from FOX – still, I found, to my surprise somewhat, that there is a really healthy strain on the right of people who have now grown suspicious of FOX News as well.  And even before that FOX News debate, I picked up a lot of complaints from people who are for Ted Cruz, for instance – [thought] that FOX was freezing him out.”

Calmes on financial links between select conservative media and some political and even campaign organizations: “…there’s a number of conservative media supported by investors, businessmen and conservative groups, including Sean Hannity, Heritage Action, and some of these other groups, Senate Conservatives Fund.  – it's on the record.  They've given money to talk radio and supported them...the conservative media people give voice to the positions of the conservative advocacy groups...so – there is a sort of financial link between conservative media and the conservative advocacy groups and businessmen and investors.”

Calmes on whether Donald Trump can win the GOP nomination without FOX News: “…I’m not so sure he has to win without FOX News, because if he's winning, FOX is going to want to be covering him.  And it will be up to him whether he gives them the time.  He'll have an interest in giving them the time.  You know, it's interesting to me because FOX - he’s hit at a number of institutions – women, and veterans through John McCain, and he has come out all right.  He is a candidate at a time when people are against institutions generally, big institutions and FOX is a big institution.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN HOST: A fascinating conversation.  We’re really talking about the FOX primary here.  And for more on it, let me bring in Jackie Calmes.  She’s a veteran political correspondent for The New York Times.  And she recently took time off from Harvard's Kennedy School to research the impact of conservative media on national politics.

Jackie, good to see you this morning.

JACKIE CALMES, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES:  Hi, Brian.  Thanks for having me.

STELTER:  Let me ask you a version of the question I asked Roger Stone.  With this feud between Trump and FOX, if it continues to heat up, it’s a cold war now, if it becomes more of a hot war, do you think Trump can win without FOX News and the big conservative audience it provides?

CALMES:  Well, I’m not so sure he has to win without FOX News, because if he's winning, FOX is going to want to be covering him.  And it will be up to him whether he gives them the time.  He'll have an interest in giving them the time.  You know, it's interesting to me because FOX - he’s hit at a number of institutions, you know, women, and veterans through John McCain, and he has come out all right.  He is a candidate at a time when people are against institutions generally, big institutions and FOX is a big institution.

STELTER:  That's exactly what Stone was saying as well, the elite media.  So, there’s some agreement here.  When you were researching this topic, researching the conservative media, was your takeaway that some of these outlets like Newsmax and Breitbart, which Stone mentioned, that some of them are on the payroll?  I ask because there was a report last week from BuzzFeed that Trump or his allies have been paying Breitbart's Web site.  Of course, the Breitbart site has denied that.

What do you make of that possibility?

CALMES:  Well, there’s a number of conservative media supported by investors, businessmen and conservative groups, including Sean Hannity, Heritage Action, and some of these other groups, Senate Conservatives Fund.  They have - it's on the record.  They've given money to talk radio and supported them.

And, you know, then there has been this question of giving, you know, the conservative media people give voice to the positions that the conservative advocacy groups, which are generally anti-establishment as well, they hate the Republican leadership.  And so, there is - there is a sort of financial link between conservative media and the conservative advocacy groups and businessmen and investors.

STELTER:  And your main takeaway from your research was that - the title of your paper even, "They Don't Give a Damn About Governing" - is that these conservative media powers, the Rush Limbaugh's of the world, that they're not necessarily interested in what the Republican establishment is interested in.  Where does Trump fall in that?  He's clearly anti-establishment.

CALMES:  Right.  That's part of the secret of his appeal.  And could I just interject there, though, that the title of my paper, "They Don't Give a Damn About Governing", is not me saying that.  That was taken from a quote from a Republican, former 20-year veteran lawmaker, who was on the record.  And so, I just wanted to add that.

STELTER:  Good.  I’m glad you clarified that.

CALMES:  You know, I’m a New York Times reporter.

STELTER:  What you were trying to share what they are all saying about this media -

CALMES:  Right.

STELTER:  - situation.

CALMES:  Right.  And so, you know, Trump is anti-establishment.  And he is tapping into something, because as much as FOX is valued by conservative voters, as Roger Stone alluded to, and remains really popular, the Pew Research Center found that about half of self-identified conservative voters get their information from FOX - still, I found, to my surprise somewhat, that there is a really healthy strain on the right of people who have now grown suspicious of FOX News as well.

And even before that FOX News debate, I picked up a lot of complaints from people who are for Ted Cruz, for instance -

STELTER:  Yes, that’s a great point.

CALMES:  - that FOX was freezing him out.

STELTER:  And that's what Trump in some ways is referring to or responding to. Jackie, thanks for being here this morning.

CALMES:  Thanks for having me.

###END INTERVIEW###

 


Topics: Brian Stelter • CNN • Reliable Sources
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