September 20th, 2015
04:02 PM ET

On CNN's Reliable Sources: Glenn Thrush on the love affair between the media & Donald Trump: "…I don't know if it's over."

Today on CNN’s Reliable Sources, The New York Times Magazine political columnist, Ana Marie Cox, and Politico’s chief political correspondent, Glenn Thrush, joined host Brian Stelter.

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

A video, text highlights, and a full transcript from the show are available below.

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

VIDEO:

Trump slips, Fiorina surges in new poll

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS:

Politico’s chief political correspondent, Glenn Thrush, on whether the “love affair” between Donald Trump and the media is over: …I don't know if it's over. …if you look at our Web site you'll see the top ten stories.  Usually six out of ten are Trump.  I was surprised he didn't say that, you know, your poll did oversample losers, Muslims and Mexicans.  I just think, you know, we have a collectively - and I think history is going to show this - we have not exactly covered ourselves in glory over the past three months in terms of our coverage of this guy.

The New York Times Magazine’s “The Talk” political columnist, Ana Marie Cox, on conservative media coverage of Donald Trump: Trump is sort of the media's open mic moment, because we're sort of having to decide how to cover him on the fly because he hasn't fit into any pre-conceived narratives.  He hasn't followed any trajectories that people have predicted.  The media has had to vamp as they cover him.  I think the media has faltered in covering him because they covered him as a personality and his remarks as outrage upon outrage.  I think it's the conservative media that's opposed to him, that's covered his policies and critiqued his policies and critiqued his hypocrisy better than the mainstream media.

Thrush on whether interviewing will be effective for Hillary Clinton after learning next interview is with the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” this week: I think they have been effective for her.  And, frankly, you know, I wonder what took her so long.  You know, the characteristic of Hillary Clinton that I don't think people pay enough attention to is her risk aversion. You saw this manifested in terms of the fact they wanted fewer debates.  I’ve heard from a lot of Hillary people that she probably would have been advantaged by getting into the debates earlier and sooner.

Cox on whether the media will be satisfied with Hillary Clinton booking interviews: I don't think journalists are satisfied with anything Hillary does.  That's the curse of her being Hillary Clinton. I think as a journalist I’d rather her be more out than not I think putting herself out there.  But she actually can do well in these situations.

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: My next guests know more about politics than just about anyone.  Let's bring them in, Glenn Thrush, chief political correspondent at Politico, and Ana Marie Cox, the political columnist and podcaster who does this week took over "The Talk" column at The New York Times Magazine. Thank you both for being here this morning.

GLENN THRUSH, POLITICO:  Great to be here.

ANA MARIE COX, THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE:  Good to be here.

STELTER:  You all know how the news cycles work.  Does it feel like the love affair, so to speak, is over between the Trump and the media, Glenn?

THRUSH:  Well, I don't know if it's over.  You know, every - if you look at our Web site you'll see the top ten stories.  Usually six out of ten are Trump.  I was surprised he didn't say that, you know, your poll did oversample losers, Muslims and Mexicans.  I just think, you know, we have a collectively - and I think history is going to show this - we have not exactly covered ourselves in glory over the past three months in terms of our coverage of this guy.

STELTER:  You're feeling a bit embarrassed about the summer of Trump, so to speak?

THRUSH:  I wouldn't say I feel embarrassed.  I just think he has found the soft spot.  He's kind of like that missile at the end of Star Wars that finds the one flaw in the Death Star.  He has really filled the space between sort of politics and media.  He fully understands what we need.  He's obviously blown our ratings and our web traffic through the roof.  The question, what does this have to do with electing a confident president?

STELTER:  I think we have learned a lot about the Republican electorate through the rise of Trump. Ana, let me ask you what do you make of this - this idea that maybe Trump is more vulnerable than he was before the debate on Wednesday?  Do you sense that and this hasn't been a shining moment for the American political press?

COX:  I agree with Glenn that this hasn't been a shining moment for the American political press, although I’m not sure if I could point to a shining moment in the recent past -

STELTER:  Oh, come on.

COX:  - but it's been especially bad.  I’ve called this actually that Trump is sort of the media's open mic moment, because we're sort of having to decide how to cover him on the fly because he hasn't fit into any pre-conceived narratives.  He hasn't followed any trajectories that people have predicted.  The media has had to vamp as they cover him.  I think the media has faltered in covering him because they covered him as a personality and his remarks as outrage upon outrage.  I think it's the conservative media - the conservative media that's opposed to him, that's covered his policies and critiqued his policies and critiqued his hypocrisy better than the mainstream media.  I think you'll find more comprehensive coverage in places like the National Review, which is not place I would go to cover the Democratic Party, necessarily, but they are covering Trump pretty well.

As far as the debate performance, I think he definitely faltered.  But I’m not sure.  I like everyone else is scared to say when the summer of Trump is actually going to be over.  We might be in for the autumn of Trump as well.

STELTER:  Well, that’s the thing, right, every single week on cable news, there's been a risk of predicting this too soon.  I was looking at a tweet I want to put up on the television screen.  It’s from Alex Burns of The New York Times.  He wrote this, this morning, about the new CNN poll.  He said, "CNN poll shows how you don’t compete with Trump by nuking Trump.  You compete with Trump by being more compelling than Trump.  You learn from Trump.  You perform more compelling than Trump." Glenn, what do you make of that idea that Carly is learning from Trump, being more compelling than him now and now surging in the poll?

THRUSH:  Well, I think she also provided a contrast in the way people can deal with sort of the public stage.  You know, backing up just a bit to the question of how we have covered him, I do think the conservative media has covered him well and the fact checking media has also done a pretty good job. My issue is, you have a lot of people who are jockeying for access.  You know, one of the things I’ve been concerned about is when have you seen a major candidate literally phoning it in to the Sunday shows.  Sunday shows giving him an opportunity to be able to not appear in studio. The guy gets cut a lot of slack and is given a lot of exemptions that other candidates aren't given.  I would just like to see -

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER:  But do you think that once he’s on the phone, though, he’s asked tough questions?  I mean, I think if Hillary Clinton wanted to call into the show, we’d take her call.  But if -

THRUSH:  Yes, but she doesn’t.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER:  If Bobby Jindal wanted to call, and we wouldn't take his call necessarily.  There's a dynamic here about being a front runner, is there not?

THRUSH:  Well, there’s a dynamic celebrity who wants to do this from his couch.  Presidential campaigns, I spent 18 months on the road with Hillary Clinton and she has a cast iron constitution.  She was out - she did six, seven events a day in Iowa.  It was terrible for all of us.  She showed up.  What's the Woody Allen thing like 90 percent of life is showing up.  I think we ought to start noticing this, he isn't actually showing up to a lot of things.

STELTER:  Let’s pivot to Hillary Clinton for a moment because she is doing her first Sunday show interview show in four years this morning, appearing on "Face on the Nation" a few minutes ago.  We saw an interview blitz of sorts in the past few days, including here on CNN with Wolf Blitzer.  And I’m told by the campaign the next interview she'll do is the “Tom Joyner Morning Show” in a couple of days on radio.  Ana, what do you think this strategy is about, all these interviews from Hillary Clinton?  Obviously, the press has been asking for this for many, many months.  Will journalists now be satisfied?

COX:  Oh, I don't think journalists are satisfied with anything Hillary does.  That's the curse of her being Hillary Clinton. I think as a journalist I’d rather her be more out than not I think putting herself out there.  But she actually can do well in these situations.  For her, I always feel like it's a little bit of a gamble. But you know what?  The problem and the advantage of being Hillary Clinton is everyone has made up their minds about her.  There's very few people that are going to be swayed one way or the other.  The people that like her will be reminded why they like her.  The people that don't will be reminded why they don't.  But at some point, she has to be out there.  So, I think they're just trying to take control of that a little bit earlier than maybe they thought they’re going to have to before.  But, of course, I welcome her at least taking questions, even if she doesn't answer them as thoroughly as maybe as I want.

STELTER:  Glenn, have we learned anything from these recent round of interviews, how they’ve been effective for her?

THRUSH:  I think they have been effective for her.  And, frankly, you know, I wonder what took her so long.  You know, the characteristic of Hillary Clinton that I don't think people pay enough attention to is her risk aversion. You saw this manifested in terms of the fact they wanted fewer debates.  I’ve heard from a lot of Hillary people that she probably would have been advantaged by getting into the debates earlier and sooner. There's a lot of fear that Bernie Sanders projects this authenticity and could really do her damage.  Clinton is capable of making gaffes, as we’ve seen in the past.  But I think we're in a point of time her unfavorables are higher than they were at any point in 2008, where she needs to get out there and start taking risks.

STELTER:  By the way, Glenn, tell us about this new call for more Democratic debates.  We know the first debate scheduled here in mid-October.  There's only six scheduled.  There's been increasing calls for debates, including from then Democratic grassroots?

THRUSH:  Yes, I mean, we've seen some petitions circulated.  This is being pushed my Martin O'Malley who hasn't gained in traction in the polls.  But I can tell you, and particularly, you know, there’s a report today in The Wall Street Journal, Biden is considering accelerating his timetable to jump in prior to October 13th.  I don't know how true that is ultimately.  But I do think there is a real sense that this coronation is, in fact, a competition and the number of debates need to reflect that.

STELTER:  Glenn Thrush and Ana Marie Cox, thank you both for spending some of your Sunday with us.  Appreciate it.

THRUSH:  Thank you.

COX:  Thank you.

###END INTERVIEW###

 

 


Topics: Brian Stelter • CNN • Reliable Sources
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