MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle Turns to Dan Rather to Attack Trump’s ‘Fake News Trophy’ Tweet

Sometimes, the jokes and stories write themselves, folks. On Monday morning’s MSNBC Live, host Stephanie Ruhle turned to none other than fake news anchor Dan Rather to decry President Trump’s tweet calling for a “FAKE NEWS TROPHY” and smugly defend the news media as the one “red beating heart of freedom and democracy.”

Ruhle returned from a commercial break to bewail “President Trump taking a direct aim at American journalists” and quote his tweet about the faux trophy contest between all the networks except Fox News for which “is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me).”

 

 

She then trumpeted a joke about Trump being fake news and then brought on Rather:

Wait, if the winner receives the fake news trophy, does that mean that the President is currently holding it? Joining me now is veteran American journalist and icon, President of News and Guts Media Dan Rather. Also the author of the book What Unites Us. Dan, welcome. What is your reaction to President Trump directly attacking, denigrating, American journalists? Over the weekend, the President saying, again, complimenting Fox News and going after CNN International. 

Rather sighed, stating that “it’s disappointing” for Trump to go after the media, but predicted that “he isn’t going to look good” “over the arc of history” for attacking the press.

Ruhle tried to coax more out of Rather, letting the cat out of the bag that the media don’t like the President because of what he thinks about them, thus making them more biased in their reporting against him.

“It's always been strained, but now, can the press even give — the President says the press won't ever give me a fair shake. But can it give him a fair shake when he calls them fake news day in and day out,” she complained.

The disgraced ex-CBS News anchor started out on the right note, arguing that reporters should “set that aside and just do our job, try to do quality journalism of integrity” and, if they do that, “journalism, as a whole, is going to be okay.”

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However, he only tacitly alluded to his own indiscretions, admitting that “we make mistakes” with he himself “certainly hav[ing] made my share” because “[j]ournalism is not an exact science.” 

Sure, it’s true that everyone makes mistakes, but you know what is an exact science? Not lying and whether it’s Mike Barnicle, Dan Rather, or Brian Williams, some in the media shouldn’t be preaching that lesson when they themselves commit journalism’s number one sin to only see their careers rehabilitated.

Rather continued, offering this insane quote that might one day be found in Notable Quotables:

It's a kind of crude art. Nobody can do it perfectly and the idea of a free press is not that the press has to be right all the time, but it has to be free and, again, I come back to — I think most Americans understand that a free and independent, fiercely independent press, fiercely independent when necessary, is the red beating heart of freedom and democracy. 

He also offered Trump some advice, suggesting that he “stop digging” holes for himself when it comes to “his press relations” which also could have helped his own case in 2004, but what’s done is done.

“We're always handy to blame and some of it we bring on ourselves. But I keep going back, you know, you look at the history of the country and we're going to be alright. We're going to get through this. Your question is, is the press going to be in continuing trouble? I think for the rest of the Trump presidency, I had hoped when President Trump came into the presidency, he might change some,” Rather added before encouraging the President to read his book What Unites Us.

(h/t: Washington Free Beacon's Alex Griswold)

 

Here’s the relevant transcript from November 27's MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle:

MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle
November 27, 2017
9:44 a.m. Eastern

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Welcome back. I'm Stephanie Ruhle. President Trump taking a direct aim at American journalists. This morning, yet again, he tweeted this just moments ago: “We should have a contest as to which of the networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!” Wait, if the winner receives the fake news trophy, does that mean that the President is currently holding it? Joining me now is veteran American journalist and icon, President of News and Guts Media Dan Rather. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: President vs. the Press; Trump Goes After Press with Agenda Stalled]

Also the author of the book What Unites Us. Dan, welcome. What is your reaction to President Trump directly attacking, denigraiting, American journalists? Over the weekend, the President saying, again, complimenting Fox News and going after CNN International. 

DAN RATHER: Well, first of all, it's disappointing. We hope that when someone's elected president, they see themselves as President of all Americans, every American and each time President Trump does one of these things, frankly, I think over the long haul, over the arc of history, which is what I'm trying to deal with in the book What Unites Us, he isn't going to look good for this. President Trump, you know, he was elected to — on the basis of some fear and some resentment but also elected because he said he was going to do some things. On policy, you can debate policy, but on such things as these direct attacks on the press, particularly when he does it with individual members of the press, such as ridiculing the reporter who had physical challenges during the campaign, that sort of thing, it reflects badly on him, reflects badly on party and that is not to say that there aren't a lot of Americans who say that's it, President Trump, get at them. But, you know? Americans are smart. I have such confidence in the audience. They can separate bull shine from brass tacks and they recognize what this is. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: President vs. the Press; Trump Attacks Media as Putin Launches Press Crack Down]

RUHLE: But talk about the role of the media within this administration, especially when President Trump is constantly calling legitimate news organizations fake news. The relationship between the President and the White House is very contentious. It's always been strained, but now, can the press even give — the President says the press won't ever give me a fair shake. But can it give him a fair shake when he calls them fake news day in and day out? 

RATHER: Well, it doesn’t make it any easier, but our job is to set that aside and just do our job, try to do quality journalism of integrity. If we keep doing that, we as individual journalists and journalism as a whole is going to be okay. Look, we make mistakes. I certainly have made my share. Journalism is not an exact science. It's a kind of crude art. Nobody can do it perfectly and the idea of a free press is not that the press has to be right all the time, but it has to be free and, again, I come back to — I think most Americans understand that a free and independent, fiercely independent press, fiercely independent when necessary, is the red beating heart of freedom and democracy. Now, at any given time, a certain number of Americans may say, listen, I'm glad the President is giving it to the press. But if you look over the arc of history, Stephanie, presidents who have been very hostile to the press have not wound up very good in terms of having their likeness carved into Mt. Rushmore or anything approaching that. But we have a long way to go in the Trump presidency and what interests me and disappoints me is he keeps digging a hole deeper and deeper. You know that old cliche, if you're in a hole, stop digging. In terms of his press relations, he just keeps digging. It's not to say the press doesn't make mistakes. We do make mistakes. 

RUHLE: But on some hand, is it working for him? You know, Peggy Noonan had a great piece out this weekend where she was saying this is a day of reckoning in terms of sexual misconduct. She applauded all of those journalists out there who are lifting this veil and ending this time and revealing so many awful realities while, at the same time, Politico has a piece out, saying Roy Moore gets elected. You know who's to blame? The media and if you look at the distrust for the media, it is at an all-time high, so are we doing our best work? Is there a risk that the media is going too far? 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: President vs. the Press; Trump: Press “Dishonest, Corrupt, and/or Distorted in Its Political Coverage of Your Favorite President (Me)”

RATHER: Sure, there's always that risk and in some individual cases, you know, I thought the Politico article frankly went too far. It's very easy when things aren't going well to blame the press. We're always handy to blame and some of it we bring on ourselves. But I keep going back, you know, you look at the history of the country and we're going to be alright. We're going to get through this. Your question is, is the press going to be in continuing trouble? I think for the rest of the Trump presidency, I had hoped when President Trump came into the presidency, he might change some. 

RUHLE: He's not going to. 

RATHER: No, now it's very clear, he's not going to change. He is playing to his base. His base is only 38, 39 percent. That's not enough to win. 

RUHLE: President Trump watches a ton of cable news. What's your message to him? 

RATHER: Read What Unites Us, Mr. President. 

RUHLE: There you go, Dan, thank you so, so much. 

RATHER: Thank you, Stephanie.

RUHLE: You want Donald Trump to read it and please, you should as well. What Unites Us. Dan Rather. 


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