The original title I thought of for this story used the word "Schools" but considering the total beatdown Donald Trump spokewoman Katrina Pierson methodically administered to Brian Stelter of CNN's Reliable Sources, "Stumps" seems much more appropriate. Perhaps even "Stomps" could have been used but watch the video below and judge for yourself. Rarely has a representative of the mainstream media been subjected to such a beating as poor Stelter received today.
BRIAN STELTER: Let me play the media. OK? Explain to me why people like me don't understand Donald Trump. What is it the media doesn't get?
KATRINA PIERSON: Well, first, this is just human beings. You -- not every interesting person is universally liked, number one. Number two, you have the media sort of upset and actually whining now because Donald Trump isn't playing by their rules. And these rules don't apply to Democrats. That's the problem people have with the media.
STELTER: What's an example? What's an example of that?
PIERSON: An example, I will give you a couple. I will give you a couple of examples, Brian, because we didn't see coverage on CNN wall to wall recently when the administration came out and said they wanted to add biometrics to the vetting process for refugees, because, guess what, that's going to be in a database.
But we did hear for two weeks that Donald Trump wants a database for these Muslim refugees. And it was insanity. We don't hear back-to-back coverage on CNN about Hillary Clinton lying to the American public knowing that we had a terrorist attack in Benghazi and she blamed an American citizen who made a video.
But yet we spend weeks on talking about a head count when Muslims celebrated 9/11. So, I think that goes to show the dishonesty in media.
STELTER: I do think hundreds of hours have been spent covering Benghazi.
You said Muslims celebrated 9/11. Don't you mean a very small number, according to media reports, maybe a handful?
PIERSON: No, I mean radical Muslims celebrating 9/11 in America. And let me talk about just last night from that video...
STELTER: How many?
PIERSON: ... that you were talking about in Iowa. Let's continue with the dishonesty, because MSNBC said that Donald Trump abruptly left the stage from his event in North Carolina, when, in fact, the full video is out there on YouTube. He talked for about an hour, took questions and answers from the audience members, and then continued to shake hands and sign books and shirts and hats and everything afterwards. So, that's just completely dishonesty in the media.
STELTER: I did see that, last night, Trump said that Katy Tur, the NBC correspondent who was there, should be fired. I can't remember another campaign, another candidate that would call for a reporter to be fired. Did you agree with that call?
PIERSON: Well, you know what I agree with? I agree with there's dishonesty in the media. And if it's your job to report the news and not make it up, and you're not doing your job, you should be fired.
STELTER: Well, what do you view the job of the press to be? Do you believe we should be fact-checking the comments that Mr. Trump makes?
PIERSON: I think the press should be reporting both sides of the stories. When was the last time you fact-checked Barack Obama, because we haven't seen that lately? So, I think, as long as you're doing it fair, it's considered journalism.
STELTER: That happens all the time.
PIERSON: So, hold on, Brian.
STELTER: I'm sorry. Go ahead.
PIERSON: So, are you telling me that you fact-check global warming as the cause of radical Islamic terrorists? You fact-check that?
STELTER: I wouldn't say it so vaguely. I would add a lot more caveats to that sentence, but, yes, there is some evidence of that. There are some studies.
PIERSON: Did you fact-check gun control, the California gun control laws? Did you fact-check that south -- that California gun control laws would have prevented a terrorist attack? Did you fact-check that?
STELTER: I'm with you. If you're calling for more fact-checking, I'm with you on that. I think we do need more fact-checking. But let me ask you. We were talking about the CNN poll, 36 percent support for Mr. Trump. Do you think media and political elites are disconnected from that support, since our poll showed that he's supercharged by non-college-educated voters? Most journalists who are writing stories, who are on television do have college degrees. So, I do -- I wonder if you think that is part of the disconnect between the press and the Trump campaign.
PIERSON: No, I think the disconnect are those -- because many of us have college degrees too, by the way. The disconnect come from those elitists who think that they know better than everyone else, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who want to just play this Jedi mind trick and tell everyone what is best for them and that they have everything under control. But the reason why it's not resonating is because, just like your previous guest had on, like Rick Wilson, a GOP consultant who makes millions of dollars off the GOP and suddenly sees the gravy train drying up, because you don't get it. And the echo chamber is also not the answer, simply because most conservatives are not watching CNN. The problem we have here is that people are starting to see through the media bias. People know for a fact that the answer to keeping Americans safe is not to disarm them. That's what the media and the elites don't understand.
STELTER: Well, let me play a portion of Mr. Trump's interview on Bill O'Reilly's show a few days ago. I thought this was striking. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR")
BILL O'REILLY, FOX HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": Sometimes, when you're up there, you get overly excited. And you're speaking extemporaneously, and then you say things, as anybody would, because the crowd is cheering and everyone is going wild, that you don't know to be true, but you believe to be true. But you don't know it.
TRUMP: I would love to read speeches off of a teleprompter. But you know what? You don't get the same excitement. You don't get the same feeling. And I haven't made very many mistakes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: I'm partially using a teleprompter here, partially not. I do love that Trump avoids prompters. But what I hear in that exchange is that Trump would rather be exciting than be careful with the truth. Is that fair?
PIERSON: No, I don't think that is fair, simply because, when he is talking, he is telling people what he thinks, believes and feels. It's not like -- like -- just like with the whole 9/11 thing, he wasn't reading an intelligence report and then lying about it, like the current commander in chief and Hillary Clinton do. So, he's speaking from the heart. And Americans appreciate that. They don't want these Ivy League people that go around and pay thousands of dollars to be told what they want to hear. They want to hear somebody that's real and true. And the simple fact that Mr. Trump has been around for so long, he knows what he's talking about, he means it, and people want someone that is going to go out there and be real with the American public for a change.
STELTER: But, if you expect honesty from the press, shouldn't we expect honesty from Mr. Trump, when there are things that are factually inaccurate that he says? He did say thousands cheered on 9/11 in New Jersey, and that's not true.
PIERSON: Well, can you prove that it's not true?
STELTER: Yes, I can prove that it's not true, because there's absolutely no documentation, there's no video, there's no photos, there's no police reports, there's no crime reports. There's no proof.
PIERSON: There are no police reports? There are no police reports? There are no reports at all, Brian? Are you sure about that? Maybe you should fact-check that, and then we will talk about that next time.
STELTER: I would like to see them, the same way that Donald Trump repeated his calls for...
PIERSON: Former FBI -- former FBI agent confirmed, former New York police commissioner that there were reports.
STELTER: One random news report.
PIERSON: That was not random news report. You had the AP. You had "The New York Post." Come on. Seriously? This is why the people don't trust the media, because the information is out there for wide range. It's out there, Brian. That's why people don't trust the media.
STELTER: But the media is the ones that are -- these random stories you are mentioning, like the FBI agent, that's a media report. That came from a local TV station. Now, it doesn't really prove anything. It's just one person's claim. But it was a media report. Would you acknowledge that the media has played a role in Trump's success?
PIERSON: Well, there are reports, are there not reports? I'm confused now. Are there reports?
STELTER: There's a couple of news stories that you all have used to back up a claim that is not true.
PIERSON: Now there's a couple, not just one. But you just said one. Now you say a couple. How many is it?
STELTER: You know, I don't have the exact number. It might be four. It might be five. It doesn't matter...
PIERSON: OK. The's what I thought, OK.
STELTER: ... because there's no evidence in any report that there were thousands that were cheering.
PIERSON: Oh, it matters, it matters. No, it definitely matters.
STELTER: Do you think that -- well, let me -- let me pivot, because I don't want to go down a rabbit hole when we can't agree on the facts.
PIERSON: Good. Let's go.
STELTER: I do wonder if you agree -- in a sense, the theme of this hour is about Trump and the media -- whether you would agree that the press has played a role in boosting Trump's campaign, through constant coverage. Would you acknowledge we're part of the success?
PIERSON: Well, I think the media's definitely gone out of their way to cover everything that Trump says, mainly to make him look very negative, which is why it's backfired so much. But that's with any campaign. But the difference here is, in previous presidential cycles, you have had the establishment effectively spend millions of dollars of attack ads to sort of tear down a candidate. And that's not working either. So, I really wouldn't give the media all the credit here.
STELTER: The last question I have for you is this one. It's something that really worries me, when I hear Mr. Trump calling the press unbelievably dishonest, when I hear him calling for a reporter to be fired. He's eroding trust in the press. Now, he's not alone. Other Democratic candidates, other Republican candidates do that too.
PIERSON: I don't think Mr. Trump is doing that.
STELTER: But he is helping to erode trust in the press. The fourth estate, of course, is the press.
So, don't you think that might contribute to America being less great?
PIERSON: Absolutely not. Polls before Trump showed that a lot of people distrust the media for all sorts of reasons.
STELTER: Of course, but he is increasing that distrust.
PIERSON: Well, the media probably should be a little bit more honest if that's the case. I just gave you several examples of how the media has skewed their reporting with regards to Mr. Trump. But it's not just Mr. Trump. It's Republicans in the past. If you look at the media coverage, even from the election of Barack Obama, they have essentially been covering him, not fact-checking anything Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama says. People can now take a look around and realize they have not been told the truth, and the media has not been reporting accurately on practically everything this president has done.
STELTER: I think we can agree more fact-checking is a good thing.
STELTER: Katrina Pierson, thank you for being here.
PIERSON: Thank you. Thank you, Brian.
Exit question: Did Brian Stelter pour himself a tall glass of very strong bourbon after this interview to try to wipe out either the pain or memory of his encounter with Hurricane Katrina?