The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Transcript: Brian Stelter, Author, “Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of Truth”

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MR. CAPEHART: Good afternoon. I’m Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for The Washington Post. Welcome to Washington Post Live.

All right. You're about to see something on your screen you won't see anywhere else--well, ever. Not only is Brian Stelter one of the best-known media reporters in the country, but as anchor of CNN's "Reliable Sources," Stelter is also my competitor Sunday mornings for my MSNBC show, "The Sunday Show."

That said, there is no denying he's a journalist's journalist who strives to keep us and our profession honest and accountable and who is also a defender of journalism and its vital role in our democracy.

Brian Stelter, author of "Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, and the Dangerous Distortion of the Truth," welcome to Washington Post Live.

MR. STELTER: Thank you, Jonathan. I think it's nice to think of you as a rival, but you have two hours on Sunday and I only have one, so I think you've already beaten me.

MR. CAPEHART: Well, there is that in terms of the amount of time I have.

[Laughter]

MR. CAPEHART: Brian, it is great to see you. Let's start with some of the latest news involving subjects you covered in "Hoax." On Sunday, you condemned Fox News anchor--or host, I should say, Tucker Carlson for amplifying a discredited theory that FBI operatives were behind the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. Why did you think it was important to speak out?

MR. STELTER: Because this toxicity, this pollution exists in right-wing media, and it spreads to tens of millions of people. And if we don't rebut it, if we don't debunk it, if we don't try to present what is real, then all this fakery is what wins.

You know, unfortunately, every minute we spend covering this information, every minute we spend fact-checking crazy lies is a minute that gets taken away from covering what is actually true in the world, and this is a battle and it's a tug-of-war that I think we feel in every newsroom, from CNN to The Washington Post, although Fox News does not feel it because they don't do that kind of fact-checking, and in many cases, they are providing the pollution that needs to be debunked.

I mean, Tucker Carlson is promoting a Capitol-riot-was-an-inside-job theory. That's what he's doing. It's a crazed conspiracy theory, and the rest of Fox News doesn't seem to be following it up. The journalists there don't seem to be investigating his conspiracy theory, so that just goes to show how hollow it is and how, in some ways, out of control Fox News is.

MR. CAPEHART: Well, when you criticized Tucker Carlson on Sunday, you said you sent some questions to Fox News asking whether the company even vetted Carlson's reporting. Have you gotten any answers from Fox, any response?

MR. STELTER: Just a big, fat "no comment," and that's what I expected because the proof is on television. They are not doing reporting on this. They're not out there trying to prove Tucker right. Tucker is in his own world. He has his own fiefdom, and that's one of the problems I identify in "Hoax," a lack of leadership at Fox.

MR. CAPEHART: Well, let's talk more about that, that lack of leadership and the fact that Tucker Carlson has his own fiefdom. Why is it important, slash, a problem that there is no leadership at Fox News?

MR. STELTER: Right. Well, certainly, in the Roger Ailes era, there was leadership, but it was abusive leadership, and we all know about the problems that Ailes allowed to fester and the abuse that he led at Fox News up until 2016.

But what so many staffers at Fox said to me when I was reporting out this book, when I was talking with dozens and dozens of sources, is that they actually missed Roger Ailes. I know it sounds weird even have those words come out of my mouth, but they missed how knowing who was in charge, and that there was strong leadership. And Ailes, for all of his many, many faults that were worthy of an entire movie and television series, he kept a lid on birtherism among the Fox hosts. He did allow Donald Trump to call in and make up those lies, but he kept a lid on some of that crazy, and in fact, when some folks went too off the rails, Roger Ailes stepped in. He was clearly conservative, and he was clearly running a political operation, but he had guardrails. He actually tried to keep the car kind of on the road, and without that kind of leadership, the car has served off the road and on to the side, and many staffers said to me that they regret that. They wished there was stronger leadership, and I think that's one of the fundamental issues with Fox.

Now, of course, the network will say they have a strong management team. They will say that Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch are in charge and that the ship is steady, but you look on the air, you look at what they're doing, you look at the mistakes and the misinformation, then you conclude there's not strong leadership.

MR. CAPEHART: In the opening montage to this interview, we make the point of saying that you talked to more than 300 sources for your book. Why do you think folks at Fox News felt either compelled, maybe duty bound, or just wanted to talk to you for your book?

MR. STELTER: Right. Some people were just fed up and couldn't take it anymore. In fact, some of those sources, not a ton, but some of them have quit since talking to me, you know, because it's been a couple years now. And some have gone off and found other work because they didn't think they fit in or belonged to Fox News anymore.

Certainly, some of the sources come from the news side. These are the journalists who want to work at a news operation, and they have felt squeezed out and suffocated out in the Trump years. They felt like Trump tried to take over the network. The opinion host kind of let him, and there wasn't real room for real journalism anymore. That was one of the reasons why people leaked.

But I talked to people on the opinion side and in the management realm and as well, like, tried to get every point of view I possibly could, because there are true believers at Fox. There are people who really believe in what they're saying, people like, you know, Tucker Carlson who really truly believe what they are doing and saying is right, so there's that--

MR. CAPEHART: Really?

MR. STELTER: --and I wanted to hear that as well. I believe--

MR. CAPEHART: Wait.

MR. STELTER: --Tucker truly believes.

MR. CAPEHART: Tucker?

MR. STELTER: I believe he believes it. Yes, yes.

MR. CAPEHART: Because one of the knocks against Tucker Carlson is that--

MR. STELTER: Yeah.

MR. CAPEHART: --he doesn't believe in anything that he's saying--

MR. STELTER: Right.

MR. CAPEHART: --that it is just basically infotainment--

MR. STELTER: Right.

MR. CAPEHART: --he's an entertainer, but you're saying, no, he actually believes some of the white nationalist, racist stuff that he's been saying on air for months?

MR. STELTER: I tried to get to the bottom of this question. It is the question everybody always asks me about Fox: Do these on-air hosts really believe it? And it's kind of comforting to think maybe they don't, and I'm looking at "Outnumbered" right now and the panelists in the five boxes. It's kind of it would make more sense if they're performing, if they are doing infotainment, but people like Tucker have been radicalized in the same way the Republican Party has been radicalized. And, of course, Fox is helping cause that effect. People like Tucker, I asked people in his inner circle, tried to get to the bottom of that question, and I really came to the conclusion that he does believe what he is saying, and he is an example of radicalization himself.

MR. CAPEHART: And because he is a host at the number one cable channel in the country, that makes what you just said even more dangerous.

Let me read you something that Tom Jones of the Poynter Institute wrote about your criticism of Carlson which reads, in part, "Carlson's show is that of an opinionist, TV's version of a columnist; however, that doesn't mean he can say whatever he wants and then argue that he's just asking questions or stating an opinion. He has more responsibility than that, especially when his viewers, which include powerful lawmakers, take what he says seriously." Is there a way, Brian, to stop the type of reporting Carlson is doing every night?

MR. STELTER: I think what you do is you have to meet it with more reporting or real reporting, you know. You got to--well, you don't--you know, you got to counter by fully--I remember one of my mentors, David Carr, used to say that the solution to poor journalism is more journalism. You know, you've just got to keep doing it.

Now, in this case, what he's doing is more like propaganda than it is journalism, but there are millions of people that want to believe it, want it to be true, want to believe that the riot was set off by FBI agents or whatever that crazy theory is, and maybe someday we're going to find out that there was one member of the FBI, one informant inside one militia group who had one bit of info. The thing about Tucker's theory is it's like saying there's a ghost in the closet. I can't disprove it, right? It's invisible. How can I just--you know, we're beyond fact-checking, and that, I think, Jonathan, is what's scary about this time in American media and politics.

So much of what's going on is not about whether a politician said the sky was red when it's blue. A lot of what's going on is this softening the ground so we don't know what is true. We don't know what to believe anymore. Reality is whatever you want it to be, like a choose-your-adventure novel, and that is really what Fox and Trump did together for four years. And I think, unfortunately, we are all reckoning with the consequences of that; Tucker, a big symbol of this choose your own news, choose your own reality world that we live in.

MR. CAPEHART: You know, as you were speaking, I was thinking of--especially when you were talking about softening the ground there and making what's true questionable, of course, the term "fake news" is a big part of that, and until five years ago, that term essentially didn't exist.

MR. STELTER: Yeah.

MR. CAPEHART: And so, now it is part of our national vernacular, part of our political discourse, thanks to Donald Trump. So, how has the term "fake news" aided what you were just saying but also damaged journalism?

MR. STELTER: I feel a little guilty about this because I was on CNN using the term "fake news" in November of 2016, and I was using that term because BuzFeed's Craig Silverman started using it a couple years earlier. Craig was out in front identifying these made-up stories that were spreading on Facebook, mostly right-wing misinformation, but sometimes it was left-wing misinformation. And he was writing about it and covering it, and so I started talking about it on CNN. And I do think I was 1 percent responsible for Trump hijacking the word. I think Craig Silverman gets a lot more credit or blame, but, you know, you remember that time right after the election when people were trying to figure out how did Trump win. And one of a hundred reasons why he won, in my view, just one of out of a hundred, is fake news. There were these made-up stories on Facebook that were spreading, sometimes by Russian propaganda, but sometimes just by fellow Americans tricking fellow Americans.

So, that's November 2016. January 2017, Trump uses the term for the first time. He weaponizes it. He completely redefines it, and I think journalists were caught off guard.

Did you lose me? I'm sorry.

MR. CAPEHART: Go ahead.

MR. STELTER: I think journalists were caught off guard by that moment when he started using the term "fake news," when he redefined it. You know, we didn't necessarily try to keep the term to mean what it actually did mean, which was actually made-up stories on Facebook. So, I think that was the beginning. From there on out for four years, he used that term to try to ruin the American news media, except for outlets like Fox that he likes, and I think the damage is--we're still measuring the damage, right?

Anytime I go to interview a source, not at Fox, but, you know, in my normal job and that person thinks that CNN is some evil outlet, that's the damage, and of course, if they turned on the channel, they would see that we're flawed but trying our best, just like you and MSNBC, just like The New York Times and The Washington Post. We're flawed, but we're trying our best. But Trump, that's the damage he did, right, by calling us the enemies.

MR. CAPEHART: Let me get you to amplify something else we showed in the opening montage, and that was how because of this sort of snippet culture that we're in, 15 seconds, 20 seconds--

MR. STELTER: Right, right.

MR. CAPEHART: --that people take out of CNN's programming or MSNBC's programming and then try to take that and have it brand the entire network as being this way, could you talk more about that, how that is also damaging to our profession, to journalism, and also damaging for the news consumer in terms of their understanding of the news that they're consuming?

MR. STELTER: Well, I've never heard it said that eloquently. I like that phrase, "snippet culture." That's what it is. It's snippet culture, 20 seconds, sometimes out of context, from cable news trying to depict the worst of the people you think are your opponents.

And, by the way, this happens at Fox also. I say to people whenever I'm talking about Fox News, don't try to watch Fox News via Twitter. Don't just watch it based on what you read about Fox. You have to turn it on. You've got to hear it for yourself, maybe just for 20 minutes, you know, maybe just once in a while. You've got to understand what they're saying because the story that Sean Hannity tells every night is so far from reality, you won't believe it unless you really hear it for yourself. The story he tells about Biden, you've got to understand it.

So, snippet culture, I think, is what causes people to not be able to talk to one another, to imagine the worst of your perceived opponent as opposed to understanding what they are really up to, and that includes--for liberals, that includes Fox news. You've got to actually listen.

I always say listen to the first 15 minutes of "Fox and Friends" at 6:00 in the morning, and you'll have a sense for the entire right-wing agenda for the next day because they help set that agenda at 6:00 a.m.

Now, I just happen to be up with my kids, so I'm already awake, but, you know, just watch 15 minutes of "Fox and Friends." You'll know where they're going.

But I think the snippets, the 30 seconds, it's not enough, and sometimes it's only making fun of the worst moments on cable news, of which, yeah, there are some, instead of getting a sense of what we're actually doing.

So, whether it's CNN or FOX or MS--I say you got to turn it on and see what we're actually doing.

MR. CAPEHART: Okay. So, that's Fox News and their impact on our profession, on news consumers. But we've got to now talk about Donald Trump and his impact on our business.

Looking back to 2015-2016, Donald Trump was able to get big ratings for cable news, including CNN and MSNBC, no lie. The increased coverage led to increased ratings which, as you and I both know, that is, indeed, true. So, given that, aren't we in some ways culpable at least not only to Donald Trump's rise but in this damage to the profession and the damage to truth that we're talking about right now?

MR. STELTER: I see it this way. Yes, Trump was good for ratings, but really news is good for ratings: controversy, something shocking, something surprising, something appalling, something exciting. Trump was all of those things to different people in different ways. He was new and shocking and controversial and newsworthy, and so I don't really view it as Trump rated. I think news rates, and there are lots of other kinds of candidates who can make news in lots of other ways that could also--can, you know, compel the audience to tune in.

But, yes, I do think some members of the media are culpable, and those are the ones who didn't listen to what he said and compare it to the truth and figure out what is true and what is not.

I think there was actually so--really strong fact-checking, really strong accountability journalism of Trump in 2016, but it didn't reach the folks who needed to hear it, who needed to know that side of the story. Fox News never hired a fact-checker in the Trump years. Now, of course, they didn't, right, because they were on his side, but that is, I think, the issue. If you don't even have a fact-checker in the Trump years, then what did you go to journalism school for? What are you doing in the first place? So, that's how I see it. The culpability is with the folks who did not hold Trump to the high standard that we should hold every politician to. The culpability is with the people who gave him a pass or who actively aided him to produce propaganda.

MR. CAPEHART: I'm taken by your saying about the fact-checker, about how Fox News didn't even hire a fact-checker.

Something else that happened during the Trump years is that we saw a shift. Look, I'm an opinion writer here at The Washington Post. I am a perspective anchor at MSNBC. I have a point of view. But we saw a shift among news-side reporters in moving from giving deference to the president and being really uncomfortable saying that the president lied, saying that the president was a liar, saying that what the president was saying was racist. We saw that move from deference to, by the time--the end of his tenure, prominent news-side reporters no longer feeling any kind of ambivalence about calling out the president for his, quote/unquote, "lies" and saying that what he had said was racist. For a lot of people, news-side reporters doing that was then giving their opinion.

From my perspective as an opinion writer, it's those reporters reporting the facts. I would love your point of view on this.

MR. STELTER: I think journalists have to stand up for decency and democracy at common sense and real reporting. Those are our values. You know, that's why we get into the business. Whether you're writing with a point of view or you're trying to write the most straight-down-the-middle, absolutely nonpartisan story in the world, we get into the business because we care about America, and we care about the world. And we want it to make progress and improve.

We can debate on those ways it can improve, but one way to help society is to give them information. So, we have to be pro-democracy, pro-decency, pro-reality. We've got to defend the concept of fact versus fiction and drawing a line down the middle, and when you had guys like Sean Hannity on the phone with Trump puffing him out, denying reality, promoting election lies, you end up saying, "Whose side are you on?" You're not on the side of journalism. You're not on the side of getting information to a citizenry so that we have a more informed society. You're on a different side. You're on a pure partisan, try-to-score-political-points side.

And, unfortunately, I think we're now in an environment, Jonathan, where the Fox base prefers that. They much prefer the propagandistic opinion shows than any semblance of news. In fact, when Fox airs newscasts, the ratings drop, and when Fox airs opinion shows, the ratings spike up. And it happens every day. It's as predictable as the sunrise, and it tells me that we have a supply-and-demand problem. We're talking mostly about the supply, Fox News as a supply, but it's a demand problem. People want to be lied to, and it's above my head to know what to do about that. Maybe you can tell us. What do we do about that when millions of people want to be lied to every day?

MR. CAPEHART: Right. Want to be lied to, willing to believe the lies. I mean, I have a theory, but this isn't my--you're not interviewing me. I'm interviewing you, Brian.

MR. STELTER: Oh, I tried. I tried. I tried.

[Laughter]

MR. CAPEHART: All right. So, Brian, to this day, Donald Trump says that the 2020 presidential election was, quote/unquote, "stolen" from him, the greatest scam in the history of everything, as he likes to hyperbolically say. Most recently, he made that claim at a rally in North Carolina. How do you think we in the news media should cover Donald Trump or not cover Donald Trump, especially when he's making statements that are demonstrably false?

MR. STELTER: Well, we're both going to have this conversation in our offices on Sunday morning because Trump is having another rally on Saturday night.

MR. CAPEHART: Right.

MR. STELTER: So, you and I are both going to take up and think, how much time should we be giving this in the next morning? My answer, I think--at least here's where my head's at right now, I'll give you a preview of my show, and you can counter-program. I think Trump often deserves one segment, not the whole show, not the whole hour. You know, he's worth 6 minutes, not 60 minutes, and when he was president, the calculation was different. He had a lot of power, and he was using it in ways that needed to be scrutinized. But now, his power really only comes out of his mouth and his ability to persuade people, and he's not the biggest story.

So, I booked one guest for Sunday for my hour that I want to get into with about Trump, but it's not going to be the whole hour. And I think to me, that's the answer. It's about proportionality. It's not about never covering Trump or always covering Trump. It's about proportionality and making sure we have perspective, not overdoing it.

But, at the same time, it goes back to what I said about Tucker. When you've got this conspiracy theory reaching millions of people, if we don't rebut it, if we don't follow up on it, then the only content that exists about that theory is the theory, right? And so that's why the fact-checkers are so important and the reality-checkers and the columnists and the perspective people, at least that's the way I think it.

MR. CAPEHART: Let me get you on one more thing about Donald Trump before I try to move on to something else because the time is just flying by, Brian.

MR. STELTER: I know. I'll give a shorter answer. I'm sorry.

MR. CAPEHART: We're almost out of time.

You know, Trump is no longer president. He's banned from Facebook. He's banned from Twitter. It was on Twitter that Trump was able to reach his millions of followers.

MR. STELTER: Right.

MR. CAPEHART: How much has his removal from social media impacted the coverage surrounding his claims that the election was stolen but also dampening whatever kind of enthusiasm there might have been for a 2024 run by Donald Trump?

MR. STELTER: Right. I think the Twitter ban was the single biggest dent in his armor, the single biggest impact on his future political power. It's changed everything from a social media perspective and from a Trump megaphone perspective, and that's why for the last five months, they've been flailing trying to figure out ways to create a new social platform or do this or that, and none of it's happened, and none of it's worked, because Twitter was so uniquely powerful for him.

MR. CAPEHART: The Trump DOJ, big stories about them seizing the phone records and emails, communications, at least the data of it, from journalists here at The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN. I'm just wondering your reaction to finding out about the Trump Justice Department's efforts to find out information about the sources--

MR. STELTER: Right.

MR. CAPEHART: --national security stories that were coming out during the Trump presidency.

MR. STELTER: You know, we know the Obama administration did this in a slightly different way. Now, we know the Trump administration was doing this, and the Trump DOJ did it to a different level with these gag orders. First, we learned about The New York Times lawyer being under a gag order, but I remember saying on CNN, "Wait. Is someone from CNN under a gag order right now?" And I kind of felt like a crazy person. You know, I was speculating. I didn't know the answer, and I thought, well, hopefully, that's not true. And then, sure enough, a couple days later, we find out that CNN's head lawyer was also under a gag order and was also affected in the same way.

I think it does this obsession with hunting down leakers that has gone so far beyond the pale. The words "gag order" and "news outlet" should never be in the same sentence. And now what we have to do is hold the Biden DOJ accountable to their pledge to stop them, to their pledge not to do this, and we just need to follow up on that now, I think, at this point.

But don't you think there's still more we don't know about Trump? I can't help but believe that we're going to keep finding out for years about abuse of the system, and we've only just begun to learn.

MR. CAPEHART: Oh, yeah. I have long said that what news organizations should do is send reporters into the agencies--

MR. STELTER: Right, right, right, right.

MR. CAPEHART: --because while we were all focused on the White House and what he was doing--and we're just still discovering stuff that he did--in the agencies, it is a target-rich environment, I suspect--

MR. STELTER: Yeah.

MR. CAPEHART: --for other abuses--

MR. STELTER: Totally.

MR. CAPEHART: --in the Trump administration.

Okay, Brian. We literally have five minutes left, and I've got about five more pages of questions for you. But let's bring the conversation back to Fox and the fact that, in between Election Day and maybe even past the insurrection, Fox's ratings took a hit.

MR. STELTER: Right.

MR. CAPEHART: Talk about why that was and the role of Newsmax and OAN.

MR. STELTER: There was a subset of the Fox audience that didn't want to believe Biden won, and they fled to Newsmax, first, on that Tuesday night; but then really, they fled on Saturday. The day that people were in the streets in New York and D.C. Celebrating Biden's win, those Fox fans were fleeing to Newsmax because Newsmax wasn't calling him the president-elect. So, Newsmax had this big surge. Fox had to counter it, so Fox ran as fast as it could further to the right to try to appease the audience that didn't want to believe Biden won.

That's why you had Maria Bartiromo and Lou Dobbs and others spouting the big lie, talking about Smartmatic and Dominion. That's now why those voting companies are now suing Fox News. We will see what happens with those lawsuits, but Newsmax has come back down to earth, and Fox has come back to its normal place, which is number one in the overall cable news battle. It's because Fox had such a loyal audience, and yes, they left for a little while, but they came home. That includes Trump. They eventually came home.

You know, Fox is a 24-hour ad for Fox. I always say this, Jonathan. Rachel Maddow on her program always says go subscribe to local news, support your local paper. That's what I say; that's what she says. That's the message on CNN and MSNBC; but on Fox, the message is don't trust anybody else, don't trust the media, don't trust those other guys, do not trust anybody else. It's about distrust. It's about hating the media, you know, and that's a shame. It's just a shame, but it works because it keeps Fox viewers watching Fox.

MR. CAPEHART: Right. You know, you just said something there about saving--you know, talking about Rachel Maddow and saying subscribe to local papers, saving the news.

MR. STELTER: Yeah.

MR. CAPEHART: My question to you is, can SPACs save the media? Because there's a story out there with the headline "BuzzFeed News Deal to Go Public via SPAC, Eyeing Digital Media Roll-up." Do you have any--this is new--do you have any thoughts on that?

MR. STELTER: Yes, yes. I was just in their press conference across town. They had an in-person press conference. That's how you know life is getting back to normal.

So, BuzzFeed touting this deal, saying it's going to give them more money because they'll have access to the public markets, they'll have more money to buy more websites and to grow faster. That's their pitch.

I think what we're seeing is this digital media reckoning where it is hard to grow in digital media. The business models are really challenging. BuzzFeed sells merchandise, and they do commerce, and they have different ways to try to turn a profit, but it's hard out there. So, we're seeing these roll-ups, this consolidation in digital media in much the same way we're seeing with the streaming wars.

My CNN and Warner Media and Discovery are doing a deal; Viacom and CBS merging; Comcast thinking about whether it needs to do a deal. These companies are trying to get bigger to have more scale to compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney. And so, we're going to keep seeing it happen, I think, for the next few years.

MR. CAPEHART: All right. I'm going to squeeze in an audience question in the one minute we have left.

MR. STELTER: Okay, I'll behave.

MR. CAPEHART: And it comes from Jon Chase in Massachusetts. How can citizens be educated to question propaganda and think critically? And answer that in one minute.

MR. STELTER: It obviously begins early. It begins with students. It begins in the classroom, but I think it also has a lot to do with news literacy programs, and we have seen a lot of investment in media and news literacy with groups like the News Literacy Project trying to install these values.

At the end of the day, we all need to eat a healthy, balanced media diet. That's why I pay for The Washington Post and the L.A. Times, right? I want to hear the California perspective. I also want to know what's happening in Washington, and I love the way The Post is expanding globally to cover the whole world. I need all of that in my media diet, and we need in our own lives and our own communities to install those same values. I think a lot of this is on the individual level, one to one, trying to help our friends and neighbors seek out real news. I know we're flawed, but at least we're trying our best is what I say.

And by the way, for the other viewer questions, Jonathan, my email is bstelter@gmail. I know there were some other questions. I'm happy to email with people afterwards if there's more questions.

MR. CAPEHART: You know, see, this is why I now understand more fully why the second hour of my show is so tough.

MR. STELTER: Oh, really? Oh.

MR. CAPEHART: Brian Stelter--

[Laughter]

MR. STELTER: Well, you know what, Jonathan? If you ever want to swap, maybe you could do "Reliable" one day and I could do "The Sunday Show." I love "The Sunday Show" colors, the look and the feel. You have a beautiful set, by the way, in D.C.

MR. CAPEHART: Thank you. Thank you.

MR. STELTER: Very jealous.

MR. CAPEHART: This set is--

[Laughter]

MR. CAPEHART: The set is beautiful, but, you know, come for the set, stay for the content.

MR. STELTER: Yeah, that's true. That's true.

MR. CAPEHART: Brian Stelter, we are actually out of time, way out of time. Thank you so much for coming to Washington Post Live. I'd say see you on Sunday, but that's not in my own self-interest.

MR. STELTER: No, that's right. No, no.

MR. CAPEHART: Brian Stelter--

MR. STELTER: Thanks, everybody.

MR. CAPEHART: --CNN's "Reliable Sources." Thank you very much for coming to Washington Post Live.

And as always, thank you for tuning in. Join me tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern for "First Look," and then at 11:00 a.m., the Post's Mike Duffy will talk to Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado about proposed legislation to check the power of big tech giants.

Once again, I'm Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer for The Washington Post. Thank you for tuning in to Washington Post Live.

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