Appearing Sunday on CNN’s Reliable Sources, veteran journalist Carl Bernstein conceded the establishment media made a “big mistake” in how it covered special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on now-debunked conspiracy theories of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.
A partial transcript is as follows:
CNN HOST BRIAN STELTER: I wonder, looking at the Mueller report, looking at what’s going to come later this month, what’s the biggest lead that’s being underreported right now?
CARL BERNSTEIN: I think we’ve made a big mistake in the press about how we’ve covered the Mueller report. We’ve gotten totally wrapped up in warfare in the Congress between Republicans and Democrats and is there obstruction of justice or is there not obstruction of justice. In fact, there are dozens and dozens of leads in there about Trump’s business dealings — things having to do with women as well that we know about from elsewhere and trying to keep women silent who have been in his past, about his business dealings, about oligarchs, about money laundering, about Ponzi schemes.
Look, biography is everything. Let’s look at Joe Biden, who has a 30-year record that is under the microscope right now. He’s suffering partly because of it. Our job in the press is to look at these candidates, and that includes Donald Trump’s 35-year public record, in business life. It is a record of astonishing disarming conduct as a so-called businessman, when in fact, there is a tremendous amount of illegitimate business activity. It’s been demonstrated. We need to be looking at every aspect of it.
The other thing about covering Donald Trump, and then we’ll go to your next question, is we’re in a cold civil war in this country. The figures of Trump’s approval rating is a reflection of that cold civil war and how appealing his message has been to almost half the people in this country. We are not making in the press the connections between what’s going on in the country and Donald Trump, the president. We need to be covering the country as well and what people are talking about, thinking about, saying at the dinner table and connecting them to what is going on in Washington and in his campaign.