Lemme put it another way: If Trump was more careful and made fewer mistakes, then access to him would be more valuable, because more people would trust him and his words would carry more weight.
Still, having his lies on the record is valuable, because journalists can dissect and debunk ’em. Even better: When skilled interviewers can take apart his talking points in real time. Enter Lesley Stahl…
Trump on “60”
During the broadcast, these two tweets appeared in my Twitter timeline back to back:
Laura McGann: “Lesley Stahl is on fire.” Colby Hall: “Stahl is getting steam rolled.”
“Who says that?”
I appreciated Stahl’s very first question in the segment, “Do you still think that climate change is a hoax?” Trump hasn’t been asked about this issue enough. His answer showed just how uninformed he is.
“I think SOMETHING’S happening. Something’s changing and it’ll change back again. I don’t think it’s a hoax, I think there’s probably a difference. But I don’t know that it’s manmade…”
Later, he employed one of his favorite rhetorical devices, “they say:”
TRUMP: They say that we had hurricanes that were far worse than what we just had with Michael.”
STAHL: Who says that? “They say”?
TRUMP: People say. People say that in the–
STAHL: Yeah, but what about the scientists who say it’s worse than ever?
TRUMP: You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda, Lesley.
…So he think it’s a scientific conspiracy?
How much interrupting is too much?
Some viewers thought Stahl didn’t interject/fact-check enough. Others thought she interrupted too often. CNN’s Chris Cuomo, responding to a critic of Stahl’s, said she is top notch, and “to check all the dissembling you would need to interrupt POTUS constantly. And she would never get another interview. Some push back is better than none.”
There was a curious amount of “baby” talk in the interview. Trump said “I’m not a baby” at two different points. He’s hardly ever used that line publicly before. And he said Manhattan real estate bosses are “babies” compared to vicious DC types…
When asked by a colleague why Trump said yes to the interview now, after turning down “60 Minutes” for almost two years, Stahl said, “I think he’s trying to win the midterm election for the Republicans. And I think he believes, and IKNOW his people believe, the more he’s out there, publicly, the stronger the chances are for the Republicans…”
FOR THE RECORD, PART ONE
— Next up on the TV tour: Trump will be on Trish Regan’s Fox Business show on Tuesday night… Regan’s promotion to the 8 p.m. hour takes effect on Monday…
Media week ahead
— Monday: The president and the first lady will visit areas impacted by Hurricane Michael…
— Tuesday: Netflix earnings day…
— Thursday: CNN will hold a live town hall with Beto O’Rourke in McAllen, Texas…
— Friday: Via Brian Lowry: “Halloween,” a 40-years-later sequel with Jamie Lee Curtis that ignores all the ones in between, opens in theaters…
— Friday: “Making a Murderer Part 2” premieres on Netflix…