By Tim Rostan, MarketWatch
Lesley Stahl, who interviewed Donald Trump for the CBSNews program “60 Minutes” in November 2016, recalled at a press event Monday night a conversation with the then–president-elect that occurred away from the cameras, in Trump’s expansive office at Trump Tower.
Stahl told members and guests of the Society of Professional Journalists chapter in New York that she asked Trump in that pre-interview discussion whether, having won the race for the White House, it wasn’t perhaps time to quit hammering the press as he had done at his campaign rallies.
His response, per Stahl’s recollection:
‘You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me no one will believe you.’
Donald Trump, in 2016, as recalled by Lesley Stahl
“He said that,” Stahl emphasized.
Fellow broadcast-news veteran Judy Woodruff, seated beside Stahl, conceded that her blood boils when politicians and others describe the media as enemies of the American people, but, she said, journalism is not served by engaging in fights or personality contests with politicians. “The American people, the people we serve,” said the PBS “NewsHour” anchor, “are much better served if we do our job.”
Stahl observed that the press succeeded in the Watergate era in flipping negative perceptions — fanned, she said, by President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew — to positive by keeping its collective head down and doing its work.