In the midst of a unique political climate and increased tensions between the White House and the media, The Hollywood Reporter hosted its first TV Anchor Roundtable for the New York issue.
Savannah Guthrie (The Today Show, NBC), Jake Tapper (The Lead, CNN), George Stephanopoulos (Good Morning America, ABC), Bret Baier (Special Report, Fox News) and Gayle King (CBS This Morning, CBS) joined in discussion for the debut of the new entry in THR's Roundtable series.
The anchors discussed the new challenges presented to them during repeated claims of "fake news," with Stephanopoulos saying the audience is "looking for facts, stories, narratives that reinforce their beliefs rather than challenge them. So much of our job is about challenging conventional wisdom, holding people in power accountable."
"There are news sources that are just out and out lies," said Jake Tapper, "coming from Europe, coming from other parts of the world, where just hoods are being put out there."
"Sometimes there are lines drawn and not all the facts are out yet, and it turns out, and it evolves," added Baier.
"The most important thing we can do in this world where we're not trusted is get things right. The price for making a mistake now is incredibly high," said Stephanopoulos.
Guthrie stressed the importance of neutrality in coverage, asking, "Is it accurate, is it fair? Have we been faithful to the information and the intent? We can't forget that we're journalists and we're supposed to be neutral."
"There were always two sides to every story," added King. "Lately it seems like three or four sides. It's never our job to give you our opinion, or to let you know what we're thinking about something. It really is getting the facts, putting them out there and letting the audience decide."
Stephanopoulos pressed on with King's point, pointing out the "two sides to every story" narrative as "one of the challenges we're dealing with right now. How do you contend with a situation where we know there's a true, and we know there's aand one side is trying to say, 'No, there are two sides to this'?"
"I do think also one of the things I have found myself more willing to do is have an interview and bear down enough that it's possible that person won't ever come back. It's an ugly reality," Tapper offered as a solution to presenting facts versus an alternative reality.
"When a White House, a member of congress, a senator, refuses to accept reality, at what point do you say, 'You're not allowed to come on anymore and broadcast that reality'?"
A new season of The Hollywood Reporter's Emmy Roundtable series debuts in May.