Mary Jordan on the First Amendment: 'We used to be the moral authority'

The Powerhouse Roundtable analyzes the major events of the past year, from 'fake news' claims to decreasing ISIS' hold in the Middle East.
13:21 | 12/31/17

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Transcript for Mary Jordan on the First Amendment: 'We used to be the moral authority'
Let's End This. We're back now with "The roundtable." We're going to get reflective. Look back. Look forward. I want to go around the table. Adds you look back on the last year, what was the most pivotal moment in the trump presidency, if your mind? We reflect on a lot. I thought charlottesville was important. All of the moments along the way. The moment that defined the year was the inauguration of the president. As a raise zi race people thought the presidency would be different. It could change Donald Trump. He would be a different kind of person. We learned on that day and in that speech, he wasn't going to be. From that point on, everything has flown from that and how he's acted in the oval office and the world as the world reflects him. 2017 is defined by January 20th. January 21st, 500,000 people showed up for the women's March on Washington. That's signalled a new kind of political activism and enga engagement on the part of women. We have seen in the special elections. Women as candidates. Emily's list says in the previous two years, 900 women contacted them expresing interest for running for office. Since Donald Trump was E leblgted, 5,000 women have contacted Emily's list and expressenterest in running nor political office. They won't all run. Fair number will. Perry? The Comey firing. Trump affected norms that others wouldn't touch. He made it look like it has something to hide. It defined the year. I would say the 48 hours in January that the inauguration address, where he signaled to the world, America first. And, the whole world, it was a reverberation. Talking about buy American. Hire American. People said, wow, it will be a different presidency. He defeated the woman supposed to be the first woman president. And the next morning you had the amazing women's March. There you had a whole year of women running for office. Who knew that that 48 hours in Washington would set the agenda? Both for the trump presidency and women's rising voice and sexual harassment in the work place. The me too also reverberated around the country. When we look, it was such an incredible year of trying to cover the news. Just every day was snapping to someone else. What do you think was undercovered this rear? To me, I found -- broadly categorize it. The moral authority of the United States. And defined in the religious right. Which I think has lost much of the moral authority. Our about with the protests in the last 4, 48 hours in Iran. What admiral mullen was trying to say. We're right. Our ability to engage in the conversation with how we have acted as a country and as the president has acted. We don't talk about what goes nonsaudi Arabia. Turkey. All the places of human rights violations. And the way we act in the united States. That moral authority is tied to the president's actions. Enabled by a LE limb use right that has always felt it has a moral authority. President trump has been so transfixing. He's demanded so much attention and so much of our resources. I worry we're not covering what is happening in all the federal agencies. Especially in terms of regulations repealed and new rules set that will have huge consequences in education and the environment. And who is staffing them? I think journalism has had trouble staffing the things we covered routinely because the white house commands so much attention. The decline of ISIS is a big story. Three years ago ISIS was on the front pages. They have lost a lot of territory. I'm not saying ISIS is evaporated or done. Certainly, a victory for Obama and trump that they had a strategy that worked to shrink ISIS' territory in Syria and Iraq. You have the Yemen crisis. I would say, that, to me is one of the most undercovered stories. The catastrophic humanitarian conditions. Mary? I think the shrinking middle class. The rich are getting Uber rich. The income divide used to be the characteristic of developing countries is coming fast to America. The same feeling that my parents had when they came from Ireland if the late 1950s, that there was economic and social mobility is not there in the way it was in the '50s. This is huge consequences for the hollowing out of the middle class. I want to add to something Mary said. What happened to the middle class from the growth of world War II to the 1970s. The way the public ewes the economy is no longer the factors we all talk about. The growth of the gdp. The up inflation rate. No perception of those are the factors they use. This year, we have had this tremendous stock market rise. A better gdp than people expected. Unemployment at the lowest level in 0 years. The president is viewed lower than any other president viewed after a first year. And two-thirds of the country think we're on the wrong track. We need a new way and metrics of how to cover the economy. It's no longer the way the public views it. Susan, I want to expand to the first amendment. I don't like to talk about the media and it's all about us. But there was an take on the media. The first amendment. That we have not seen before in this country. The profound effect that can have inspect is a president as you know well likes attention from the media but on the other hand, you calls us fake news. Somewhat the lasting effect? I'm very concerned as a citizen that a lot of Americans no longer trust the main stream news media the to tell them the truth. We can disagree on policies. We need to agree on what we think is happening. Something to watch in 2018 are justice department investigations into leaks. Whether that goes further than rhetoric in terms of having a chilling effect on journalism's ability to hold accountable people in power. You have spent a lot of time traveling like I have. The rest of the world viewing fake news? I think the effect of the president calling it fake news when there are stories he doesn't like is dangerous. There are 262 journalists in jail around the world. The crime for some, fake news. So, when -- in Egypt, China, Myanmar. Other countries, leaders don't like stories about corruption and killings, they jail them. We used to be the mort authority. Democracy rests on a free press. He's just made it easy now to damp down one of the pillars of democracy. The PEOP . The people don't trust you, correct? They would say, Washington post, the the president says, run. Don't talk to you. Is that really what we want to do when everybody is silo'd. That we're all supposed to be trying to learn what is on the minds of other people. He's attacked the FBI. The doj. Attacked lots of other institutions. Our country is not just run by two parties. They're run by institutions. Also, you have seen foreign leaders now, when day don't like a story in their own papers, they say, it's fake news. And they cite Donald Trump. He's setting a new norm. I covered the governor of Kentucky. He's been saying that every story he doesn't like is fake news. It may be obvious. Why is he doing this? He's doing it because he doesn't want the truth is his enemy in all of this. Why he confronts fake news pip think the recovery from this Donald Trump hangover, that he's instigated, makes our democracy in serious peril. Democracies depend on the common good. It depends on sharing a common set of facts. From this day forward, inauguration forward, the ability to get together and settle on a common set of facts to get to the common good is in serious jeopardy. That's what I worry about in the hangover and aftermath of this. This leads to the Russia investigation. Fake news. He said no collusion. All fake. You saw the story in "The new York sometimes"over snigt with papadopoulos meeting in a London bar. If "The New York Times" article is correct, it's consequential. It was created by the boasting of someone on team trump. To Australian diplomats who reported it back to the united States. So that's hugely consequential. We don't know if there was collusion or obstruction. A year from today, we'll know. We'll have much more information about what actually happened to our democracy in 2016. That will be the big story. The defining story of the year to come. I want to talk about the midterms. The tax cuts. His approval ratings are so low. That a ps a good predictor for who wins the mid terms. We may see a wave like we saw in 2014 and 2010 and 2006, based on just how unpopular trump is. It's hard to see him getting more popular. H they can pass more bills. The tax bill passed. His numbers have not moved. That should worry Republicans. It was the most unpopular bill. It's not going to be an asset next year. And who knew tax cuts would be unpopular? What do Republicans have to do to beat back the Democrats. They won't follow this advice. They have to taken to president in a more concerted, strong way. They have to define themselves differently. On certain Republican principles they have walked away from. They won't do it. Because they've enabled this president all year long. If they want to save themselves in any way, they have to take the president on. We have one minute. If any of you had any influence over Donald Trump, what would you tell him his new year's resolution should be? Mary? Keep your eye on the big stuff. Too many big issue Wes face for this reckless distraction. Stop insulting people on Twitter. He won't do that. But, stop insulting people on Twitter would be a good place. I think think long term. Not short term. Matt, you get to wax poetic. I would say the same advice I gave my 5-year-old on every new year's eve. Grow up. Start respecting other people. Act in a dig any fid manner. How many think he would follow any advice? Zero chance. History says he follows his own advice. He's a 71-year-old man. Next year, he'll be 72. With his name on buildings all over the place. Will next year be different? He is a competitor. There is an election. He's shown to be a good campaigner. Think he pulls out more trick next year. No candidate who is a Republican in a close race should have him come to campaign. Thank you all. Happy new year. You can get the latest on

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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