Seymour Hersh: There Is A Chance That Trump Just Might Know What He's Doing, We Underestimate Him


On CNN Wednesday night, journalist Seymour Hersh said he understands that "disliking Trump" is great for the media and ratings but he wished we talk about what is going on in Yemen and around the world. Hersh said presidents have always complained the press, and Lemon jumped in to ask, "to this extent?" before the journalist could finish his thought.

"The president frequently complains about news organizations which challenge him. Today's tweet was different in that he cited news organizations as the country's biggest enemy. What's your reaction to that?" host Don Lemon asked.

"Well, there's always been tension with every president," Hersh said. "I sometimes think that we underestimate Trump but that's just my opinion. I always like to tack the other way, I guess. But it seems to me that the news media, I always view disliking Trump is like catnip for American audiences. It seems obviously television is doing much better... you guys are getting better ratings, the New York papers and 'The Washington Post,' they are getting more audience and going after Trump is really good news."

"These things deserved to be talked about, it's not just about ratings," Lemon said.

Hersh said Democrats are only running against Trump, like Hillary Clinton, and don't have a message. He said Trump appeals to the country "for reasons we don't understand."

"He's going up in ratings," Hersh said. "I don't see the Democratic party doing anything but basically running sort of as Hillary did, running against him for the last two months against him in the last two months of the campaign. And I'm not sure if I'm not in the major city in America, I'm not sure -- this guy is different. And I think people are tired of politicians and he appeals for a lot of reasons that maybe we don't all understand, I certainly don't understand him. He's got 48%, 47% of the people. He appeals to them. There's something about him. This is a guy that took down 13 Republicans with a history of more than 200 years of political life."

Lemon said it's "our job" to analyze his policies and behavior and what he says and does.

Hersh said there was a time that the media was trusted but now people tune into news that they like and ignore news that they don't.

"With all due respect, and I'm not talking about you or your show... there was a time when the media was trusted. You go back to the old days of networks and those days are long gone. I always felt like when I worked at the 'New York Times' what we wrote was trusted. We now have a situation where a lot of people tune in to what they like and don't listen to what they don't like. It's good for cable television on both sides. For FOX News and for MSNBC and CNN, you guys. You've got great ratings. You're making money," Hersh said.

Hersh asked where is the media that has "some standing" is trusted.

"I think 'The New York Times' every quarter says it's picked up another 200,000 subscriptions because they're very critical of Trump," he said. "And so we have this notion if you don't like Trump, you're going to go here. If you like Trump, you're going to go somewhere else. So, where is the middle ground? Where is the media that is skeptic? Where is the media that whatever they say will have some standing, it's not going to be tuned out by 40% of the people, whatever percentage."

Hersh said for all the criticism Trump faces and what he has done that there is an "outside chance" that he just might know what he's doing.

"Yes, Trump went to the summit not knowing much about it and, yes, he doesn't read anything and he's famous for just running on instinct," he said. "There's just an outside chance with all these tweets and all that other stuff, he just may have some idea what he's doing. He's keeping it focused on him, whether good, bad or otherwise, it works for him."

Hersh also said Trump was able to get rid of two political dynasties -- the Bushes and the Clintons.

"I don't know if we're not all caught up in a pantomime that he's probably doing better at running," he said. "He did get rid of two dynasties. He got rid of the Bushes and he got rod of the Clintons for us."

"He just might be playing a longer game than we think," Hersh said.

"It's his game," he said. "We're playing his game, that's what bothers me."

Lemon said that according to friends in journalism that news outlets would take lower ratings and less money if Trump "actually believed in facts and reality."

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