they’ve bought into this guy. They knew who he was. The media
kept saying, “Now he’s going to change. This time he’s going to be
different. Now that he’s President, this is going to change.” They
never expected that. They expected exactly what they got. You love
it or hate it.
RUSH: The tweets are one of the primary ways he fights back, and
I think they absolutely adore that he fights back.
ZITO: I think it’s more of, Rush, the fear of what he might say.
They’re backing him. They have his back. I think it’s the fear that
he might eventually say something that’s too ridiculous. It’s more of
the unknown rather than what’s already happened.
RUSH: Oh, that he might not be able to survive something he
ZITO: You see what I’m saying?
RUSH: Exactly. I think that’s insightful. Because of all the things, if
I were to answer my own question, I’d say Republicans in
Congress abandoning him,
who don’t want him to succeed
in upending the establishment.
You say tweeting. I’m happy to
get your perspective.
ZITO: One thing you did ask
me I don’t feel like I truly fully
answered. I took a lot of crap
from a lot of people this year
for my reporting, but this is
why I never vote in an election
that I cover. Because as long as
I can remain true to myself and
honest with myself, then the
things that people say about me
have no meaning. There’s no
roots to that.
RUSH: But Salena, you’ve been
vindicated now. Right? So you
got in a lot of controversy because of your reporting, but
your reporting ended up being
accurate. My experience is that
doesn’t change anything. Once
they don’t like you, they don’t
like you, and when you end up
being right, it just infuriates them even more. Have you had anybody come to you, “Sorry, Salena. You were right on the money, and
we missed it.” Has that happened?
ZITO: [Laughs] Well, I’m not going to name names, but there’s an
ABC pundit who apologized very publicly to me and said that he was
wrong about me. But then two weeks later he went after me again. So
I just ended up muting him. There’s a lot of that. People made a
parody account of me. People say I lie in my reporting. I get attacked
all the time, but again it’s really important that I can go to bed at
night and say I was not influenced by my personal opinion. So my
reporting is as pure as it can be from where I have reported.
The day after the election, I didn’t have a job anywhere. I was
freelancing for four different places, and I was walking next door to
the bakery to get a job so I could pay for my Obamacare, and that’s
the day that CNN called me and said, “We’d really like you to be on
the show.” I said, “Okay.” “On Jake Tapper’s show.” I said, “What’s
the subject?” They said, “Oh, the subject is you.” I said, “What?”
ZITO: They said, “Yeah, we’re doing an entire segment on the only
reporter in American who got the election right.”
RUSH: Well, congratulations. See, you’ve arrived. That’s what you
need to take from this. You’re always going to be on the short end of
the stick for people who don’t like it politically. That isn’t going to
change, and you shouldn’t try to make it change, because that focus
could end up changing you, not them. Don’t do that.
ZITO: No. I told them when they hired me, “Look. I’m never leaving
Pittsburgh.” And The New York Post came back to me and said, “We’d
like to continue your once-a-week column,” and I said, “That’s fine.
I’m not leaving Pittsburgh.” And The Washington Examiner then
hired me as a daily reporter and
I said, “You can hire me, but I’m
not leaving Pittsburgh.” I can-
not be a good reporter if I live in
Washington. This is where the
action is. This is where the peo-
ple are. This sort of fault line
between Pennsylvania and Ohio
for the next 20 years is where
elections, in midterms and in
Presidential, will be decided. If
you want me to do a good job, I
stay here. And they kept me.
Still not working at a bakery.
RUSH: You think national
trends will be indicative of
what happens in that fault line.
ZITO: Whatever happens between that state line of western
Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio
will not only be very determinative of Presidential elections but
also be very determinative of
midterms. So as go Pennsylvania
and Ohio in terms of what Congressional races look like and
what U.S. Senate races look like,
that’s your blueprint right there. That’s your boilerplate for whatever’s
going to happen in the House or Senate.
RUSH: Well, look. Congratulations. We love you here.
ZITO: Aw, that’s really nice of you. Thank you.
RUSH: Every time I see your byline, man, I zero in on it. You’re one
of the few that when I see it, I read it.
ZITO: That is really, really nice of you to say. I really appreciate it.
RUSH: Well, it’s true.
ZITO: Oh, I must tell you that my nephew has read all of your
books, my nine-year-old nephew, and just absolutely loves them.
We’re a family of history nerds.
RUSH: That’s just fantastic. Means so much! Look, I appreciate
your time, I really do, and please let us know if there’s ever anything
we can do. n
“The problem for my profession is they all travel in
the same plane, land at the same airport, go to the
same Marriott. They get their Starbucks, go to a
rally, find the freakiest person there, and write the
same story. They never immerse themselves in the
culture and people.” — SALENA ZITO