This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," May 11, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the buzzmeter this Sunday, Monica Lewinsky, breaking her silence in "Vanity Fair," saying that the media along with Bill Clinton's aides and a special prosecutor made her a scapegoat in the impeachment scandal. Why is the press still treating her as a laughing stock when Clinton is portrayed as a global statesman?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA LEWINSKY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE INTERN: Getting and keeping my immunity became very important to me. And I needed to take care of myself and my family. No one else was worried about me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Is it time, 16 years later, for the pundits to cut her some slack? Will Lewinsky's re-emergence affect the coverage of Hillary Clinton and why does the former secretary of state bear such hostility towards journalists? We'll ask her longtime pal, James Carville.
Plus, a new report suggests Lara Logan may never return to "60 Minutes" after her botched Benghazi story. Would that punishment be too harsh? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."
Everyone has got something to say about Monica, the young woman at the center of the White House sex scandal 16 years ago has rekindled the cultural and political debate with an essay in "Vanity Fair." She takes a swipe at Hillary Clinton. She describes her public humiliation over the affair even now. She says no one, it seems, can escape the unforgiving gaze of the Internet or gossip, half-truths and lies take root and fester. And the pundits are parting again, like it's 1998.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DON LEMON, CNN: As the president of the United States, he should not have slept with her. But she should have had the mind - the state of mind as a 23-year-old woman to not sleep with her boss.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, come on.
LEMON: She was not a child.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: Monica made a point which is true. And that is, Hillary Clinton attacked the woman.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: If dumping on Monica Lewinsky was a way to protect the presidency, haul away. It just shows the reality of the moral callousness of which the Clintons were capable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the modern day Monica melodrama, Lauren Ashburn, Fox News contributor, social buzz on the Fox website. Mary Katharine Hamm, editor at large at "Hot Air" and a Fox News contributor. And Keli Goff, a special correspondent for "The Root." So, Monica in this piece says the media made her a scapegoat. Is this kind of a plea to the press for kinder, gentler treatment?
LAUREN ASHBURN, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Sure. She's been shamed by the media for all of these years. And now, she's shaming the media back. And it's working. Listen to these headlines from the "Daily Beast," stop slut shamming, Monica Lewinsky. Liberal community in Belmar says, I literally felt guilty over all the times I made fun of her.
Time, "why", we owe her an apology. And then there is Andrea Peyser, kind of that mean spirited critic for "The New York Post" saying Monica Lewinsky should shut up and go away. She is not ..
KURTZ: Everybody is not on the same page. Mary Katharine, we in the media business have made a very big deal about this article. But since this exploded in 1998, I remember covering this like every day for more than a year. And she's not adding much new information. Is it really big news?
MARY KATHARINE HAM: I think it may matter more to the press than it matters to people at home. It has a little .
HAM: It has a little bit of a soap opera angle. So, I guess, some people might be interested in it, but largely, I think it's more of a beltway thing where everybody wants to talk about this exciting story that happened so many years ago, again. I always sort of felt for Monica. She was a grown woman but she was also - you know, this was her boss and that's a power relationship that he could take advantage of it. And so, I think she was dragged through the mud and many times unfairly. And I don't think would have been, for instance, if the man had been a Republican.
KURTZ: OK. We'll come back to that. Kelly, because the scandal exploded back 16 years ago now, there was no Facebook, there was no Twitter, no "Huffington Post," no Politico. So, it's kind of curious to me that she's kind of reliving her humiliation for the social media age. Now, writing Twitter, just to make fun of her. But why do you think that is?
KELI GOFF: Well, I think that part of why this is becoming a story again, aside from the fact that the media is looking for a story at all times to tie to the presidential election that hasn't even happened yet, it's because Hillary Clinton is considered the front-runner. We all know that. And this is one of - sort of the biggest parts of the Clinton saga, if you will, and part of the Clinton soap opera. And so, that's why it's out there. I mean you heard Lynne Cheney even throw out the theory that perhaps this helps the Clintons by getting ahead of the story before it can really weigh them down when she actually runs for office. But yes, I mean there is certainly something to her being the first sort of victim of the Internet age. I mean that's one of the angles of the story. I interviewed Donna Rice for "The Daily Beast," who was sort of the first previous big victim of a major sex scandal with Gary Hart.
KURTZ: Over her involvement with Gary Hart, yes.
GOFF: With Gary Hart. And she did talk about how different sort of the coverage is and how that sort of impacts things. And she also pointed out that, for instance, Gary Hart sort of went away and the Clintons have not. So, when someone like Andrea Peyser says, why won't Monica shut up and go away? It's possible Monica Lewinsky is asking them the same thing. If they went away, her name wouldn't be so much in the public eye.
HAM: (INAUDIBLE) is too, in the new age, I think there's an upside and a downside to being in the position that Monica Lewinsky is in. If she had had the same sort of Twitter Universe when this happened, she would have gotten the sort of, you know, really serious fame and had some sort of .
ASHBURN: Reality show.
HAM: The Internet show or reality show.
HAM: And she never got any of that. So it may be coming back to say hey, where is my .
ASHBURN: But she tried that even on Fox and it didn't work. She tried making handbags and that didn't work. I mean she's had a real hard time getting traction.
KURTZ: And she had the Barbara Walters interview and the big book about it. But let's turn this to "Vanity Fair." Should "Vanity Fair" be giving Monica Lewinsky this platform? First person piece. With (INAUDIBLE) submit to questions by an interviewer. I mean who gets that?
ASHBURN: Well, I think it's first of all, the largest advertisement for a job or a husband I've ever seen.
ASHBURN: Well, it's the truth. You know, why wouldn't they?
KURTZ: She's 40 and she's had trouble finding a job.
ASHBURN: Right. So she needs to get out there and do something about it. But "Vanity Fair," someone comes to "Vanity Fair." Monica Lewinsky comes to "Vanity Fair" and says I want to write this piece for you. What are they going to say? She's the most infamous woman in the world. Are they going to say no? Of course, they're going to say yes. Because then people are going to be talking about "Vanity Fair" for the next week, next month, the next year. And then you get all these aging pundits who get to roll their wheelchair on to the stage again to talk about it.
KURTZ: You are saying they're like rock stars who want to do the greatest hits? I think there may be something to that. But earlier this week, as people talked about it on Fox News and other cable networks, Lynne Cheney had a theory that she floated about "Vanity Fair's" role in all of this. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNNE CHENEY: I really wonder if this isn't an effort on the Clinton's part to get that story out of the way. Would "Vanity Fair" publish anything about Monica Lewinsky that Hillary Clinton didn't want in "Vanity Fair"?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Well, "Vanity Fair" has kind of dismissed that and there isn't any evidence that "Vanity Fair" was colluding with the Clintons. And Monica doesn't seem to have warm feelings for Hillary or Bill.
HAM: No, but I do think there may be some truth in the fact that getting this done early perhaps helps her if she ends up running the run. I'm not sure how much it hurts her in general. Because she's a little bit seen as the victim in this story. But .
KURTZ: Are you saying that getting this out early while may be a good timing from the point of view of a future Hillary campaign.
KURTZ: But you are not - are you suggesting that there's any coordination?
HAM: No, I wouldn't be surprised if someone at "Vanity Fair" wanted to be kind to Hillary Clinton but it does seem like this piece didn't pull a ton of punches. And they're looking out for selling "Vanity Fair" for the most part.
KURTZ: The endless speculation about Hillary Clinton revives all of that. And some of - some Republicans were starting to do that, and now Monica has given us all a reason or excuse maybe to do that. Is it a little out of control, Keli?
GOFF: It's totally out of control, Howard, as is often the case with this type of coverage. Last I checked the Clintons are not the editors of "Vanity Fair." And it's anything in a weird way this Lewinsky coverage possibly did help Clinton in a backhanded sort of way. Because you had a lot of really negative coverage on substantive issues that could affect her campaign. There are questions about why as secretary of state she didn't do more about Boko Haram, which has, you know, been responsible for the kidnap of these Nigerian girls. There is the Benghazi select committee. And I will say something in the defense of the Clintons. We talked about how they were getting too much free coverage on Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy. Well, guess what, Chelsea Clinton actually graduated, got her Ph.D. this week. That got like two articles because it was overwhelmed by Lewinsky coverage.
KURTZ: Oh, Monica's revenge!
GOFF: So, it's a (INAUDIBLE) swing. It keeps swinging back and forth to create (ph) a sort of soap opera.
HAM: I think when people hear this yes, when people hear this, the big thing is they go, the baggage, the drama of the Clintons, and I do think that's a strike against her.
ASHBURN: But I also think it was a cultural milestone, especially in journalism coverage. Howie, let's turn the tables here. You were covering this. You must have written .
KURTZ: Every day.
ASHBURN: . dozens and dozens of articles. Was it embarrassing to cover this?
KURTZ: It wasn't embarrassing to me, because it was such a huge political scandal, the presidency was at stake, pundits went on TV the first week and predicted that Bill Clinton would resign. I didn't want my daughters to know about it. And it was so graphic, it broke all these boundaries. But the interesting point here is, somebody who lived through this period, and maybe somebody- to deal with it, just kind of a footnote on the history now, is that the standards were so different on sex scandals, for example, at "The Washington Post" where I worked, Mike Isikoff, it took him months to get into the paper. The story about Paula Jones' allegations against then Governor Bill Clinton on sexual harassment. "The Drudge Report" scooped and everybody remembers, was about "Newsweek" holding Isikoff's well-documented piece about Monica Lewinsky.
ASHBURN: But don't you think this sort of changed the cultural zeitgeist for journalists? Now sex scandals happen every day and we cover them and there's nothing to it.
KURTZ: I think the way we talk about it has changed because the other vivid memory I have at the time was of the Starr report came out, and it had all this graphic details about who did what to whom and in that little pantry off the Oval Office. And all these veteran journalists had - on the air, maybe Bob Schieffer reading, and then they had a type of sex because they didn't want to say oral sex on the air. Now you have Mark Seifert, Eliot Spitzer, David Vitter, Newt Gingrich, Anthony Weiner. And so, it comes and goes and we're all kind of inert to it.
GOFF: Can I just say really quickly, too? One of the things that Donna Rice tell me, is very different to your point, Howard. Is that she said because there is no investigation, she had the luxury of retaining some dignity of not having details about her sexual exploits with Gary Hart, not be exposed and detailed. And Monica did not have that. And unfortunately, it's part of the reason she's a laughing I'm not going to repeat the Beyonce lyric that references her. But those .
KURTZ: It has to do with certain blue dress.
GOFF: Certain type of blue dress. And those are the types of things that really, I think, hurt Monica the way that we don't think about, because she's so lost that control because of the investigation and these graphic details.
HAM: As somebody who is skeptical of the power of the federal government. I don't mind knowing in graphic detail how disgusting some of our leaders are.
HAM: To some extent that can be in the public interest. But it does get - it does - the collateral damage to the women is pretty serious.
ASHBURN: And women don't stick up for each other. I mean immediately Hillary went on the attack. And just called her a narcissistic looney tune, which is I think in part why Monica .
KURTZ: Well, she didn't say that publicly at the time.
ASHBURN: No, she said it - right, it did. But I think that was one of the impetus for - part of the impetus for her coming out and saying, wait a minute, I'm done with this. I'm not a narcissistic looney tune. Clintons, back off.
GOFF: To talk. (INAUDIBLE) as well.
KURTZ: Right. Another thing people forget, is part of the story that drove the media coverage, was there was a concerted effort by Clinton White House officials and their allies to paint her as a stalker, as nutty.
KURTZ: Even though we now know that - you know, this was, she says a consensual affair. And the whole Ken Starr special prosecutor going after her, there were a lot of leaks from that camp.
ASHBURN: But Maureen Dowd, right? In the very beginning, she had sympathy, "New York Times" columnist, in the very beginning in this whole thing, she had sympathy for Monica Lewinsky, and then came on to call her things like saying she was too tubby in high school to be in the in crowd. I mean things that were just really mean. And she won a Pulitzer Prize for all of this reporting on turning on the woman who allegedly couldn't be seen as the victim.
HAM: You could almost call it a war on women.
ASHBURN: Oh, my gosh, a war on women.
GOFF: And this is why it continues to get coverage.
HAM: It's come full circle.
KURTZ: It was open season on Monica Lewinsky then. And the fact is that people then wallowed in this story. Because it had everything, it had sex, it had politics, it had abuse of power, it had lying to a grand jury. And that's what Bill Clinton was doing. And so, the effect that we are now engaging in it again, but there's one more thing people forget, the public after just being carpet bombed with this night after night, and day after day, turned against the media and felt that Bill - it was Bill Clinton's personal life. His popularity rating somehow stayed up. Which I think is part of how he beat impeachment.
GOFF: And Hillary Clinton became a senator.
KURTZ: That's right. She did.
HAM: And the secretary of state.
KURTZ: Let me get a break here. If you want to see your tweet on our show, remember to message me on Twitter @HowardKurtz. We are going to read some of those a little later.
When we come back, some Hillary allies say the press might deter her from running in 2016. What?
And later, James Carville on the liberal media turning on President Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBIN ROBERTS: Were you to run for president...
ROBERTS: in 2016, would you consider Elizabeth Warren or Julian Castro as a running mate?
HILLARY CLINTON: Oh, my goodness.
HILLARY CLINTON: Well, aside from never answering hypotheticals...
KURTZ: How many times has she took that question now? Hillary Clinton has had a rocky relationship with the press for more than two decades, going back to when her husband first ran, when she was first lady, when she was senator, when she was secretary of state, which is - and the presidential candidate in 2008. Even now, so Mary Katharine, she's getting, I think she's getting the best press of her career right now. But of course, she's kind of on the sidelines. And does that change the minute she runs?
HAM: I think it will change a little bit.
KURTZ: A little bit?
HAM: I think she's gone through -- I'm not sure how critical folks are going to get. I like the fact that the questions are being asked now, what actually happened during her secretary of state tenure, it's something we actually need to talk about. She's gone through many cycles. I understand her trepidation and I actually get it on a deep level about the 2007 and 2008 period. Because she played the part of the Republican in that primary. She was dreadfully uncool. Everybody thought the other guy was way hipper and she got all the tough questions and he got the pillow behind his head in the debates. And so, that was sort of the brand new respect for Hillary Clinton era for Republicans. We were like, see, this is what we do all the time.
KURTZ: You have perfectly set up my question to Keli Goff, which was in 2007, 2008, Hillary Clinton had strained relations with the press. Part of this, I think was because she kept (INAUDIBLE), part of this was the eye screen (ph) image, but her team complained to me and other reporters all the time that the media were so pro-Obama in those primaries.
GOFF: Well, I think the part of it, you can't separate the two that they were just pro-Obama, because they do think part of it has to do with the Clinton's longstanding history with the media not being good, right? So, I sometimes wonder if there'd been a different supposed frontrunner who'd been running against President Obama, even though he was supposed to be the new, hip, pretty young thing as, you know, Bill Clintons kept complaining about. Would it have been different, because you know, it's political magazine has the sniff story out about how they have had a continually contentious relationship with the media. You know, she doesn't trust them. She doesn't like them. I mean there are plenty of reasons why. I can see why that would be the case, but at the end of the day if you want to be a public figure and run for office you've got to work with them, and sort of the McCain did with the back and forth.
KURTZ: On this political story, reporters talk to many of our friends and allies, and they actually based on that said, if she doesn't run, the single biggest factor holding her back will be the media.
ASHBURN: That's horse hockey. I mean .
ASHBURN: If anybody says so.
KURTZ: This is a Sunday morning show.
ASHBURN: If anybody knows how to deal with the press, it's Hillary Clinton. She has been getting strategy memos for 20 years on how to deal with the media. We forget that this is a woman who was reviled for saying that other women can bake cookies, who had whitewater, making money off of cattle futures.
ASHBURN: She has been through -and health care.
KURTZ: And then what about - what about her husband well, health care, of course, she (INAUDIBLE)..
ASHBURN: And he husband having an affair, blaming the right wing media .
ASHBURN: Conspiracy theory. I mean she knows.
GOFF: But - how to deal with the media.
ASHBURN: She's not going to not run because of the media.
KURTZ: I agree with that part. But the fact that she's been getting memos for 20 years about how to soften her image and how to deal with the press and how to core female shows, shows that it doesn't come naturally there. That she's not very good at it.
ASHBURN: Exactly, but it doesn't - is not going - influence a decision. No, she is good at it. She was able to switch the entire Monica Lewinsky saga to blaming the right wing media.
KURTZ: For a while.
HAM: In the end has not softening her image, -doesn't see to do that. Has actually sort of cemented this like, you know, Iron Lady to - apologies to Margaret Thatcher.
HAM: The image of her that I think actually serves her well in the press. And we're kidding ourselves if she gets in and gets the nomination that the president is going to be like, this is an amazing historic event!
KURTZ: Well, we will have you back if and when that happens.
KURTZ: I'm sure everybody will talk about it. It won't go unnoticed. Keli.
GOFF: No, I think it comes actually to Oakland, but not her. It comes naturally to her husband. I think that she - she's gotten the memos and everything is - It's not something that comes naturally. She likes doing. Bill Clinton actually likes working - be light feeling with the media, even when he gets terrible coverage.
KURTZ: I would not claim with Bill Clinton the '92 campaign. It was midnight. Everyone was tired. He had reporters - talking about Medicare, going on and on and on.
KURTZ: He loves this stuff. Hillary Clinton can't do it. She can be very charming, but it is work for her. Keli Goff, Mary Katharine Ham, thank you very much for coming by this Sunday.
Up next, Lara Logan is still on leave from "60 Minutes" over her Benghazi blunder. Could she be gone for good?
And later, some television types get a bit too carried away celebrating Cinco de Mayo.
KURTZ: Lara Logan has been on leave from "60 Minutes" since last fall when CBS had to apologize for her botched report on Benghazi that relied on the source who turned out to have lied to the network.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARA LOGAN, CBS CORRESPONDENT: For that, we are very sorry. The most important thing to every person at "60 Minutes" is the truth, and the truth is we made a mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now, "New York" magazine reports that the wounds from that episode have not healed and that there is some doubt about whether Logan will ever return to CBS. Joining us now from New York is Joe Concha, a columnist for Mediaite. Now, Joe, was this "New York" magazine piece, which suggests that Lara Logan is still toxic, at least to some people at CBS News, was it fair to her?
JOE CONCHA, MEDIAITE: I think nothing has been fair to Lara Logan since this whole episode, Howie. Now, look, did she make an egregious mistake in not vetting her source, Dillon Davies with that Benghazi report? She had over a year to bet him. Yes. Did she apologize?
CONCHA: Right. Did she apologize for that, any excuses? Yes. Now, with apologies comes accountability. CBS does an internal investigation. They place her on leave of absence for an indefinite period. And that's where I think she's getting a raw deal. This is a woman that's been in harm's way more times than we can count. Iraq, Afghanistan and most importantly, three years ago, Tahrir Square, in Cairo, she's sexually assaulted and beaten. And now the network can't give her the common courtesy of a response of whether she'll be back on the network or not for one mistake. I believe that earned her a mulligan. I think she needs a second chance. And what's happening now instead, people like us, "New York" magazine are speculating whether she'll be back on the air or not. Lara Logan deserves better, Howie.
KURTZ: I think you're right on that. She's been kind of twisting in the wind. If it hadn't been about Benghazi, I think she would have been back by now. But it's such a sensitive political issue. I think CBS is just trying to let things cool down. Now, CBS News gave me a statement, and "60 Minutes" I should say gave me a statement about this "New York" magazine article. Let's put it up on the screen. The piece is undermined by numerous inaccuracies, worse, it irresponsibly minimizes a brutal attack while implying blame on the victim, which says a lot about the character of the author and his agenda. CBS News declines to comment further on this collection of reprehensible personal attacks. Now, in fairness, CBS wouldn't elaborate on what these alleged inaccuracies are. And Joe Hagen, the author, is a veteran and respected journalist. But this does indicate, I think, how much reaction there's been to this "New York" magazine story.
CONCHA: OK, CBS, Jeff Fager, David Rhodes. If you are not going to come, if you are on it - criticize this piece, at least come out and tell us what Lara Logan's status is at the network, then you wouldn't have to answer for pieces like this that are speculative. This was nearly six months ago, Howie that this episode happened.
KURTZ: Let me jump in and ask you this. Because I've been - Lara Logan many times. And yes, she maybe has a sympathetic view of the military, but as you say, Joe, she's put herself in harm's way many times, that awful, horrible incident where she was sexually attacked in Egypt and yet the article while acknowledging that maybe people talk about a woman differently portrays her not just as brave, but as kind of reckless and putting herself in harm's way. Would anybody say that about a man?
CONCHA: No, I don't think they would. I also got out of this piece, Howie that somehow she used her looks to get ahead and get to the "60 Minutes" table. Look, Anne Hathaway, or I don't know, Brooklyn Decker isn't going to be on "60 Minutes" tomorrow because they're hot. All right? Lara Logan is a very attractive, aesthetically pleasing woman in a visual medium. And maybe that helped get her noticed. But then from there, she had to do the work, Howie, she had to put herself in harm's way. Bombs flying all around here. And now, every day since Tahrir Square, she has to think about that sexual assault. And the network can't even get her the courtesy of a response. I think it's deplorable, Howie.
KURTZ: Right. You know the article also talks about the affairs that she had when she was in Iraq and how she was - got pregnant by a government contractor who is now her husband. And I wrote about this at the time, as back in 2008. But Lara Logan came to me and she wanted to sort of get this out in the open. And not be subjected to the tabloid treatment. So I can't say that should be completely awful - but there sure was a lot of personal stuff about her looks and her sex life that you don't think would probably be in a profile of a global trotting male war correspondent.
CONCHA: Never, ever. You wouldn't see that about any male in this business, where plenty of infidelity happens. Plenty of infidelity happens in the country, let's face it - over 50 percent of people, you know, get divorced primarily because either finances or cheating. But for whatever reason, and there was another piece done back in October when they talked about Lara Logan's Halloween outfit, and how it was skimpy when she was going around the neighborhood, and how neighbors were horrified. Give me a break. This is a woman, again, that deserves better.
KURTZ: Before we go, next week is Barbara Walters' last week on "The View." I talked to her a while ago about her decision to step down. Let's play a little bit of that for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, "THE VIEW" CO-HOST & EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: I want to leave while you still want to interview me. I want to leave .
KURTZ: I will always want to interview you.
WALTERS: I want to leave when people say, you know, we will miss her. I don't want to be on so long that they say, is she still on? And you sort of have to know when to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CONCHA: You know how you know .
KURTZ: She's just questioned - Short period of time, but what a legacy in television, correct?
CONCHA: Good lord. She's worried about going out on top. The most coveted interview, perhaps, at the year, at least one of the top three was V. Stiviano, Donald Sterling mistress. Who gets that? The 34-year old up and comer, the 54-year old seasoned veteran? No, 84-year old Barbara Walters. She deserves all the other accolade, she's going to receive, Howie. She's not just an icon, she's news royalty. ABC News is going to name their headquarters after her. We wish her well. And she's just a treasure.
KURTZ: And she poked fun at herself last night on "Saturday Night Live." Go Concha!
CONCHA: You too ..
KURTZ: Thanks very much for coming into New York.
CONCHA: Thank you, Howie.
KURTZ: Before we go, last bit of TV news. Last - late night is no longer now just for white guys. Larry Wilmore, the senior black correspondent on the "Daily Show" getting his own show, taking over that 11:30 slot from Stephen Colbert. Interesting move on the part of Comedy Central.
Ahead on "MediaBuzz," did a group of meteorologists go too easy on the president? But first, the ragin' Cajun on coverage of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. James Carville, up next.
ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Live from America's news headquarters, I'm Eric Shawn.
A momentous day in Ukraine. Two eastern regions holding a referendum despite calls from President Vladimir Putin to postpone it. At stake, whether to declare so-called People's Republics, tensions are running high as voters go to the polls in the wake of the deadly clashes over the past months. Organizers, though, report turnout is strong. Kiev, however, says the referendums are illegal and are being funded by Russia.
The search resuming this morning for one of the three victims in that tragic hot air balloon crash in Virginia. It crashed into a power line and burst into flames on Friday night. And we are learning more about two of the victims who were found. 24-year-old Natalie Lewis and 44-year-old Ginny Doyle were killed. Both were on the coaching staff at the University of Richmond's basketball program.
I'm Eric Shawn. I'll see you at the top of the hour for more of America's news headquarters. Now back to "MediaBuzz" and Howard Kurtz.
KURTZ: Hillary Clinton is getting the best press of her life as she weighs a presidential campaign. But she's always had strained relations with journalists. And as we noted earlier, Politico reports that if she doesn't run, the biggest single factor holding her back will be the media. Really? I spoke earlier with longtime Clinton strategist James Carville, now a Fox News contributor, from New Orleans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: James Carville, welcome.
JAMES CARVILLE: Oh, good, good to be here. Thank you, Howie.
KURTZ: You've been a friend and adviser to Hillary Clinton for over two decades. Why has she always had this wary, distrustful, strained relationship with the press?
CARVILLE: You know, I think that I read the article in Politico. And it - a lot of it so rung true to me. You now, she feels like -- I don't think with some justification -- that she's not been treated the fairest of anybody. And she doesn't -- she doesn't like them a lot.
KURTZ: She doesn't like them a lot?
CARVILLE: She's probably the only Democrat that dislikes "The New York Times" as much as Fox News.
KURTZ: But there's an unnamed campaign veteran quoted in this Politico article as saying to a reporter, look, she hates you, period. That's not going to change. Hates us?
CARVILLE: Well, I don't know. I mean - I think the hate is -- it certainly wouldn't be the word I use. But I don't think she's overly trustful of the press either. You know, look, I don't think President Obama much cottons to you guys either, I don't think President Bush much did. I think that - I think that healthy catching between powerful politicians and the press might not be the worst thing in the world.
KURTZ: Right. But there are memos going back to the '90s, as you know, James, when she was first lady that recently came out from the Clinton library saying you need to soften your image. You need to court female reporters. In 2008 there were complaints about access to Hillary Clinton. I have a hard time understanding why such an experienced politician wouldn't be able, in her own self-interest, to have a better relationship with the fourth estate?
CARVILLE: Yeah, again, she doesn't' - that's not kind of what she is. I don't know if she feels like she has a terrible wound, but she just, you know, at some level, and I think this is fairly common phenomena among high-level politicians. That they don't much cotton to the press. And I don't know if - again, I think that's even such a terrible thing.
KURTZ: You're saying it's scar tissue? You are saying she's been traumatized by journalists?
CARVILLE: I didn't say that. I said - I wouldn't - I said not much cotton to .
CARVILLE: Is that a Southern expression? I guess that's a Southern expression.
KURTZ: OK, but you'd have to - I'm sure you would agree, James, that Hillary Clinton got pretty good press when she was secretary of state, yet that doesn't seem to have loosened her up much in terms of giving interviews and the like.
CARVILLE: I think that she didn't get -- I think she feels like, and I would agree with her, that she wasn't treated very fairly when she was first lady. But look, that's one of the things - I don't think - the press complains about that. I don't think the public cares that much how well politicians and the press get along. You know, I don't think that's much of an issue with people. But yeah, I would be less than candid if I told you that everything was hunky-dory between the former secretary of state and the press. I don't have any sense that that's the case.
KURTZ: Do you think that if she runs, it could just affect her decision to run and you think that if she runs for president in 2016 that the conservative media will savage her over Benghazi?
CARVILLE: Well, I actually think -- I'm kind of looking forward to the Benghazi hearings myself. My suggestion is, I said it on Fox, is that they should have 90 minutes of Trey Gowdy question her on her birthday, October 26. Let's put it right in the middle of the political campaign where I think it belongs.
CARVILLE: I think this is good.
KURTZ: Now, Monica Lewinsky comes out with this article in "Vanity Fair," talking about the ordeal that she went through in 1998, the impeachment scandal, taking a swipe at Hillary, saying she is blaming the woman. Will this be - I mean we were all talking about it earlier, will this be a factor in a potential Hillary Clinton campaign?
CARVILLE: Well, first of all, I want to thank Monica Lewinsky for making me feel 14 years younger. It's kind of 1998 all over again here, you know.
CARVILLE: If there's anybody that doesn't know what happened, it could affect them. But I think there's almost saturation knowledge about Monica Lewinsky and what happened at that time in American history. I can't - you know, again, it's pretty bake in the cake. I don't think this is going to affect the campaign. I don't think it's going to drive voting behavior.
CARVILLE: It will drive a column or two and it will drive some TV shows. But, you know, everybody knows, that kind of comes with the territory.
KURTZ: It's driving thousands of shows. And, of course, younger voters may be less familiar with the tawdry details. Let's turn to the incumbent president. Let's turn to the incumbent president. Liberal pundits, it seems to me, have really turned on Barack Obama. You have Maureen Dowd saying, of course, he talked about hitting singles and doubles in foreign policy, he's playing small ball. And he's just kind of finishing out his term, waiting for the Clintons to take over, she says. What explains this shift in what should be the president's base in the media?
CARVILLE: Well, I don't know. I mean Maureen is, you know - writes some pretty tart stuff about politicians in general. And she's been writing some of that stuff for some time about President Obama. I think if you go back and look, you know, she's done - she's written things like this before you know, six years, look at the way conservatives were like on President Bush in the six years. There was spending and they were mad about Medicare part "D" and this and that. I don't have a sense that, you know, there's a huge kind of shift among progressives or liberals or whatever. You know, whatever we're called.
KURTZ: But Obama has got 2 1/2 years left. He sounded almost disillusioned or he lowered expectations in that lengthy interview with David Remnick in the "New Yorker." Once the president loses the benefit of the doubt in the press, can he get it back in the second term?
CARVILLE: I don't know - and I don't' know that it's necessary that he does.
KURTZ: Really? Are you being serious?
CARVILLE: Maybe he can - maybe gets the press back. You know, but look - the campaign is going to start in -- the presidential campaign is going to start in January of 2015, probably. That will be a year away from Iowa. These things get cranked up pretty easy. And, you know, look, I think in his mind, that his health care thing is going pretty doggone good right now.
KURTZ: All right, James Carville looking like it's 1998 all over again.
CARVILLE: That's it, man.
KURTZ: Thanks very much.
CARVILLE: Thanks very much - for yoga (ph). Thank you, Howie.
KURTZ: Thanks for joining us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: I just got this on my phone, "Vogue" magazine putting an excerpt from Hillary Clinton's forthcoming book on this Mother's Day. She writes about her mom, that she actually comforted her during the loss in 2008. Hillary Clinton writing, "I'd come home from a long day at the Senate or the State Department, slide in next to her at the small table and our breakfast milk - at just let everything pour out.
After the break, sunny skies for President Obama as he pitches climate change to a group of meteorologists.
And later, did Gilbert Gottfried really say those off-colored things to a panel of good looking women?
KURTZ: President Obama wanted to change the subject to climate change. But that doesn't get much attention in the media. So when the White House released a report detailing the impact of global warming, Obama invited a select group he knew would agree with him that a crisis is brewing. Eight national and local meteorologists. Now, these weren't all puffed (ph) on news. Here's the "Today's" show's Al Roker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL ROKER, WEATHER ANCHOR, and "TODAY": Why has it taken so long to get to this point where you're sounding this urgency?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Well, I tell you, we've been sounding this urgency for the last five years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now, others including "Good Morning, America" Ginger Zee seemed to buy into the administration's message.
GINGER ZEE, METEOROLOGIST, "GOOD MORNING, AMERICA": The new report the climate situation that we're in seems pretty dire. What do you think you can get done in the next two years?
OBAMA: The good news is, is that we've already taken some big actions.
ZEE (voice over): All part of the aggressive plan laid out by the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, the science has spoken. Our world is warming. The climate is changing. What do you think we should do?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now, some weather folks asked purely local questions or just invited the president to make his pitch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MORALES, METEOROLOGIST, WTVJ: What can Florida residents take away from the national climate assessment and apply it to their everyday lives?
JANICE HUFF, METEOROLOGIST: What is the most important thing you would like for me to convey to my viewers?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Whatever your views on the severity of climate change, this is the political spin cycle in action. Release a report and generate sympathetic coverage by using the lure of presidential access with a hand-picked group. But I'll say this, Al Roker and Ginger Zee also seized the opportunity to ask the president about the news of the day, the mass kidnapping of young girls in Nigeria. And that enabled NBC and ABC to get Obama on the record on this horrifying and still unfolding crisis.
Coming up, newscasters doing shots on the air. A comedian salivating over female guests. A bizarre edition of video verdict in just a moment.
KURTZ: Time now for our "Video Verdict." Maybe it was way too early -- that's the name of an MSNBC morning show -- but what happened on May 5th was an eye opener.
ASHBURN: It was Cinco de Mayo and "Morning Joe" producer Louis Bergdorf was in, well, a rather festive move. And '"Good Morning America's" Lara Spencer was also ready to celebrate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
THOMAS ROBERTS, ANCHOR, "WAY TOO EARLY": French forces in the battle of Puego (ph) back in 1862. It's also an excuse to drink tequila on the Monday morning at work for Lewis.
LARA SPENCER, CO-ANCHOR, "GOOD MORNING, AMERICA": Cinco de Mayo is the biggest day of the year for margarita sales and Cinco -- this holiday, is also known as Cinco de Drinko!
SPENCER: And that's -- but don't you think -- wow -- don't you think (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
ASHBURN: Yeah, OK, that was a little too much, I think.
KURTZ: Why so?
ASHBURN: Well, she's waving a sombrero, which I don't have a problem, this is a celebration of, you know, Mexicans defeating the French and possibly stopping them from coming to the United States, but then drinking shots of tequila, that's the problem.
KURTZ: The sombrero was fine. All this horrible stereotyping about Mexicans drinking early in the morning, I thought was just way over the line and that's why ABC's Lara Spencer and MSNBC have apologized. Your score?
KURTZ: I'm giving it a two.
ASHBURN: OK. So Gilbert Gottfried is a comedian who specializes in being outrageous, and he proved that in spades this week.
KURTZ: He appeared on a panel in Dr. Drew's HLN show and couldn't resist commenting on the physical attributes of the female guests. A warning you might want to turn the sound down if you're offended by salty language.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GILBERT GOTTFRIED, COMEDIAN: You surround yourself with these hot pieces of [EXPLETIVE DELETED]
GOTTFRIED: And it's kind of like you have a story someone was killed in their home, and then you go and now we're going to talk to a bunch of girls that you pound like there's no tomorrow.
ANAHITA SEDAGHATFAR, PANELIST: All of us are very intelligent, smart women, and I would hope that we bring more to the table than our looks, but --
DR. ANDREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: There you go.
SEDAGHATFAR: I'm speechless.
PINSKY: We'll have to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me --
PINSKY: Go ahead, Gilbert. Last word.
GOTTFRIED: To me, Dr. Drew is better than the Playboy network.
PINSKY: So we'll leave it at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: OK, so, I'm still cringing, but Gilbert Gottfried is a raunchy comedian and when you invite him on your show .
ASHBURN: You know what you're going to get right?
KURTZ: This is what you get.
ASHBURN: But you know what he said in an interview that he gave, he said, well, there's a very fine line between being infamous and famous .
ASHBURN: And I think he just crossed it. He also says - you know, now in this 24/7 world there's a villain of the day, and I think he just became it, and I'm giving him a one.
KURTZ: Look, it was sexist and off-color but it was funny. I'm giving it a six.
ASHBURN: Not funny.
KURTZ: Still to come, your best tweets, plus Donald Sterling is back with a new tape showing what the NBA owner was really after in that racist chat with his gal pal.
KURTZ: There are a few of your top tweets on the coverage of the Monica Lewinsky essay. John Callum yes, because it's important, because it reminds of Clintonian immorality, remember the cattle futures gambit? And Clinton fatigue." John Rigas, "It seems to be a double standard on such things. Why doesn't the press you visited with Bill Clinton." Alan Boyd, "15 years ago, Colton said, get over this already." KCP, KC2, "The media loves sex plus Clintons equals ratings.
ASHBURN: The media love to cover sex and the Clintons? I'm shocked.
KURTZ: That is quite a revelation. Moving right along, reporters for a newspaper in El Salvador have found a new way to gather the news. They used drones to flight over the country and take pictures of things like murder things and car accidents. And Fox News Latino reports, they've been using other American countries as well, but you won't be seeing that here in the U.S. any time soon. The administration has banned the use of drones for commercial purposes.
Now this media fail, CNN has been branded, as you know, as the missing plane network and not in a good way, even former talk show titan Larry King has headed off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, FORMER HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": The top drama I would have at CNN now, I think would be doing this airplane story, because I think I'd have to crack up laughing. I think I would have - you know. How many times could you cover a plane? Six weeks, and all we know is it made a left turn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But here's what bothers me. CNN has done a poll packed with questions that people can't possibly know the answers to. 46 percent say the Malaysian airliner is actually far from the search sight. Only 79 percent think there's no survivors, 57 percent say terrorists were involved. Oh, and by the way, nine percent believe that space aliens or other average space creatures were involved. You heard it here.
Well, we haven't heard the last of Donald Sterling, the L.A. Clippers owner who was banned by the NBA after those racist comments taped by his gal pal V. Stiviano. Now, a new, more recent emerged, this on Friday, this one linked to radar online where Sterling told the friend he didn't exactly view Stiviano as just his assistant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD STERLING: I'm talking to a girl. I'm trying to have sex with her. I'm trying to play with her. What -- you know, if you ever have sex with a girl, and you (INAUDIBLE) her privately, you don't think anybody is there. You may say anything in the world. The girl is black. I like her. I'm jealous that she's with other black guys, I want her so what the hell can I in private tell her? You know, I don't want you to be with anybody?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So we learned from this tawdry episode is that Sterling thinks nothing of racist comments if he is trying to get a woman into bed.
ASHBURN: Wait. That's how a guy think? Really? I'm shocked.
ASHBURN: I mean these are sad sacks. I'm just so tired of hearing about them. They are like space aliens.
KURTZ: But it's important to note his motivation. Because this after all, it ended up costing him the L.A. Clippers. He claimed he didn't know he was being taped. And let's face it.
ASHBURN: It is not important to know his motivation. He said it. We're done. Get rid of him. Get rid of him. Get him out.
KURTZ: But V. Stiviano went on with Barbara Walters and said I'm just a silly rabbit.
ASHBURN: Do you care? Do you care, America, about whether or not this guy is still talking about why he said those racist comments? I don't.
KURTZ: All right. And now, I'm sick of the story, too, officially.
KURTZ: We're done. Over. That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. Happy Mother's Day. Hi, mom! Check it out Facebook page, we post video there. And we're like to talk to you. We are back here next Sunday morning, 11 and 5 ET with the latest buzz.
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