This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," July 6, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter from New York this Sunday -- President Obama blaming the media again for avoiding substance in favor of the political circus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If you watch the news, you just see, OK, Washington is a mess and the basic attitude is everybody is just crazy up there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But is he using the media as a scapegoat for the problems and the paralysis?
Monica Lewinsky in her first television interview in a decade blames the media in part for humiliating her after the affair with Bill Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA LEWINSKY: To be called stupid, and a slut, and a bimbo and ditzy (ph) and to be taken out of context, it was excruciating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Did the press pile on the former intern and should news organizations care as Hillary Clinton eyes the White House.
The press had no trouble pounding President Bush. Is the briefing room different under President Obama? Former Press Secretary Dana Perino on a tale of two administrations. Plus, Facebook secretly manipulates the mood of its users by changing the information they're fed online. Why did Mark Zuckerberg think this was ethical? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."
President Obama sure seems frustrated these days. He told reporters he's frustrated with Congress for not moving on immigration and says he'll take action by executive order. And the president is frustrated again with the media saying news organizations aren't reporting on the substantive things he's trying to accomplish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: That even when Washington sometimes seems tone deaf to what's going on in people's lives and around the kitchen tables, that there's going to be somebody who is going to stand up for you and your family. And I want to let all of you know that -- because you don't see it on TV sometimes. It's not what the press and the pundits talk about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So why do you think he's taking on the press and the pundits? Joining us now here in New York, Lauren Ashburn, Fox News contributor and a former USA Today executive who hosts Social Buzz on the Fox website. Rich Lowry, editor of National Review and a Fox News contributor. And Keli Goff, a special correspondent for the Root.com and a contributor to The Daily Beast. Lauren, why does Barack Obama keep on banging this anti-media drum?
LAUREN ASHBURN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's ridiculous. This is a guy who can snap his fingers and reporters come running right to his house and he can say anything that he wants to say and it will be carried nationwide. It is not the messenger. It is the person -- it's the person who is delivering the message that's the problem.
KURTZ: The press pays house calls, if you look at 1600 Pennsylvania. Does the president have a point, Rich Lowry, when he says the media favor covering politics over policy and get distracted by superficial controversies?
RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW EDITOR: Yes, of course. But there's also a lot of substance covered, as well. And the press would be completely delighted if every day he held a real news conference, right, discussing whatever the substantive issues of the day are. But this is the take he's always had on the meetings. He's had a certain contempt for the media and there's a huge irony there because he'd never would be president of the United States in the first place if it weren't a media phenomenon. And for a lot of superficial reasons.
KURTZ: You're saying he's not grateful.
LOWRY: He's an ingrate, I'm on the record.
LOWRY: Right it down.
KURTZ: Keli Goff, the VA scandal, the missing IRS emails, the handling of the Bowe Bergdahl controversy, the mess in Iraq, none of that is exactly the media's fault.
KELI GOFF, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, THE ROOT.COM: Well, but I will say that to someone who works for outlets that have covered both Kim Kardashian's wedding and the royal wedding ad nauseam, I'm extremely insulted that the president would insinuate that the media doesn't cover real .
GOFF: But in all seriousness, of course, he's right, but there should be more coverage of the actual policy substantive issues, and not of the horse race, which all of us are guilty of. You know, all of us are guilty of covering, you know, whether or not a potential Senate candidate has had restraining orders or a messy personal life.
KURTZ: What about the notion that he is blaming in the press, and this is a guy people acting in Washington saying he's gotten tremendous press certainly for the first several years of his presidency, not to mention his two campaigns?
GOFF: Look, I think there's enough blame to go around here. You know, is he fine with the fact that the coverage isn't substantive when it's talking about how gorgeous his wife looks on the cover of Vogue magazine or when it's other things like that that are helpful? Probably. But by the same token, this is someone who it's not just a contempt for the press, but he's not someone who likes to watch a lot of TV. He is a constitutional lawyer who would like to see policy covered every day and it's not.
LOWRY: A huge irony here, on the same trip where he launches attack on the press for being superficial, and covering things that don't matter, his team takes enormous efforts to arrange these photo ops at a hamburger joint and him buying an ice cream cone. At the hamburger joint, he has a woman who writes him a letter about her financial struggles and what do they give her? You know, a photo-op with the president at a burger joint. Because they know that's what the media is going to cover, and they want the media to cover it.
GOFF: But can I just say really quickly that this is something that all of us, of columnists, struggled with, right? It's sort of the sneaking your kid vegetables by making it look like candy, and I do think that it's less likely that her story would have been covered if he hadn't been giving a photo-op.
So, here's the --
KURTZ: So, you are saying, he's planning to the prime election of the press, which likes to have a sugary hook or a hamburger.
ASHBURN: But you can't have it both ways. You can't manipulate the media by sitting down at a burger joint on one hand and then say they're not covering the issues that are important to the White House.
KURTZ: What I'm wondering is isn't this a guy who happens to be the president of the United States who has total access to the media and, therefore, can shape the media narrative?
ASHBURN: Of course, he can. And it's very easy for him because a lot of people who used to work for him are now in the media carrying his water.
KURTZ: Are you talking about David Axelrod and .
ASHBURN: Sure, and Stephanie Cutter. And Stephanie Cutter has been seeing going into the White House. I mean it's no secret, but that means he has allies in the media.
KURTZ: What about when he has these anchors come to the White House?
ASHBURN: Like Mika Brzezinski came in and Kate Bolduan from CNN. They came in and during the Family Values Summit basically asked him questions that agreed with his policies. Kate was a little bit harder on him than Nora O'Donnell. And .
KURTZ: And he's also had George Stephanopoulos. And the point is, as you said earlier, he can snap his fingers and deal with it. I'm wondering if you think, Rich Lowry, as somebody coming from the conservative point of view whether or not the mainstream media, that broad term, are now disillusioned with second term President Obama.
LOWRY: I think they are a little bit. And look, the media does need news. And the fact is he's just stuck. And he doesn't have unified control of Congress. There's nothing new about his agenda. There's really nothing new to cover. And these complaints about the media, they're old, too. He's been making these for years and years and years, and the economic policies he's been talking about are exactly the same, as well. And on top of all this, the things that are new are the scandals.
ASHBURN: But this isn't just equal to him. This isn't just him. I mean this is every president who says I hate the media, I hate the way I'm being covered.
ASHBURN: But in this instance, it's not -- it doesn't ring true. He came out -- go ahead.
KURTZ: On Rich's point, he tried to make news. He had the Rose Garden, for instance, news - Rose Garden conference on immigration. And what happened.
ASHBURN: He came out and said I'm going to study it.
GOFF: Can I throw an analogy here. This reminds me of a bit - of when I got - to cover the women and girls initiative event that, Hillary Clinton was hosting. And I actually went because I like writing about substantive policy issues to women and girls. I get there and what is then becoming the main news story? Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant. And the fact of the matter is that summit on women and girls would never have gotten international news coverage had Chelsea Clinton not said she is pregnant thee. Whose fault is that? Is that Hillary's fault.
KURTZ: Well, it's no Chelsea's fault.
GOFF: What you see - how - I think there's truth here.
KURTZ: You have inadvertently said - we're on for my next questions, which is Barack Obama is not the only person who is unhappy. The only liberal Democrat, I'd say, who is unhappy with press-conference. Hillary Clinton continuing her book tour did an interview with C-Span in which she said that some of the coverage of her - that she didn't read much because she didn't have time, I can understand that. But some of the coverage of her was inaccurate. Or is she justified in complaining about the press?
GOFF: Well, as someone who just wrote a not particularly flattering column I would say no, definitively. No, no, look, she's made some gaffes, she's made some missteps. And, you know, she's someone who is used to being beaten up in the press. But it's been a while, right? She's somebody who actually had a great comeback where she was sort of the comeback hit, and after receiving lots of unflattering press for the first 20 years of her life in a public eye, everyone sort of sounding the drum beat, she's qualified, she's great, even people on other side of the aisle. So, this is the first time she's not beaten up in a bit. And I think that she - it caught her off guard.
ASHBURN: But she's hated the media for a very longtime. And she is - has said she has contempt for the media. And so now, she had this, as you say, great run as the secretary of state. And when you're out of office and you're not running for president, you're going to have more favorable ratings. And so I think it really made her mad that when she came out with a new book, that she was getting trashed.
KURTZ: I would argue in the less four years, up to the book tour, she's gotten the best press coverage of her life.
KURTZ: And then most of the negativity coverage on the vote tour I would say had to do with her own stumbles, most notably on issue of her personal wealth and that broken all that.
LOWRY: Yeah, I think there are two things going on here, big things. One a media narrative has been opened up on her wealth. And that is something that we'll see all the way through 2016 if she runs. Any gaffe, anything she does, is going to be interpreted through that prism. A little bit the way it happened with Al Gore in 2000 when the narrative was he's an exaggerator. So - one was looking for lies or things that he was exaggerating. The other thing is the media loves horse race, and she's such in a formidable position, for now, it's going to be Hillary versus Hillary. And the media is going to be picking at every single thing she says. Because there's no other story out there.
KURTZ: You are saying there's .
LOWRY: Getting in her own way.
GOFF: Which reinforces what the president said about - about horse race and natural policy. And I have to say, I think the other reason she was thrown off guard by the coverage is that the reaction to my column for The Beast about her gaffes is that the Clinton brand has been so associated with income inequality and you had liberals for the first time saying I'm not so comfortable with what she said. That I think for her was unexpected and I think that was part of driving some of her anger about the .
KURTZ: I'm not going to know what she thinks is inaccurate. I mean certainly over the years that she's been in the public eye going back to first lady, the things have been written, some conspiracy theories have been carried in the media. But you know, what she said when she was pressed about her evolution on same-sex marriage, was example, that wasn't inaccurate, that was just - a tough question.
ASHBURN: Howie, you and I last week talked about the fact that there was a Washington Post story that had unnamed Obama sources sprinkled throughout it. So I don't think it's just inaccuracies. I think it is the way that she's portrayed in the media.
KURTZ: She probably had better toughen up if she's going to run for president.
KURTZ: And everyone thinks she is, and just to button up your point on the president, so if he's not making any news and if he continues not to be able to get much through Congress, this is going to be a -- he's going to continue to be unhappy with the coverage.
LOWRY: Prepare for a lot of whining..
LOWRY: For the next few years.
KURTZ: We'll get out on that point. Let's get a break. Remember to send me a tweet about our show during this hour. @HowardKurtz, we'll read some of your messages at the end of the program. When we come back, Monica Lewinsky is back on television and blaming the media for her humiliation. Does she have a case? And later, Dana Perino on how White House coverage has changed since she worked for George W. Bush.
KURTZ: Monica Lewinsky is back on the media radars just weeks after running for Vanity Fair about he struggles after her affair with Bill Clinton led to his impeachment. Her interview with the National Geographic Channel for a special on the '90s will air tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA LEWINSKY: To be in the vortex of this media maelstrom was quite alarming and frightening. It was confusing. I think a lot, too, had to with the fact that I was a woman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: As Monica Lewinsky justified in saying as we heard a moment ago the media ridiculed her as a slut, and a bimbo, and a ditz (ph) when she was all 23 years old?
LOWRY: They did ridiculed her in that way, but look, I mean the bottom line is if you're caught in a sex scandal with the president of the United States especially when it becomes entangled with a high state's legal matters that eventually leads to his impeachment, there is going to be a lot of media attention to that. And she was called a lot of names. Part of what was going on is ordinarily the people that were kind of rally to the defense of such a woman, the feminist left, weren't interested in defending her at all because they were more interested in protecting the president of the United States.
KURTZ: And yeah, her reputation today, here she's 40 years old, remains that of something I'm a Dumbo (ph), which she is trying to kind of turn - create a second chapter. And Bill Clinton is treated like a global safer.
GOFF: Right. And you know, and I had an exclusive interview with Donna Rice for The Daily Beast where I talked to her about this issue. And one of the points that she made was that in her case, she was fortunate enough that Gary Hart just went away. Bill Clinton so far has not just gone away. And so, that's created part of the challenge for Monica Lewinsky. But it also can help wondering how in terms of how different things are today. How in terms of social media, today we have sexism media watchdogs, when literally that's all they do online, is on Twitter, is call out people for this. And I just - I can't help but thinking that perhaps Monica would have fared better had those, you know, had they been around back then. Even though it could have been worse.
ASHBURN: I think it would have been much worse. I think that the amount of hate and anger that's on social media right now would have made it almost impossible for her to survive. Because she couldn't respond. I mean she had a legal case.
KURTZ: Right. She was being a major ring prosecuted by Ken Starr. But this is all 1998. I remember vividly, but to a lot of people it's ancient history. Is it still news or is this just tabloid trash now for the media?
ASHBURN: Get off my lawn.
ASHBURN: I'm tired of Monica. Get out of this spotlight. Look, I thought it was great for her to give an interview to Vanity Fair. I enjoyed reading it and seeing what she's done and I sympathize with her as a woman for how she was treated or portrayed, but --
KURTZ: But you don't want to hear from him anymore!
ASHBURN: But I don't. It's enough. You know, go on, trying to make your life and as Rich so nicely said earlier, stop whining.
KURTZ: But the problem with that approach is that especially with Hillary Clinton gearing up to run, you know, grand poll have brought up the sex scandal, and Bill Clinton would be back in the White House, other people are going to talk about it, so why should Monica not get to be part of that conversation?
GOFF: Which is precisely Donna Rice's point. I mean, look, I do think that perhaps we're getting better as a culture in some ways on this. I mean you look at Eliot Spitzer and you look at Anthony Weiner. And the women actually seemed to fair a little bit better actually than the men in some ways with their reputation. I mean they've got .
ASHBURN: No. --
GOFF: Well, no, no, no.
ASHBURN: Completely .
GOFF: Well, no, I mean because people don't even remember their names in the way that Lewinsky became an actual, you know .
ASHBURN: As Eliot Spitzer, I mean we could just .
KURTZ: Eliot Spitzer got a TV show, Mark Sanford got elected to Congress. And the men often seem to recover from this.
GOFF: But Mark Sanford actually stayed with the woman, who now is going to go on and be his wife.
KURTZ: His Argentine soul mate.
GOFF: Is going to be his wife. And Eliot Spitzer, I don't even heard of him on air, but she's gone on to have a happy life. No, I'm not being funny. She has a happy life, she's raising her family. I'm just saying that there are - I think people called out the double standard in a way that never happened for Lewinsky and I think that's part of the problem.
KURTZ: Is this the subject that National Review will cover, I mean is this inevitably going to be part -- because everything in a presidential campaign, obviously, your whole life, is something up, and it's not that Hillary Clinton is at fault for what happened. Although some people remember the best - is this something that will grate your ..
LOWRY: Everything about Hillary Clinton's record and her role in the scandal will be dredged up from beginning to end. We've already seen it happen. And it's a little hard to tell the counterfactuals what would happen if a male intern had been caught in an affair with the president because, you know, we'll have to wait, I don't know, the second Clinton administration or Warren administration or some administration for that.
ASHBURN: Wow. Breaking news.
KURTZ: So you are going to stand by your - I don't want to hear from her anymore, she should just go and get a job somewhere.
ASHBURN: I think she's made her point. As she has come back and she has said this is what happened to me. This is how I feel about it. I don't like it. And she is trying to rehabilitate herself. And I think that she needs to go on and do that.
GOFF: But I think where we disagree is that as long as they are in the public eye, someone else is going to control her narrative. I think she has the right to control her narrative. And that's what she's trying to do now.
KURTZ: Well, I predict the media or not, is going to completely wean themselves from this subject, because it's a long campaign. Keli Goff, Rich Lowry, nice to see you here in New York.
After the break, Facebook conducts a really creepy experiment on hundreds of thousands of users.
But first, former Press Secretary in the Bush White House on President Obama's media coverage. Dana Perino is up next.
KURTZ: Just got a tweet from Catherine saying "I know Hillary hates the media. Well, then she can't run from POTUS. The media is the least of your problems as POTUS." Keep on commenting.
Dana Perino accumulated her share of scars as George W. Bush's White House spokeswoman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the substance of it? Will the president and the vice president deal with - what if someone said that in Israel or not?
DANA PERINO: I keep it, Phil, but I just answered that question when I talked about what our policy is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you (INAUDIBLE)
PERINO: I just told - what our policy is and our preference is to solve this diplomatically. And that's what we are trying to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But that doesn't answer the question.
PERINO: It does answer the question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So, does the coverage of the Obama White House look very different from her vanish point as co-host of "The Five?" I sat down with her here in New York. Dana Perino, welcome.
PERINO: Thank you. Glad to be here.
KURTZ: When you watch reporters in the briefing room these days, how different does the environment seem than when you were standing at the podium?
PERINO: I think a lot of it is the same. You see some - a lot of different faces. When I was there, there were still some people, journalists who had covered several White Houses, including one of my very favorites, Terry Hunt as the AP and Steve Holland of Reuters.
KURTZ: But same level of confrontation?
PERINO: Well, just sort of - probably not. I guess if you were President Obama's press secretary, you would say yes.
PERINO: If you were me - if you were I, and look, I was there to watch Ari Fleisher, Scott McClellan and Tony Snow's briefings. A lot of those, in particular Tony's, were confrontational, but in a way, where it was a good back-and-forth type of debate. And Tony Snow love to win a debate. My briefings tended to be a little bit more clinical. Like you ask the question, I'll give you the answer and if I don't have it, I'll move on to - and get you something by the end of the day. I tried to turn down the temperature in the briefing room a little bit. Look that was just my style. Some people think that it wasn't a good idea .
KURTZ: Some people think it's good TV.
PERINO: That I should have fought more. I'm not for the TV thing. I think that the press secretary is for the entire United States. You are not the spokesperson for the Republicans or the Democrats. You are the advocate for the president, but you're also an advocate for the press and their access.
KURTZ: When you criticize the Obama administration, I sense a little bit more understanding, perhaps sympathy because you've dealt with these problems from the inside.
PERINO: Yes. And it's one of my -- the things that I found that is wonderful about having been a press secretary it's that there's not been that many, it's something like 30 or something like that. And the ones that are still here, of course, Tony Snow unfortunately passed away. But even before he died, you know, we have this nice fraternity of press secretaries because only you can understand what it was like.
So now, when I meet up with, say, Robert Gibbs, who is President Obama's first press secretary, we do have an amazing amount of empathy for what we're going through, and I do try to have a little bit of a -- I could think I'm hesitant sometimes to criticize because I think, well, that's not in context, I don't know if that's fair. But there are other times that I think either that we deserve the criticism or that they do.
KURTZ: How interesting. When conservatives, some conservatives, at least, say the press is in the tank for Barack Obama, if you look back at the last year after the Obamacare rollout, after the VA scandal, the IRS scandal, Bowe Bergdahl and now the mess in Iraq, would you say this president right now or in recent months is getting positive press?
PERINO: They probably don't see it as positive, but I still think that it's almost like a velvet glove. OK? So they protect him from a lot of things. I'll give you one example in particular. With the IRS, almost - that is a horrible scandal for any White House. If, I believe that if that had been the Bush administration, every single headline would have been Bush did this, Bush did that. When it comes to the Obama administration, all the headlines are the IRS did this. And they allow ..
KURTZ: This is important, because there hasn't been proven links between .
PERINO: It doesn't matter.
KURTZ: The Oval Office.
PERINO: During the Bush administration, anything that EPA decided, if it had to do with coal fire or power plants, that wasn't an EPA decision that was a Bush decision. And these little subtle things that are biased that I've come to accept .
KURTZ: So if journalists - if journalists use a velvet glove against - for the Obama White House, what sort of glove was used for the Bush White House?
PERINO: Well, like - with like spikes and nails. And like, you know - but that's not - that wasn't true in the briefing room itself. My opinion, the reporters in the briefing room were very professional. They worked very hard. And they had to try to be as fair as possible. I actually thought that the briefing room reporters were very fair. I'll tell you when there was a huge difference. In 2006 when the Democrats took over the House and the Senate, and the Congress changes and almost all of the energy and interests in the media went to Capitol Hill. That was new, it was different and they were fighting against the administration. That was when I noticed a big difference for President Bush, because the White House reporters then had to fight for fairness for us, sometimes, and they didn't always do it, but I found the White House reporters to be very fair.
KURTZ: With Dick Cheney and others from your administration getting pounded now about the chaos in Iraq, do you wish on some level that your ex-boss would speak out and defend his record?
PERINO: I understand it. Look, this is a president who did not -- who did not long for the Klieg lights. He doesn't want to be on stage all of the time. And he has a tremendous amount of respect for the presidency itself and for President Obama. And one of the things I loved about him was in those last two years we would always be asked about, are you worried about your legacy is or his legacy? And he said, you know, in my last year as president, I read three biographies about George Washington. And if historians are still analyzing the first president, then the 43rd doesn't have a lot to worry about. There is an argument that said that President Bush could be more like Jimmy Carter. And to criticize, the people who succeed him, I don't think that would be very productive, but I understand the desire. And I wish I'd love to hear from him, too, but I could hear from him privately.
KURTZ: You are a little bit, I would say, on the soft spoken side. I'm not sure when you were the White House press secretary whether I would have picked you to be doing televised on the five.
KURTZ: It's something .
PERINO: It's a different roll, for sure. And I would think that - when I was the spokesperson, my opinion didn't matter at all. Who cared what Dana Perino thought?
KURTZ: No, you've been hired officially .
PERINO: No, but I - I was not a decision maker.
KURTZ: You were speaking for the president.
PERINO: I was speaking on behalf of someone else. I was supposed to defend and advocate for the .
KURTZ: But now we want to know what you think.
PERINO: So, it was a transition for me to come to "The Five." And I appreciate that Fox News and Roger Ailes said, you know, let's give her a shot. And I was shy at first to give my own opinion.
KURTZ: And then what happened?
PERINO: I wasn't sure I was going .
KURTZ: And then what happened?
PERINO: Well, I met Greg Gutfeld and then everything changed.
PERINO: But also decided that it was OK to have a career change and I didn't have to try to straddle the fence and what a free moment for me that has been.
KURTZ: Deliberation of Dana Perino.
PERINO: It's - right.
KURTZ: Thanks very much for joining us.
PERINO: Thank you.
KURTZ: Up next, Matt Lauer gets slapped for asking General Motors CEO whether she can balance her job with being a mom. Would a male executive get that question? Plus, is the media's soccer fever subsiding now that the U.S. is out of the World Cup?
LELAND VITTER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Live from America's news headquarters. Good morning. I'm Leland Vitter. Swimmers are getting the all-clear in the waters off southern California's Manhattan Beach after a great white shark attacked a man yesterday. The horrifying attack was caught on video. The seven-foot shark was trying to break free from a fisherman's hook when it got agitated and bit a man who swam into the fishing line. He's recovering in the hospital and is expected to be OK.
And Pope Francis says Sunday should be a day of rest, not work. Speaking to the faithful, he decries the loss of the traditional Christian practice of taking it easy on Sunday because it has a negative impact on families and friends. He also says the rest of society can benefit by putting personal relationships ahead of commercial ones. Local reports say the Holy Father looks healthy after some recent illnesses. I'm Leland Vitter. I'll see you at the top of the hour for America's news headquarters. Now back to "MediaBuzz."
KURTZ: Matt Lauer has kicked up a fuss with a "Today" show interview on General Motors CEO Mary Barra. With critics say he raised issues that would never be asked of a male executive. Here's part of the original interview and the other day Lauer addressing the fallout.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER: You are a mom, I mentioned, two kids, you said in an interview not long ago, that your kids said they're going to hold you accountable for one job, and that is being a mom.
MARY BARRA, GM CEO: Correct.
LAUER: Given the pressures of this job at General Motors, can you do both well?
BARRA: You know, I think I can. I have a great team.
LAUER: I have always felt this is not a gender issue, this is a human issue of work and life balance. It's the parenting issue for men and women, moms and fathers. Question I ask myself every single day. But clearly, it still touches a nerve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Joining us now here in New York is Lola Ogunnaike, a contributor to the "Today" show and anchor for "Arise." And Joe Concha, a columnist for Mediaite. So, Matt Lauer says that he asked Mary Barra this question because she had said in a Forbes Magazine interview that she missed her son's prom because of work.
LOLA OGUNNAIKE, ANCHOR "ARISE": I'm sure he did. But the reaction was overwhelmingly negative to that question because the implication in many people's minds was that a woman's job is to first and foremost to be a mother and then anything ancillary is - is difficult for her to juggle. It's difficult for her to juggle both career and motherhood. And I do have to wonder if that question would have been asked of a male CEO. There have been male CEOs of GM for decades upon decades and I doubt many of them have been asked how they juggled fatherhood and being a CEO.
KURTZ: Do you think the implication was that first and foremost Mary Barra is a mom as opposed to a very important executive of a big auto company?
JOE CONCHA, MEDIAITE.COM TV COLUMNIST: Was the question sexist? And here is the thing, Howie, she brought it up in a "Forbes" magazine interview. So, I think it was fair game. All that said, Matt Lauer is completely disingenuous and there I say dishonest in saying he would never - he would ask that question of a male .
KURTZ: That's a really strong word.
CONCHA: OK, well, I looked at the transcripts, thankfully we have evidence. And Matt Lauer's interviewed the CEOs of Chrysler, of Ford and of Barra's predecessor at GM.
KURTZ: But did they talk about their kids in interviews?
CONCHA: I'm sure they did at some point. I didn't go back that far, but all of them had at least three kids and he never asked the question about can you be a good dad and a good CEO?
KURTZ: Here is why I think the criticism is a little unfair. Because as Lauer said in the follow up segment, and they did - they brought on, you know, Martha Stewart and other female CEOs. Dads also grapple with this. I grapple with this all the time. Matt Lauer missed his son's 13th birthday because he was flying around the world interviewing (INAUDIBLE) things and others, and so in this day and age, it is not only a question for women, but that's how it's kind of being spun in the press.
OGUNNAIKE: It is not only a question for women, but it's more often asked of female subjects than it is of male subjects. And I think that's the fundamental issue. And make no mistake about this, Howie, it is an issue. I mean Shonda Rhimes, the creator of "Grace Anatomy" and "Scandal," she tweeted, "I have been up all night wondering if Matt Lauer can be a dad and have a job at the same time." And Christiane Amanpour said come on, Matt, you know better. Time to stop asking such questions, zero tolerance for sexism. So his colleagues have a problem with this question. His female colleagues have a problem with this question. So, clearly it is an issue. It has struck a nerve. And it's something that's not going to go away. And I think until male CEOs and male leaders are asked similar questions, then and only then will people feel comfortable with this idea of work life balance being an issue for both women and men.
KURTZ: Well, I think men should be asked similar questions, but it is also true and you have two working parents that when the child is sick it's usually the mom who wants to go home and deal with it, that women - you know, despite the equality that we would all hope for, you know, bear most of the burden of child raising.
CONCHA: I think that's changing more and more, though.
OGUNNAIKE: That's changing increasingly, especially during the recession.
CONCHA: Absolutely. I've been called on more than one occasion a manny, which is this - same thing as a manny - I try to contribute as much as I can. With my daughter ..
KURTZ: It affects my schedule and how much I travel and when I come home and all of that. Let me switch now in our remaining a couple of minutes in this segment to soccer. You were on a couple of weeks ago and talked about the media soccer fever. A lot of people think it's overboard. So, now that the U.S. Team has lost to Belgium, the media is dying down on that a little bit, on this World Cup thing?
CONCHA: Dying down on the ordering of Belgium waffles in major diners .
CONCHA: Or in the country, and obviously, yes, the U.S. is out and people are still interested. Now, I was out on Tuesday, at 4:00, it's still a working day, and you couldn't fit a shoehorn in the place that I was at, the Jersey Shore. I mean the fever, 21.6 million people watched.
KURTZ: So it doesn't just depend on the American team being in the running.
CONCHA: I'd say you lose probably half your audience, but .
OGUNNAIKE: People have a dog in the play, but people are clearly still interested. I was at Sachs Fifth Avenue on the fifth floor having a scone at the caf,, and everyone was glued to the television set.
KURTZ: I've seen those things too. So --
OGUNNAIKE: If they're watching at Sachs when they should be shopping, then, you know people are interested.
CONCHA: How was the scone?
OGUNNAIKE: The scone was delicious.
KURTZ: Just quickly, the strain of criticism now that this isn't really an American sport and - un-American only, real Americans aren't interested in soccer, they are interested in football, baseball and basketball. It's kind of a culture war issue.
OGUNNAIKE: I don't understand how it's become a culture war because I can't think of a sport that's more American than soccer. It's a universal sport that anyone can play. There's really no barrier of entry because it doesn't cost a lot of money. All you need is passion, feet and something that resembles a ball. And there you go, you have a game.
KURTZ: We'll be back to you two in a moment. But let me have this item first. We decided first. NBC made a huge mistake after George Zimmerman was arrested in the killing of Trayvon Martin, but a court has thrown out his suit against the network. NBC deceptively edited Zimmerman's 911 call to police back in 2012 making it sound like he volunteered the fact that Trayvon was black when Zimmerman was actually responding to a dispatcher's question. But the Florida court rules that Zimmerman has to be treated as a public figure and therefore had to prove malice meaning the NBC knew its report was false or recklessly disregarded when it was accurate. The judge noting that the network at the time quoted friends and family members saying Zimmerman was not a racist. He plans to appeal.
After the break, the travel channel sidelines one of its stars after he mounts a truly disgusting attack against women on Instagram.
KURTZ: Adam Richman is one of the Travel Channel's big stars, but the network has just yanked his new food show, which was supposed to debut this week. The reason? Richman delivered some crude and ugly rants on Instagram after posting a picture of himself, self-assure, how much he'd lost weight. After some women then objected to his use of the hashtag thinspiration, Richman fired back with a street term for a woman's genitals. Quote, "If anyone acts like a blank, I'll call them one. It's not misogyny, it's calling a spade a spade." And he told one woman to "grab a razor blade and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you." He told another that the only thing that was blanked up was your dad's choice to go without a condom. Richman eventually apologized. Did the Travel Channel have any choice here?
CONCHA: They had no choice here, Howie, whatsoever. I guess you can say that his career is cooked. And that those - recipe for disaster, it's a holiday weekend, come on. The metaphors are .
OGUNNAIKE: He's here all week.
CONCHA: Well, look, here is the bottom line, Howie, that more and more of what we're seeing is that particularly reality TV stars don't have any media training. And what they also need in that curriculum is social media training. And if they can't be responsible of the account, they should lose the account.
KURTZ: It's one thing to say dumb things on Twitter, Instagram, it's another thing to vent that kind of ugliness - on that woman.
OGUNNAIKE: Yeah. You can't tweet when you are angry. You can't tweet when you are driving. You can't tweet when you are drunk. Those are the rules.
KURTZ: What - can you tweet?
OGUNNAIKE: When you are sober, and sober-minded. That's when you should tweet. I mean social media is a tool, and unfortunately this stuff leaves on forever. And he's not only representing himself, he is representing the network and you cannot say these things. You cannot at all. It was a bad choice of words. That said, I do understand how tough it must be to be in the public eye and to have vitriol and venom spewed at you by these Twitter and hashtag gangsters who write all these awful things from the privacy of their own home, things that they would never say to a person's face, they say to these celebrities and think that it's OK because they're immune to emotion. They're not. But he did take it too far.
KURTZ: You take down in the mud pit and you fire back, you're the big star. Nobody knows who these other people are.
KURTZ: And it's amazing to me how many people have blown up their careers on places like Twitter, on Facebook and Instagram.
OGUNNAIKE: And it happens time and time again.
KURTZ: With this kind of ugliness.
CONCHA: And not only reality TV show - stars that don't know any better. Actual PR executives, if we remember Justine Sacco in December, before she gets on the flight, she says .
KURTZ: who worked for IAC?
CONCHA: IAC, worked for IAC, right. And she said about to get on a flight to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white. And by the time she landed, Howie, she was fired and she has not worked since. People don't understand that this a megaphone, and it could go viral in a big hurry and carries could be ended with one tweet.
KURTZ: Yet another example just the other day, Sirius XM fired Anthony Cumia, the "Opie and Anthony" show for some ugly stuff on Twitter. He claimed the black woman punched him and he called her in in a succession of tweets, and he's not apologized, a whore, a savage, an animal, I hope she gets shut in her butt, I'm cleaning some of this up. And I don't think Sirius XM had any choice. And it just seems that we reached a point now where things that maybe you once say in a bar, you know, kind of narrow casting to millions of followers.
OGUNNAIKE: If you're angry, put down the device and walk away. Really, it's that simple. Walk away. Take some time to enjoy a view and then come back to Twitter or Instagram or Facebook.
KURTZ: But can you come back from this six months later? Can Anthony and Opie - with Opie - and Anthony get back on the air or can Adam Richman get a show back?
CONCHA: I don't think so. And I'll tell you why. And some people say, well, Paula Deen got her career back in a hurry because she had an audience already. Or "Duck Dynasty" had an audience already. These guys - you can say Cumia had an audience, but he's expendable. You know, he's had a career for a while, but it's not like he's huge. So, no, I don't think they recover from it. I think if you're a bigger star, maybe after a year you can.
KURTZ: A little more forgiveness, perhaps, after some time. Joe Concha, Lola Ogunnaike, nice to see you here in New York City
Coming up, Facebook devices a surreptitious scheme to manipulate your emotions. This is a really chilling story. Our "Digital Download" is up next.
KURTZ: Time now for our "Digital Download." Talk about Big Brother. Facebook now admits that it secretly tried to manipulate the emotions of nearly 700,000 users by controlling what they see in their news feed.
ASHBURN: One suspecting group was shown more posts with positive words, the other group yes, more posts with negative words. In a surreptitious attempt to measure the impact on their mood.
KURTZ: Facebook put - affected my mood with this study, put me in a bad mood.
KURTZ: And initially Facebook claimed that it did - this is a company that is so tone deaf, so initially Facebook said there's nothing wrong with what we did. Then the lead researcher on the study said well, I feel bad if anybody .
ASHBURN: And said maybe we shouldn't have done it.
KURTZ: And then Sheryl Sandberg, the COO comes out and says, well, we apologize for poorly communicating about this.
KURTZ: Not for doing it.
ASHBURN: Not for doing it, right. And I think that because everybody knows you're putting your information in there, it's out there in public, we understand that advertising is targeted to each person because of their likes and their dislikes. But there's something different about this, it's manipulating you as a person, trying to get you to change your behavior on an emotional level. It's not on a buying level.
KURTZ: Emotional contagion is the word. Apparently, this word - I mean to the extent that this study means anything, people who got more negative information in their feed, posted things more negatively or more positively if they got more positive information. And I just feel like, you know, this newsfeed is based on - supposed to be based on algorithms, you're supposed to believe that this is not being tinkered with or biased in some way. What if Facebook decided to tinker with the newsfeed so that it was more pro-immigration, which is Mark Zuckerberg's position about loosening immigration rules. I mean this is open to all kinds of abuse.
ASHBURN: Absolutely. And the problem that I have with it, is not being transparent. In news, if you're using anonymous sources, you know that you're using anonymous sources because you say, they wouldn't talk on camera. But in this, you don't know that people are trying to manipulate you, with advertising on Facebook, you know they're trying to manipulate you, you know they are trying to get you to buy based on your likes.
KURTZ: I would like to say that Facebook has learned a lesson from this.
KURTZ: At least on the company statement .
ASHBURN: No way.
KURTZ: I don't think so.
ASHBURN: I don't think so either.
KURTZ: I'm going to be a lot more wary of what I'm fed in the newsfeed.
Still to come, your best tweets and a close call on a lightning strike leads to as blatant a rip off as you're ever going to see in television news. "Buzz Worthy" is up next.
KURTZ: Here are a few of your top tweets. Is President Obama justified in complaining about press and pundits? David Crush, "He's got one channel only to report the news, MSM mainstream media covering for him since day one. The only way he can fire up the base is to blame Fox." MLF, "No, Pres., I said more hateful coverage than BHL and Fox is the leader." On Monica Lewinsky saying the media portrayed her as a slut and a bimbo, Cleveland Pierce Jr., "If they did at the time, they got it right. Plus she put her business in the street by telling a so-called friend Linda Tripp. " MJ Durant, "She's right, media couldn't accept the narrative of Bill pattern of behavior and made her the bad guy. Where were the feminists?"
ASHBURN: But Howie, for a woman who wants this to go away and be behind her and out of the media, she's - keeping it in the media.
KURTZ: That's the only thing she's got to sell, so there's a paradox, the more she talks about it, the more we focus on it, even as she complains about what we did to her.
Now, we often think of plagiarism as a newspaper or magazine problem, but sometimes television is just as guilty. Here's a piece from Sacramento's ABC affiliate about a local man who barely avoided a lightning strike in Yosemite, the reporter is KXTV's George Warren.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WARREN, KXTV REPORTER: You saw it and I saw it, but amazingly, the guy who shot the video didn't see it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no sense of a flash, we just knew it was very close.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: At New York's WCBS, a reporter ripped off the Sacramento Station's video and voices the script word for word.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CBS's Lonny Window (ph) with more on this incredible video and how it happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You saw it and I saw it, but amazingly, the guy who shot the video didn't see it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there was no sense of a flash .
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Lonny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Well, you just saw it. Warren in Sacramento told blogger Jim Romansch that he thinks WCBS got the tape through a video sharing agreement with his station has with CNN, but he still considers it unethical.
ASHBURN: It is. And people's work gets ripped off all the time, not to this extent. I remember sitting around the meetings at "USA Today," and we would watch as the head, the cover, the headlines of "USA Today" would become the local news leads that afternoon, of course.
KURTZ: Without credit, of course.
ASHBURN: Without credit. They would go out and interview the same people.
KURTZ: What amazes me is not that the station would take the video from another station. But it takes one line to give credit, and secondly, rewrite the script. To go word for word and present it on a New York CBS station as your own work, it just strikes me as horrifying.
ASHBURN: Well, it doesn't do this reporter any good to do that, even if he was told to do it.
KURTZ: And the Sacramento station didn't get credit for the story, which was, of course, widely picked up elsewhere.
That's it for this special "MediaBuzz" edition from New York. Thanks for joining us. I'm Howard Kurtz. Hope you're enjoying your holiday weekend. Give us a like on our Facebook page. We post video and comments there and continue to dialogue with you. We are back here next Sunday, 11 and 5 o'clock Eastern with the latest buzz.
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