Press blaming border crisis on Obama?

Media jumps on story


This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," July 13, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, President Obama facing mounting media criticism over the mushrooming crisis on the border.

Overrun by waves of immigrant children, that criticism even on MSNBC.


ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Seems to be reality on the ground is that the administration didn't stay ahead of it. And there's impressions. The reality is that the White House has been slow to react.


KURTZ: What took the press so long? And why are even liberal journalists now turning on the president?

Sarah Palin is pushing for Obama's impeachment.


SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: A great awakening is due in this country. And this is the message that will be sent to our president that he is not an imperial president and lawlessness will not be accepted by the American people.


KURTZ: But she generates more attention from liberal critics than on Fox News. Is her media clout fading?

The Middle East on fire after the killing of three Israeli teenagers and a Palestinian teenager, but is the press being even handed in covering this terror fueled war?

Plus, the Silicon Valley whiz kids who talk about women in vial in disgusting ways. Is an adoring press giving them a pass? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

The coverage began building in early June and hasn't slowed down since with tens of thousands of immigrant children overwhelming detention facilities along the border. The networks and the major newspapers have jumped all over this story.


LESTER HOLT, WEEKEND ANCHOR, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": We turned now to the crisis at the border and the wave of undocumented migrants, many of them unaccompanied children making the dangerous journey from Central America. Most arriving in Texas.


KURTZ: And this saga hasn't just been talked about in air conditioned studios. Network and newspaper reporters have gone to border towns, some of them traveling to Central America.


MANUEL BOJORQUEZ, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Border control along the river is practically nonexistent. We've been able to cross twice, no questions asked on either side.

STEPHANIE GOSK, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: To understand why young people from Central America are leaving without their parents to go to the U.S., you only have to come here. San Pedro Sula, Honduras, one of the most dangerous cities in one of the most dangerous countries in the world.


KURTZ: But only in recent days as the mainstream coverage focused on whether the Obama administration is to blame for this mushrooming crisis.


BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": If the president is not going to move the National Guard down there, which would stop people from physically crossing the border, the rest is smoke and mirrors.


KURTZ: And even now many liberal commentators turning more critical of the president.


ALEX WAGNER, HOST, "NOW W/ALEX WAGNER": The president visits crises all over this country. Why is he not going to the border to look at this one?

UF: The president is very, very focused on this urgent humanitarian situation.


KURTZ: After drawing flack for failing to visit the border during that swing through Texas, Obama told reporters he doesn't care about the optics.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm not interested in photo ops. I'm interested in solving a problem.


KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage, Lauren Ashburn, Fox News contributor who hosts Social Buzz on the Fox website. Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of National Review and a Fox News contributor. And Noam Scheiber, senior editor at The New Republic. Why is the mainstream press in this border crisis now, maybe some would say belatedly turning more critical of President Obama?

LAUREN ASHBURN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think we can just simply call it scandal fatigue. Go back to Obamacare rollout, you have the VA, you have the IRS, you have Bowe Bergdahl. I think we're tired of policies that we're not sure are working. But as a mom, I also have to say that it is impossible as a reporter not to see these children and feel sorry for them. And it's impossible as a mother not to see and think about the children who live in the inner-cities in Chicago, legal immigrants, and how all of this is going to impact them.

KURTZ: The pictures are heart-wrenching, Jonah Goldberg. But when you look at the pundits, even on Fox, you have Joe Trippi and James Carville, saying Obama should have gone to the border. Is there something about this border crisis that has even former presidential cheerleaders jumping ship?

JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE: I think (INAUDIBLE), yes, people are covering it, it's a pretty significant real news story that's happening real time with great pictures and great pictures not in -- in the journal.

KURTZ: Yeah, not happy to see the picture.

GOLDBERG: Right. Exactly. And so - and Obama just simply seems to have lost the step on this one. And I don't think anybody believes that, you know, the guy who campaigned at the Brandenburg Gate doesn't care about photo ops. I mean all politicians care about photo ops. This one in particular does. And so there was a certain sort of just why is he being stubborn about this? And there was an interesting conversation on "Morning Joe" on another network I watched for reasons having to do with "Original Sin" that, you know, they were pressing Chuck Todd, why is he being so stubborn? Why won't he go to the border? Why won't he do this photo ops thing? And I think a lot of it was just professional frustration that the White House has sort of bunkered in and dug in and refused to do what was the obviously right moral and political thing.

KURTZ: At the same time, Noam Scheiber, some of the media unfairly bringing President Obama who has now asked Congress for nearly $4 billion in funding and is getting pushback from the Republicans?

NOAM SCHEIBER, "THE NEW REPUBLIC": Look, as a practical matter, there's only so much utilities that a presidential visit accomplishes. Right? You can argue that actually sets back the situation because it creates a whole circus unto itself that doesn't advance the cause of solving this problem.

KURTZ: So you are sort of in the minority here, even on the liberal side. Do you think the president had no particular reason to go and pose for the cameras?

SCHEIBER: I think so. I think we're missing something on the liberal side that's important here and that's the broader context for this immigration debate on the left. And that is people on the left feel like the president did something that they didn't agree with, which was really double down on this deportation phenomenon. You know, he went out and he tried to claim the mantle of deporter-in-chief. The whole reason he did this was to advance the cause of immigration reform. He thought he would be able to get a bipartisan bill if he did that, if he established some credibility. That's not happening. Now they both are saying, look, why did you, you know, lurch to the right on this? You just made the problem worse. And now we're not even getting this bipartisan compromise that we were promised.

KURTZ: Let's pull back for a second and look at this substance of the media coverage over the last few weeks for the president - How would you evaluate it?

ASHBURN: It has been covered in newspapers, online, on the airwaves. The coverage has been excellent. Especially by the networks, who have sent people down there? As we heard, Stephanie Gosk has been in there and she .

KURTZ: Has been in Central America?

ASHBURN: Yes, in Honduras and Guatemala. And she actually watched one of these coyotes getting the money and doing the trade right in front of police officers. So the coverage on the conservative side has been focusing much more recently as we've pointed out on blaming Obama and blaming the policies. And even the liberals now are coming to that.

KURTZ: This is not a story, Jonah, where we can say the mainstream media were asleep at the switch. I mean this has been on the network news casts night after night since early June, as I said.

GOLDBERG: You know, they definitely were asleep at the switch for several years as the number of kids showing up at the border grew with geometric progression since, you know, 2012. And in a large part, I would argue and lots of people would argue as a result of a lot of Barack Obama's policies. I would disagree with Noam. Obama has claimed the title of deporter-in- chief, but he's not in fact been, deporter-in-chief. He is - what they do is, they changed the way the statistics are collected about people that are catch at the border and turn around. They don't count them as deportations where they didn't do that in the past. The "L.A. Times," which has done some great coverage of this, points out that if you actually accounted for deportations the old way, Barack Obama has deported fewer illegal immigrants than anybody else and his administration has made it very clear that illegal immigrants who are not committing felonies, and not breaking the law, who are already living here simply will not be deported. And that is one of the reasons why we're having this crisis at the border that now they're noticing but they only did so very recently.

ASHBURN: But I think that people are actually covering both sides of the issues, and conservatives to their side and liberals to their side. But there is also that middle ground where we are seeing both issues.

GOLDBERG: You know, I agree, it's been covered, but, you know, look, on the "Today" show, Savannah Guthrie asked, you know, again asked Chuck Todd -- Chuck, and send me a check later .


GOLDBERG: Is there any chance that we'll get comprehensive immigration reform passed, which would stop this crisis? That is just simply factually wrong. And it is a big part of a lot of the coverage you see in the network news where as if there's a connection between the border crisis, what's happened with these kids and comprehensive immigration reform. Conservatives get this wrong, too. They combat how we need - you know, you heard O'Reilly talking about how if we just had more border guards and more troops down there. These kids are turning themselves into the troops. That's like having more customer service reps at the border. That is complete - completely unrelated things .

KURTZ: Yeah, I was just trying to make the point that while people like to denigrate the mainstream media, which has a lot of flaws, there's always going to be organizations that can put journalistic boots on the ground in places like border towns and Central America. But Noam, let me have you respond to Jonah. Is there an agenda baked into the way this is being covered? Certainly when reporters go and interview these children or their families. It's heart wrenching. But I don't know that it's being done for political purposes.

SCHEIBER: No, not at all. In fact, I think Jonah is right that if you account for the deportations the way we traditionally have, Obama is not - not in top - you know, not a high - not an overachiever. But I think what happened was the administration itself spun out this narrative that he was a very aggressive deporter. The media and the left jumped on that. And so the mean kind of multiplied across the media landscape. Now the administration isn't so comfortable with that. And they're trying to waft that back. At least to people on the left who are very frustrated with this. But once it's taken within the media, once it's taken on the left, it's very hard to walk it back. And so I think the administration is sort of caught between its previous narrative and its current narrative. And is .

ASHBURN: Well, ABC cited sources in the administration who say that deportations are going to go down dramatically.

KURTZ: Let's look at the whole last year. The mainstream press and with the border crisis as kind of a tipping point, now, in your view, turning against the president?

ASHBURN: The media are lemmings, we all know that, right? It used to be cool to like President Obama and now it's uncool to like President Obama. And .

KURTZ: So, this is like high school?


ASHBURN: This is just the way the media operates. Their trends go in coverage and that's what's happening now. It's taking crisis after crisis to get there, but we're now moving in that direction.

KURTZ: I've been saying for months since the botched Obamacare rollout, that the coverage has turned - much more negative against President Obama than certainly it'd been in the first term. You have these elections and then you have the VA scandal, and you had Bowe Bergdahl, and you have the IRS and the mess in Iraq. Would you disagree with my assessment?

GOLDBERG: No, I think that's right. And that happens to all presidents, right? In the sixth year, people are just tired, they want a new figure, they start talking about the next campaign and all the rest. I'm surprised, just keep it on the board, I think, for one second, I'm shocked that the press isn't protesting more the rules at this detention center.

KURTZ: Right. Very restrictive access.

GOLDBERG: I mean everyone wants to compare this to Katrina, which I think is ridiculous comparison on lots of levels, but imagine if somehow the Bush administration announced you can't talk to anybody in the humanitarian centers about their experience. People would have gone batty. And they are not doing that on this.

KURTZ: My impression, Noam, is that liberal pundits are anywhere from disillusioned to depressed over Barack Obama and they - we've got to talk about Hillary at this point.

SCHEIBER: Yeah, no, I think there's a fair amount of disillusion. I think that Hillary thing is an enormous challenge for the administration. I mean she's a candidate who is just going to have unprecedented attention, unprecedented stature. You never see this as the person who's likely to replace the incumbent president. Basically, already can kind of carry herself as a quasi-president herself.

KURTZ: Even 2 1/2 years before the election?

SCHEIBER: Even if it's not here. I think it's going to be a huge problem to the administration, I think in the not too near future you're going to get Democrats on Capitol Hill calling Hillary and saying, hey, how do you think we should play this? What do you think the right move here is? Rather than the White House, at least, that will be her first call. It's going to be an enormous headache and obviously the press coverage is going to migrate to her when they see this happening.

KURTZ: Let's save that topic for next week. Let me get a break here. Remember to send me a tweet about our show this hour. @HowardKurtz, we're going to read some of your best messages at the end of the program.

When we come back, Sarah Palin calls for the president's impeachment, but is anyone listening?

And later, with Israel and Hamas in the virtual state of war, does the coverage favor either side?


KURTZ: Sarah Palin became a huge media celebrity after she was John McCain's running mate in 2008, wrote books, starred in reality shows and campaigned for Republican candidates. The Fox News contributor and former Alaskan governor ratcheted up her rhetoric this week calling for President Obama's impeachment.


PALIN: The tipping point in this drive towards impeachment, for me, has been the illegal immigration issue, the crisis created by Obama where nobody is looking out for the working class of Americans, including good hard working wonderful legal immigrants. Impeachment is the message that has to be sent to our president that we're not going to put up with this lawlessness.


KURTZ: But Palin's call to action wasn't exactly embraced by conservative politicians and pundits while liberals where all too happy to pounce on her.


MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Palin's arsenal of unsupported accusations and quixotic charges against the president aren't confined to the dark trenches of the conservative media.


KURTZ: So, Sarah Palin calls for impeachment. It gets very little coverage even on Fox. John Boehner brushes it aside. This doesn't seem like the Sarah Palin of old.

GOLDBERG: No, I think that's right. I think in part because a lot of people in the party, and I think rightly, don't think impeachment is a great idea. Sarah Palin a week ago, who like I have a soft spot for and I think that she's gotten a bad rap in a lot of cases. But I just think she's wrong about this stuff. Sarah Palin about a week ago was talking about a third party. And .

KURTZ: That she would leave the Republican Party?

GOLDBERG: Oh, that maybe that should be an option. And that got even less coverage than the impeachment stuff.


GOLDBERG: And so, I think that in some ways, you know, the impeachment talk, which she's hardly alone in is a sense of a frustration. I agree with the sources of the frustration. I agree with a lot of criticisms of the president. But I think that no one really thinks that this is a politically savvy thing to do and right now the Republicans troops really just want to win.

KURTZ: But take us to how this is being covered. In fact, Noam, her impeachment call, which has first made up (INAUDIBLE) news, got more attention on the mainstream media, on liberal websites and on MSNBC than it did on the right?

SCHEIBER: Yeah, it's funny. There were sort of two big written announcements this week. Sarah Palin's impeachment calling, LeBron James announcement that he's going back to Cleveland. And unlike the James announcement, I think, Sarah Palin clearly wrote hers, there's no question about that.


SCHEIBER: It's in her trademark rhetorical style there. It did get a ton of attention. Look, the media- she's like that bright shining object for the media, there is no question about that. Anytime you can have a figure as prominent as she is, basically kind of 180 degrees out of sync with the leadership of her party. It's going to get attention.

KURTZ: That's what liberals like.

SCHEIBER: That's what liberals like. But you know, what's interesting, and I think Jonah is right. I think there's an analogy here between the shutdown talk last fall and the impeachment talk now. Back then, the leadership could not contain the sort of flood of calls on the right. Even though they knew it was tactically stupid, they cannot contain it. Now, completely different. And I think a big part of that is the conservative media. The conservative media just came right down and said, you know, this is a really dumb idea, gave John Boehner all sorts of coverage, just to say no way.

KURTZ: Including "The Wall Street Journal" - Why wasn't this even Palin's sort of important cultural role? Why wasn't this a bigger story for the media?

ASHBURN: I think it was a fair amount of coverage for someone who is not in office and someone who has not campaigned very hard in the primaries. Yes, she spoke out at a Tea Party conference and that was covered last month. And yes, she has endorsed a sprinkling of candidates here and there. But this is not the Sarah Palin of 2010.

KURTZ: When she was an actual strong political force. So, in your view, has she become more of a celebrity than a political force?

ASHBURN: Well, I think so. I mean also, her celebrity translates to reality TV, which is where we saw her last with her episodes on Alaska and sports hunting and things like that. But she is still -- you can't quite say that. She is still a celebrity in many conservative circles. But as Jonah said, the problem here was that she was out of step with the party.

KURTZ: And 15 seconds each. So, four years ago, there was still even talk that she might run for president. Now nobody is saying that. So, is that inevitably dimmed her political luster?

GOLDBERG: Well, look, anyone who is a viable candidate for running for president is going to get more attention than somebody who isn't. And I don't think that she is running. But she is - I think she's a more formidable figure in the Tea Party grassroots world than some people are giving her credit here for.

SCHEIBER: Look, I think Sarah Palin miscalculated. In order to have some stature in politics, it requires more than half a term as a lieutenant governor of an obscure western state. You know, if she wanted to be in the game, she had to stay in the game.

KURTZ: She was a governor. Not a lieutenant.

SCHEIBER: Governor. I'm sorry, as governor.

ASHBURN: And she was the vice presidential .

KURTZ: Nominee, all right.

ASHBURN: Nominee.

KURTZ: Jonah Goldberg, Noam Scheiber, thanks very much.

Now to an escalation in the war of words over press freedom. A number of media organizations are accusing the Obama administration of censorship. In a letter to the president from such groups as "The Society of Professional Journalists," an American Society of Newspaper Editors, they say federal agencies are denying reporters access to knowledgeable staffers by assisting they talk to PR people and political appointees and that this amounts to, quote, "suppressing the news." They further say that 40 percent of government PR officials in one survey admit to blocking certain reporters because they don't like what the journalists write. White House Spokesman Eric Schultz told me the administration has made major strides towards transparency, such as allowing access to White House visitor logs and reducing the backlog of Freedom of Information Request, but the media frustration on this issue is boiling over.

After the break, Rosie O'Donnell returned to "The View." Could that save the show or blow it up?

But first, with casualties mounting in the Middle East, is Israel being held to a higher standard?


KURTZ: With Israel warning residents in Gaza of further military strikes today, the violence there really seems to be ramping up. When Palestinian terrorists, this is how it all started, kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers, the brutal attack certainly generated plenty of media coverage. The revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager was just as chilling and generated even more coverage especially as hostilities escalated between Israel and the Hamas forces in Gaza.


SCOTT PELLEY, ANCHOR, "CBS EVENING NEWS": Three bodies were discovered today in Israel and appeared to be those of three Israeli teenagers kidnapped a little over two weeks ago.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS": The response by Israel was quick and powerful after three Israeli teenagers were found dead yesterday in the West Bank.

MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, Israel's military is bracing for more violence ahead of tomorrow's funeral for a Palestinian teenager. His murder sparked new fighting in Jerusalem.

AYMAN MOHYELDIN, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, NBC NEWS: Today, Mohammed's father took me to the streets and showed me where his 17-year-old son, a Palestinian, was kidnapped before he was burned alive by suspected Jewish extremists.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now to the escalating violence in the Middle East, rockets falling on both sides of the border with the Gaza Strip and a possible ground invasion by Israeli troops looming.


KURTZ: Joining us now is one of the leading journalistic experts in the Middle East, the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg. Welcome.


KURTZ: So, "New York Times" for example, did one front page story on the killing of these Israeli kids who were coming home from religious school and three front page pieces on the equally horrible burning death of the Palestinian teenager. Do some of the media treat Palestinian deaths as somehow more news worthy?

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: I don't think so. I think - I mean one of the interesting things about this is that you have four deaths, three Israelis and one Palestinian got more coverage in the American media than a weekend in Chicago where 14 or 15 people were murdered. It's really astonishing how much we focus on the Middle East to start with. I think that there was - there is probably some more surprise when Israeli vigilantes kill a Palestinian teenager. There was a kind of sick novelty to that. You don't hear about that that often. You certainly hear about Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis on the West Bank. So maybe there was that, as well. I don't know.

KURTZ: Good point. Here are some headlines from recent days. The lead story of "The Washington Post," "Israel hits Gaza Homes, Children and Women Killed." "New York Times," this is one of the pieces I refer to, front page: "Killing a Palestinian Youth Puts an Israeli Focus on Extremism."


KURTZ: You're seeing it's a more novel story or.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Maybe. Maybe. I mean look, obviously, there is some - one of the things about this current war that we're having is it's totally fascinating to me how often headlines are written as Israel attacks Gaza sites and women and children are killed. The predicate act, the rockets that are coming from Gaza into Israel, perhaps because they're mostly being shot down, but perhaps because there is maybe some level of bias, that doesn't get covered in the same way. But I don't -- I'm very, very careful to ascribe -- not to ascribe bias in this. I think there's a kind of news worthiness and novelty that sometimes people latch on to.

KURTZ: So you're saying Israel has more firepower, obviously.


KURTZ: And is inflicting more damage, obviously, and unfortunately some civilians are dying despite the leafleting and warnings in advance.


KURTZ: The Palestinian rockets are mostly getting shot down.


KURTZ: And, therefore, the coverage looks beyond who started this conflict.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Well, I mean I think, look, coverage generally of any conflict usually, you know, starts ten minutes before the event you're writing about. And so, sometimes it would be useful for people to say - you know, and I think here is a story that doesn't get written very much. Why, in fact, is Hamas firing rockets at Israeli civilians in the first place, trying to understand what is their motivation, what is their goal? But we sort of write that off. We just assume that that's kind of part of the natural environment. And what's interesting is the Israeli response to those rockets.

KURTZ: You write about what you witnessed more than two decades ago when you were in the Israeli military police.


KURTZ: And how has that -- talk a little bit about that and how that's affected your view today.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Oh, that's interesting. Yeah, no, I mean, this goes to this issue of double standards or higher standards. Look, I was shocked by some of the violence that I saw that was committed by some Israelis I served with and I wrote about that in a book. And I brought that up to talk about this recent lynching of this Palestinian teenager.

KURTZ: I think we have some video of that. And this is a Palestinian American teenager who was a cousin of the Palestinian who was killed.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Right. That's the beating.

KURTZ: Yeah. The beating by Israeli police. We see it there.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: It's awful. It's awful.

KURTZ: And how much does that affect the way Israel is perceived by the world media?

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Look, this is why I'm careful to talk - when I talk about bias, OK? Because on the one hand, there's obviously a double standard. There's actually a triple or quadruple standard. Israel's held to an impossible standard, the United States is held to an almost impossible standard, the Palestinians are held to - and certainly in the Arab world, where there's huge amounts of violence, these countries are held to a lower standard by the media.


JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Well, this is - this goes to the core of the problem. One of the problems is that we ourselves hold ourselves to a higher standard. And I don't think there's anything wrong with holding Israel as a democracy to -- as a Western democracy supported by the United States to a higher standard.

KURTZ: Israel, for example, condemned the killing of the Palestinian teenager.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: Well, they arrested.

KURTZ: And made some arrests.


KURTZ: Hamas cheered the original slain of those .

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: What I would say is the way you judge a country is, OK, you're always going to have racist and violent hooligans in every country. The way you judge a country is how does the government of that country respond to those kind of acts? And so, Israel so far, at least, has responded well to that. So that's one way to judge it. But you have this essential problem where, you know, on the one hand, you don't want Israel to be judged by hypocritical double standard. 170,000 people killed in Syria, no one seems to care.

KURTZ: Right.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: A teenager, a Palestinian gets killed and everybody cares, and that's front page news. So, you don't want to see that hypocrisy. On the other hand, I don't want to judge Israel by the standards of the neighborhood: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, these are pretty terrible places where human rights violations are rampant.

KURTZ: So bottom line, you do hold Israel to a higher standard because you think it holds itself to a higher standard when it comes to innocent civilians.

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: That is a very good way of putting it.

KURTZ: All right. We have so many things up, because it's television. Jeffrey Goldberg, thanks very much for stopping by.


KURTZ: This Sunday.

Up next, why is the press brushing off awful, sexist and misogynistic behavior by some of Silicon Valley's bad boys?

And later, LeBron James - the media again, and deserting Miami for Cleveland. Why do we keep enabling this guy?


ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Live from America's news headquarters, I'm Eric Shawn. A new phase in Israel's assault against the terror group Hamas. Israeli forces entering Gaza for the first time in the six-day offensive raiding a rocket launching site. Four Israeli troops are injured, the military also warning people in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes for their safety. It's a sign another operation may be coming as Israel tries to put an end to the missile attacks that are raining down on its cities.

Back here at home, police arresting a man accused of causing a massive wildfire in northern California. They say he was delivering supplies to an illegal marijuana plot when exhaust from his truck ignited that fire. The fire north of Sacramento has so far burned more than four square miles and is threatening about 50 homes. I'm Eric Shawn. I'll see you back at the top of the hour with Arthel Nevell for America's News Headquarters. Now back to Howard Kurtz and media buzz.

KURTZ: What is it with some of these young rich guys who run start-up companies in Silicon Valley? Evan Spiegel who heads the messaging service Snapchat wrote a whole bunch of disparaging e-mails while he was a student at Stanford five years ago. I can't read much of this on the air. But here's the sampling: "I hope at least six girls blank your blank last night. F blank, get laid, drunk sex would be a lot of fun right now. Did I just pee on Lily? This is pretty gross." Yes, it is pretty gross. And a co-founder of the dating app Tinder Justin Mateen, has been placed on leave by parent company IAC after being sued for sexual harassment. Whitney Wolfe, another cofounder, who once dated Mateen, says in the suit that he called her a slut, a gold digger, a desperate looser and a whore and refused to credit her role in starting the company because, quote, "You're a girl." I spoke earlier with Sarah Lacy, founder of the tech sight PandoDaily. She was in Memphis. Welcome.

SARAH LACY, PANDODAILY: Thank you for having me back.

KURTZ: When these revelations come out, they seem to create a blip online for a few days, a couple of newspaper stories, and then nothing else. Does the tech press basically give these guys a pass to say they're just bad boys?

LACY: You know, I think what's a little disturbing to me about these stories, other than the fact that they're just shockingly horrible behavior from people who should be role models, who are employers and supposedly custodians of billions of dollars in market cap, what's really upsetting to me is I think it sort of glosses over this bigger problem of sexism in tech and in Silicon Valley and actually in most industries because it allows us to just kind of point our finger at a couple of people and say, well, we can all agree this behavior was very bad and then we twitter shame them for like 24 hours and then everyone moves on. And that's like - the real problem with sexism in the Valley isn't e-mails sent from, you know, Tinder or Snapchat. I mean it way predated those guys, it way predated the whole programmer culture.

KURTZ: This is almost a microcosm of that. But where is the press if these kinds of e-mails or sexual harassment allegations came out against the head of Goldman Sachs or Ford Motor, it would be a huge story. So, I have a feeling that the people in your area are just kind of tolerating it, shrugging at it.

LACY: Oh, I don't think people are tolerating it. I mean everyone freaks out about it in comments and on social media, and all that. I do think it's worth noting, though, when it comes to a company like Tinder, this is a company that is inherently based on judging women based on appearance very quickly. So, if you are thinking of this from a business story point of view, it's very hard to see how even as horrible as this is, it actually hurts Tinder's business. And so, in that case, is it really just exciting and tiluating (ph) to talk about as a reporter? If it's not really hurting their business. And these guys are venture-funded, they are part of IAC. They don't have ad sales and they're known as this kind of business. Their base is not going to be enraged about this the way, you know, people taking their kids to Disney land might be.

KURTZ: But when Whitney Wolfe, the co-founder at Tinder who is filing a sexual harassment lawsuit says the other male founders didn't want anyone to know that she was involved in starting up the company because she's a girl, how does that make you feel?

LACY: You know, I mean, I think it's really frustrating. Obviously, as a woman in this industry, but it's something that we see over and over again and it's always very hard to know how much of, you know, the lack of women in the industry is really because of sexism. I mean we don't know the details in this case. You know, there is clearly the number show us, there are not enough women starting companies. There are a shrinking number of women in venture capital. There are not enough women in, you know, who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, either. But it's always hard to know how much of it is a boys club and how much of it is over sexism. Versus more sort of implicit bias people selecting people like them. I mean ..

KURTZ: Let me break in - let me break in, because I'm going to ask you about Snapchat's Evan Spiegel. He did put out a statement saying "I'm obviously mortified and embarrassed that my idiotic e-mails during my fraternity days were made public, I have no excuse. But is that enough when this kind of stuff comes out?

LACY: Evan has a history of bad behavior. And I do think to your point of us letting these people off the hook. I do think in general we tend to look the other way when the brash arrogant young founder is being a brash arrogant young founder. And I think Evan Spiegel has done a lot of kind of despicable things that just didn't happen to be sexist that didn't even get called out this much.

KURTZ: Well, I'm glad you released a few .

LACY: At least he apologized.

KURTZ: At least he apologized, indeed. I'm glad you're at least a few brash young founders who are women in the tech field like yourself .


KURTZ: But it still continues to amaze me how this, you say, Twitter shaming - how this goes by and I guess in our instant message culture and then it vanishes. Sara Lacy, thanks very much for joining us.

LACY: Thanks, Howie.

KURTZ: Ahead on MediaBuzz, Glenn Beck gets all kinds of abuse for trying to help those kids being detained at the border.

But first, does "The View" really need Rosie O'Donnell?

And score one for George Clooney against the tabloids.



UF: Breaking news in advance. Right now, LeBron has made his decision.


KURTZ: Four years after LeBron James turned his route from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Miami Heat, into an overblown ESPN spectacular, the NBA superstar again led the media into an embarrassing guessing game. On Friday morning, the website business insider reported that while two NBA insiders have thought - had thought LeBron was leaving Miami, the latest suggest the tide is turning away from him signing with Cleveland. "Washington Post" columnist Mike Wise wrote that his source in Akron gave 99 percent odds of LeBron returning to the Cavaliers, but couldn't be sure because James and his gang were so unpredictable.

Hours later, "Sports Illustrated" had the scoop, but at a price. The magazine allowed LeBron to write a first person piece about returning to his roots in Ohio. As told to a reporter, rather than publish a real story that might have raised the question or two about his behavior. As I got the exclusive and LeBron got to completely control the narrative. That's like a press release. Buy an ad.

The most controversial panelist in the history of "The View" is heading back to the decimated show. Rosie O'Donnell will join the program, which dumped its entire team other than Whoopi Goldberg after Barbara Walters retirement.

Rosie was the loudest liberal voice on the daytime show, often clashing with its only conservative Elizabeth Hasselbeck.


ROSIE O'DONNELL, CO-HOST "THE VIEW":  Do you believe I think our troops are terrorists, Elisabeth?

ELISABETH HASSELBECK, CO-HOST "THE VIEW": I don't think that you .

O'DONNELL: Yes or no, do you believe that, yes or no?

HASSELBECK: Excuse me, let me speak.

O'DONNELL: You're going to double speak. It is just a yes or a no.

HASSELBECK: I am not a double speaker.


KURTZ: And when Hasselbeck now, of course, Fox and friends, co-host heard the news, she ripped her old nemesis.


HASSELBECK: Here in comes to "The View," the very woman who spit in the face of our military, spit in the face of her own network and really in the face of a person who stood by her and had civilized debates for the time that she was there.


KURTZ: That in turn prompted another liberal alumnus from the view Joy Behar to tell CNN that Hasselbeck had hit Rosie below the belt with a nasty remark. And O'Donnell herself snarked (ph) back on Twitter saying that when she saw Hasselbeck at a "View" reunion show, she was hiding in her dressing room until I walked right in and said hello. Her reply? Let's take a selfie." You see how controversy swirls around Rosie? Depending on who else joins "The View" this really could become the Rosie O'Donnell show. And far more political than it's been lately.

George Clooney has beaten one of the tabloids he so clearly despises. In a "USA Today" column the actor ripped London's "Daily Mail" for what he called a completely fabricated story about his fiance's mother opposing their marriage for religious reasons. The tabloid said Amal's mother had been told - has told half of Beirut she's against the wedding and had joked about Druze religious traditions that end up with the death of the bride. Yes, you heard that right. Clooney points out that his future mother-in- law isn't Druze and hasn't been to Beirut since he started dating her daughter. Now, the paper has taken down the story while insisting that it came from a good source. "The Daily Mail" says it accepts Clooney's insistence that the story is inaccurate, and apologizes to him, to his fiancee and to her mother. But Clooney rejected that apology saying this was a premeditated lie.

After the break, some of Glenn Beck's fans turn on him over immigration. And was it a stun when Joan Rivers walked out on CNN? Our video verdict, straight ahead.


KURTZ: And time now for our "Video Verdict." Glenn Beck usually does his work behind a microphone. Now he's planning to deliver aid to some of the tens of thousands of children from Central America being held on the Texas border.

ASHBURN: But after the founder of "The Blaze" announced plans to bring truckloads of food, water, toys and soccer balls this coming week, he says he's been hit by a wave of negative reaction.


GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Everybody is telling me I'm seeing subscriptions down, I'm seeing Mercury One donations down, I'm getting violent e-mails from people who say, you know, I have betrayed the republic. Whatever. I have never taken a position more deadly to my career than this. And I have never, ever taken a position that is more right than this.


ASHBURN: I think he's definitely right about both of those things because conservatives are not happy with what he's doing, yet he is coming out and stating his position.

KURTZ: I said last time that Beck has had a divisive career, but seems to be turning more toward unity. For him to defy his base on this, which I should say, doesn't like illegal immigration and personally get involved, that is a really courageous thing to do and I'm glad he's following through and not backing down.

ASHBURN: Right. He is defying conventional wisdom in the conservative movement by doing this. People who think that no, there should not be immigrants who are coming in.

KURTZ: What's your score?

ASHBURN: I give him a nine.

KURTZ: I'm going to go all out and give him a 10.


KURTZ: Glenn Beck is walking the walk on this one.

ASHBURN: OK. Joan Rivers was promoting a book on CNN and she got rather ticked off at the questions from anchor Fredricka Whitfield.

KURTZ: The comedian demonstrated her peak in the most dramatic way, and later was asked about that performance by David Letterman.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: It's been, you know, very good to you and, you know, you've got bestselling books, you sell out on stage, even with your fashion critiquing, while it's very mean in some ways, people can't wait to hear --

JOAN RIVERS: Not me. Not me.

WHITFIELD: Really? But they also know that you, you know, you have some shock value to you. I mean you are on the cover of your book, you were wearing a fur, and you knew that there would probably be animal rights activists.

RIVERS: You know, this whole interview is becoming a defensive interview.


RIVERS: You know, I'm going, I really am going, because all you have done is negative, you are not the one to interview a person who does humans, I'm sorry.

WHITFIELD: Are you serious?

DAVID LETTERMAN: It didn't seem to me like she was that tough on you.

RIVERS: She was asking negative questions.



KURTZ: And there goes Dave, Fredricka Whitfield's questions were fine.

ASHBURN: I've got to go.

KURTZ: Hey! Don't move!


KURTZ: Maybe a little humorless, but Joan Rivers was trying to stir things up to sell more books.

ASHBURN: Of course, she was. And right before this Fredricka said, you know, we love you, people love you. And this is - we would not be talking about Joan Rivers had it not been for this and her book sales would not have increased had it not been for this.

KURTZ: Clearly Joan Rivers, who is funny at 81, was trying to create a moment that she could then talk about on Letterman.

ASHBURN: And she went on to talk about it on "Access Hollywood and everywhere. People wanted to know why did you it, Joan?

KURTZ: What is your score?


KURTZ: I'm giving it a two. I think it was unfair in particular after that stunt to trash the CNN anchor after she - after it was over. Still to come, your best tweets and media fact checkers take on a rather colorful allegation about the female anchors right here at Fox News.


KURTZ: Here are a few of your top tweets. On whether the press is turning on President Obama over the border crisis, let's move up that prompter -- The Institution writes "Mild criticism for one or two days does not equal turning on." And what about the conservative media downplaying Sarah Palin's call for impeachment? John Day, "The real question is why when MSN discredits her so much, so often, why do they give her credence on this?" Michael K., Pate, "Because it was dumb. Impeaching Obama won't get him removed from office, because of the Senate (and no one wants Biden.)

ASHBURN: And the liberal media loves a punching bag, which is why you are seeing this so much there.

KURTZ: Right now, PolitiFact well known for its dogged dedication to fact checking the media, now it's spinoff - pundit factors tackled the very person issue involving Fox News. This image has been bouncing around social media with disparaging comments about a lack of diversity. That is, that this network's female anchors, hosts a cohosts are white women with blond hair. Well, the truth squadron's investigated and labeled the claim mostly false. Fox indeed has its share of blonds. Pundit, fact, counted 14 on the Website, the sluice found 12 non-blondes, including Maria Bartiromo and Andrea Tantaros, Jenna Lee, Arthel Neville, Uma Pemmaraju. I'm greatly relieved. This allegations were put to rest.

ASHBURN: I have an idea, why doesn't PolitiFacts do this? See, how many shades in blondes there are on Fox News. There is ash blond, there is platinum blond, maybe we could do dirty blond and see how many variations there are, because this is so important.

KURTZ: You think they shouldn't be spending time on this?

ASHBURN: No, I don't. What does this accomplish?


ASHBURN: Except to make fun of Fox News.

KURTZ: So, you're not giving up your blond ambitions.



ASHBURN: You are as bad as they are.


ASHBURN: You make me - to get a wig.


KURTZ: Get some highlights.


KURTZ: That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz, check out our Facebook page, we post original video there and we respond to your comments, we are back here next Sunday morning, 11 and 5 o'clock Eastern, the latest buzz.

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