This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," August 24, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, as journalists flood the streets of Ferguson, getting tear gas, getting arrested, turning their powerful spotlight on the police and the protesters are all those cameras exacerbating the violence? And are some correspondents taking sides against the police or being harassed for doing their jobs?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are people right here feeling like they are occupied on their streets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need to shoot the .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't need to shoot nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't resist. I'll bust your (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I'll bust your head right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't need.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: The polarizing coverage of Michael Brown's killing. Many on the right defending officer Darren Wilson. Much on the left siding with the unarmed 18-year-old. Are too many pundits engaged in reckless legal speculation? Greta Van Susteren on that. The horrifying death of journalist James Foley, killed by the butchers of ISIS. Should news outlets have carried those awful images? And should Twitter have banned them?
Plus, Rick Perry's un-indictment of the media laughing their charges out of the court of public opinion. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."
Has the invasion of anchors, correspondents, commentators in one embattled Missouri town hurt the cause of keeping the peace? The police captain running things in Ferguson says yes, some of them have.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: When a certain element, that criminal element that got out here with masks on, who wanted to agitate and build up the crowd -was stopping from the media, the media would swarm around them, give them a platform and glamourize their activity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Some journalists mixed it up with police, perhaps relishing the confrontations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I think we're about to be arrested because we're standing on the sidewalk and you said you wanted to .
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just move out of the way, sir. Move!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: The officer who pushed CNN's Don Lemon was later suspended over a videotape racist rant. Other journalists took hit from the protesters who threw rocks at MSNBC's Chris Hayes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hey, hey. Watch out, Chris. You know what?
CHRIS HAYES: They're throwing rocks at us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: And hurled verbal abuse at Fox's Steve Harrigan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We told him there's (INAUDIBLE) child. Who is the child right towards? Yes, it's him. Can you say that? Right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: CNN's Jake Tapper questioned the show of military style force.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are armed police. With machine - not machine guns, with semi-automatic rifles. Now, why they're doing this, I don't know. Because there is no threat going on here, none, that merits this. There is none. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage, Lauren Ashburn, Fox News contributor who hosts "Social Buzz" on the Fox website, Matt Lewis, senior contributor at "The Daily Caller" and radio talk show host Richard Fowler. This media invasion of Ferguson, has it exacerbated the violence?
LAUREN ASHBURN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It's been very disappointing to watch straight journalists taking sides as I think we've seen in a lot of these cases. One of the problems I believe is that there are reporters on the scene there who haven't come up through the ranks of having to cover local police in either newspapers or, as I did, on local television. And so, there's an art to covering police. And I don't think it has happened to the best of the ability of journalists.
KURTZ: Now, you write about journalists injecting themselves into the story. You even say what could be a better career move than getting yourself arrested? Explain.
MATT LEWIS, DAILY CALLER SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR: Right. Well, look, I mean on one hand, I think we would all agree that it's important to have the press there covering the story. It's a legitimate story, the shooting, and holding the police accountable. On the other hand, let's just talk about incentive. I mean if you're a young reporter or a blogger, what better way to make a name for yourself than to be involved in whether it's being arrested or tear-gassed and then you .
KURTZ: You are beginning to become the story as opposed to just chronicling the story?
LEWIS: Yes. Exactly. And we now have Twitter where in the old days there might be things that it wouldn't have made the cut, it would have been edited out, it wouldn't have been in your story, but you can now tweet pictures. And so, I think that there is, you know, perhaps a bad incentive for journalists to make themselves a part of the story.
KURTZ: Richard, are some of the journalists we've seen being more sympathetic to the protesters than to what's being portrayed as the heavy handed police force?
RICHARD FOWLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: See, I wouldn't go that far. I think what we've seen from the coverage is I think journalists just happened to be there, this is all happening and the camera are rolling, because we live in this 24-hour news cycle, and everybody's now going live. I mean I think w- most networkers were live for three or four hours covering it, and you have got to cover something, right, if you are live, and so I think because the protesters happening, and the protesters are there and the cameras are there, you just have the perfect - you know, the ultimate perfect storm in the coverage we've seen over the past week.
KURTZ: Al Sharpton has been in Ferguson. He's met with the Michael Brown family. He's interviewed Michael Brown's family on his MSNBC show. He led a rally about police brutality yesterday in New York yesterday. Why does MSNBC continue to allow this?
ASHBURN: He's an activist. Phil Griffin of MSNBC says he's an activist and that's okay. What I find very disappointing from Reverend Al is that there was an article in the Politico, in which there was reporting done that said that he is a conduit to the White House, and that he is their go- to guy, that he is actually, you know, taking White House talking points to the ground in Ferguson. I have a huge problem with this. Now he's not just an activist, but he's an arm of the government.
KURTZ: And so, why does MSNBC allow this? A prominent MSNBC host is working closely with the Obama White House, fairing information back and forth? Isn't this a trample of every possible journalistic standard?
ASHBURN: The lines in journalism right now, almost don't exist. Very rarely can you find straight news reporting. It's either infotainment or it's activism. And in this case, I just think MSNBC doesn't care that they're blurring the lines.
KURTZ: Speaking about MSNBC, Matt, let me play a sound bite from one of the guests on one of the programs talking about the Michael Brown case. I'll ask you about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have an answer that is palatable to be able to look at my children in the face and say there are people in this country who not only do not like African-Americans, but they despise black men. There is a war on black boys in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Are the ideological media in this case on the left adding to the polarization in this particular sensitive racially charged story?
LEWIS: Absolutely. I mean, look, I think again, there's a real tension here. I mean - and it's really -- as you mentioned a product of the changing -- this is a microcosm of the changing journalistic environment. On one hand, I think it is important to have press there reporting on what happened. On the other hand, there are a lot of bad things I think have come from journalists being there and from all the 24/7 media speculation. And I think one is that it's probably made things more volatile, probably increased the opportunity or the chances that there might be some sort of violence. And that includes people, the fact that press are even there might be acting as a magnet drawing professional protesters and agitators there.
KURTZ: Many of whom .
LEWIS: Are coming there.
KURTZ: Many of whom are from outside of Ferguson and .
KURTZ: And they are obviously .
LEWIS: They are not healer ..
KURTZ: But on the other hand, are right leaning media being in your view unsympathetic to Michael Brown and unsympathetic to the larger problem of these communities, many of them in this country where you have majority white police departments in a majority black neighborhoods?
FOWLER: Well, I think there is some criticism that can go to the right media for sort of, you know, I think, sort of putting this more attention on the police officer than putting on the fact that this is an unarmed 18- year-old who happened to be walking in the street and six shots, it's just a little excessive. And I think - I have got to tell you, I think when you look at the media and what the media has been able to do here, is the fact that media is being here has changed the whole entire landscape of Ferguson. Before the cameras arrived, there were police, you know, rolling up, the tanks rolling down your streets. And because the cameras were there, the governor as well as all the officials had to figure out a way to better deal with the people and better deal with their citizens.
KURTZ: So you think that the media, for instance, has acted on as a check on excessive police behavior and, of course, this whole debate now about whether these local - have too much military style equipment in the wake of 9/11?
FOWLER: Completely. And I think that - sometimes that's the job of media. The job of media is to elevate, the job of journalism is to elevate a story or elevate an issue. And they've done it here successfully, because now we're having a national conversation we should have years ago about the over-militarization of our police departments.
LEWIS: That's the good side of it, though, but the downside of it is the incentives, whether it's the conservative outlook on the right or the mainstream media. It is in everybody's incentive, if you look at journalism as a business, we're concerned about page views and ratings, you want to play up the violence, you want to show pictures of incendiary things. That's what gets page views and clicks and I think that's the problem.
ASHBURN: I think you're assigning a little bit too much to the executives at cable stations and at networks. Because I don't think anybody wants to incite violence. I think yes, if there is violence, they are going to continue to cover it. But I don't think that anybody sitting in this newsroom back here is going to say, I want violence.
LEWIS: They're doing it because it's a good picture. If you have somebody being pushed by a cop or of you have fires breaking out in San Francisco or whatever it is, that may be very not representative of what's happening. But that is the story.
KURTZ: I'll tell you one thing. We've had several nights of relative calm in Ferguson, if that continues, you're going to see some of that media contingent fading away, because it isn't that much .
LEWIS: And that's a danger for Michael Brown.
KURTZ: But let me - let me - Yeah, I'll come back to you, Richard. The "New York Times" had a story the other day according to a couple of witnesses, about Michael Brown who said that he had his hands up when he was shot. Then "The Times" said there were some witnesses, quote, "some witnesses" who back up the officer's version that Brown was charging. Didn't name those witnesses, it's according to law enforcement sources. Was "The Times" used here by the police?
ASHBURN: Well, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell went crazy over this and said absolutely, yes. But then interestingly enough, Margaret Sullivan who's the "New York Times" public editor said, wait a minute, the "New York Times" is just saying, trust us? I mean these officers put out that anonymous source information. And she said at best it's messy. She went to internal -- the deputy managing editor internally who said look, we are doing fair and balanced reporting here. It is a messy story, yes, but we stand by our reporters.
KURTZ: And I don't know which set of eyewitnesses is right or wrong, but I haven't seen any eyewitness on the record saying - taking the officer's side. So, what do you think of this question? Do you think that we now have a kind of a battle where conservative pundits play out, you know, for example, the robbery video and the autopsy six shots to - and the liberal side plays up evidence that seems more favorable to Michael Brown?
FOWLER: Yeah. And listen, I think all sides of playing - they are definitely playing up on all sides, the bands are definitely ..
KURTZ: Does that trouble you?
FOWLER: It does trouble me. Because I think this is all about -- and I think we've - they've thrown in Al Sharpton. Al Sharpton becomes the story. They've thrown all these different pieces to become the story, and the real story here, beyond all the hype, is the fact that an 18-year-old unarmed black man was shot six times. We're not sure how it went down. We're not sure how it happened, but we know he was unarmed and he could have possibly had his hands up. And it's really the job of our justice system to do that, but what the media has done is they've at least forced an indictment or they've at least forced a grand jury investigation. Not an indictment, indictment hasn't come yet.
KURTZ: Well, we do not know that there would not have been a grand jury investigation.
FOWLER: We are not sure that this .
ASHBURN: We also don't .
LEWIS: But look, the part of the problem is that the police have not put out their actual .
KURTZ: Absolutely not, not -- No official statement from the police about what happened, no pictures of the officer who we now have these anonymous sources pointing to he was taken to the hospital, his face was swollen. Fox says his eye socket was fractured. CNN says that's not true. I've got 20 seconds for you to finish.
LEWIS: So, look, maybe there's a legal reason why you want to suppress this information and wait until the grand jury sees it. But in terms of PR, the police and Darren Wilson's side have been losing the battle and that's why you're seeing leaks and that's why you're seeing these anonymous reports about the eye socket.
KURTZ: All right. Let me get a break here. Tweet me about this show @ HowardKurtz. In our last block, we always read some of your messages. Much more on Ferguson ahead, including a conversation with Greta Van Susteren about how the media are handling the legal aspects of the Michael Brown investigation. But when we come back, should news outlets have shown the gruesome footage and pictures of terrorist executing James Foley?
KURTZ: James Foley was killed this week in a particularly brutal fashion by ISIS terrorists. A beheading that caused shock and horror around the world and great sadness for the American journalist kidnapped in Syria two years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Jim was a journalist, a son, a brother and a friend. He reported from difficult and dangerous places bearing witness to the lives of people a world away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: We are not showing you the images from the execution videotape. But they're splashed all across television and the web and the New York tabloids and social media. And the reason is that's what ISIS wants, to spread fear and disgust and most of the media played into their hands. Now, Matt, I know it's news. If I was in charge of a news room. I would say don't even put up the image because you're playing into the terrorist hands.
LEWIS: Well, it's a good thing about the fact that this was publicized as it is very clear now that evil exists in the world and that there are these horrible people out there and you really can't hide from that. But the downside is, first, I do question the motives. You know, why are journalists putting these things out? Is it because they want to tell the story or is it because it's salacious material that sells papers and .
KURTZ: And maybe you could justify it on the first day, but now several days later, every time there's a story on ISIS we see that. We see the - executioner -- I want to get to Richard. And so, it's over and over again, it's almost become like a recruiting poster for ISIS.
FOWLER: Completely. And there's no disagreement. I think evils - we have evil - nothing you can do about that. The question is, is how do you handle it when it comes to your direction? And I think the media mishandled this one completely. You've given ISIS the biggest victory ever. The fact that every major news outlet in the United States is talking about the beheading of this particular journalist speaks to the power that ISIS has over, you know, in controlling the region.
KURTZ: Well, we should talk about it and we should report on it. It's again, this is the question of the images. And Twitter, interestingly enough, has been suspending the accounts of anybody who posts particularly gruesome images from the video pictures.
ASHBURN: And that's a very slippery slope, but I agree with the decision. Twitter is not the government, it does not purport to be a news organization.
KURTZ: Although a lot of journalists would disagree.
ASHBURN: Exactly. It's a private corporation. They can do whatever they want. But when it comes to freedom of expression that is what Twitter says it's all about. And if you start muzzling the voices or the pictures of people who are using Twitter, when is it going to stop?
KURTZ: It is a slippery slope. Let me put up the cover of the "New York Daily News" the next day which made the big issue about what the president did after he made that statement about James Foley, "Bam's Golf War." And this eventually - I mean Fox talks about the golf issue all the time, it eventually made it to the front page of "New York Times." Is it fair to keep harping on Obama and golf and to smash him?
LEWIS: I think so. Look, I think, you know, presidents need vacations, presidents need breaks. Presidents have all -- if anybody needs to sort of have a moment of escape, it's the most powerful man in the world who is making these decisions.
KURTZ: But --
LEWIS: But the optics have been horrible. And this is something that he's intentionally refused to tone it down. He knows it's an issue. And it does seem sort of inconsistent.
KURTZ: Let me get to Richard.
FOWLER: Listen, I have got to tell you, I disagree on that completely. And here's why. I think every president goes on vacation, with anybody who has ever covered the White House knows that wherever the president is, so is the best communications team and direct lines and aides .
ASHBURN: 200 people.
ASHBURN: Go with him.
KURTZ: If there was ever a day when the president might have stained from hitting the links, maybe that would have been the day?
ASHBURN: It could have been. Yes. I would think so, but he's also operating under the media strategy that basically says, I don't care what the media think about this. Although, he might care about public opinion on this issue, which is really against him.
KURTZ: All right. Matt Lewis, Richard Fowler, thanks very much for joining us today. After the break, we'll talk to one journalist in Ferguson who was arrested for doing his job and another who left in disgust.
KURTZ: Reporting from the streets of Ferguson has been a challenge, to say the least. Scott Olson is a photographer for getting images which produce some of the most compelling pictures of the unrest. This week he was arrested while trying to do his job. Scott Olson joins us now from Ferguson, and in Milwaukee photographer Abe Van Dyke who left Ferguson just the other day. Scott Olson, you were arrested taking pictures. What crime did you commit, exactly?
SCOTT OLSON, GETTY PHOTOGRAPHER: I was the media and I was in a public area. That's basically it. The officer stopped me and asked me if I was with the media and then he -- when I told him I was, he ordered me into a media pen. And when I questioned the legality of it and told him that I wanted to roll video because I didn't believe it was illegal, he had me arrested.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Scott, did that make you angry? Do you feel like the police overreacted?
OLSON: Oh, they clearly overreacted. I mean I don't get angry. It's just - it's just - address it as it comes along, you know. There's no reason to get angry. It wasn't going to do any good. It's just I'll deal with it as necessary.
KURTZ: Fortunately you were able to come back and start doing your job again. Abe Van Dyke, you left Ferguson the other day and you wrote that you were embarrassed by the conduct of the media, yourself included. Explain.
ABE VAN DYKE, PHOTOGRAPHER: Correct. I was part of the media surrounding police doing tactical arrests and also surrounding people that were injured. It got to the point where people were just running at the police to try and get that photo to be the next cover of a newspaper. And to me, that's really not what we're here to do.
KURTZ: So you felt journalists were getting in the way of what the police were trying to do? What was your own interaction with the police and also with the protesters?
VAN DYKE: As far as the protesters go, half of them enjoyed us being there and the other half really didn't want us there. The police, for the most part, were all right, but some of them definitely stepped over the bounds.
KURTZ: What about the half of the protesters who didn't want you there? What kind of things did they say to you?
VAN DYKE: Go home. They just didn't want us around. It was different, depending on the night and the atmosphere, but for the most part, people were wanting us to be leaving.
KURTZ: As you eventually did. Scott Olson, and you've reported from Ukraine and lots of other trouble spots. So you're no stranger to tense situations. You said the police in Ferguson were way over-armed. What impact do you think that had on the situation?
OLSON: I think it instigated it a little bit because it's -- when you're out there with an M-16 or an M-4, it's just not effective. Because people do not think you're going to shoot them. If you're out there with a can of pepper spray, you know they'll get out there - you know, they are going to use it or they will use it and you get out of their way quick.
KURTZ: Scott, we heard - and we played at the top of the show a sound bite from captain in charge saying that he felt that some of the media were glamorizing the violence that erupted night after night until these last few days of relative calm. Glamourizing the violence, would you take issue with that?
OLSON: Well, when you have a situation like this, you have all different types of media. You know, there's -- the majority of the media out here are very professional and they're doing their job and they're telling the story. I assume you'll get some reporters or photographers or television people that attempt to do that. But it's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to just tell the story of what's happening in Ferguson.
KURTZ: Van Dyke, were there things that you saw some of your media colleagues do that troubled you, feel - they made you feel like they were trying to become the story or insert themselves into the story as opposed to just being trapped in difficult situations?
VAN DYKE: Yes. On a few occasions, I saw different photo journalists, run in towards the crowd, almost inciting them by taking photos while they're angry and running up and down the streets, as they can. But to me, it just seemed to be fueling the fire.
KURTZ: Why do you think they did that?
VAN DYKE: They really just want the cover of the next newspaper. I mean Scott has done terrific work and I think a lot of photographers can look up to him and how he's represented himself. I would like to see others show a little bit more decorum while actually down on the ground. This isn't our home. We're a guest in Ferguson.
KURTZ: And just briefly, Scott, do you feel like that you were able to document behavior - behavior by being there in this very tense situation with the tear gas going off and all that?
OLSON: Oh, yeah. You do your best. I mean, it's challenging, no doubt about it. Especially when the teargas is going off and you're worried about getting attacked from both sides. Some of the protesters, like I've said, were not happy with us being there. And the police often were not happy with us being there.
KURTZ: All right. We are glad you're out of jail.
KURTZ: Glad you're out of jail, Scott Olson, and Abe Van Dyke, you're probably glad you're out of Ferguson. Thanks very much for joining us. Thank you.
Ahead on "MediaBuzz," why are the mainstream media dismissing the indictment against Rick Perry? But first, Greta Van Susteren on whether some legal pundits are going way too far in the Michael Brown investigation.
SHAWN: This is a Fox News alert. I'm Eric Shawn. the disaster is potentially widespread. That blunt assessment this morning from the U.S. Geological Survey. As it evaluates the massive 6.0 earthquake that rocked northern California. The epicenter located about six miles southwest of Napa, the heart on our nation's wine country. It is the largest quake to hit the Bay Area since one in 1989 killed 62 people. Thankfully, there are no deaths reported so far this morning. Claudia Cowan is in Napa right now with the very latest. So, Claudia, how serious is the damage?
COWAN: Well, you know, widespread damage. Reports coming in now from throughout Napa County as well as Sonoma County. These earthquake felt as far north as Sacramento, as far south as San Jose. Look at the damage just at this one little market here in Napa alone. You know, we're about six miles away from the epicenter down in American Canyon. The owner estimating $75,000 worth of damage and loss merchandise. Everything from jars of spaghetti to $250 bottles of wine here. None of it insured. And we're also hearing reports about extensive damage at some of the historic buildings in downtown Napa. The sun is coming up now, homeowners are investigating their properties to look for damage there. It's likely to run into the many, many millions if not billions of dollars, Eric.
SHAWN: Yes. Some buildings heavily damaged and destroyed. And you felt the tremors, too.
COWAN: I did and I live 30 miles away in Marin County. But at 3:20 this morning, what struck me, Eric, was how long this earthquake lasted. It was a low, rumbling sort of motion, that you just wait for it to end. All you can do is ride it out. Had to have lasted between 15 and 18 seconds. Anybody in the Bay Area likely felt this one, Eric.
SHAWN: Yeah, at least 70 people injured. Thankfully, no deaths. As we have said, we will continue, Claudia, with this developing story at the top of the hour. Back to "MediaBuzz" with Howard Kurtz. See you at 12.
KURTZ: Michael Brown tragedy follows a long line of racially divisive killings that turned into media marathons, ranging from the Trayvon Martin case all the way back to the tawdry days of O.J. Greta Van Susteren has covered virtually all of those. I sat down with the host of "On the Record" here in studio one.
Greta Van Susteren, Welcome.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, "ON THE RECORD" HOST: Nice to be here.
KURTZ: You have all of these defense lawyers and former prosecutors coming on the air and saying whether they think that Michael Brown or Darren Wilson is to blame for this tragedy. But don't we have very little hard evidence?
VAN SUSTEREN: What they're saying that, they're actually insane. Because look, you know, nobody knows what's happened in this case. I mean we haven't had any of the evidence presented. Anyone who has given an opinion now on either side of it is just frankly, you know, a little bit nuts. Because we don't have information about whether or not they -- we haven't seen the clothes to see whether there's gunshot residue on the clothes which would indicate that the muzzle of the gun was close to the deceit (ph) when it was shot. We don't have the eyewitness testimony. We have people saying what some people are saying. We have that ridiculous audio conversation where someone called in .
KURTZ: Let's talk about that because I have some tape I want to play.
So this is the one we know only has Josie. And she calls in to Dana Loesch's radio show and she says she's a friend of Officer Darren Wilson and she gives his side, which she says she got from his wife.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSIE: Michael just bum-rushes him and just shoves him back into his car. Punches him in the face, and then, of course, Darren grabs for his gun. Michael grabs the gun. At one point, his got the gun totally turned against his hip and Darren a, you know, shoves it away and the gun goes off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now, Fox, CNN, lots of other outlet have played this. Is this worth airing?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, sure. It's interesting, but it has no value in the courtroom. And these things are ultimately going to be the side in the grand jury room and then maybe a courtroom.
KURTZ: What about the court of public opinion?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, loo, people are going to say crazy, wild things, anyway. Everyone has made up his minds anyway.
VAN SUSTEREN: Yeah. I mean that's been - that's unfortunate. I mean 0I think that's terrible. I think that's wrong. But I think people have made up their minds. This is one of those cases where you don't look at the evidence, you take sides, which is just terrible. And as a lawyer, you know any lawyer watching this or watching this is actually quite scandalized. Because you know, you were supposed to look at the evidence and we're not even to that point. We don't have any toxicologist screening. We know very little about the case. People just have pick sides.
KURTZ: So, are you suggesting that pundits wait for the facts, which doesn't seem to fit our 24/7 culture?
VAN SUSTEREN: No. No. Because no, my pundits have certain values. They can explain the grand jury. They can explain what they're hearing on the street. I mean certainly these demonstrations were very important. People need to report on them. We need to see was going on. So, I'm not saying it's unimportant. I'm just saying that when you think about, you know, the course issue here as to what happened, is that, you know, we are so far away from knowing that.
KURTZ: Let's just talk about the segment. Since you mentioned the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and some so, so many people have been there and television cameras. There's been a lot of criticism that maybe the collective beasts known as the media are exacerbating attention there and giving - attracting out of town agitators.
VAN SUSTEREN: Possibly. But I mean where are we supposed to draw the line? I mean what is the media supposed to do? Are we supposed to say, OK, everyone can go for three days and that's it?
VAN SUSTEREN: And how are we supposed to measure .
KURTZ: Only 20 people can go and not a hundred.
VAN SUSTEREN: And the thing is, that when you start a story we have now idea how big it's going to get, or how little this, and you can have the situation, I mean I was down in Aruba covering the story and that was the big story of Natalie Holloway and I've got a phone call at 7:00 in the morning, get out on the plane to go to London because they were bombings. You know, something bigger than Ferguson you can come along, maybe ISIS is the story. But saying - we have no way of predicting when we start a story as to where we are going, how long it's going to be, how big it's going to be and much depends on what else happens in the world.
KURTZ: You've been through a lot of these particularly racially charged cases. Trayvon Martin going a little bit ..
VAN SUSTEREN: I've done summer - I was a civil rights lawyer.
KURTZ: Right. Isn't it true, isn't it true as an attorney would say .
KURTZ: That if you are a legal analyst and you like being on television, that when you go on to one of these cases, you raise your profile and it helps your career?
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, that's, you know, everyone has thought that. When I was a guest on CNN, covering cases like the William County Smith case, as an example, I never got one case from doing that. I think -- and if a lawyer thinks they're going to get cases from going on television, your honor, I don't know, I never did.
KURTZ: But what about your television career?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's - I mean this is - for what? I mean where - I mean with the exception of maybe me, I mean I got lucky in the sense that I'm still on TV. And I'm the accidental anchor, I mean I just showed up at CNN and for some reason here I am at Fox News 13 and a half years at Fox News. I don't think there's a big TV career for lawyers. I think lawyers do it because they're actually fascinated. As much as the viewers are fascinated by it, as much as the journalists are fascinated by it, so are the lawyers. So I think the lawyers are fascinated, they're interested in it, but I don't think there's a big TV career for lawyers, ordinarily. I'm one of the very few who, for whatever reason, got a career out of it.
KURTZ: Because they like you, that's why. Just to come back to the main point, so we don't even have the official police version, we have all these leaks, we haven't seen a picture of the officer who was supposedly taken to the hospital. Has there been a rush to judgment?
VAN SUSTEREN: Yeah, of course there has. I mean people picked sides on day one. It was a terrible rush to judgment. I have no idea whether or not this is a brutal horrible excessive force case or whether this is a police officer who is doing just the right thing under the circumstances. I need more evidence. I'd like to know so many things, like, you know, what happened right before the encounter? What was the conversation in the car? Was, you know, is a gunshot residue on the clothes? How many times was he shot? Was he on any sort of drug that would make him aggressive? I don't know any of that. And people have just simply taken sides. You know, the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, when he said I stand with the people of Ferguson since it was a predominantly African- American community that seemed to send a signal that he was siding with African-Americans against white Americans.
KURTZ: I hope we'll be getting some of these answers soon. I know you'll be - Greta Van Susteren, thanks for stopping by.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, Howie.
After the break, Rick Perry under indictment. So why are so many liberal commentators defending the Texas governor?
KURTZ: Rick Perry seemed to enjoy getting his mug shot taken the other day when he was booked on criminal charges. Now, you would expect the Texas governor to denounce the indictment against him. That's what accused politicians do. But the media reaction in this case has departed from the usual script. Here is Perry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK PERRY (R) TEXAS: I'm going to fight this injustice with every fiber of my being.
And we will prevail.
PERRY: And we will prevail because we're standing for the rule of law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: In case you haven't been following it, the Republican Governor is accused of using his veto to force out Rosemary Lehmberg. The district attorney on the county that includes Austin. He vetoed her budget after Lehmberg was arrested for drunk driving and captured on videotape berating officers. Yet all of this was very public, not some secret backroom deal. The press, well, just hasn't taken this indictment very seriously. The liberal editorial page of the "New York Times" calls the indictment, which accuses Perry of abusing his power, "the product of an overzealous prosecution." Liberal "Washington Post" comments Ruth Marcus dubbed it a shockingly skimpy indictment. And TV journalists, including many liberal commentators agree.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK HALPERIN, BLOOMBERG POLITICS MANAGING EDITOR: It was the stupidest thing I've seen, I think, in my entire career. I hope some judge throws it out right away.
JOE TRIPPI, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I look at this grand jury indictment and it just doesn't make any sense to me other than it's political - try to embarrass him politically as he gets ready to run for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: That was Joe Trippi, who says Rick Perry was gearing up to run again in 2016. Even if the charges are thrown out, this tarnishes him, right? Unless Perry runs as the guy who beat an unfair rap and it winds up helping him. For now, at least the mainstream media are laughing this indictment out of court, the court of public opinion.
Coming up, CNN's Don Lemon goes toe to toe with a rap star in Ferguson. And Sean Hannity gets into it with a local politician who insists Michael Brown was a victim of police brutality. Our "Video Verdict" is next.
KURTZ: Time now for our video verdict where we - based on whether they're good journalism and good television. CNN's Don Lemon took his Ferguson coverage in an unorthodox direction by chatting with a rap star who had showed up in town.
ASHBURN: And Talib Kweli had plenty to say including his criticism of the story on CNN's website. And then, he just kept talking and talking until Lemon tried to stop him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TALIB KWELI, RAP ARTIST: Especially with an organization like CNN, I don't think the intention is to not be fair and balanced, but we live in a world that's run by - by white supremacy. The first thing in the story says, police chase down men.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Let me ..
LEMON: Let me finish my point.
KWELI: I was there right there with the article, the situation he's talking about, I was right there, that's what happened. Let me finish my .
LEMON: I'm going to let you finish your point.
KWELI: No, you're not.
LEMON: Yes, I am. I want to address something you said .
KWELI: And we don't have to -.
Can I finish telling you my point?
KWELI: Is that how you have a conversation?
LEMON: I understand that, but in order to have a conversation, you have to listen to me as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHBURN: Oh, my gosh, that hurts my head.
KURTZ: I will let you finish the point.
ASHBURN: No, you are not. I'm going to talk over you. I think if we asked anyone in the audience, that they would say they don't like this kind of interview. And I understand Don was trying to get him to allow him to talk. But not by talking over somebody else.
KURTZ: Well, I think the problem is that Don Lemon got too defensive when Talib Kweli tried to criticize CNN's coverage and therefor they talked over each other. And at the same time, you know, Kweli was filibustering and he wouldn't shut up, and Lemon was trying to get control of the interview.
ASHBURN: He got a little personal, too. I mean I think that he felt like he had to actually - defend himself to this guy.
KURTZ: By the end he felt like, you know, he walked off and he walked back, because he likes the camera. By the end I felt like Lemon handled it well, except they should have done a rap song together with him or something.
What's the score?
ASHBURN: I give it a five.
KURTZ: I'm going to give it a four.
ASHBURN: All right. Well, Patricia Bynes is a Democratic politician in Ferguson who was absolutely convinced that Michael Brown is a victim of the police.
KURTZ: Bynes pushed back when Sean Hannity kept pressing her on that point and that led to some fireworks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You are not there. So, you don't know if this case is about police brutality, do you?
PATRICIA BYNES: No, I do know that this case is about police brutally.
HANNITY: You do?
BYNES: We're looking at the case as - yes, I do.
HANNITY: You do.
BYNES: We are talking about excessive force here.
HANNITY: So, you don't believe.
BYNES: There's no way.
HANNITY: You don't believe.
BYNES: Let me finish.
BYNES: There is no way .
HANNITY: You don't know - you weren't there.
BYNES: That a young man who is unarmed should have two shots in his head. That's a little excessive. That's what we mean when we say police brutality.
HANNITY: Let me educate you about the legal system in America. You can try to talk over me, but let me tell you our system of justice, a person is innocent until proven guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now, Sean talked down to her when he said let me educate you, but he was right to keep pressing her because she kept saying police brutality, police brutality, but couldn't prove it in this case involving Michael Brown.
ASHBURN: It's true. But I have to come back to what the audience likes and doesn't like. Because every time I talk to people who see that there are other people talking over other people, they don't like it in the audience. Because you don't get a chance to hear what anybody else is saying.
KURTZ: But what do you do if the guest just keeps repeating talking points, you know, trying .
ASHBURN: She didn't even get a word out. I mean .
KURTZ: Well, she got the words out.
ASHBURN: There were a couple of words before he - asked he the question and then he asked it again and asked it again.
KURTZ: Well, there was a point where he could have moved on. All right. Time for the score Buzz meter.
ASHBUN: Five on the buzz meter. I give it a 5.
KURTZ: I'll be generous and give it a seven.
KURTZ: Still to come, your best tweets and the hometown paper throws the Washington Redskins for a loss.
KURTZ: Here are a few of your top tweets, has the media helped or hurt after these tensions in Ferguson? Jeff Hoge, "It's definitely exacerbated. Activist media obviously wants to push more conflict for one thing, plus the sheer number of journalist and staff." Maurice Heller, "Media pounced on Ferguson like maggots on dead flesh. They tried to justify existence by reporting garbage. Wait for the facts." The media rushing to judgment based on little evidence, real duality. I can't imagine a legitimate excuse for why Darren Wilson did what he did. The media have defended the police way too much." Derek Hunter, "Little evidence is an overstatement. But to wait for facts wouldn't fill 24 hours. So speculation and rumor took their place."
ASHBURN: And sadly, Howie, this is exactly what's going to happen to every news story from now on. We just need to get used to it. It's the culture.
KURTZ: But that's letting the media off the hook.
ASHBURN: It is. But it's what's going to happen.
KURTZ: I would like to see more restraint.
ASHBURN: Who wouldn't?
KURTZ: The media's war on the Washington Redskins has a new recruit, "The Washington Post" says it won't use the team's name, which many Native Americans consider offensive. At least in its editorials, while the news pages will still refer to the Skins. The Editorial page it's a slur and will mostly be avoided "while we wait for the NFL to catch up with thoughtful opinion and common decency." Other papers and commentators have sworn off the controversial name, but the Washington Football Team hasn't given any ground.
ASHBURN: How many Native Americans are on the staff of the opinion page of the "Washington Post" sports section? I mean I think this is very paternalistic of them to make this decision on behalf of American Indians. I think if the Redskins say we should hear from American Indians and let that be the determining factor.
KURTZ: Well, the media are somewhat being politically correct here, but they're trying to force the team owner Dan Snyder, just drop the name.
ASHBURN: He'll never drop the name, because anybody - if you know Dan Snyder, you know he's not backing down. He just put a commercial up, Redskins.com.
KURTZ: Right. But if it's .
ASHBURN: Interviewing American Indians.
KURTZ: But if the name - you find the name offensive, why not avoid using it?
ASHBURN: If they find it offensive, I think we should.
KURTZ: All right. We'll see if we use it here. That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'M Howard Kurtz. Check out our Facebook page. Give us a like. We posted original video there. And we respond to your questions. Keep the dialogue going? We're back here next Sunday, 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET with the latest buzz. Content and Programming Copyright 2014 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.