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Media Buzz

CPAC's media-bashing moment; David Axelrod on Obama and media

This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," March 1, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the buzzmeter this Sunday, the press pack descends on the CPAC convention, and was treated to a whole of media bashing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, R-N.J.: I don't care what they write about me in the New York Times, they can keep it. I don't subscribe by the way.

REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: The days of the media calling the shots in our primary debates are over.

How many people think it's a good idea to have 23 debates in front of people like Chris Matthews?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Does that appeal work while the candidates are also trying to get favorable coverage. And should journalists believe Donald Trump when he says this time, this time, he'll probably run for president? Look at the media's gotcha questions for republican candidates like Scott Walker, even some anchors now admitting they get a much harder time than the democrats.

Obama insider says the president felt worn out by the whole cable thing, it was once patronizing and disrespectful to New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, and defends Obama's sniping at Fox.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID AXELROD, INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO DIRECTOR: I wouldn't necessarily sing aloud news organizations that way. Fox news at least some elements of it have come to represent the voice of the right on cable TV.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

I've got some questions for David Axelrod, plus, the former MTV star and her path to punditry, the libertarian known as Kennedy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA KENNEDY MONTGOMERY, KENNEDY HOST: I've always been kind of a misfit and that's where I've always been more comfortable. It wouldn't be authentic or right for me to adopt a convenient set of beliefs from either side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

KURTZ: There seem to be more journalists than ever before at this year's conservative gathering at Maryland's National Harbor. And I asked reporters how CPAC became such a media Mecca.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Is the presence of all these media people, the cameras, the bloggers, writers, magnifying the importance of CPAC?

RON FOURNIER, NATIONAL JOURNAL: That's the irony. Yes, of course, a lot of cameras here and lot of reporters that magnify their impact, it gets more people who can't come to Washington to find out about it but at the same time, they spend a lot of time attacking us.

KURTZ: Is it a big political story or is it a big political story within the media bubble?

DAVID WEBB, TALK SHOW HOST: I think it's within the media bubble and within the base. That's the fairer statement.

DAVID DRUCKER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Whenever you have a lot of activists, you're gonna get a lot of bloggers and a lot of reporters, and a lot of cameras. That in turn attracts more bloggers and activists and everybody else.

KURTZ: Media have to show up, as well?

DRUCKER: We want to hear what they have to say and talk to everybody without going to Anchorage, Alaska to find out what they think.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

Joining us now, Mary Katherine Ham, Fox News Contributor, Hot Air's editor at large, and co-author of the upcoming book, "End of Discussion," how the lucks outrage industry shuts down debate, manipulates photos, and makes America less free and fun. Ron Fournier, of National Journal Columnist as you saw was at CPAC and Kirsten Powers, Fox News Contributor and a columnist for USA Today. Mary Katherine, no shortage of animosity toward the mainstream media at CPAC. How much of that is well deserved?

MARY KATHERINE HAM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: It is part of the primary process that these guys want to say. I'm the guy who dislikes the media as much as you do. But some of it is just honesty in dealing with the actual media you're dealing with. And to me, a candidate has to be realistic about the hostility he's going to face in questioning as we've seen in recent weeks for Scott Walker especially and that that matters, they have to be able to face up to that.

KURTZ: What struck me, Kirsten, is that it wasn't just a series of clotheslines, but a broad bush as if everyone in media at all times is biased against every single republican.

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't think that's that far off actually. I think that there is a real bias that we've seen against republicans in the media and I think it's gotten worse. I don't think it's this thing that has been a constant; I think there has been especially with a lot of these new liberal outlets, bloggers that have a lot of influence. I think that they're under a lot of attack. That said it's not like they get a pass from the conservative media. That's the difference. So even if you talk about the debates Fox news debates were some of the toughest for republicans. So the idea that somehow they're gonna switch and not get, not have accountability I think isn't correct.

KURTZ: I was just trying to make a distinction between for example opinionated cable, pundits and newspaper reporters so I think some of whom tried to be fair but Ron, you noted the irony in our little conversation in CPAC that the same candidates who were beaten up on the media are trying to get favorable coverage from journalists and yet they seem to love slapping people like you around.

FOURNIER: Sure. But first of all, we deserve it especially when we're in an event like this when conservative activists and conservative candidates want us to just tow their line and we don't. Same thing happens when we get to net rooms, they're upset because we're not liberal enough. Kirsten is right. The folks who try to be in the middle, the mainstream media, who aren't working for a partisan element, if you look at those groups of reporters, we do tend to could you skew to the left.

And sometimes, we're not very good about both being accurate, being accountable, and being objective.

KURTZ: That's a fair statement and it doesn't help when the Daily Beast yesterday had to retract a story, it was picked up by the -- from the women's website Jezebel, accusing Governor Scott Walker of trying to cut funds in the state university system in Wisconsin for sexual assault reporting and it turns out to be completely untrue. Mary Katherine, Sean Hannity was almost kind of a co-host at the CPAC because he interviewed so many of the candidates. He asked Jeb Bush about common core, and immigration, most of the prognosticators say well Jeb did pretty well. It wasn't his crowd. Do you think that mainstream media because they kind of like Jeb bush grade him on a curve?

HAM: I do think I felt more exceeded expectations stories from the reporter are than I did in the room necessarily. Not that he did badly at all. I think he did well. But there was more enthusiasm I would think in those headlines. But I also think that to Kirsten's point about not getting a pass, he sat down with Hannity and got asked some tough stuff and Chris Christie sat down with Laura Ingram and got asked tough stuff and which I think smart for both of them because they do need to process this threshold and prove to conservatives that they can be conservative.

KURTZ: Right. Laura was pretty aggressive with Chris Christie.

POWERS: And I think the distinction is that when you have someone like Laura interviewing, she's not asking them questions about these sorts of stereotypes. And that's what happened with the Jezebel story. When I saw the story, I thought -- I just find that hard to believe, I just find that hard to believe that Scott Walker did that but it's not hard for Jezebel to believe it because they believe that Scott Walker wants to tie women down and make them have babies. So it would make sense that he would want to not report sexual assaults, right? And so I think that's the bias and kind of having these pre-ordained ideas about republicans because you're never around them.

KURTZ: I'm also struck by how much the press which used to love Chris Christie is basically writing him off as a presidential candidate, and we're almost two years out.

HAM: He got no exceeding expectations stories, although I think...

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: I've been waiting this long to talk about Donald Trump who I covered for a long time. He was at CPAC and we'll get to what he said in a moment. But this is how long the Donald has been flirting with running for president. We have a clip that goes back to 1999. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FOX REPORTER: Everyone who runs for public office has to be able to look into the camera and tell people why they should vote for him.

DONALD TRUMP: I just look at you. I don't have to look at a camera. I'll look at you, I'll look you right in the eyes and I would be a great president if I decide to do it. I know how things should run and this country has not run properly.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: So first Trump tells the Washington Post he's more serious this time and he's hired political staff and then he the convention it's a 75% to 80% chance that he's running. How seriously should the media take Trump at this point?

FOURNIER: He may be more serious, but he's not a serious man. If he runs for president, he is not gonna be president. He is a carnival barker; we shouldn't take him very seriously.

HAM: He has a long and flawless record of thinking that he's awesome.

POWERS: I think we should take that into account

FOURNIER: I think he puts on a good show but he would not run the country, he's not a serious presidential candidate.

KURTZ: We went through these four years ago where he hyped the possibility of running right up to the point where he renewed with NBC to do apprentice.

POWERS: I don't understand why he's taken seriously. I really don't, I don't know why people want to hear what he has to say, it's a complete and utter mystery to me.

KURTZ: One reason is because the media loves to write about the Donald because he's entertaining. He has the big personality, he's got simple solutions. And he loves to get into it with the press on twitter, denouncing Chuck Pot is a moron, that's sort of thing...

(CROSSTALK)

FOURNIER: We should stop talking about him right now.

KURTZ: All right, I'm gonna take my queue from point A to move on. Before we leave CPAC just very quickly, so there was the straw poll about 3,000 voters, people who they voted, Rand Paul won for the third straight year, his father run a couple of years in a row. Before that, Scott Walker finishing second, does that matter as that kind of like, the media, gives the media something to write about for a cycle?

HAM: I don't think it matters a ton. It's well known that The Paul groups are well organized there which matters, activists should be well organized and show that they can do that. I do think perhaps the unexpectedly strong performance from Scott Walker means a little bit of something, but we're very early out.

POWERS: I don't think if you look at the last time it was Ron Paul who won, who obviously didn't get the nomination, but if you look it at the 2012 straw poll, it was Mick Romney and it was Santorum in second. So it actually was, somewhat predictive. But I think this far out, it's not predictive.

FOURNIER: I'll just say as a political reporter, you have to take the long view and realize there are all kinds of flexion points in the campaign. You can never tell in the moment which ones matter, very few of them actually matter long term, but you can always discern a little bit out of everything. And I agree with you out of this one, the fact that Scott Walker did relatively well, better than expected I think that shows you that he is a candidate to watch right now.

Let's do a once around on the big scary DHS showdown. Of course funding was to run out Friday, house republicans couldn't even get a three week extension pass; they had to settle for a one week stopgap. And I think the media knowing full well this is a Washington Kabuki dance hyped this and everybody knew in the end, maybe we'll go with, Department of Homeland Security is not gonna shut down. Anyone want to disagree with that?

HAM: I think it was over hyped and I wonder if there is a point at which will doesn't pay off in ratings. The American people are like we do this every three months.

KURTZ: Right.

HAM: There's got to be a point...

(CROSSTALK)

FOURNIER: I could not disagree more. This is not about ratings and it's not even about who is going to win or lose and whether it shuts or doesn't. For one thing, all they did was extending it another week. What this is about is our government, and how our leaders are acting, they're acting like little kids. They can't even pass a budget for one of the most important agencies in our country. That's an important thing to say about the dysfunction of Washington.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: That is a story, political dysfunction, absolutely. But I'm talking about here's what will happen at midnight Friday in this doesn't happen.

FOURNIER: Who's up, who's down, who won, who lost, and everybody lost in that. I agree with that.

POWERS: I think it's an important story. And I did notice how in the past we would be here until midnight waiting to see what would happen and this time it's like, okay, whatever. They're wearing us down with their extremely irresponsible behavior, but I think it does deserve coverage because you shouldn't be -- this is not how the government should be operating.

KURTZ: Certainly bears coverage. I just think the countdown clock nature of the coverage is kind of silly.

HAM: The game is given far more coverage than the dysfunction.

KURTZ: We have a moment of consensus, a good time for me to go to a break. Remember to send me a tweet during this hour. Do you think Donald Trump's gonna run, and should we take him seriously? We'll read the messages later. Or you can e-mail us on every program, everyday.

Ahead, we'll look at the rant that got Keith Olbermann suspended again. But when we come back, some republican candidates say journalists hate hitting them with gotcha questions. Do they have a case?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Scott Walker is now raising money based on what he sees as dumb and intrusive questions from reporters saying in a fundraising pitch that he wants to fight back against "the clueless and mindless journalistic herd". A dust stop involving the Wisconsin Governor has sparked a broader debate about what he calls the gotcha game. Being asked what he thinks about Rudy Giuliani, saying President Obama doesn't love America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, THIS WEEK MODERATOR: There does seem to be a little bit of a double standard here. The Republicans tend to get asked these questions about their outliers more than democrats are.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Ron Fournier you write in defense of gotcha questions, you even come out of the closet and say you are an admitted practitioner of questions. Why?

FOURNIER: There shouldn't be a double standard, but certainly there's got to be plenty of room for gotcha questions. As an interviewer, most of my questions that I've asked democrats, republicans who have been trying to elicit information or context, but there are times when I'm trying to test them. This goes back, I've learned this covering Bill Clinton in Arkansas. There's a man who can't suffer fools, if I wanted to have him on his heels, if I wanted to have control of an interview, which is my job, if I want to test him a little bit, I'd ask the dumbest question.

KURTZ: You do it deliberately?

FOURNIER: Deliberately, you bet you, you bet you. I think there are gotcha answers and I think there is gotcha coverage. We can talk about that if you want. But there is nothing wrong with a gotcha question.

KURTZ: Let me Mary Katherine in, so are journalists asking republicans in particular outrageous questions. There are candidates blocking ordinary aggressive questions because they're not agile enough to finesse this.

HAM: I do think there's a double standard here and I'm gonna do the unprecedented and agree with George Stephanopoulos. Part of the issue is they get asked these different sorts of questions, sometimes more aggressively and then here is the big one, they're emblematic and they have to be asked of every other single republican. That almost never happens with democrats where the same question, oh, well he messed up and now we'll ask eight more, that doesn't happen on the left and that can be problematic as we saw with Walker. The other thing is...

FOURNIER: Remember what happened during the Iraq war debate about -- if you evolve like John Kerry. Not as much, but it happened.

HAM: Certainly not as much. The extent to which that Giuliani thing got blown out of proportion was crazy to me. But here's another thing, there is a difference between not being agile and pushing back. I think republican candidates need to be tough and recognize that this is hostile questioning. Sometimes turn it around on the press. Walker has not done it perfectly, but I think he's making a step in the direction to make this a pattern to point this out.

KURTZ: Do you agree that what I call this guilt by association questions; he said this, what do you think, gets the GOP gets peppered with those more?

POWERS: I don't know specifically. I think there is -- everybody has to denounce. Todd Akin said something -- every republican has to denounce it where as Bill Maher says something and gives money to the president and like no democrats have to denounce anything, he says. That does happen; I don't think the Giuliani is a good example of that. I think Scott Walker should have been able to answer that question. When somebody says something that incendiary, because of the president or not loving the country -- I think that's a reasonable question to say like do you believe that? I mean to me that doesn't actually strike me as a gotcha question.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: I think we all agree standards should apply equally to both sides. Are they sort of part of the presidential marathon, don't we judge candidates by how they -- every professional politician knows how to determine the question around where you can point, pivot away, attack the press. But walker just seemed to say I'm not playing this game.

FOURNIER: That's why I think there are gotcha answers. If walker had said of course he loves his country but he's destroying it, it wouldn't have been a story. He made that a gotcha question with his gotcha answer. I also think there's gotcha coverage, again using Walker, here's an example of where we did go too far with the answer. The question was fair, the way we covered it wasn't. This is what he said at CPAC, if I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world. A lot of reporters say he is comparing union members with ISIS. That's not what he was doing. That is a gotcha coverage that is being unfair. What he was doing was comparing of the challenge of fighting ISIS with the challenge of fighting unions, which was silly, but not comparing ISIS with union members.

KURTZ: And journalists know what he meant. Maybe it was expressed poorly, but it gets blown up as you say.

FOURNIER: Some journalists acted like they didn't know what he meant. Some journalists literally said that he was comparing ISIS with union members and that's wrong, that's not what he was doing.

KURTZ: You agree with that?

FOURNIER: The question was fair, the coverage was not.

HAM: I do agree with that and to the point about the patriotic question. The issue for conservatives is, well, the president called us terrorists and suicide bombers and hostage takers and nobody else gets asked if that is a legitimate line.

(CROSSTALK)

POWERS: Look, I think there is a double standard. There's no question. But I do think there is some things that are reasonable and if Giuliani says this at a Walker event, that's just a reasonable thing. If there was no connection between the two of them, then I'd say that's a little -- I don't like all this everybody being forced to denounce.

KURTZ: This part is a debate that will continue throughout this campaign and beyond. Ron Fournier, Kirsten Powers, Mary Katherine Ham, Thanks very much for stopping by this Sunday.

Ahead, David Axelrod on just how cozy he and the Obama campaign got with the media. But up next, a look at the controversy surrounding Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly, tube talk is straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Keith Olbermann sure has a knack for talking himself in to trouble. ESPN suspended the anchor for several days after he got into a twitter spat with students at Penn state who just raised $13 million for cancer research. First he tweeted pitiful, and then no son, I said PSU students were pitiful, had nothing to do with fund raising. After the suspension, Olbermann said he was sorry. I apologize for the PSU tweets, I was stupid and childish and way less mature than the students there who did such a great fundraising job. Joining us now from New York, Marissa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter, so Marissa, Olbermann has a history of picking fights with ordinary people on twitter. These kids were raising charity money, what do you make of this?

MARISSA GUTHRIE, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER TV EDITOR: Well, look, he's admitted that it was stupid. And it's pretty hard to win that battle when these are students doing something as selfless as raising money for cancer research. And he knows that he was wrong. But ESPN hired him because he polemicist. He has strong opinions; he's very skilled at relaying them to an audience, so he is going to occasionally go over the line. They have a lot of people like him in their stable and they get suspended, too. So i'm not surprised...

KURTZ: That's true. I thought he was putting some of the controversies behind him when he was with MSNBC, and current TV where he got involved in litigation, but he did apologize. The suspension is for a few days. Let me ask you about Bill O'Reilly controversy. We spent a lot of time on this last when O'Reilly called in for a couple segments. What is your take on how the flap, the fewer has played out in the weeks since then?

GUTHRIE: I think there has been a real temptation obviously to compare this to the Brian Williams situation. There is a much different threshold for a news anchor and an opinion host. And where there is some question about the facts or the interpretation of the facts in Bill O'Reilly's case, Brian Williams and the network have come out and said he was wrong, what he did was wrong. They suspended him for six months without pay and launched an investigation. So I think there is a different bar there. And Bill has furiously debated his critics, invited them all on his show. And he's doing what he does best. He's doing he's doing battle. He's being, he's lobbing grenades and being the rhetorical pugilist. So his audience loves to see that.

KURTZ: Well, Fox news said in a statement that Bill O'Reilly has already addressed several claims leveled against him; this is nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far left advocates, mother Jones and media matters and responding to the unproven accusation du'jour has become an exercise in futility. But at the same time, a couple of media sites have noted his ratings have gone up in this past week, even when he's not talking about this controversy, 22% in total viewers and 45% in that 25-54 demo. What do you make of that?

GUTHRIE: Well, look, Bill is at his best when he has an enemy to battle against, to fight. And I think that he's legitimately rebutting these accusations and his audience is on his side and they want to see him do those. And it's actually really good TV and, you know, look, if he feels that he's been maligned, he's got an enormous megaphone, a big platform where he can go on and legitimately rebut all those charges. So I think...

KURTZ: He's made that point, not everybody has the access to that kind of platform. So let me you've on to MSNBC which everybody knows has a lot of ratings trouble, Friday was the last day for two shows, one hosted by Joy Reed, the other by Ronan Farrow, of course the son of Mia Farrow. Let me play a little bit for those not familiar with the program from the Ronin Farrow show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONAN FARROW, RONAN FARROW DAILY HOST: The great mysteries of the universe. How did we get here? Is there an after life? And lady sex stuff, how does it work?

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: So Marissa, what do you make of Ronan Farrow getting a show and now a year later the plug being pulled?

GUTHRIE: Well, I was a little perplexed when they gave him the show because even though he's kind of sassy and self defacing on twitter, he has a big social media following, he's a smart guy, a very accomplished guy for someone so young. He's been on some MSNBC programs as a guest and contributor. He never had...

KURTZ: But not a journalist.

GUTHRIE: Exactly and no hosting experience. So I think it was a little crazy and probably unfair to him to throw him, you know, into the frying pan like that even though it was a daytime show and maybe the ratings expectations are not as high in daytime as they are in prime time. But I think that he obviously wasn't ready for that. It's hard to do television day in and day out and make it convincing.

KURTZ: It is hard. Some people make it look easy. I've got just a few seconds. What did you make of Ronan Farrow's parting joke about his father?

GUTHRIE: It sorts of book ended the whole experiment. When he started the show, there was all this serious debate about who his father was. And so he ended his show with another sort of tongue in cheek reference to his father whoever that is.

KURTZ: It's either Woody Allen or maybe Frank Sinatra.

GUTHRIE: Maybe.

KURTZ: So that's how he chose to go out. All right, Marissa Guthrie thanks very much for joining us from New York.

Coming up, David Axelrod on why president Obama gets so upset with some pundits and cable chatter especially on Fox. And later, why does no TV news give far or attention to Rudy Giuliani attacking the president than controversies involving Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Your tweets are pouring in. Here's John W. Wilson -- Donald Trump whether he runs or not is a non issue, he will not get the nomination regardless, and he is a political joke. Where's the love for the Donald?

David Axelrod is a journalist turned Obama strategist, turned White House official and now an MSNBC commentator. He's got a new book called Believer and we talked about the president and the press from Berkley.

David Axelrod welcome.

DAVID AXELROD, "THE BELIEVER" AUTHOR: Thanks Howie good to be with you.

KURTZ: Almost every liberal commentator who I watched, who I read, who I know has in the second term expressed some disappointment and frustration with Barack Obama's presidency. Does that bother you?

AXELROD: No. Part of what you need do when you're the president of the United States or when you work for the president of the United States is take a longer view. And it's very hard to judge a presidency in the moment. I think this presidency is gonna stand up well. I'm proud that he is a guy in my experience who is not a perfect guy, I'm very clear about that in my book, but a guy who's been willing to look longer, look the horizon and not get too bogged down in the moment.

KURTZ: You write in the book that at one point, the president told you this whole cable thing wears you out. I wouldn't think if you're president of the United States you'd worry that much about the whole cable thing.

AXELROD: No, well, first of all, that was three months in to his presidency, so I think everybody adjusts to the realities of the presidency.

KURTZ: Speaking of which, you're now part of MSNBC. On your role as commentator, when you occasionally and mildly criticize the president, I feel like you're sort of holding back a bit, that you are in the words of your title a believer.

AXELROD: I am. Well, the believer title of my book refers more than my relationship with one person. It has to do with my belief in the system. I do believe in it.

KURTZ: How free do you feel to criticize the president you work for?

AXELROD: I feel free to criticize him, and I have criticized him. When I do criticize him, and you're right, it gets outside the tension because it's like a

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: Even Axelrod says. So let's go to some points in the book. Two thousand eight campaigns, you bring New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on the plane to talk to Barack Obama and in your words, the president treats her -- he is patronizing and disrespectful to her. He doesn't seem to like press people all that much.

AXELROD: Well, I've never quite seen anything like that. And he reminded me by the way, he only read the book after it was in print. And he reminded me that the thing that provoked him was that -- was a column that he felt was unfair to Michelle, his wife.

KURTZ: In that '08 campaign, your candidate got what I would say is the easiest ride from the press of anybody in modern political history. Hillary's people used to complain to me about it all the time. You look back and concede that that's true, right?

AXELROD: I think we got pretty good treatment, not universally good treatment but we got good treatment. But it's also true that when your campaign is going well, when you're running a good campaign, when you're running a smart campaign, you tend to get better coverage than when you're not running a good campaign.

KURTZ: Sure. And one negative note in that campaign came with the remarks the videos of Obama's former pastor reverend Jeremiah Wright. In the book you say those videos first began appearing on Fox with right wing shock jock Sean Hannity and then went, "mainstream with good morning America". Are you saying the anti-American rantings of Wright weren't a legitimate story at first, was being pushed by Fox?

AXELROD: No, they were clearly a legitimate story, but they were also boiled down of decades of sermons by Reverend Wright. So they didn't characterize the whole of his life and statements. But I never suggested that it wasn't a story.

KURTZ: On this point though, I can't help but notice that the president on the stump seemed with some regularity to take swipes at Fox news, doesn't that highlight the criticism?

AXELROD: Well, maybe. I wouldn't necessarily single out news organizations that way. Fox news, you know, has come at least some elements of it have come to represent the voice of the right on cable TV just as for some MSNBC has represented the voice of the left. And that's one of the features of our modern media is that...

(CROSSTALK)

AXELROD: In the opinion program people tend to sort themselves out, ideologically and watch the programming that affirms their points of view. KURTZ: So 2008 campaign again, you write that Washington Post Shayla Murray who now works for Joe Biden, and Newsweek's Richard Wolffe became my constant companions on the road, you confide in them, you swore them to secrecy about a bad poll. Doesn't that underscore the coziness of the campaign with the press corps?

AXELROD: I never doubted that they and Richard has written things that were challenging. I'm sure Shayla did too though I didn't monitor every word. But, look, one of the things about me is that I started off as a journalist. I don't view journalists as adversaries; I understand what their jobs are. And when you're traveling with people day after day after day and you're having conversations with them about the events of the day, you do develop relationships. I don't think that that impedes their professionalism or mine. And Howie you've been around a long time. You've covered probably covered campaigns.

KURTZ: I've covered a lot campaigns.

AXELROD: That is a natural thing. Again...

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: I was talking about there were some campaigns that get along well with the press and some that do not. I was simply making that point. Twenty twelve campaign, that disastrous first debate, between the president and Mick Romney, you write that MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell pulled you aside and said you might want to get on our air; they're ripping your guy apart, MSNBC kind of the go-to network for the Obama campaign and Obama White House.

AXELROD: Obviously not that night. I joked that -- Chris Matthews -- I didn't immediate to watch TV to hear what Chris was saying because he was saying it at such a decibel level. It could be heard all around the globe. There was a sense particularly among some of the folks who are opinion broadcasters that he had let down in that debate, they were very vociferous. Just as there was some criticism on Fox about Romney's performance in the last debate where there was a sense that he wasn't as challenging as he should have been on the part of some on the right who were partisan in his favor.

KURTZ: David Axelrod thanks very much for joining us.

AXELROD: Thanks for having me.

KURTZ: And you can see the entire unedited interview with David Axelrod on our home page, Foxnews.com/media buzz and our Facebook page. Give us a like there. Next, she's an outspoken libertarian, you probably know that. My conversation with MTV star turned Fox host Kennedy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, better known as Kennedy, is not your typical cable news host having come to the opinion game after hosting a late night alternative rock program on MTV. She has a new primetime show on the Fox business network, and I sat down with her in New York.

Kennedy welcome.

KENNEDY: Thank you so much.

KURTZ: What's with the one name, are you that famous?

KENNEDY: No, I have too many names. They had to pair it down. Eventually they got to nub and just kept Kennedy.

KURTZ: You've been quoted as saying yelling at people is kind of boring TV. But doesn't that go against the very essence of cable news?

KENNEDY: I guess it does but every once in a while, you have to tweak the paradigms. It's fun to have conversations with people you totally disagree with. And actually my senior producer...

KURTZ: And not get interrupted when you're trying to make a point or finish a sentence?

KENNEDY: I try not to, but sometimes I get so excited I can't help it. So that's sometime I really, personally trying to work on. But my senior producer will get in my ear because we wear these devices called IFES, where we can hear what people are saying. If we interrupt people too much and if I'm getting too angry, he'll go honey badger, honey badger. That's our code that I need to back off.

KURTZ: Do you have a code that you should get angrier?

KENNEDY: I am sure he would. We haven't met that scenario yet where he tells me to go for the kill early.

KURTZ: You worked at MTV. Did that experience helps you with Fox news?

KENNEDY: I think all of my experiences have certainly helped. MTV was great because I learned a lot about being a spontaneous performer and reacting to situations quickly. And it's obviously very different when you're music and pop culture reacting to humorous situations. In breaking news, you have to go into the same part of your brain where you're able to be in the moment and actively listen so you can respond effectively.

KURTZ: Your show is sort of built around debating your libertarian views and to boil it down want to kind of keep government out of our lives or less intrusive in our lives.

KENNEDY: I actually like to put it in a more positive sense. I love freedom, I love it. I'm relentlessly optimistic that we can pursue our individual freedoms in a way that benefits everybody. Just stay out of my stuff, don't hurt me and I'll do the same with you and then we can party when we choose.

KURTZ: Does that mean you are you pro-choice, you're pro gay marriage?

KENNEDY: I am pro gay marriage and I actually am a pro-life libertarian.

KURTZ: What does that mean exactly?

KENNEDY: Babies and fetuses are sacred and I haven't seen a solid moral argument for abortion. I hope fewer people have abortions. I don't think it's my say to tell people when to make reproductive decisions necessarily. I am philosophically very much pro life.

KURTZ: Are you not a big fan of democrats, for example?

KENNEDY: I'm not a big fan of statism. I don't actually go by party. I'm a political independent. And there are democrats believing it or not is part of the liberty caucus on Capitol Hill who has some interesting ideas about limiting government. I don't like I don't like making the federal government bigger; I don't like making it more than intrusive, I don't like more regulations.

KURTZ: And some of it has happened in the republican administration.

KENNEDY: There is no doubt about it, which is why I'm an independent. It's hard to tell at this point which party wants to spend more money.

KURTZ: Since so much of the media debate and so much of the way cable news segments are booked is right and left, democrat, republican, strategist or consultants, are you a bit of a square peg round hole?

KENNEDY: Sometimes. But in my personal life and professionally, I've always been kind of a misfit. And that's where I've always been more comfortable. It wouldn't be authentic or right for me to adopt a convenient set of beliefs from either side. And I've just...

KURTZ: You are celebrating your misfit status.

KENNEDY: Yeah. I would vacation on the island of misfit toys and probable very comfortable in my round butt.

KURTZ: I've been reading early reviews of your Fox business show and it says seems like it's designed to be young and hip and appeal to millennial viewers.

KENNEDY: I'm a cranky old lady, so that's really nice. People who consumed music when I was at MTV in '90s are now at the point where I'm at. We have kids. We're paying taxes. My husband is a small business owner. Our lives change and evolve and you're going to seek comfortable news. You don't necessarily want the Brian Williams with the fancy hair and the expensive suit. A little bit of familiarity and having someone who understands your context and how you like to consume things I think makes sense.

KURTZ: Let me just based on our pre professional interview, you don't seem cranky to me at all.

KENNEDY: Oh you're very sweet.

KURTZ: Kennedy thanks for sitting down with us here in New York.

KENNEDY: Thank you, I appreciate it, thanks for having me.

KURTZ: That was fun. After the break, the GOP says television has voted far more times in the Rudy Giuliani fewer than controversies involving Hillary and other democrats. We'll put that claim under our media microscope.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Time now for our media microscope. Did the media go over board on Rudy Giuliani declaring that President Obama doesn't love America? Our NC Spokesman Shawn Spicer sees liberal bias in the in the story drawing far more TV coverage than several controversies about democrats. What he overlooks said the former mayor help keep this story alive with a series of TV appearances at a Wall Street event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK CITY FORMER MAYOR: What he does is he emphasizes our weaknesses, our failures or sometimes perceived failures that he's, I believe I believe making up. And that's the headline. And then when he does mention a few good things about America, it's the footnote.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: What about the Clinton foundation, accepting money from foreign governments as Hillary prepares her presidential bid. That story broken by The Wall Street Journal did get a fair amount of attention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KING, INSIDE POLITICS ANCHOR: Why is it that the Clintons have this -- a blind spot when it comes to money? They don't need the money from the United Arab Emirates, from Saudi Arabia, the Clinton foundations doing just fine.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: And it got more coverage though, not enough on TV when the Washington post disclosed that the Clinton foundation took foreign government cash while Hillary was secretary of state and at one point, broke the rules. What about Debbie Wasserman Schultz, where did Obama would replace her as DNC chairman, lining up supporters to suggest the move would be anti-woman and anti Semitic. That's an unconfirmed story in Politico based on unnamed sources about something in 2013 that never wound happening. That heavily drained it of news value.

Joe Biden saying he has great relationships with Somali cab drivers in Delaware. The Washington Post gave that claims four Pinocchio's. But it's true the media usually give the people pass when he makes a gaff or gets too hands on with women, just Joe being Joe they say. I add one more, VA Secretary Robert McDonald falsely claiming to have served in the Special Forces. That became a one day story because McDonald made the claim while he was trying to connect with a homeless person and because he quickly apologized. So, the Clinton foundation fundraising, the most under covered of these democratic stories but two newspapers deserve credit for digging.

Still to still to come, your top tweets, tennis star Monica Seles pulls a fast one on ABC. The Kardashians don't care if you make fun of them, they're now Zillionaire.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: It was those in an ABC exclusive when good morning America sat down with retired tennis star Monica Seles who shared her personal struggle with Binge Eating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARA SPENCER, GOOD MORNING AMERICA CO-HOST: Thank you for coming forward. It's nice to have a face that is not afraid to say look, this is real, it happens to too many of us.

MONICA SELES, FORMER TENNIS CHAMPION: For me it was an easy decision to come forward about binge eating disorder. I wanted to let people out there know who struggle from binge eating disorder, they're not alone.

SPENCER: And last week the FDA approved the use of the drug Vyvanse. You may know the name; we're commonly for treating ADHD to treat BED, binge eating disorder.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: ABC and the other outlets that spoke to Seles didn't get the whole story, The New York time reporting that Seles is a paid spokeswoman for the drug's manufacturer, Shire which has had some run-ins with federal regulators. I'm calling a foul on Monica Seles for her deception.

Time for your tweets, should the media take Donald Trump seriously? He says there's a 75 to 80% chance he'll run.

Mona: no I don't think so, sounds good but he talks a big game. Solomon Zybrowski: He's just trying to gin up publicity for the next season of apprentice and his ego stop paying attention until he declares.

LP: Why not? Media does too much speculation, should stick to facts. Hillary Rodham Clinton has about announced what media doesn't seem to care.

David Tidgate: They should take him 75 to 80% seriously which for a man who sells his brand as a serious thinker is not very serious at all.

Finally Kim Kardashian and her crazy crew major up plenty of snickers but they just had a very big payday at the e channel for their reality show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIM KARDASHIAN: I couldn't think of what to get Kanye so I was like, you know, all guys love it when a girl sends them sexy pics, so I had someone get a Polaroid and we were taking photos around the entire house.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The New York Post running this headline, yeah the editors went there you can read it, reporting that Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kendall and Kiley are getting $100 million for four more years of the E-show. Plus, spin off projects. You could say Kim Kardashian has parlayed modest talents and a big posterior into bigger pay days. It takes great marketing savvy to build that kind of brand and that's the reality.

That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz," I'm Howard Kurtz. We hope you like our Facebook page. We have your buzz there, we answer your questions and we are back here next Sunday morning, 11 and 5 Eastern with the latest buzz.

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