The 'crazy' Cruz coverage; no Ferguson fallout in media

Pundits paint candidate as extreme


This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," March 29, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, Ted Cruz jumps in to the presidential arena and the media coverage ranges from skeptical to down right hostile.


SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS: I guess I'd take it as a little bit of a back handed compliment, that the media has to some extent embedded a third caricature for me, which is crazy. They do everything they can to paint me as a wild eyed lunatic with dynamite strapped around my chest.


KURTZ: Are the media focusing on legitimate criticism of the senator who once helped orchestrate a government shut down or largely painting him as a hot tempered extremist.

The Army brings desertion charges against Bowe Bergdahl, the soldier once praised by the White House for having served with honor and distinction. How hard do the media push back against that false narrative?

A police investigation shows no evidence from Rolling Stone's report on the supposed gang rape at the University of Virginia and contradicts key elements of the accuser's story, is it now clear that the magazine engaged in journalistic malpractice?

Plus is Mark Zuckerberg trying to take over the news business by making deals with big players like the New York Times?

And get a load of this; Jon Stewart finally says something nice about fox.


JON STEWART, 'THE DAILY SHOW': Because you know why, we think you're a whale of a network.


KURTZ: Well, sort of. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "Mediabuzz."

When Ted Cruz became the first candidate to join the 2016 sweepstakes, the media coverage focused on his perceived short comings such as his aggressive style.


MATT LAUER, 'TODAY' CO-ANCHOR: In your short time in the senate, you've developed a reputation as a guy who does not back down. Will you bring that brand of no compromise to the White House if you're elected?

CRUZ: Well Matt, let me disagree with the premise. I've never said I won't compromise.


KURTZ: Along with his meager experience.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's 44, only been on the national scene for a couple of years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's only been in the Senate for two years.


KURTZ: Even some conservatives questioning Cruz's readiness for the Oval Office while some MSNBC liberals utterly trashed him.


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Cruz talks about you have to walk the walk rather than talk the talk, you have to have done something.
But that's not his record in the senate.



DEUTSCH: He's theater. He's completely unelectable.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, 'HARDBALL' HOST: Cruz is either blindly ignorant of what the country went through in the early 1950s under the red bathing of Joseph McCarthy and others or he's out there deliberately channeling McCarthy again today.


KURTZ: Joining us now to examine the coverage of this campaign kickoff, Kathleen Parker, syndicated columnist and a Pulitzer Prize winner. Nina Easton, senior editor of fortune magazine and a Fox News contributor, and Juan Williams Fox News analyst and a columnist for the Hill. Kathleen Parker, Cruz is a controversial guy, no question about it. On balance, are the media painting an unfair picture of him?

KATHLEEN PARKER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: There is a way of presenting facts with an unfair attitude. Yes, he did force the shutdown of the government which is not a good thing for republicans ultimately. And so republicans in congress do resent him for that. They think that was a grandstand. But when you say Ted Cruz is the not just controversial but he's a wacko bird, it's clear that on the left he's out of his mind crazy. But he's crazy like a fox if I may say that and to extent that he's speaking to the republican base, he is saying exactly what they want to hear and they're so proud to have someone who says it so well.

KURTZ: Does Cruz overstate things just a tad when he says the media caricature all republicans as either stupid, or evil. In his case, it's -- as a lunatic.

NINA EASTON, FORTUNE SENIOR EDITOR: Here is the thing. I wrote a book on post conservative because my colleagues underestimated the strength of the right, evangelicals, anti-tax movement and so on and underestimated not only their ability to change the Republican Party, but to win locations.
The peril that I think the media faces right now is underestimating Ted Cruz. And when you just write him off as a whacko, as a Joe McCarthy, you are not -- you do not understand that there is a very powerful -- frankly still evangelical, anti-tax base, he hit those two themes in his speech this week that this message resonates with. He will be a force to be reckoned with and, you know, you need to take him seriously.

KURTZ: Juan Williams, it's not all the liberal media, Wall Street Journal editorial page criticizing him as a polarizing figure, self centered so he has a knack for stirring up these negative reviews.

JUAN WILLIAMS, THE HILL COLUMNIST: I think he does. And I think I'll irritate Kathleen and Nina this Sunday morning by saying I think it's conservatives who have really gone after Ted Cruz. Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal yesterday basically saying this guy is someone who is not only inexperienced and doesn't have much of a track record in the senate, but someone who really does not have a chance to be elected president of the United States, and if you as a republican care about beating the democrats and claiming the White House, that you wouldn't be lining up with Ted Cruz.

PARKER: What I said is not to the exclusion of what you've just acknowledged.

KURTZ: He said you'd be irritated.

PARKER: It takes a lot more than that to irritate me. But he's obviously not going to win the presidency. That's not going to happen. We know that.
But I do think -- and by the way, I've spoken to people in the Bush administration who remembered a different Ted Cruz. He is an actor who acts alone. And he gives maverick a bad name. But he used to be much more moderate in his views. But he recognized the tea party power and he latched on to that in the same way that Sarah Palin did. They do share that.

WILLIAMS: So he came into fox this week in New York, he had been bumped off some of the shows by the plane crash the morning after his big announcement at Liberty University which was a tremendous media show by the way. But what he basically said is he wants to claim that tea party bracket almost like a final four brackets, and then move on and he wants to challenge in terms of the libertarian conservative base. The question is where or not he can do that.

KURTZ: Let me come back to the coverage because a couple of things, one is we saw earlier people in MSNBC as well; he only has a couple of years experience in the senate.

WILLIAMS: Hello. Barack Obama.

KURTZ: And what do you make of Chris Matthews going on off on Cruz?

EASTON: First of all, this is commentary, it is not straight news. But is it fair, it's not fair. It's very easy to demonize him. But what is fair coverage is to what you alluded to, that he does represent the split in the party. He is part of the activist wing of the party. There is a strong part of the party now that wants to prove that they can govern and he rubs them the wrong way. And I think that's fair game for coverage.

KURTZ: It is true, though, a lot of his GOP colleagues in Washington do not like him. But the whole thing a couple weeks ago where, oh, he frightened a 3-year-old girl because he gave a speech about the world being on fire, her own mother said no the girl was fine, that played into the media saying this is a scary figure.

WILLIAMS: Without a doubt and that was totally unfair. I think an attempt by media to demonize him when they didn't have any evidence. But it just shows you their bias in my opinion. The other thing I'd say is that a lot of people who get to know Ted Cruz are surprised at how intelligent he is, and his background of Harvard law school, great debater -- a champion debater, and in personal meetings comes across better than when he's giving a speech. I think he comes off a little bit as a used car salesman.

PARKER: If you demonize him, you don't have to take him seriously. And so will you take him seriously and the base that he's speaking to seriously.

KURTZ: And it could well help him in the republican primary. Let me run through some story lines about him. He's uncompromising as evidenced by his role in the 21 hour filibuster. Fair or not fair?

EASTON: I think that's a fair characterization coming out of the government shutdown episode that ultimately led to the Republican Party having its lowest ratings in modern history.

KURTZ: Kathleen, he's a hypocrite because he spent five years criticizing Obamacare and now he and his family are going on Obamacare because his wife is temporarily giving up her job.

PARKER: Well, I'm not sure that he's absolutely going on Obamacare if you know that to be a fact then I'll...

KURTZ: Well, he's said he will get standard insurance through his senate job.

PARKER: If what's there -- he can go out on the free market as people do.

KURTZ: Was that a cause to criticize him?

PARKER: Well, we always say gotcha when they figure out that we've done something hypocritical, but its fair game to say that's hypocritical, but he can explain it in other terms.

KURTZ: I disagree with that. I think he's doing what anybody would do to protect his family. There are a lot of laws out there that you may not like but as a government program you take advantage of it.

Juan, Cruz is suspect because he was born in Canada says no less than an authority than Donald Trump.

WILLIAMS: I was going to say that to you, Donald Trump says this is an issue. I don't know the details. I understand that he claims that because his mother was an American citizen, he automatically...

KURTZ: I think generally that's the accepted view.

WILLIAMS: I don't know about that, but I will say we'll figure it out. But that's not the point at this moment. The man has announced he's running for president. Let give him some respect. I don't know that John Boehner and house republicans who feel very threatened by him are also happy. And again, that plays in to this media narrative. His own people have trouble with him, Republican Party, republican leadership.

KURTZ: Right, but he's not a guy who is running as an establishment candidate. There are ways in which he's ticked people off including some of the colleagues on his side of the aisle, part of what attracted all this media attention. After all, the guy has only been in the senate two years.
It's not a disqualification. Look what a national figure he's become in that short of time.

EASTON: And when he was getting criticism over the government shutdown episode, he was getting standing room only applause, people standing on their feet in Texas. He was building a movement.

PARKER: And I think this speaks to the fact that the Washington media are really out of touch with real America. The rest of the country has a completely different way of seeing things. And to those who feel like this Obama administration is characterized by big government programs, if you have someone like Ted Cruz who is a champion debater who is really very, very smart and he can articulate the opposite positions of republicans and conservatives, they're delighted to have Ted Cruz.

KURTZ: Washington media out of touch, a shocking charge to make. Remember to send me a message on twitter, we're gonna read some later @howarkurtz, you can follow me there. And use our e-mail. I read them all. Ahead, that Rolling Stone article about the supposed gang rape at UVA further crumbles after a police investigation. Will the magazine apologize, but when we come back, the army charging Bowe Bergdahl with desertion, how the media knocked down the White House narrative.


KURTZ: The army has now charged Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior with the enemy, but the White House painted a very different picture last May. President Obama met with Bergdahl's parents and presented the swap for five Taliban committers as a good news story, CBS' David Martin raised questions that very night.


DAVID MARTIN, CBS NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: At some point Bergdahl will have to explain the circumstances of his capture. When he disappeared in 2009, officials said he had simply wandered off his base by himself without even a weapon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joshua Cornelison was the platoon's medic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He premeditated, planned out and left.


KURTZ: Days later Megyn Kelly had six of Bergdahl's platoon members together on the set.


MEGYN KELLY, 'THE KELLY FILE': Raise your hand if you think he deserted. Raise your hand if you have some question about whether he deserted.


KURTZ: When this week's charges were filed, journalists were ready. They had already interviewed some of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers.


Reporter: Josh served with Bergdahl in Afghanistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that he's extremely lucky that they're not talking about the firing squad.

Reporter: But the celebrating was short lived. Bergdahl did not want to see his parents and his fellow soldiers began to go public with their disgust.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knew what he was doing when he deserted us.


KURTZ: How does the mainstream immediate do pushing back against that initial White House narrative?

PARKER: They did great. Within 24 hours, they had members talking about how this guy was potentially a deserter. What shocks me was how it was just below the surface, all of the platoon leaders talking about this. How did the White House miss this? How did Susan Rice say he served honorably and with distinction if it was so easy to find these people to say this?

KURTZ: Washington Post did a good job with the story one day later. Chuck Todd at NBC says White House aides considered this swift boating. But they were quoted by name. These were not shadowy sources. Had to do with a guy they felt betrayed them.

EASTON: And you hear that term he deserted "us." and my experience with all the military people in my family and friendships in the military, when you ask people why they're fighting, they're always fighting for their buddy.
They're there for their colleagues in the trenches. And you don't leave them. To wander away, I don't think so. But to have these colleagues of his say he left us, you know, it's pretty clear. And I don't know why the White House wouldn't have done a little of its own vetting before they blew this up as some sort of hero's welcome home essentially.

KURTZ: I think the media did a pretty aggressive job and it didn't take very long.

WILLIAMS: I think we should be an adversarial press. When you saw the six of them on the Megyn Kelly show, I think that was a real demonstration that his colleagues -- we have lots of deserters, but to desert on the battlefield is another issue and that's critical here. But there is another way to view this story from a media perspective. I think the White House said we brought one of our soldiers home. And you can interpret that as spin, but I think it's a fact. And if it was my child, no matter what that child had done, he put on the American uniform and went to fight for our country, he may have problems, maybe psychologically unstable, but to bring our soldier home is a good move.

PARKER: I agree with you Juan. You do bring your people home. I don't have any argument with that. But we're basically saying the media did its job.
And it's not as though that should be...

KURTZ: Nobody is asking for a standing ovation for us.

PARKER: Exactly.

KURTZ: In January, the O'Reilly Factor reported the army decided to charge Bergdahl and the army denied it at the time. Seeing that they're mocking the story -- talk about an inflammatory Fox News segment...

PARKER: Especially after the report on him that came out. Of course the White House suddenly being mum after wanting to display him with this big press conference that I think the media felt very abused and used by frankly.

KURTZ: Right exactly. All right, Nina Easton, Juan Williams and Kathleen Parker thanks for stopping by this Sunday. Up next, with Facebook close to teaming up with the New York Times and other outlets, is Mark Zuckerberg trying to take over the news business? And later on the Ferguson story, Jon Stewart goes after Megyn Kelly and me for being right


KURTZ: Everyone in the news business including me wants their content on Facebook because clicking those stories brings readers back to our websites. The New York Times among others is close to a deal allowing users to read its content right on Facebook without ever having to leave the social network in exchange for some share of advertising revenue. Joining us now from San Francisco is Sarah Lacy, editor in chief of the site Pandodaily. Sarah, Facebook also talking to Buzzfeed and National Geographic. But what do you make of the New York Times on the verge of giving Mark Zuckerberg a fat chunk of content to keep people on Facebook?

SARAH LACY, PANDODAILY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: It's fascinating. I think it's the combo of the New York Times and Buzzfeed together that is fascinating. Such a market PR market master stroke -- these are two big media giants on polar opposites of the scale. Buzzfeed very modern, very new media, highly valued, going after shares and distribution. New York Times all about brand, one of the only publications where subscriptions seem to be kind of working. And frankly, both of these publications want a little bit of what the other one has. Buzzfeed is trying to get more trust and respect ability for its journalism. New York Times is trying to figure out some way to get distribution and money because a subscription alone as well as it's working is not going to sustain several hundred person newsroom.

KURTZ: What about the potential down side here. Would you take this deal and give up traffic coming to your site so that Facebook people can just stay on Facebook and maybe don't even need to subscribe to

LACY: I would not take this deal because I live in Silicon Valley and I've seen this movie so many times. There was zynga, Washington Post social reader which every time Facebook changes the rules, it always tanks the traffic and shares. And they have shown over and over and over again with its platform that the rules will stay consistent as long as they work for Facebook. And there are already concerns that Facebook is starting to prioritize video over news articles. What I would do if I was one of these publishers, I'd just put video content on there. It's harder to share than print. It doesn't have the same brand play. And everyone is trying to make the TV analogy here that Facebook is essentially now a network and if you're going to produce modern family, you won't question to their producers, you'll go to ABC to watch it. I think that holds for video, I just don't think it does for print.

KURTZ: If you're somebody heading out with your friends on Facebook and you don't care where you read the story, but I find it very troubling. I understand the temptation, but it gives Zuckerberg all the power and could erode the traffic for these other news sites that are trying to build their own websites and have a role in the future.

LACY: Right. And it's not just traffic. But it's also the relationship with advertisers. Yes, Facebook has one of the best advertising machines of anywhere. But building that trust with advertisers and building out bigger custom programs, I think you're giving up that relationship which is a little bit scary and you're also giving up data on your users potentially.
Where are they going to, what articles are they going to next? One of the great things about being a web publisher versus a magazine or newspaper publisher is you can really understand your users and what they resonate with, how they're flowing through, what articles they are going to next.
All these publishers invested all this money and tools to try to keep people moving around their sites and showing them the article they want to see next. You're giving up all of that. It is a massive, massive short term gain, but I think it's scary for the long term.

KURTZ: Very briefly, if the New York Times does this, will there be a lot of temptation for other news organizations to throw in their lot with Facebook as well?

LACY: Yeah. This is the master stroke of doing Buzzfeed and New York Times, because every other publisher who wants to be massed is in between that pole. And you're like, okay, these guys who are the masters of distribution are doing it, Mark Zuckerberg is known for a great negotiator who can get everyone to sell their companies with the exception of twitter and snapshot and I think he's pulled off a similar master stroke here.

KURTZ: All right. We'll keep an eye on it. Sarah Lacy thanks very much for checking in with us from San Francisco.

Ahead on" Mediabuzz," Hillary Clinton talks about a more open relationship with the press. Was she just joking around? But first, isn't it time for those who bought the hands up don't shoot narrative in Ferguson to grapple honestly with that mistake?


KURTZ: In the weeks after the Michael Brown shooting, many in the media adopted the narrative that a rogue police officer in Ferguson murdered an unarmed, innocent black man, what came to be called the hands up don't shoot narrative.


JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: To be clear, we need to hear from all the witnesses. But these two witnesses describe what seems to me to be a cold blooded murder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have an answer to look at my children in the face and say there people in this country who does not like African- Americans, but they despise black men. There is a war on black boys in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want you to know that our hearts are out there marching with them.


KURTZ: I kept warning the news business was rushing to judgment based almost solely on account sympathetic to Brown.


KURTZ: I do think that we still don't know what the police version is exactly of what happened so a lot of the coverage up until now has been one-sided.

Are the ideological media in this case on the left adding to the polarization in this particular sensitive racially charged story?

Something else I'm concerned about, and that is some outlets creating almost a lynch mob mentality around this.


KURTZ: So now that two investigations have found that Officer Darren Wilson acted properly in self-defense, why isn't more news organizes examining where they went wrong or even apologizing? Joining us now from New York, Joe Concha, a columnist from Mediate and here in Washington, Susan Ferrechio chief congressional correspondent for the Washington Examiner and Richard Fowler, syndicated radio talk show host who's reported from Ferguson. Joe Concha, other than the Washington Post and a couple others, I haven't seen many journalists and news organizations openly grappling with the role that they played in perpetuating a false narrative, what do you think?

JOE CONCHA, MEDIATE.COM TV COLUMNIST: Nor have I Howie. And he was under no duress and he went full Washington Post in his column, didn't do it on twitter, at one o'clock in the morning, and he's now being called a race traitor for doing so. But there are real victims here as far as Ferguson's concerned and those are Ferguson residents themselves. If you look at a report by fusion, the ABC Univision joint venture, Daniel Rivera, a reporter there studied home property values before the protests in August and what they are now and they're nearly down 50%. And most of these people weren't even protesting. Predominantly black community and their home dropped form $65,000 to $35,000 what they are now. Real victims here, apologies need to be made Howie.

KURTZ: Susan, initially news organizations relied on some friends of Brown who were lying. Police department wasn't talking. The New York Time's Margaret Sullivan saying she was wrong to challenge the paper for quoting, my main sources are saying Darren Wilson have reason to fear Michael Brown.
Why is there very little soul searching on this?

SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: What is interesting if you look at the mea culpa in the New York Times, the comments section is fascinating.
One commenter suggested that what journalists had committed was malpractice and I think that's an interesting way to term this. What is our responsibility as reporters? Making sure booth sides of the story are presented. Clearly in this case, I never -- like you I never felt both sides were fairly presented. I think it drove a narrative that created part of the furor in Ferguson that people who live there paid for dearly. There are also people who commented who were from Ferguson who said they were driven from their homes and who watched the media only interview or tell part of the story. So I'm not as interested in apologies as I am in lessons learned. What can we do going forward if something like this happens again.

KURTZ: Richard Fowler is it fair to say that many in the media whether inadvertently or recklessly pursued a false narrative and never really corrected it?

RICHARD FOWLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There are two sides to the story and one side was missing. And the reason has everything to do with the fact they didn't speak up. The police were pretty much mum when it came to talking about what really took place that night.

KURTZ: Does that let journalists off the hook?

FOWLER: Not at all. And I think this narrative, hands up don't shoot, I get why there is not truth from it in the justice report. But it transcends just the Michael Brown case. I think it represents a feeling of minorities black and brown sort of the feeling they feel towards the police for mistreatment. And all throughout history, you have don't overtax me, you have -- we shall overcome. It's become a narrative for a larger problem.

KURTZ: I'm glad you brought that up. People in the media quickly pivoted to the related question of history of police department discrimination against African-Americans, but never really cleaned up the mess about this particular case and the shooting of Michael Brown because you go to the larger question.

FOWLER: I think they should have cleaned up the narrative. But I think this transcends beyond Ferguson. I think the media has reported on the rally cry and that's an important thing. And if we're going to talk about Ferguson and St. Louis County, you miss the underlying story. You have 90 municipalities in a small county. And will there is bad governance. A lot of journalists talked about the back story. It could have been Joe Lewis for that matter, could have been anybody.

KURTZ: Let me go back to Joe Concha. After the Iraq war, there was a lot of breast beating and editor's notes about the way in which the press should've have been aggressive in challenging the Bush administration. And I'm seeing very little of that now, why do think that is?

CONCHA: I think because a republican was probably in office and to say that President Bush was wrong, that is easy to sell particularly when his poll numbers were going down 2005, 2006 once it revealed weapons of mass destruction probably didn't exist. I think it's a lot easier to say that a president made a mistake than to say, we made a mistake. And finally, with opinion journalism, you can just say I was offering an opinion and I got it wrong even though they're not saying I got it wrong. Not like news anchors were pushing that as fact. So they can hide behind that fact that hey, I just made an opinion. No big deal, we get it right, we get it wrong, and that's what we're here for so I think that's kind of an excuse.

KURTZ: The CNN anchors who put their hands up, that was a news show, not commentary show.

FERRECHIO: Media, particularly television media, has slanted more toward the opinions versus hard line journalism of the past, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, that's sort of a culmination of it. And I think that really what needs to happen is for everybody in the media who considers them to be a nonpartisan middle of the road journalist, to take a look at their behavior on this issue in particular. So that going forward, we can be more objective and retain our credibility.

KURTZ: Because there will be other criminal cases where all the fact wouldn't be out there at once.

FOWLER: And I agree this issue is something that transcended journalism.

KURTZ: But the thing at the heart of it was false.

FOWLER: I agree. I think there is a larger narrative at play here. And I think that's the bigger issue.

KURTZ: Richard Fowler thanks for joining us. When we come back, a police investigation shows just how awful that Rolling Stone piece on a fraternity gang rape really is. And is this the beginning of the end on the network's monopoly on NFL games?


KURTZ: It was a blockbuster article that caused a national uproar over sexual assault. Rolling Stone charging that an accuser named Jackie was the victim of a horrifying gang rape by fraternity members at the University of Virginia.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS ANCHOR: A major American university has a lot to answer for now that claims of a particularly shocking sexual assault have been made public.


KURTZ: Story gradually fell apart due in part to reporting by the Washington Post. And this week police said they found no evidence to support what Jackie told the magazine about being raped and assaulted.


TIMOTHY LONGO, CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE CHIEF: We're not able to conclude to any substantive degree that an incident consistent with the facts contained in that article occurred at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house or any other fraternity house for that matter.


KURTZ: Does the Rolling Stone story have any shred of credibility left?

FERRECHIO: None. The fact that we're still clinging to the idea that something happened, and Rolling Stone -- a review is being conducted and I suspect they will come out with something still somewhat forgiving to Rolling Stone. And what they failed to do was basic journalism 101 checks here where you just check sure, you talk to the other side, tell them you're writing the story.

KURTZ: In fact Rolling Stone allowed the reporter to not even approach the alleged attackers to see what they had to say.

FERRECHIO: This is a trend Howard. If you look at other new media reporting there was a recent reporting Scott Walker's budget left out any requirement for sexual assault reporting. It was wrong. Nobody did the prerequisite checks that in my early days I never would have been allowed to file or write a story without those basic checks. What's happening?

KURTZ: It's the run and gun culture. And the investigation by the police contradicted key details of Jackie's account including the fact there was no fraternity party on the night she says she was assaulted and she met with police but she wouldn't discuss the incident.

CONCHA: It's over. And you would think now that the Charlottesville police department has said there is no evidence, Washington Post doing great work this will tearing apart this story, if you go to Google and type in rape on campus, the first thing that comes up is the Rolling Stone story. It's still on their website. If I got it wrong, I'd get that down in a hurry.
There is a disclaimer that says we apologize for anybody who may have been affected by the story. But nothing about the Charlottesville findings, that is a whole bowl of wrong. And then I don't have for go to Columbia to ask the writer did you interview the accused. No. How did you vet this story?
We don't know. Or the fact checker. What did you do some were you spell checking the fraternity name, what was going on there? So there's going to be lawsuits here and Rolling Stone does not have a leg to stand on here.

KURTZ: The police found even that Jackie didn't call her mother that night that she claimed; they couldn't find the man she claimed to have been on a date with. And remember, Rolling Stone initially defended this story and then put out a statement that kind of blamed Jackie and then took it back.
So not exactly owning up to -- clearly we used to say the story was flawed.
I think the story is just utterly blown up.

FERRECHIO: And what I liked most about the reporting at the Washington Post was that's real reporting. They looked under every stone; every corner and they really just tore that story apart. And by doing basic reporting, nothing here is rocket science. This is just going and doing your job. And why Rolling Stone feels that -- makes me question everything else that has ever been printed in that magazine. We don't want to interrupt the narrative, the narrative is more important that be the facts. That's troubling because it undermines our credibility.

KURTZ: This was a huge mistake and a long time and Rolling Stone still has not owned up to it. Thanks very much for stopping by. After the break, Hillary tees off on cable news on twitter, but also says she wants to be more open with the media. How long whether that last? And later Jon Stewart takes on Megyn Kelly and me.


KURTZ: Here's my two cents, maybe at long last Hillary Clinton is trying to patch things up with the press. Maybe she's just trying to get a few laughs. She showed up at an award ceremony for the Washington Post and had a few things to say about her complicated dealings with the media.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am all about new beginnings, a new grandchild, another new hairstyle, a new email account, why not a new relationship with the press, no more secrecy. No more zone of privacy. After all, what good did that do me?


KURTZ: Very amusing, everybody laughed but she didn't take the next stab which would've been answering a few questions. What she did do is take a swipe at cable news and social media.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Too many of our most important debates occur in what I call an evidence free zone, ideology, and trumping facts, made for cable shout fests, twitter storms drowning out substantive dialogue and reporting.


KURTZ: Of course she has a point about cable shout fests and twitter storms but it would be nice if Hillary Clinton would move beyond the jokes and engage with us loud mouth media types. Meanwhile, one of her supporters at the group HRC super volunteers sent a scolding letter to New York Times reporter and 120 other journalists entitled you're obsessive and loathsome coverage. A guy names John Westwright, you are on notice that we'll be watching, reading, listening and protesting coded sexism this time around in words and phrases like polarizing, calculating, disingenuous, and ambitious. We'll do anything to win, represents the past, out of touch, inevitable, entitled over confident, defiant, like tired, haggard, worn out. Ok, polarizing, calculating, ambitious, come on we say that stuff about male politicians all the time. But the groups founder Kim Frederick told me she takes the criticism of Hillary personally.


KIM FREDERICK, HRC SUPER VOLUNTEERS: The way I feel when I see that language that's -- I feel defeated.


KURTZ: I think we will be hearing and talking about this debate for a long time. Still to come, your top tweets, NFL inching into the digital age and Jon Stewart admits that Fox was right about Ferguson but he's still teed off, my response next.


KURTZ: The National Football League maybe to call a digital play, announcing that one game next season, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars facing off in London will be carried on the web. This is a big deal because the NFL is built on the billions it takes in from CBS, NBC and Fox. If more games are put online, it diminishes the TV monopoly other companies could get a slice of this very lucrative pie.

Time for your top tweets -- has the coverage of Ted Cruz been fair?

MONA: I don't think it's fair, I don't think it will be, they started into him with cruel remarks, and they don't give anyone a chance.

CG: It's fair, Cruz is known for bombastic statements.

GAYLE MILLER: Cruz-bashing is a top priority among the degenerate left, you. Why do parasite so forceful? I maybe a degenerate but I was calling out the Cruz-bashing.

Well Jon Stewart is determined to get in a few last licks against Fox before leaving the Daily Show. He's all wound up because Megyn Kelly has been making the point that many other media outlets born into the false Ferguson narrative of hands up don't shoot, while she and I and other Fox folks said let's not rush to judgment in the Michael Brown shooting. So Steward does a rip on how Fox isn't shy about rushing to judgment in his view, and he zeros in on a segment featuring me.


STEWART: Ok, you're the caution and sober reflection network. My favorite part of the piece was after 10 minutes of complaining that no one would ever thank them, this.

KURTZ: You are waiting for the mainstream media to say not only that we were wrong in this racially charged case that resulted in so much violence in that town and to credit Fox News for being right, you're gonna hold your breath a long time.

KELLY: We don't care about them.

STEWART: Right, you don't care in the same way my mom doesn't care if I ever call. The point is you're right, and that is news worthy when Fox is right, and cause for celebration so to honor that time you were right.


KURTZ: That's very fair and balanced of you, Jon. By the way, I personally don't care who gives Fox credit just -- journalists should own up to their missed steps on the story the magnitude of Ferguson. I know it really bugs you to have to celebrate Fox so thanks for the cake. Victory tastes sweet when it's served with all than sarcasm. Here is to you Jon.

That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz," I'm Howard Kurtz we hope you like our Facebook page. We're talking about Facebook earlier, give us a like, check out our original content, you missed the show you can DVR it and go to our homepage. You can download our Podcast, we're back here next Sunday morning 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern with the latest Buzz.

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