All Trump all the time; Cosby accuser faults media

Is press going overboard on Donald?


This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," July 12, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, Donald Trump takes his anti-illegal immigration drive to Arizona, ratchets up his rhetoric and unloads on his favorite target, the media.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The press is very dishonest and I think people are wise to the press.

TRUMP: I watch all those pundits that don't have a brain.


KURTZ: Are the media -- and yes I sat down with him last week, turning him into the face of the Republican Party?

After her campaign played rope-a-dope with reporters, Hillary Clinton changes course, takes questions on the trail, and grants her first national TV interview.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN: What's changed when it comes to your approach with the media?

HILLARY CLINTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, nothing has changed. I just have a different rhythm to my campaign. I'm not running my campaign for the press. I'm running it for voters.


KURTZ: But her team had concluded that stiffing the press was hurting the campaign. So how hard did CNN push for answers, and did Hillary try to dismiss mainstream media reports as right wing misinformation?

Bill Cosby admitting under oath that he used drugs to get women to have sex with him, a vindication for the more than 30 women who have accused him of sexual assault, we've talked to one of those women.


BARBARA BOWMAN, COSBY ACCUSER: I told my agent and she did nothing about it. No one believed me at all. In fact, eventually I even went to an attorney and he laughed me right out of his office.


KURTZ: Why the media ignored women like Barbara Bowman, and her new crusade against Cosby. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

Donald Trump upped the ante again in his crusade against illegal immigration, leading a big Phoenix rally yesterday and appearing at L.A. with parents whose kids have been killed by illegal immigrants. And it's that rally, that he said this.


TRUMP: They're sending people into our country, that we don't want but we take, and that they don't want. And you know who they're sending, now the problem is you'll cut this statement in half, you'll cut it down so you'll leave out what I said, which you always do, because the press in many cases is very, very dishonest.


KURTZ: Joining us now, Mercedes Schlapp, a columnist for U.S. News, Republican strategist, and a former Bush White House official. Susan Ferrechio, chief congressional correspondent for the Washington Examiner, and Michael Tomasky, columnist for the Daily Beast.

Mercy, first of all, has the press, as Donald Trump says, misrepresented his position on illegal immigration?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, FMR SPOKESPERSON FOR PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: Well you know I don't believe he has. The media has -- I think that when you look at it, he's very direct and straightforward on his comments. The media has reported on his comments. So it's been very clear. However, Trump has been very -- one of the most media savvy candidates that we have seen thus far in the race. Why, because he takes on the media. And so what happens is you want to get Republican primary voters excited. Guess what, you go after the press. And that seems to be the strategy that's working for Trump right now.

KURTZ: Classic example Michael Tomasky, Washington Post reports that GOP leaders are worried about Trump becoming the face of the party. RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus calls Trump, tells him to tone it down. Trump tweets that this is totally false reporting, and then he calls the Washington Post and says yes, Priebus did use the phrase tone it down.

MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Right. Well you know, I have a feeling he wasn't completely lying when he said the conversation was mostly cordial in the last few minutes of it were -- Priebus giving him this little warning. This has been Trump's M.O. for many years. It's as Trump. It's not just as a candidate. I covered him as a reporter in New York...


KURTZ: He said the country was being ripped off then.

TOMASKY: Exactly and he used to say -- he used to get into feuds with Ed Koch all the time, and he would say that he talked exactly the same way about Koch as not telling you the truth, and the media is taking Koch's side. This is who he is. It's just crack for political reporters.

KURTZ: This is the guy that grew up in that New York tabloid culture which is where he honed these instincts. Are the media really making him the symbol of Republican Party by giving him -- I'll do a rough calculation here, 100 times more coverage than all of the other candidates -- Jeb, Marco, Rand, Cruz, Christie combined?

SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yeah, and I think people like to tune in and see Donald Trump so TV interviews are valuable for that reason, headlines are valuable for that reason. But I think what we have here is a really interesting dynamic. Because the press is treating him as a non- serious candidate, I don't feel like they're treating him like he's someone who could really win the nomination.

KURTZ: Pundit without brains?

FERRECHIO: He is a novelty. What's interesting about this is, is that voters appear to be taking him seriously. He is doing well in the polls. He's attracting thousands of people to these rallies. What does that tell you?

SCHLAPP: He should be thanking the media. He's getting more air time than any other of these candidates. He's out there interview after interview after interview, not afraid to say what he wants to say. And guess what, it's working for now, whether this is going to last is a different question.

KURTZ: Everybody has the caveat that maybe he'll flame out. I don't know if that's the case. But it's true that as you say, Susan, he's good for ratings, he's good for clicks, people like watching him. He's entertaining. He's over the top. That's part of the appeal. But I wonder, you know if I'm one of the other candidates to say, you almost have to attack Trump now to get a headline.

TOMASKY: You almost do. And it's such an interesting challenge for the people who are behind him in the polls, and struggling to make that threshold so they can get into the debates, and try to get any kind of attention. And Trump is probably dragging the party to the right to some extent, because his bombast in many people's minds will represent what the party stands for, and then to other candidates have to equal that.

KURTZ: Former Senator, Jim Webb being interviewed on Fox News Sunday, was being asked about Ukraine. By the way, can I just say something about Donald Trump, knowing that that's going to buy him maybe a little bit. Let me move now to Hillary Clinton, because for a long time as you know, she has kept the press at arm's length. I broke the story last Sunday night, as she was changing her media strategy and has taken questions on the trail this past week. And of course did her first national television interview with CNN's Brianna Keilar. Let's take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We see in our recent poll that nearly 6 in 10 Americans say they don't believe that you're honest and trustworthy. Do you understand why they feel that way?

CLINTON: Well, I think when you are subjected to the kind of constant barrage of attacks that are largely coming fermented by and coming the right...

KEILAR: But do you bear any responsibility for it?

CLINTON: Well, you know, I can only tell you that I was elected twice in New York against the same kind of onslaught.


KURTZ: And Brianna Keilar came back a bit later in that interview on this question of trust.


KEILAR: Do you see any role that you've had in this sentiment that we've seen where people are questioning whether you're trustworthy.

CLINTON: I can only tell you Brianna, that this has been a theme that has been used against me and my husband for many, many years. People write books filled with unsubstantiated attacks against us, and even admit they have no evidence but of course, it's your job to cover it.


KURTZ: So the media verdict, the consensus I would say is that Hillary was kind of defensive and rather unpersuasive in that interview. Was that too harsh?

SCHLAPP: Not at all. I think in fact, the media was disappointed in Hillary Clinton's performance just to an extent. And also I think that she really had a very difficult time defending herself. She gave facts that were not true. You had fact checkers come out. Washington Post gave her two to three Pinocchio's.

KURTZ: This is on the question of her e-mails.

SCHLAPP: On her e-mails. And so I think that the media -- when you look at the coverage, even Fox's Jonathan Allen came out basically saying Hillary Clinton should have watched this video over and over again to determine -- to let her understand why people don't trust her.

KURTZ: I thought it was unfair that some pundits were ripping in advance, before the two of them ever sat down. So looking back now, in terms of the questions that she asked, how you think that CNN's Brianna Keilar did?

FERRECHIO: Well, there are some points where I wished she would have asked more aggressive follow-up questioning, and I thought she did dedicate a little bit too much time to which Saturday Night Live character she preferred, and who should be on the $10 or $20 bill. In that sense, I wish there were more substantive questions.

KURTZ: Well, she did ask a lot of questions about the e-mails and trust. And she asked one question about the Clinton Foundation mess. And she let Hillary Clinton give a long answer, where she just praised the work of the foundation and did not follow up.

FERRECHIO: And I think that all of the soft questioning actually hurts Hillary Clinton. I think she would have fared better with more aggressive questioning, where she could've defended herself. This way she walked away with people still wondering whether they can trust her, which in the polls anyway is one of her biggest problems right now.

KURTZ: In your Daily Beast, Mike Tomasky, headline Hillary the plays victim on CNN piece by one of your colleagues. She came across as guarded, quiviling, and poker-faced under the TV lights. Do you agree or disagree with that?

TOMASKY: You know we have a really represented range of views at the Beast.

KURTZ: What's your view?

TOMASKY: You know look, she's a very guarded interview subject. There is no question about that. I interviewed her when she was first running for Senate in 2000. And it was interesting, the silence was much longer then. She started her campaign in July of 1999, didn't really sit for full length interviews until the spring of 2000. I got to do one of them. It's a tough interview. She filibusters and she doesn't -- she goes on for a long time and you're sitting there looking at your watch. This is a cold war between Clinton and the media that I think is going to go on, and I think the political press just doesn't like her and is just waiting to pounce.

SCHLAPP: I want to add -- maybe the campaign should go back to their original media strategy of not putting her out there. Because her poll numbers do better when she's not out there, it just shows you. Besides roping in the press, it just shows you that she has a very difficult time just improv, you know. She's very scripted, very guarded, she's never clear on her answers. She does better when she's on a stage with a script talking about policies.

KURTZ: Ok, from the point of view of journalists, people should know even the most aggressive questioner cannot force a candidate to make news, or break new ground. But I was struck by the answer in which Hillary Clinton said the right is largely fermenting these unsubstantiated attacks and so forth, because where I wish Brianna Keilar had followed up there, and you can't follow up on everything in limited time, is the New York Times and the Washington Post have done extensive reporting on your e-mail and Clinton Foundation, and other news organizations as well, and not just the author of Clinton Cash.

FERRECHIO: And she could've also pointed out that this is such an old line that the Clinton's often use, this vast right wing conspiracy issue, where they think all -- exactly...


FERRECHIO: So this is not helping Clinton as a candidate either. Not even -- you're right, she should have followed up on that because frankly, I don't think the public is even really buying that anymore.

TOMASKY: I'm going to back her up on that point, now whether it's politically smart of her to say that we can debate. But there is truth to this. I mean yes, the New York Times is leading the way on this Benghazi reporting. But it seems pretty clear that the Times is getting leaks from the Benghazi Committee or from somewhere in the vicinity of the Benghazi Committee. So that's Republican-directed. I think that's fair to say. Schweitzer has worked for Republican candidates...


TOMASKY: Has been a consultant to Republican candidates. So I think there's plenty of truth to what she says. Again, we can debate of whether it's smart of her to say but it's largely true.

KURTZ: Well, I'm just trying to make a point that the mainstream media have not just been sitting by. And the point about there -- you call it a cold war, it's at least some kind of long standing tensions, to use a journalistic clich, between Hillary and the press, perhaps it's a factor here. But when she's doing live television interview, she has a chance to punch back. One of the things that struck me is Brianna Keilar asked well, what's changed, why are you doing this interview now, because obviously she had been doing zero national TV interviews. And she said nothing has changed. But Jennifer Palmieri who is the Communications Director for the Hillary Campaign, told me in a On the Record interview that the campaign knows it's been damaged by the long drought. We're sacrificing the coverage, we're paying a price she said. So it's more than just that she wanted to spend time with the voters, which is true. It's also that the campaign realized this was becoming an overriding issue.

SCHLAPP: How do you get your message out? You need the media. That's the type of relationship and the reality that we live in right now. And so I think she tried to control it and stay quiet as long as possible. That wasn't working. Then you saw Bernie Sanders pop in New Hampshire, pop in Iowa, and several other places and the campaign I think re-evaluated. But I think the campaign has tried to control it so much that I think it's been damaging. But when she did go out on her first national interview, she bombed.

KURTZ: Well, you did set me up nicely for our next segment, first reminding everybody to send me a tweet, @HowardKurtz. We like to read some of your messages at the end of each program. Ahead, my conversation with one of Bill Cosby's accusers about his admission under oath, and why the media didn't believe her story of sexual assault. But when we come back, Bernie Sanders getting positive press for his big crowds and his fund-raising, but are journalists really taking him seriously?


KURTZ: The pundits are suddenly talking about Bernie Sanders, New York Times even saying Hillary's team is worried that he could win Iowa. Susan is the press now belatedly taking the Vermont Socialist Senator seriously or just boosting him to kind of create the illusion of a Democratic race.

FERRECHIO: Well, I think the press loves a competitive primary, and they love a primary with Hillary Clinton and somebody else. What could be better? It certainly made 2008 very exciting for the media when Barack Obama came along and stole it away from Hillary Clinton. We have story lines generating itself once again. But I don't think we've been ignoring Bernie Sanders. He's just moved up in the polls and made himself more worthy of our coverage.

KURTZ: Moved up in the polls. Don't many journalists like the populous crusade against the 1 percent that Sanders is mounting, especially when contrasted -- with say the cautious style of Hillary?

TOMASKY: Yeah. He's a candidate who can say unfiltered what he thinks, right? And top tier candidates, not just Hillary Clinton, but Jeb Bush and throughout the ages, all kinds of top tier candidates can't really say exactly just boom, exactly what's on their mind. And Bernie Sanders is the candidate who can. So he's giving the media a lot of food, a lot of nutrition in that sense. To answer your first question, I think it's a little more of the latter. I don't know anyone who seriously thinks he's a real serious contender to steal the nomination.

SCHLAPP: Senator Sanders doesn't agree with you. Come on.


KURTZ: Nobody sees him winning a nomination.

FERRECHIO: When he wins Iowa -- you have to take him seriously.

SCHLAPP: He is getting less coverage than a lot of these GOP candidates that are 2 percent or 3 percent that are doing a lot more media interviews than Bernie Sanders is getting at this point.

KURTZ: Ok, here's why I think he's not really being treated as a serious candidate, because he's not getting the scrutiny that comes along with being a top tier candidate. So for example, even on his positions of breaking up the banks or single parent healthcare, we should have a debate about that. I shouldn't say anybody, very few go into that. But also, New York Times reporting that some of his writing four decades ago including this whopper, cervical cancer can be caused by lack of orgasms, and then Politico reporting this week that Sanders -- again, decades ago fathered an out of wedlock child. Can you imagine the media reaction if that had been reported about any other candidate?

SCHLAPP: Well, it's not being reported, Howie. That's the thing. Sanders said this, he's like, and I'm not getting coverage on any the networks. Not even on controversial statements that he's making. What's interesting is that the only ones covering them are like the bright light drudge reports or like the left leaning media.


KURTZ: -- some of the Sunday shows, and New York Times and other publications are writing about it. I wouldn't say he's getting no coverage. But he's not getting the full press microscopic examination.

FERRECHIO: Why is that? Why are we giving Trump more coverage than Bernie Sanders really? Is either one more likely to get the nomination and their party? But yet Trump is getting a lot more scrutiny than Bernie Sanders. Why is that?

KURTZ: Is Trump getting a lot more scrutiny?


KURTZ: I think he's starting to. We now have a situation where journalists are doing what they might have done at the beginning. He may have said he's pro-choice, he used to give money to Democrats, and in other words the way he's evolved.

FERRECHIO: Look at the backlash against Trump that we're seeing in his own business, in his personal life, but you're not seeing that kind of backlash with some of the things that Bernie Sanders -- there's no backlash against him.

SCHLAPP: There's no backlash and barely any coverage on it.

TOMASKY: Well, if the Clinton campaign had ample research on him that they were farming out to journalists, and then we'd see some of that kind of reporting that you're talking about. But I assume that the Clinton campaign is not doing that because they're not completely worried about him just yet. I think these things have rhythms, and I think that in time if he stays around at a certain level in the polls, he'll start to get scrutiny.

KURTZ: Michael Tomasky, Mercedes Schlapp, Susan Ferrechio, thanks very much for stopping by. Up next, South Carolina removes the Confederate Flag from the state house grounds. How hard did the media push for that outcome?

And later, some African-Americans struggling with this question, with new evidence that Bill Cosby was a sexual predator, is it right to banish his reruns from the airwaves?


KURTZ: In the end, the vote in South Carolina wasn't even close. Republican Governor Nikki Haley managed to convince her legislature to remove the Confederate Flag from the state house grounds, with major help from the media which covered the story intensively, and made clear which side they were on.


NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS NEWS: But we're going to begin this morning with a history- making vote in South Carolina.

RON ALLEN, NBC NEWS: This is an amazing night at the legislature here. We also expect a huge crowd to gather here for what will be a historic celebration.


KURTZ: When reporters use words like amazing, and historic, they are signaling they hardly approve. In this case, of the view that the flag is a symbol of the South's one-time dedication slavery and needed to come down after a flag-obsessed gunman committed those horrible murders in a Charleston church. When the flag was lowered on Friday morning, even the broadcast networks broke in live, and there was an air of celebration.


CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: We're marking the end day on the Confederate Battle Flag as a symbol in American politics. And it's today 2015, that that will be on the epitaph on the Confederate Battle Flag. It feels that way. It feels like the country has moved on.

DON LEMON, CNN: People who call themselves friends in junior high school, high school, college, waved this flag around. And they though it was cool. It's a rebel flag. We're rebels. It's not cool.

LEMON: I had no idea that it would be his emotional when this flag came down.


KURTZ: That was CNN's Don Lemon. It was a moving moment, 150 years after the civil war. Maybe the press was riding a wave of public opinion, or maybe it was helping to create the wave. But I still say this. You have to be extremely careful not to dismiss as bigots those who still support the flag as a symbol of southern heritage.

All right, ahead on "MediaBuzz," has Donald Trump hijacked the 2016 campaign coverage or are the media milking the story of Trump for ratings, and clicks? But first, a conversation with a woman who couldn't get the media to believe that Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her, and how she feels now.


KURTZ: As the media pounced on accusations from more than 30 -- well over 30 women that Bill Cosby had used drugs to sexually assault them, the comedian had little to say other than statements of denial from his lawyer. But this week, the Associated Press obtaining -- getting a court to unseal a 2005 deposition in a civil suit by one of the accusers. Cosby said, he obtained the sedative Quaaludes, and said yes to the question of whether he planned to use the pills to get young women to have sex with him. He recalled an incident in Las Vegas in the 70's "she meets me backstage, I have her Quaaludes, we then have sex." Barbara Bowman gave her own deposition in that case, and now she had a chance to talk to her about what went on. She works with the group Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment. I have to caution you. Some of what she has to say here is rather graphic. I spoke to her earlier from Los Angeles.


KURTZ: Barbara Bowman, welcome.

BARBARA BOWMAN, COSBY ACCUSER: Hi Howard, thanks for having me on.

KURTZ: You say that Bill Cosby drugged you and raped you when you were a 17-year-old aspiring actress. What happened when you first told people about that?

BOWMAN: I told my agent and she did nothing about it. No one believed me at all. In fact, eventually even I went to an attorney and he laughed me right out of his office.

KURTZ: Wow. Take a moment to describe what happened with Cosby on that day.

BOWMAN: Within the first 30 minutes of my audition with Cosby, he knew everything about me. He knew I was an only child. He knew that I had no father figure in my life, and at that he was America's Favorite Dad. He was Dr. Huxtable, the Cosby Show, and he was everybody's favorite dad. Everybody trusted him. I totally trusted him. And he said he would take on that role to be my father figure. And then wanted to work with me on my trust issues and vulnerability issues, and worked me over pretty well and brainwashed me. The time that's most horrible was in his brownstone apartment in New York. I went over to work on a script, and his chef was there and had prepared a nice dinner. I had one glass of wine. And next thing I know I'm upstairs and I'm throwing up in the toilet. I'm in a man's t-shirt that wasn't mine. He's looming over me, holding my hair out of the toilet in a white robe. My panties were a mess. I was dirty and wet and he had raped me.

KURTZ: So when you tried to join the 2004 lawsuit by another woman, was there any media reaction to your trying to go public?

BOWMAN: It started to get a little bit of traction and momentum. People Magazine did an article, and Philadelphia Magazine, and so it was just getting a little bit of attention.

KURTZ: What about the rest of the media? Why do you think it took news organizations so long to focus on what you say happened to you with Bill Cosby as well as the other women?

BOWMAN: Well, I was silenced, I was threatened into silence and the people that I did tell did nothing to help me at all.

KURTZ: How do you feel now that Cosby's admission in his own decade-old deposition has become public?

BOWMAN: It is the most liberating feeling of elation and hope that I experienced through this whole thing. It really opened a lot of doors for me to continue doing advocacy work, and helping others.

KURTZ: You are now involved in an effort to get Bill Cosby's Presidential Medal of Freedom, rescinded to get the White House to take away. Why is that important to you at this point?

BOWMAN: That medal is the most distinguished and most highly honorable medal that you can earn. For him to have admitted to his predatory behaviors and drugging women, and with that background, he does not deserve to be standing alongside those prestigious people that have earned that award. We're talking about people that have made wonderful contributions to our culture, and the fact that he accepted that award with such deception as a liar, as a predator, and that medal from George W. Bush is despicable. It's irresponsible and disrespectful. And I believe he should return it.

KURTZ: Barbara Bowman thanks very much for joining us.

BOWMAN: Thank you very much, Howard.

KURTZ: She was 17 at the time. Joining us now, Richard Fowler, Radio Talk Show Host, and based on what you heard from Barbara Bowman, and the 30 or 40 other accusers, the media -- even before this deposition convicted Bill Cosby in the court of public opinion? Do you have a problem with that?

RICHARD FOWLER, RADIO SHOW HOST: Well listen, I've got to tell you, I think watching at the beginning there are a lot of folks who had a problem with this sort of outright media conviction of him, without seeing all the evidence. Then you have this sort court document, which I think changed a lot of people's perception, including folks in my audience. And my audience has been very clear, they are big Cosby supporters before that. And then you see this evidence that's so damning, and all you can say watching her interview and knowing the evidence now, you're like wow, this is some damning stuff, and it's very, very sad that Mr. Cosby has used his power and his influence to sort of destroy the legacy of the Huxtable's, and the idea of what the Cosby Show was for millions of Americans.

KURTZ: Wow is the right reaction. I used to be a huge Cosby fan, like much of America. Let's make clear, it's entitled to the legal presumption of innocence. I don't think any of this is ever going to go to trial. But in terms of his career, it's basically been ruined. And now you have a couple more channels joining TV land in yanking reruns of The Cosby Show and other programs he did. Disney World is removing his statue. Does that go too far?

FOWLER: Well, you know, I think it's more and more evidence -- and like I said I think you're right, we have to see what happens in the actual, real court of justice and at the court of public opinion.

KURTZ: Let's say nothing else happened. That was a very moving talking to Barbara Bowman.


FOWLER: Sobering. I think if you think about it and you think about -- the sad part here is he used his power and influence for the negative, right. The whole ideal behind Bill Cosby and his legacy before this was he was a guy who really changed American culture. For the first time you saw successful African-American family depicted on television. He pushed that forward. He made a career from a lot of folks. And now to see this, it's damning and it's downright -- it's a very nauseating feeling that a lot of Americans have.

KURTZ: Do you also -- does part of you say that it's kind of white washing of American history to then pretend that these shows didn't exist, to take the statue down, to kill the reruns, can you separate that?

FOWLER: Well, I think there has to be some sort of sense of separation, right. I think we'll have to see what happens over time. But I think there's a separation of what Huxtable's represent and what Bill Cosby represents. What we've seen happen is Bill Cosby is tarnished the reputation an entire program, an entire part of American history, because of how he chose to use his power in the negative.

KURTZ: Right. You know it's not just that program, it's the comedy albums, its I-spy, where he was the first African-American to co-star on a drama network TV that was a huge thing at the time. People tell me we shouldn't take that away and really he's funny. I think O.J. Simpson had a great football career, but at some point it's very difficult to separate the man from the performer.

FOWLER: Well yeah. I think you're completely right. Don't get me wrong. His legacy made a lot of stars. For example, Raven Simone who's now possibly going to be the new permanent host in The View and that's because of Mr. Cosby...


FOWLER: Oh yeah. But I think it's so sad that after all the good that he's done, he is now being tarnished by his bad acts.

KURTZ: Is it hard for you as an African-American to just -- on a gut level accept what happened to a guy who did so much for the black community's image, and also criticized the black community with things like family dysfunction.

FOWLER: You know I think it's not really a lot of American issue. I think there are a lot of Americans who are, like, wow, for somebody who grew up on the Cosby Show, and the white folks, black folks, Hispanic folks, purple folks, blue folks, who grew up on the Cosby Show, this ideal of this yearning to be this perfect American family living in New York City, to now know the person who led that family was a creep. That's the best way to describe it. And I think that's the irony of it all and sad part for many of Americans.

KURTZ: A creep. On that we can agree. It's been a lesson for all of America. But I've been particularly moved by some black writers talking about how this is particularly hard for them. Richard fowler, great to see you, thanks so much for being here. Coming up, you can't turn on a television set or visit a news sight without seeing Donald Trump. Why he's dominating the media landscape, and CNN doctor forced to change his story about which patients he operated on in an earthquake zone.


KURTZ: Day after day, it seems Donald Trump is still dominating the media debate.


KARL ROVE: The media and Democrats will force Republicans to answer for what Donald Trump says...

JONATHAN CAPEHART, WASHINGTON POST: I'm here to declare that Donald Trump is a clown.

PAUL BEGALA, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Donald Trump is god's gift to the Democratic Party, Cable TV pundits, and late-night comics. We're all having a Trump-gasm. He's the face of the Republican Party.


KURTZ: Trump was very combative even more so than with me last week in a half hour interview that Katie Tur aired on MSNBC.


KATY TUR, NBC NEWS: Republicans say that you're hurting the party. Do you think you're hurting the party if divide them so severely, will you be able to get the nomination and then become President?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, on Fox they say that I did a great service because I'm the one that brought up the whole discussion on immigration, and I think I'm helping the party greatly.


KURTZ: Joining us now, Betsy Woodruff, Political Reporter for the Daily Beast, and Dana Milbank, Columnist for the Washington Post. Betsy, so Trump has now shot up to number one in one poll, tied with Jeb Bush in another poll for first place. Is he cleverly, diabolically, manipulating the media or are the media just kind of rolling over because as we say in Television, he rates?

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: Look, the media and national political reporters that I know and spend time with have one view of Donald Trump. We see him as a basically as a fraudulent, petulant, goofball blowhard, who is only running for office so reporters will write about him. And that makes reporters not want to write about him. We have resisted as long as possible. But he's polling like crazy.

KURTZ: Then you and your friends are doing a lousy job. You talk about him all the time.

WOODRUFF: It's so hard, we're trying.

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: I love writing about him. The man is a rotten pig but he's good for our business. And I'm not -- it's a guilty pleasure but I'm going to be -- it's justified to write about him. He's number two in the polls, he's number one in some states.

KURTZ: Do you recognize, Dana Milbank, that by attacking him and writing about him and talking about him, you are helping him, you are giving him the media oxygen that his campaign needs to thrive on. You are complicit.

MILBANK: Absolutely. He has milked this system perfectly. He's all kinds of terrible things. But he's not a dummy. And he knows how to work this. He knows how to play the primary electorate. And look at what he's doing. He has a debate coming up and Fox News has to decide on whether he's going to be in it or not.


KURTZ: Unless he doesn't file the proper paperwork, he's in based on the polls. If Fox is sitting here saying do we let him or do we not let him in? But look, you used some pretty strong adjectives to describe the Donald. And I'm sure he'll tweeting at you very soon. I would argue that the media -- and this is still going on, have underestimated his impact and then even the negative things that are said, kind of plays into his hands, because he learned this in New York. You whack Donald Trump, he whacks you back, and then the second day story saying Trump responded, and there's a third day story, saying what does it mean? So even this weekend being out in Arizona and L.A., he's still is dominating the coverage.

WOODRUFF: And it's a symbiotic relationship, right? It's great for Trump. He gets to go on TV. He gets to yell, he gets attention he craves. And we get clicks and traffic. That's good for business. It works both ways.

KURTZ: But what about the people who you say who your colleagues who don't really want to talk about him, were calling him a blow hard. What if they're in a bubble, what if they're wrong, what is he's touching a nerve with the Republican Primary Electorate?

WOODRUFF: Well, I think to an extent, they really are. Look, the majority of national politics reporters live in New York and D.C. and in urban areas, they tend to skew left, they don't spend time with Donald Trump fans and they/we are surprised to see blocks and blocks in Phoenix full of people waiting for hours in 100-degree weather to hear this guy. For most national politics reporters, the love of Trump is baffling and in itself a bubble.

MILBANK: I just think this is a perfectly legitimate story for the media to be covering. It's justified by the polls, but it's also justified by -- what is this man doing but holding up a mirror to our political system? He knows how to work the media. He knows how to work the Republican Primary Electorate. I covered this guy 16 years ago and he was soft on immigration, going after Pat Buchanan as a racist. Completely flip. He's a complete fraud but he's smart and --

KURTZ: You say he's a complete fraud. Other politicians -- you would say he's not a politician, have "evolved" on their position on immigration or health care. But yes, there's video tape of Trump saying he's for universal health care and pro-choice. At the moment at least, that seems to slide off him.

MILBANK: Well, I suppose because more outrageous things are going on with him. He's not being scrutinized as if he's Jeb Bush or Scott Walker.

KURTZ: Why not?

MILBANK: It's bit of a Sarah Palin phenomenon. We can't stay away from it. You know deep in your heart that the Republicans are not going to nominate this guy. Ultimately, they're not suicidal. But he's going to make it interesting.

WOODRUFF: He's impacting the field too. He's freaking out Reince Priebus, he's terrifying Republican donors, he's making Republican candidates either push back against him or argue with him or defend him. He's changing the way the Republican primary debate happens.

KURTZ: He's changed the entire campaign, and not only in terms of overshadowing the other 14, 15, 80 people who are running. But then also, they all feel like they have to attack him or respond to him to make news. I jokingly said we're all living in Donald's world now. But you write that Trump is embodiment of the Republican Party with a more flamatory style, but come on, as a liberal you would love to be able to tar the entire party with that brush.

MILBANK: It's the primary process that Republicans have created, and now they happen to have 15 or 80 or whatever candidates in there. Nobody is really polling more than 12 percent. So what do you do in that environment? You have to be the most outrageous guy in the room. This was Trump's genius and of course now the other guys have to respond to that. Look, I think he looked at what's the basket of issues that's going to just make that Republican primary electorate go crazy. All right, I'll pick these five and I'll really hit immigration. I think he's laughing at the Republican primary electorate, but at all of us because he's exploiting the system.

KURTZ: Just briefly. Do you think that some of your fellow reporters and pundits will have to adjust their view of Trump and realize that they have to take him more seriously?

WOODRUFF: I think they will, I think they already have. He's getting more coverage, he's getting bigger deal interviews, he's getting more air time, and that's because he's polling so well and he gets big crowds. It is what it is.

MILBANK: We should get used to it. We're going have two terms of President Trump. I'll retire on that, Howie.

KURTZ: I've done so much Trump tonight, I feel like I should have a Daily Show title Senior Trump Correspondent, all right, Dana Milbank, Betsy Woodruff, good to see you today. After the break, our video verdict, talk about Trump, how the Donald treated NBC's Katie Tur in their very contentious interview.


KURTZ: Time now for our video verdict. Donald Trump is a very aggressive guy when you get him in the interview chair, as I found out last week at Trump Tower.


KURTZ: I think that they criticize you, and your instinct, like a boxer, is to punch back.

TRUMP: Well, I do punch back. I believe in punching back.


KURTZ: But even by his boxing match standards, the Donald was pretty hard on NBC's Katy Tur in their seemingly endless sit-down.


TRUMP: I'm talking about oil, I'm talking about oil areas, and I'm not talking about civilian areas.

TUR: Civilians are near oil areas.

TRUMP: Oh give me a break, Katie. Go ahead, next question. It sounds good, it's a wrong statistic, check your numbers. It's none of your business. It's really none of your business. By the way, you're going to mention the ones that do like Trump? You don't do that do you? While I'm wasting my time talking to you, which is essentially one-sided, but that's fine. But while I'm wasting my time talking to you, I could be doing deals on other things. I'm losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars. You're not bringing up anything new. You're acting you're the great reporter.

TUR: Your research says that there are immigrants on the whole...

TRUMP: Come on, try getting it out. Try getting it out.

TUR: I'll get it out.

TRUMP: I don't know if you're going to put this on television but you don't even know what you're talking about. Try getting it out. Go ahead. The way you've put it, everything is so negative. It's too bad that she mentioned only the negatives. You don't want to mention all the positives.


KURTZ: Playing rough. Now you might think I'm going to throw the penalty flag on Trump, but, no, Katy Tur peppered him with tough questions, he's entitled to push back hard. Sometimes he got a tad too personal. But the NBC reporter handled it just fine, and the way they butted heads made for a revealing interview, more so than if it just been a series of oh, so polite questions. All right, still to come, your top tweets. CNN's Sanjay Gupta mired in confusion as the media outlet questions his story about brain surgery in Nepal and the Simpson's play a little politics. Buzzworthy is straight ahead.


KURTZ: Sanjay Gupta went to Nepal after an earthquake two months ago, and the doctor reported on CNN about his life-saving efforts.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just have more patients than they can accommodate which is why you've jumped into action. Tell us about this little girl that we're seeing on the screen that you just performed brain surgery on.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN: The girl named Selena. She's 8 years old.


KURTZ: But the Global Press Journal interviewed Selena's family and found out that the 8 year old girl never had an operation, forcing Gupta to backtrack blaming the chaos at the hospital.


GUPTA: What has been flagged for us now Chris is in fact that the patient that I operated on may not have been this 8-year-old girl, but rather separately a 14-year-old girl. We're trying to independently verify exactly which child it was that got the operation at that time.


KURTZ: Turns out it was the 14-year-old, and that's a big mistake. Sanjay deserves credit for doing surgery in a disaster zones. But his dual role as a journalist carrying his medical exploits keeps colliding. A CNN spokeswoman tells me Sanjay Gupta often does surgery overseas without any television cameras or publicity.

Les Gelb has been vindicated on his dealings with Hillary Clinton we told you last week. How a Hillary fund- raiser wrote in a newly disclosed email that the former New York Times reporter had pitched a Parade Magazine piece on Clinton, and prompted to offer veto power over its contents, which Gelb denied. What I hadn't seen at the time was that the fund raiser Lynn Rothschild told the Washington Post, I totally agree with Les Gelb that by use of the word veto was bullcrap. Les is absolutely right. I should not have used that word. When she said she pushed his proposal because Gelb obviously admired so much of what she did and particularly her work ethic. Time for your top tweets, Donald Trump says the media is distorting his position on illegal immigration. Martin Fairfax, half the media are dropping illegal in the coverage. Complete the story should have pro-law not anti-immigrant position. Christian Paz, not real given that he's been incredibly obvious that he hates immigrants. Max, demagogue the messenger to hide the message. Who said all Mexicans are rapists and murderers, no one. Badu Marunesku, no he's being quoted accurately with his wild comments, just ask his fellow GOP presidential contenders.

And I just can't resist this one. Donald Trump is so dominating, every nook and cranny of the media landscape that he's now made it into a promo for The Simpson's.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm right behind him. Not supposed to stare as it directly but I can't help it. If I touch, it will it heal my baldness?


KURTZ: When Homer Simpson is getting in your hair, the media are treating you as a cultural phenomenon as much as a presidential candidate, or just trying to milk Trump for a little extra publicity, which I guess we just provided.

That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. We hope you'll like our Facebook page, we just passed 10,000 likes. Join the conversation there, we post a lot of original content, if you e-mail us at, I respond on video. You can check out your Buzz on our Facebook page and our homepage. As for the television version, we're back here next Sunday 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern. We hope you'll join us then for more on the media and the latest Buzz.

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