Univision anchor lectures Trump; Hillary's 'terror' tactic

Was Jorge Ramos out of line?


This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," August 30, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, Univision's top anchor brings his crusade for illegal immigrants to a Donald Trump news conference, disrupts the proceedings, and gets himself booted.


DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Excuse me. Sit down. You weren't called. Sit down. Sit down. Go ahead.

JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION ANCHOR: I have a right to ask a question.

TRUMP: No, you don't. You haven't been called.

RAMOS: I have a right to ask a question.

TRUMP: Go back to Univision.


KURTZ: Was Jorge Ramos practicing journalism or did Trump win the exchange by bringing him back for a debate, and when the coverage of Trump's cascade of insults against Jeb Bush announced for a one-sided fight.

Hillary Clinton likens her Republican rivals to terrorists and most of the media just yawn. Is there a blatant double standard here?

The lessons of the horrifying on air murder of two young Virginia journalists by a former reporter at their station, the role of social media, and television's scramble to cover the tragedy.


JEFFREY MARKS, WDBJ GENERAL MANAGER: It is my very, very sad duty to report that we have determined through the help of the police and our employees that Allison and Adam died this morning shortly after 6:45 when the shots rang out.


KURTZ: Why local street reporting can be more dangerous than most people imagine.

Plus, why MSNBC's finally dropping Al Sharpton's Nightly Show, I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

After Univision's chief anchor was escorted from Donald Trump's Iowa news conference, shouting and lecturing Trump all the way, NBC's Casey Hunt asked the Republican front runner why Jorge Ramos had been ejected.


TRUMP: Because he was out of order. I would take his question in two seconds. But he stood up and started screaming.


KURTZ: Trump allowed Ramos to come back for what turned into a heated five-minute debate.


RAMOS: You cannot deny citizenship to the children.

TRUMP: Why do you say that?

RAMOS: You cannot do that.

TRUMP: The one thing we're going to start with immediately are the gangs and real bad ones. You agree there are bad ones. Do you agree with that?


KURTZ: Trump defended himself the next morning on the "Today" show.


TRUMP: He stood up and started ranting and raving like a madman and frankly he was out of line.


KURTZ: Ramos, who declined our invitation for an interview, responded with Megyn Kelly.


RAMOS: He tried to silence me and in this country you cannot do that.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST, "THE KELLY FILE": Can you understand Trump's side of it, which is this, is not the outlet I want to take these questions from because their mind is made up about me.

RAMOS: He doesn't like uncomfortable questions. It happened with you. It happened with your colleagues at Fox News. He hates it when he's being confronted.


KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze Trump's latest skirmishes with the media, Mercedes Schlapp, a Columnist for U.S. News, Political Consultant and a former Bush White House Official, Susan Ferrechio, a Chief Congressional Correspondent for the Washington Examiner, and Juan Williams, Fox News Analyst and a Columnist for the Hill. Mercedes Schlapp, you are a Cuban- American. Some Hispanic journalists are applauding Jorge Ramos, praising him to the skies. What do you make of his comments?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, FMR SPOKESPERSON FOR PRES GEORGE W. BUSH: A majority of Hispanic journalists are applauding Jorge Ramos. What's interesting is that the conservative media and the mainstream media both agree that Jorge Ramos was out of line. And then you have on the other side, the Spanish language media basically saying wait a second, they literally showed the viral video of Jorge Ramos and the individual saying get out of my country.  So it was a very unfair -- I would say coverage on the Spanish language media side.

KURTZ: I wish I could pronounce it like that. What does Mercedes Viana say about Jorge Ramos and what he did?

SCHLAPP: He was -- I find that he was out of line in the sense that -- first of all, he dominated the press conference. He became the show. It was a very calculated move by Jorge Ramos to get his point across that he was going to be very adamant and an advocate on this issue on immigration.  And he was going to confront Trump on it regardless of...

KURTZ: Was it unprofessional?

SCHLAPP: I would say absolutely, I think on that part it was.

KURTZ: Juan, journalists want to be seen as tough when they are questioning politicians. But if you're interrupting and then you keep shouting and you won't sit down, is that tough?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, it made him cross the line. But I would remind Mercedes and I would remind you, Howie, because you had a terrific piece about this issue, and you know, it was at for people that want to read it, but if you think back Helen Thomas in the White House press room, she could be obnoxious at times. Do you remember Sam Donaldson? Sam Donaldson used to stand up and shout at Reagan all the time.

KURTZ: But there's a difference between shouting at presidents when they are going into the helicopter or it's a scrum, but having a news conference where someone is calling this one and that one and then you jump in, and then you don't stop talking, and then you're not really asking a question, but you're kind of lecturing the candidate. That doesn't upset you?

WILLIAMS: Let me just say first of all, Jorge Ramos is no reporter. So let's not equate him with a reporter. He is the Walter Cronkite of Spanish language media in this country. He's the star journalist and he has a certain weight on issues of immigration, specifically when he says that to his community this amounts to racism, discrimination, and oppression.

SCHLAPP: Juan, he jumps in there all the time and really -- what they do on Univision is advocacy journalism. It is very clear that Jorge Ramos -- when he gets on air, it's very much an opinion on where he stands on immigration and like Howie said, he went on a tirade with Trump. And he's made it a point that he basically says on issues of racial discrimination, he believes that journalism should have a point of view and they should be very vocal about it.

WILLIAMS: I don't understand why that's a problem. My colleagues here at Fox News often times especially prime time anchors have a point of view, and I've seen them interview President Obama and be insistent, interrupting, and make their point.

SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: That's different. I don't think Sean Hannity -- he is a host of a TV show, but he's not sitting in the audience of a press conference asking questions the way Jorge Ramos was and he was also interrupting Jorge Ramos other reporters...

KURTZ: It sounded like a number of journalists having questions -- progressively on immigration, and I think it was shrewd of Donald Trump to bring him back and then have a debate, because he didn't want the next day's headlines to be reporter booted out.


KURTZ: He didn't completely banish him. Ok, but when Trump gets into Jorge Ramos, when he calls out a CNN reporter for asking a question about protesters -- CNN hasn't reported accurately on me, when he continues to swipe at Fox News over debate questions, does it always help Donald Trump?

FERRECHIO: Yes. Because if you look at what the public thinks of the media right now, our ratings are down there with ratings of people in Congress. We're approaching really bottom of the barrel levels here. So the more he swipes at Congress, I think voters like that. I think look at the reaction on twitter when he got the tough questions from Megyn Kelly.  You saw a lot of backlash. People are saying, hey, what's Fox News doing asking these tough questions of Donald Trump? For some reason people took offense to the fact that these journalists were trying to ask really tough questions, because they don't like reporters, they think we have treated these candidates unfairly over the past few years.

KURTZ: Just to be clear, Jorge Ramos is the Chief Anchor of Univision -- which is the largest Spanish language network in the country. And so he clearly has opinions on this issue. But he's not paid to go and disrupt events. I thought at times he seemed like a heckler.


SCHLAPP: I was shocked. Because knowing Jorge Ramos, I worked with him during the Bush administration, he would be the reporter out of Univision that would say let's have the interview with President Bush, because he was considered pretty fair on these questions. With President Obama, he was tough with President Obama on immigration. He's taken it to a whole new different level with Trump. This is personal for Jorge Ramos. Really you can tell in his tone, you can tell in the way that he tries to ask these questions that right now it's become like a moral crusade for Jorge Ramos, and he's making it very clear to the Latinos who are watching his show that Donald Trump...

WILLIAMS: Well, didn't Walter Cronkite say something about Vietnam? I believe that Walter Cronkite who was the anchor...


WILLIAMS: And people said if you lost Walter Cronkite maybe you lost the country. If you lost Jorge Ramos, maybe you lost the Spanish community.

KURTZ: Just to clarify, Walter Cronkite 1968 I believe, went on a reporting trip to Vietnam and came back and said it looked like the U.S. was losing the war. He was not waving his arm and interrupting people.  Let's look at other Donald Trump rally where he took on the New York Times, in fact he stood up and read from a Times article about how the Hispanic media are treating the Donald. Take a look.


TRUMP: Ricardo Sanchez, known as El Mandrio, for his Spanish drive time radio show in Los Angeles has taken to calling Donald J. Trump (Inaudible) -- in other words the man of the toupee. This is on the front page of the New York Times. I don't wear a toupee. It's my hair. I swear. Is it mine? Look. It is. Say it, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I believe it is.

TRUMP: Thank you.


KURTZ: Susan, how is that for pushing back against the New York Times?

FERRECHIO: I'll tell you -- and he keeps doing these things where he's grabbing the spotlight with these moments at these press conferences, at these rallies, I mean who does that. Have someone in the audience come up and see if their hair is real. Look at the play that got. I do think that's really hitting back -- hey, the New York Times says my hair isn't real. Why don't you come up here and look at my hair and tell me -- is the New York Times right or wrong, another accurate slap at the media.

KURTZ: -- in fairness was quoting Hispanic radio host and he went onto read more from that article. But Juan, since you seem to feel that Jorge Ramos was maybe not as out of line as a lot of other critics say, let's go back to a news conference in which President Obama was interrupted by a reporter for the Daily Caller.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's the right thing to do. Excuse me, sir. It's not time for questions, sir. Not while I'm speaking. And the answer to your question, sir, and next time I prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that.


KURTZ: So were you more upset about what Neil Monroe of the Daily Caller did than you were about what Jorge did?

WILLIAMS: By far. Clearly the president was speaking.

KURTZ: He was reading an opening statement.

WILLIAMS: So he's speaking. So what you saw I think with Donald Trump was Donald Trump was in the middle of a press conference. And let me just give you a little background here very quickly, which is that Jorge Ramos had requested interviews with Donald Trump. Donald Trump had not responded.  Donald Trump had put his phone number, I believe, on the internet so there had been something of a little static that you guys haven't mentioned here.

KURTZ: There was a little...


KURTZ: Here is a fascinating opinion piece on the Univision website by Jorge Ramos' long time co-anchor Marina Elena Salines. Let's put it up on the screen, talking about Trump. His words are tantamount to a declaration of war against a major sector of American society. As in any war, aggression on Hispanic immigrants raises our nationalism and pride. Like Jorge has done in the past when there's injustice, intolerance, or corruption, he was not going to stay silent. He went to Donald Trump's press conference with a clear mission. Question, denounce and expose him, and since you and I set to translate that Mercy, what do you think of that?

SCHLAPP: Well, again I think it's very strong words from Maria Elena Salinas. I think we have to understand, that this is an incredibly emotional topic for the Latinos. They are taking it -- both Maria Elena, at Univision, Jorge Ramos, it's personal for them. Again as I said, moral crusade for Hispanics, it's an issue that they want to take on and they want to take Trump down with it.

KURTZ: If she says he went to denounce and expose him, that doesn't sound like journalism to me.

WILLIAMS: It sounds like opinion journalism. I think that's your legitimate point.

KURTZ: It sounds like activism.


WILLIAMS: Wait a second. Remember, Donald Trump said rapists, thieves, that are who these immigrants being sent into this country. Ramos who is a Mexican American might take offense.


FERRECHIO: You have to take the personal part out of it, Juan. Where is the objective unbiased journalism?


WILLIAMS: I'm saying that he challenged the candidate.

SCHLAPP: You're a newscaster on a major Spanish network, you believe that it's ok for him to...

WILLIAMS: I think in this instance when you just heard that his co-anchor said this is a matter of injustice, discrimination, bias, perpetrating characters and stereotypes, I think he would be negligent as a major voice in his community if he did not speak with some passion.

KURTZ: I have to get a break in. I'm sure you have opinions about this.  Send me a tweet @HowardKurtz, we'll read some them at the end of the program, or you can e-mail us,

Ahead, why there's no media furor over Hillary Clinton comparing Republican candidates to those of terrorists, but when we come back, Donald Trump for insulting Jeb Bush and his family 33 times in a Washington Post interview.  Why doesn't Jeb use the media megaphone.


KURTZ: Jeb Bush has started to respond to Donald Trump's taunts, but he is being so restrained that he often avoids using the Donald's name. Trump meanwhile, is battering Bush in one interview after another, leading to coverage that can seem rather one-sided.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was born in Laredo, Texas where Trump was at about a month ago.

JEB BUSH, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do we have to talk about this guy? This guy is now the front runner. He should be held to account just like me.  He should be asked as he was yesterday how are you going to pay for it?  Here's a guy larger than life. It's all about him.

TRUMP: There's a reason he doesn't use his last name. Because it's going to won't work too well, because we had a lot of problems with that last name.


KURTZ: Susan Ferrechio, I need to ask you about this guy. Is the coverage lopsided because Jeb is not a good counter puncher or because Trump and his attacks are dominating the coverage?

FERRECHIO: I think it's the latter. I think Trump is just dominating the coverage with the way his performance or as some people say his antics on stage. He really knows how to draw the limelight to himself and he knows how to really hit hard at the candidates. We have a really quiet group of Republicans underneath him by comparison. Jeb Bush is pretty low key at the podium or as Trump was saying low energy or whatever he was accusing him of being. And I do think it's drowned out the rest of the field at this point and that is their biggest problem right now.

KURTZ: Well, Trump has now done 75 plus national TV interviews. Jeb has done a few, none for a couple weeks. So is it unfair coverage if one guy is constantly talking to reporters, going on TV, calling into Howard Stern.

WILLIAMS: Let me ask you, Howie Kurtz, this week CNN carried a town hall meeting presentation by Donald Trump uninterrupted. I was like is this -- what is going on here? Is this paid for?

KURTZ: Ok, it's not just CNN. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, seem to cover every Trump press conference, major chunks of Trump's rallies and it's not a secret in part because he's a front runner but it's because the ratings are...

WILLIAMS: That's what I'm saying. So in other words, the news media is responding to the fact that people are interested and fascinated, can't get enough of Donald Trump.

KURTZ: That may be true, but Jeb Bush can go on any show he wants. He can come on this show, Fox News Sunday, and the next things he's going to do I guess is Stephen Colbert, but that's a couple of weeks from now.

SCHLAPP: And he just did the one American network with Sarah Palin, which is very softball interview.

KURTZ: But is it our fault that Jeb Bush is not making more use of the media megaphone?

SCHLAPP: No. I don't think it's the media's fault. I think Jeb Bush is thinking at some point this candidate is going to go away, and I think that he's being very cautious. I think he is sticking to his script which is I've got my message this week on veterans, next week it will be on something else. But he's not necessarily utilizing the media to his full advantage.

KURTZ: Trump is calling -- he spent 35 minutes talking to a Washington Post reporter, 33 insults of Bush and his family during that time. Jeb's not calling newspaper reporters back. I'm not saying he should.

SCHLAPP: I believe that Jeb is moving into a more traditional media approach. He's going by that media campaign.


FERRECHIO: New ground game right now. Trump has really harnessed it very well for himself. The other candidates are trying to play catch-up.


WILLIAMS: And Jeb keeps stumbling this thing about Asian anchor babies.

KURTZ: He adopts the anchor babies term used by Trump, then he has to defend it and he's not had the best few weeks.

WILLIAMS: No and Trump is unleashed. He's not that smart. He's low energy. This is just Trump firing away. Jeb does not behave in that way.  He doesn't talk that way about people.

SCHLAPP: Jeb is the only one breaking through with the pack of 16 really.


SCHLAPP: Nontraditional candidates are moving.

KURTZ: Juan Williams, Susan Ferrechio, thanks very much. Mercy, we'll see you a bit later. Ahead, we'll look at the coverage of the heartbreaking on-air murder of two young Virginia journalists.

But up next, MSNBC finally dumps Al Sharpton's nightly show, and former NBC Medical Editor Nancy Snyderman with some chilling reflections on her Ebola ordeal.


KURTZ: MSNBC which have been canceling one liberal show after another is now dropping Al Sharpton's nightly program and moving him to Sunday.  Sharpton brought constant controversy coupled with low ratings. Not a good combo. Maybe for the network has been allowing Sharpton to play an activist role in racially-charged stories and cover the same subjects as a host, often interviewing his allies. Sharpton gave the story to New York's Daily News and says he likes the shift to Sunday morning, because I wanted to be Martin Luther King and not Larry King, well, happy preaching, Reverend.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman left NBC last year as you may recall, after a big blunder, breaking a self-imposed quarantine after coming into contact with the Ebola virus in Liberia. She says on a Hollywood Reporter piece that a senior center refused to give her 88-year-old mother a shot, "I will tell you I saw the mean side of social media and the number of people who wanted me dead or worse. It was a traumatic time. I never wanted to be famous but, man, did I see the ugly side of too many people know who you are. I swear to god. If it had been Salem, I would have been burned at the stake." A reminder that when media people make a mistake, they can really get tarred and feathered in the public square and, yes, they are also human beings.

Ahead, Hillary Clinton likens Republican candidates to terrorists and largely gets a yawn from the mainstream media.

But first, the senseless murders of the Roanoke, Virginia, journalists that shocked the country. Should the media carry the images recorded by the crazed gunman?


KURTZ: I was part of Fox's live coverage during the heartbreaking events of Wednesday morning, when the viewers of WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, saw reporter Allison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward killed during a routine interview by an angry former reporter who had been fired by the station.


GREGG JARRETT, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: This is a Fox News alert. We're just getting news that from Reuters News Service that in Virginia, Franklin County, two television journalists have been shot and killed during a live broadcast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, MSNBC: Right now we've been able to confirm the identity of the suspect. He is Vester Lee Flanagan II, he's been described as a disgruntled employee at WDBJ Channel 7.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, CNN: The headline that we now know the suspect is dead.  He died at a hospital in Northern Virginia at 1:31 p.m. Eastern time today.


KURTZ: The saturation coverage riveted the nation's attention especially with this sick and twisted development that the ex-reporter who used the on-air name Bryce Williams recorded the murders himself and posted the footage on social media all before he took his own life. Joining us now Andrea McCarren, a reporter at WUSA, the CBS affiliate here in Washington, and David Zurawik, Television and Media Critic for the Baltimore Sun, Andrea, when you heard about this, you must have thought, wow, we're out on the streets all the time.

ANDREA MCCARREN, WUSA REPORTER: It was absolutely despicable what happened. Devastating, our hearts are collectively broken in the industry.  But among my colleagues and me -- think about it. We are absolutely sitting ducks. Television stations across the country have beefed up security.

KURTZ: Including yours.

MCCARREN: Including ours since 9/11. There are multiple layers if you want to get into a television station, but for those of us out in the field, we have none. And the only surprise among my colleagues and me is that something like this hasn't happened sooner.

KURTZ: Right and people forget that you don't have to be covering a riot or police action to be exposed the way these two young journalists unfortunately and tragically were. And when you're doing a live shot, explain where is your attention is and the cameras there?

MCCARREN: We're incredibly vulnerable. Our attention is completely focused on the camera. The photo journalist is focused as well. We are doing our jobs out in the field. But I cannot think of a journalist in television that's not been harassed during a live shot. We've had things thrown at us. And in the last year or so, it's become a trend to interrupt a reporter's live shot with obscenities and then post that video on Youtube.

KURTZ: Has that happened to you?

MCCARREN: It has happened to me.

KURTZ: What do they say?

MCCARREN: They say F her in the blank, words we cannot say on television, Howie. And we're simply doing our jobs but we're absolutely targets out there. And we don't have to be in a riot zone like you said. When I became a mother of three children, I did not take on assignments that I felt put me in the greatest danger. I've not been to a war zone. But now we're all in a war zone sadly.

KURTZ: Well put. David Zurawik, I mentioned the gunman recording his own video and posting it online. CNN and CBS showed it, the New York tabloids put it on the cover, most others didn't, should any news organization show that footage?

DAVID ZURAWIK, BALTIMORE SUN MEDIA CRITIC: Howie, I think given where social media is now and given the proliferation of those images through the culture, they tear through the culture instantly. You know that argument about not showing it is a much more difficult argument. I mean, even legacy newspaper sites want it up on their websites in some way and have to make that decision.

KURTZ: Isn't that playing into the hands of someone who clearly wanted attention and planned this out? Why should we give somebody like that the satisfaction?

ZURAWIK: Because now you're talking about intentionality in the mind of who makes the video. We also show those videos of people being shot by police officers that citizens filmed, you know different kind of intentionality. They thought they saw an injustice, wanted to bring it to the widest audience. So how do you decide, how do you know what's in the mind of the killer? Obviously you know this guy wanted it out there. And I think it did become an issue of people saying I'm not going to watch because that's what he wants me to do. And I do know people had that discussion. But you know I watched CNN for example wrestle with this.  We're not going to show it, and then a half hour later we'll show it once.  Leave the room. Half hour again they showed it again because they had the shot of him over the guy. So you know watching them wrestle with it, I though everybody is wrestling with it. Listen, we have the technology, Howie. We have this incredible digital technology but we haven't thought it through. The technology has outraced how we're going to use it as a culture. Not in the industry, as a culture. That's what this was about.

MCCARREN: But David, I will say, and Howie, I was very proud my station made the immediate decision not to run the video. And nor did we even put on television or online the gunman's tweets.

KURTZ: Right, ok. Well, I happen to agree with that. Because why feed it. Social media can be great in terms of bringing a community together in time of tragedy, but it also has this dark side. Since you have spent so many years out in the field as a network reporter, local reporter here in Washington, is it running through your mind that you have to change the way you do your job?

MCCARREN: That's a great question. It's always running through our minds but now I believe we'll all be hyper vigilant. Because you mentioned earlier, we're so focused on accomplishing our jobs and we're so accustomed to having people surrounding us on our live shots. Whether they are just curiosity seekers or people who mean us harm. The fact is there is so much hate in the world right now and as you both well know, a lot of it is directed at the media. So we're extremely vulnerable out there. I believe we will take whatever minor precautions we can to move to a better location. Lately in the last since this horrifying incident happened, we've been doing our live shots at police stations. I did mine on Friday inside a courthouse. I've never done that before. But it puts us out of the direct line of fire.

KURTZ: Briefly, David, there were a lot of mistakes in the coverage as this unfolded. At first it was reported these two were engaged to each other, they're actually were engaged to others at the same station. There was a hot pursuit that didn't turn out to be true. The gunman was dead.  Then he was in the hospital and not dead and of course he was dead, problem?

ZURAWIK: It is a problem. We want to -- everybody wants a fog of war.  I'm still upset. We can still confirm things. You can report that two people were shot. If you don't know they're dead, don't say they're dead obviously. If you don't know if they're engaged, don't say it. We've gotten to this culture, again Howie, it's the technology and the way the culture of journalism has been blown up. That people just report anything and catch up with it. I don't think its ok but I understand it.

KURTZ: Let me just close with Andrea. A lot of people hate the media. I understand that. The media have given people reason to hate them. But these two young kids were the media, too. It's a reminder of that.

MCCARREN: They were and that's what's so sad. But here's the thing, people who feel anger toward the media or anger toward -- they feel disenfranchised with the system, government, they don't have access to those people. So they are essentially killing the messenger or meaning us harm.

KURTZ: Right, all right. Andrea McCarren, David Zurawik and as we go to break, this is how WDBJ remembered its two fallen colleagues.


UNIDENTIFIED WDBJ ANCHOR: We want to pause and reflect and share with you once again what made these two so special not just to us but all of our hometowns at WDBJ 7 serves. Please join us now in a moment of silence.


KURTZ: When Hillary Clinton ripped the Republicans the other day, she used some pretty inflammatory language. Look at how it was covered on the network newscast.


HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world. But it's a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the President of the United States.

MAURICE DUBOIS, "CBS NEWS" ANCHOR: Hillary Clinton is going after her Republican opponents on the issue of funding for women's health. In Cleveland today, she appeared to compare them to terrorists.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, ABC: In the swing state of Ohio, Hillary Clinton coming out swinging, comparing Republicans to terrorists on women's issues.


KURTZ: Joining us now, Jim Geraghty Contributing Editor at National Review, and Simon Rosenberg, President of NDN, the New Democratic Network.  Jim, coming out swinging, talking tough, why was there no recognition in these newscasts that it was an incendiary thing to say?

JIM GERAGHTY, NATIONAL REVIEW CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: Ordinarily, I would be screaming bloody murder about this, Howard. How can she say that? How the can the hell the media -- this is such a transparent effort to change the subject from the FBI investigation of her server. Think about it, right now...

KURTZ: I don't have any problem with her trying to change the subject.  That's what politicians do.

GERAGHTY: But right now she has more in common with terrorists than Republicans do because both Hillary and terrorists are being investigated by the FBI.

KURTZ: See what you did just there? Simon, the New York Times ran a seven paragraph item online about this. I'm sorry. If a Republican had compared Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders to terrorists it would have been on the front page and a week's worth of coverage.

SIMON ROSENBERG, THE NEW DEMOCRATIC NETWORK: I think she made a mistake honestly. I think it detracts from the argument. I think she's winning the actual argument. I think the Republicans are making a mistake from a policy standpoint in the way they're handling these issues around women. I think it's a huge advantage for the Democrats heading into 2016. It felt like just...

KURTZ: Trying to be like Trump?

ROSENBERG: I think a lot of establishment candidates are struggling a little bit now on this very different media environment. Part of this has to do with the way the velocity of the media and intensity of the media trying to break through. I think she over-calibrated a little bit.

KURTZ: Are the media now -- stepping back a bit, Jim, wrongly portraying her as being in a free-fall. I know we have this new Des Moines Register Poll out this morning showing her -- leading Bernie Sanders by only seven points in Iowa, but it's not like she doesn't have a lot of support from Democrats.

ROSENBERG: If we hadn't just watched this seven years ago where she was the high and mighty expected front runner and this no name Illinois senator coming out of nowhere. We feel like we've seen this movie before.


KURTZ: Bernie Sanders is not Barack Obama. He's a self-described socialist. You know all of this chatter about Joe Biden, a number of stories, he's leaning toward running and then CNN obtained this audio of the Vice President saying his heart and soul are banged up in the aftermath of his son's death and he didn't know if he had emotional fuel to run.  Does that show that the media got a little bit too far out on this notion that Biden's going to come in because Hillary is so battered?

ROSENBERG: I don't think so, because I think the Biden camp was pushing a lot of these stories. I talked to reporters this week -- because I got a lot of calls on this question, they had all spoken to somebody from Biden world. And so these stories weren't being...


ROSENBERG: They were calculated leaks. And so I think that they were pushing it. And I also think we have an accurate understanding of where the Vice President is now. I think he wants to do it but he also is battered and he's not really sure that he's ready to get it done.

KURTZ: Let me turn to Carly Fiorina because she's ripping CNN with the next presidential debate coming up next month at the Reagan Library, for the rules that it is using for who gets on the stage in the prime time debate. CNN wrongly in my view using polls from three weeks before the Fox debate when Carly Fiorina basically mired at 1 percent, and only a couple polls since then have showed her surging to as much as 5 percent, she's likely being excluded. I talked to the presidential candidate the other day. Let's take a look.


CARLY FIORINA, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  And so if you're a professional politician and been in the game a long time or you're a celebrity, your advantaged in national polls. If you're an outsider who literally most people have never even heard of before I launched my campaign on May 4th, you're disadvantaged.


KURTZ: Does Carly Fiorina have a legitimate beef with CNN?

GERAGHTY: Absolutely in the sense of why use polls from July to decide who should partake at a debate in September. And the great irony of course -- top ten, you get a big time debate, everybody else you're at the kiddie table. Well, everybody is like three, four, five, six percent, one tenth of one percent division between these two -- between well, you're a major candidate and no you're on the fringe.

KURTZ: We should point on, this was not aimed at Carly Fiorina. CNN announced these criteria in May. If it tried to change it in the middle of the game, they would get hit by other candidates.

ROSENBERG: Look, it's an unfortunate thing. I think we're having -- look, we're beginning to have a debate on our side about debates and about whether this is fair to the candidates.


ROSENBERG: And so we're having debates about debates. And I think the candidates who are trying to break through against the establishment candidates have a legitimate point that sometimes this can be unfair for people who are not as well-known and we've got to think about this.

KURTZ: All right, lightning round, short answers. Jeb Bush not having a great few weeks, down in the polls to Trump. Three of his fundraisers quit and Politico and others flee the campaign and the campaign is in trouble.  I'm sure he has a lot of fund raisers.

GERAGHTY: In the new poll in Iowa, he's underwater amongst Republicans.  He's at 40 percent approval, 50 percent disapproval. That's terrible.

KURTZ: News stories saying that Jeb is sinking are perfectly warranted.

GERAGHTY: Based on those numbers, if you go -- against Republicans, how are you going to get a majority of the entire country?

KURTZ: Donald Trump did an interview, about 20 this week, but the one with Bloomberg TV where he talked about raising taxes on hedge fund guys and other rich people. I found it fascinating that here's the leading GOP candidate running for conservative party's nomination basically saying I want to help middle class and raise taxes on some of the rich. Hasn't got that much media attention because I ask you, Trump is covered differently than everyone else.

ROSENBERG: Yeah look -- his immigration plan also made a far more explicit effort to connect it to the struggle of working class people than traditional Republicans do. Look, he's an unconventional candidate. He's breaking the ideological mold. He's doing this his own way.

KURTZ: So do the media just not take his positions on these things -- I think stuck they way they do with other politicians.

ROSENBERG: Yes and I think a lot of it is just covering the car crash if you want to call it that. There's not a lot of analysis. But I do want to say on the Bush thing, Jeb Bush looks sure looks like he's lost a step.  He's not reacting well to the media environment. He made huge mistakes this week. And so it's -- we're seeing these candidates do a good job with media.

KURTZ: It's August. Simon Rosenberg, Jim Geraghty, thanks very much.

Coming up, have the Hispanic media abandoned any pretense of fairness about illegal immigration and Donald Trump?


KURTZ: Donald Trump's dustup with Jorge Ramos has put the spotlight on how the Spanish language media treat him. We're back with our favorite Cuban- American commentator Mercedes Viana Schlapp. So it's not just Jorge. As my favorite Cuban-American commentator, would you say the Hispanic media treat Trump with great hostility?

SCHLAPP: I think that's a fair assessment to say that the Hispanic media is treating him with hostility. In fact, they are failing to mention a lot of -- what you would consider pro-immigrant policy that Trump is pushing on immigration, so, for example, he always -- Trump always says, well, we'll keep the good ones here or send them back. They are good people here.  We're going to expedite them and bring them back. That's never mentioned or barely ever mentioned in Hispanic media, so there's definitely -- they don't cover the whole story to a certain extent.

KURTZ: On CNN, Maria Hinojosa said the press wouldn't have beaten up on Jorge Ramos for the way he acted at the news conference if it was Lester Holt or some other African-American journalist that asked the question, so the suggestion is this was anti-Hispanic discrimination that criticized what Ramos did.

SCHLAPP: I think that's a story that the media's trying to portray too.  It's sort of the fact that Trump has made immigration policy his most important issue thus far, and then saying that he's basically having a fight with Jorge Ramos. So, again, I think it's a narrative that the media is trying to push forward, and, again, it's unfair.

KURTZ: If you're a Hispanic journalist or Hispanic reporter or Hispanic commentator, can you take the position that the immigration laws in this country should be enforced without being denounced by your community?

SCHLAPP: First, I think there are certain Hispanic journalists like Jose Diaz and there are several others who really believe in that issue of saying look, we need to enforce our laws, yes, they go into that route.  But there is always this issue about the question about 11 million and what you do with them, and that's something that journalists have been asking not only President George W. Bush but President Obama, and now what's happened is it's become so Trump-focused because of the fact that Trump has made what you would consider, as you know, like rhetoric against Hispanics, and that I think that the Hispanic media has just responded in a way that really has become an emotional and personal issue for them.

SCHLAPP: Sometimes I ask as a black journalist who takes on their own community by going against the conventional wisdom. I mean is there a lot of pressure, peer pressure almost, that if you don't follow that line you will be disparaged by people who kind of like your friend, your buddies, and your colleagues.

SCHLAPP: You know I don't think so. It's interesting with the Hispanic media because Hispanic community is so divided, you've got 67 percent Mexicans and then you've got Cubans and Salvadorans, you have this mix, so I think that diversity of opinions to a certain extent but clearly those Hispanic journalists that really court the Mexican viewer, they're going to be a lot harsher when it comes to talking about Trump and about immigration policy, and what they expect to be done with immigration policy.

KURTZ: It's important not to portray it as a monolith.

SCHLAPP: That's absolutely right.

KURTZ: Thanks very much.

Still to come, your top tweets, CNN's Don Lemon talks about porn sites, I know, it's strange, (AUDIO GAP) stay with us.


KURTZ: In our press picks, this is just incredibly weird, on CNN Wolf Blitzer asked Don Lemon about reports involving the killer of the two Virginia journalists who was gay.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN: He was actually involved in launching these gay porn websites. What's your reaction when you hear all of this?

DON LEMON, CNN: Well, I think that the gay porn site thing to me, I don't really see the relevance of it, because it's -- if it's not illegal, then what's wrong with him owning gay porn sites or straight porn sites or as a journalist forming, you know, a media company like, you know, Dan Abrams did.


KURTZ: Dan Abrams an ABC correspondent is the founder of Mediaite, a site that covers the media. Unless you find the media really sexy, there is nothing pornographic about it. Don Lemon hereby wins the Bizarre Analogy Award.

All right, time for your top tweets, who was right in their confrontation, Donald Trump or Jorge Ramos?

Trump was the adult in the room, gave the spoiled brat a time-out in the hall and then answered leadership versus insanity.

Neither, but Trump failed in that he wasn't gracious and didn't recognize the genuine angst animating Ramos' interruption.

Both are wrong, Trump by being abrupt and not providing specifics and Ramos by advocating instead of reporting.

Trump was right. Ramos was there to grandstand, Trump was even gracious enough to bring him back and Ramos got more time than anyone else. That is true.

All right, Stephen Colbert made a good living playing an angry conservative blowhard on Comedy Central, but as he prepares to take over David Letterman's CBS show, he tells Time Magazine for a cover story that he was sick of that character.


STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE LATE SHOW" HOST: I know I'm just playing at being a pundit, but if you do it over and over and over again you have to keep going back and sipping a cup of the poison that you're mocking. I suspect that audiences don't want to hear that monetized divisiveness you know.  The business model of anger, I think people are tired of.


KURTZ: Sure. Now he wants to be seen as a really nice guy. Look, Colbert has a point about anger, but for him that poison was very profitable.

By the way, I mentioned Maria Hinojosa talking about Jorge Ramos recently.  She did not make them on CNN, she made them on MSNBC, so happy to clarify that. And that is it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz.  We hope you'll go on our Facebook page, and give us a like. We respond to your comments there. You can be part of the conversation, just email us at, just ask a media question, and maybe I'll respond.  You can also DVR the show if you missed it. We don't want you to miss it and you play it back at your own convenience.

All right, we're back here next Sunday 11:00 and 5:00 Eastern with the latest buzz.

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