Donald Trump hit on Muslim question; media hail Carly Fiorina after debate

Media pounce on anti-Obama slur


This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," September 20, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, MEDIA BUZZ HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, Donald Trump blames the media for slamming his decision not to correct a questioner who called President Obama a Muslim and not American, and he's back making the case on the Sunday shows. Is that an important story? This after the media pronounced Carly Fiorina the undisputed winner of this week's debate, in part for taking on Trump, acting as a megaphone for the woman who had to fight to her way onto the CNN stage.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: The big name from last night, Carly Fiorina.

STEVE SCHMIDT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Carly Fiorina was phenomenal. Phenomenal.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, FOX NEWS: Yes, I loved Carly Fiorina. I think she had a hugely powerful moment that everybody loved.

JOE SCARBOROGH, MSNBC: Carly Fiorina was in another league last night.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: Carly Fiorina owned this debate from the beginning to the end.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Mr. Trump, why would you be better at creating jobs than Carly Fiorina?

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can only say this, she can't run any of my companies that I can tell you.

CARLY FIORINA, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you ran up mountains of debt as well as losses using other people's money and you were forced to file for bankruptcy, not once, not twice, four times, a record four times.


KURTZ: Are the pundits again too quick to write off Trump? Did moderator Jake Tapper go too far in pushing and prodding the other candidates to mix it up?


TAPPER: My name is Jake Tapper, I'll be the moderator.

TRUMP: They have used the laws...


TAPPER: Governor Christie's name has been invoked. I would look to give him the 30 seconds opportunity.


KASICH: Jake, just one more moment.


TAPPER: We're going to go to Dana Bash.


KURTZ: Jake, did CNN let the three-hour debate get out of control.

Hillary Clinton makes her late-night debut.


JIMMY FALLON, 'TONIGHT SHOW' HOST: He never let me touch his hair.


FALLON: Of course.

CLINTON: Go ahead.

FALLON: It's real. It's real.


KURTZ: Does that help her struggling campaign?

Pope Francis is in Cuba today. We'll check in on the mass he's holding and about to visit America, why much of the media loves and much of the country this trailblazing pontiff.

Plus, Fox News Anchor Jenna Lee takes on Conan O'Brien over an incredibly tasteless joke that likened her to a porn star. She'll tell us why she feels compelled to speak out. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is Media Buzz.

The media, now pouncing on Donald Trump for what he didn't say, cable news constantly covering a moment at a New Hampshire town hall when Trump failed to challenge this man.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a problem in this country, it's called Muslims. We know our current President is one. You know he's not even an American. But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That's my question, when can we get rid of them?

TRUMP: We're going to be looking at a lot of different things. And you know a lot of people are saying that and that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: You just don't pander to every loudmouth in your audience.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: This is racist crap, of course, and to me the big original sin of Donald Trump.


KURTZ: Joining us to talk about this uproar and CNN's handling of this week's debate, Mercedes Schlapp, a Columnist for U.S. News, Political Consultant, and former White House Aide to George W. Bush.

Andrea McCarren, a Reporter for Washington's WUSA TV and a Former Correspondent for NBC and ABC, and Joe Trippi, a Democratic Strategist and Fox News Contributor. Mercy, huge media controversy over that moment with Donald Trump, even news anchors like Anderson Cooper ripping him on the media, justified in saying, Trump should have corrected this crazy guy?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, FMR SPOKESPERSON FOR PRES GEORGE W. BUSH: It's not the media's role to justify or basically tell Trump what he should or should not say. The problem -- again, they became sort of this opinion voice -- out there basically saying, you know what? He's a racist. His comment was incorrect. He should have challenged the man. Here's the deal. Donald Trump is going to play his own game, and he's going to ignore the media, in fact, those voters out there are basically saying, go at it, you don't need to respond to the media's criticism of you.

KURTZ: Well, Trump went uncharacteristically silent for about 24 hours.
But now he's ignoring the media, Andrea, he started out with a tweet, the media wants to make it about Obama, talking about a war on Christians, so is he able to defuse it by blaming the press?

ANDREA MCCARREN, WUSA REPORTER: No, he's not, Howie. And I should say that unlike some journalists, I am willing to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt. That being said, he could have easily deflected that moment, by handling it graciously as John McCain did in 2008 when fielding a similar question. He did not. And unlike the other 11 candidates on that main stage, he had a unique responsibility to answer to that question.
Why? Because he's spent so much time and effort trying to tell American voters that President Obama was not an American.

KURTZ: A question he had certainly four years ago, and whenever that has come up in this campaign, Trump has deflected it, but he has not renounced what he has said about raising questions about the birth certificate. Joe Trippi, I want to play for you what Trump said at a speech last night, and then he was a late edition calling in to three Sunday shows on ABC, CNN, NBC, pretty much saying the same thing, let's take a look.


TRUMP: And the press is going crazy, and they all wanted to see me and I said, you know, for the first time in my life, I got in trouble by not saying anything. I didn't say anything. Am I morally obligated to defend the President every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don't think so, right?


KURTZ: And the press is going crazy, as Trump said.

JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think this all exposes liberal bias of the press. I'm a liberal, I'm appalled that he didn't correct the guy.
But the fact is we're covering the Republican primary, and nearly 50 percent of the Republican primary voters believe what Donald Trump is saying. That's who he's played to for the last two years.

KURTZ: This is not somebody trashing the President. He has no obligation to respond. He's playing to Republican voters. It is a fact that President Obama, according to his birth certificate was born in Hawaii in 1961. And also a fact he's attended Christian church, including the one with ravings of Reverend Jeremiah Wright, so you're saying the press is showing its liberal bias by not correcting the factual aspect?

TRIPPI: No, correcting the factual -- but the focus of this is not how appalled how the press should be, or whether it was right or wrong, it's how does this impact the Republican primary. And it can't hurt him if he's appealing to the 50 percent of Republicans who believe there.

SCHLAPP: There's an expectation with Trump that he needs to respond in a certain way. For example, Trump does not need to defend the President, he does not need to be the President's spokesperson. The President can do that on his own. But I think it's unfair of the media to constantly have this expectation that Trump is going to come out and correct these statements or you know challenge the...

KURTZ: So you two agree that the press is out of line here?

TRIPPI: I think they're focusing on the wrong thing. Where are the other people of the Republican Party? It's not his responsibility to knock this down, it should be somebody's responsibility...


MCCARREN: I have to jump in here and defend the press I guess, and that is it is our responsibility to follow up as we would with a follow up question, because this is not an ethical question. This is a question about accuracy.

SCHLAPP: I agree with that, but don't have that expectation that Donald Trump has to respond in a certain way because it's not good enough.

TRIPPI: There's a tone to it...

KURTZ: At the CNN debate this week, there were a lot of questions for Donald Trump and the other ten candidates on the stage. I knew watching, and you probably did, too, the second this happened, this would be the sound bite that will be replayed again and again -- mobbing Carly Fiorina, let's take a look.


TAPPER: Donald Trump said the following about you, "look at that face, would anyone vote for that?"

FIORINA: You know it's interesting to me, Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly in what Mr. Bush said. I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.

TRUMP: I think she's got a beautiful face, and I think she's a beautiful woman.


KURTZ: And I think you have a beautiful face as well.

SCHLAPP: And keep clapping on that statement.

KURTZ: She had a great night, there is no question that she was the winner of the debate. But as we played earlier, everybody just gushing, gushing, gushing over Carly Fiorina, and going a little overboard here?

SCHLAPP: No, I think clearly she won that debate, but I think it was fine for the media to make that statement.


KURTZ: She's the best bet for the Presidency.

SCHLAPP: That was probably the one line that went too far, but when you start looking at the other stories that trickled out the next day, it was all about --yes, she won the debate but now she has to worry about campaign structure and what does this to raising money.

KURTZ: Some people did that but the cumulative effect of all this Carly, Carly, Carly, I think really helps her even beyond her performance.

SCHLAPP: You agree with Rush Limbaugh who basically said that the news media is trying to pick our candidate and that Carly is the flavor of the week.

KURTZ: I'm not picking any candidate. All right, Carly did a round of morning news on cable and she god asked this question -- why didn't you smile during the debate?

MCCARREN: Wasn't that absolutely absurd? You know, part of the media gushing over Carly Fiorina had a down side, which is she's held to a ridiculous double standard.

KURTZ: You're saying a male candidate doesn't get that question.

MCCARREN: Did anybody ask Scott Walker or Marco Rubio why they didn't smile? Ben Carson didn't smile very much. No one asked them about that.
Nobody talked about their wardrobe.

KURTZ: Scott Walker by the way said in an interview that the media narrative was all decided in advance, that everyone is saying Carly had a big night no matter what happened. I don't know how we all circulated the memo.

TRIPPI: There are sour grapes a little bit.

KURTZ: But now the flip side of all the positive press for Carly Fiorina, much of it deserved by her press corps that basically wrote her off at the beginning -- is that Trump was really hurt by this, Trump had a bad night, Trump looked uncomfortable at times, and I wonder whether once again, Joe, the pundits are a little too quick to write off Trump.

TRIPPI: I think people lost all perspective on what's happening here. If 24, 22 million people are watching this debate, I think Donald Trump is right, that a vast majority are tuning in to see him. And they are tuning in to see him -- if 18 million are tuning in to see him, you're not going to move the numbers as much as pundits who sit back and for are sure Carly won this thing and I think she did.


SCHLAPP: And I think that the media has changed the narrative a little bit
where it's gone from Trump-mania to Carly-mania. And that has an effect.
That's not only -- if you're talking CNN, Newsmax, several of these news organizations came out there basically won the debate these polls -- these drug judge polls are not scientific polls -- and he actually uses that in his tweets. He would go out and basically say I won the debate.

KURTZ: There is a new CNN poll this morning -- overall preference among Republicans, Trump 24 percent, Carly rocketing to 15 percent, second place in that poll. Finally, Ben Carson on Meet the Press this morning said that he would not advocate that a Muslim become President of the United States.
Is this going to blow up in the next 24 hours, as the media say that is something that no candidate should say because he's talking about a whole group of people?

TRIPPI: I think it's going to blow up, but I think again in the perspective of a Republican primary, in which my guess is there's a huge piece of Republican voter pool that believes exactly what Carson just said, that's what's going on here.


MCCARREN: And keep in mind all of Donald Trump's controversial statements blew up, and it worked for him. So it is possible that Ben Carson wanted some attention on his campaign.

TRIPPI: This is what I mean about the liberal bias. I would be appalled by that statement, but I'm not a Republican primary voter.


KURTZ: Let me get a break. Don't forget to tweet me @HowardKurtz with your thoughts and messages.

Ahead, Fox's Jenna Lee on the dirty joke that Conan O'Brien told about her and why she's fighting back.

But when we come back, the pluses and minuses of CNN's format, did the debate veer out of control?


KURTZ: Politico called it the three-hour debate from hell, New York's Daily News ripped a Clown News Network. Boy that is pretty harsh. Because CNN's Jake Tapper did exactly what he said he would do in this messy marathon, constantly push and prod and poke the candidates to take each other on.


TAPPER: You dismissed him as an entertainer. Would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump's finger on the nuclear codes?

Governor Bush told me last week when I read him the quote from Governor Jindal, that he agrees you're not a serious candidate.

Tell Donald Trump why his ideas on taxes are wrong.

You're a pediatric neurosurgeon, should Mr. Trump stop saying this?


KURTZ: Andrea McCarren, CNN's whole approach of let's round up all the bad things said to each other, throw it out there and make them go at it, did that work?

MCCARREN: Well, 23 million people watched so I guess it worked to some extent, but it less like a debate and more like reality television. And I'm not sure that best serves the American people. They care about jobs, the economy, terrorism, and health care, what we're going to do to help our veterans. I don't think by goading these candidates into school-yard bullying necessarily helped the people understand where they stand in terms of policy.

KURTZ: Some of the exchanges were substantive, a lot of it was he said he didn't like your face kind of thing, but it's a very different style then Fox News used, when Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier and Chris Wallace pressed the candidates very detailed questions and they mixed it up, but it wasn't you know he said this about you, so your thoughts?

SCHLAPP: I love to make this comparison. If the Fox News debate was like Catholic schools, so you know it's very routine, its 9:00 to 9:30 mass, 9:30 to 10:00 English, but then you go to the CNN debate and it was Montessori school. Unstructured, how do you feel, let's talk about personalities -- you know it was such a different approach. I think both have benefits, though.

SCHLAPP: And the most used word of the night was Jake, Jake, Jake. It should not have been.

KURTZ: Well, that raises a related question here. But before I get to that, one of the entertaining aspects of this debate is the many faces of Donald Trump. He had these great reaction shots. But to the extent of what CNN didn't use a bell to tell the candidates you're out of time in this segment, and so Tapper had to keep cutting them off and then it was Jake, Jake, Jake and people interrupted. Did it seem to you it was out-of- control at times?

TRIPPI: It definitely got out-of-control. But again, Jake Tapper did exactly what he said he was going to do, mix it up. Let the candidates have it out. I think the problem with that were twofold, one -- it was set up this way by CNN for them to go after each other, so Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama suffered almost no blows at all during the entire debate because of the way it was structured. Then at the other one, they didn't get to economy and economic -- some of the issues. But I agree voters would have been interested in, because they hadn't been beating up each other on the economy.

KURTZ: And Joe, they also didn't get very much to Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker and Rubio getting as few as two or three substantive questions. The front-runners always get more time, but...

TRIPPI: But also he hadn't said anything bad about anybody, there was no reason to ask you a question.

KURTZ: Interesting.

SCHLAPP: You're right.

KURTZ: Let me ask you about -- there were three moderators, although Jake Tapper asked -- there was also Dana Bash, the Chief Political Correspondent for CNN, and Radio Host Hugh Hewitt who earlier had gotten into it with Donald Trump during interview on his show, then there was this moment.
Let's play it for the viewers.


TRUMP: And he said today that Donald Trump is maybe the best interview there is anywhere that he's ever done. Now, unless he was just saying that on CNN to be nice, but he did say that.

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You're the best interview in America.

TRUMP: And we had a legitimate misunderstanding in terms of his pronunciation of a word.


KURTZ: What do you make of that?

MCCARREN: Well, I think we may see a kinder, gentler Donald Trump in the days ahead, when you think about how gracious he was in the spin room.

KURTZ: Hugh Hewitt was just kind of smiling at him.

SCHLAPP: Because everybody has a crush on Trump to a certain extent.


TRIPPI: He is the best interview in America.


SCHLAPP: You watch even like Chris Cuomo, any of this television -- when they're interviewing Trump, there is a sense -- just fascinated by what he's saying.

MCCARREN: Donald Trump is the gift that keeps on giving to media.

KURTZ: I wish there had been some fact checking in the CNN debate, so for example, when Jeb Bush, who hasn't gotten very much buzz out of this debate even though he challenged Trump, when he talked about Trump and his people pushing for a Florida casino project and Trump said that's totally false.
Well, Trump's people did prefer the Florida casino project but we didn't learn that during the debate -- last thought.

TRIPPI: That's always going to happen in debates, and that's where the press does come in and the coverage who is...

KURTZ: Does Joe Trippi have a crush on Trump?


MCCARREN: I think mildly.


TRIPPI: No, I would like to see Trump get the nomination.


KURTZ: Ahead, with the Pope Francis about to visit the United States, will the media love fest surrounding the pontiff reach a whole new level.

But up next, Hillary Clinton yucks it up on the Tonight Show. Will that help her burry the email mess?


KURTZ: Hillary Clinton was on Face the Nation this morning answering John Dickerson's questions about Benghazi among other subjects, her first Sunday show in four years. And she spoke to CNN the other day, so she is finally coming out of her self-imposed bunker taking questions from real journalists, dealing with the email fiasco, which might not be damaging her to this degree had she engaged with the press much earlier. But Hillary has gotten 100 times more attention for dancing Ellen Degeneres and 1000 times more replays for yucking it up on Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show.


JIMMY FALLON AS DONALD TRUMP: I know you're about to go out there for an interview with Jimmy Fallon, he's a total lightweight. I'm going to do you him a favor and interview you instead.

CLINTON: That's great. You know how much I love being interviewed. I'm really curious, Donald, what is your stance on women's issues.

FALLON: Look, I know a lot of women, and they all have issues.


KURTZ: But Fallon's actual questions were just powder-puff. He pulled her hair, he asked about taking a selfie with Kim Kardashian, and that email thing?


FALLON: What is in the emails? Can you just say what's in the emails? It's all we want to know. If you tell us what's in the emails, I'll get over it.

CLINTON: Most people have gotten bored after reading about 10 or 12 because they're boring.

FALLON: The headline should be grandma knows how to use email.


KURTZ: Well, nothing wrong with candidates going on late-night shows, which they've been doing since Hillary's husband played the sax for Arsenio Hall. But at least Stephen Colbert like Letterman and Leno before him conducts real interviews. Jimmy Fallon's paid to be funny, I get that, but could he at least pretend to ask a few substantive questions, in exchange for having these potential Presidents' play along with his skits. Carly Fiorina gets her turn on Fallon tomorrow night.

Ahead on "MediaBuzz," a sick joke compares Jenna Lee to a porn star, the Fox Anchor or why she couldn't let that pass.

But first, Donald Trump continues to dominate the air waves, including this morning, but is that unfair to the other Republican candidates?


KURTZ: The cable airs have been so filled with live coverage of Trump's speeches that this week he jokingly complained he has to keep writing new ones, and then he went after the pundits.


TRUMP: So George Will is a disaster. The guy is a disaster. Honestly, another one, Karl Rove. No, he's terrible, terrible. He's terrible. He still thinks that is Mitt Romney won.

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS: The press, you want last night in Dallas that generally speaking, unfair to you. Do you really believe that or was that just hyperbole?

TRUMP: No, no, I think generally speaking, unfair. I met some political reporters who are absolute horrible human beings and they're liars. I've also dealt with some that are extremely honorable, extremely talented, and really good.


KURTZ: Well, here's a non-horrible human being, I sat down with National Journal Columnist Ron Fournier here in Studio One.


KURTZ: Ron Fournier, welcome.

RON FOURNIER: Thanks for having me.

KURTZ: There's a lot of chatter that the media made Donald Trump, because his press conferences and his speeches are often carried live on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC and they get ratings. Is it more complicated than that?

FOURNIER: It's much more complicated. First of all, the establishment made Donald Trump -- the establishment in the Republican Party, the establishment even in the Democratic Party, and certainly the media establishment. We have let down voters. Voters are really upset with the political and media elite. And they've created this huge vacuum for somebody to step in and satiate people's hunger, and that's what Trump has done. So it kind of starts with -- I think then it gets more complicated after that.

KURTZ: Well -- to some extent -- Trump's a media master because he knows how to drive a news cycle, he knows how to be interesting and entertaining and bombastic, and insulting enough that when he does give speech or hold a press conference, it's not the typical, carefully calculated politician speak, and that does get ratings.

FOURNIER: There's some symmetry in the needs of the voters and the media.
The media and voters love clarity, ok? And he gives both of us that. We also love celebrity. We love covering celebrities, and our culture now has
celebrity, and Trump is feeding is feeding it -- bringing to that. And we
in journalism of course we love things that are new.

KURTZ: New, different, and unorthodox.

FOURNIER: Exactly, and boy, do voters want something new, to my earlier point. In addition, our biggest bias isn't that we're necessarily liberal or Republican, though there is a political bias, but the biggest bias, as you know, are ratings, conflict and clicks. So writers, we like our click, you guys have the ratings, and well all have a bias towards conflict. But Donald Trump is giving us all of those things...


KURTZ: Yet, people would say we fall for that, but let's look at some numbers, Wall Street Journal cited a study for basically the three months Trump has been running for President, CNN out there with 2,159 reports on Donald Trump compared to half of that 1,087 on Jeb Bush. Fox News about a third more, MSNBC just slightly more Trump than Bush. So my question is however we might justify it, have we reached a point where it's fundamentally unfair to the other candidates.

FOURNIER: I don't know. The numbers are out of whack, but he is the front-runner.

KURTZ: And if Scott Walker was the front-runner?

FOURNIER: We would be spending this much attention on him.

KURTZ: Oh, come on, every press conference would be carried live, and every speech would be carried live?

FOURNIER: Maybe not to the same degree, but when the front-runner gets in front of the target, it can go both ways. Don't forget, in addition to all the cynical things I mentioned about the media and what we want, our number one fundamental mission is supposed to be to hold these folks accountable.
For Donald Trump could be President of the United States and us pulling our punching and stepping and saying we're going to ignore him because he's a clown isn't what we should be doing. We need to really be pushing him.

KURTZ: Also Trump is constantly doing interviews, everybody from Chuck Todd to Bill O'Reilly, to Howard Stern, he calls in to shows, and he generates news. Jeb Bush was doing almost no TV news for a while, and he talks to newspaper reporters and he gets in all the stories even when the stories are not primarily about him.

FOURNIER: You know maybe that's something that a candidate like Hillary Clinton could learn from. It can hurt you, but it also can help you.
Again, let's talk about how this is a cultural phenomena too, this is the age of transparency. This is the age all of our leaders are in our living room. Well, why? Donald Trump figures that out. Donald Trump realizes they want to have access to me, I'm going to give it to him.

KURTZ: He's not hiding behind any curtain. But there has been constant coverage of Trump for failing to correct a New Hampshire town hall questioner who called President Obama a Muslim and not American, is the press pumping this up because -- let's face it, a lot of the pundits, establishment media does not like Donald Trump.

FOURNIER: That might be part of the reason, but isn't the main reason the fact that it's wrong, that the President is not a Muslim, that the President is a Christian. When a candidate, especially somebody who is a front-runner of a major party is saying things that are wrong and are feeding ignorance and not feeding the truth, it's our job to jump on it.

KURTZ: But the palace here is that Trump didn't say this, he failed to correct a citizen who said this, and it was quite a moment, and I was surprised he didn't?

FOURNIER: Why are you surprised he didn't?

KURTZ: Because the moment seemed right.

FOURNIER: And the fact that he didn't say it tells you something about him. The story of our times here, Howard, is the public's anger with politics. Whether Donald Trump lasts two weeks or two terms, that anger is not going to go away unless somebody comes in and satiates it, and we had need to cover that.

KURTZ: You put your finger on something, Ron Fournier, thanks very much joining us.

FOURNIER: Appreciate you having me, man.


KURTZ: After the break, Pope Francis just wrapped up his mass in Cuba, heading to Washington on Tuesday. Is the popular pontiff a media master?

And later, everyone likes things on Facebook, but now a dislike button is coming. Is that an awful idea?


KURTZ: Pope Francis just finished a mass in Havana's Revolution Square.
Tens of thousands of people attended. And he will arrive here in Washington two days from now, with a packed schedule that ranges from a White House visit to an address to Congress, to a meeting with the poor people at Catholic charities, and the media anticipation has been building.
How has this remarkably popular Pope used the media to spread his message?

Joining us now from New York, Lauren Green, the Religion Correspondent for Fox News, and here in Washington Father Thomas Reese, Senior Analyst for the National Catholic Reporter. And Lauren Green, the Pope has mesmerized much in the world, me included with his inclusive style and message of tolerance. New York Times yesterday -- a huge piece, a humble Pope challenging the world. So how much of his impact is due to the way the media cover him.

LAUREN GREEN, FOX NEWS RELIGION CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the great -- how the media covers him -- but you know my analysis of how the media covers him -- I think the media is having a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to Pope Francis. They like his personal touch, his humble appeal, all of that, but they tend to ignore the things that are much more conservative. Just case and point, remember the phrase you know Catholics don't need to breed like rabbits? Everybody knew about that, but then weeks later how many reported on the fact that he said the choice of not to have children is selfish. Nobody heard that. This is the problem with covering Pope Francis is that they like the liberal things, they like the things that appeal to them, but they ignore the things that are straight out of Pope Benedict's playbook.

KURTZ: Father Reese, when the Pope talks about climate change, when the Pope talks about easing sort of the fast tracking of marriage annulments, when he talks about a year in which it's easier for women to be forgiven or absolved for having an abortion. Does that get a lot of play in the press, but do some of the more conservative positions get minimized or ignored?

FR THOMAS REESE, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER SENIOR ANALYST: Well, the Pope himself said he doesn't want to obsess over abortion, gay marriage, and birth control. So he's already made clear that the priorities he wants to emphasize are care for the poor, care for the environment, working for peace around the world. These have been his priorities from the very beginning. Now, has he changed the church's teaching on these other issues, absolutely not.

KURTZ: But he's changed the tone.

REESE: He's changed the priorities, he's absolutely changed the tone.
It's a much more compassionate, welcoming, loving tone, not a judgmental tone that we had in the past.

KURTZ: Lauren, are you suggesting that when the Pope says things that might be seen as more conservative, they are sort of deliberately played down by the press or maybe subconsciously, because many journalists lean left and like the message that is seen as the more liberal message?

GREEN: I think it's both. One of the things he said in his homily in Cuba just today, he talked about the logic of love. How can you talk about the logic of love? That's really what Pope Francis is all about. He's got this understanding of how to love people, but then he's not letting go of law, he's not saying they're mutually exclusive. They're really brought together. This is a message that's very hard for -- I think media to grasp on to, because it doesn't fit into categories. They like neat boxes to put people. Are you a liberal? Are you a conservative? Are you Republican?
Are you a Democrat? And Pope Francis just flies over both of those terms, and I think the media is having a hard time figuring out what he is really about.

KURTZ: Yes, I would agree that it is very difficult to this Pope in any kind of ideological box. But some of the Republicans in the voting behind you Father Reese have spoken out against the Pope for his treaties on climate change. So while he is here, will he to some extent get embroiled in left/right politics?

REESE: Well, I think he wants to be above politics. He doesn't want to choose sides in partisan debate that we have in this country. On the other hand he comes as a moral leader, as a prophet. He has to challenge this.
That's part of his job description. He's going to talk about how we should welcome the immigrants. We should care for the poor. We should protect the environment. Some people aren't going to like to hear that, but he's been talking about those issues ever since he first got elected.

KURTZ: Lauren, beyond that the media cover Pope Francis, I am struck by the fact that he has given a number of interviews, he's on twitter with millions and millions of followers in nine different languages. At the same time he is an Argentinean who had never been to America before. So maybe he's a bit of a distant figure, will this visit to here to D.C., and to New York, and to Philly change that to some degree?

GREEN: Well, it might. The question is you know is America going to change Pope Francis or is Pope Francis going to change America? And that's yet to be seen. But on of the things that we're talking about in terms of his outreach to the poor, his whole economic sense, his whole understanding of wealth and poverty has to do with his experiences in Latin America, where you have extremes of wealth and poverty. He does not see the middle class or a poor person's picking themselves up by the bootstraps and achieving something in America that sort of this land of liberty gives people that opportunity. He's not been exposed to that. But he's been exposed as an oppressive ruling class that oppresses the poor, and that's his understanding of it.

KURTZ: This is very much a conversation to be continued with heavy coverage that Pope Francis will be getting during his forthcoming week in the United States. Lauren Green in New York, Father Thomas Reese here in Washington, thanks very much for stopping by this Sunday.

Ahead, a British-born actress takes heat for saying the Republican debate tempted her to give up her American citizenship.

But next, there's a reason Jenna Lee asked her Instagram fans what dress she should she wear to our interview, she responds to Conan O'Brien's offensive humor in a moment.


KURTZ: The women who work at Fox News have to deal with their share of jokes, but the other night CBS' Conan O'Brien went way over the top.


CONAN O'BRIEN, 'CONAN' HOST: This book just didn't sell its called Fox News Anchor or porn star?


KURTZ: That was Jenna Lee on the cover of that bogus book. And she decided to speak out on her Facebook page. As a wife and a new mom, this trashy comment is not only inappropriate, it's clearly ridiculous. In fact, Conan brings up a sad truth, some women feel the need to dress and look like porn stars to make it on TV. I wonder where they get that idea.
Could it be that the more provocative and sexy their social media photos are, the more followers they get? My theory is my body should never be more important than my body of work, and I'm not done building the latter.
I spoke to the co-anchor of Happening Now from New York.


KURTZ: Jenna Lee, Welcome.


KURTZ: You don't usually seek out the limelight. Why have you decided to speak out so strongly against this Conan O'Brien joke?

LEE: Listen, in our business, in our line of work, Howie, you really have to have a great sense of humor and you have to let things roll off your back. But at a certain point, I believe that silence makes you complicit.
And maybe it was just a random Tuesday, and I felt like I needed to say something. But this was the moment that I felt like I couldn't be silent about it.

KURTZ: And I think it really resonated. But now, you have a masters from the Columbia Journalism School, you've interviewed Presidential candidates, you've gone behind the scenes with the FBI. But do you feel like almost no matter what you accomplish professionally, there are going to be some people who will say, yeah, she's on TV because she's a pretty face.

LEE: Well, being on Television is a visual medium. People are going to look at the way that you look. So that comes with the territory and quite frankly I'm not too worried about that, Howie. I do want to make sure that I continue to do a lot of really interesting projects, because at the end of the day the viewer is the most important. So we want to make sure we put the best product out there. Part of that is looking good and looking professional, but part of that is also producing a great product.

KURTZ: Right. But there are distractions as you know. And you say in the Facebook post that you dress conservatively. You also say some women in TV news do dress like porn stars. And so my question is does the culture, as you hinted at, encourage that? Does sex sell when it comes to TV?

LEE: I don't believe in the culture making anyone do anything. I think it is really important that women take full responsibility and are fully accountable for the decisions that they make on television because, as you mentioned, we're dealing with a lot of different variables. And people do focus on the way that we look. So I would encourage all women, and especially the younger women that I've talked to really frequently to think about how they're presenting themselves because it does matter. And I've made mistakes in the past, Howie. Sometimes I look back at what I wore the very beginning when I first started on the air, I think the skirts were too short. You learn from that and you realize that's not how I want to look.

KURTZ: Why did you do that? Were you trying to impress the bosses or the audience?

LEE: I certainly wasn't. Part of it was the style was the skirts were really short. And so you kind of follow some of the style and you figure out what actually works on television. But also I was a lot younger, I was in my mid-20s and when you're in your mid 20s, you make different decisions. But now someone in my 30s, I'm very comfortable with a longer hemline, and I think I will be from now on.

KURTZ: Right. Well, it must be frustrating -- I would think to work as hard as you do at your job and have this porn star joke made. Do you think that Conan O'Brien owes you an apology?

LEE: I don't think he owes me an apology. He was trying to be funny. He failed clearly. A lot of the viewers that weighed in also thought it wasn't really that funny. But I think my point has been received really well. And a lot of young women and even some of the men around the office have commented that they really appreciated my response. And I go back to something that we see in news very often, Howie, that bad behavior is allowed because good people don't say anything. And I felt this was a really good opportunity to say something, and I hope that a lot of the young women out there that are trying to come up in whatever career that they're attempting to really think about what it takes to be a professional woman and to be successful, and realize that they don't have to dress provocatively to be a success one day.

KURTZ: I think your message has really resonated, and by the way, nice dress. I know you asked your fans on Instagram what should you wear, good choice...


KURTZ: Thank you for that Jenna Lee, and thanks for joining us.

LEE: Thank you.


KURTZ: Good for Jenna. We'll be right back.


KURTZ: I ask you every week to like our Facebook page, still a good idea, by the way. But now Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg is planning to add something more to akin to thumbs down.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CO-FOUNDER: You know I think people have asked about the dislike button for many years. We didn't want to just build a dislike button because, you know, we don't want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people's posts, right?


KURTZ: Some of you told me on Facebook you like the idea of a dislike button. Most said it would make the social network more negative, "It would be used for bullying purposes or political purposes." I tend to agree it would make the site more polarizing. But for those of you who need a button to say you hate stuff, your moment is coming.

All right, top tweets, did the media fairly cover Donald Trump over that question about Muslims in New Hampshire. Christa Cooper says, no, I didn't notice any demands for Obama to apologize for all the stuff his followers say, often much worse. Alex says why is it Trump's problem to stand up for Obama? What proof does Trump personally have to say the questioner is in fact wrong? Not really, it was an uncensored, crazy question, Trump handled it ok, could be better but he is not a politician.

Emily Blunt, the British born actress took plenty of heat about making these comments about the Republican campaign in a video for the Hollywood Reporter.


EMILY BLUNT, ACTRESS: I became an American citizen recently, and that night we watched the Republican debate and I thought this was a terrible mistake.
What have I done?


KURTZ: In fairness, I thought Blunt was joking around in that video. But she also said she's an Elizabeth Warren supporter so we know where she comes from. But she really does run the risk of alienating conservatives in her movie audience, she must have realized that before sitting down for a softball interview with Savannah Guthrie.


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS: I know you wanted to say your piece about it.

BLUNT: Yeah. It was not the intention to hurt anybody or cause any offense. I really apologize to those that -- it was just an offhand joke. I think I'll leave the political jokes to late night or something.


KURTZ: That wasn't just an apology, Emily Blunt also got to promote her new movie. That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz.

You can always reach me on Facebook and twitter, but email the show,, Ask a media question, make a media comment. I read them all, and I may respond. We are back here next Sunday at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern with the latest buzz.

Content and Programming Copyright 2015 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2015 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.