Trump rips the media; Boehner stuns the press

He and Carson face Muslim questions


This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," September 27, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: This is a Fox News alert. Pope Francis is meeting with inmates and their families at the largest prison in Philadelphia. The pope just finished his remarks in which he talked about how he is there as a brother, not just a pastor. The pope said all of us need to be cleansed, to be washed. He talked about Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. The pope also saying it is painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pains, and to offer possibilities. This pope has made a practice of visiting prisons and talking with inmates in prisons, as he has on this meeting with the hungry and the homeless here in Washington D.C.

In New York he spoke at a school in East Harlem. This is a tough prison. The group includes murderers, and rapists, and robbers. We will keep an eye on this for you, and now "MediaBuzz."

Donald Trump is ramping up his attacks on the media, once again calling journalists dishonest and the coverage unfair, as some pun debts question yet again whether the Donald's campaign is starting to decline. The question comes up in an interview airing tonight on "60 Minutes."


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know some of the media is among the worst people I've ever met, and I mean a pretty good percentage is really a terrible group of people. They write lies, they write false stories, they know their false, it makes no difference. And frankly I don't call it thin-skinned, I'm angry.

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS: But a reporter asked you a couple hard questions at the first debate, and the whole week after that, its war on that reporter.

TRUMP: Well, I don't think that was a fair question.

PELLEY: An impression is created though that you like to dish it out, but you can't take a punch.


KURTZ: Joining us to examine the campaign coverage, Kathleen Parker, the syndicated columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner; Susan Ferrechio, chief congressional correspondent for the Washington Examiner; and Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democratic Network.

Kathleen, in Oklahoma Donald Trump referred to moron pundits, he's spoken out against Politico, calling it maybe the most dishonest media outlet, the New York Times, Fox News against CNN, is running against the media a successful strategy for Donald Trump?

KATHLEEN PARKER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It worked well for him with his base, because anytime you can blame the media, they've been blaming the media forever, you know the mainstream media is always the enemy to the far right. And Donald Trump recognizes this, and he's using it to his advantage. I don't think it's going to hurt him a bit with those people. But it also suggests to everyone else that he really is thin-skinned, and you can't blame the messenger -- or in this case the questioner, because you don't like the question, and calling everyone dishonest and liars and all that, that's sort of a broad bush isn't it.

KURTZ: Right. He doesn't say everyone, he qualifies it by saying many of the people are dishonest.


KURTZ: He was calling into the CNN morning show. He called CNN reporter Randi Kaye, a horrible reporter, this because she had reported along with other journalists, there was a bunch of empty seats at a South Carolina event, Trump disputes this thing and people stood up, but as Kathleen says his fans love it when he attacks the media establishment.

SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: They love when he punches back hard, and I will not of course this did resonate with his base, but the most recent n interesting poll about this, a USA Today poll in July found that 70 percent of respondents believe that the media is intentionally biased. So he's not just talking to a small group of people. An overwhelming number of Americans think that reporters are not telling the truth. When Donald Trump comes out and says hey, that reporter is lying, that reporter is terrible, that reporter is horrible, it's resonating with a lot of people. You're right, the media is not doing a great job.

KURTZ: Simon Rosenberg, Trump is again boycotting Fox News at least for the moment. He's started tweeting negative thing about Megyn Kelly and various Fox contributors. He said the coverage was unfair. Fox fired back with a statement saying that these attacks on Fox anchors and hosts have gotten stale and tiresome. Trump and Roger Ailes, the Chairman of Fox News is going to meet this week for a candid discussion about the coverage. Do these on again off again boycotts help Trump?

SIMON ROSENBERG, NEW DEMOCRATIC NETWORK FOUNDER: I'm a little disappointed he hasn't gotten after you, Howie. No, I think the worry should be if you're a Trump supporter that is sounding a lot like whining. There's a point where this is crossing over now, I think, where it does sound thin- skinned, it doesn't sound virtuous, like he's sticking up for himself, because it's everyday. And that interview with CBS you showed earlier, come on, it's over the top. So I think he's in danger of crossing over to a place that's going to start hurting him.

PARKER: And it started with the Megyn Kelly question during the first debate, where she asked, is this the temperament of a President when he's made these comments about women. I'm sorry but I think that's a perfectly legitimate question, because the leader of the country needs to be someone who doesn't speak disparagingly of anyone, and he's only moved -- he's doubled down on his assault on women when he talked about Carly Fiorina's face. So he really does come across as a misogynist.

KURTZ: There have been a lot of anti-Trump commentators filling the airwaves, including here on Fox. And I thought Rich Lowery went too far when he said on Megyn Kelly's show, he used a crude term to describe how he felt that Carly Fiorina had cut off a certain part of Trump's anatomy in that second debate -- he's not ripping him and saying should be taken off the air. A lot of his complaints have to do with polls and the fact he is doing better in some online polls which I regard as far less reliable as telephone survey polls. There is a new -- and this not an online poll, NBC/Wall Street Journal poll out this morning has Trump in a virtual tie with Ben Carson, 21 percent for Trump, 20 percent of Ben Carson. And then he often gets into these disputes about the size of the crowds.

FERRECHIO: So what's interesting is I don't think the public is necessarily going to get necessarily tired of his whining. I think they've accepted about him. They find it appealing. He needs to do more to keep himself ahead of the pack or moving ahead of the pack. And his big problem as I said before and he doesn't like to hear this, is he lacks substance, and that is probably what is letting other people like Ben Carson start to tie him, maybe get ahead of him. And so I don't think it's whining that people are getting sick of, they just want to -- what else is there.

PARKER: I think you're exactly right, because the whining indicates that he has nothing better to talk about.

KURTZ: When you guys say he lacks substance, what a lot of his people hear is he's not providing the level of specific policy details that will make the media happy, but in broad strokes, he talks about building a wall with Mexico, going after China, going after ISIS. There's no rule that says you've got to you know, put out these 25-page position papers.

ROSENBERG: I think there's often an assumption that given his success in life, he knows what's going on in the world. He's not a kid, he's not a right wing ideologue. He's a proven guy. He's done real things in the real world.

KURTZ: That's part of his appeal.

ROSENBERG: That's part of his appeal, and I think people have -- I'm sort of in your camp on this. Trump is continuing to surprise people. We'll see how long it goes, but it certainly looks like things are tightening up a little bit for him. Some of his momentum is lessening, but we'll see.

KURTZ: What also comes up on that 60 Minutes interview which airs tonight is the incident where there was an anti-Muslim questioner in New Hampshire and Donald Trump did not correct him when he said that the problem in this country is Muslims, and President Obama is a Muslim. And that issue has become a problem for Ben Carson having said on Meet the Press last weekend that he would advocate that a Muslim become President of this country, he later said in that same interview that it would be different -- perhaps the question was what about someone running for Congress. And that's where Ben Carson said it might be different. Well, this has dogged Carson all week and came up on "THE O'REILLY FACTO"R. Let's take a look.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: But you also said I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. So if you said I would not advocate we put a Catholic in charge of the nation or if you said I don't advocate we put a Jewish person in the White House, you would get the same outcry, probably more outcry, so do you see the point of the other side?

BEN CARSON, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. I wouldn't advocate that we put a Christian in there either, if their agenda was a theocracy.


KURTZ: Of course he's still playing defense.

PARKER: He got himself in a bind. He exceeded the truth limit with that first comment. He's probably saying something that most Americans think, that they really wouldn't feel that comfortable, but that's probably because they don't know any Muslim. They assume if you're Muslim, then you're automatically this literal-minded sort of Sharia-bound person, which isn't the case with certainly the Muslims that I know in this country, and I do think he's backed himself into a corner. It's almost the more he talks, the worse and more complicated it gets. I don't think this is a deal-killer for him.


FERRECHIO: Well, what corner has he backed himself into? If you look at how he's doing right now, the new Fox poll, his net favorability is better than all the other Republican candidates, and this is after he made those comments.


FERRECHIO: When you're in that situation.

PARKER: Only because the media keeps asking him. I don't think the public cares.

KURTZ: Right or the public likes what he's saying.

PARKER: I didn't realize we were in such well-defined camps here.

KURTZ: The latest polls would indicate at least his supporters don't agree.

Let me move to the story that just shocked the city on Friday, John Boehner announcing he's resigning from Congress, giving up the speaker-ship. He's obviously tired of fighting the battles with the more hardline part of his own caucus, and the press has been purporting for years that Boehner cannot control the house Republicans. But there is no media drum beat -- step down, what do you make of this?

ROSENBERG: Well, I think it's another sign of the loss of power of establishment Republicans. You're seeing that on the Presidential race now play out where you've got Trump and Carson and Carly rising to the top, and you're seeing it play out in Congress, too. The old establishment Republican Party built by the Bush family is collapsing right now. There's a new Republican Party being born. I think we're seeing that play out.

KURTZ: You would think that the mainstream would not be that sympathetic to -- a guy, an Ohio Congressman who is a conservative Republican, but actually, I think a lot of nice things have been written about John Boehner, because he's seen in the press as a grownup, as a guy, a responsible adult, a guy who has tried to make deals with the Democrats just to keep the government open and functioning, he has repeatedly failed because he couldn't deliver the votes. So how do you see the media portrayal of Boehner?

PARKER: The media portrayal -- well, I think the people who are portraying him generously probably know him and probably understand that he was trying for a longer game. And the reason he couldn't deliver the votes was because he couldn't get the people who are elected in 2010 and thereafter to cooperate. They weren't interested in the long game. They were interested in fighting. The whole mission was to obstruct. It's just a fact. Now they are going to feel empowered by this. I think the media sees this is going to be a big problem for the Republicans going forth.

KURTZ: Just briefly, a lot of stories about -- it's going to be even more chaotic in Capitol Hill with Boehner's exit?

FERRECHIO: I don't know. There's only 50-odd of these conservative members. They don't have a candidate that they can put forward who can win enough votes to be Speaker. This would be actually a real test for this small group in the Republican conference. Where can they go from here? That's a question I think we need to be asking.

KURTZ: I think it's a test for the media to not unfairly demonize people who are fighting for what they believe. I happen to favor functional government and not shutting it down.


FERRECHIO: Very good point.

KURTZ: When we come back, Hillary Clinton on Meet the Press this morning, Hillary sitting down with Lena Dunham of HBO's "Girls," a look at her real- person strategy, in a moment.


KURTZ: After months of avoiding national television interviews, Hillary Clinton is now doing Sunday shows. She was on CBS' Face the Nation last Sunday, and this Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Chuck Todd asked her repeatedly about the email scandal.


CHUCK TODD, NBC HOST: Can you respond to an alternative explanation that has...


TODD: That perhaps the reason you wanted to have a private server and not a government server is that Republicans have been coming after you for years?

CLINTON: It's totally ridiculous.


KURTZ: It was on of the series of questions by Chuck Todd. Everyone in the media says she's got to talk, she's got to talk, and now she's talking.

FERRECHIO: It was such a good interview for so many reasons, because its television, she's sitting down talking to Chuck Todd, NBC News, mainstream media, no conspiracy theories, and he just hammers away at these issues and shows the montage of all the criticism of her on email server issues that she cannot continue to run away from. It just makes her look like she's in denial, I think. Just using this medium of television to keep asking her that questions over and over again, the full scale of what a big issue this is for her campaign.

KURTZ: You know for a long time Hillary Clinton blamed the media for pushing this, and decided it was not just a media problem. Do we reach the point, though when she does the sixth or seventh or eighth interview, a lot of people say, ok, I've heard enough about this?

ROSENBERG: Well, I think that's the plan. They're doing as many interviews as they possibly can, to let everybody take their shots.

KURTZ: Which should broadband done three months ago.

ROSENBERG: And that's their hope is that the questions will get asked and people will start moving on. The Democratic debate is coming in two weeks, it's very soon. The Republicans showed us that these debates can really dramatically alter the field and make a big difference. This is going to be a critical moment for her in this coming primary season.

PARKER: Hillary said, too, well, I have been as transparent or as cooperative as possible. She's always speaking in a lawyerly way, and I think most people get tired of that. It's lacking in substance.

KURTZ: Even though she's now apologized, it seems like the press questions are like, are you really sorry? Or there was a point in "Meet the Press" when she said I didn't give that much thought and Chuck Todd says, you had a server in your house.


FERRECHIO: The strategy here -- I think you're absolutely correct is to get people sick of the whole thing. By the way, back when Bill Clinton was under siege, for all the right reasons ultimately, there was a time when America said, for heaven's sake, can we stop talking about this and they sort of started feeling sorry for Bill.

KURTZ: So we move to some interviews that she's done, I mentioned "Face the Nation" last week, let's take a quick look at that.


JOHN DICKERSON, CBS HOST: Give us three words that is the real Hillary Clinton.

CLINTON: Just three? I can't possibly do that. Look, I am a real person, with all the pluses and minuses that go along with being that.


KURTZ: And released this week, a sit-down between Hillary Clinton and Lena Dunham, who is the star and creator of HBO's "Girls," they spent a lot of time on the screen not wearing any clothes. Let's look at that one.


LENA DUNHAM, "GIRLS": Do you consider yourself a feminist?

CLINTON: Yes, absolutely. You know I'm always a little bit puzzled when any woman says something like, and you've heard it, something like, well, I believe in equal rights, but I'm not a feminist.


KURTZ: Susan, going outside the box, shall we say?

FERRECHIO: I think -- first of all, that first CBS interview she comes across as awkward, obviously that long laugh and I'm just like the people you read in the supermarket tabloids -- doing my grocery shopping. I think this is good for her. The more of these interviews she does, the more she will loosen up and sound more natural, and the more she will relate to young people who she needs to steal away from Bernie Sanders at this point. She needs to get out there on social media, doing interviews with you know people like Lena Dunham who have great appeal to young audiences. I think it's a great move for her. She really can't lose at this point.

PARKER: I think that laugh we just heard is going to be replayed in a lot of Republican ads, I think we'll be hearing that a lot.


KURTZ: Like some of President Obama's unorthodox interviews with guys who do podcasts and -- you know everybody in the media kind of mocks it, but it does have a way of connecting with people who are literally (INAUDIBLE).

ROSENBERG: Yeah, and look, she's been very forward-leaning on policy. She's got big arguments -- she's been far more substantive than any other candidate in this race. That part of Hillary has to -- they have to get that out there. They've been unable to -- they've been unable to get around the email story and get the rest of the Hillary story out there, accomplished leader, a thoughtful woman...


KURTZ: When she tells Lena Dunham -- Bill Clinton asked me to marry him a couple times I said no, does that help her connect beyond policy?

ROSENBERG: Yeah, and I think they're trying to get the rest of the story out there. Because the only story that people are hearing now is about the emails, and it's been devastating for her candidacy.


PARKER: I think the media will always continue to push until they get an answer. But I don't know that that's necessarily hurting Hillary in the longer term. I gave a speech in Boston yesterday to a group of very conservative people, they said they preferred Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate to Republican Republicans, because at this point they feel that she is the most qualified, the most substantive, and the one who would have...


KURTZ: Let me get in a break. Next, we'll look at the media's role in Scott Walker's much hyped rise and dramatic fall as a Presidential candidate.


KURTZ: Scott Walker was once the anointed candidate of the media, the big front-runner, the Governor of Wisconsin falling very rapidly and of course this week deciding to leave the Presidential race. One of the problems he had was the way in which he struggled in television interviews. Here's a taste of that.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did people misunderstand you're not actually not for ending birthright citizenship?

WALKER: I'm not taking a position one way or another.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Do you support that line of the 14th amendment?

WALKER: I said the law is there, and we need to enforce the laws.


KURTZ: Scott Walker on birth right citizenship, a topic introduced to the campaign by Donald Trump. By my count three of the positions in seven days, so there's more to a campaign, Kathleen, than interviews. But this guy couldn't really handle the national press, either in TV shows or in debates.

PARKER: Right. And one of the big tests of a Presidential campaign is how well you think on your feet, and how you handle tough questions on the run. It may seem unfair, but that's simply part of it. And when you can't handle it, and you have to keep changing your positions, you've come across as appearing to not have a position or at least not to even know what your position is. And then you're lost, you're done.

KURTZ: Scott Walker was totally -- and I would say over-hyped by the media after one aggressive speech he gave last January. This pushed him up in the polls, and it set expectation so high that a Governor with no foreign policy experience who has never competed at this level before -- no way could he meet those expectations.

FERRECHIO: Well, Donald Trump has no experience as he's on top of the polls right now. All the rules have been thrown out this campaign, Howie, but I do that Walker looked great on paper, but didn't translate well into the real word of national politics. You have to sound a certain way, instead he sounded like, as you said, he was flip flopping on the issues. He also did -- he was not a strong finisher in either of the two debates.

PARKER: At least you have to be in command of your facts.

KURTZ: A confident Governor, nice guy, but by the end of the campaign there was one incident where he was shouting at a protester in a crown -- I am un-intimidated, which is a new talking point. So here we have a guy, it's nice that -- he as in a Trumped up environment.

ROSENBERG: There's a lot of analogous moments here -- what's happening with Jeb Bush. I mean Jeb -- it feels very similar, to the description you could say that was true. Jeb has looked overmatched in these debates, he's not been thinking on his feet very well. He was a successful Governor in Florida. It's been shocking that his media performance and both of those guys went from being front-runners now...

KURTZ: But Jeb Bush was much more aggressive on that CNN debate in taking on Donald Trump, and yet didn't get any positive review out of it. And he's still mired in single digits in a lot of polls. None of us would have predicted.

PARKER: It's very surprising. I've heard him speak in other venues and he's actually -- he's very fluent on policy and he's a likeable person, but it's just not coming across this time and I'm not really sure why.

FERRECHIO: I think it's because of the creation of these other outlets from media. You have regular old media, television, newspapers, now you have the web, you have social media, you have YouTube, a million other places where people see candidates, thus sucking the oxygen out of the room to Donald Trump and Ben Carson and other outsiders. He's left the old timers behind.

PARKER: I think anybody who is outside is going to prevail in these early stages. I don't know if that changes as we move forward.

KURTZ: One of the reasons that Carly Fiorina who did so well -- considering where she was has surged in the polls. So the three people who are now at the top -- Simon Rosenberg, Susan Ferrechio, Kathleen Parker, thanks for stop by this Sunday.

Coming up, we'll get the Vatican's view of Pope Francis' visit to the United States when we talk to a top communications adviser, in just a moment.


KURTZ: Pope Francis meeting this morning with inmates and their families at the largest prison in Philadelphia, this is the final leg of his trip that started here in Washington. Took him to New York, the big mass in Madison Square Garden, and now for an insider look at how this Pope utilized the media and deals with the sheer intensity of worldwide coverage. Joining us from New York is Greg Burke, Senior Communication Advisor for the Vatican Secretariat of State and a familiar face here as a former Fox News Correspondent. Greg, it seeks to me that the Pope makes news not just with these speeches and big events and big masses, but just about every time he talks to reporters, does he enjoy sparring with the press a bit?

GREG BURKE, VATICAN SECRETARIAT OF STATE SENIOR ADVISER: He does, Howard, and it's interesting because his archbishop -- he gave very few interviews. I remember in 2005 when I was a Fox reporter, I had him on my list of pope-able people, and I had done my homework on him and I said I sure hope he's not elected, because he never gives any interviews. He had given like six interviews over ten years as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

KURTZ: What changed?

BURKE: I think he changed actually. He realized in the role he had to do it. He also has an incredible feel, the gestures, the moment he was elected he said please pray over me before I give you a blessing which was wonderful. It just sort of set the tone of the whole papacy. But he does like to back and forth, he looks people in the eyes, he talks to them about their families, asked them about their families, and he enjoys it.

KURTZ: Do you think the American media portrayal of Pope Francis is accurate? And I ask that because of particularly in his run-up to his visit to Washington, New York and Philadelphia, a lot of ideological debate was he really a liberal, he says things that sound liberal, and then conservatives say, yes, but -- I'm wondering if you think the coverage is a bit polarizing?

BURKE: I think overall it's been pretty fair. Its interesting archbishop said yesterday -- he said the church gets criticized as being too harsh when he talks about sexuality, about being too loose when it talks about immigration. He said neither of those is obviously true. I think the coverage overall has been pretty fair. Interesting the Pope's visits to the Little Sisters of the Poor perhaps not too much coverage, because I think that was a big statement.

KURTZ: Yeah, and of course the big masses and the big events and the huge crowds get more coverage, than for example, than the Pope also visiting immigrant school children at a school in East Harlem, but when the Pope talks about who am I to judge? That was a question from reporters about gay people. Do you find yourself calling reporters and saying you're making too much of these words -- he's not changing doctrine...

BURKE: There are enough people on the internet doing that. It's not really my role. I will then talk it over many times with reporters at lunch and the like obviously about -- but the Pope is -- it is a whole package he's very, very compassionate, yet gives homilies four times a week, his private mass in the morning, and in those he sounds like an old- time pastor, and he talks about the devil, which is very interesting. He in many ways is a conservative old-fashioned priest. And yet at the same time showing the very best of the church and the parable the prodigal son that the doors are open, your loving father is waiting for you, no matter how far you've strayed, come on back.

KURTZ: But he must know that he's sending signals to the press and through the press to the world when he uses more tolerant and compassionate language, particularly on social issues, where the church is seen by some as having been rather rigid over the years.

BURKE: He does know that. And that obviously in Washington talked to the bishops, he says our way is a way of dialogue. And that is key to who he is, he talks about two different culture, he talks about the throw-away culture, that goes everything from the unborn to the elderly, today you see him in the prison and he talks about the culture of encounter. And that's bringing people together, he said no matter how much we may differ on ideas, we have to respect the person before us. We've got to enter into dialogue with them. And you're right, it scares some people who want to be all culture wars all the time.

KURTZ: Right. Ok, of course the pope also has 22 million followers on Twitter, I think -- let me close with a personal question. When you were offered this high-level job at the Vatican a few years ago, at first you said no, why?

BURKE: I said no, because working at Fox was so much fun. I was based in Rome, I was traveling the world, and it's a good answer and happens to be the truth, Howard.

KURTZ: All right, so was it a cultural adjustment for you?

BURKE: Yeah, it was. At Fox, to tell you all the details, because of the time difference basically I could be in my gym shorts until noon until they woke up in New York. Now I'm in the office in a jacket and tie everyday at 8:30.

KURTZ: I'm not going to be able to un-see that image. All right, Greg Burke from the Vatican, thanks very much for joining us.

Up next, as I mentioned much of the media say that the Pope's visit created problems for Republicans. What about the issues that is uncomfortable for Democrats? Stay with us.


KURTZ: Pope Francis visiting with inmates at Philadelphia's largest prison this morning after his whirlwind tour of Washington, New York, and coverage filled with praise and pageantry. But it is also been a partisan debate in the press, with headlines like this one in Newsweek, why Pope Francis makes Republicans squirm. And this one from CNN, the Pope versus the GOP, is that fair? It is true that conservative commentators have been more critical, and like liberals, tend to see this Pope as leaning to the left, take a look.


O'REILLY: The Pope is a liberal guy, there's no question about it, but his philosophy is based upon what is good for poor people, not on controversial social issues.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: I thought it was pure progressive Catholicism, most of what he had to say -- like progressive Catholicism.


KURTZ: Joining us now Mercedes Schlapp, a political strategist, former Bush White House official and part of a large Cuban-American Catholic family. And Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Group Network, and an activist who is at the White House reception for the Pope. All right, Sister Mercy, it has a good ring to it. As I mentioned, a lot of the coverage, were about the Pope's visit -- going to hurt the GOP, did that coverage change once Pope Francis was here, and we saw the language that he used?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, FMR SPOKESPERSON FOR PRES GEORGE W BUSH: Not really. I don't it changed that much. I think the media was infatuated with the -- he went into specifics in these areas, which as we know it's more of a progressive agenda. We actually thought David Corn saying the Pope is far more fixated on social issues and environment rather than abortion and gay rights, and says, sorry conservatives. So again there is this sense from the media that goodness the Pope is champion, all these issues, and he's not speaking as vocally on the social issues as abortion and gay marriage.

KURTZ: Sister Simone, what do you think about that?

SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, NETWORK EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The fact is the Pope is challenging all of us to change our hearts to have a heart that brings us together. The Pope speaks of the dignity of life and he speaks that all of life has dignity, even those who are living in that prison. And bringing that seamless garment changes it for everyone, and Congress he said I am here to be a bridge and that's what's going to have change. We can't just demonize each other, we have to build a bridge.

KURTZ: You have taken some flack here because you were invited by the White House to the reception -- pro-abortion -- pro-life Pope. Does that bother you?

CAMPBELL: No, because only the truth hurts. He never asked me about my position on abortion. Everybody who struggles, suffers, they need us to be present with them in their lives and that the White House to say we have to stand with the poor.

KURTZ: Mercy does this Pope largely get a pass when he does say controversial things? When he talked about women who have a lot of babies?

SCHLAPP: I remember early on when he said, Catholics don't need to reproduce like rabbits. So for moms and the big families -- I've got five kids. I have friends who have nine, ten kids, very much devout Catholics. It was disappointing, it was hurtful. He did come out several days later, clarifying saying we welcome the big families, but the mere fact he's had a couple of those missteps really puts into question where conservative Catholics are.

KURTZ: Does it suggest that the media play up comments and tones that are perceived more liberal?

SCHLAPP: Absolutely. One journalist said I'm so excited about this Pope, and I remember looking at this sweet journalist saying, no, that's not going to happen. He has a different tone and different way of saying things.

CAMPBELL: But I think it's really the press who is about controversy, and because it's better for ratings. If you're going to have a conversation about these deep spiritual values, then it's much less headlines and way more about the deep centered space.

KURTZ: So for instance, the Pope has talked several times on this U.S. visit about religious freedom which is a phrase that animates the right, but what he said was it's a fundamental right, but also shouldn't be used as a pretext for hatred and brutality.

CAMPBELL: Absolutely, but when it comes from a deep contemplative space, when he spoke of Thomas Merton in Congress, and what we have to do is have a spiritual renewal which then says we are brothers and sisters.

SCHLAPP: And the media is missing all of that.


SCHLAPP: That's probably the best way to describe it.

KURTZ: And the media going to -- treating the Pope almost as another politician -- climate change which of course is dear to the hearts of liberals and President Obama.

SCHLAPP: Right. They want him to be the political figure of the church, which he is to a certain extent. Again, I think that part of the media needs to do that to a certainly extent, but I do believe the media does miss the spiritual underlying of where this Pope is headed. They want to put him in one camp or another. For conservatives also a bit difficult, because he's focused so much on these specifics on climate change and all these progressive agendas, as opposed to making much more of a better balance on the social issues as well as issues like the environment and social justice.

CAMPBELL: But I also think that on the part of the left, the progressive side, it has been a long time without a spiritual leader that many in the left really rejected faith, and what they're finding now is this call back to that deeper spiritual faith. So I think the renewal was needed more on the left than on the right, and that hunger is there.

KURTZ: The Pope's trip to Cuba, met with -- but not Cuban dissidents. Were you bothered by the media's failure to make much of an issue of that?

SCHLAPP: Well, you know I have to say the Washington Post had an editorial piece that he was going -- and not meet with the Cuban dissents. Obviously he was covered just shortly talking with these prisoners here in the United States.

KURTZ: When he was in Cuba what did that make you feel like in terms of your father...

SCHLAPP: I think -- look, for the Cuban community, it was incredibly disheartening, because my father was a political prisoner for six years, tortured under Castro's regime, the Pope sends a signal where he mass with the Fidel and Raul Castro really does not -- barely even addresses the freedom issue. We have Cuban dissidents kicked out, not even able to attend the mass. He did not even speak about the human rights abuses so it's a very negative message and very disappointing for all of us in the Cuban community.

KURTZ: I've got just a few seconds, when the Pope was talking to reporters on the flight to Washington, he said some of what I say could be considered left-ish, but that's a misinterpretation.

CAMPBELL: I think it is, and I think that it really -- his role is bridge building, where we left and right can come together and do what needs to be done for our people, have a heart for the people, and let your heart be broken open.

SCHLAPP: But keep your loyal flock that's devoted to you, keep them believing that he's going to defend those important social issues.

KURTZ: Let's end it on this common ground. Mercedes schlapp, Sister Simone Campbell, thanks very much for joining us.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

KURTZ: After the break, Brian Williams started his new job at MSNBC this week covering the Pope's visit. Will the public now forgive his lying past?


KURTZ: It's been seven months now since NBC suspended Brian Williams for telling false tales particularly about being shot down in a chopper in Iraq and removed him as the anchor of "NBC Nightly News." He was returned to the air this week covering Pope Francis' visit in his new role at breaking news anchor at MSNBC.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good day, I'm Brian Williams at MSNBC headquarters in New York. In a short time, Pope Francis will arrive in this country for the first time.

What is the political angle in your shop of this visit by the leader of the Catholic's worldwide?

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: He's speaking to a joint session of Congress. When you do that that is a political event.


KURTZ: Williams' return reminds me he's very, very good at live coverage and engaging with guests and dealing with all the unpredictability. And I don't want to minimize the untruths he told particularly about the incident in Iraq where he was not on the chopper that was shot down in a sandstorm. But when I think about it, at the time I said, well, if he's not suited to be the "NBC Nightly News" anchor, then how can he be the breaking news anchor at MSNBC. Upon reflection, it seems to me he was punished pretty severely. He'll now be broadcasting to an audience a fraction of the size that he had at NBC, that he has apologized, and this is America is a land of second chances. So it's not a big news story that Brian Williams came back. Maybe that's the way MSNBC wanted it. Remains to be seen how large a role Williams will have, if it grows over time because the breaking news anchor only comes on when there's big breaking news.

But he has a second opportunity to earn back the trust of viewers, not that they'll forget but he has the opportunity to do his job. Maybe Pope Francis would say we need to forgive everybody, even those who make mistakes.

Still to come, the late Yogi Berra, the Yankee great known for his clever sayings, but was that something of a myth?


KURTZ: We are still in shock here at Fox News over the death of Mary Katherine Ham's husband Jake Brewer, he was a White House staffer, a terrific guy by everyone's account, killed this week in a freak bike accident at a charity event. Mary Katherine -- they have an adorable daughter and she has another baby on the way. What we're telling people is there's a fund set up to help the family if you would like to donate, go to We would certainly appreciate that on Mary Katherine's.

Yogi Berra, the great Yankee's Catcher died this week was known for his witty but contradictorily remarks. It ain't over until it's over, and when you've come to a fork in a round, take it and many more. But slate reports that some of these famous quotes were embellished or plain made up by sports writers in the 1950s and that caricature was amplified by legendary sportscaster Joe Gragiolla. Say it ain't so, Yogi, well, he did once declaring I never said some of the things I said. We'll miss him.

Now, all newspapers make dumb mistakes and have to run corrections. I've been there. But I doubt that any paper has had to do what the New York Times did about this guy. Yes, the New York Times actually published the following, a news analysis last Sunday misstated the name of a cartoon character displayed in a Moscow diner. He is Porky Pig not porky the pig. Where have these people been, seriously? There's only one possible comment here.


PORKY PIG: That's all folks!


KURTZ: And that's all for us as well. We're glad you were able to join us this Sunday for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. We're glad we could bring you the Pope's remarks at the prison and Fox will carry later this afternoon when the Pope conducts the final mass of his visit to the United States in Philadelphia.

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