2016 coverage turns ugly; Recapping 2015's year of lousy coverage

Trump defends vulgar word


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


HOWARD KURTZ, HOST:  On the buzz meter this Sunday, a war of words heating up between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  The media can't get enough.  The focus shifts from Hillary's unsubstantiated debate charge against Trump over ISIS to the Donald's use of a crude term against Hillary and his slam against her bathroom habits.

DONALD TRUMP, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Where did Hillary go?  They had to start the debate without her, phase 2.  Why?  I -- I know where she went.  It's disgusting.  I don't want to talk about it.  No, it's too disgusting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  With Donald Trump, my goodness, if there's a subtext, do you need a subtext?  Do you need to know the hidden meaning behind what is already offensive on his face?  People are hyper sensitive to everything.  I actually thought it was a funny comment.  I don't think it makes him sexist.

KURTZ:  Are the pundits overreacting?  And with Trump's latest attack on Bill Clinton, will they focus on his past misconducts?

The Washington Post makes a really mean cartoon depicting Ted Cruz's children as monkeys.

SEN. TED CRUZ, R-TEXAS, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Making fun of my girls -- that will do it.

KURTZ:  Should the newspaper apologize?

Plus, the New York Times and other news outlets diving into virtual reality, but if the story is only virtually real, is it real journalism?  I am Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

It was during a Democratic debate last weekend that Hillary Clinton came out swinging against Donald Trump.

HILLARY CLINTON, D-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  He is becoming ISIS' best recruiter.  They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical Jihadists.

KURTZ:  But there's no evidence of any such video.  Trump pushed back hard and many journalists said Clinton was wrong.

TRUMP:  I will demand an apology from Hillary.  She should apologize.  She lies about emails.  She lies about whitewater.  She lies about everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I was flabbergasted to hear Hillary Clinton make that claim about recruiting Muslims to attack the United States with Trump or whatever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Everyone understands what Hillary Clinton said might not be true right now at this moment, but it is likely to become true.

KURTZ:  With that whole controversy got wiped out by a media explosion over Trump using this Yiddish expression.

TRUMP:  She was favored to win and she got schlonged.

KURTZ:  (Inaudible) there was nothing controversial about (Inaudible) blame the mainstream media for distorting it.  

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, "ON THE RECORD" HOST:  I tell you I sort of gasp when you hear you making bathroom jokes about Secretary Clinton or anyone.

TRUMP:  Well, I think I am Presidential.  I think I have done Presidential work.


KURTZ:  Joining us now to analyze this strange turn in the campaign coverage, Jonah Goldberg, Editor at Large for National View Online and a Fox News Contributor, Susan Ferrechio, Chief Congressional Correspondent for the Washington Examiner, and Joe Trippi, a Democratic Strategist and Fox News Contributor.  Jonah, how is it in this vital Presidential campaign when we're talking about terrorism and the economy that we all get consumed by a debate by this Yiddish work that I didn't know was a verb.

JONAH GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  I have developed a callus about a lot of that stuff that Trump does, but I think that -- because its ratings driven, fun, easy, doesn't require a lot of explanations and the media are suckers for it.

KURTZ:  Catnip.  Susan, Trump as I mentioned blaming the media for creating this controversy.  He says this is a Yiddish term that meanly means beaten badly, though it does have another meaning.

SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER:  It's sometimes used in an alternative form, but there is an argument to be made he did mean it, and no one is really sure.  The fact is really Trump can say just about anything.  He can say just about anything in this campaign and it's a-ok.  
I just question how many judgments will fall upon him in the general election when he's dealing with another group of voters.  In the primary season, he can get away with it.

KURTZ:  Hillary Clinton tweeting it's not the first time he's demonstrated a penchant for sexism.  The humiliation, this degrading language inflicts on all women.  The term isn't that bad.  Why all this war on women, Joe?

JOE TRIPPI, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR:  This helps the Hillary camp.  To get in a fight with Donald Trump in the Democratic primary -- you have to talk about catnip for the media, it works for her.  The more we make out of it, the better it is for Hillary Clinton?

GOLDBERG:  Absolutely.  It benefits both Trump and her.  Look, Trump offends.  The more the media gets offended by it, the more anybody who is the person who got hit by him is offended by it.  The more people offended by the whole political process in this country that is for him digging harder and cheer him on.  This is like a self reinforcing kabuki game between the press, Trump and his opponent.  It works.

KURTZ:  So I am looking at where this goes next.  I've heard a couple pundits say and now Trump him talking about Bill Clinton, Trump tweeting, for example -- letting her husband out for campaign.  He's demonstrated a penchant for sexism, so inappropriate, and then some of the troubles of his presidency.

GOLDBERG:  I think that's absolutely fair game.  First of all, Hillary Clinton has been of late tweeting, issuing statements about how victims should -- alleged victims of sex crimes should always be believed.  That standard creates certain problems for Bill Clinton who has got a lot of alleged victims in his past.

KURTZ:  What about the fact that Bill Clinton is not running for President this time, although obviously he would live in the White House if his wife were to be elected.

GOLDBERG:  I don't know that that's obvious, either, but -- you can't look
-- she is running in large part on her legacy of who her husband was.  She is constantly talking about what they did in the White House.  She would never have been a senator had she not been first lady.  She talks about the Clinton record, the Obama record -- she just recently said she's not going to be called Hillary Rodham Clinton anymore, just Hillary Clinton.  You cannot take Bill Clinton out of the Hillary Clinton equation.

KURTZ:  As a journalistic question, how is it Hillary's fault that her husband messed around, as we know he did repeatedly in the past and while in the White House?

FERRECHIO:  I think voters will judge her as someone who tolerated it, and as someone who may have in some cases defended it.  I think that's her real problem.  This is talk and evidence that she did defend him...

KURTZ:  Of course, she did.  Her version was she was deceived, that she did not know.  You say she tolerated it.

FERRECHIO:  There were a lot of things happening where you can claim ignorance for only so long.  For the media to just go after Trump as sexist is superficial.  You have to look at him as a CEO, what he's been doing his whole life.  You have to wait until the seventh paragraph in the story before they finally say many people who worked for him said he was ahead of his time in promoting women.  That's where you get into the substance of sexism.

TRIPPI:  This whole thing of whether Bill Clinton is fair game is how Trump first deflects and how he does it.  These are tweets.

KURTZ:  When he tweets, it makes news, and he knows that.

TRIPPI:  That's the -- one of the big differences of this cycle.  He's actually able to create media firestorm -- media controversy with a simple
140 characters and he doesn't even use them all.

KURTZ:  I'll just make the obvious points that all of the candidates are on Twitter, but most don't use it as a provocative tool the way Trump has.

GOLDBERG:  But they -- Trump benefits or is hurt by -- pick your standard, by a standard that we don't apply to a lot of other politicians who say absolutely ridiculous things.  Joe Biden says insane and ridiculous things.  He does it, and every time he says something crazy, that's Joe, that's maybe a half hour story.

KURTZ:  So you're saying the media -- I know you're not a huge Trump fan -- you're saying the media is too hard on Donald Trump in comparison to the way journalists cover other politicians.

GOLDBERG:  I am saying the media are too eager to play Donald Trump's games.  He gets to change the subject every time he's in trouble to some other controversial thing and that plays to his advantage.

KURTZ:  All politicians try to change the subject.

TRIPPI:  But if Bernie Sanders could deliver 11 million viewers every time he said something controversial, there will be plenty of people on media...

KURTZ:  This whole debate -- completely wiped out some critical coverage of Hillary Clinton in that -- that's just not true.

TRIPPI:  That's true.  He literally stepped on his own story.  She should have stopped at his words are going to be used -- but he takes everybody's gaze off of that and makes it about something else.

KURTZ:  And Susan, this was a situation where she did not correct the record, kind of like taking a page from the Trump playbook and I think the media let her get away with that.

FERRECHIO:  One controversy a week, even if this cover about the Yiddish language didn't come along, we would have been to another controversy.

KURTZ:  On Twitter it's one controversy an hour.

So before we end this segment, Fox Business debate in South Carolina January 14th, new criteria, you can be in the top six nationally in the polls, top five in Iowa or top five in New Hampshire.  That may exclude a lot of people.  Rand Paul says he won't show up for any undercard debate.  
He says if you tell campaign with three weeks to go, you destroy the campaign.  This isn't the job of media to pick who wins.  

TRIPPI:  To have the shot to do those three weeks before the election, I think Rand Paul is wrong.

KURTZ:  Should the networks be winnowing the field at this point?

GOLDBERG:  I am torn.  I would have rather had criteria like this six, eight months ago.  

FERRECHIO:  Smaller field, more substance.  That's what we need to see with these candidates, less one-line zingers.

KURTZ:  No question it would be a better debate with fewer people, but there's often one languishing that breaks out.  Including state polls, let me get a break here.  Weigh on Twitter @HowardKurtz.  Email us

Ahead, we'll examine the media's mistakes and misjudgments in this presidential campaign over the past year.  When we come back, Ted Cruz says the liberal media are trying to destroy his family after a Washington Post cartoonist goes after his kids.


KURTZ:  Ann Telnaes, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Washington Post says the usual role is that a politician's children are off limits. But she decided that Ted Cruz' kids are fair game because they appeared in a TV ad that had the family scoring humorous political points by reading supposed Christmas classics, such as the Grinch who lost her emails.  


CRUZ:  When I saw that cartoon, not much ticks me off but making fun of my girls that will do it.  Leave the kids alone.


KURTZ:  Susan, the (Inaudible) took that cartoon down within hours and no apology from the paper.

FERRECHIO:  I also note that President Obama when he was running used his two daughters in a Christmas ad.  It's pretty common, for telling us to say since he used it -- and therefore I can portray them as monkeys.  That doesn't sit well.  Also what bothers me is there was no apology from the post.  That's kind of shoddy journalism.

KURTZ:  It's hard to look at everything in advance.  These girls are seven appeared five years old, but Joe -- liberal media are trying to destroy me and my family.

TRIPPI:  He 'trying to have it both ways.  First of all, the post should have apologized -- but politicians have their kids -- very few use them as a parody, in there's nothing new about that anymore, sets, but he is trying to have this both ways -- creating uproar to get more money.

KURTZ:  Well, Cruz advisor Rick Tyler told me yes, we're raising money off this, but it doesn't begin to make up for the damage.  It seems to me a pretty wise consensus here.  This was a bad thing for the Washington Post to do.

GOLDBERG:  I think almost everybody agrees on that.  I think one of the things -- what enrages more people is the double standard the hue and cry -- nonetheless would have been overwhelming.  There's just -- to this day if you criticize Chelsea Clinton even though she's 35 years old and on the campaign trail, it still seems out of bounds.

TRIPPI:  One, making fun of the kids in itself was bad, but then portraying them as monkeys is just bad.  They shouldn't have done it.  They should have apologized for it.

KURTZ:  We have an example, the thanksgiving pardon ceremony last year, a congressional aide criticized Sasha and Malia over their dress, saying they should have shown more class, there was huge media uproar and the woman lost her job.  It seems like the media reaction has been muted compared to that.

FERRECHIO:  It has, and partly it was the Cruz ad, because it was a parody, but perhaps we're reaching a new era, where the off-limits things are no longer off-limits.  I have seen a few Chelsea cartoons, so I think we're creeping in.

KURTZ:  All right, Joe Trippi, Susan Ferrechio, and Jonah Goldberg, thank you for dropping by this Sunday.

Up next, Ben Carson does some interviews about shaking up his campaign, backs off and then blames the press.

And later, a look at the latest person to land a coveted interview with Hillary Clinton.


KURTZ:  Ben Carson has charged again and again that the media unfairly treat him.  In fact, that's what he told me when several media outlets raised questions about his life story.


KURTZ:  Are you saying organizations like Politico, CNN, Wall Street Journal are deliberately trying to damage you?


KURTZ:  Why?

CARSON:  Because when you deliberately lie and you put it out as a story, or you do shabby investigation and say we have investigated and we can't find anything, I mean is that an acceptable standard?


KURTZ:  This week, Carson got into a media mess of his own making.  It's no secret he's been sinking in the polls.  On Wednesday morning, he invited Washington Post Reporter Robert Costa to his saying, "I am looking at every aspect of the campaign, and everything is on the table.  Every job is on the table."  He wouldn't even say he planned to keep the campaign manager, Carson made similar comments to the Associated Press.  In fact, his press secretary declaring Dr. Carson is back in charge, racing the often question of who had been in charge before that.  Armstrong Williams, who appears at odds with the campaign manager, told the post to take what the candidate said seriously.  After a lot of back and forth, he said he -- he blamed the Washington Post in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Clearly, there may be some concern, because you told the Washington Post today that you were shaking up your campaign.

CARSON:  I think the Washington Post quite frankly had their story already written before they talked to me, and they were convinced that I was going to fire everybody -- and that was absolutely not true.


KURTZ:  It seems an imminent staff shake-up.  And -- the press sometimes has been unfair to Dr. Carson, but it makes little sense to complain when the source of the story is your own on the record interview.

Coming up, how did the media establishment so badly blow it again and again on Donald Trump's candidacy?  Later, is virtual reality the future of journalism or a distorted mirror?


KURTZ:  This has been the wildest Presidential campaign of my professional lifetime, and the mainstream media have consistently been and embarrassingly been wrong, exaggerating the strength of some candidates and from the beginning utterly misjudging Donald Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I think this is Donald Trump's biggest day and he will be ignored from henceforth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What makes Mr. Trump particularly interesting, is A, he's very injurious to the Republican Party.  He takes some of the most interesting field since the Republicans first fielded a candidate in 1856, and makes it look silly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Daily News today put this picture clown runs for President.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Daily News is going to be out of business very soon.  It's doing no business whatsoever.  They do that for circulation.


KURTZ:  To assess the media's performance this past year, I sat down with two of my favorite commentators.


KURTZ:  Joining us now, Mercedes Schlapp, a U.S. News Columnist (Inaudible) Former Aide to George W. Bush, and Michelle Cottle, Contributing Editor at the Atlantic.  So looking back at this seemingly endless campaign, all those months in which the media dismissed and denied and mocked and minimized Donald Trump's candidacy was this one of the worst media misjudgments ever?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, COVE STRATEGIST CO-FOUNDER:  Absolutely.  I think the media needs to get out of the prediction game.  For months after months, they said this Donald Trump he's surging in the summer, but in the fall, that's it, he's going down.  Back in September, you would start seeing these stories.  Politico had an article saying the surge is ending.  Well, that's not happening.  Again, they were just stick to basic reporting.

KURTZ:  Whether you like Trump or don't like Trump.  Did it show the media to be kind of out of touch?

MICHELLE COTTLE, THE DAILY BEAST REPORTER:  I think the media has definitely underestimated the degree of anger and fear in the country, and that's exactly what he's channeling.  He's done a brilliant job.  The wackier he gets, and the more outrageous, the media would say, this is the moment, and the voters say, no, we love it.  Bring more.

KURTZ:  Why did the media underestimate the degree of anger and anxiety and disgust with the political establishment?

COTTLE:  Well, I think a lot of the media doesn't quite understand the base that he's speaking to in terms of their fears and just how hard life has been for a lot of these people, or the kind of working-class demographics that know that life is never going to be the same for them again, Donald Trump is speaking to them in a way...

SCHLAPP:  And Donald Trump has changed the model for the media and campaigning in general, for the most part, a candidate for example works through their spokespeople.  For example, they have offices where you have to call the multiple times to even try to talk to a surrogate.  That's not what Donald Trump does.  He picks up a phone, calls a reporter, and he's the one that's able to drive the conversation.  That has been a model that has changed, something that traditional political campaigns need to revisit in their own.

COTTLE:  One article was how his extend in reality TV turned him into the perfect candidate.  Say outrageous things, don't hedge your bets, just straight shooting and being out there as much as possible, made him the perfect candidate this time around.

KURTZ:  When Ben Carson was hot, I think most journalists couldn't understand his appeal, either.  It really comes back to the disgust with the political establishment in Washington, and the disgust with the media establishment.  People think those are so intertwined that we are just in this bubble and didn't understand what a lot of real Americans think.

SCHLAPP:  Where it was Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and they were like why are they personalities rising up?  When Mitt Romney became the candidate, it was like, ok, we have an establishment person.  So with this narrative of the outsider being so strong, the voters being so angry at the establishment, so angry at the media, they decide guess what?  We're not going to listen to the mainstream media.  We're going to go with this one guy.  This is the guy that's speaking for us.

KURTZ:  In every campaign the press underestimates a candidate that surges or thinking someone will run away with it.  I still think it's something deeper.  That's why I give a real failing grade.  When you had Trump coming up, whether it's the comments about Mexican immigrants or Muslims, or John McCain, Megyn Kelly, whatever, many people in the press would say aha, this is it, and he would still go up in the polls.

COTTLE:  What people like is he's mocking the powerful people who they feel look down on them or rigged the game, and he gets to play above the game.  
They love it when he starts gigging the usual political rules don't apply to him and political people.  He doesn't have to pay attention to.  He talks about how he's donated money to all these people so he knows they're corrupt.  People are eating it up.

SCHLAPP:  The voters don't want to be told by the media pundits.  They don't what to think, who to choose, and that's why there's such an appeal at this point for a Donald Trump.

KURTZ:  I don't think we're telling them what to think.  People in the opinion business say I like this person...

SCHLAPP:  But you have to argue, Howie, the majority of the media pundits, they say how can Trump not be falling?  He keeps saying these outrageous statements and it's not reflected in the numbers.  I think it's one of the examples of why Trump does go after these media pundit types.  But with that being said, he goes after them and they say, wait a second, I don't know if I want to listen to the media pundits.  It's almost a conflict that Donald Trump is creating.

KURTZ:  It's a constant war.  Looking back at the Democratic campaign, Hillary Clinton has had very testy relations with the press.  This time was supposed to be different.  A lot of it dates back to the email scandal.  Why do so many people believe it's in the tank for her?

COTTLE:  There's always the assumption there's a liberal media bias, but you are correct, whatever ideological rules are at play, the press loves to jump on the Clintons.  Anything they do become big news and gets fine- toothed combed, and she didn't like the press.  She never will be one of those John McCain let's get on the bus and ride the bus together.

KURTZ:  In fact, there were a couple months whether she gave no media interviews.  The Clinton Foundation as well, but eventually that story started to run out of gas, because there were no new revelations, and then the refrain became we're giving Hillary Clinton a pass except she not in a very competitive race.

SCHLAPP:  That's true.  I think the Clintons have their own political reality show.

KURTZ:  Everyone has one.

SCHLAPP:  Exactly.  But they did have many of coverage on the emails, on Benghazi.  It's just not as interesting as following the GOP -- I don't want to call it a circus.  I want to call it like a party.

KURTZ:  It's a horse race, a cage match.

SCHLAPP:  They thought Bernie Sanders, there was a feel the burn, we're there, but Hillary Clinton has got this nomination, and it's -- it's a done story.

KURTZ:  Short answer from me to you.  To what extent are media fact checkers increasingly seen as partisan or pushing an agenda and what they say doesn't matter?

COTTLE:  I think all the media is viewed with suspicion in these areas, and I think people can dismiss whatever they don't like.

SCHLAPP:  I take politi-fact and they do the truth or false and 29 true comments to Hillary Clinton.  How many to Donald Trump, zero.  If they could find that with you true comment, I would call that biased.

KURTZ:  So you think they are partisan?

SCHLAPP:  Absolutely.  Find out 29 statements on each side.

KURTZ:  All right, Mercedes Schlapp, Michelle Cottle, thanks very much for joining us.


KURTZ:  Next on "MediaBuzz," from presidential debate moderator to the Bill Cosby debacle.  We'll look at some of our top interviews this past year.

And later, who needs journalists when you have Jerry Seinfeld driving to the White House.  


KURTZ:  Time now for some of our most noteworthy interviews this past year.  The first Fox News debate was big, drawing the largest cable audience in cable history.  I sat done with Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly.


KURTZ:  When you asked Jeb Bush about those who died in your brother's war, when you asked Donald Trump about nasty comments he made about women on Twitter about their looks, when you asked Ben Carson about his inexperience, did you work about blowback?

MEGYN KELLY, HOST, "THE KELLY FILE":  No, we had anticipated that some of the audience might boo us during the middle of our questions.  That was ok.  They can boo us, and some people are booing us now on Twitter, but that's all part of it.  You know I think people feel very passionately about their candidates.  I completely understand that, but my job is not to feel passionately.  My job is to go out and ask probing questions that are hopefully smart and helps people learn something about this person, and in this context his weaknesses.

KURTZ:  With the question about would anybody rule out a third-party bid, clearly aimed at Donald Trump, who thought it was unfair, he was being targeted.  Why was he being targeted?  

BRET BAIER, HOST, "SPECIAL REPORT":  To be honest, it was a question that hovered around this debate, all of this talk about an independent run if he doesn't get the nod, and frankly he didn't know who was going to raise their hand or not.  I thought that either -- I was more prepared to have no one raise their hand and say, Mr. Trump, just to be clear, you have raised the prospect in recent weeks of an independent run.  
Are you saying you're making this pledge?

KURTZ:  One of the biggest stories was the downfall of Bill Cosby, as dozens of women came forward.  We sat down with one of them, Barbara Bowman.

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

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

KURTZ:  Wow.  What do you think about the rest of the media?  Why do you think it took so long?

KELLY:  I was threatened into silence.  And the people I did tell did nothing to help me at all.

KURTZ:  Stepping down from Face the Nation after half a century at CBS News.  I asked him to reflect on President Obama and the press.

Many of people think the three media networks are two biased, too liberal.  
Do you think they gave Barack Obama an easy ride?

BAIER:  Well, I think the whole political world was struck by this fella who sort of came out of nowhere with this very unusual name.  When he won out in Iowa, I think people sat up and took notice.

KURTZ:  But isn't it the job of journalists to be skeptical of even a young phenom?

BAIER:  It is.  It is.  Maybe we were not skeptical enough.  It was a campaign.

KURTZ:  Bob Woodward may be the most famous advocate of long-form investigative journalism.  Four decades after Watergate, is that still what people want?  That was my question.

You talked about Hillary Clinton and said this, we are going to find out my newspaper, your network, and the entire news organizations will do a 20,000 word biography of every stage of her life.  It struck me as an old- fashioned observation.  What seems to drive the news cycle, the quick hits, pithy tweets, viral video.

BAIER:  Yes.  But if you really find something that is new and explains who these people are, that will drive the news cycle.  People will read it, or maybe they won't read all 30,000 words, as frequently happens, but they will get the essence, because it will become part of the discussion.

KURTZ:  How would you cover Donald Trump, who not only seems to be a lot of attacks in the media, but that criticism from the media in many ways seems to make him stronger?

BAIER:  Well, but if I were doing Trump, I would do 50,000 words and do each deal and look at how did he get his money.


KURTZ:  I hope Woodward is right about in-depth journalism.

After the break, eve of the New York Times ombudsman is questioning the boundaries.  Our digital download returns in a moment.


KURTZ:  In our digital download segment, some news organizations are trying to get in on virtual reality craze made popular by video games.  Here's a glimpse from the New York Times.  




KURTZ:  But if you're enhancing reality, is that really journalism?  We explored that question with Shana Glenzer, a tech analyst here in Washington.


KURTZ:  Shana Glenzer, welcome.  

SHANA GLENZER, TECH ANALYST:  Thank you for having me.

KURTZ:  We're going plunge into the world of virtual reality, check this out, very impressive.  This is my New York Times.

GLENZER:  I would like to try it.

KURTZ:  It is a Google cardboard thing.  You put your phone in here and you can see stories in virtual reality.  This is a new form of storytelling as they say.  Are you excited about this?  Is this really a future avenue for journalism?

GLENZER:  I am excited about virtual reality.  Whether that is games right now is a major one to focus on, telling a news story is a completely new frontier.

KURTZ:  Feels like a gimmick to me.

GLENZER:  This does scream gimmick.  But I think what -- specifically the Times are trying to show they're aware of new technologies out there.  When we were talking earlier, I think they're trying to figure out a new way to exude empathy that their readers and doing that by creating some news stories in virtual reality.  I think...

KURTZ:  Empathy.  I think they're trying to reach 20-year-olds who don't particularly like to read newspapers.

GLENZER:  That could also be the case.  But I would argue people aren't probably subscribing to the New York Times when they're 20-years-old.  I think it's a cool technology.  I wonder and -- your opinion about the ethics of creating a news story and creating a totally immersive experience about a story from scratch.

KURTZ:  It didn't initially bother me at all.  It seemed like just as everybody now uses phones to create video, but then I read a letter to the Times from former managing editor Robert Kaiser that this seems like in his opinion it will be based on tricks and deceptions like photographers and cameramen and isn't that tantamount to faking a scene.  I thought maybe he has a point.

GLENZER:  And he very well might.  What they're doing to create these scenes is trying to get different angles, and one interesting part I think is how they're -- what they're going to use to recreate it.  Is it police reports?  Witness statements?  Is there a disclosure at the beginning saying this is based off outside witness statements?  How do you tell the viewer this may not actually be what actually happened.

KURTZ:  At what point do you move from be being a journalist to being a Steven Spielberg.  The photographer is augmenting his own reality.  Look, people know they're getting a staged event.

GLENZER:  The cost of producing these is insane, tens you thousands of dollars, $50,000 for the short clips.  That will be cost prohibitive in the beginning.  That is another question.  How do you decide which stories to spend $50,000 to bring to an audience?  I don't know that answer either.

KURTZ:  And how many clicks do you get?

GLENZER:  It is probably for now a bit of a gimmick.  We're part -- we're hip, part of the Times.  We are taking a stab at it.

KURTZ:  You sound ready for this brave new world.

GLENZER:  I don't know.

KURTZ:  You know what?  Do it in the privacy of your own home.  Shana Glenzer, Thank you.

GLENZER:  Thank you.


KURTZ:  And we'll be posting some of the digital download segments on our home page.

Still to come, your top tweets.  Plus, President Obama driving around with a comedian and Hillary Clinton hanging around with the Fruit Loops women, is this all a little -- well, loopy?


KURTZ:  Time for your top tweets.  This could have been the dumbest thing of the year.  Tony, the media are being way too soft on Trump.  Media are covering what he wants -- shameful.  Sort of like the media being fair in covering Hillary's lie about a Trump video, people will never is fair to Trump.  

President Obama has seemingly talked to every -- but he has never been on comedians in cars getting coffee.  


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You have to have something you're looking forward to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What are you looking forward to right now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Getting the hell out of this car.


KURTZ:  Yes, the President will be in one of those cars with Jerry Seinfeld, though they'll never leave the White House grounds.  We all remember the immortal moments when Obama spoke to YouTube personality GloZell Green previously famous for taking a bath in Fruit Loops and milk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I have two lipsticks, one for your first wife.

OBAMA:  Oh, do you know something I don't?

KURTZ:  GloZell just make a video with Hillary Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I am excited and nervous.  I can't wait to meet our next and first female President.

KURTZ:  No Fruitloops perhaps, but GloZell clearly ready to give Hillary a warm bath.  That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz."  I'm Howard Kurtz.  Hope you all had a great Christmas, enjoying the holiday weekend.  Check out our Facebook page.  We'll be back here live next Sunday with the latest buzz.

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