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Media Buzz

Press hounds Cruz on birthplace

This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," January 10, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, actor Sean Penn secretly interviews El Chapo, the notorious drug kingpin and mass murderer for Rolling Stone, asking such questions as isn't it true that drugs destroy humanity?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EL CHAPO: Well, it's a reality that drugs destroy. Unfortunately as I said, where I grew up, there was no other way and still isn't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Why would Sean Penn sit down with a fugitive from justice and the magazine give him veto power over the article?

The Republican race turns into a brawl as Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz and the others start swinging away, and the media can't get enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If Senator Rubio would just show up for work every once in a while, he's only got one job.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When it comes to Chris Christie, he got into politics as a supporter of gun control. That's why he ran.

JEB BUSH, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because if Donald Trump wins the nomination, and he might, Hillary Clinton will beat him like a drum, just tear him up. It will be ugly to watch.

MARK HALPERIN, MSNBC: What we've seen since New Year's is an explosion of attacks not just between Rubio and Christie, but among almost all the top candidates sniping one way or another at each other.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: But is the coverage rewarding these attacks?

Donald Trump keeps pounding Bill Clinton over his sex scandals and says he's worried that Ted Cruz is a Canadian.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Do you believe Senator Ted Cruz is a natural-born citizen?

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know, to be honest.

How do you run against the Democrats whoever it may be and you have this hanging over your head?

BLITZER: He says he's a natural-born citizen because his mother is a U.S. citizen, and as a result he's a natural-born citizen.

TRUMP: Well, I hope he's right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: President Obama wipes away tears in announcing new gun control measures and tries to sell his decision with Anderson Cooper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: What can you say to somebody tonight to convince them that you don't want to take away everybody's guns that you're not coming for their guns?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: First of all, Anderson, I think it's useful to keep in mind I have been president for over seven years and gun sales don't seem to have suffered during that time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: But with some pundits ripping him for unilaterally changing the law, much of the media openly sympathetic to the President's move. I am Howard Kurtz, and this is "MediaBuzz."

When Marco Rubio declared that Chris Christie is President Obama's favorite Republican Governor among other criticisms, Christie told the Washington Post I don't just think Marco Rubio is going to be able to slime his way to the White House. That pretty much captures the tone of the GOP race, which took a strange turn when Donald Trump started talking about the well-known fact that Ted Cruz was born in Canada.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: Senator Ted Cruz, you have now raised the issue of his birth. He was born in Alberta, Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Why do you raise that now?

TRUMP: I didn't raise it. The Washington Post raised it, because the worst thing that could happen is he gets sued by the Democrats and he's not allowed to run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The Texas Senator says he's a naturalized U.S. citizen, because he was born to an American mother. Most legal experts agree. And he tweet Trump with a funny video of the Fonz jumping the shark but reporters kept pressing him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And one of the things the media loves to do is gaze at their navels for hours on end by a tweet from Donald Trump or from me or from anybody else. Who cares with all respect? Our good friends of the media are playing into the Democrats' play book. How about we talk about the real challenges facing this country?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage of this no holds barred campaign, Mercedes Schlapp, a political commentator and strategist and veteran of the Bush White House. Betsy Woodruff, a correspondent for the Daily Beast and Michael Tomasky, Editor of the Democracy Journal and a special correspondent for the Daily Beast. All right, so Trump says he's not pushing the Cruz/Canadian birth issue, he's just responding to questions posed from the Washington Post. Is that right?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it's a little twisted, I believe it's another classic Trump act, which is let me bring this up. Yes, I was asked by the Washington Post, but he has been able to carry on and feed this to the media, and the media in response has decided they're going to spend about five or six days talking about the fact of whether Ted Cruz, he was born in Canada, yes and whether he's a natural born citizen and qualifies.

KURTZ: Why are the media doing that?

SCHLAPP: Again, it partly -- we know two facts here. The conservative media for example, they are all in agree this is ridiculous, why are we even covering this. Mainstream media, they like Trump they like the fact let's bring up the doubt in the minds of the voters.

KURTZ: Cruz is in a strange position of trying to brush this off, and producing a copy of hi mother's Delaware birth certificate. No one questioned whether she was an American.

BETSY WOODRUFF, DAILY BEAST: This is where I would take issue, was Breitbart and conservative sites that tons of conservatives read are really driving this narrative.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHLAPP: They're concerned the fact...

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Right, but they're covering -- Breitbart is covering it like a serious news story, while on the other hand our side, the Washington Post other outlets are saying why are we even looking at this.

SCHLAPP: In defense of...

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Breitbart has been both ways. They had a long article yesterday, very in depth, very much like a look at the documents.

SCHLAPP: Proving the fact he is a natural-born citizen.

KURTZ: Let me jump in here, Michael Tomasky, what does it say about Donald Trump's ability to dictate the media agenda that we have spent a week on this, and it seems to bubble up.

MICHAEL TOMASKY, DEMOCRACY JOURNAL EDITOR: It says what we've known since June, if he opens his mouth, he says it in a way that politicians, Presidential candidates in particular never do, right? He says it in a bombastic way, a somewhat demagogic way.

KURTZ: And he says no I am just trying to help Ted Cruz. I just want him to take care of this legal business.

TOMASKY: We know he's being coy about that. He does drive the agenda.
Every four days, there is a four day Trump mania thing.

KURTZ: Let's go through the harsh rhetoric, now slamming each other as we get closer to Iowa and then New Hampshire, are the media rewarding them with lots of ink and lots of airtime.

SCHLAPP: Absolutely, but it's because it's fascinating to watch the mud wrestling. I think that's been the most fascinating part to watch right now.

KURTZ: Every campaign heats up, but is the media guilty of elevating insults over issues?

WOODRUFF: I think perhaps what the media is guilty of is focusing on Trump to nearly the total exclusion of other candidates, unless they use the terms slimy to describe each other. The bar seems out of whack.

KURTZ: So you're saying the other candidates have to engage in more outrageous rhetoric in order to break through the Trump force field?

WOODRUFF: Without a doubt, because the bar of what makes something outrageous is so high.

KURTZ: We all know the media thrive on conflict -- which journalists are disappointed when Ted Cruz deflects these questions, and they keep asking him again, but aren't you outraged by this? And Cruz has been disciplined in not playing that game.

TOMASKY: Cruz has been disciplined. He has his strategy. Yes, every campaign gets heated, and the media always over-focus on these attacks, but this is a little different because of Trump's presence because he has ratcheted up the insult level, and he's made it a confusing situation.
Usually, if you're in a multi-candidate field, you know who to attack to shed their support and move it in your direction, but now that's totally confused.

SCHLAPP: The media has a big challenge. They have to cover multiple candidates. In the newsrooms, they're asking themselves, who do we cover?
There's only a limited window to give that time available.

KURTZ: Another way that Donald Trump has seized control of the media agenda, this began last week and continued to some extent, with his attacks on Bill Clinton. And talking about past sex scandals which have ignited a million cable news segments and web stories and everything else, so this morning on "Meet the Press," Chuck Todd asked whether Trump was willing to bring up Bill Clinton assist panel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Is that a threat to her? Is that what you're essentially saying? You want me to go down that road?

TRUMP: I don't want to say it's a threat.

TODD: But it is a threat.

TRUMP: Of course, I can call it a nicer name, yeah. She was saying he has tendencies towards being sexist.

TODD: Talking about you?

TRUMP: About me. Wait a minute. She's married to an abuser, a woman who claimed rape, all sorts of things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: So that was a candid answer, yes, it's a threat.

SCHLAPP: America loves those types of answers. He is able to say if she attacks me, I will attack her, and its fair game. This is when you throw away the political rule book that we've all tried to follow for the past several Presidential cycles and the fact that -- you know, if he's feeling threatened, he's going to go after her and attack her.

KURTZ: Michael, you have written that Hillary Clinton has an Achilles heel on this subject, and I'll ask you to come back on that, but you also said Juanita Broderick who accused Bill Clinton of rape back in 1978, and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself in '91, and Kathleen Williams accused him of groping her in 1993 at the White House should be viewed by the media in a different category than Monica Lewinsky and Jennifer Flowers, explain.

TOMASKY: Well, it's pretty simple. With Monica Lewinsky and Jennifer Flowers, we know those things happened. Bill Clinton admitted them.
People watching Fox may have no doubt, but Bill Clinton says no. They say yes. There are some inconsistencies in their stories over the years.

(CROSSTALK)

TOMASKY: But we don't know the truth, and Bill Clinton certainly isn't going to change his story.

KURTZ: So you're saying it's important for journalists to make distinctions, for example, Ken Starr didn't bring any charges or pursue the allegations. He pursued them, but he didn't find any evidence in the case of Juanita Broderick, for example.

TOMASKY: Right. He didn't find any evidence in that case, and in another case he decided she wasn't a reliable witness.

KURTZ: Of course, Bill Clinton's past misconduct is fair game. He would be back in the White House if his wife wins, but is this again a case of Donald Trump acting as a media assignment editor?

WOODRUFF: To an extent, I think you can definitely argue that, but on the other hand Hillary Clinton said she's standing up for survivors of sexual assault, and anyone who says they were assaulted needs to be believed. She said that on the record. Now we have cases where people are saying we actually shouldn't believe these women? That gets back to how media holds Hillary to her own standard.

KURTZ: Is there any evidence that Hillary was involved in that effort?

SCHLAPP: It sounds like she was an enabler. Looking back in the history of it all, it was clear that whenever any of these women back in the day, again 20 years ago, would bring up their situation of rape or sexual assault, the Clinton machine was clear in jumping, trying to destroy them, attack them. I think Hillary was very disciplined to stay as far away from it as possible. We may not get a straight answer from her, and I think that's a question in the minds of the American voters as well.

KURTZ: Brief response to that.

TOMASKY: You know what I meant by the Achilles heel, she did say that thing about women should be believed. I think what she actually kind of meant was probably women should not be reflexively disbelieved.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: Send me a tweet @HowardKurtz. You can also e-mail us MediaBuzz@foxnews.com.

Ahead, when we come back, Rolling Stone has the Sean Penn interview of the notorious El Chapo while on the run from Mexican authorities. Is that journalism?

Also, Hillary Clinton speaking of her, does big sit-down interview on MSNBC, but was the show hardball or softball?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: This is a fox buzz alert. Rolling Stone publishing Sean Penn's interview with global drug trafficker El Chapo while he was in hiding and giving the notorious mass murderer veto power over the article. It was a head-snapping moment when we found out about it. What do you think?

SCHLAPP: I think the veto power is kind of interesting. You have to ask yourself the question, it's a drug lord, and he can probably cut my head off, so maybe I do want to give him veto power? I think it works effectively for El Chapo.

WOODRUFF: On the other hand, it's crazy where a journalist feel like -- that's not how you do good journalism. I thought it was from a parody news site at first.

SCHLAPP: And that Sean Penn was the one doing the interview.

KURTZ: He functions as a journalist at times.

TOMASKY: It's really weird. He asked pretty journalistic questions from what I could see. He didn't ask him what your favorite food is. He asked some serious questions, but the media will chew over this one for a long time.

KURTZ: Does anyone think this is an effort on the part of El Chapo, now back in the custody of Mexican authorities, to soften his image a bit and explain himself? Is that the role of Rolling Stone?

SCHLAPP: I think he has a vision of El Chapo goes to Hollywood. That doesn't necessarily work when you're one of the fugitives. You really have to ask yourself a question, he's a smart businessman, and he's caused a lot of trauma and death in Mexico. So I think it's interesting to watch what he has done.

KURTZ: All right, we will talk more about this later in the program, but first Hillary Clinton doesn't do that many TV interviews. She was on CBS this morning. She sat down with Chris Matthews on Hardball. Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: I want to say something nice about you. You went out and acted like a champion for Democrats. You said, you know what, something good can come out of this for me, I can become a hero to people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: What they were talking about there, Betsy, is the period during and after the Monica Lewinsky scandal and how she handled herself, great in Chris Matthews' view and how she went on to become a successful candidate for the senate. What did you make of that interview because it seemed to me that Chris Matthew kept going out of the way to praise her guts?

WOODRUFF: What I thought was fascinating about the interview it barely made any news. She pretty much regurgitates her talking points. The only real standout moment, when we asked her a question she knew was coming -- and her answer was I am a progressive Democrat who wants to see things change. That's not even remotely an answer to the question.

KURTZ: What did you make of that whole question where he said I want to speak out now, and I am...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHLAPP: I felt like it was the President from now giving the interview to Hillary Clinton. I find it again, he really honed in on the fact of the gender card, that narrative of the first woman President. Again, it's one thing it plays well with the Democratic base, the women who are supporting her. I guess he's trying to softer her image as well, for the viewers, that's great, but I thought it was an incredibly boring interview.

KURTZ: One of the reasons that this really struck me is that back in 2008, Chris Matthews said the following about Hillary Clinton, the reason she's a U.S. Senator, the reason she's a candidate for President, the reason why she may be a front-runner is that her husband messed around, and ten days later Matthews apologized for what he called a nasty remark, so this is kind of a make up call?

TOMASKY: You know in fairness, I would say I have seen in fox segments where Cruz or Trump is on, and they're not exactly given the third degree sometimes on this network.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHLAPP: That would have been to consider the cheerleading interview for Hillary Clinton.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: I didn't expect an absolute inquisition from Chris Matthews, obviously he makes no secret of having liberal sympathies, but it seemed like a softball conversation.

TOMASKY: She's a tough interview. I have interviewed her. And by design, she doesn't do this very much. She doesn't need to.

SCHLAPP: But at least ask the tough questions, my goodness.

WOODRUFF: Asking how great it is being a champion for women is...

KURTZ: How great is it? On that note, Betsy Woodruff, Mercedes Schlapp, Michael Tomasky, thanks very much.

Up next, we compare the coverage for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in our media microscope. You don't want to miss this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: The question does Donald Trump get more media coverage than Hillary Clinton. The answer is yes, by a lot, according to the new analytics company which found more than 5300 mentions for the Republican frontrunner in the top newspapers, networks, and websites for 4 days this week, compared to more than 3200 for Democratic frontrunner. Now, the GOP race obviously far more competitive, but the tone not that different, you see here a negative in red, positive in greens. Trumps coverage 60 percent negative, Hillary Clinton's coverage a bit better at 55 percent negative.

But now we're going to drill down only to the media in Iowa, not what we all see nationally. The first column for each candidate is four days in the beginning of December. The second column is four days this week.
Trump was utterly dominant a month ago in Iowa, 354 mentions, 4 times as much as the next guy Ted Cruz, but it's almost dropped in half to 173 mentions, as his rivals ramp up their campaigning before the caucuses.
Senator Cruz is hot, almost doubling his attention in Iowa from 74 to 137.
Marco Rubio tripling his presence in Iowa, 40 to 118, Ben Carson may be struggling nationally, but in Iowa he tripled his media mentions, but look at Jeb Bush, less than one-eighth of Trump's coverage.

It remains mostly in negative. Cruz, Rubio, Trump, less negative by 3 to 5 points, an 8-point improvement to Ben Carson and 17-point improvement for Bush. All the candidates starting to change their image as they get more exposure in Iowa.

Ahead on Media buzz, is it fair to scoff at Barack Obama's tearing in discussing gun control, and we'll grade CNN's town hall with the President.

And later, are the media feeding our addiction to all these websites, and apps and gadgets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: The footage has been constantly replayed, President Obama announcing expanded background checks and other measures, tearing up when he recalled the horror of the Newtown School massacre.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: When the President joined with CNN's Anderson Cooper to defend his decision to bypass congress, he was questioned among others by Kimberly Corbin, who was raped by a man who broke in to her apartment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KIMBERLY CORBIN: I have been unspeakably victimized once already and I refuse to let that happen again to myself or my kids. So why can't your administration see that these restrictions to make it harder for me to own a gun or harder for me take that where I need to be is actually making my kids and I less safe.

OBAMA: I just want to repeat that there's nothing that we have proposed that would make it harder for you to purchase a firearm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage of this emotional issue, here in Washington Gayle Trotter, a lawyer and political commentator who writes for the Daily Caller and Townhall.com, and in New York, Eboni Williams, also a lawyer, former CBS correspondent and Fox News Contributor.
Gayle, did CNN do a good job of providing pro-gun voices as well as Gabby Gifford's and other people support more gun control.

GAYLE TROTTER, DAILY CALLER: I have two journalistic criticisms of the CNN town hall. The first is CNN accepted the President's framing of the problem with San Bernardino massacre as being one of gun control or ineffective gun control instead of a problem of radical Islamic terrorism.
My second criticism is they gave the President a platform, nobody else on the platform with him that represents the other side. They did have good questions, but the President, as you know he's a basketball player, too he seemed to run out the clock filibustering the answers. Even though Cooper asked him good questions, Cooper just kind of laid back and let him finish, ramble on and didn't really go after the answers.

KURTZ: There were voices on the other side, and I thought CNN did a good job, particularly in the first half. A top NRA official said his group didn't participate, because CNN insisted on prescreened questions. Is that a problem?

EBONI WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I do think certainly CNN has a right to whatever -- I am sure they held the President accountable to that same standard. I think it's good that the NRA was invited, but played it smart that they didn't show up. I think Anderson did give it some push- back, so I did see some actual pushback.

KURTZ: Right, did President Obama and his supporters -- they say that expanded background checks, this is a modest proposal. Do you think the coverage has been sympathetic to that view?

TROTTER: Certainly. I think journalists unfairly criticized the President for getting emotional when they really should have challenged him on whether or not these executive actions would be effective at actually solving any of these mass shooting incidents, and more importantly about the issue of separation of powers. We know about President Obama's famous quote about using the pen and the phone when he can't get legislation through congress, and this is yet another example where President has taken no and just continued to steam roll over an issue that he cares about.

KURTZ: Right. I would note that CNN did a poll afterwards, 67 percent support President Obama on his gun changes, including a bare majority of Republicans. Eboni, have the media focused enough on the fact this is yet another Obama executive order, yet another incident of the President, using his unilateral authority in bypassing congress?

WILLIAMS: I think they focused too much on it. Is there anything in the proposals? I don't think so, but if there's anything that overreaches or is too brought, he's going to be sued and it will be struck down. They want something more like a registering, but Gayle will know this as well.
When you're talking about anytime -- the President was between a rock and hard place there. I think that's the right decision.

KURTZ: Let me pick up on a point Gayle made, with the President tearing up on that announcement, and some people who are critics of this, critics of the President, kind of mocked him. Let's take a look at a Fox show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

MICHAEL GUNZELMAN, RADIO HOST: Obama was clearly faking his crying.

TOM SHILLUE, FOX NEWS: There you go.

GUNZELMAN: He put pepper to his eye.

SHILLUE: A good actor. What if he turned on the waterworks for political effect, can you blame him?

JOANNE NOSUCHINSKY, FOX NEWS: I really don't think he did. I don't think -- it makes us look bad by saying that.

SHILLUE: Hold on. Come on now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Eboni, do you think it makes commentators who are challenging whether the President was sincerely choking up, you think it makes us look bad?

WILLIAMS: It's just not my thing, Howard. Certainly, if the President was moved to emotion on that issue, only he knows the authenticity. I am going to take it at face value. I think it's a waste of time quite frankly to be sitting around and scrutinizing the authenticity of somebody's emotions.
People criticize where is his emotion on ISIS and other major things, but again I would say we don't know this man's heart, we don't know what moves him and why.

KURTZ: Just briefly, I mean criticize him on the bypassing congress, criticize his conception of guns, but I watched that live. It looked like a genuine moment.

TROTTER: I would, too, but he threw in the Chicago violence at the end.
It should all be concerning us, the women who are in dangerous neighborhoods who don't have and to because the federal government has made the cost of firearms so high, he should be having tears for them as well.

KURTZ: All right, you two stick around because ahead on "MediaBuzz," are the media really spending time obsessing on Marco Rubio's boots, seriously?

But first, Sean Penn interviewing drug kingpin El Chapo for Rolling stone, was the magazine complicit in trying to improve this notorious criminal's image?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: This is a Fox buzz alert, Rolling Stone publishing an interview with El Chapo, the mass murdering drug kingpin just recaptured by Mexico, in an interview done by none other than Sean Penn. One of the questions from the actor, are you prone to violence? Do you try to avoid violence? Or do you use it as a last resort?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

'EL CHAPO' GUZMAN: Look, all I do is defend myself, nothing more. Do I go looking for trouble, never.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Rolling Stone acknowledged that Penn and the magazine had made a deal with this criminal to submit the article to him beforehand for approval. And Eboni Williams, what do you make of Sean Penn meeting with this guy, at the time a fugitive from justice and is one of the world's most notorious criminals.

WILLIAMS: I think this is really desperate from Sean Penn. I really don't understand. You look at Sean Penn from outside of his film work, you see him constantly inserting himself in these news cycle stories. Valiant effort with Katrina, but this seems to have a different motivation, different flavor, and frankly I don't like it.

KURTZ: Gayle Trotter, let me read to you some phrases from the article, about 10,000 words, saying El-Chapo has an almost mythic reputation. He's a Robin Hood-like figure, providing much-needed services to the area, and I am drawing with the inconsistent perceptions.

TROTTER: Sean Penn should stick with acting, stay in Hollywood, because the Rolling Stone article with Sean Penn shows a complete moral inversion of journalism. Basically, Rolling Stone and Sean Penn are aiding and abetting a known felon with an international global conspiracy, a criminal syndicate.

KURTZ: How are they aiding and abetting?

TROTTER: Because they're allowing him to have a platform to get his message out. A lot of it is Mexican poverty is what drove El Chapo to go into the marijuana and poppy fields when he was a youth, but that doesn't explain why he's the head of a global drug syndicate. He should apologize to all the Americans whose sons and daughters have died in the heroin epidemic in the United States.

KURTZ: You know Eboni, sometimes journalists have to interview bad guys.
I don't think I would have had -- I might have had a problem with the writing if Sean Penn had gone to prison and talked to El Chapo if he's behind bars, but the fact that the Mexican authorities were conducting this huge effort to find this guy who had busted out of prison for the second time and Sean Penn meets at a secret location, that really made me uncomfortable.

WILLIAMS: Right. And I think it shows again his motives. I don't think it was anything that was journalistic, I think its offensive to actual journalists to lump Sean Penn into that category with them. You and Gayle have both talked about this Robin Hood-like figure, such glamorization, but certainly still looking at heinous charges, murder and tons of other capital offenses. In fact, frankly Rolling Stone coming out of the Virginia/UVA rape case, they have a credibility issue they're trying to rebuild. I don't think this does them any favors.

KURTZ: He was found guilty.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: And I criticize this if it's done with a politician, but given this criminal veto power of the article. Rolling Stone said he doesn't exercise it, but it was submitted to him in advance for El-Chapo's approval.

TROTTER: Right. Rolling Stone should have never agreed to that. They already have a credibility issue because of the UVA story, so they shouldn't be denigrating their journalistic responsibility any further. If you read the article, Sean Penn really uses it as a platform for arguing against American drug policy. It's really an opinion piece, not an interview, journalistic episode.

KURTZ: Just briefly, Eboni, ironically some news organization is reporting this morning that this meeting helped Mexican authorities capture finally El Chapo, but what about he could have had clues that he could have given to law enforcement.

WILLIAMS: Absolutely, and also the ends don't justify the means to me. I think if indeed it helped law enforcement track this fugitive down, good for them, but I certainly don't want to give Sean Penn because I don't think that was any part of his intention around it. I think there were steps he could have taken to make this a different outcome.

KURTZ: All right. Great debate, Eboni Williams, Gayle Trotter, thanks very much for joining us this Sunday.

Ahead, the political writer whose nasty tweets about strategists at Jeb Bush's pack turned out to be too much for his bosses.

But first, some people are protesting how Google, and Apple and Microsoft have taken over our lives, and much of that is promoted by the press. Our digital download is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: The Washington Post calls them digital dissenters, people who think we're too addicted to all these devices and screens, but Apple and Google and Microsoft have the rest of us convinced that they're vital to our existence. We're constantly distracted as we walk around with our eyes cast upon our devices, we're rarely fully present anywhere. Is that true?
Joins us now is Shana Glenzer, Technology Analyst and Executive here in Washington. So are you fully present for this? Do you have some texts that you need to return?

SHANA GLENZER, TECHNOLOGY EXPERT: I checked a few before I came on, so I should be set. But I definitely am distracted by my many devices, I three or four here.

KURTZ: What is this?

GLENZER: This is a Google glass. Have you ever seen it?

KURTZ: Yes, I actually have worn them. The new version came out.

KURTZ: How much did the media play a role? You have to upgrade your iPhone.

GLENZER: I think the media -- certainly, by the time I get home I write about new Google glass on two different sites and three different broadcasts, and I think that it's also the social pressure that you feel.
You log on to Facebook and you see all your friends talking about the latest iPhone or the latest new site that you need to be on, and that really has -- wow, I am getting left out.

KURTZ: The so-called digital dissenters do some of what they say about how dependent we've become, does that resonate with you?

GLENZER: It resonates with me because of one thing in particular, that is data. Every time you buy a new gadget, you're giving away a lot of data about yourself.

KURTZ: Don't we take our privacy for the convenience? We're complicit in all this.

GLENZER: It is a trade-off, but there's times when we don't even thinking about the information we're giving away. I think that's what the digital dissenters are ting to stress is that you're not even aware of how much you're giving and how much people are selling what your habits are online.

KURTZ: Right. But you kind of do this for a living. But I think there is some growing concern among folks that instead of listening to their kids read, they are texting to somebody, and they need to check twitter. There might be new stuff.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: I go to lunch and I go at twitter, arguments I have never heard of it. And I am like, wait, I am out of it now.

GLENZER: You feel like you constantly need to be connected. An Apple watch tells you if you're getting notifications, if you're missing something on twitter and it's distracting.

(CROSSTALK)

GLENZER: Earlier today, we were playing around with it.

KURTZ: But here's our exit question. Does this backlash matter, by which I mean, are we now all captives of this hyper speed culture and it's not going to change?

GLENZER: I don't think that this will change any time soon. I don't think changing big companies involved in our lives will change. I thing what might change is that the way we get compensated for the data they're pulling from us. I don't think it's going to change anytime soon. In the meantime, I am going to look at Google glass.

KURTZ: We're all responsible for our media diets, Shana Glenzer, thanks very much. Good to see you.

Still to come, Newsweek apologizes for a writer trashing Ted Cruz. A political reporter gets in a vicious twitter war with Jeb Bush's people, and a kick in the pants for the media for focusing on Marco Rubio's boots.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Politico's top reporter in Florida has gotten into a really nasty twitter war with Jeb Bush's super pac. Murphy and his aide Paul Lindsay did a bang-up shot with a $50 million spent. He called ball Lindsay a desperate -- he said running a feckless effort in being given Paul Lindsay intellect butt hurt. Doesn't sound like a reporter treating a reporter fairly. He said he ate ought to get help. A Politico spokesman says these statements were inappropriate. Mark has deleted them and this immediate action speaks for itself.

Meanwhile, Newsweek's editor apologizing for this Nazi picture with the caption Ted Cruz has a strong ground game in Iowa. Wow, your top tweets.
How much coverage should the media give about Ted Cruz being born in Canada? It there is a question about his citizenship, it deserves scrutiny. Considering Cruz was actually born in another country, at least as much coverage as you gave to the Obama birthers. That was ridiculous.
Zero, hashtag Trump plays media like a drum. Perhaps the silliest episode of the 2016 campaign started with a New York Times tweet, Marco Rubio is rocking seriously fashionable black boots today in New Hampshire, which led a Cruz advisor to mock on twitter, a vote Marco Rubio is a vote for men's high heeled booty's, which led to a very prominent story in the Times which led to Vanity Fair wondering how much the boots cost, maybe $90, which led to New York magazine likening him to a heartthrob from One Direction which led to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Rubio is wearing a boot with a bit of a heel to it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god. Look at that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're shag-a-licious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rubio, it's 510. Does he really need the booties?
Let's see Mr. Cruz without the heels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Rubio campaign told Politico they were from Florsheim, perhaps the Duke.

RUBIO: Let me get this right. ISIS is cutting people's heads off, setting people on fire in cages. Saudi Arabia and Iran are on the verge of a war, the stock market is falling apart. But boy, are we getting a lot of coverage about a pair of boots. This is craziness.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: This is craziness. This is how the media stomp over all other important stories. Mercedes, do you agree with that?

SCHLAPP: We need to light-hearten in all of this.

KURTZ: You love this story.

SCHLAPP: It's not that I love this story. But coming from Miami, which is where Marco Rubio is from, his shoes are more like the Miami Beach clubbing shoes I remember back in the day than what you connect with what would be the Republican conservative.
KURTZ: What do you prefer?

SCHLAPP: Wait a second. I prefer these nice muddy cowboy boots my husband wears all the time. That's what I think we've got to send over to Marco Rubio's campaign office.

KURTZ: I understand this is a lot of fun, but Politico actually ran a piece saying the other candidates are using this pressing issue as proving him effeminate.

SCHLAPP: Now they're taking the story a little way over the top. Come on.
He's a Dolphin fan. He talks about fantasy football all the time. We don't need to question Senator Marco Rubio's manhood.

KURTZ: All right, thanks. And we've already given this way too much air time. Time for me to stay that's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz," I am Howard Kurtz in Washington. Let's hear from you. And as every week, we're back here next Sunday, you know the time, 11:00 and 5:00 Eastern with the latest buzz.

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