Media: Trump's nearly unstoppable

Christie backing follows rough debate


This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," February 28, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, we're just two days until Super Tuesday, the media finally jumping on the Trump express. Asking after his huge Nevada victory whether anyone can derail the Donald.


DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS: The bigger question at this point, can anyone catch up with Donald Trump?

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS: He is definitely going to be dominated. He's going to route everybody in tonight's caucus. My vibe is Trump is going all the way.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: We basically said for Ted Cruz, it's over. For Marco, it's over unless something really dramatic happens.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: All of a sudden Trump is unstoppable. If you all the (ph) all the nervousness, it's like the Titanic is sinking and the establishment.


KURTZ: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz slamming Trump in a debate filled with shouting at CNN losses control.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're the only person on this stage that's ever been fined for hiring people to work on your projects illegally. You hired some...

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I'm the only one on the stage that's hired people. You haven't hired anybody.


TRUMP: You get along with nobody. You don't have one Republican -- you don't have one republican senator. You should be ashamed of yourself.



TRUMP: Well then if I can't -- if hey -- if I can't beat her, you're really going to get killed, aren't you?



KURTZ: But is the story of the debate changing the media forecast? What do ordinary folks think? Frank Luntz's Focus Group will tell us. And what will the conservative commentators who detest Trump do if he wins nomination? Rich Lowry joins us on that.

Hillary Clinton trounces Bernie Sanders in South Carolina with 74% of the vote yesterday and looks to have a big day on Tuesday. Are the media convinced that Sanders' surge is over? Plus, as campaign victory all spreads across social media with friends dumping friends, is Facebook turning toxic? I'm Howard Kurt and this is "MediaBuzz."

KURTZ: As Donald Trump is heading towards huge victory in Nevada, the media narrative for Ted Cruz this week sending on dirty tricks, this is after the senator fired communications' director, Rick Tyler for reposting a video that falsely portray Marco Rubio as disparaging the bible.


MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS: Do you have to be more careful about that stuff?

RICK TYLER, FORMER CRUZ COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR: I posted it in haste. I should not have done it. I apologize to Marco Rubio. I apologize to the campaign.


KURTZ: The media's new connection of wisdom was that Trump was soaring, Cruz was fading and Rubio desperately needed to attack Trump which he did again and again at the CNN debate in Houston.


RUBIO: That's the only part of the plan? Just the lines -- the interesting...

TRUMP: ...did I thought about the -- you have many different plans. You'll have competition. You'll have so many different plans.

RUBIO: For now, he is repeating himself.

TRUMP: No, I'm not repeating -- what I've seen up here, I mean first of all this guy is a choke artist and this guy is a liar.


KURTZ: One thing that was agonizingly evident as the candidate smacked each other around try as he might Wolf Blitzer repeatedly lost control of the debate.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN DEBATE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, gentlemen, please, I want to move on. I want to talk about the economy...


TRUMP: know what it call what you want...

CRUZ:'s a yes or no.

TRUMP: Call it what you want, people are not going to be dying...

BLITZER: All of you have agreed -- all of you have agreed for the rules...


BLITZER: ...I want to move on...


BLITZER: ...go ahead and respond.


KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the covered show, Attkisson, the host of "Full Measure" which airs Sunday morning on Sinclair Television station and a former CBS News correspondent; Amy Holmes, news anchor at "The Blaze;" and Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist and Fox contributor.

Sharyl, the same pundits of media outlet who spent months telling that Trump was impossible, now saying he's practically unstoppable -- amazing isn't it?

SHARYL ATTKISSON, 'FULL MEASURE': Kind of amazing. We in the media are supposed to bring some insight and not being doing what I think we're doing in this case which is finally coming around to the thing that the public already knew and was screaming at their televisions all this month. But now we're supposed to take seriously when the news and the pundits say now we know what's really going on. You can you listen to us and believe us.

KURTZ: You say journalists are behind the public in this case. At the debate, Amy Holmes Marco Rubio got good press for trying to attack Donald Trump when they were trading a lot of insults. There was so many charges and counter charges that eventually (ph) all gotten lost in the den I thought.

AMY HOLMES, 'THE BLAZE': Well, the men have got lost in the den but what we've seen with these debates is that they never seem to hurt Trump. He may not do well. He may not respond fully. He may not have a detailed plan. But he keeps gaining points. Sharyl, to your point about the media, I think there's been this love-hate relationship between the media and Donald Trump had called them "frienimies."

So, as -- on the one hand, they were saying Donald Trump certainly can't win the republican nomination I mean who could ever imagine that? And, yet, continually throughout this campaign putting their thumb on the scale by giving Donald Trump the most free media -- the most earned media of any political candidate I think we've ever seen.

KURTZ: Well, that's in part because he does more news than anybody.

HOLMES: And it's great parading.

JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's great parading which he have told him something about...

HOLMES: That exactly.

KURTZ: Right.

TRIPPI: ...what was going to happen when...

KURTZ: Meanwhile, the -- just the tone of the campaign -- the insults that we saw in the debate this morning continuing on the Sunday shows, Trump referring to Rubio as little Marco and Rubio fighting back and calling him a con artist in a clown show. But I want to play one a little bit of Trump that kind of overlook at the media -- excuse me at the CNN debate in Texas as he did something that he has done in other debates. Take a look.


TRUMP: First of all, I don't believe anything Telemundo says.

HUGH HEWITT, CNN DEBATE MODERATOR: Are you going back on your...

TRUMP: No, I admit, first of all very people listen to your radio show.


KURTZ: Trump insulting Hugh Hewitt and the Telemundo anchor, does that work for him Joe?

TRIPPI: It works every time. And it's -- that the love-hate relationship thing works for Donald Trump a lot better than it does for the media and the hosts and show hosts and anchors that he goes up against.

KURTZ: It's hard to moderate a presidential debate when everybody is trying to talk and trampling over the rules. So, I felt for Wolf Blitzer but does it seem to you -- do you agree with me that the thing just got really out of control?

ATTKISSONL: At times, but I think some of it was by design. There were times when he was letting thing goes on and on...

KURTZ: Sure.

ATTKISSON: ...and that's because some -- in my view and having his parents working at CNN somebody is in your ear saying, let it go -- let it go. This is great. Let it play. But that's not the dynamic. The audience was wild. And the audience is now not only stocked but coached. They're trying to create moment...

KURTZ: Coached? Yes.

ATTKISSON: That is my opinion.


They're trying to create moments, good ones for their candidate bad ones for the opposing candidate. They can turn the tide of the feeling of a bad question and make it sound like the answer was good by applauding wildly no matter what the answer is and I think there were some of that.

KURTZ: I agree and I think the audiences are getting disruptive with these events. I mean, you know, in the fall campaign they don't let the audiences cheer and maybe that would be a good idea.

All right, Ted Cruz, to your point about Trump and the way he's covered by the media and the free air time question, took a whack at the coverage of the Donald. Let's take a look at that.


CRUZ: The awful a lot of the mainstream media is using kid gloves on Donald right now because they want Donald to be the nominee and the instant he's the nominee, they will unleash every cannon they can to elect Hillary Clinton...


KURTZ: Rubio saying some of the things, but -- so here's Cruz saying it's in his self-interest of course, if the media want Donald Trump to be the nominee, do you buy that?

HOLMES: I don't think it's conspiratorial that they want him to be the nominee but it is certainly great for business, very good parading. I almost think of their relationship with him is almost like a drug addict that they know he's toxic but they want to keep chasing that rating high.

So, if he becomes the republican nominee, hey listen the media is going to sit back, eat popcorn and cover it, you know, relentlessly get high ratings, a lot of reader, but at the end of the day, do they want him? I think they'll take this a lot more seriously if Donald Trump was running as a Democrat.

TRIPPI: But the rating is high reflects the kind of support he has had. The people are watching him because they're for him or and I'm sure there are a lot of people watching him because they find it entertaining but it still relates to his -- to he's putting votes on the table in these states and he is winning.

KURTZ: What about Cruz's phrase about kid gloves? Because I would argue and all the interviews, in many of the interviews he has, it's not all and including interviews with me that he gets pressed a lot and then some of the...

TRIPPI: You've been pretty easy on him.


TRIPPI: I'm kidding.

KURTZ: Note to transcribers -- sarcastic by Trippi. But my point is that even when Trump gets negative coverage, even when particularly Conservative commentators on Fox and elsewhere come on and says he's not too conservative, it helps him because he wants to get against the press.

TRIPPI: No, exactly -- exactly right. And so I don't look -- I don't think -- I think the more of the press goes after him, the more the establishment goes after him, the better he's going to do. And so, I don't buy the argument that Cruz and Rubio are trying to put out there.

HOLMES: But I think the tough price as you just alluded to has come from Conservative media when National Review dedicated an entire issue to stop Trump. Meanwhile, the mainstream media...

KURTZ: Right.

HOLMES: ...I think is actually treating him with kid gloves aren't digging into his background nearly as much as conservative media because for conservative media, Donald Trump is a catastrophe. For mainstream media, he's entertainment.

KURTZ: Well, Liberal commentators beat up on him too and that's not surprising since he's a Republican but I just want to talk about Friday I know this -- because I was in the chair in the studio didn't get on the air because of Trump. He held the news conference with Chris Christie, the somewhat surprised endorsement from the New Jersey governor and then there was a break and then he spoke at a rally.

CNN and Fox and MSNBC took much of that live. Both of the presser and the rally and we actually timed it. Fox, an hour and 12 minutes, CNN, an hour and 15 minutes, MSNBC, 47 minutes and after the CNN debate in Texas Trump was interviewed twice on the postgame show.

So does it seem like the camera award that people make decisions about who goes on camera to log in? I want to play for you a sound bite involving what some people are saying about the other candidates and whether they should stay in this race. Take a look.


ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS: I would say Ben Carson and John Kasich it's time for them to move on so that their supporters and their money can go to someone else.

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS: And it would take a miracle for not only you but John Kasich at this point with a delegate situation being what it is to overcome Trump.



KURTZ: Why journalists keep telling candidates that they should drop out of the presidential race?

ATTKISSON: Well, not just opinion people or technique (ph) are more entitled to do so, but ordinary journalists, if you look at how they're framing -- we're framing out coverage is largely in terms of how to beat Trump, what combinations of which votes that people drop out can overcome the momentum that Trump has rather than more what you would expect a neutral analysis or neutral reporting of what's happening, they seem to be more than I've ever noticed before, rooting for an outcome and trying to hope and sway and they seem delighted when Rubio and Cruz finally -- this is how they termed it, attack Trump. The media seemed happy as if it's what they were waiting for.

KURTZ: Interesting. The so-called dirty tricks allegations against Ted Cruz and his campaign, do you think that he -- that Cruz made it a story that was about ten times bigger than it had been by firing his Communications Director, Rick Tyler who already apologized on the air as we saw it?

HOLMES: That's an interesting point and I think, yes it did give the story length because here's another twist and turn on the Ted Cruz dirty tricks story line but I think politically, he had to. He was getting a lot of criticism from his own supporters saying, look we can't ask this.

KURTZ: A couple of days later, Tyler become an MSNBC contributor, everybody knows he is obviously Cruz's supporter but that struck me as odd.

HOLMES: Certainly and I'm not sure all of MSNBCs viewers know that he has this conflict of interest. We'll see if it's on the Chiron, former spokesperson for Ted Cruz every single time he has something to say.

TRIPPI: Absolutely crazy for Cruz to do that right before the vote. I mean that, was just do it -- if you're going to do it, do it a couple of days later but don't do it that day.

ATTKISSON: I assume there is more to it. I assume it wasn't for that one act because that said to Cruz's supporters, some of whom might otherwise support Trump that he doesn't have the same fortitude and backing up his people and sticking to it as Trump does.

KURTZ: What do you think of Sharyl's point that at least some in the mainstream media in the way they handicapped the race seem to want an outcome where at least there's a one-on-one probably between Cruz and, excuse me, between Trump and Marco Rubio and therefore kind of have of their thumb on the scale?

TRIPPI: Definitely, I think there's a merging of mainstream media and the establishment. I mean, it's something about community between New York and Washington in terms of the members of congress and the media in the way they're portraying this race and actually putting their thumb on this...


KURTZ: ...and that is why there's a lot of public anger at us in the mainstream media because they feel like we have become part of this establishment and people see us as anti-Trump. OK, so before we go, Trump in an interview or was it in a debate or he has been since talked about the libel laws and he criticized the "New York Times" and "Washington Post" coverage and he says, he's going to make the libel laws tougher so that if anyone writes purposely negative and horrible and false articles we can sue them and win lots of money your reaction?

ATTKISSON: And do this about changing libel law, I do have sympathy to the idea that a public figure today has almost no recourse. Your attorney will tell you anyway for something that is entirely false and malicious even though the laws are supposed to protect you, it really does and there maze will not be one, so we have this food fight feeding frenzies anything goes. On the other hand, I think, you know, it bothers me, the idea of changing libel law we have to be very, very careful about it.

KURTZ: Right. I mean you can sue now but it is true that if you're a public figure you basically have to prove that something was knowingly false and was published or aired with reckless disregard for the truth. When we come back, did Hillary Clinton's big win in South Carolina last night, the media again anointed her as inevitable? And later one of MSNBCs leading black hosts uses racial references (ph) and that looks ready to cancel her show.


KURTZ: Hillary Clinton is heading into Super Tuesday after a stunning victory yesterday South Carolina primary taking 74% of the vote in a state that Bernie Sanders so forth conceding he didn't even bother to give a speech afterwards. And while her second straight win has revived the media's talk of inevitability she is still dug by the honesty questions as we see in one of the many interviews on MSNBC.


SCARBOROUGH: We've been talking about how calculating you were and how it seems to be not the person that we know personally.

HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is kind of come to me over the last months because, you know, it is painful -- it's hurtful to have people say, oh I don't trust her -- I don't know why she's doing it.


KURTZ: So, Amy the flip side of the Trump question, the press was saying about a week ago Hillary was in trouble, she had no team, she wasn't drawing the crowd, that generally need sided with (ph) Bernie Sanders two big wins back to calling her inevitable but there's still the question we just saw in that "Morning Joe" interview.

HOLMES: Right. I think all of the above can be true.


HOLMES: And we speak with Hillary Clinton's campaign as she has not generated the same type of just native excitement that Bernie Sanders has yet she does have the machine behind her. We did see South Carolina this you know, landslide victory.

KURTZ: Right, is the press tough on her? We talked about depressing Trump in the last one?

HOLMES: I think the press is let -- they're not as tough on her as they are with Conservatives when you look at the e-mail scandal problem that she is under investigation...

KURTZ: Was brought in by the "New York Times."..

HOLMES: Which was brought in by the "New York Times" but a lot of Conservatives would say this should be disqualified. And yet, you have the "New York Times" saying, please Mrs. Clinton do answer the question." Like...

KURTZ: So, you think -- you can pick up that but also address whether this, you know, just stunningly massive South Carolina win I mean it's not a landslide, doesn't even do it justice, is this counted in part because everybody in the press expected Hillary to win big?

TRIPPI: They should have expected it for months and months. It was obviously coming, but they totally ignored it. Even this narrative that Bernie Sanders is turning on part of the Obama coalition or the one party never has been able to turn on was African-Americans are pretty big part of it. And so I think...

KURTZ: So, do you think this is the press...

TRIPPI: ...the coverage has sort of been one-sided...

KURTZ: you think the press kind of was complicit and generating artificial excitement because what Bernie Sanders is essentially tied in Iowa, had a big win in New Hampshire but the Clinton campaign always said, well, those are the two weak states and once we got to the bigger more diverse states, she will blow them away so far that she's been happy, so the press kind of get swept up in the Sanders momentum.

TRIPPI: Yes and I think that it and I think there's the same reason, want the contest, but you know, and the contest is going to get more people interested in watching than when it's over. And so, now the problem is they're going in until it's over and it was always going to be this way. It was always going to be this way. And I -- and they were pretty brutal on her up through -- and also I think used the Sanders surge in Iowa and New Hampshire to tie all of the stuff that was going against her, you know, on honesty and all those things into that narrative.

KURTZ: Right. But interesting twist because editorial pages don't have the crowd that they used to but a lot of attention from the "New York Times," Liberal editorial page saying, wickedness, stall walling and should release transcripts or page speeches to Wall Street groups that includes the $675,000 she had with Goldman Sachs (ph) which make of that?

ATTKISSON: I make of that it's "New York Times" as a whole has taken a viewpoint for whatever reason it seems to be less pro-Hillary Clinton. They've been breaking stories that you might not have seen them break against her, maybe five years ago they wouldn't have done it they're doing it now.

KURTZ: So you're saying both news pages and opinion pages?

ATTKISSON: Yes. And I want to point out, you know, the news I think instead of citing which narrative to adopt the choice to be doing more -- we should be doing more of our original reporting. And if you look at Nevada, I just thought this is interesting I didn't see it reported anywhere even though they have according to their website at the elections office a 100,000 more Democrat registered voters, Trump won the Republican Party with huge margin something like 70,000 votes whereas it was 50 or 70, she won with 6,000 votes on the Democrat side even though there are so many more registered Democrats there and I think that's just the narrative that was not put out there by anybody.

KURTZ: There are times that he was assured comment on Hillary coverage, do you think it's going to remain critical or you think it's too soft?

HOLMES: Well, I think -- personally, I think it's soft and I think her feet do need to be held to the fire. But in defense of Bernie Sanders, we have an independent self-declared socialist which is far better than anyone would have thought a year ago.

KURTZ: Anybody and that includes me and he did deserve credit for that. All right, Joe Trippi, Amy Holmes, Sharyl Attkisson great to see you on this Sunday.

Still ahead, what will Conservative commentators who have led the dump Trump movement do if he wins the nomination? But up next, look at how the cable news network are handling the campaign in our media microscope.


KURTZ: Donald Trump is getting a huge amount of air time. But let's go down on that with data from the new analytics company from Monday to Thursday this week, CNN had the most mentions of Trump an average of 1458 each day just edging out MSNBC with 1444 both significantly higher than Fox News with 1,078 mentions.

This must mean include coverage of the live rallies. We move over to Ted Cruz, the numbers are substantially lower 925 average mentions each day on MSNBC, 780 on CNN, 559 on Fox and Rubio with about half of Trump's coverage, MSNBC with an average of 748, CNN with 656 and Fox with 543.

By the way, the analytics company has been giving us daily averages in the recent weeks no accumulative of total which doesn't change the findings one a bit but we want to make that correction.

Now for this week, virtually no difference in tone for all three networks about 72% negative for Trump about 75% negative for Cruz similar to Rubio with CNN slightly more negative, the Democratic race getting about half the attention overall, CNN with 499 average daily mentions of Hillary Clinton, MSNBC with 421, Fox with 266.

Bernie Sanders, a bit behind with about 400 mentions each on CNN and MSNBC at each day just 184 on Fox. Both Clinton and Sanders getting coverage is about two-thirds negative on the three networks but on Fox that rises to 73% negative for Bernie. By the way, a similar pattern in print, Trump getting a bit more coverage than Cruz in the "Washington Post," "New York Times," and "Wall Street Journal."

But the biggest fall off for Rubio getting half of Trump's coverage in the post and the journal. A big drop for the Democrats in these papers overall with Clinton getting somewhat more coverage than Sanders in the post and the journal and Sanders getting more in the "New York Times."

But here's the bottom line, Hillary Clinton is getting much more positive coverage in the three papers than Donald Trump by 13 to as much as 20 percentage points.

CNN has banned Roger Stone, a Republican strategist and former Trump advisor, for appearing as a guest after the discovery of his offensive tweets against CNN contributors. Stone once called Anna Navarro, an abusive diva and borderline retarded. Stone also called then contributor Roland Martin a stupid negro, a moron and a token and suggested he eat more fried chicken.

The tweets weren't air by the Liberal advocacy group "Media Matters" Stone who attack Navarro again after CNN confirmed the ban in a third statement called CNN biased and says quoted, it seems that Clinton's have ordered CNN not to interview me in the future because I'm not PC. There was zero evidence of that.

Turns out Stone who also appeared on Fox News in recent months has made disparaging physical comments about Megyn Kelly and Charles Krauthammer in the past. Fox recently dropped him from a couple of planned appearances but there is no ban and Stone should be asked about these tweets the next time he shows up on Fox.

Ahead on "MediaBuzz," Facebook turns mean spirited as the polarizing campaign as people feuding and unfriending each other. But first, what do ordinary voters think about how the press covers Donald Trump, Frank Luntz is here in a moment?


KURTZ: It is one question as far as much divisive debate as Donald Trump it's the way that media covered Donald Trump, Frank Luntz, the Republican pollster explored that question on the night of the debate -- the Texas debate with the Focus Group in Houston.


FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: How many of you think the media has been fair overall to Donald Trump? Raise your hands. So it's most of you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the media has been saying is that he's hit a ceiling, he's going to be out of the race in a month that's all you hear over and over. So, I don't think they've been fair.

LUNTZ: So then the question becomes, is the media manipulating Trump or is Trump manipulating the media?


LUNTZ: Go ahead, up there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is absolutely manipulating the media. Because what he does is what he does as a CEO.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least I agree that Trump says to every interview and most of the other candidates are selective with their interviews. A lot of people won't come on Fox News or wherever but Trump will go anywhere. He's on MSNBC and the whole of channels...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The media is trying to tell the story, they want Trump to be the freak show that represents that Republican Party so we will lose.


KURTZ: And joining me now here in Washington is Frank Luntz who is also a Fox News contributor. So, that woman says, the media wants Donald Trump to be the freak show representing Republican Party?

LUNTZ: Hopefully, I'm not part of the freak show. Hopefully, I'm not one of the freaks.

KURTZ: What do you think about her point?

LUNTZ: The point is fair. Because they're asking questions to try to cause them to explode and he does. He gives them the ammunition...

KURTZ: In a way that they -- that's the journalist don't do it with other candidates?

LUNTZ: I watching Chris Wallace on this network this morning. Absolutely, held Trump's feet to the fire and some of the stuff that Trump said, I thought it was pretty controversial. I give credit to Chris Wallace. But, you know what, what that respondent said that it was absolutely true. Trump does give the media the chance to get at him. He does every interview. He's on TV.

KURTZ: Right.

LUNTZ: This morning on Washington, DC he was on competing channels at the same time.

KURTZ: Chris Wallace is also very tough on Ted Cruz this morning. Well, by the way, people say free air time if he's being questioned by journalist, then I think that's -- we want more of that. OK, so...

LUNTZ: And people want more of that, they want to hear what Donald Trump has to say.

KURTZ: So, others in your group said, the media may be isn't too fair to Donald Trump maybe giving him too much air time. But as one man pointed out, he is constantly out there putting himself in the line of journalistic fire. And I think that we have accredited that. Let me play something else from the Focus Group you did. It was fascinating responses by the way and some of the talk turned to Marco Rubio. Here we go.


LUNTZ: Why is it that when I read the blogs, all I see are complaints from Trump people that the media doesn't treat him well. What's the problem?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Fox News seems like the Rubio channel.

LUNTZ: It seems like that they're always behind Rubio. Do you guys agree with that?


LUNTZ: Why do you say that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Well, everything we hear is, you know, Rubio this -- he's the little darling and the snide remarks.


KURTZ: So people are convinced that Fox or some other channels or some other network is for or against Rubio or Trump or Cruz as if there is -- everyone is getting marching words.

LUNTZ: I give you credit for putting that -- I'm shocked. That would never be on CNN. That would never be on MSNBC.

KURTZ: If it were about that...

LUNTZ: If it were about their own network, so good for you for putting that on. Yes and I get it all the time. If I go to the Trump blogs, then Fox is in the pockets of Rubio. If you go to Cruz blogs, it's in the pockets of Trump. If you go to the Rubio blogs, it's in the pockets of everybody else. People see what they want to see and they disregard the rest. We're seeing things through rose colored glasses and becomes almost impossible to be fair which is why these debates are so important, because it's the one time when you can actually hold the candidates accountable.

KURTZ: Just briefly on Rubio, I mean the notion he's a media darling, after he had that performance where he was sort of hammered for being robotic and then finished fifth in New Hampshire, everybody in media beat up on him and some practically said he was finished. So, it's not like the entire business is pumping up this guy.

LUNTZ: He's a great communicator and that's -- they're conflating good communication with support from the media. They think that because he always sounds good, because he always sounds reasonable; therefore, the media is in-bed (ph) with him. That's not the case. But Rubio has won the last two out of three debates and yet...

KURTZ: In your view -- in your view, in view of the public...

LUNTZ: ...on the view of the Focus Groups...


LUNTZ: ...and yet it hasn't moved numbers. And that's what I think is significant that these debates -- it is -- we're now just about to enter (ph) March that these debates even though they're still watched by 14 or 15 million people, that the debates don't have the impact that they did because people are no longer undecided. It becomes much harder to move people.

KURTZ: So it doesn't matter what questions journalists asks at these debates or interviews. It sounds like you're saying the race is getting kind of frozen despite all of the focus on the way we cover it?

LUNTZ: When they ask questions about the persona, which the public has the right to know...


LUNTZ: ...then, the audience boos because they think that it's an Ed Hammond (ph) attack. When they ask questions about policies, they have dealt with almost every policy. There have been what -- ten debates?

KURTZ: Right.

LUNTZ: So, they covered everything at this point so there's nothing new. The only way to get something new is to watch them fight with each other which is entertaining but it is not informative.

KURTZ: You're a word guys and so I see Rubio who repeatedly saying throughout his whole campaign that he is running on a positive message saying it's not his job to knock down the Republican. He is clearly shifting tactics. And look he's been hammered by Trump in saying things like Trump is a con artist. He says that in every other sentence now, saying things like Trump is a clown act. Does that change the tone of the media coverage in the way the press views Marco Rubio?

LUNTZ: You know, it not only just change the coverage, it now gives full license for everyone to be flat out, hashed out to everybody else and to be as rude as you possibly can be.

KURTZ: Wait, are you saying the media are encouraging the war of words?

LUNTZ: Definitely. What do you think they...

KURTZ: They don't seem to mean much encouragement Frank.

LUNTZ: No, it's just like camera is on...


LUNTZ: ...the red light is on, go. The problem is it is created an uncivil environment. My Focus Groups, I could not stop people from talking. We went live and I actually had two women who were speaking where I could not pay attention as we went live because they were so angry with each other that they were arguing. Howie, we've lost the civility, we've lost the decency. I hope that we get it back between now end of November.

KURTZ: I'm with you on that, I also think the media and particularly when it comes to Donald Trump, you know, really missed this year, the anger and frustration...

LUNTZ: Absolutely.

KURTZ: ...out there that is now so evident and then you've picked up in your Focus Group. Thank Frank. Thanks for being here. Nice to see you. After the break, Rich Lowry's National View declared war on Donald Trump, so where does that lead him and other conservatives if Trump wins their GOP nomination? And later, things get ugly as Melissa Harris-Perry boycotts her own MSNBC show as she may have talked herself out of a job.


KURTZ: So, the harshest media criticism of Donald Trump has come from the ripe where does the commentators attacking him on personal and policy ground. So, where does Trump's growing success leave him now which National Review has declared war on Trump on special issue with SAs from 22 noted Conservatives and Rich Lowry, the magazine editor and the Fox News Contributor joins me now from New York? Rich, you've gone hard after trump...


KURTZ: ...that's no secret, you've called him a hot stew and a madness to conservatism and he keeps winning primaries, is his vision closer to that of Republican voters than yours and your magazines?

LOWRY: Well, I think it may be that this particular year, the conditions are right and Trump's candidate attributes are right and the field is fracturing just right for a populous rather than a conservative to win the nomination. But it's obviously still conservative party or Trump wouldn't be going out of his way to try to sell himself as a conservative the way he is.

KURTZ: Right. Now, he's going to choose (ph) Charles Krauthammer and George Will and ours Jonah Goldberg, Karl Rove, and Eric Erickson, but let's assume what at least seems likely at this point that Trump does win the nomination, is there any way when he's the party stand-bearer candidate that can you kind of climb him back and say, well perhaps we were hasty -- perhaps he has some good qualities?

LOWRY: Well, we'll see. I mean one of the things we want to see is he actually does win the nomination is how he runs as a general election candidate because our fear would be that this particular moment is the high watermark for Donald Trump's conservatism.

KURTZ: Interestingly, you said we'll see I thought you would say no way. And by the way, you know, to the extent that surprised me, there were a lot of Republicans who kind of pushed back when you came out with that special issue and say, well you know, you guys are a bunch of intellectual elitist and you've got the conferences (ph) and Cruz's but you sounded to me just then like you were leading the door open to saying that, for example, Donald Trump would be preferable to Hillary Clinton.

LOWRY: Well, we'll have to see. Again, it's a collective decision made by our editorial board. The question will be does Donald Trump represent our beliefs and values enough for us to put our official infometer on him. But again, we'll have to see and we're very...

KURTZ: Correct.

LOWRY: ...proud of what we did. Because our role, Howie, is not to get on anyone's band wagon, it's not to read the polls, it's not to get with the program or fall in line, it's to represent conservatism and these ideas and our principles and Bill Buckley created us, founded us for that role. And I'm absolutely certain he'd be proud of what we did. And, in fact, when he wrote about Donald Trump 15 years ago, he called him a narcissist and a demagogue.

KURTZ: As you have pointed out. OK, I understand that National Review represents a collective decision, but you also appear on television and give your own opinions. Bill Kristol, for example, he added to the Weekly Standard, he says no way he could support Trump and he would actually support someone running from the right as far as a third party, could you see yourself going there?

LOWRY: Again, it totally depends. We need to see the way Trump runs and how the field breaks out. It's a very odd year. There may be a third or fourth candidate in this race and if there's someone closer to what we really believe, that's going to be very tempting for us. But in terms of my commentary -- in terms of our reporting, we're going to cover Trump the way we do anyone else. When he's wrong, we're going to ding him and when he's right, we're going to support him.

KURTZ: So you're not willing to say right now -- I understand it's a long campaign, a lot can happen -- we'll see how this looks in a month, we'll see how it looks in three months but you're not willing to say that there's no way if all the harsh criticism that you have made of Donald Trump that there's no way you could possibly support him as the GOP nominee?

LOWRY: Well, we have a lively debate about that and see it going on Twitter this weekend where we have conservatives having a debate among themselves...

KURTZ: Richard, you're deflecting the question. Is there any way you could see yourself ultimately supporting Donald Trump?

LOWRY: No, I have answered the question about three or four times.

KURTZ: Sorry.

LOWRY: Our editorial board will collectively make the decision...


LOWRY: ...when and if he gets nomination and when we see how he's going to run. Because, Howie, he hasn't really run as much of a conservative to this point and it could get much worse because this guy is a salesman. He clearly is playing to Republicans to some extent where I'm not convinced he believes half the things that he says...

KURTZ: All right.

LOWRY: maybe that there's no even colourable case that he's a Conservative even for his supporters once he's won the nomination.

KURTZ: Right, we shall see. It's my job to press you. We appreciate your time in this boarding. Thanks, Richard Lowry.

LOWRY: Thanks, Howie.

KURTZ: Coming up, is Facebook turning poisonous as people spew venom about the candidates they despise.


KURTZ: The once friendly confined to Facebook have turned as polarizing as the presidential election has even the site called friends who like that helps you identify such supporters and kick them out of your social media circle, joining us this hour Shana Glenzer, technology executive and commentator here in Washington. So, I'm really seeing this on my Facebook page, the tone and particularly people yelling for and against Trump is not very Facebook-like. What do you see?

SHANA GLENZER, TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVE AND COMMENTATOR: Yes, Facebook used to be sort of friendly neighborhood where you would and I would go to see, you know, stories in my friend's travels, pictures of my friend's kids and...

KURTZ: Or their dogs.

GLENZER: ...or their dogs and now as you log on it, it's betrayal of comments, fights being picked between people on Facebook and it's really deteriorated a lot in my opinion in the past few months.

KURTZ: Right, more like Twitter where you expect to see a lot of brawls and ugly arguments breaking out. So, I saw randomly Shending Herzfeld (ph) that start deleting people based on whether they support Trump or not, how anyone could possibly back him is beyond my comprehension. Madeline Cain (ph) is not just on the Republican side, a Bernie supporter just unfriended and blocked me this is after she objected to this unnamed Bernie supporter trying -- calling Hillary a Wall Street hooker and worse things I can't say in the air.

GLENZER: Wow, yes I mean I have friends that, you know, things that surprise me is not just the people that I know are political but people are coming out of the woodwork that I didn't know had political views or that I wasn't familiar with the political views. One of my friends or colleague, Dimitri (ph) shared a story from a news outlet on Trump with the comment, yes if you intend to vote for Donald Trump, unfriend me.

KURTZ: Because I want -- another person -- you're dead to me.

GLENZER: Yes, I don't want anything to do with that at all.

KURTZ: No, that is one thing, there's a lot of people who I didn't know that interested in politics. I mean I see them energized and engaged but also using pretty harsh language, so how important is this given the sheer size of Facebook.

GLENZER: Yes, I mean Facebook it came about 2008 in the last big presidential campaign, there's 145 million users on Facebook. That might not mean much to you, but now there are 1.6 billion users on Facebook...

KURTZ: Just two elections later.

GLENZER: ...two elections later and we are spending more and more time on Facebook. So, it's embedded in our daily lives. We're not just getting the views of friends in real life, we're going online every day staying 20 minutes on Facebook every day getting all these views that we're, you know, kind of...

KURTZ: You guys...

GLENZER: ...digesting.

KURTZ: guys spend hours on Facebook...

GLENZER: I know.

KURTZ: ...but you're not the typical user.

GLENZER: Let's not talk about that right now...


GLENZER: this segment, but yes it's become a lot more, you know, a part of our lives and engrained in the way we think about things.

KURTZ: Could this hurt Mark Zuckerberg's brand and could be permanent in other words, could this continue after the 2016 race is over?

GLENZER: I mean the last thing that Facebook wants are people to stop engaging with Facebook because when they go on there it's a bunch of, you know, again just draw like a negative sentiment shared on Facebook. You know, now we don't only have the -- just have like button, we have like the angry face out of this week and different ways that you can react...

KURTZ: There's also a love button.

GLENZER: And there's also a love button...

KURTZ: Yes, right.

GLENZER: Correct, but I did, you know, one that we tweeted about the story right before we came on and what Kate (ph) on twitter responded about Facebook more toxic, she said yes. I don't unfriend people but I engage less, I stay away from Facebook as much as possible because it's stressful.


GLENZER: It's stressful to go on -- to Facebook for people.

KURTZ: I see that really hits you on one hand, look it's great that, you know, people get to express their views, it's a great platform, this is democracy in action but the more it becomes people yelling at each other or saying I am not going to be friends with you because of your political views it doesn't seem like a friendly place. Facebook was founded on making and cultivating friends, so I'm wondering whether this is really going to turn some people off.

GLENZER: I think that Facebook is probably a little bit concerned about that, too. And their hope is probably that after the election cycle that it turns back around, there a little more civility that comes back to Facebook.

KURTZ: But what can Facebook do is basically created this platform and people can be friendly or other...

GLENZER: They can be friendly and unfriendly that you can unfollow people now on Facebook, which I must admit I have done before. But, they have to kind of just watch it and try to engage people's video and funny different things, pictures of dogs...

KURTZ: Shana Glenzer, great to see you.

GLENZER: Thank you.

KURTZ: Well, let me know what you think on Facebook on this all important questions. Still to come, Melissa Harris-Perry's racial accusations against MSNBC issue as she walks off her show. And Kevin Spacey the merciless president in House of Cards is now a media critic.


KURTZ: Melissa Harris-Perry walked off her MSNBC show this weekend and things have gotten pretty ugly, the liberal political science professor whose program airs in part when we're on found show pre-empted last two weeks. She says the show was "taken without comment or discussion or notice."

And then she ratcheted the things up against to one executive, NBC News President, Andrew Lack and MSNBC President, Phil Griffin quote, "I will not be used as a tool for their purposes. I am a token, mummy, or little browned bubble head. I am not owned by Lack, Griffin or MSNBC. I love our show, I want it back."

Unmistakable racial references and MSNBC had already drawn flat for dropping the shows of such black host as Joy Reid and Alex Wagner and relegating Al Sharpton to Early Sunday Morning. NBC is saying the pre-empt is worth her basic breaking political news called her skating comments really surprising, confusing and disappointing.

Now that sound like MSNBC treated her a bit poorly but it's really unfortunate as she play the race card. A "Washington Post" reporting this morning, the MSNBC executives planning to drop Melissa Harris-Perry and given her extraordinary racial blast I don't blame them.

In our top 20, should the media be describing Donald Trump as all but unstoppable? Dale Dancy, of course, they should, they would for anyone else in his position. W. Guy Filling (ph) Trump has 81 out of 1,237 delegates needed to win I don't think that's nearly unstoppable. Donald then turn I don't know but that won't stop him. They want a Clinton-Trump race with a victory for Clinton. Hey, hey the media should stop worrying about the monster they created and stop all coverage of Trump it's your country too. Stop all coverage, I don't think so.

Kevin Spacey was in town the other day to publicize the season of House of Cards, he of course plays the ruthless President, Frank Underwood who is even nastier than some Washington politicians. The Netflix star turned media critic when asked which is more surprising, the show's new season or the real-life presidential campaign. Spacey said, it was silly to compare the two and then he added this.


KEVIN SPACEY, ACTOR: But you know, at the same time, I've you know, I happen to believe that we get what we deserve. And that Edward R. Murrow warned us in 1964 that when news divisions decide the news has to make money and has to get ratings it's no longer news, it's entertainment. So if people are bothered by the fact that we seem to be having entertainment as news it's because the news divisions decided that money and ratings were more important than reporting.


KURTZ: And then he smiled. Are fair enough, although the news business is a business just like Netflix is. On a personal note, that question came from the Hill Columnist, Judy Curtis, who happens to be my daughter, and who ticked him off a bit when she asked whether politicians seek out his endorsement as a celebrity. I'm an actor, he replied. And he gave her this look.

Wow, look at that -- made me a little bit nervous just a little bit nervous than he was giving her the Frank Underwood depths there.

Well, that's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz, follow us on Twitter @howardkurtz, we have a good dialogue there. We hope you like our Facebook page -- we talked about Facebook earlier.

We post a lot of original concept, respond to your questions and your buzz feature. Let me know what you think about the Facebook, is it turning more toxic or poisonous in this 2016 race. If you happened to miss our program, check out our replay this Sunday afternoon. I'll see you on the night of Super Tuesday. And we're back here next Sunday with the latest buzz.

Content and Programming Copyright 2016 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2016 Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.