This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," May 15, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On a buzz meter this Sunday, Donald Trump embroiled in a new media controversy as the Washington Post obtained a 25-year-old tape of the businessman supposedly posing as his own publicist and telling a reporter about his relationship with Marla Maples and other people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
"JOHN MILLER": He's living with Marla and he's got three other girlfriends and then she's not going to say, all right, I really want to get back, you know. She wants to get back, she has told it to a lot of her friends, she's told it to him, but it's so highly unlikely. That's off the record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Trump says that's not him, but either way is this ancient audio really news? And what about today's New York Times investigation saying he sometimes crossed the line with women in his life which he calls a "lame hit piece."
An all-out media frenzy over Trump's drop by with Paul Ryan, breathlessly covered on cable minute by minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC: All eyes on that building, the RNC headquarters on Capitol Hill right there.
ROBIN ROBERTS, ABC: We're going to begin with that big meeting for Donald Trump coming face-to-face with House Speaker Paul Ryan in Washington this morning.
WILLIE GEIST, MSNBC: The next few hours pivotal for the future of the Republican Party.
BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: Donald Trump goes to Washington, the highly anticipated meeting is now under way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Are journalists utterly hyping this brief get together?
Megyn Kelly finally sits down with Donald Trump for a Fox special this week and tells me about enduring months of personal attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: At times it's been difficult, I'm not going to lie. There were certainly times where I would have liked to come out and said something but I knew that was not in my best interest and I knew that was not my role.
So, it's been difficult, it's been dark, I've also had a lot of silver linings, you know, it's brought my husband and me much closer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: A candid conversation about how becoming a high profile target has affected her life and career.
Plus, a credibility crisis for Facebook after accusations that Mark Zuckerberg's company is suppressing conservative news, but does this really warrant a Senate investigation?
I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."
Donald Trump's short meeting with Paul Ryan relentlessly hyped in an endless media circus ended with a joint communique, nice sounding statements and no shortage of pundit tree.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you endorsing Donald Trump? Look, if you are not what is holding you back and do you really have a choice? I mean, you've ruled out voting for Hillary Clinton, endorsing her.
PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The process of unifying the Republican Party which just finished a primary about a week ago, perhaps one of the most divisive primaries in memory, takes some time.
GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: It was a very positive step toward party unity. I mean, it felt like he blinked that, although it had that persuasiveness as a fortune cookie message.
To me this whole meeting was like two girls in high school who gossiped all year about each other and now they're sharing a class project and they have to work together.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: Donald Trump, the self-proclaimed great negotiator came out of the most important meeting of his political career with nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: By Friday, the morning shows were hammering Trump about new controversies, the Today show focused on this 1991 phone call obtained by the Washington Post which the paper said was the Donald posing as his own P.R. man, telling People magazine who cares well about his relationship with his then girlfriend Marla Maples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
"JOHN MILLER": I can tell you there was never any talk of marriage from Donald's point of view. I can also say that Marla would like to get married obviously but it was just something -- it was just too soon.
GUTHRIE: Are you aware of the tape? Is it you?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: No, I don't think it -- I don't know anything about it. You're telling me about it for the first time and it doesn't sound like my voice at all. I have many, many people that are trying to imitate my voice and when was this, 25 years ago?
GUTHRIE: In the early 90's.
TRUMP: Wow. You mean, you're going to low as to talk about something that took place 25 years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Sue Carswell said Trump fessed up soon afterwards.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY: You believe it was Trump, he faked it. He fakes being a P.R. person?
SUE CARSWELL, AUTHOR: Well, he apologized afterwards and said he was sorry. Well, I think he should come clean and apologize to me now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the campaign coverage Heidi Przybyla, senior political correspondent for USA Today, Kelly Riddell, deputy opinion editor for the Washington Times; and Molly Ball political reporter for The Atlantic.
I've listened to that tape many times, it sounds like Trump, that I can tell you, but whether it's him, whether it's not him, whether he was just enjoying himself with reporters this century go, is this Washington Post story big news?
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the story itself is probably not that big of news, both for people who care about Donald Trump, you know, as the next resident of the United States, his supporters and his detractors, but it's more of the cover up that became the news because there was no question that this is Donald Trump. OK?
He testified in 1990 that he went by that name. People magazine said that this was kind of a running joke between them that he, you know, would masquerade as this guy John Miller.
KURTZ: Yet, a couple have said that...
PRZYBYLA: Right, right. So why not just admit it and move on?
KURTZ: In fact, Sue Carswell, this People reporter told the New York Times this story on the record last month and it was published, but it's the audio which is very entertaining to listen to that has made this a bigger story. How big a story is it?
KELLY RIDDELL, WASHINGTON TIMES DEPUTY OPINION EDITOR: Well, I mean, BuzzFeed came out with a story in April that was very similar. And reporters were commenting on that story like, oh, this is so funny. Donald Trump impersonating himself as a P.R. guy.
I don't think it's going to change anything, it's more of an entertaining story. What was interesting about the Washington Post article, though, is they had a 44 minute conversation with Donald Trump that talked about his finances, his views on the economy and what was published, when he hung up on them after they asked him about this using this pseudonym and that was what the entire story was on.
Have we seen anything else on his views on the economy, on his finances? Nothing. Nothing like that has been reported.
KURTZ: Or the line somehow went dead.
KURTZ: Did Trump keep this story alive by denying it on the Today show or at least saying it didn't sound like him?
MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC POLITICS WRITER: Yes. I think Heidi is right about that. That by denying it he turned it into a more perplexing thing than it otherwise might have been. Because like he said this is something we already knew he had done and the audio was the new element. And when you hear it becomes even clearer that it's clearly -- and it's fun to listen to, it's kind of hilarious.
It doesn't seem like the kind of thing that's going to make a voter out there in America go, oh, this man can't be president because he played a joke on a reporter on the phone.
BALL: But of course it's a story, it's something that we didn't know before about a very notable person and then he goes out there and tries to deny it which just doesn't make any sense.
KURTZ: Yes. People already know about Donald Trump, his business life, the reality TV show life, his playboy life, I don't know how much new information is there, but on that point there is a big New York Times front page story today crossing the line, Trump's private conduct with women.
Trump, by the way, tweeted this, everyone is laughing at a lame hit piece they did on me and women. I gave them many names of women I helped to refuse to use. What does this add up to more than 50 interviews of various women in both his business and personal life describing anecdotes of their interactions with the billionaire?
PRZYBYLA: It painted a very contradictory picture of Donald Trump. Because on the one hand there were some vignettes in there of really kind of extreme examples of women feeling like they were treated as almost cattle.
On the other hand, you had really kind of an unusual structure 20 years ago of women being in some of the highest roles of authority at his company. So, I think for people who like him there's something to find in it and for people who don't like him. I don't think it changes the baseline much.
RIDDELL: Bombshell, a man who used to own pageants wanted his contestants to be pretty and skinny. Like, I mean, is this really news? I mean, we already knew this about Donald Trump. A lot has been reported. He wanted to have a playboy image and that's what he put out in the early '90s.
So, yes, some of this is coming back to haunt him, but like Heidi said, people who like him will find excuses, he promoted some of the women to the highest ranks 20 years ago in the construction business.
KURTZ: Right. That was not very widely done.
RIDDELL: Where that was not done. Right.
KURTZ: One of these women he either called her overweight or teased her you like your candy, but she became a very senior Trump organization executive. Another woman was surprised that he asked her to put on a swimsuit at a Mar-a-Lago pool party but then she dated him for a few months. Where both said Molly.
BALL: Well, look, I don't think it's a contradictory story, I think it's a very well done and nuanced story. It paints a complex picture of a complex human being. And so, if you wanted to caricature Donald Trump and say, oh, he just hates women and he thinks women are stupid, that's obviously not the case.
And he has -- it puts a lot of flesh on the bones of character I think a lot of us suspected about Trump or could tell from his public behavior, that he can be kind of creepy sometimes, but he also sees women as, you know, important people in his business and has not shut them out because of some sexist idea that women can't perform those functions. S, I thought it was a complex story.
KURTZ: Well, the good thing about the story is that the women were on the record so this is not some unnamed sources thing.
All right. We showed you some clips earlier, you were all laughing a bit, the Paul Ryan meeting, the buildup for days. We saw Trump getting out of his car, we saw his plane on the tarmac, when was it going to take off.
I get the larger issue here that there has to be some reconciliation between Donald Trump and sort of the Paul Ryan wing of the Republican Party, but what explains this sort of media circus?
PRZYBYLA: The absurdity of it was really crystallized, I think in one headline, Howie, I think it was an MSNBC headline that said "breaking news alert, Donald Trump gives thumbs up." But they had like split screens of every possible vantage point outside the building including like...
KURTZ: Yes. Spots and Fox had it, too.
PRZYBYLA: ... trash cans. You know in his car sitting there is a trash can. So part of it is just there's always this New York kind of hot house tabloid media atmosphere around Donald Trump, but now that he is a presidential candidate we should -- he should be conforming to the Washington, you know, media standards instead of the other way around.
I felt like a lot of these reporters just became kind of like entertainment tonight reporters. And yes, this was an important meeting but both of them set expectations beforehand and said there is not going to be much coming out of this. Where just this is the start of a process.
KURTZ: Right. And that's exactly why I don't think we can say that Trump whipped this up into a spectacle. He agreed to have the meeting. But the fact that there was going to be no endorsement, they weren't going to have a detailed discussion of policy.
Paul Ryan and Donald Trump disagree on a lot of issues, immigration, taxes and so forth. But that struck me that wasn't what this was about, it was about the spectacle wasn't it?
BALL: I don't think it's possible to overhype the significance of the conflict between Paul Ryan and Donald Trump. I think that the most important...
KURTZ: We tried to overhype it. We tried really hard.
BALL: The most important thing happening in American politics is the sort of internal divisions of the Republican Party.
BALL: On the other hand, staking out that meeting doesn't get you anywhere toward understanding it. I do think that something happened in that meeting, I don't think it was all -- some people think it was all kabuki because politics is all choreographed and nothing could have come out of it that we didn't know in advance.
I don't think that's true and I think the human interaction between these two men as they try to navigate this very uncomfortable sort of marriage of convenience over the next six months is going to be a huge story. You just don't get any information out of standing outside the building.
KURTZ: Kelly, there has been some media attention that overshadowed by these stories about women and 25-year-old phone calls and like, where Trump some people say is either softening his position on certain issues, like the Muslim ban, temporary ban on Muslim immigrants.
And now he says what he proposes is just a suggestion, maybe all the commission, he was thinking of having a commission with Rudy Giuliani to look at this.
Is that an important -- more important development and are the media kind of portraying him as backing off some of his core positions?
RIDDELL: I think that it is a more important thing to look at rather than -- I learned that Paul Ryan had a breakfast burrito before the meeting. I did not need to know that.
But, you know, Trump made some major -- he backtracked a lot on his tax policy this week as well as the immigration ban, the Muslim ban. That's up to the...
KURTZ: He would dispute this but certainly he is describing this in a more nuanced way.
RIDDELL: The media needs to look into that. Yes. You know, but the other way to look at it is every single proposal from every politician when they're running for office is just that, it's a proposal, nothing get passed unilaterally without any compromise. So, it's a starting position.
KURTZ: Why don't you both jump in on whether or not the substance of the Trump platform is getting enough attention compared to these sideshows?
PRZYBYLA: I think we're not prioritizing because every day there's something new for the media, some kind of new bait for the media to chase and we need to stay more focused on the core things that we should be holding his feet to the fire on.
For example, the Muslim ban because I do think that's important given that is the main tenet of his platform that help him win this nomination and it's a pledge that he made that brought a lot of new people to his side.
PRZYBYLA: And the same thing like with entitlement reform, these are big key areas where he digresses from the party and thinks that, again, explain why he has gotten the support.
KURTZ: Don't forget, Molly. So, is the press chasing every shiny object and getting away from issues that people care about?
BALL: Well, I think what we've learned about the way Trump operates is that he tends to take all sides of any given issue and he will make all these contradictory statements and he is sort of flying by the seat of his pants.
So, I think to evaluate him through the sort of conventional lens of the political press, that every time he says something that contradicts something he says before that means he has taken a new position. I think a lot of times it just means that he's saying what the person he is in front of wants to hear.
RIDDELL: I disagree with that a little bit. I mean, I think he's been very clear with the wall on the border, for example, that's one of the main tenets and he hasn't backtracked from that.
He got into the Muslim ban thing because they asked him a trick question, if the London mayor comes over, well, are you going to let him in the country. Well, and so, I think...
KURTZ: All right. That doesn't sound like a tricky question. But that's the obvious...
KURTZ: I don't think it's a fair question from the new mayor of London.
I got to cut this off because we need to get a break.
Ahead, Megyn Kelly on the impact of her long battle with Donald Trump on how she does her job and on her family. But when we come back, we'll talk about substance with Trump refusing to release his tax returns for now and the media giving him a pass.
KURTZ: Most of the media haven't made a major issue out of Donald Trump refusing to release his tax returns but the issue has been coming up in television interviews.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: But people are suspicious that you're not releasing because in January of 2012, you said to me that Mitt Romney was making a big mistake by not releasing his. So, naturally that's become a flash point.
TRUMP: But he wasn't under audit, I'm under audit. No lawyer would say release it when you're under audit?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: What is your tax rate?
TRUMP: It's none of your business. You will see it when I release.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Then you said you would release your tax returns when Secretary Clinton released her e-mails, she has turned over all the e-mails in her possession.
TRUMP: She didn't turn over all. There's plenty missing. I read yesterday where there are a lot of e-mails missing. George, I know she is a good friend of yours and I know you worked for them and you didn't reveal it.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: I think what George Stephanopoulos didn't reveal was some contributions to the Clinton Foundation. But when he took at him there's usually a media uproar when a presidential candidate refuses to release his return. Trump says that's for now because he's under audit. Why aren't we seeing that this year?
PRZYBYLA: There's usually an uproar, because that's been standard fair, Howie, since the 1970s. Every major party candidate has released not only 1 percent...
KURTZ: Going back to Nixon.
PRZYBYLA: Yes, going back to Nixon. Not only one year's worth but several years' worth. Obama released 12 years' worth of taxes.
So, I just think that Trump is kind of taking advantage, again, of this news cycle where we're not able to prioritize and have the judgment to say what are the important things and to kind of hold his feet to the fire on these things.
I think that the Clinton folks will do that, they'll keep hammering this, but it is something that is very fair because we can learn a lot from those taxes despite what he says.
KURTZ: When Mitt Romney dragged his feet about releasing his own returns in the 2012 campaign and finally released a couple years, I mean, the press found pounded on that.
maybe this will happen, but I'm not saying it so far.
BALL: I think there's still time. I think it will happen. I think Heidi is right that there are so many other things going on it gets lost in the cloud a little bit, but I do think that this is something -- especially if it becomes more of a talking point from the Clinton folks -- that is going to continue to dog Donald Trump.
And you know, the calculation for Trump has to be the same calculation that Romney was making, is it more damaging to have people wonder what I'm trying to hide or is it more damaging what's actually in those returns? And at some point that maybe that balance.
KURTZ: Well, perhaps, Kelly Riddell, Trump successfully calculates that his supporters don't care about negative media stories, I see this is just one of those or is it that the press treats him differently than every other candidate we've known?
RIDDELL: Well, I agree with the panel here and I think that we will see more on this, regarding his tax returns.
KURTZ: And there should be more?
RIDDELL: And there should be more. You know, Mitt Romney only released his after Harry Reid went on the Senate floor and basically accused him of not paying any taxes for 10 years, So, and the media picked that story and they picked it up and they ran with it as truth. And I think you will see that happen to Donald Trump if he does not release his tax returns. There will be more questions than there are answers and it will become a liability for him.
KURTZ: I suspect you're right. All right. Brief answer on this. So, Trump's former butler, Anthony Senekal said on his Facebook page President Obama should be killed. The secret service is investigating, of course that has to be reported. The New York Times profiled this guy recently. The campaign disavowed this, says he wasn't worked at Mar-a-Lago since 2009. Is that much of a story in a sense of tying it to Trump?
PRZYBYLA: No, because, you know, like he said he worked for him a very long time ago. This is -- Trump cannot be responsible for every incendiary comment made by someone who may have worked for him decades ago. So, no.
BALL: Well, look, the problem that Trump is going to have in the general election is women and minorities. Right now women and minorities have very strongly negative views of Donald Trump. And every time another thing like this comes out that tying him to some horrible racist it doesn't help him improve that image.
KURTZ: And on that difference of opinion, Molly Ball, Kelly Riddell, and Heidi Przybyla, great to see you today.
Ahead on Media Buzz my sit-down with Megyn Kelly on being at war and then making peace with Donald Trump.
But State Department video and how he felt when his question on the Iran nuclear talks simply vanished.
KURTZ: The dust up over that New York Times magazine profile of Ben Rose, the deputy national security adviser who bragged about Ben boozing know nothing reporters has taken a bizarre turn. The article accused Rhodes of providing a misleading narrative of when the Iran nuclear talks began.
James Rosen, Fox News chief Washington correspondent told me he wanted to follow up by showing video of State Department briefings where he had pressed the issue with among others former spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS: We knew there were these two briefings out there from 2013, one where they lied to me in essence and one where they in essence d
I said to my producer we need to get both of those briefings and my producer came back and said on the second briefing where they admitted lying to you the entire exchange has been deleted, all eight minutes. It's replaced by a white flash after which Jen Psaki's head moves abruptly. The entire exchange is gone. We were stunned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Here is what that looked like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: There are remaining concerns tor whether it's their involvement in support of the regime in Syria or humanitarian issues and so that has not changed that.
ROSEN: The Obama administration says...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: There's that white flash and the missing eight minutes contain this telling exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEN: Is it the policy of the State Department where the preservation of the secrecy of secret negotiations is concerned to lie in order to achieve that goal?
PSAKI: James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: The State Department says that was a glitch which has now been fixed. That's right, of all the possible deletions in the department's archive it just happened to involve that embarrassing exchange now that the Iran issue is back in the news. The episode...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEN: It was not a technical glitch it was a deliberate edit. And I'm glad to see that the material has been restored.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: The episode prompted James to reflect on his past problems such as the Justice Department leak investigation that targeted him as a supposed co-conspirator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSEN: There are only a few certain categories of persecution of a reporter, I think, that the state can check off on any given individual and now in my case we have censorship which we add to the existing categories, which were spying on me, labeling me a criminal and the flight risk, physically monitoring me, surveiling my phone records, my parents' phone records. So, I think I'm heading for the cycle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: A spokesman says Friday, a State Department takes this matter very, very seriously and still investigating.
Coming up, Megyn Kelly finally had a chance to sit down with Donald Trump, a behind of scenes look at what led to this truce and how the battle divided the fox audience.
And later, we'll look at the evidence, is Facebook really biased against conservative news?
KURTZ: I was in the room in Cleveland last August as Megyn Kelly refined the presidential debate question that rocked the campaign and made her a constant stance.
Now, the actor's long awaited interview with Trump is airing Tuesday night at 8 Eastern on the Fox Broadcast Network in her first prime time special. Here is a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: You seemed to stay angry for months.
KELLY: Was that real or was that strategy?
TRUMP: Well, I'm a real person. I don't say, oh, gee, I'm angry tonight but tomorrow you are my best friend. See, I do -- I do have a theory that, you know, when somebody does it -- this could happen again with us. I mean, it could be even doing this particular interview, I have great respect for you that you were able to call me and say let's get together and let's talk. To me, I would not have done that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: I sat down with her for a wide ranging conversation in the Kelly File studio in New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Megyn Kelly, welcome.
KURTZ: How hard has it been over the last nine months as Donald Trump threw these insults with you, called you crazy not to fire back?
KELLY: At times it's been difficult, I'm not going to lie. There were certainly times where I would have liked to have come out and said something, but I knew that that was not in my best inter
You know, he kept trying to put me on the playing field and I kept trying to pull myself off. I think the truth is it was much harder for my husband not to say something than it was for me not to say anything.
KURTZ: Yes. It restrains him. As you became part of the sort of ongoing Trump story and then he blew off the Fox debate in Iowa, and then guests would say, as you know Megyn but you didn't take the bait. All of that must have been uncomfortable.
KELLY: It's definitely been awkward, there is no question about it and it remains awkward. I mean, I had a moment just the other day on the air when I had the Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson, who I like a lot. Because Trump and Hillary were going back and forth on language about women.
And she took the position, Katrina did, that, you know, he's never really said anything about a woman that he wouldn't say about a man. And you know, I could see it coming at me like a freight train. I knew what word was blinking over both of our heads and it's a situation where I cannot raise it because it was said about me, but I don't want -- I don't want to actively raise it because it was said about me, so I've tried to walk that line.
KURTZ: When you asked Donald Trump for the meeting in Trump tower you both said afterwards it cleared the air, it was like two diplomats trying to preserve a mid-East ceasefire. What was the meeting like?
KELLY: I was nervous before I went over there that morning. You know, I didn't know what to expect and I certainly woke up and thought, this is -- this is an odd day and I don't know what's going to happen here, but as soon as I saw him and received a very gracious welcome from him I knew we would be fine.
You know, I knew that it was going to be that kind of a meeting and not a contentious adversarial one.
KURTZ: Once the interview was announced there was this media chatter, Megyn got to wipe the floor with him. Megyn got to dismember him. What did you make of that?
KELLY: I thought they were missing the point of what was going to happen. You know, I mean, Trump and I have already had very contentious exchanges and what I call the Olympic level of questioning, you know, at those debates.
I don't think anybody would accuse me of giving any politician a pass in my interviews. But this is a different setting and it's a different kind of thing. You know, I don't feel any need to go in there and try to take down Trump nor did I at those debates. That wasn't my goal at the debates, either.
My goal here is to have an interesting compelling exchange with him and I did and I think the audience is going to feel that way, too.
KURTZ: So, when we see it on Tuesday you say interesting, compelling, I mean, was it contentious, was it awkward at times?
KELLY: Yes, it was. I would say overall it was cordial, but there were definitely some tense moments and some awkward moments and moments similar to what I just said.
There were some moments where you could see where this conversation was going, there was no way around it and there we were eye to eye talking about some of the most awkward moments of this campaign.
KURTZ: What was in it for Donald Trump to sit down with you finally?
KELLY: I think many things. I think Trump could have gone on and on the way he had been. I don't think he was looking necessarily actively to resolve this or make it stop. I don't think Trump minds acrimony or controversy.
KURTZ: Do you think?
KELLY: Right. It's not that insightful. But I do. I don't like that. I certainly didn't like being part of the story and I don't like acrimony. Which is odd that I've chosen a job in cable news prime time, but in any event that's for another day.
So I guess I think he saw that he was headed for a possible contested convention at that point because it was just before he secured the nomination.
KELLY: And the general election and realize this might be a good time to perhaps bury the hatchet on his end and perhaps we could show the world that two people who had been mired in this very difficult circumstance could come together and have an affable exchange. You know, affable at least in its tone.
KURTZ: I'm sure you have gone over this in your mind but when you look back at that first debate in Cleveland.
KELLY: You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. Your Twitter account --
TRUMP: Only Rosie O'Donnell.
KELLY: For the record it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell.
TRUMP: Yes, I'm sure it was.
KURTZ: Could you or should you have worded that question about women differently?
KELLY: No. I wouldn't change one thing about that question, not for a minute.
KURTZ: Everyone on this network is acutely aware and perhaps you most of all that Trump's campaign has divided the Fox audience with a lot of passion on both sides. Have you tried to put that out of your mind as you go about doing your show, doing your job?
KELLY: Yes, I mean, I can't -- you know, my boss, our boss, Roger Ailes has always told me don't go chasing an audience. You can't program your show that way, you know, who will I bring in, who will I alienate. It leads to compromised journalistic choices.
So, my goal for the past year has been to live up to that promise I made in the only statement I've made publicly about the Trump attacks which was that I would continue to cover him without fear or favor.
And I understood the risks of that because if you really do cover Trump that way he does tend to attack you, especially if your name is Megyn Kelly. And I understood that some of his voters, some of his fans and some of our viewers might not like that and certainly I heard from them. And I understand that.
They love him. They wanted him to win, they didn't want anybody, least of all a journalist, getting in the way or doing anything or offering coverage that might not reflect well on him or might impede his path. But that's for them to worry about.
My job is to worry about something very different which is, you know, maintaining my integrity, maintaining the big J, journalism job that I've been given and, you know, pressing forward on the truth. And I feel I've been faithful to that.
KURTZ: You told People magazine that during this turmoil you experienced a lot of hate. That was the word you used. Some of that must have been pretty ugly.
KELLY: You know, there's no question it's been a difficult year. How much good does it do to sit and wallow in it? Not much. I'm not that kind of person. But yes, I'm also honest. It's been difficult, it's been dark, I have also had a lot of silver linings, you know, it's brought my husband and me much closer, we were close to begin with, but we have been in the bunker together.
KURTZ: That's interesting.
KELLY: With our three kids.
KURTZ: You feel like you have this huge storm around you and you were holding on to each other for support to some degree.
KELLY: Yes. And, you know, when the you know what hits the fan you figure out acutely what's most important to you and I'm somebody who is always worried as you know about my own mortality, even my father's death at an early age, so I worry about it anyway.
But this put a special point on it, just reminding me what a short time we are here for, Howie, and what really matters and the things that matter most to me are in my apartment in New York City, my husband and my three kids and to a larger extent, my friends and my extended family. And I have been surrounded by them and their love for the past nine months in an extra special way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: More with Megyn Kelly in a moment. As she talks about the pluses and the pitfalls of fame.
KURTZ: More now from my conversation with Megyn Kelly as we turn from the Trump uproar to the price of fame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now the whole Trump controversy, the fallout has undoubtedly made you more famous, you've been on the cover of the New York Times magazine, cover of Vanity Fair, cover of variety.
KELLY: Two of those have been prior to Trump.
KURTZ: OK. To the extent it has raised your profile do you enjoy that kind of limelight?
KELLY: No. I don't -- I can't answer that yes in the way you phrased it because certainly it was very exciting to see myself on the cover of Vanity Fair, that happened after Trump. That's never been offered to me before. I mean, I'm sure that was connected to the whole dust up.
So, that was crazy, you know, it's like I saw myself on a newsstand next to a cover of Oprah who is one of my idols and I thought, wow, what a thing, you know?
But my goal is getting into news was never to be famous. And in fact, there are significant down sides to fame. You know, listen, I'm not going to be a Justin Bieber, right? I have a great life.
KURTZ: I was going to ask you because -- and I could ask this about anybody in TV that has achieved a certain success, does fame and money is there a risk that it distances you from the audience?
KELLY: I don't think so. I think there is a risk it corrupts you as a person and that distances you from the audience, but, you know, I think my viewers know I'm exactly the same person as I've always been.
Let me tell you -- so I have a book coming out in the fall, in this book I introduce you to my mother, when I get to know Linda Kelly through this book you will realize I will never change.
KURTZ: What is this I ask there was a lot of our colleagues in the news business, many of them live in New York and Washington travel in certain social circles completely underestimated the Trump phenomenon and the way in which he connected with the anger out there among many ordinary Americans.
KELLY: No question about it. I mean, Trump hijacked the Republican Party and it's been a spectacular spectacle, you know, to behold. I mean, it's really just been amazing. I think what happened this past year is the Republican Party elders did their level best to bring the voters to heel.
And what happened instead was the Republican Party voters brought the party to heel and said, no more. This time we tell you what we want. And they got their way. They've been heard now, I think that's actually good for the republican party. Whether Trump can get that ball across the finish line, time will tell.
KURTZ: Some viewers may not know that you were a practicing lawyer, that you quit, that you took a job as a rookie reporter with the ABC station in Washington and later hired at the Fox Washington bureau. What possessed you to do that?
KELLY: Well, I -- you know, smacked head first into the brick wall of unhappiness.
KURTZ: That wall sends you a wake-up call.
KELLY: I realized, oh, man, that is just not as much fun as I thought it would be. To your question earlier about money will change you, that kind of thing, I had plenty of money when I was practicing law and I said, this sucks. I'm not happy.
You know, my closest friend at the time was a nurse, she was making 30 grand a year working in Boston, she was making no money, but she was happy. We would go, we would have a couple of, you know, 50 cent beers at his local bar and we would have a great time.
For me, it was in part, a wake-up call that all this money and all these raises and all these bonuses and these accolades and great reviews I was getting weren't worth it. I wasn't happy. So, it dawned on me just because you are good at something doesn't mean it makes you happy and I resolve to change my life.
And in that moment, my old friend, Dr. Phil's saying dawned on me which was the only difference between you and someone you envy is you settled for less. And my promise to myself was that I would settle for more, so I did.
So, I worked to get a different kind of job that I would love and wound up taking a job that paid $17,000 a year, pays a lot more now.
KURTZ: Glad to hear that.
KELLY: And that's true. But I earned that. I do not begrudge myself that because I earned it. I didn't come from a family with money. You know, we went to the town park growing up, we took one vacation which was down to Orlando in the family trickster. So, I earned everything I have and I still feel expected to the life that surrounded me as I grew up.
KURTZ: I can relate you're talking to a kid from Brooklyn. Megyn, thanks for being here.
KELLY: Thanks for being here. Great to see you, Howie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: And you can catch Megyn Kelly Presents, it doesn't just involve Trump but other guests like Michael Douglas on the Fox broadcast network, Tuesday night, at 8 p.m. Eastern.
After the break, Facebook plunged into a crisis as ex-employees said the conservative news was routinely suppressed or blacklisted, but does this warrant a federal investigation?
KURTZ: Facebook is facing some tough media scrutiny after the Texas-sized Gizmodo published allegations that the social network is suppressing conservative news. Some unnamed journalists hire to tweak the automatic formula for picking trending topics.
So, stories about conservative subjects like Scott Walker or the IRS scandal or CPAC were blacklisted and news from such right-leaning sites like Breitbart and News Max could not be used unless it was followed up by the likes of the New York Times or CNN.
Republican Senator John Thune fired off a letter demanding a detailed explanation.
Joining us now is a Shana Glinzer, a technology executive and commentator here in Washington. So, these journalist who have been Facebook who have contractors, unnamed as we should stress, saying it was common to suppress conservative topics, conservative media. How much does this tarnish to come for this credibility?
SHANA GLINZER, TECHNOLOGY ANALYST: This is a black eye on the Facebook brand. You know, we had to assume that the trending topics were surpassing the biggest most neutral stories from across the web.
You know, you log in to Facebook, you expect your friend's post to be biased but you don't expect that from the site itself.
However, I'd be very surprised if this affects how often people log into Facebook. You know, they are still going to go there and post pictures of their kids and their dogs. I don't think that's going to change.
KURTZ: That part may not change. But here we have republican Senator John Thune conducting an inquiry, running this letter, demanding at Facebook to explain its editorial process for these trending topics which of course boost the traffic.
If this letter was sent to the New York Times or CBS or Fox News it would probably say get lost so should the senator be involved in this sort of thing?
GLINZER: They probably would. My question is, you know, if the government is going to get involved in what Facebook, a private company can emphasize on its site, you know, where does it stop?
As Facebook going to be involved in what we can post on Facebook? You know, though these allegations really upset people and rightly so. The market is what corrects this issue, not a government inquiry. I would argue that the senator has more important things to attend to than this inquiry.
KURTZ: Right. And what would the government do if it doesn't like what Facebook is doing, as you say, a private company?
Now Facebook did while playing defense on this P.R. debacle release a detailed list of the guidelines used for this sort of thing. You can inject stories, the journalists who were hired, if users create something that generate interests like Black Lives Matter.
You can blacklist her, so Facebook understands these terms sound awful and say that blacklisting really just means if a story is a hoax and not connected to something in the real world.
But it's no coincidence that Mark Zuckerberg is going to meet with a bunch of conservatives now including Glenn Beck. So, my question is if you're hiring journalists, whether they are trying to be biased or fair or not, isn't it inherently subjective what they think is trending?
GLINZER: Yes. Most people even someone like myself in tech assumed that technology is what was driving, what was featured in the trending topics, especially because Facebook touts over and over their investment in artificial intelligence, in algorithms.
So in some way its human involvement makes Facebook look less smart and powerful than it was before. If there's any upside is that, you know, it appears robots won't be taking our jobs any time soon.
KURTZ: That's a relief. This is a list of 10 news sites that are most influential in trending topics, Fox News is on there. Most of them are USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, Yahoo and so forth, but here we go.
Zuckerberg openly supports President Obama on immigration. He gave a speech blatantly criticizing Donald Trump. Tom Stocky who runs the trending topics business, he gave Hillary Clinton the maximum donation. Does Facebook have an appearance problem here?
GLINZER: Of course it has an appearance problem. It wouldn't surprise me if they made a high level, you know, conservative hire and then in the coming months. It's also possible that the folks who are in the newsroom at Facebook didn't even realize that this was a problem.
I mean, they are maybe surrounded by friends and colleagues who just think the way that they do.
KURTZ: Out there on the left coast.
GLINZER: Yes. Well, yes.
GLINZER: And so, you know, it might not have realized it's a problem. They certainly do now and they are going to fix it.
KURTZ: Well, whether they fix it remains to be seen, but it is a problem. Shana Glinzer, great to see you.
Still to come, why Woody Allen had a magazine barred from his event at the Cannes Film Festival and what might be the funniest New York Times correction ever. Getting older shouldn't mean giving up
KURTZ: The Hollywood reporter was barred from an event with Woody Allen at the Cannes Film Festival. The magazine's offense, running a column by the director's estranged son, Ronan Pharaoh, the former MSNBC host. He ripped the media for not pressing Woody Allen about sexual abuse allegations from decades ago involving his sister who was 7 at the time.
Now keep in mind that authorities investigated these allegations vehemently denied by Allen and no charges have ever brought. Farrow admits that he himself succumbed to pressure not to pursue allegations against powerful figures.
He said he silent for years because he had worked hard to distance himself from his painful family history. But now he writes the media are protecting Woody Allen the way they protected Bill Cosby. But the case of Cosby accused of sexual assault by numerous grown women is very different.
Woody Allen told the press at the festival he hadn't read Bill's essay because he never reads anything about himself. His publicist bragged about banishing the Hollywood reporter.
Now everyone makes mistakes and newspapers are usually pretty good about correcting them but in fixing a minor error in a story about Muslim leaders battling ISIS the New York Times created a classic.
Because of an editing error, an article on Monday about a battle being fought from a theological battle being fought by Muslims imams and scholar in the west against the Islamic and they stated the Snapchat handle used by Suhaib Webb, one of the Muslim leaders speaking out.
It is imam, Suhaib Webb not pippin for paradise 786.
P for paradise. I bet the time wishes that one would disappear just like the messages on Snapchat.
Well, that's it for this edition of Media Buzz. I'm Howard Kurtz. Thanks for watching.
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