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Media Buzz

Trump rips media 'witch hunt'

This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," May 22, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the buzz meter this Sunday, Donald Trump says he is the target of a media witch-hunt, rips The New York Times with reports on how he treats women and tries to shift the spotlight to Bill Clinton's past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: I looked at the New York Times, are they going to interview Juanita Broderick? Are they going to interview Paula Jones? Are they going to interview Kathleen Willie? In one case it's about exposure, in another case it's about groping and fondling and touching against a woman's will.

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And rape.

HANNITY: And rape.

TRUMP: Big settlements, massive settlements.

HANNITY: $850,000 for Paula Jones.

TRUMP: And lots of other things and impeachment for lying. Now, The New York Times and if you look at Stephanopoulos, these are like the pipe organs for Hillary Clinton.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Is the press taking this campaign into the gutter? And is that crash of that EgyptAir flight changing the media's campaign coverage? Megyn Kelly finally sits down with Trump after months of being attacked with the billionaire saying he has some regrets about his language and certain twitter tirades.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You would be amazed at the ones I don't re-tweet.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Bimbo.

TRUMP: That was a re-tweet. Did I say that?

KELLY: Many times.

TRUMP: OK. Excuse me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: We'll look at the high stakes interview and what the critics say.

Also Bob Woodward and why The Washington Post suddenly has 20 reporters investigating Trump. What about Hillary?

Mark Zuckerberg sits down with Tucker Carlson and other conservatives to diffuse accusations of liberal bias at Facebook, but was this just for show? Tucker will be here.

Plus, remembering Morley Safer, a giant and a gentleman. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "Media Buzz."

The crash of that EgyptAir plane dominated the news for days with Donald Trump drawing some criticism from the press for quickly tweeting that it looks like terrorism and he really got into it on MSNBC with Mika Brzezinski.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC: I think the worry also is just how you will be as president and present your positions and your words and there are some concerns that you might be trigger happy with your words like, for example...

TRUMP: Oh, really? I'm the one that didn't want to go into a rack, Mika.
I'm thinking to the future. We cannot continue to let things like this happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Joining us to analyze the campaign coverage, Betsy Woodruff political reporter for The Daily Beast, Kelly Riddell deputy opinion editor for The Washington Times and Joe Trippi the Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor.

Betsy, Mika castigated Trump over that tweet, candidates are usually a bit more cautious. He said, but most people I think were thinking was that criticism fair?

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: I think it's totally understandable. I mean, the reality is no authorities, no one from Egypt nor from the United States government had said that this was a terrorist attack. Donald Trump from the campaign trail obviously for political reasons shouldn't have been the one to break that news. Now of course it's understandable...

KURTZ: Break that news, he was offering his opinion.

WOODRUFF: Right, exactly, but I mean to say that that's the case, right. To put it out there like he's stating the fact.

KURTZ: Looks like -- looks like terrorism.

WOODRUFF: But we know what he means there. I just think it's totally understandable that folks would say maybe he should have keep his powder dry on that one.

KURTZ: But when Mika Brzezinski goes from that to basically saying Trump is a war monger, trigger happy, did the media have an obligation to point out that he opposed the Iraq war fairly well and that no evidence of before the war and invested a hawk (ph) than Hillary Clinton.

KELLY RIDDELL, THE WASHINGTON TIMES: Yeah, I mean, and a lot of times he makes decisions that were made -- he was a private citizen -- he wasn't getting these intel reports. So he, you know, he can...

KURTZ: That doesn't let him off the hook completely.

RIDDELL: It doesn't let him off the hook completely, but listen, with this tweet, what he did is he took a direct stab at Hillary Clinton and the Benghazi cover up and he basically went out and he said this is an act of terror that American people are sick of like, covering this stuff up, we're going to call a spade a spade, I'm not a traditional politician. I am going -- I'm breaking the establishment, I'm not reading off the scripted talking points. I'm just going to tell you how it is. And I think that's who Donald Trump is and that's how he's running his campaign.

KURTZ: Well, come back (ph). I see you shaking your head, Joe. Talk about winning the news cycle and you can come back to your point. So, Hillary Clinton hours later is on CNN with Chris Cuomo and she says it does appear to be an act of terrorism, which is what Trump's tweet said but then she ends up getting questioned about Trump's tweet because he was out of the gate faster.

JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that's what Trump did. What Trump does is he either creates the news cycle or he jumps into one no matter what it is. So, a plane goes down, bam! He's right there and he's in realtime and he's tweeting and that's how he's gotten to where he is.

KURTZ: Can you say this admiringly as a former campaign manager or would it keep you up at night?

TRIPPI: No, as a campaign manager that's scary because you don't know when your candidate is going to blow himself up and it's totally possible. I mean, everybody keeps saying Trump never will, but I think that's one of the problems that a lot of the other candidates out there can't and the Republican...

KURTZ: Probably has the best phrase in context but I know you didn't intend it that way. All right, let me turn to the continuing fallout over this New York Times piece last weekend, you know, two full pages about Donald Trump's relationships with and conduct toward women. The lead anecdote involved a woman named Rowanne Lane Brewer who pushed back hard when she was portrayed as having a negative interaction with Donald Trump. Here she is on "Fox & Friends" followed by the Times reporters defending their piece.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

ROWANNE LANE BREWER, DONALD TRUMP'S EX-GRILFRIEND: They told me several times and my manager several times that it would not be a hit piece and that my story would come across the way that I was telling it and honestly and it absolutely was not.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN: I believe Rowanne has asked for an apology. I mean, what do you say?

MICHAEL BARBARO, THE NEW YORK TIMES:: We really stand by our story. We believe we quoted her fairly and accurately and that the story really speaks for itself.

(END OF VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: Is it damaging to The New York Times that the woman, (inaudible) who by the way, went on to be Trump's girlfriend for several months, came out and basically said they got it all wrong?

WOODRUFF: It's obviously not helpful. That said, of course, she didn't dispute that the words that they quoted her as saying, she didn't dispute that the anecdote happened. The only thing she said was this was a positive interaction rather than a negative one. And the reality is "New York Times"
readers can decide for themselves whether Trump's behavior that night was okay. There's a difference between behavior that's welcome and behavior that we necessarily find appealing from someone who, years later, will want to have a nuclear coast (ph)

KURTZ: What this was about, Kelly is, she first met Donald Trump at a pool party at Mar-a-Lago. He said do you want to change into a swimsuit, she did, and then he introduced her as a beautiful Trump girl or something. The Times said this was a debasing experience, she said she was proud. So, is that putting your finger on the journalistic scale?

RIDELL: I think this is a classic case of these reporters having an agenda and having a preconceived narrative that they wanted to be proven true. And so they went through all the sources and they put together a story that they -- that was preconceived, that basically touted the narrative of Donald Trump as kind of a creepy guy when this clearly has been proven baseless by Rowanne as well as by Carrie Prajean who, with Miss USA -- who said that they didn't even bother to interview her. They just went through her book and took excerpts and kind of placed them in a story where they felt necessary. So, it's not representative and it clearly was a hit piece.

KURTZ: Joe.

TRIPPI: Look, I think it clearly showed bias. I mean, even, you know coming from Mike Horner, like there was no reason to lead -- to do the whole lead of this thing with somebody they say was debased and she says...

KURTZ: She was happy. And she went on...

TRIPPI: ... that I'm happy. I mean, I think that does damage. I mean, whether it was biased or not it damages the credibility of the story and they shouldn't have put it that way.

KURTZ: What do you make with Trump for pushing back hard against "The New York Times," which is fine, weighing the hit piece and all that, but in the context of that interview with Sean Hannity that we showed at the top, he brings up Bill Clinton, and an allegation by Juanita Broderick dating to 1978. It was not made public until 20 years. She says he raped her -- that's never been proven. What do you make of Trump going there and the way the media should treat that?

KURTZ: Well, we all -- I mean Trump is going to go there, there's nowhere he won't go so, the Clintons have to, you know, prepare for that. It's going to be -- and the press has to cover it when he says stuff like that.

WOODRUFF: If I can add, Hillary Clinton in an interview during her campaign said that women who make allegation that they are sexually abused or attacked deserve to be believed. She opened the door for Trump to bring this back, for reporters to bring this back, for the entire history of Bill Clinton's sexual shenanigans to be fair game.

KURTZ: The press loves this stuff but it is about her husband.

RIDDLE: Readers love this stuff, too. You know, Andrea Mitchell on NBC basically said that Juanita Broderick's case has been disproven. Now, that is not accurate. It has never been disproven and you know, NBC's reports still stands to this day. So, the media partially is responsible -- they need to actually report the truth on this and not drop off the unsavory things about Bill Clinton. And then you have the "Bimbo Eruptions" that Hillary Clinton was a part of in terms of the 90's

KURTZ: When you say that, "Bimbo Eruptions" was not her term, it was a term of Bill Clinton's former chief of staff and I am waiting to see the evidence Hillary Clinton's personal involvement.

RIDDLE: Carl Bernstein's book on his biography of Hillary Clinton lays it out. You have George Stephanopoulos who quit the White House because of these reasons and he put that out in his book as a reason.

KURTZ: He didn't say he quit because of that. Let me get Joe into this.

TRIPPI: It is still going to be is like all -- most if not all of this has been aired over and over and over again, I think what's going to be interesting is the more Donald Trump or the press goes on both of them in these areas, I don't think -- it's still going to be the economy, it's still going to be other things and I think the press does get preoccupied with trying to...

KURTZ: We have to think there'll be this. There's a fascination with Trump and women and Bill Clinton and women and Hillary's role in her husband's philandering, right. We move on because there's obviously a huge media build up for the Fox Broadcast Network prime time special, the first one with Megyn Kelly. One of the guests was of course Donald Trump. Let's take a look at when they talked about whether the candidate had second thoughts about anything he has done in this campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: So, when you look back on the past nine months from that first debate to now, any regrets?

TRUMP: Absolutely I have regrets. I don't think I want to discuss what the regrets are, but absolutely I could have done certain things differently. I could have maybe used different language in a couple of instances, but overall I have to be very happy with the outcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Was the interview revealing?

WOODRUFF: Not particularly. I mean, for him to say I could have used different language at some point is perhaps the vaguest possible thing you could say.

KURTZ: But Trump's not big on apologies and said he had regrets.

WOODRUFF: But it's weird that he said he had regrets but then didn't point out anything specific. It's also weird that Megyn Kelly didn't go after her ans asked him what exactly are you talking about. He said so many things that have drawn pointed brutal criticism for him just to say, "Oh, every once in awhile maybe I said something unfortunate" and for that not to be followed up for more detail I think a lot of folks were disappointed.

KURTZ: Well, it's an interesting phrase that Megyn Kelly didn't go after him because she made clear that this was not a presidential debate, it was not an interview on "The Kelly File" about issues. It had been taped well in advance and that it was going to be somewhat of a softer personality profile, but obviously they talked about themselves. So, what do you think is the impact of Trump saying, "Gee, maybe I shouldn't have re-tweeted bimbo and that sort of thing. Any?

TRIPPI: No, I don't think it's got much impact. Look, I think the expectations for this thing were all off. Megyn Kelly has proven she can take on Donald Trump and really ask him the tough questions. That's how the whole thing started.

KURTZ: Yes.

TRIPPI: So, I think, you know, again, this was a different time, a different kind of interview and I don't think there was a lot of got you, trying, you know, trip him up.

KURTZ: Kelly, a lot of critics didn't like it, and that's fine. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, whether it's too soft or not, but some of I felt may have had an agenda, I think (inaudible) Slate's Isaac Chotiner in an interview, he has called Donald Trump "a bigoted quasi-fascist and fraud, a dangerously unstable demagogue." Washington Post's Hank Stuever has called Trump "hateful, nonsensical, vainglorious," so they didn't like the interview.

RIDDLE: I mean, this is ironic, right? I mean they all rallied toward Megyn Kelly's cause after the August debate and they looked at her as some sort of champion. She has always been neutral. She says she doesn't love Donald Trump, she doesn't hate the Donald Trump and this was going to be a fair interview and that's what it was. And just because she didn't attack him they are disappointed with it and that's just ridiculous.

KURTZ: All right.

RIDDLE: It was pre-taped two weeks in advance so, it's hard to do breaking news -- she's looking at this to warm him up to get on "The Kelly File" so that she can go after the hard hitting stuff. This was more of a Barbara Walters type of interview.

KURTZ: Very quickly.

WOODRUFF: She had the entire year though of his campaign statements to work with and we didn't get any new information as far as how he saw the lead
(up) up. That's not a breaking news.

RIDDLE: You should interview Megyn Kelly then. It shouldn't be an interview with Donald Trump, right.

KURTZ: As I said, the critics disagree even at this table. When we come back, Brit Hume on the Never Trump crowd and whether the press should still take those folks seriously.

And later, inside the meeting between Mark Zuckerberg and the conservatives
who say Facebook is biased.    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: A front page Washington Post story says that grass roots conservative activists are still trying to block Donald Trump's nomination at the Cleveland convention with a scheme to free the delegates to vote however they want, really? Joining us now is Brit Hume, Fox's senior political analyst and former Washington managing editor. Brit, should the media continue give plenty of air time to these Never Trump types who still insist that this nomination battle isn't over?

BRIT HUME, FOX SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think these stories are legitimate stories, but I don't think they're front page stories. I think that the real story is that -- is that things are moving in Trump's direction. His effort to woo conservatives is making progress and you can see things -- that's the drift of things.

There was a question will Paul Ryan ever support him. We can now see that Paul Ryan eventually will. The NRA endorsement is further proof of that.
The list of Supreme Court potential nominees that he put out went a long way with a lot of conservatives. That's the main story that he's doing pretty well in that effort and...

KURTZ: The other thing is more like a sidebar.

HUME: A sidebar story, yeah.

KURTZ: In that same, your old Fox colleague Bill Kristol has been talking to Mitt Romney, Tom Coburn, and Senator Ben Sasse and there's about putting together some kind of conservative third party challenge. Should journalists portray this as being, I don't know, a little bit desperate?

HUME: Well, I think it's an extreme long shot the way it looks now. The people I've interviewed none of them has really showed any interest in doing it...

KURTZ: And nobody has raised their hands and say I'll do it.

HUME: ...I'll do it and you know, obviously, you know, you wouldn't do it unless you thought there was a real chance it might work or unless you had some other reason for wanting to be a presidential candidate with whatever attention you could get from it.

But I just think it's -- I don't know whether we ought to call it desperate, but anybody reporting it should be clear from reading the facts about what a long shot it is and I think basically that's true.

KURTZ: Okay, now, we have this state of recent polls or Fox News polls, and "New York Times" poll showing Donald Trump in a hypothetical match up against Hillary up 2 or 3 points. There are other polls showing Hillary by a few. And so, my question is, the media geniuses all said that Donald Trump is not going to win this nomination, are they now having to take trump more seriously after basically saying if he did get the nomination he would be clobbered?

HUME: Well, obviously so. I mean, I don't -- I think a lot of people didn't expect that would happen after he got the nomination pretty well locked up that he would begin to rise in the polls in the way that he has and of course...

KURTZ: So quickly.

HUME: Well, it also comes at a time when Hillary Clinton's troubles and weaknesses as a candidate are on full display. She's clearly overwhelmingly likely to win this nomination and yet she can't shake Bernie Sanders and she's contending with him, pushes her to the left which makes, you know, long-term prospects a little more difficult. So, all of this comes at kind of -- as a kind of a perfect storm. Candidates often do get a bounce when the nomination is secured, even if it's not formal yet.

KURTZ: So, it is a Trump bump.

HUME: So, there is a Trump lift.

KURTZ: Yeah.

HUME: And Hillary is having a tough time and so he's ahead in some polls, behind in some, it's basically a tie right now I think is fair to say. And I think, you know, we really don't know what it's going to look like when she gets free of Sanders and can focus all her attentions on him and once the Democratic Party's attack machine, which will be in full cry, is loosed on him -- we'd like to see what happened.

KURTZ: Well, polls this early are very a femoral (ph). I sense a little shift in the media mindset about Donald Trump, at least his ability to unify the GOP. Let me turn to Hillary because her aides now have been working the Press.

So, we see stories like "Time Magazine" -- here are the headline, Hillary's aides and allies -- excuse me -- Hillary's new plan to out-Trump Trump by being boring and "The Washington Post" quoted more than a dozen Clinton allies talking about he her poor showing with young women and trustworthiness, unlikeability, lack luster campaign style, a lot of American (inaudible) like it. This is the spin from her side. We're not quoting opponents here. What do you make of that?

HUME: Well, it goes to the question she faces, which is should I go out and talk mostly about what I'm going to do as president and why you should elect me. The question that is hung over this Hillary Clinton campaign from the jump in which I think has given real force to the Sanders campaign is what is she really -- I mean if you had to sum up in a sentence what Hillary Clinton's campaign is about what would you say based on what she has said? Now, as a political analyst you might say, well, it's about another term for Barack Obama's policies. But she's not saying that.

KURTZ: Right.

HUME: So, you know, what is she going to campaign on? Is she going to go out and say I'm going to give you Barack Obama for a third term basically or is she going to say or she's going to simply decide that Donald Trump is such a target rich environment and so vulnerable that the way to win is to beat him within an inch of his life with the ads and comments and so while she can.

KURTZ: My own reporting says that the Hillary people like this contrast, her dull but reliable.

HUME: Right.

KURTZ: Trump, you know, the ambassador of unpredictable. But when she does interviews and she had one and she just doesn't seem to make a lot of news.
She has a very cautious style. Your thoughts?

HUME: She does. She is not a particularly good campaigner and that's one example of why she's not. Her inability to kind of deliver the goods in these interviews.

KURTZ: Yeah, and now we have her own people anonymously kind of conceding that point rather than battling the obvious. All right, Brit Hume, great to see you this Sunday.

HUME: Thanks Howie.

KURTZ: thanks for stopping by. Ahead, Bob Woodward says "The Washington Post" isn't digging up dirt by unleashing 20 reporters on Donald Trump. And up next, remembering Morley Safer and the distinctive voice he brought to an amazingly rich career.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Morley Safer was a giant and a gentleman. I met Morley a couple times and unlike so many biggie guys on TV, he was not full of himself, didn't make himself the story. He died this week after 46 seasons on "60 Minutes." CBS invented the television news magazine with that show and Safer played a big role in creating it. He was the cool civilized counterpoint to the confrontational Mike Wallace. The sad news comes a week after the program announced his retirement and aired an hour long tribute showing him to be a great writer, storey-teller and conversationalist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel like a legend?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think you ever feel like anything. You feel like a bore.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I think we should do this interview both in the nude. You'd love it. Go on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey. Hey. Do you like that one, pal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Playing pool with Jackie Gleason, but he could also confront the wife of Wall Street Swindler Bernie Madoff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORLEY SAFER, CBS NEWSMAN: Do you feel the shame?

RUTH MADOFF, BERNIE MEDOFF'S WIFE: Of course I feel the shame.

SAFER: It's a tough name to live with.

MADOFF: It sure is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Safer did ground breaking reporting in Vietnam, especially this story about the torching of civilian huts that pricked the American conscience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAFER: As we came in, the guys started lighting up. With matches, with lighters, with flame throwers and they were clearing these people out and torching their houses. This was not like any operation I had ever been on before with American troops or with any troops anywhere quite honestly.

This is what the war in Vietnam is all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Morley was such a comfortable presence in our living rooms, but, and I love this comment, the former Canadian newspaper man was never quite comfortable with the business that made him famous.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAFER: I really don't like being on television. I find it intimidating, discomforting, it makes me uneasy. It is not natural to be talking to a piece of machinery. But the money is very good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Morley safer was 84.

Coming up, the Press puts Bernie Sanders on the defensive after some of his supporters disrupt a convention and make horrifying death threats against a democratic official.

And later, Mark Zuckerberg is meeting with conservative critics. Can he fix
Facebook's problem with bias?    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Democratic campaign awash in negative headlines after Bernie Sanders supporters causing pandemonium at last weekend's Nevada Convention. And party chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz calling the senator's response unacceptable. The dispute over delegates prompted some Sanders supporters to make death threats against Nevada's Democratic chairwoman and things really turned ugly.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just wanted to let you know that I think people like you should be hung in a public execution to show this world that we won't stand for this sort of corruption, you cowardless bitch running off the stage. I hope people find you.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

KURTZ: Wow, it's a subject the Vermont senator was not anxious to discuss with the Press.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This weekend in the Nevada convention, do you have any reaction to that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: We're back with the panel. Kelly, in terms of the coverage here, Sanders who by the way has now come out against Debbie Wasserman Schultz and for her primary opponent, he's really been getting hammered by the media over the handling of these scuffles. Is that fair or unfair?

RIDDLE: I think that's totally fair. And you -- this took place on Saturday. Now, if this is a Trump rally or these were Trump supporters, it would be at head line news on Sunday. "The Washington Post" in its print edition, didn't even cover this until Wednesday and then the head line is on the seventh page of the paper and the head line was Clinton wins Kentucky, Sanders picks up Oregon and then it had a graph all the way at the bottom and there was this little scoop scuffle in Nevada.

I just think this has been totally underreported and now the Press is reporting it only because there was a formal complaint filed by the Nevada Democratic Party against Sanders. Harry Reid went on the floor and said Sanders should apologize and now it's being covered but it should have been covered more at the beginning.

KURTZ: There are differing accounts about how bad the situation was, but what's not in dispute Joe is that even some liberal media outlets and writers are turning on Bernie, asking why he's still in the race, asking why he didn't condemn these incidents more forcefully.

TRIPPI: Well, I think he should have handled it -- I mean, I think it's legitimate to challenge him for not denouncing them, but I do think it's a little overboard when we don't even know who these people who called the chairperson are or whether they're even really Bernie supporters. I mean, to hold him somehow responsible for it I think is wrong, but to hold him like you do want to denounce this stuff, don't you, Bernie, is legitimate on the Press' part.

KURTZ: Now, Sanders has been saying in interviews, he did one today on CBS saying that, you know, even if he's behind pledged delegates, he has to defile (ph) primaries and caucuses. He still may not concede. He wants to go with the convention and all that. So here's "New York Times'" front page on (inaudible), "Bernie Sanders eyeing convention, qilling to harm Hillary Clinton in the home stretch." The subtext seems to me, is he a little crazy?

WOODRUFF: It's a little theatrical there. I think this is an example of folks earning (ph) on the side of trying to make stories where they may not necessarily exist. In reality is Hillary Clinton stayed in 2008 through the beginning of June. There's zero evidence that her staying in that long -- her even floating the possibility of the fascination that did anything to damage Obama in the fall, I think...

KURTZ: But yeah, Bernie is trying to harm Hillary because he's trying to win the nomination, now matter (ph) how much of a chance.

WOODRUFF: That's how campaigns work, you try to win.

RIDDELL: There is no indication he's going to get out in June like Hillary did. He said he's going to take it all the way to the convention, and you know what, there are four petitions that have been filed in Philadelphia all of them for Bernie Sanders supporters for protests and demonstrations come July. That's going to damage her in the long run.

KURTZ: Willing to harm Hillary Clinton in the homestretch, all right. We talked earlier about some of the more personal criticisms of Donald Trump particularly aimed at Hillary's husband the former president. Here she is on CNN being asked that very question. Let's look at her response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST, "NEW DAY": Do you ever feel compelled to defend your honor, the honor of your husband?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No.

CUOMO: With statements that he's making that go to the core of the relationship?

CLINTON: No, not at all. I know that that's exactly what he is fishing for and, you know, I'm not going to be responding.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Joe Trippi, I understand that Hillary Clinton doesn't want to get into a point by point response when Donald Trump brings up any of the Bill Clinton scandals, but I watch these interviews -- there was one on "Meet the Press" again today and she just doesn't seem to make much news in these interviews. If anything she says seems to be incrementally different from what she said yesterday. Is that a problem or is this my own bias because I want candidates to say colorful things that we can then all talk and write about?

TRIPPI: Well, I think we're going to find out. I mean, because -- that's different stylistically, different style obviously from Trump.

KURTZ: He's mostly 180 degrees.

TRIPPI: Yes, and so -- and I think that's going to be a big -- what do the American people want? You know, both of these people are exactly what you see and exactly what you're going to get. One sort of careful, thought -- you know, thinking through every sentence, the other one jumping immediately into the news cycle saying whatever comes to mind and whatever repercussions I'll fix it later. And I think both of them have done well.
Both of them are the nominees of their party whether Sanders says our heads
(ph) are going to play out.

KURTZ: But journalists have to ask these questions and what she hasn't do anywhere near as Trump but they're just not getting much in the way of answers. I mean, she obviously criticizes Trump in some of them.

WOODRUFF: I think it's interesting how different they are and how a lot of reporters are going to feel a little whiplash going back and forth between covering the two campaigns because I don't know that in modern American history, we've had two front runners that have less in common than Trump and Clinton. So, being in Trump interview mode or Trump coverage mode, it's going to be diametrically different than being in Hillary mode.

KURTZ: The polls say both are still pretty unpopular, which means little influence (ph), ugly campaigns. Joe Trippi, Kelly Riddell, Betsy Woodruff thanks very much for joining us.

Next on "Media Buzz," Tucker Carlson on whether Facebook used them and others conservatives as props as they met with CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

And later, Watergate's Bob Woodward on the challenges of investigating
Dona;d Trump and Hillary Clinton.    

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Facebook has been doing damage control since former employees charged that the social network is biased against conservatives when picking its trending topics. Mark Zuckerberg sitting down the other day with such conservatives as Glenn Beck, CNN's S.E. Cupp and Fox's Dana Perino and Tucker Carlson. And joining me now from New York, he's the editor-in-chief of the The Daily Caller and the co-host of "Fox & Friends Weekend."

But Tucker, Glenn Beck criticized some of the conservatives in your groups saying, "this was like the same witch trial in which Facebook had to plead guilty or be burned at the stake." Your response.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: It's ludicrous. It was a really pleasant meeting. I thought that Facebook, true making a good faith effort. They're basically liberal, they know that. You know, they draw from the peninsula, from Silicon Valley and upper income highly educated people generally and that's a liberal demographic. And so they know that when you have a bunch of people with the same world view in a room you can make inadvertent mistakes.

It doesn't help their business model to suppress conservative views or to have your reputation for doing it, to lose the trust of a huge percentage of their audience. So, they were worried and they brought, you know, all these people in and they had Zuckerberg and Cheryl Samberg and Peter Teal, one of their key board members, the head of their development team.

You know, they were trying and, you know, Glenn Beck mischaracterized it completely in my view. Glenn Beck by the way spent most of the meeting sucking up to Jeff Zuckerberg in a really ostentatious way -- you're a visionary...

KURTZ: Sucking up are you saying?

CARLSON: Sucking up in a profound way, in a hilarious almost theatrical way.

KURTZ: He says that you guys are acting like Jesse Jackson trying to shake down Facebook or you got some kind of quotas for conservative news.

CARLSON: I find quotas appalling. I think affirmative (ph) action is immoral for anything like that. I think he was talking about me. I just made the point, look, did the pointers made (ph) to you. And it's very obvious and conventional one. If you've got a roomful of people who agree it's important once in awhile to bring people who don't agree as a backstop against making bad decisions.

And so, they're focused on ethnic diversity which is fine, but there are deeper forms of diversity like ideological and cultural diversity. You know, you can have a group of people who look different but share the same assumptions and you're not getting the beneficial effects of the diversity of what I was talking about. So, I said half joking, you know, why don't you hire a bunch of Mormons, you know what I mean.

If you want a workforce that looks like America -- Americans, you know 11 percent African-Americans, 11 percent, we're fine. But America is also three percent Mormons so why don't you hire three percent Mormons. Of course I wasn't there to shake them down or enforce or even suggest any kind of affirmative action program, just making an obvious point.

KURTZ: I'm relieved to hear that.  Now Mark Zuckerberg said on Facebook, "I know many conservatives don't trust that our platform services content without a political bias," you seem persuaded that he's trying to fix that.

CARLSON: Well, I mean I think, look, any -- Facebook isn't exactly a news organization, but it's a platform for other news organizations to disseminate their news and its...
KURTZ: Including "The Daily Color", including everything (inaudible) network, including all of us, we all live in Facebook's world now, so what Facebook does is hugely important.

CARLSON: That's right and in the interest of full disclosure, we do a ton of Facebook business. It's a big part of our business and so that was one of the main reasons I was there. So whatever, you know, you host a lot of news sites, editorial judgments are going to get made. It's not all based on the results of an algorithm.

It can't be, they're going to be subjective judgments and so, the views of your employees will at some point down the line have an affect and they know this. I mean, I'm sure this will happen in the future, is their systematic attempt to squelch voices they disagree with, I don't think so for a simple reason. It's not in their interest to do that. They will lose money in the end if they do that.

I think there is a built in incentive for them at least to try to be sort of fair as distinct from The New York Times which doesn't have a diverse audience, you know, it's aimed toward a specific group of people who agree with them so they (inaudible). Facebook is different.

KURTZ: Right. Reaching out to everyone is good business for Facebook and I thought it was good that Mark Zuckerberg reached out to you and some of your colleagues. Great to see you Tucker. Thanks for helping us walk through this issue.

CARLSON: Thanks Howie, appreciate it.

KURTZ: After the break Bob Woodward responds to Donald Trump's attacks on Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos and criticism that the paper is less interested  people is less interested in investigating Hillary Clinton.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Bob Woodward made more news than he intended in saying the Washington Post was assembling a journalistic task force to investigate Donald Trump and the candidate quickly took a shot at Post owner Jeff Bezos.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Every hour we're getting calls from reporters from "The Washington Post" asking ridiculous questions. And I will tell you, this is owned as a toy by Jeff Bezos who controls Amazon. Amazon is getting away with murder tax-wise. He's using the Washington Post for power so that the politicians in Washington don't tax Amazon like they should be taxed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: I sat down with the veteran Washington Post editor and author here in D.C.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Bob Woodward, welcome.

BOB WOODWARD, "WASHINGTN POST": Thank you.

KURTZ: When the Washington Examiner quoted you in a speech as saying, "The Washington Post has 20 reporters assigned to investigating Donald Trump."
This was widely reported as the paper is determined to dig up dirt on Trump. Fair or unfair?

WOODWARD: It's unfair. It's to look at every phase of his life which is precisely what we're doing. A press release was put out a month ago announcing that the post is going to be doing this book and as the reporting proceeds there will be stories in the newspaper and that's kind of the focus and at the same time we're going to -- and as I said, do the same thing on Hillary Clinton.

KURTZ: Of course that was my next question. Will Hillary Clinton receive the same scrutiny and approximately the same number of articles as the Republican nominee?

WOODWARD: Yes, I believe so. It depends on, you know, what we find out.
Trump has not been a political public figure and political public figures get more scrutiny than somebody in business. So there might be more about him, but it depends on what is discovered. But this is -- the headline on that story that somehow was to dig up dirt, it is not.

KURTZ: Of course the fact there'll be a book about Trump tells us something about the media marketplace. But this is what people say they want, for journalism to hold public figures, politicians accountable, but hasn't that also kind of fallen out of fashion in the twitter age? I mean if you -- and you're producing 50,000 words or 30,000 words or 60,000 words on Donald Trump, how many people will read that?

WOODWARD: Well, that's up to them. But it's important that it be available.
You don't want people going into the voting booth in November and saying, I really couldn't find out who these people are. I couldn't really discover what Hillary Clinton did in her senate years or as secretary of state or as first lady. Gee, I don't understand how Donald Trump got in the casino business. How successful was he?  Where did have this casinos? Who run the?
What were these bankruptcies or near bankruptcies about and so forth? And that will be available to people. I think...

KURTZ: As a current level of reporting, they were inadequate in your view?

WOODWARD: I think we can always do better and if there's a thin line in all of this, if you were to look at my e-mails, you would see people keep saying, well we didn't know enough about Bill Clinton before he became president. We didn't know enough about George W. Bush.

KURTZ: Will they know enough about Obama and is that a fair criticism that Obama in 2008 didn't get the kind of intensified media scrutiny that for example Donald Trump seems to be getting in this cycle?

WOODWARD: A lot of people feel that.

KURTZ: And you feel that?

WODWARD: I feel we can always do more. And I think you -- I think it literally is impossible to find out too much about these people. And whether everyone is going to pay attention to it or be interested or read the long article or read the book, it is our job.

I remember Katharine Graham, the former owner/publisher of the Washington Post when we were in the midst of the Nixon case and I was talking to her about, you know, where's this going, what does it mean, and so forth, and she raised the question, that's exactly the right question, why do we dig into these things when it's hard and people are uncomfortable that we're doing this? And she said, because that's the business we're in.

KURTZ: So, since you bring up Watergate and Nixon and you've said that in Hillary Clinton's private e-mail or at least echoes of Watergate, but you in that speech to a trigger (ph) where you were also quoted as saying, "I don't think anyone feels there was intent on her part to distribute classified information in a way that was illegal or jeopardize security."
Well, how do you know that before the investigation?

WOODWARD: Well, I've looked and talked to people about it. President Obama himself has said there was no intent that this was careless. I mean...

KURTZ: He's going to defend his fellow government.

WOODWARD: Of course he is and there are -- still, I've always said the questions about the e-mail investigation and I think they should be answered and certainly before the election. But the question of the intent and whether it was careless or not, I don't think anyone has suggested that Hillary Clinton was putting out classified information so people, the Russians or the Chinese or somebody could read that.

The purpose was efficiency and maybe to keep it from others. It was not to distribute classified information. I don't think her severest critic is suggesting that. What they have said is there was negligence here and that's part of the investigation.

KURTZ: Trump reacted last week by criticizing Jeff Bezos saying that the Amazon founder bought the Washington Post to increase his influence in Washington and help further Amazon's corporate interest. I haven't seen any evidence of that, but how involved is Bezos in newsroom decisions such as these investigations of a presidential candidate?

WOODWARD: Bezos is -- Marty Baron put out a statement saying...

KURTZ: The Post executive editor.

WOODWARD: Tight, saying that's it's his. Barron's decision to do this, to look at all of the candidates. I've talked to Bezos about this and he said it's just got to be bipartisan. It has to be aggressive and he has said that the resources would be available to do this. It is echoing in a different way with Katharine Graham said, "we do this because this is the business we're in."

KURTZ: And we will see where these journalistic efforts lead. Bob Woodward, thanks very much for joining us.

WOODWARD: Thanks.

KURTZ: Still to come, a questionable grant that may have influenced NPR's reporting on the Iran nuclear deal. And a backlash over a cover-up of a weather forecaster in a cocktail dress.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: A big black eye for NPR after the radio acknowledged getting a
$100,000 and $700,000 over the last decade from a group that worked with the White House to sell the Iran nuclear deal and that money from the Ploughshares Fund, which wants to eliminate nuclear weapons was specifically earmarked for reporting on the U.S. an Iranian nuclear program, the AP reports. Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told the New York Times magazine that "Outside groups like Ploughshares were part of the echo chamber the administration created to push the Iran agreement."

NPR says there are no conditions on the grant and that it has a rigorous editorial firewall to protect this reporting which Ploughshare also insist it's not trying to influence. NPR interviewed the president of Ploughshares twice last year only once identifying him as a founder but appearances matter and the bottomline, this does not past the smell test.

You've probably seen this video of KTLA's Liberte Chan needing a wardrobe adjustment while doing the weather. We're going to tell you what happened next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIBERTE CHAN, KTLA METEOROLOGIST: You want me to put this on? Why? Because it's cold?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Getting a lot of e-mails.

CHAN: What? Really?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go.

CHAN: Okay. I look like a librarian now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The episode went viral. The L.A. meteorologist said she was just playing along with the joke. Well, according to Sam Rubin, her original dress had clashed with the green screen weather map.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAM RUIN, KTLA ANCHOR: So, she wore the little black dress and some viewers sent e-mails complaining. And in the spirit of satirizing the viewer complaints, Liberte was handed a sweater on the air to change the little black dress for something that isn't so much evening wear. On average, we do what, 6.8 gags here per morning. Some work, some don't.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: I'm sure it was all in good fun. But there's reason many folks online called the move (inaudible) or likened it to the Saudi religious police. Liberte Chan should have had the liberty to decide what to wear on the air. That's it for this edition of "Media Buzz". I'm Howard Kurtz.
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