This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," June 19, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On our Buzz Meter this Sunday, Donald Trump tells me that media hostility is partially to blame for the roughest stretch of his campaign. I'll have details of my latest interview with the candidate. And Trump is drawing an avalanche of negative coverage after the Orlando massacre especially after he suggests that President Obama has a hidden motivation on terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Look Howie, we're led by a man that either is -- is not tough, not smart, or he's got something else in mind. And the something else in mind, you know, people can't believe it.
RON FOURNIER, NATIONAL JOURNAL: We have Donald Trump with his first reaction to this, actually, he's got a tweet. He was to give himself a pat on the back. And then, he suggested that the president of the United States is somehow involved in the Orlando terrorism.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: The Republican Party's candidate saying that Barack Obama may have been complicit in the killings of Americans is -- is beyond breathtaking.
PETER JOHNSON, JR., FOX NEWS: Donald Trump is off on another line of attack that somehow the president is sympathetic to Isis and radicals. Well, it doesn't make sense.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Is Trump bringing this on himself or is media biased on the right and the left to blame for portraying his campaign as a train wreck? And, the debate about terror and gun control, Hillary Clinton and President Obama being held to the same standard. Trump bars The Washington Post from his events over a bad headline and boasts about it:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We just took the press credentials away, I love it. We just took the press credentials away from the dishonest Washington Post. I said, why should I have people following me around, sitting up there like big shots, and they write very untruthful stories?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Sharyl Attkisson now whether Trump should be retaliating against media outlets he finds unfair. Plus Bill Hemmer on covering Orlando and how journalists cope with terror and tragedy. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."
I got Donald Trump on the phone on Friday. I asked him about his recent coverage, which he's been rather vocal about lately.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I didn't love the press during the primaries. But now, it's like brutal. These people are so one-sided.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Here's what Trump told me. "The media are very negative toward a Republican, toward a Conservative Republican, and certainly very negative toward me. They don't report my statements properly. They'll use the first quarter of it. There's tremendous hostility from the media." Trump said things have changed since he clinched the nomination, "When I was running against 16 Republicans, it was somewhat unfair but at least you could see it.
Now it's beyond belief. They are protecting Hillary Clinton like you wouldn't believe. I don't think it helps but I'm going to end up winning. I'm going to end up winning big league." So Trump is convinced he's getting a raw deal. I also asked him about yanking The Washington Post credentials over this headline which the paper later softens slightly on its own, "Donald Trump suggests President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting."
Trump says, "At some point I would love to give it back if I'm covered fairly. But that was only an indication of the kind of press they give me. They actually said that I essentially said Obama was in cahoots with this guy that did the killing. It was a horrible headline, an unfair headline." More details later in the program and you can read the full Trump interview in my column on FoxNews.com.
Joining us now to analyze the coverage of this heartbreaking tragedy and its impact on the campaign, Heidi Przybyla, senior political correspondent for USA Today, Kelly Riddell, deputy opinion editor at the Washington Times and Julie Roginsky, a Democratic strategist and co-host of "Outnumbered."
Heidi, Trump has been eviscerated by the media since the Orlando attack and he told me this is media hostility. Whatever mistakes he's made, are -- is the press guilty of piling on at this point?
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: Well, he's had a very bad three weeks with Orlando, with (INAUDIBLE) and then the precipitous pull job (ph), and whenever a candidate at this early in the race is going to have that big of a drop-off, yeah, the media is going to pile on a bit a lot, you know. But is it the apocalypse? I mean is this the end of his campaign? No, that's a dramatization.
There are so many twists and turns to this campaign. But at this early phase in the campaign, you would expect, given what we know about the predispositions, the polarization in this country, you'd expect this to be a much tighter race.
KURTZ: The coverage certainly seems like apocalypse now. Kelly the harshest media criticism by far I would say was Trump kind of insinuating on "Fox & Friends" that Obama is reticent in the war on terror for hidden reasons. Fair or unfair for people to attack him on that?
KELLY RIDDELL, WASHINGTON TIMES: Well, The Washington Post headline on that and let me just -- I have it here, just let me pull it up. It was unbelievable. It basically...
KURTZ: Trump suggest President Obama was involved with Orlando shooting.
RIDELL: Yes. And that is not -- I mean, and it was actually harsher. They took that back, that was the second. I mean, I was linking -- it's basically linking -- saying that Donald Trump is linking Obama directly to the terror that happened in Orlando and that is simply false. You know, there was a study that came out of Indiana University last year that said a mere 7 percent of journalists are Republicans and I think that we've seen this bias come out this week.
For example, The New York Times, the managing editor for standards wrote an e-mail to all of their reporters on Monday saying this is very emotional times please refrain from using social media because we don't want our reporting to come off as biased. Because there's a lot of reporters taking to Twitter voicing their own opinions on what was going on.
KURTZ: We're just taking snappy shots.
RIDDELL: Yes, exactly.
KURTZ: Let me get Julie in here. Which was worse, that Washington Post headline, if you agree that it was not a good headline or Trump making the decision to take away the paper's credentials as punishment?
JULIE ROGINSKY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I thought the headline was incredibly unfair. It's not what Trump said so I think The Washington Post was right to soften it. I still don't think they softened it enough. I still think it was unfair, considering what he said, which is an implication that Obama, in sad way (ph) shape or form, was in cahoots or somehow sympathetic to Isis, but not necessarily that he -- Obama being involved in Orlando.
Having said that, taking away the press credentials of any newspaper especially one like The Washington Post is unacceptable, and what that leads to is the possibility of a president Trump banning outlets that he doesn't like from White House briefing room.
KURTZ: Well he has said -- he has said he wouldn't do that.
ROGINSKY: He said that now, but listen...
KURTZ: Yeah, but a president -- a president says you give credentials to be at the White House, but this is a large group here now, Politico, Huffington Post, National Review, Des Moines Register. Do you want to get in on this question of credentials?
PRZYBYLA: I have to agree with Julie. And if you're looking at what the impact of this is going to be, it's going to have no impact on The Post's ability to actually report on Trump. There are all kinds of live stream coverage. It's the worst kept secret in Washington that one of the reporters who Trump passed to the most is a Washington Post reporter Robert Costas. So, I believe all it's going to do from a political perspective is allow the media to have this righteous stump that they wouldn't otherwise have.
KURTZ: Let's pull back a bit and look at the 49 people who were killed, 53 wounded in this horrible, heartbreaking attack at the Pulse night club in Orlando. When you look at how quickly the finger pointing and ideological warfare began and raged in the media, how much do you think the media has contributed to a sense of polarization?
PRYZBYLA: Well first of all, I think it was the politicians taking to media. It was John McCain blaming the president. It was, however, partly the media the Daily News for example, blaming the NRA. And I think this is just a human reaction in the aftermath of a trauma to want to point fingers. But I do not think that does anything to kind of honor the memory of those who were lost.
What does honor their memory, however, is to pretty swiftly for the mainstream media to start asking questions. Why this happened and how we can prevent it from happening again. Let me just say Howie, the one thing I think we're not covering is, what is at the root of this? What in terms of this new era that we're facing in America, what is causing this radicalization in the United States? Because I think it just is too easy to say this is Isis. He was identifying with Isis.
RIDDEL: I don't -- I mean he declared his allegiance to Isis as he was shooting during the massacre so I don't think that's too much. And if you look on Monday, the press -- other newspaper in America said it was a mass shooting or a massacre. Only two referred to it as a terror and that was The Wall Street Journal" and the L.A. Times in their headlines.
KURTZ: So, let's just think about that...
RIDELL: So, if you look at the...
KURTZ: On the first day there was no dispute that this was a terror that the cops were calling for.
RIDDELL: I know, so why did -- so why did the U.S. papers then, why did Monday's papers basically say that this was a massacre, not link it to Isis. If you look at the headlines from the U.K. papers, every single one of them put Isis as a mad manic -- manic Isis...
PRZYBYLA: He's also pledge his allegiance to the Nusra Front, to the Islamic state or Hezbollah.
RIDDELL: Yes, to all Islamic terror groups.
KURTZ: Let her finish.
PRZYBYLA: Let me finish -- let me finish though -- these are all groups that are fighting each other in Syria.
RIDDELL: But they all have a commonality of believing in Sharia law and being Islamic terrorists.
PRZYBYLA: This is a person -- let me finish please. These are groups that are at -- these are mortal enemies who are at war in Syria. This is a person with a troubled past who had a history of going all the way back to high school. We have to look at what it is in our culture because they are not coming from the Middle East. We are creating them here in the United States.
KURTZ: I need to get Julie back into the conversation. This sort of, it's terror, it's gun control, it's anti-gay, all of this, it happens after every mass shooting, which unfortunately have become all too common. But it seems faster this time. And of course Donald Trump some said ticked it off with some of his tweets.
But then we had his speeches the next day, this is 24 hours after the attack in which Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton didn't mention Donald Trump in her speech, she did hit back the next day. So, what do you make of the media frenzy?
ROGINSKY: You know, what I think is very interesting with the media is you do have this dichotomy between people who say this is gun control, this is a reason to have more gun control, others who are saying we have to crack down on Isis -- what was forgotten largely by the media, not by everybody, but largely, and really not heard as much as this was an attack on the LGBT community.
This was a hate crime, whether you want to blame it on guns or you want to blame it on Isis, against the community that was maligned because of who they are, who are celebrating who they are in a space what they considered safe and the media has completely..--
KURTZ: You think that was forgotten or intentionally played down?
ROGINSKY: I think it was relegated -- I think it was relegated to the back burner.
ROGINSKY: Because I think everybody wants to go with their political hobby horse, whether it's gun control or they want to go to Isis into spreading terrorism. But everybody has forgotten the fact that this is a hate crime against a very oppressed group.
RIDDELL: The New York Times lead editorial on Wednesday was saying that this was a hate crime and they singled out seven Republicans of whom they blamed in the -- in the conservative rhetoric from Christians. I think Christians, I mean, have taken the brunt of the media's blame for you know, their policies on LGBT communities. So I don't think this is left out of the equation at all.
KURTZ: I will have more to say about that. It was an editorial, but still, deeply troubling. Heidi, I don't want to close without mentioning that you got your first interview for USA Today with Hillary Clinton where she claimed (ph) and she used it in part to preview her coming attacks on Donald Trump, is she learning from the trump playbook...
PRZYBYLA: In part.
KURTZ: ...in getting more interviews now?
PRZYBYLA: In part, if you notice, as Trump was kind of retrenching from a lot of these callings, at the same time, she is now adapting that playbook. But at the same time, she's doing something that's very different from him with the media, which is at the same time, he is kind of declaring us as mortal enemies, she's going on this charm offensive because I wasn't the only one that's, who was getting their ten minutes with Hillary Clinton.
KURTZ: And was she charming you?
PRZYBYLA: Well, let me just say when you are that starved when you finally get your ten minutes with her, you know, she can be charming but your instinct as a reporter is to just barrage and that is what I did so I had hoped played into some of the worst media scare types in terms of just hitting her relentlessly with questions. But throughout, yes, you know, remained very polite and very considerate to me so I think it's a very contrasting strategy between the two.
KURTZ: In my interview with Trump he said he was disappointed in Republican leaders who were criticizing him or just -- I think he singled out Mitch McConnell. He said he thought he got a good relation with McConnell. That's kind of opened the door here for journalists to just write a whole bunch of stories quoting on the record of various Republican members of congress and leaders and party officials as a way of getting at Trump.
ROGINSKY: Well, what's interesting about Trump is how undisciplined he is when it comes to dealing with the media. He essentially made this a story and a multi-base story by pointing out that Mitch McConnell has been saying things that are less than flattering and that Ryan has been saying things that are less than flattering and so on and so forth. He now brought attention to it.
When a presidential candidate speaks, the media has a duty and a responsibility to report on it and this is a story that was simmering and it was a story the media was covering. Now that Donald Trump has come out and essentially said it, it was allowing us and everybody else to spend the next three or four days focusing on it, which does not help Donald Trump. So, his lack of discipline is in fact hurting his own message.
KURTZ: Kelly, let me just throw you in a different direction here and you can respond, but the conservative media National Review, Weekly Standard, which opposed Trump during the primaries are sort of in an I told you so mode now and so he has no cheering section with us.
RIDDELL: Well, you know, Hugh Hewitt actually wrote a positive editorial about Donald Trump's response to Orlando and how Hillary Clinton's policies basically are to blame for...
KURTZ: As if to say (INAUDIBLE) said the Cleveland Convention should deny Donald Trump is not...
RIDDELL: And he acknowledge that in his editorial on Thursday. So, there are some people who are in the anti-Trump crowd that can see that Republicans are better leaders when it comes to terrorism. However, there you know, there are -- there is this anti-Trump (INAUDIBLE) for as long as they exist and they're going to be hounded by the press on a daily basis to give their opinions on Donald Trump side.
KURTZ: All right. You can join the conversation on twitter @howardkurtz and you can e-mail us about the media firstname.lastname@example.org. When we come back, Bill Hemmer on the challenge reporting from Orlando on a tragedy of such touch heart wrenching proportions. And later, did CNN's Anderson Cooper cross a line in questioning a Florida Republican about anti-gay bigotry.
KURTZ: As journalists race to a city best known for Disney World after the terror attack at the Pulse night club, Bill Hemmer, the co-host of "America's Newsroom" was among them. Bill Hemmer, welcome.
BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: Howie, good to be with you.
KURTZ: You've been to Fort Hood and Boston after the marathon, you've been to Paris, now to Orlando. Does it get harder being at the epicenter of grief and tragedy?
HEMMER: Well, I tell you, Howie, each one of these carries one familiar feeling. And that is enormous sadness. And it's inescapable. And when you go in to Orlando, it's just like, wow, it's happened again. And you ask yourself, whose next and where? And you know, as a country, we're left to figure this out. But it cannot keep going on like this.
You know, one of the senators, Richard Burr from North Carolina earlier in the week said, "You know, Orlando and San Bernardino, this is not the new normal in America." And I think most Americans would agree with that. They get angry, they get ticked off and for very good reason.
KURTZ: Does it take a personal toll on you? I mean, you're interviewing people at the worst moment of their lives. They've lost loved ones. Maybe they've survived a mass shooting. I know I've been in that situation, I have trouble sleeping.
HEMMER: Yeah. I can only speak for myself, but I tend to keep this at arm's length and I do that because, you need a thick skin and you need to keep the emotions away from you, otherwise you're not going to be able to do your job. You know, it's our job to figure out the facts from the story and there are millions of people across the country and around the world who turn in for that story.
If we allow the emotions to get in the way, I don't think we'd be able to do our job well. I will say, 9/11, different reaction. Really took a toll on me. And of all the other tragedies, I think about the earthquake in Haiti as something that had a profound impact on me. When you go into Haiti and you understand these people have so little to begin with, and now they're beset with this enormous tragedy brought on by Mother Nature, I mean, it really rips your heart out.
But you know, Fort Hood and Boston and Orlando and Paris, it breaks your heart, but if you allow your heart to get in the way of your head and your ability to think, you're going to suffer professionally, I believe.
KURTZ: Was this one different in the sense that Pulse nightclub was the center of gay life in Orlando, that most all the victims were gay? Did it have a different feel than some of the other tragedies you've covered?
HEMMER: Well, I think in a sense it did, Howie. I think you're on to something with that. I would tell you though, when I saw the news on my phone Sunday morning, my first questions were who did it? How many were there? Where are they from? What's their background and what's their history? And I think that those facts are essential to the story.
And some shows, some news organizations have chosen not to show his name or to show his face. In the early days, anyway, we made a decision to do that and we did that because of the things I just stated there, Howie. Is that we need to know in an age of terror where they're from and that's a very important part of this story.
KURTZ: Right. Is it hard when you talk about whether this is a new normal and certainly this probably won't be the last and you have to do this, but is it hard to talk to people who are consumed by grief or have you found that it's cathartic for them? That some of them want to talk, want to share stories of their love?
HEMMER: Great point. Yeah. It's a great point. I agree with the latter. Look, for many of them, yes it's impossible. And you think about, you know, how these people are able to go in to the next day and get out of bed the next morning when such a tragedy comes in to their life. Likewise, I find that when people are given the opportunity to talk about it, that is, in many ways, that's a way for them to grieve.
And I remember down in Orlando seeing a gentleman in the straw hat there all day long, talking with reporting crew after reporting crew. And I eventually went up to him and I said does this make you deal with this easier? And he said it sure does, when I can share my experience with other people. So, I think there's a big part of that involved, yeah.
KURTZ: Bill Hemmer reflecting on the tragedy of Orlando. Thanks very much for joining us, Bill.
HEMMER: Howard, thank you for your time today.
KURTZ: I get bill's point about a new show. We decided on this program not to name the Orlando killer. Not to give him or another would-be terrorist the infamy they might praise. I have more highlight on my Donald Trump interview as he takes on some media outlets and commentaries that he name names. But up next, calling out the media for scoring political points in an Orlando blame game.
KURTZ: I am sick and tired of pundits and politicians launching into the blame game after a terror attack trying to score cheap political points before the bodies are buried. New York's Daily News did just that with this odious cover, "Thanks, NRA." Even if you oppose the NRA stance on gun rights, this kind of blood on your hands sensationalism is really ugly.
The New York Times editorial page in a twisted leap of logic targets the GOP, "Hate crimes don't happen in a vacuum, they occur where bigotry is allowed to fester, driven too often by Republican politicians who see prejudice as something to exploit, not extinguish." The Times here is conflating legislative battles over gay rights and same-sex marriage with the slaughter of gay people. And "The View's" Joy Behar practically indicts Donald Trump for terrorism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOY BEHAR, "THE VIEW" CO-HOST: The thing about Trump though is he's the recruiter in chief. He is -- he is basically working with Isis...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BEHAR: ...to kill us. They are working together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: He is working with Isis. Now, both sides have resorted to this kind of finger pointing. John McCain at least briefly blamed the commander-in- chief for the mass murder.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MACCAIN, R-ARIZ.: Barack Obama is directly responsible for it, because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, Al Qaeda went to Syria, became Isis, and Isis is what it is today, thanks to Barack Obama's failures.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
KURTZ: But the senator, to his credit, soon said he had misspoken and he only meant to fault the president's national security decisions. No such restraint from actor Scott Baio, a Trump supporter, who smeared the president.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SCOTT BAIO, ACTOR: I can't tell, Lester, whether he's dumb, he's a Muslim, or he's a Muslim sympathizer. And I don't think he's dumb.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: A secret Muslim? Really? And Pat Robertson, the one-time presidential candidate said on his 700 Club program that liberals are torn because they like both homosexuals and Islam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVISION EVANGELIST: The left is having a dilemma of major proportions, and I think for those of us who, you know, disagree with some of their promises, the best thing to do is to sit along the sidelines and let them kill themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: The Christian Broadcasting Network released a statement saying Robertson was speaking metaphorically when he spoke of killing. What a relief. It's a shame when commentaries use this strategy to blame anyone, gays, Muslims, Trump, Obama, the NRA, other than the sick and twisted murderer who pulled the trigger.
Ahead, Donald Trump has some strong words for Joe Scarborough after his falling out with "Morning Joe," that's who I interview with the billionaire. But first, the media again putting gun control high on the agenda after a mass shooting. Is the coverage fair?
KURTZ: Media focused heavily on gun control in the wake of the Orlando massacre. The Boston Globe getting lots of attention for this front page with the AR-15 rifle, and said the Democrats mounting a filibuster to force a vote on the issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT PELL, CBS NEWS: It seems hard to justify but people on that terror list are still allowed to buy weapons.
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history continues to have a ripple effect in Washington. Growing calls among Democrats, and now some Republicans, for new gun control measures, including Donald Trump, who says he plans to meet with the NRA.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now back with the panel. Kelly Riddell, of course this Daily News cover, "Thanks, NRA." With the Orlando killer legally buying an assault- style rifle despite the two FBI investigations and the senate filibuster, is the press tilting toward a tightening of gun control?
RIDDELL: Oh, I think there's no question about that. I mean, did you know that more people in the U.S. got killed on an annual basis by blunt objects like hammers and clubs than they did rifles?
KURTZ: But this is a narrow issue we have.
RIDDELL: So basically, I mean, there's no question that they want to push a gun control narrative out there. And that's something that Hillary Clinton wants. That's something that Barack Obama wants. And so this press is sympathetic to those causes and of course they're going to be pushing this narrative much like they have after every, you know, mass shooting that there is.
There's a second amendment right here, whether they like it or not. There's the fifth amendment of due process whether they like it or not and these are constitutional issues that need to be talked about in the press.
KURTZ: Julie Roginsky, it's hard to argue that the media aren't covering President Obama and Hillary Clinton as sort of the good guys in this gun control debate particularly now that's it's narrowed to such questions as if you're on a no-fly list, you're on the terror watch list or certain kind of background checks.
ROGINSKY: Well, I think you're right about due process especially gun control and that's something that's important. Having said that, it's not just Barack Obama and Susan Collins -- excuse me, and Hillary Clinton. It's people like Susan Collins. It's people like Pat Toomey. It's Republican after Republican. It's people like Donald Trump who said this week that we might support of that.
KURTZ: What about the point about whether or not the press seems to be sort of rooting or inciting (ph).
ROGINSKY: You know, I feel like there are two different kinds of press in this country now. There's the press like those that you're talking about and there's the conservative press that's talking consistently about terrorism, and that just signifies the divide among our political bodies that also is part of our process in the media. You know, the media no longer -- we no longer have a clinical mainstream media that espouses an unbiased view. You have the Daily News whose job, granting it's a tabloid, talking about what they're talking about and then you have people on the right in the media who obviously talk about something very different and talk about terrorism.
KURTZ: Well, we should talk about all these issues as my view. But Heidi Przybyla, Donald Trump did sort of break with Republican orthodoxy. I mean, here's the presumptive nominee saying they essentially backing the idea of making it difficult for people on the no-fly list or the terror watch list to buy guns. He didn't seem to give him much credit by that.
PRZYBYLA: I was shocked by that, just a 100 percent major. As someone who covered the gun control issue in congress, no Republican does this and i think it's partly an indication of probably why a lot of his voters like him. Because he had a genuine gut reaction, probably a lot of people, maybe even Donald Trump didn't know that people on the no-fly list can get weapons -- can get weapons and he had this genuine reaction.
But I also want to clarify something from the first segment Howie. I am not blaming the rest of society for home grown terrorists at all. What I am saying is we need to ask more questions about how we can do a better job of identifying these troubled individuals with a documented history, troubled history who are attaching themselves to these ideologies which are kind of inconsistent but they are terroristic in nature.
RIDDELL: Now, to get back to the NRA point, I think that it's extremely unfair, of course the NRA does not want terrorists to have guns, and the insinuation of that by the mainstream media has been gross. Now, John Cornyn has a bill in the senate which all -- a lot of Republicans are gathering around which basically allows the DOJ to have 72 hours to investigate on these people who are on the terror watch list, give them the due process, and then says if there's probable cause that they're going to commit a crime, to deny them these weapons.
So it's an unfair narrative that the media is pushing that Republicans want some sort -- some reason want terrorists to have guns. That's absolutely false.
KURTZ: I don't think everyone in the media is pushing that. I do think that's a good debate. That amendment you mentioned and whether it goes far enough to do justice because justice need more than the 72 hours. But you know, we've had this debate in the media going back to Newtown and before, and usually, we talk about it, and everyone writes about it and it ends in gridlock.
ROGINSKY: Look, we'll see if this time is different. I don't think this time is different. Democrats obviously filibustered this in order to get some concessions to have a vote on the floor. Let's see where this goes. The reality is that we have these debates consistently after every horrible tragedy and yet people are still able to get weapons, though they're on the no-fly list.
And again, I do share with you the due process aspect of this, but whether it's Senator Feinstein who I think has a good solution to this or others, there's got to be a way to address this without having to go back to the drawing board after every single time.
KURTZ: Got to wrap it up there. Julie Roginsky, Kelly Riddell, Heidi Przybyla, thanks for stopping by this Sunday. More now from my phone interview with Donald Trump. I asked having pulled The Washington Post credentials, might he also do the same thing to the New York Times? He didn't dismiss the idea saying, "I think the New York Times has certainly been marginal, hasn't been much better than The Washington Post."
Trump brought up Politico prompting from these credentials have also been revoked and ripped its reporting on tensions in his campaign and with the RNC, "I'll read in these very dishonest places like Politico, I don't even talk to them. They make things up, they're fiction. Politico is fiction." Politico is just implying (ph) to respond.
Now, Joe Scarborough -- who have interviewed Trump many times on his MSNBC morning show has recently been denouncing him over his rhetoric and the temporary Muslim ban. Trump told me he stopped watching "Morning Joe" and said this, "As soon as I won the nomination, he went essentially to the Democrats' side. He won't totally rogue. He was embarrassed to be so high on a Republican. I'm sure MSNBC puts tremendous pressure on him and he wants to keep his job. It's very dishonest in what he's saying."
Well, Scarborough told me this is sad for him and Mickey Brzezinski who had been friendly with Trump, "To see him falling off a cliff, chasing conspiracy theories, suggesting the president is somehow connected with Isis and his continued vilification of 1.5 billion Muslims is un-American." The former Republican congressman also said Trump liked Joe's analysis when he predicted last year that Donald would win the nomination, "If the liberal network MSNBC had influence on us, they certainly would have asserted it and suggested we not be so far out front in our predictions on Donald Trump."
And again, you can read more of my Trump interview on foxnews.com. Ahead on "MediaBuzz," Anderson Cooper confronts Florida's attorney general in the wake of Orlando for not backing same-sex marriage. But coming up, with Donald Trump banning The Washington Post from his events, as we said, Sharyl Attkisson on the ethics of retaliation against the media.
KURTZ: When Donald Trump yanked The Washington Post credentials it was over the newspaper publishing this headline about his questioning President Obama's motivation and not being more aggressive against terrorism, "Donald Trump Suggests President Obama Was Involved With Orlando Shooting." The paper later softening it very slightly to, "Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting." Trump has been boasting about punishing The Post.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They made the statement that I said that Obama, essentially Obama went in and shot the people. I mean, what they do, that is the most dishonest paper. But there are so many dishonest papers. Washington Post is a joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: We called in Sharyl Attkisson the host of "Full Measure" which airs Sunday mornings on Sinclair Television stations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Sharyl Attkisson, welcome.
SHARYL ATTKISSON, FULL MEASURE SHOW HOST: Hi.
KURTZ: So, this Washington Post headline suggests Obama was involved with Orlando shooting. You have a problem with that?
ATTKISSON: Well, in my opinion that's both inaccurate and unfair so yeah, I think that's a problem.
KURTZ: The Post softened it slightly. Didn't retract it or apologize for it, and then that leads Donald Trump to lift the paper's credentials. Over reaction?
ATTKISSON: No, I think there would be very few circumstances in which I would defend pulling a press credential from somebody. I would also say it's not impossible to cover Trump without a press credential. When you have credentials on the campaign trail that allows you, I guess, to get in to a news conference and certain access on planes but it doesn't mean you can't cover the person. So they're still fully able to. But in general I think there are very few times I would defend pulling press credentials.
KURTZ: Now, Marty Baron, press executive editor called this nothing less than a repudiation of a free and independent press, banishing an organization when Trump didn't like the coverage. Trump told me in an interview on Friday he'd love to restore The Post's credentials if he's treated fairly in the future.
ATTKISSON: Well, you know, that's all in the eye of the beholder. And I would say it's going to be a bigger problem if once somebody is an elected official being paid taxpayer money and working in federal buildings, that's when you really cannot do that in my view. Right now, this is -- he's not somebody who is making money off taxpayers, getting a taxpayer salary and working in the White House or a federal building. Not saying he should do it, but I'm saying I think it's within his right before he's a federal official.
KURTZ: Not questioning he has the right to do it, but for a presidential nominee to do that, and by the way he has already banned or revoked credentials for Politico, the Des Moines Register, Huffington Post, National Review, Daily Beast, New Hampshire Union Leader -- does that send a message that he is being tough on the media or that he is resistant to journalistic scrutiny?
ATTKISSON: I think it's more symbolic on this part because they can still cover him.
KURTZ: As he well knows.
ATTKISSON: I think people at home may be wondering, as we discuss this, why can't he, if indeed I'm saying for example I think the headline's inaccurate and unfair, why shouldn't he be able to do that? Well we look at this a little differently as members of the press. We don't want every individual person to judge on their own whether they have the power to do that based on not liking a story.
I would also say this has happened in more subtle forms to me over the years. I've been barred from federal buildings by this administration when I'm a credentialed press person, and I own that building in part. I'm a member of the public. I mean these insidious sorts of barring of the press have been happening for years in ways...
KURTZ: Stories that somebody's not pleased with.
KURTZ: Right. Now, you know, it's standard to not give an interview to an organization and that sort of thing but this is a little different. But if you look at the -- Trump's been running against the press all year -- but if you look at the last few weeks on an avalanche of negative coverage, some of it warranted by his mistakes, some of it about the Republicans who are distancing themselves, is the press piling on? Is the press going a bit too far in almost writing Donald Trump off at this point?
ATTKISSON: It's hard to say. I would -- I would say in general the press has gone further than I've ever seen it as a group in just deciding that the opinions of even what was used to be considered straight news reporters on news organizations and news programs, opinions are welcome. Editorial comments are accepted. That we all kind of agree in this case, it seems, it's okay to pile on as you say, Trump, because everybody agrees. And I think that's not a good attitude to have and I've sensed that a lot...
KURTZ: Everybody agrees you're saying there is a kind of a consensus in the media that Donald Trump is a dangerous and irresponsible candidate and therefore they can cross a linen working for us (ph) before.
ATTKISSON: It's okay to give opinions in this case. I hear people say that but this is a time to stand up. This is different than other times. They seem to feel so strongly personally that they think they can step over the line.
KURTZ: And we always try to find where that line is, at least on this program. Sharyl Attkisson, great to see you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: After the break, we look at Anderson Cooper. Do gay girdles (ph) feel a special anguish over the senseless slaughter of 49 mostly gay Americans and does that affect their coverage?
KURTZ: CNN's Anderson Cooper who publicly came out as gay four years ago choked up as he read the names of the victims in Orlando.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: They're more than a list of names. They're people who loved and were loved. They are people with families and friends, and dreams.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But Cooper also grills Florida's Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi for having argued in court against same-sex marriage. The anchor saying he talked to gay people about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I talk to a lot of gay and lesbian people here yesterday who are not fans of yours, and who said that they thought you were being a hypocrite. That you for years have fought -- you basically gone after gay people and said that in court that gay people simply by fighting for American equality were trying to do harm to the people of Florida, to induce public harm I believe was the term you used in court. Do you really think you're a champion of the gay community?
PAM BONDI, FLORIDA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Let me tell you, when I was sworn in as attorney general, I put my hand on the Bible and was sworn to uphold the constitution of the state of Florida.
COOPER: But do you worry about using language accusing gay people of trying to do harm to the people of Florida when doesn't that send a message to some people who might have bad ideas in mind?
BONDI: Anderson, I don't believe gay people could do harm to the State of Florida.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: I took this up with Guy Benson, political editor of Townhall.com and a Fox News contributor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Guy Benson, welcome.
GUY BENSON, TOWNHALL.COM POLITICAL EDITOR: Good to be here. Thanks for having me back.
KURTZ: Look, I respect Anderson Cooper and I think he's generally fair but in this interview with Pam Bondi, do you think he was acting as more than just an aggressive journalist?
BENSON: Yeah, he seemed like an activist and I share your sentiments and general thoughts on Anderson Cooper. Of course, I only watch Fox all the time, but I've heard he's very good at his job. He's a versatile journalist.
KURTZ: But here?
BENSON: In this circumstance, I thought the line of questioning for the Attorney General of Florida under the circumstances and given the context of what had just happened in that state, it was a bizarre non sequitur and it seemed like he was browbeating her for really unrelated political thought crimes in her past, which did not relate to the task at hand which is roundly condemning the horrific atrocity that happened.
KURTZ: In other words, even if she had gone to court to argue against same- sex marriage in Florida, what did that have to do -- did that make her a bigot?
KURTZ: Was that the underlying premise of Cooper's questioning.
BENSON: It was, it was, and I think that this is -- the only way that this line of questioning makes sense is if your underlying assumption is that any opposition to any form of gay rights legislation is rooted in bigotry or hatred. I happen to disagree with Pam Bondi on most of these public policy questions.
BENSON: I happen to be gay myself, but I don't know what's in her heart. I'm not going to assume that because she defended the state's gay marriage ban, she herself is hateful.
BENSON: And even though she did those things...
KURTZ: But here's the thing, the New York Times has kind of rewarded Cooper with this glowing profile, even though when the accompanying news story said he berated Pam Bondi. Now, would the Times have acted differently if he had berated, I don't know, a gun rights activist?
BENSON: Of course, the Times is the Times. But I think overall, it is so bizarre that a lot of people don't seem to understand that one can be against gay marriage, for example, and be completely gutted and infuriated and reject in the most forceful terms imaginable, violence against gay people. These are two different things.
KURTZ: On that point, I should say that Cooper told the New York Times that I'm not here to push an agenda and he defended his questioning of Pam Bondi as legitimate. But we've been through a lot of these mass shootings, as a gay man, were you struck in a more personal wat that this killer targeted this gay nightclub?
BENSON: Yes. These are gay people targeted because of who they are. They were out carousing with friends, celebrating in what they thought was dancing in a safe area for them, in a culture that's not always been super accepting of gay people, and that's changing which is a good thing.
And they were having drinks, having fun and this person based on and rooted in an ideology and his form of religion, he decided that his anger and hatred and bigotry toward that group of Americans was going to result in their deaths, and he executed 49 fellow gay people, not all of them were gay necessarily, but it is stomach-turning.
KURTZ: And that's true even if the killer turns out to have been gay or lately gay or hanging out at the gay bar, whatever. But what do you make of media coverage and commentary that plays down the fact that 49 mostly gay people were killed there, as not a hate crime as opposed to say the shooting at the Charleston church was clearly was targeted at Christians?
BENSON: We have many indications that this was motivated by Islamic extremism and then I believe it's relatively clear that the motive for choosing the target was based in some sort of hate crime.
KURTZ: I think they treat it on debate...
KURTZ: But you have to have noticed that some outlets and some commentators seem to be kind of dancing around that.
BENSON: There are two things that I feel about that.
BENSON: The first is, there is something good that these are Americans who were killed. It doesn't matter hyphenated Americans...
KURTZ: I agree.
BENSON: That's fine.
KURTZ: I guess you have a point.
BENSON: That being said, I think it's important to note exactly who was killed and why, in this case gay people were the target.
KURTZ: Guy Benson, thanks very much for joining us.
BENSON: My pleasure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Still to come, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Conan O'Brien and others turn serious and somewhat political as they grapple with the aftermath of Orlando.
KURTZ: Late night comedians are supposed to be funny, but that's just not possible in the wake of a terrorist attack. So, after Orlando, what has sadly become something of a ritual, most of them turned serious with some offering their political views on gun control.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SAMANTHA BEE, TBS HOST: Now, after a massacre, the standard operating procedure is that you stand on stage and deliver some well- meaning words about how we will get through this together, how love wins, how love conquers hate, and that is great. That is beautiful, but, you know what? (Bleep) I am too angry for that.
We can't constitutionally get rid of all guns, but can't we get semiautomatic assault rifles out of the hands of civilians? Sam Bee wants to take the guns away. The one that mowed down a room full of people in seconds, yes, I do want to take those guns away.
CONAN O'BRIEN, TBS HOSTI have really tried very hard over the years not to bore you with what I think. However, I am a father of two. I like to believe I have a shred of common sense and I simply do not understand why anybody in this country is allowed to purchase and own a semiautomatic assault rifle. It makes no sense to me.
These -- these are weapons of war, and they have no place in civilian life.
STEPHEN COLBERT, CBS HOST: Even me with a silly show like this. You have some idea of what I will say because even I have talked about this when it has happened before. It's as if there's a national script that we have learned, and I think by accepting the script we tacitly accept that the script will end the same way every time with nothing changing.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: And I'm not going to criticized Samantha Bee, Conan O'Brien or Stephen Colbert and the others. Whether you agree with them politically or not, the aftermath of Orlando was no time for canned jokes. It was time to speak from the heart about is happening all too often in our country.
And that's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz.
Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. Report your buzz, like our Facebook page, send us an e-mail at email@example.com. Stick to the media. I might respond on video. You can also reach me on Twitter @howardkurtz and we appreciate you watching as we try to hold the media accountable. Same time, same place, back here next Sunday 11:00 and 5:00 Eastern. Hope you'll join us then for the latest buzz.
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