Press pans Trump on shakeup, money

Billionaire gets another week of bad press


This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," June 26, 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 fires his campaign manager, barely raises any money, goes off to his golf course in Scotland, and says he's getting pounded by the press.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESUMPTIVE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I have been brutalized by the press for three weeks, and she has had the best week she's ever had and there's very little difference in the polls.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: The implosion of the Trump campaign was continued good news for Democrats with Donald Trump finally firing the campaign manager that no one else ever would have hired.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: When a baseball team is losing, as you know, they fire the manager.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Because honestly a "C" student sixth grader could probably manage a campaign better than the Donald Trump general election campaign was being managed.

JOHN HEILEMANN, JOURNALIST: The fund-raising situation and the money situation in the Trump campaign which basically is abysmal, as bad as any campaign has ever been in the history of our lifetimes in modern presidential politics, it is a campaign basically that's broke today.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: It's a shocking number honestly and it doesn't reflect well on the Trump campaign, no denying that.


KURTZ: But is all of this more of what Trump calls media hostility and is Hillary Clinton getting the same scrutiny? Trump happens to be in the U.K. as Britain stuns the world by voting to leave the European Union and had pressed on his role in supporting Brexit.


KATY TUR, NBC NEWS: Is today's vote here an indicator today for you that your rhetoric and your extreme rhetoric is something you should continue?

TRUMP: I don't know -- I don't think I have extreme rhetoric actually.


KURTZ: Are the media mocking his golf course press conference? Plus, a Democratic sit-in over gun control causes pandemonium in the house and generates a wave of sympathetic coverage.


REP. JOHN LEWIS, D-GA.: We have to occupy the floor of the house until there's action.

SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE PAUL RYAN, R-WIS.: The chair would hope that the business of the House would be conducted in a fashion that respects positively on the dignity and the decorum of this institution to which we all belong.


KURTZ: But don't partisans breaking congressional rules usually get bad press? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

It was a week that began with Donald Trump dumping his fiercely loyal campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski. Then came the federal filings showing that Trump raised just $3 million compared to $26 million for Hillary Clinton, and he had just over $1 million in the bank while she had $40 million. And the two nominees in waiting blistered each other in speeches, Clinton unloading on Trump's economic policy, Trump on Clinton's foreign policy.


HILLARY CLINTON, PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We can't let him bankrupt America like we are one of his failed casinos. We can't let him roll the dice with our children's futures.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton may be the most corrupt person ever to seek the presidency of the United States.


KURTZ: And the week ended with the British vote to exit the European Union and Trump becoming part of the narrative because he was fielding questions from reporters in Scotland when he was re-opening his golf course hours after the election results that stunned the world and forced the resignation of Britain's prime minister.


MCCASKILL: David Cameron said he didn't want to meet you?

TRUMP: Where is David Cameron right now?

MCCASKILL: Nicola Sturgeon wouldn't meet you, the Labor Party wouldn't meet you -- you're regarded as toxic.

TRUMP: No, I think what happened -- I think we have a nasty, nasty guy.


KURTZ: Joining us out to analyze that campaign coverage, Lisa Boothe, columnist for The Washington Examiner and a Republican strategist, Mara Liasson, NPR national political correspondent and a Fox News contributor, and Michael Tomasky, columnist for the Daily Beast. Mara, Trump has gotten a tsunami of negative coverage for all the things I've just shown for another week, the meager fund raising and Corey Lewandowski. Does that coverage go too far?

MARA LIASSON, NPR NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think that Donald Trump would say that he has been able to counteract bad press in the media because he dominates social media, he's able to get his message out, and yes, he's got a tremendous amount of bad press. Some of it might go too far in terms of the kind of negative feeling overall towards Trump in the media. But there are a lot of things that Donald Trump said himself that were another series of self-inflicted wounds.

You didn't have to say something negative about Donald Trump, you just have to report that he went to Scotland and said the dropping of the pound is a good thing for Turnberry because it would mean that a lot more people would come over from the United States, or when asked did he discuss this with his foreign policy advisers, he said there's nothing to talk about.

KURTZ: We'll come back to Brexit, but on the financial front they say no one is saying that having $1 million in the bank is great news for a presidential candidate. But did the media recognize for example that Trump may not need $1 billion?

LISA BOOTHE, WAHINGTON EXAMINER COLUMNIST: Well, I mean, absolutely. If you look at the numbers, I think Hillary Clinton spent something like $220 million to take out Bernie Sanders with a staff of 700, and Donald Trump had less than 100 with $50 million to defeat 16 candidates, but yeah, absolutely that's not something they're talking about, but those numbers aren't good.

I mean, look, I have worked for senate candidates that have posted better numbers than that in a quarter and he's running a national campaign to be president. So, I think the criticism regarding the fund-raising is fair. I do think that, you know, adding some of that extra context as far as how much Hillary Clinton has spent to try to defeat someone like Bernie Sanders would be helpful or at least, you know, make it a little bit more balanced.

KURTZ: Michael Trump says, well, I may just fund the whole campaign myself. There's been a bit of media skepticism about that. What do you make of -- it's not really the fourth straight week of a lot of negative coverage?

MICHAEL TOMASKY, DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: Well, he got about four months of really positive coverage. He got about four months of really --

KURTZ: Really, positive coverage during the primaries? You don't think it was mixed at least?

TOMASKY: It was mixed but what I mean -- what I'm referring to specifically is all the cable networks cutting to his speeches and covering his speeches and preempting regular programming and showing them for 30 minutes to 40 minutes however long he wanted to talk. One company did the study, if you converted all that time -- they added it up -- and if you converted all that time to have bought commercial time, it was worth $2 billion. So, he got a lot of free coverage. He did fine for himself.

BOOTHE: It wasn't all that positive.

TOMASKY: It wasn't all positive, but it was him standing there talking. He did fine for a while. Now, here is the problem now. The press, number one, feels a little bit bad about all that. Number two, they want him to prove that he can act like a president, you know, and then his coverage will turn around.

KURTZ: Before we move on, so you're saying, leaving aside the fact that a lot of that coverage was journalists questioning him, you're saying as in sports, it's a little bit of a makeup call the press felt they were too soft on Trump before and is now being a little...

TOMASKY: That's just my gut, but yes, that's just my gut.

KURTZ: All right. Well, firing a campaign manager a month before the convention, not a great thing, but what did you make of the leaks that came out of a normally tight-lipped campaign where it's Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman who is now running the whole show, he had said it's me or Corey, that Ivanka had said I'm distancing myself in the campaign unless Lewandowski is out. What do you make of those leaks?

LIASSON: Well, it sounds like sometimes the Trump campaign itself can be as undisciplined as its candidate because those were a lot of leaks. You even had Michael Caputo -- he wasn't leaking, he tweeted, "ding dong the witch is dead," you know, he said that.

KURTZ: The staff volunteer who resigned hours later.

LIASSON: Yes, he resigned hours later.  A lot of leaks made it sound like there was a lot of turmoil, but there was something else that did get a little bit of coverage, maybe should have gotten more after Trump gave his blistering speech about Hillary Clinton, a comprehensive, cogent, whether it was based on conspiracy theories or facts.

The point is he finally did lay out the argument against Hillary Clinton and that made a lot of Republicans feel better. He raised a lot of money. He raised like 3 or 4 or $5 million in a couple days.

KURTZ: Yes, maybe it didn't get as much coverage because the media likes insults rather than substance, but losing the campaign manager -- it's not that uncommon with presidential politics. Al Gore had three campaign managers. So you think the way it was portrayed as a catastrophe might have been a little overdone?

BOOTHE: Well, it happens all the time particularly at the moment where you go from a primary campaign to a general campaign. That's often a time that campaign sheds staff, they bring in new people because you're looking at a completely different kind of campaign environment so you need someone that has -- who is more experienced, you know, running campaigns like Paul Manafort is.

So, I think it makes sense to shift from Corey to Paul. I think the coverage of the firing sort of shows the bias in the media in itself. The amount of attention it got especially at a time where you've got a former Hillary Clinton staffer who pled the fifth over 150 times. New revelations regarding her e-mail server and private e-mails, but yet somehow Donald Trump firing a campaign manager, with is standard operating procedure in campaigns, dominates the headlines.

I think that in itself, the coverage that it got and the negative amount of attention that it got, it just shows the bias in the media.

LIASSON: One other little thing, Corey Lewandowski is a character in and of himself. He's generated a lot of controversy in and of itself, with the allegations he manhandled a reporter...

BOOTHE: But I think that was overblown as well.

LIASSON: It might have been but now where every bit of controversy gets completely blown up, he was someone who people had a lot of interest in.

BOOTHE:  And controversies' regarding him and not Hillary Clinton is the problem.

LIASSON: Well...

KURTZ: Yes, but you're just saying that if it had been some sort of faceless campaign manager then we might have moved on. All right, let's comeback now to Trump being in Scotland, the Brexit vote, very wise to promote his golf course, but then he was in position in trying to be the global statesman and he did get into it with a couple reporters including the British reporter who said he might be toxic. By and large, I would say there were negative reviews of Trump on that golf course. Fair or unfair?

TOMASKY: Reasonable, I think. I mean, it was a really strangely timed trip. I mean, its okay. He's still a businessman. He still owns golf courses. Go over there and promote your golf course but the day of that vote? It seemed really silly to me and really just incomprehensible.

Maybe it was intentional but if it was intentional, he at least could have done his homework to the extent of knowing for example how Scotland voted and not putting out that tweet that suggested the Scots were going crazy over this one. They voted against it.

KURTZ: You're saying when politicians -- presidential candidates go abroad, they have meetings with local leaders. He didn't have any of that. He had Turnberry.

LIASSON: No, he didn't have any of that but he used Brexit. He said that Brexit was another vindication for him. He fund raised off it. He said they're taking their country back just like we're going to take our country back. There was no doubt he pushed the narrative that there were parallels between Brexit and the U.S. Campaign.

KURTZ: He wasn't the only one pushing that narratively.  So, the media, there are a number of stories about this, do you think there's a bit of an overreach here? I mean, it's a kind of a tempting story to draw a parallel between what happened in Britain and Trump was pro-Brexit unlike Hillary Clinton Barrack Obama and m most of the establishment U.S. politicians and his own campaign, which has surprised so many people here and whose supporters have often been attacked as being idiotic as the pro-Brexit people, some of them, were.

BOOTHE:  Well I think, obviously, you don't want to overplay the hand at all and typically in the media, we see things over sensationalized. But there are some parallels in the sense you've got, you know, faceless bureaucrats in Brussels dictating everything from toasters to tea kettles and, you know, people in the United States feeling that there's been this heavy hand of federal overreach going into their everyday lives.

So, I think some of those parallels are similar, that anti-establishment sentiment or frustration with open borders, this feeling that, you know, their country has gotten further away from, you know, who they felt that they should be as a nation.

KURTZ: So you think it's perfectly appropriate for the press to point out what you see as strong parallels?

BOOTHE: I think there are some parallels. I mean, does that mean anything for the November, you know, for the general election? Probably not. Who knows? But I think some of the parallels that were being drawn, that's fair.

LIASSON: But, you know, for every one of those stories, I read another one that said, wait a second, there are a lot of differences and it might not be direct. So, I think the press coverage on this was pretty nuanced.

KURTZ: All right, well, our Fox News colleague George Will, long time prize winning syndicated columnist made a little news. He talked about it today on Fox News Sunday saying he's leaving the Republican Party. Let's take a look.


GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I left it for the same reason I joined it in 1964 when I voted for Barry Goldwater. I joined it because I was a Conservative. I leave for the same reason, that I'm a Conservative.


KURTZ: Is this important in the sense of being symbolic since George Will has been a very high-profile conservative commentator for decades?

TOMASKY: Yes, I think it is. I mean, what percentage of Americans know George Will and I don't say that to demean him, but you know, it's just like he was on ABC for decades.

KURTZ: Yes, that's a pretty well known guy.

TOMASKY: Yeah, okay. So, maybe a lot of people know the guy and I think he's very well respected among Republicans and Conservatives. So, yes, I think once he says that, I think others say it too.

KURTZ: And Will made no secret of the fact that he's doing this because of Donald Trump. He's telling the Republican Party to make sure Trump loses, don't give him money. Not saying that armies of people are going to follow him, but it certainly grabs your attention.

LIASSON: Shows you how disunified the Republican Party is, Conservative intellectuals, a lot of columnist. Will might be one of the most prominent among them and he actually said he's leaving the party. But if you read Charles Krauthhammer or Michael Gerson, I mean, pretty similar sentiments and it just shows you that Trump hasn't unified the party.

KURTZ: And @realdonaldtrump saying on Twitter, "George Will one of the most overrated political pundits who lost his way long ago." Still punching back.

BOOTHE: Yes he is, and that should be expected. Does anyone think he wasn't going to? But yeah, it certainly plays into this narrative of disunity in the Republican Party in which, you know, there obviously is somewhat undeniable and, yes, certainly when you have someone high profile like George Will or Charles Krauthammer, conservatives that a lot of Republicans respect, that does not send the right message and it does end up hurting Donald Trump.

KURTZ: There is a real split in the GOP and in the conservative media which we talk about here a lot. George Will always an example of that. All right, panel, we'll see you in a bit. When we come back, Katrina Pierson responds to all this for the Trump campaign.

And later, why did the house Democratic sitting on gun control get such glowing coverage?   


KURTZ: Donald Trump drawing mostly negative coverage again this week. Joining us from Dallas to respond is Katrina Pierson, a spokeswoman for the campaign. Thanks for joining us Katrina. Trump says he's been brutalized by the coverage. He used that word, but surely you'd agree that firing a campaign manager and raising only $3 million in the month of May is fair game for media scrutiny?

KATRINA PIERSON, TRUMP CAPMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: Well, it would be fair game for scrutiny if they were reporting it in its accurate context. I mean, with regards to Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump himself said that he just wanted to go a different direction. This was a business decision, not a political one. They both gave interviews speaking highly of each other and Corey Lewandowski is still promoting Mr. Trump to this day but the media insisted there had to be a villain involved.

KURTZ: I see. We looked at the fact checking of both Hillary Clinton's big speech this week and Donald Trump's speech this week. We found more media efforts to scrutinize what Trump had said, and he in particular seems to take issue with CNN's fact checking efforts. He tweeted that the Clinton news network as he called it is losing all credibility. Do you think CNN and the other news media organizations have been fair in their fact- checking efforts?

PIERSON: Absolutely not, particularly last week after Mr. Trump's speech. The anchors and the reporters at CNN didn't even wait for their official, "fact checker" before they proceeded to defend Hillary Clinton after Mr. Trump's speech.  And they went as far as to try to explain away some of the criticisms that Mr. Trump gave, questions that they won't even ask her themselves.

KURTZ: What do you think explains this if you see that as tilting to one side as you clearly do?

PIERSON: Well, I think what needs to happen is Mr. Trump has already stated that he's going to have to continue to bypass the media to take his message to the public. And these CNN fact checkers, I mean, I thought last week was pretty beside themselves when they actually went to Hillary Clinton's defense. Even a commentator wanted to discredit "Clinton Cash," the book that explains all of the corruption involved at the Clinton Foundation and returning political favors while she was Secretary of State. That stuff needs to be out there and the public needs to know.

KURTZ: You say Trump may have to in many ways bypass the media, but he's still doing a lot of interviews both with newspapers and television, so he is continuing what he did in the primaries which is also to engage the media. You're not suggesting that is going to change, are you?

PIERSON: Absolutely not. He's going to continue to talk to the media because at least if he is talking to the media, they can't say he said something he didn't say. Even though they'll try to twist it and do what they do best, which is create their own narrative, Mr. Trump is going to continue to make himself available to the media and the public because at the end of the day Mr. Trump's policy versus Hillary Clinton's policies are going to make all the difference in the lives of Americans.

KURTZ: The press largely I think criticized Mr. Trump for taking the trip to Scotland for the golf course, and then after the Brexit vote saying that a sinking British pound when asked about that would help his Turnberry golf course. The criticism there was he was making it all about him. Your response?

PIERSON: Well, it wasn't really about him. It was about Scotland in general, and he said that. There's going to be a lot of business that goes there, which I think is really important. Mr. Trump's response was the response of a successful businessman. He was very supportive of Brexit simply because the people should get to decide their future, and that's exactly what happened in the U.K.

It's going to happen all over the world, and it's going to happen in the United States. We too have our own burdening elites that are trying to tell Americans how to live their daily lives. What they can and can't eat or how much money they can make, and that is completely impossible in this country. Mr. Trump was simply stating a fact, and that is that Scotland will see more business.

KURTZ: All right. Let me read you a couple of newspaper leads. "Washington Post," these are about the upcoming Cleveland convention -- "Dozens of Republican Convention delegates are hatching a new plan to block Donald Trump at this summer's party meetings in most organized effort so far to stop the businessman" and "New York Times," "The Trump campaign and the RNC moving quickly and aggressively to head off a fledgling effort to stage a revolt at the convention." Our John Roberts asked Donald Trump about this in Scotland yesterday. Let's take a look.


JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is a real campaign now among certain number of delegates to the convention to unbind delegates to try to stop you from becoming the nominee at the convention. What do you say about what's going on?

TRUMP: It's all made up by the press.

ROBERTS: No, it's not.

TRUMP: They can't do it legally.


KURTZ: So, these efforts I think probably have only a minuscule chance of getting anywhere but it's not all made up by the press as I just read to you. People are on the record talking about organizing against Trump in Cleveland.

PIERSON: Well, yes. There are a handful of people who are educated adults that want to take their ball and go home because their guy didn't win. At the end of the day, it's a very small number. Mr. Trump has the delegates to win. It's going to be an amazing convention. Mr. Trump has brought in the most votes in a GOP primary ever, and he has brought in more people to the party.

This is what the party has been saying that they've need and it is exactly why the RNC is supporting Mr. Trump, why they're doing joint efforts now, because he does want to help down ballot races, and Mr. Trump really is going to take his message to the general at the convention and show that Hillary Clinton's policies would be abysmal for the economy and for national security.

KURTZ: All right, well we'll see you in Cleveland, Katrina. Thanks very much for being here.

PIERSON: Thanks, Howard.

KURTZ: All right, we'll look at the fact checking of those big speeches by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Did both candidates get equal scrutiny? But up next, how many British papers helped the divorce from the European Union and why the global media was just shocked by this story?


KURTZ: Media outlets around the world seem surprised by Britain's vote to abandon the European Union even though the polls had been very tight.


BILL NEELY, NBC NEWS CHIEF GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT: Make no mistake, this is the biggest political shock in Britain in half a century. Every political party here, big business, trade unions wanted Britain to stay, the people decided otherwise.

MARK PHILLIPS, CBS NEWS SENIOR FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it would be hard to overestimate both the shock and the consequences of this vote.

ROBERTS: Stunning as well because yesterday people thought that the remain vote was going to win because there was a YouGov poll out that showed exactly the opposite of what happened.


KURTZ: Stunning, shocking. It was rather like many journalists remained in denial about Donald Trump who supported Brexit and his chances of winning the Republican nomination. But many British papers, especially the tabloids and anti-Europe drum beats have been growing louder for years. Look at these headlines just before the vote.

"The Sun" urging a vote for Independence Day from the crushing light of the Brussels machine. "Vote Leave Today" begged the "Daily Express." The "Daily Mail" pushed the leave campaign's line with "Nailed: Four big E.U. Lies." "The Daily Mirror" one of the few major outlets against leaving Euroepe, "Don't take a leap into the dark. Vote Remain Today."

While former "Times of London" editor Martin Fletcher writing in "The New York Times" said that in these partisan anti-Europe papers, "editors only wanted reports about faceless Eurocrats dictating the shape of the cucumbers that could be sold in Britain, or plots to impose a European superstate or British prime ministers fighting plucky rather-guard actions against hostile continent."

Fletcher pointed to recent headlines in for example the "Daily Mail," "Ten Bombshells the E.U.'s Keeping Secret Until After You've Voted" and "Greediest Snouts in the E.U. Trough." But the BBC was largely a voice of the London elite, which strongly favored the Remain campaign and came under fire for booking guest -- more guest to preserve the marriage with the E.U.


CHARLES GASPARINO, FBN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: I watch BBC. I have never seen so much propaganda for an issue be rebuffed by popular will than I saw it here. The BBC was an endless reel of pro-Remain.


KURTZ: Some British journalists denigrated the Leave supporters as immigrant-hating yahoos. One British journalist writing in the "The Washington Post," the Brexit debate has made Britain more racist. Fusion's Felix Salmon writing after the vote, "Make no mistake, this was a racist campaign. Before the Brexit vote, I didn't believe it could happen here."Well, it did happen in the United Kingdom and journalists who were shocked need to examine why they thought it was unthinkable.

Ahead on MEDIA BUZ, CNN hires Corey Lewandowski immediately after his firing by the Trump campaign. Really? But first, a media fact checking Donald Trump's big speech. Hillary Clinton's not so much.


KURTZ: After Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump gave major speeches attacking each other this week, the media were filled with fact checking pieces and analyses, mostly about Trump. Some of these questions came up in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt.



TRUMP: It happened all during the day and was going on for a long period of time.

HOLT: I guess what I'm asking were you...

TRUMP: It was just -- it was going on for a long period of time, and she was asleep at the wheel, whether she was sleeping or not. Who knows if she was sleeping?

HOLT: But is there any evidence that it was hacked other than routine phishing?

TRUMP: I thing I've read that and I heard it and somebody...

HOLT: Where?

TRUMP: ...also gave me that information. I will report back to you. I'll give to you.


KURTZ: Back to the panel, just to clarify, the first question was about Trump saying that Hillary Clinton had been asleep during the Benghazi attack when four Americans were killed. The second one, of course, was about whether there had been Russian hacking or other hacking of her e-mail server. So Mara, what do you think of those exchanges and do you believe that Trump gets fact checked more aggressively and then there's Hillary Clinton.

LIASSON: There's no doubt Trump gets fact checked more aggressively. This is a real challenge for the media. I mean, he says a lot of things that aren't backed up by evidence, and the fact checking departments are actually overwhelmed, and she tends to deliver her attacks by repeating outrageous things that he has said. Those are easy.

You don't have to fact check those. Those are just things that he says. But, yes, he's under more scrutiny. That's a pretty classic example. He said her e-mail server was hacked. Pretty simple question, what's your evidence? He didn't have it.

KURTZ: He said I'll come back to you.

LIASSON: I'll come back to you.

KURTZ: All right, so now somehow it looks like "The Washington Post" fact checked both. The "New York Times" fact checked (ph) Trump's speech and did not do anything on Hillary that we could find.  CNN did a sizable on air fact check about Trump. A few sentences with one challenge on Hillary so, are you finding this unbalanced?

BOOTHE: Absolutely. I mean, the organizations that are doing the fact checks are only as impartial as the individuals who are doing the fact checking themselves. If you look at studies by George mason University, they found during President Obama's second term despite controversies like Benghazi and the IRS, that organizations like PolitiFact were three times more likely to find Republican statements and claims false than they were for Democrats.

Now, I know as someone who's worked on Republican campaigns, you get to a point where you just stop responding to PolitiFact because even though the information you're giving them is true, the best you're going to get is a half true. I mean, you look at your Democratic counterpart, they're rating everything true.

They're very, you know, not very often are they rated anything false so, you know, it certainly -- you certainly see a lot of bias with those organizations. KURTZ: Well it's fair to attack the fact checkers, but when you have no fact check on a major Hillary Clinton speech, it's harder for me to defend.

TOMASKY: Yeah, there should be fact checking. I mean, I think everybody should be fact checked. I think this thing that I guess CNN first started to do about the realtime fact checking along the bottom of the screen when Trump spoke, I think that's a great idea.

KURTZ: I do too.

TOMASKY: I guess you do it for everybody, but let me just say, I mean, Trump deserves a tougher fact check because he just says stuff that pops into his head. He does.


TOMASKY: And in the speech -- and in the speech, when he said, for example, that Hillary Clinton -- all the turmoil in the Middle East is directly her responsibility. It's that kind of sentence that just makes people go what are you saying?

BOOTHE: We have someone like Hillary Clinton -- never in history has a major party nominee have been facing a federal criminal investigation by the FBI. We have someone like Hillary Clinton...

KURTZ: No, no, no, don't go there. Go to fact checking.

BOOTHE: I am. I'm talking about that. I'm going to get to that. Because you have said -- given the amount of lies that she has told in relation to the private e-mail server -- the private e-mail...

KURTZ: That hasn't been extensively covered by the press.

BOOTHE: Not to the extent of Donald Trump's comments.

LIASSON: He used to bring it up (ph).

BOOTHE: Let's talk about some of the things that, I mean, I agree that Donald Trump says silly things that deserve fact checking but we're talking about real credible issues that have to deal with national security, and either those things get priority.

KURTZ: Yes, I think there was just not (ph) a lot of coverage.

LIASSON: But this is where Republicans that I've talked to are incredibly frustrated. There is a case to be made against Hillary Clinton. She has said things about her server like, "oh, I asked, it was okay, other people did it," that have now turned up because of the IG report to be contradicted. He didn't put that in his speech. He just goes for the wild conspiracy theories. He doesn't lay out the argument that is there...

KURTZ: Well, I'm sure you're not saying it's all wild conspiracy theories.

LIASSON: Not all of it.

KURTZ: Look, all politicians engaged in exaggeration and embellishments or in Hillary's speech she gave Trump's old position on minimum wage and then she gave her new position on a tougher stance toward trade deals, so sometimes it's by omission.

Before we go, Bernie Sanders is still running for the Democratic nomination last time I checked. This came up on MSNBC. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator, if you've accepted the arithmetic of the race and you realize that she's likely to become the nominee, why not withdraw from the race?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Why would I want to do that when I want to fight to make sure that we have the best platform that we possibly can?


KURTZ: Should the press stop covering Bernie Sanders so heavily now that he says Hillary will win the nomination but he's not quiiting?

TOMASKY: I think they have stopped covering so heavily...

KURTZ: It is a fait accompli.

TOMASKY: ...and yeah, because it's done but I don't think they should stop covering him totally. Obviously he's going to want to do his thing up to the convention so, yeah, its news. He's news. He got 12 million votes.

KURTZ: Just briefly I don't think he wants to give up the spotlight. This is not a senator who got a lot of media attention before he ran for president.

BOOTHE: No. I mean, he's loving this. I mean, the amount of money that he's been able to raise. This is someone who has been a back bencher in congress for decades now and now he has a platform and he has a platform at the Democratic Committee because we know he has five people to Hillary Clinton's six on the party platform committee.

KURTZ: Philadelphia is going to be as interesting as Cleveland, mark my words. All right, Mara Liasson, Lisa Boothe, Michael Tomasky, thanks very much for stopping by this Sunday. Coming up, house democrats take over the floor in what the GOP at least calls a publicity stunt. How much do gun control influenced the coverage? And later, why the press scoffed at Donald Trump jetting off to his golf course in Scotland, more on that.


KURTZ: Once the initial shock of the Orlando massacre began to wear off, the media's attention increasingly focused on gun control measures even though the killer on this case bought his weapons legally. The coverage mushroomed as the Senate voted down four gun measures, two sponsored by lawmakers from each party and exploded when Democrats took over the house floor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am talking about...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Radical Islam killed those poor people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sitting down to take a stance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: House democrats hold a sit-in to demand a vote on gun control.

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: The time for silence and patience is long gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unprecedented demonstration, dozens of Democrats today calling for a vote on gun control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An extraordinary scene, Peter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The dramatic and unprecedented nature of this tactic makes this the biggest domestic policy story in the country right now by a mile.


KURTZ: Did the Democrats get a whole lot of positive press for what Paul Ryan called a publicity stunt? I sat down with Susan Ferrechio who covers Congress for the "Washington Examiner" and Simon Rosenberg president of The New Democratic Network.


KURTZ: Susan Ferrechio, Simon Rosenberg, welcome. This was a media coup, as the press played up the drama, and you were there, was there much emphasis on the Democrats hardly (ph) breaking the rules?

SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT:   Almost none. I was in the scrum of reporters who are asking questions of the Democratic leaders and nobody said you're breaking the rules here. Is this how it's going to be in the future when you disagree with the legislation, to sit on the floor and take things over? And so I asked the question and I got a lecture from the minority leader of the house, you know, wagging his finger at me saying this is a really important issue and it justifies our action.

KURTZ: Get with the program. Simon, you have to admit the media bought into the whole civil rights analogy, sit-in, John Lewis, we shall overcome. Basically it was a minority party insisting on a vote.

SIMON ROSENBERG, NEW DEMOCRATIC NETWORK FOUNDER: Yeah. I think Paul Ryan blew it by turning off the cameras because it created conflict. It allowed the whole thing to escalate and the Democrats caught the wave by using this alternative technology, the periscope and facebooking and all of a sudden it became interesting and the truth is no one has heard from the house democrats in years, right? So this was the first time in sort of a fair and balanced nature of our town sometimes, right, that sort of gave the Democrats 24 hours to do their thing.

KURTZ: The importance of twitter's periscope is that when the house is tackling (ph) on session, C-SPAN can't have the cameras on. C-SPAN doesn't control those cameras and so, this was a kind of (inaudible) daylight which apparently is very popular on C-SPAN. So, how much of the coverage in your view was influenced by the fact that the subject was -- the deadly serious subject of gun control which the media care a lot about?

FERRECHIO: That's true, and everyone felt it was sort of justified because there's been no gun control action. You look at the polls, lots of people say we want gun control. We want to stop terrorists from buying guns, but nobody is polled on the specific ideas offered by Democrats versus Republicans. Both sides have offered ideas.

So what was missing here in the media coverage are the ideas that the Republicans have put forward that the Democrats have blocked. There's no discussion about that. It's just all about, well geez, there's been no action on gun control, this may be the only way to get to it.

KURTZ: You know the MSNBC was almost wall to wall. "The Huffington Post,"   the liberal "Huffington Post" had this banner headline, "Dems Give Them Bloody Hell."  And so when Paul Ryan called it a publicity stunt, it was almost sort of covered as an obligatory, and on the other hand the GOP says the Dems are just doing this for show.

ROSENBERG: Again, the amazing thing to me is the Democrats stopped, right. I mean, they showed a remarkable discipline because I think they had a really good 24 hours. If they had pushed it any further, I think the news coverage would have turned very negative on them.

KURTZ: But Simon let me push you a little further. Did they have a really good 24 hours because basically most of the press was buying into their narrative rather than viewing this as a stunt?  And by the way, both parties do stunts. The Republicans have done things like...

ROSENBERG: I mean, the Republicans shut the government down, shut DHS down.

KURTZ: It wasn't a stunt but a filibuster is a stunt that's allowed by the rules, by the way. So, were you surprised? I know you're plead, but were you surprised that the Democrats in the house were getting such good press over this action that wasn't going to lead to anything?

ROWSENBERG: Again, I think it had to do with in some ways it was serendipitous. I mean , I think it was going to not get any coverage at all and then they found this alternative ways of getting their message out.

KURTZ: Do you think if it had not been for the live streaming on periscope that the story would have been a yawn?



ROSENBERG: Because it was interesting, right.  I mean, it was -- you know, all of a sudden you had C-SPAN covering things through periscope on the floor. They had never done that before, right. It became the manipulation of this new media itself became the story past the original sit down, right. And so, I think, the Dem, Democrats are not always the most disciplined crew. I think the fact this they called it off allowed them to...

KURTZ: So when Republicans refuse to have a vote on Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court, they were kind of portraying the press largely as obstructionist. Ted Cruz filibustered the obstructionist. Now, the Democrats didn't get tagged with the label even though they were stopping the house from doing business spending bills and so forth.

FERRECHIO: Now, it was all framed in a very favorable light. It got some headlines here from back when Ted Cruz was filibustering. This was phony ObamaCare filibuster. That's a headline...

KURTZ: That's a news story (ph).

FERRECHIO: On a news story. Then we have Ted Cruz finally releases his grip on the senate floor.  

KURTZ: Well, I'm all John Lewis, the Democrats, any political party trying to seize the moment and get the coverage, be in front of the cameras. But if the Democrats had actually gotten a vote, they would have lost and the story would have been over a lot sooner. Simon Rosenberg, Susan Ferrechio, thanks very much for joining us.


KURTZ: Let us know what you think, After the break, Donald Trump tends to his revamped golf course in Scotland and the press sees a double bogey, more on that next.  


KURTZ: Donald Trump may have been in Scotland just as the stunning Brexit results came in but at first he mainly wanted to talk about the reason for his trip, promoting the reopening of his Turnberry golf course.


TRUMP: We've made certain changes to the course, and in addition to that we fully renovated the course. Brand new sprinkler system, the highest level. Many of the holes have been jiggered and made even longer and new greens, new everything, and yet it's the same Turnberry.


KURTZ: Joining knee now from New York is Caitlyn Huey-Burns reporter for RealClearPolitics. Great to see you.


KURTZ: So Donald Trump was -- made some brief comments about Brexit and then to the frustration of the networks, some of which caught away he launched into an disposition on the glories of his Turnberry golf course. A "Washington Post" report says it was a surreal ribbon cutting and Trump did not seem to understand the gravity of the U.K. decision. Is that sort of coverage unfair?

HUEY-BURNS: Well, it was interesting because when Trump touched down into Scotland, he praised the vote and as we know, of course, Scotland is one of the few places that voted overwhelmingly against leaving the E.U. so there was some criticism to be had there. And Trump also before addressing the E.U. vote launched into a real promotion of the renovations made to the golf resort he was at.

KURTZ: Good sprinkler system.

HUEY_BURNS: ...which was the reason for his trip. Right, exactly, the best in the world, right? So he started off by that and then launched into his take on the vote. And it should be noted that Trump was opposed to the U.K. remaining in the E.U. He had said that before in interviews, but this is also a case of, you know, he was in the right place at the right time, and it wasn't a foreign policy expedition that presidential candidates traditionally take.

KURTZ: So was he lucky in a way because here he suddenly live news coverage on cable news about this momentous decision by the U.K. because initially the reporting was all like what is Donald Trump doing taking days off the campaign trail to go to Scotland for a golf course promotion?

HUEY-BURNS: Right. There was a lot of discussion about whether he should be going, and there was discussion within the campaign and critics were wondering whether this was the right choice to be making at this time, and Trump went ahead with it anyway. And so his supporters said, look, he's in the heat of the biggest political story of the moment, and so from his supporters' perspective and eventually from the campaign's perspective it was the right decision. But it did invite a lot of criticism.

KURTZ: Right.

HUEY-BURNS: First, you know, it wasn't a foreign policy expedition. He said that he was talking with his foreign policy advisers while he was over there but also said there was really nothing to talk about.

KURTZ: He didn't advertise it as being a foreign policy trip. I've got about half a minute Caitlyn so let me ask you, in this hyper speed universe we live in now, the fact that he was there in Scotland on the ground, holding forth (ph) on Brexit, does that kind of push to the side or wipe away the previous coverage about the firing of his campaign manager and the trouble with fund-raising?

HUEY-BURNS: I think that will continue because we're still waiting to see what the fallout from that is. We're getting a wave of new polls today by a variety of different sources. The campaign, you know, changes day to day. We'll see if the firing and this kind of new Trump that the campaign has been promoting -- he gave a speech last week criticizing Clinton.

We'll see what his campaign schedule is, whether he'll campaign in battleground states. He's going to have to raise money -- has already shown that he's starting to raise money online which is something that they didn't do. So, change is being made and I think that will all help inform this context.

KURTZ: All right, great to see you. And those new polls show Hillary with a 12-point lead or a five-point lead depending on whether you're looking at the "Washington Post" or NBCs "Wall Street Journal." Still to come, a published rumor about Clarence Thomas gets shot down big time and what do we make of CNN's new contributor, Cory Lewandowski?    


KURTZ: It was little more than a rumor story, "Washington Examiner" columnist Paul Bedard reporting that Clarence Thomas is, "mulling retirement after the election" according to court watchers. Well, Justice Tomas' wife, Ginni Thomas knocked that down on facebook saying, "Unsubscribe from those false news sources and carry on with your busy lives. It is bogus. Paul Bedard needs to find a phone in his life and unnamed sources are worth as much as their transparency is." Ouch. Bedard did cover her denial in his column but whatever happened to making a phone call for phone comment?

CNN has hired a brand new political contributor, Corey Lewandowski, seemingly seconds after Donald Trump fired him as campaign manager.  Well, no luck (ph) o Corey but this is a sad move by CNN because Lewandowski who hailed his dismissal with class, has made clear he doesn't plan to utter a negative syllable about his ex-boss. Here's his CNN interview before he was hired.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Somebody tuning in to watch this might be thinking that they are, you know, on another planet because you're making it seem like everything was really great.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The campaign is moving in the right direction. That's the most important thing.


KURTZ: And here is Lewandowski's first interview once on the CNN payroll with Erin Burnett who asked about his firing.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Do you feel angry?

LEWANDOWSKI: I don't. I feel honored. I feel honored to have been part of changing the American political system for the rest of our lives and hopefully so much further.


KURTZ: Lewandowski insists he'll calls balls and strikes as he sees them but even if he wants to criticize Trump, he really can't because he signed a non-disclosure agreement as Burnett pointed out promising not to demean or disparage Trump. Now, lots of former operatives work for cable news channels these days but even leaving aside Lewandowski's rough relations with some reporters and the Michelle Fields grabbing incident, I just don't see will this help CNN's credibility in covering Donald Trump.

Well, that's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. We hope you like our Facebook page. We post a lot of original content there. Write to us, you could become part of Your Buzz, Stick to the media. Let me know what you think on twitter @howardkurtz. We'll look for you online and continue the conversation and we are back here next Sunday, same time, same place at 11:00 and 5:00 eastern with the latest buzz.

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