Will Hillary get Trump treatment?

Little media buildup for DNC


This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," July 24, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: We are live in Philadelphia, at the Democratic Convention, where Hillary Clinton and her new running mate Tim Kaine will be ready to counter the Republicans' week in Cleveland in the face of new and embarrassing e-mails hack of the DNC that's already shattering the facade of party unity.

Clinton's announcement followed a GOP convention that most of the media portrayed as a badly managed mess and Trump's lengthy prime time speech which were mostly negative reviews from the press and the pundits.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I will tell you the plain facts that have been edited out of your nightly news and your morning newspaper.

VAN JONES, CNN: What Donald Trump did tonight was a disgrace. He was describing some "Mad Max" America.

MATT LAUER, NBC: This wasn't the "Shining City on the Hill, this wasn't "Morning in America." He sounded like a wartime president last night.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: It was just very dark.

NICOLLE WALLACE, NBC NEWS: The Republican Party that I worked for, for two decades, died in this room tonight. We are now represented as a party by a man who believes in protectionism, isolationism, and nativism.

BRIAN KILMEADE: That was as impassioned as I've seen him period and as focus. I think if he had a message it got across.

TODD: Did you think it was a little dark?

TRUMP: No, I thought it was very optimistic. To me, it was an optimistic speech because...

TODD: What makes it optimistic?

TRUMP: Because we're going to solve the problems.


KURTZ: The big story today, WikiLeaks has dumped nearly 20,000 hacked e- mails from the DNC. They show party officials trying to spin journalists but also how some treated Bernie Sanders with utter disdain. CFO Brad Marshall writing in May talking about Bernie Sanders, "Can we get someone to ask his belief? Does he believe in a God? He had skated on saying he has a Jewish heritage. I think I read he is an atheist."

Joining us now to analyze the convention coverage here in Philadelphia is Tucker Carlson, co-host of "Fox & Friends Weekend" and editor of The Daily Caller; Kirsten Powers, a Fox News analyst and columnist for USA Today and James Rosen, Fox News chief Washington correspondent.  

I will also look at the big story involving Fox News events surrounding the resignation of Chairman Roger Ailes in just a few moments. Tucker, why is the press not going utterly haywire over these leaked e-mails that show that what Sanders and his people said all along was true, that Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her DNC were trashing him and helping Hillary?

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS: It's a great story. It confirms what the Bernie people have said for months was the real reason. I can only go on intuition, but the question I've been asking myself the last years, when did the press see it as their role to protect the prerogative of the powerful? Actually I think that's part of it.

They identify with Hillary Clinton. They're from the same class, from the same world. They disdain (ph) assumptions. Bernie Sanders is this kind of weird, elderly guy with nose hair, they don't relate to him at all, and in the end their gut instincts have kicked in and they're on her team. That's my personal view. Can't prove it.

KURTZ: DNC official Brad Marshall has apologized for writing this e-mail about Sanders. And Debbie Wasserman Schultz as we've just announced recently is not going to speak at this convention because she is such a divisive symbol. So, I don't see this on the front page of the New York Times and Washington Post. I searched the New York Times homepage and finally found it at the bottom of some menu. Should this be a bigger story?

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS ANALYST: It should be a bigger story. I suspect it will become a bigger story because they're going to be pressured into covering it. What is the explanation for it? It's a huge story. When you have -- you had the Bernie Sanders people making this accusation for the entire election season demanding that she step down, saying that Hillary, you know, should basically get rid of her.

And now they have it in black and white. I mean, it's incontrovertible. I think incontrovertible before frankly, that the DNC was carrying water for Hillary, but now, there's no getting around it.

KURTZ: It really was kind of obvious in the debate schedules and everything else, but the way -- the disparaging way which they talk about Bernie Sanders in these e-mails. And by the way, I'm not a fan of hacked e-mails and I think it's terrible and it goes to any organization to find embarrassing e-mails, but is this -- I guess the question is we - the press has kind of describing Democratic Party as being together now, unity, it's going to be a great four days in Philadelphia. Does this really crack that?

JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS: Well, I was covering the DNC Rules Committee session yesterday where we (ph) had this big fight over the role of superdelegates in the Democratic Party, and the Sanders wanted them eliminated or their power constrained and the Clinton folks were fighting all of that.

And it was clear to me just being in the room that these WikiLeaks e-mails had cast a sinister poll (ph) over the entire thing and early attempts to broker a deal between Robbie Mook, the head of the Clinton campaign and Jeff Weaver, the head of the Sanders campaign, I was told to have gone south precisely because of these WikiLeaks e-mails.

KURTZ: There are also journalists in these e-mails. So, Politico's Ken Vogel had sent to DNC a copy before publication of a story by Hillary and campaign finance with his note "per agreement, let me know if you have anything to push back on" and then the DNC official said, "he shared this ahead of time, let me know." He's like talking to somebody else at the DNC. "Let me know if you see anything missing and I'll push back." You see any problem with that?

ROSEN: There are circumstances under which reporters will see fit to share their copy with a source prior to even submitting it to their editors. They want to make sure they're getting it right. I know Ken Vogel. I think he's an exceptional reporter. He has a specialty in the role of money and politics.

The broader point here -- the broader takeaway is Andy Warhol said famously said that, "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes." My addendum to that is yes, and in the 16th minute everyone becomes Richard Nixon. You have all of your tapes, your texts, your e-mails and everything, just (inaudible) in to public view, and you're crucified on that basis, welcome Ken Vogel.

KURTZ: Well, a political executive told me that Ken made an agreement to share the story to confirm facts and figures in a complex story about campaign finance. Politico doesn't typically do this the official told me, nor does Ken but in this circumstance he did to make sure we had it -- actually we had it right. You're laughing. You're in one of those e-mails.

CARLSON: Because they -- I am, where they're attacking me, I'm proud to say. You know, I mean because -- I'm not attacking Ken Vogel. I can do this and make a pretty good report. My playbook (ph) carries water for Hillary every day. You've read Politico? It's unbelievable. I've been there like flat out rooting for Hillary Clinton so, I mean, you know maybe this was legitimate and their coverage is not.

POWERS: I don't think -- I think that sometimes reporters do this just to make sure they're getting things right.

KURTZ: And it's part of their gimmick (ph).

POWERS: It is complex.

KURTZ: Yeah.

POWERS: I mean, I write a column and I've on occasion, done this. If it's something that involves really complex legal arguments or something and you just want to make sure, and I will -- but I will say I'm not changing anything for opinion, but if you have a substantive issue...

KURTZ: Like a factual...

POWERS: ...factual, and 99 percent of the time no one has anything to say, but you know, so on occasion this happens so I don't think in itself its...

KURTZ: Also fascinating is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic Chairman, complaining to NBC's Chuck Todd about all the criticism from Mika Brzezinski, the liberal on the MSNBC morning show, "this must stop." And Chuck tried to broker a phone call, it didn't happen. It just shows you that they don't like the criticism from the press on the Democratic side anyone than the Republican.

Let's move to Donald Trump. I mean, let's start with the speech. The media pretty much savaged that speech -- it was too dark, it was too scary, it was fear mongering, and you think that reflected an honest assessment of -- it wasn't the usual speech, it was or anti-Trump sentiment?

CARLSON: Obviously the latter. It was a great speech in this way, Trump explained what he thinks. So you don't have to agree with any of it but how nice was it to hear a candidate lay out his views. Trump is terrible at explaining what he thinks. He's always often on some tangent attacking some irrelevant person. Finally, you have 90 minutes of Trump laying out Trump's philosophy.

I was so struck in the -- nobody assessed that. Nobody assessed it was all on the aesthetics then, whoa! He makes -- I live in a rich neighborhood and everything is fine. What the hell is he talking about? So out of touch, but also so childish in their analysis, like, is what he said true or not? They didn't even address it.

KURTZ: Some of the liberal commentators didn't really expect it to praise the speech. Really harsh, (inaudible) called the Trump un-American speech and Fox News contributor Tamara Holder likened it to a speech by Hitler in 1931. He should...

POWERS: Yeah, well, whenever you bring Hitler up you're kind of lost argument. But I do think that -- I think it's appropriate for people who are opinion people to say the kinds of things that a lot of reporters were saying. I did feel that some of the reporters were getting a little too -- it was a little biased. I think that you need to do the best that you can to try to, like Tucker said, analyze it on the face of it instead of sort of casting it in this really uniformly.

I mean, everybody kind of said the same thing, and it was just sort of interesting that everybody was saying exactly what all the liberal commentators thought of his speech. Personally, I agreed with them but I do think that there's another perspective on it and there are a lot of people in the country who do feel that what he was describing is true. I'm not one of them, but there are a lot of people certainly in our halls who agree with them.

KURTS: James?

ROSEN: I think Trump delivered a very tough speech and I think that's what he intended to do. And I think there is -- throughout this campaign, we're seeing it more and more now especially with the influence of some consultants in his corner, a distinct effort to try to conjure Richard Nixon 1968. I am the law and order candidate. I am appealing to the silent majority and but...

KURTZ: If that presses a red button for journalists who thinks of Richard Nixon as 1973 Watergate scandal breaking the law.

ROSEN: Sure. I mean, look, almost whatever Trump said and did on that stage, on that night, was going to be criticized by the preponderance of the media which skews left. I would say that it was a missed opportunity for Trump in one respect and similar to the missed opportunity that for Ted Cruz at the convention, which is there is a place in these appearances for humor. Humor can go a long way. I happen to think if Ted Cruz had said I was reminiscing with my dad about his role in the Kennedy assassination...

KURTZ:  He didn't do it at all.

ROSEN: We were looking at the family album, the National Enquirer. He could have done a lot of good for himself and I think Trump should have used some of his more trademark humor in that speech.

KURTZ: The media's shorthand on this, I think it was midnight in America, play on the old Ronald Reagan (ph) and is it going to go on until midnight because it was a lengthy speech. Since you mentioned Ted Cruz, what an enormous explosion of coverage when he gave that fiery speech, got booed off the stage, didn't endorse Donald Trump, said vote your conscience. Here is just a brief taste with some of the commentators have to say.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: What was really out of line tonight I think politically and historically was for Ted Cruz to basically snub the candidate for president.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, last night, what Cruz delivered was the longest suicide note in American political history.


KURTZ: Ted Cruz got what he wanted here, seeing (ph) which was a lot of coverings and the next morning he had a press conference and all the cable news network took it live. So, from his point of view, he ceased the spotlight.

POWERS: Yeah, but I think there's always something dangerous in trying to get the short term payoff and I think he thinks that he was doing a long- term payoff, but I don't think he's going to get a long-term payoff. I think he got a short term payoff and I hope he enjoyed it as long as it lasted.

KURTZ: And actually some of the Trump people loved it. I mean, usually they say, oh, you're making too much of this and that, you win (ph) in the media, like yeah! Keep covering it, because they thought the speech, the booing and everything cast Trump almost in a sympathetic light for allowing Cruz to speak even though he was kind of like the guest at the dinner party and he drinks all the wine and then...

CARLSON: He still overshadowed Trump's son and running mate.

KURTZ: What?!

CARLSON: I don't think viewers at home understand -- when you watch all the different networks and everyone's saying exactly the same thing, the reason is they're all on Twitter. You sit and go to visit a set. Every anchor is on Twitter, every commentator is on Twitter, except Charles (inaudible) -- no, no. Everybody else, and that's why they all sound the same.

KURTZ: Are you suggesting a certain group think?

CARLSON: It's exacerbated by social media. My number would -- if I were giving advice to a young person who wanted to be a pundit, I would say stop and refuse the evident (ph). People insist they want to do it. Don't go on social media because you sound like a robot. You sound like every other dumb person on cable (ph).

KURTZ: Well...

ROSEN: The advice I would give is to first of all make your parents send you to pundit camp early on, and then do inter-pundit internships during college years.

CARLSON: I would say become an HVAC repairman.

KURTZ: Before we steer us on the wrong direction, the (inaudible) special view (ph). So, they were a lot of stories in advance of the Cleveland convention. Politico had GOP operatives dredged from the convention, the New York Times said GOP officials brace for chaos in Cleveland.

Did that set a certain narrative which then when the convention actually happened and there were things that went wrong, there were mistakes and mishaps in timing, there was the minority trying to get a vote to change the rules, which they shouted (ph) down, did that narrative, would it become a self-fulfilling prophecy in sight (ph)?

ROSEN: Look, this was a very contentious primary season and so it was natural to expect that it would be a very contentious convention. One has to say they put this whole thing together in about four weeks. It's never been done in anything under five and they did a fairly good job and it came off very well in most respects.

But I do think that there was some dread and we did see it play out on that floor fight (ph) which was extraordinary. I was told as a reporter you will never cover an exciting convention in your life and guess what? We had one.

KURTZ: Yeah. The media sometimes forget that Trump ran against the Republican establishment, that's why many members still don't like him. We saw that in Cleveland. Back in Philadelphia in a couple of moments. You can e-mail us, or @howardkurtz on Twitter. Hillary Clinton and her new running mate, what kind of coverage is Tim Kaine getting from the press?  


KURTZ: Donald Trump drew largely negative coverage for the roll out of his V.P. pick Mike Pence. Here's how the media are covering Hillary Clinton's choice yesterday of Tim Kaine.


SEN. TIM KAINE, PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Hillary Clinton is the direct opposite of Donald Trump.


ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: The pick was absolutely as far as the Clinton campaign is concerned a home run.

DAN HENNINGER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Tim Kaine just knocked it out of the park in front of a progressive audience.

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You couldn't get closer to Goldman Sachs if you were building furniture than Tim Kaine.


KURTZ: Hugh Hewitt didn't like the choice. Kirsten Powers, the press really love Elizabeth Warren, but I seemed to get excited about Tim Kaine, who's you know, very experienced senator, former governor of Virginia, but not exactly exciting, in fact he pleads guilty to being boring.

POWERS: Well, he does but I think that's part of it, you know, sort of under promising and then he ends up coming out and doing this really great speech and I think really did impress a lot of particularly progressives, but I think even people in the media. So, we have very low expectations and you come out and you do something that's more than what people were expecting. I think you end up getting really good coverage.

KURTZ: I happen to think that both Tim Kaine and Mike Pence are serious and solid choices...


KURTZ: ...for their running mates, but it seemed like the coverage of Mike Pence focused much more on finding differences between him and Donald Trump, and the craziness of the whole veepstakes process. So do you see a difference in tone or do you think...

CARLSON: Well, Mike Pence is the evangelical and there's nothing more repulsive and terrifying in our world than an evangelical, that's the first thing...

KURTZ: Why, because the press doesn't like evangelicals?

CARLSON: They hate them. But this race has been framed (inaudible) getting by Republicans initially who hated Trump as a moral contest. It's not just we disagree. It's you're evil and I'm virtuous. That tone has been adopted by the press. If you read "the Washington Post," my hometown paper, six stories in a row yesterday in top news stories attacking Trump. They have taken on as their moral mission to destroy this guy and prevent him from becoming president. They go on to a force (ph), a lot of them. I mean that.

KURTZ: Well, what struck me also was the relentless and hyperactive coverage of Trump's selection process, which went through a lot of twists and turns. It was Newt, it was going to be Christie, no it's Pence and always having second thought about that. Tim Kaine was always seen as Hillary Clinton's top choice, that didn't change, it didn't leak, just sent it out by text and then he gave a pretty good speech.

ROSEN: No, it did leak. I mean, and that's why he was seen as the top choice. That's how you knew that.

KURTZ: All we want s by choice.

ROSEN: OK, but look, I think...

KURTZ: There were no dramas.

ROSEN: The media are invested in the V.P. pick as a quadrennial exercise that is lucrative and fun, but we all in the back of our minds know that it is not dispositive toward electoral success in any way. So, that's the kind of dishonesty that we all engage in like...

KURTZ: Who's it going to be?

ROSEN: By the way, it doesn't matter.

KURTZ: But who is it going to be?

ROSEN: And so, we play these games. I just want to say to you that when you have Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, the sizzle there, I wonder if Las Vegas would even be willing to take bets on who'll win that debate because it will be such a snooze fest it will make Cheney/Lieberman look like the Ultimate Fighting Champion event.

KURTZ: We'll have you provide the color commentator James Rosen.

ROSEN: You got it.

KURTZ: All right, now -- but if you wanted to focus, do an investigative reporting, it's not hard to find out that as governor and lieutenant governor, Tim Kaine accepted $160,000 in gifts, perfectly legal but, you know, lots of money for a Caribbean vacation and clothing.

You could also focus on the fact that because the press loves to write about abortion and Republicans, that while he supports pro choice policies. He says, he's personally as a Catholic opposed to abortion, and yet, I see little of that or it's played down. Also, he's against the death penalty.

POWERS: Well, because I actually don't think Democrats care if you're Pro Life as long as you don't actually want to stop abortion.

KURTZ: And is the press the same way? Could that say (ph) safe...


POWERS: I mean, well, the press is supposed to cover what -- I mean, it's not about what they think about it. It's supposed to be, is this an issue for the people are going to be voting for? Or is there hypocrisy there because the Democrats, you know, don't like pro-life people. But the truth is, if you support Roe v. Wade, then you're not going to do anything to challenge Roe v. Wade. People leave you alone. That's just the way it works.

KURTZ: But Kaine also -- Kaine also had...

POWERS: I mean -- I mean, you know, Harry Reid is Pro Life, I mean... KURTZ: Kaine also had supported free trade as is Hillary Clinton. Now, he slipped and he's against the Trans-Pacific Partnership. What I'm saying is if we wanted to make an issue out of these things, there's plenty of stuff to dig there.

CARLSON: Right. Nobody in the press knows what the Trans-Pacific Partnership is, so that's why it's too complicated.

KURTZ: Tucker you're taking the fun out of it.

CARLSON: As for abortion...


CARLSON: You can say whatever you want, if you have 100 percent rating from (inaudible) the abortion lobby -- you're for abortion. If I work for Harrah's, I can't say I'm anti-gambling, can't I?

KURTZ: No. All right, and on that note, Tucker Carlson, Kirsten Powers, James Rosen, thanks very much for joining us here in Philadelphia. Coming up, we take a look at the other big story this week. It involves Fox News and change at the top of this company, and my report on Roger Aelis' resignation in a moment.   


KURTZ: Fox News is drawing an enormous amount of media attention for an abrupt change at the top of this network. Enormous because Roger Ailes, who resigned this week as chairman of FNC and Fox Business Network has been such a high profile figure in politics and in television.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS: Now official, Roger Ailes, a giant figure behind the scenes in television and the GOP has been ousted.

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS: Today, the man who created conservative-leaning Fox News two decades ago was forced out over allegations of sexual harassment.


KURTZ: Rupert Murdoch is taking over as chairman of FNC and Fox Business and assuming the role of acting CEO. Ailes will be available for now as a consultant to Murdoch. Now, the announcement by the network's current company, 21st Century Fox, fought a sexual harassment suit filed this month by Gretchen Carlson after her contract as a daytime Fox host was not renewed.

Ailes has strongly denied the allegations in that suit. 21st Century Fox hired a law firm to conduct an internal inquiry and that was followed by leaks to the press. I can confirm reports that a number of female Fox employees who were interviewed for the internal review made allegations of inappropriate conduct.

Megyn Kelly, who was also cooperating with the inquiry, has not discussed reports that she alleged improper conduct taking place about a decade ago. Ailes has denied her allegations saying, "He spent much of the last ten years helping her achieve the stardom she earned." Meanwhile, Murdoch placed Ailes in a statement for having made "a remarkable contribution to our company and our country."

There are also words of praise for Ailes from Murdoch's sons, James and Lachland Murdoch, top executives at 21st Century Fox and widely reported to have been at odds with Ailes. Without directly referring to the harassment inquiry, they said that, "We continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect." Many, many observers were struck by how quickly Ailes' departure was arranged.


MARGARET SULLIVAN, WASHINGTON POST: It is surprising in some ways because some of these allegations have been around for a very long time, some of them for decades or you know, many decades. So, the fact that it all came together within two weeks is rather stunning.


KURTZ: Some high profile anchors at Fox defended Ailes in an interview saying they could not imagine him engaging in inappropriate conduct. Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers told the New York Times, "I was disappointed that so many senior members of Fox's on-air team rushed to defend Roger in a way that seemed to prejudge an investigation into sexual harassment." Nearly everyone regardless of their views agreed that Ailes' impact was hard to overstate.


STEVE HAYES, WEEKLY STANDARD: I mean, when people talk about "the conservative media," when you think about the media environment that we live in, particularly political media, it is largely the creation in some ways of Roger Ailes.

JIM RUTENBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES: The Fox News has been such a part of our dialogue and that's the Fox News that Roger Ailes created. Without Roger Ailes, Fox News changes, and I think our political dialogue changes somewhat.


KURTZ: That remains to be seen. Murdoch has left Ailes' top executive team in place. Still, let me be blunt: This has been a painful and embarrassing period for the network but the news operation of the 76-year-old Ailes built remains in place.

Coming up next, they were with me in Cleveland. They're here in Philadelphia, Bill Hemmer and Martha McCallum, on a tale of two conventions in a moment.


KURTZ: To continue our look ahead of the Hillary Clinton convention here in Philadelphia and the coverage of Donald Trump's convention after our week in Cleveland. Joining me now are Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum, the anchors of "America's Newsroom." They're over in our sky box looking very cool.

So, we spent a week together in Ohio and here we are in Pennsylvania. It's no secret Bill Hemmer that Donald Trump and his convention got very critical scrutiny from the media, but how much of the Hillary and the Democrats up until now seems to lack the same intensity? Your thoughts?

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: I think that will change, Howie, but I do believe this, as long as we're in the prediction business.


HEMMER: There will be half an eye on this convention hall for the next four days and will be half an eye on Donald Trump. You don't know what he will do in terms of communication or appearances or tweets. He's very unpredictable, and just like we saw at the tail end of the Ted Cruz speech in Cleveland, Ohio, his appearance inside the arena took the carpet right underneath of Ted Cruz.

What will he do? That's one thing that you need to watch. The other thing are the protesters. This place blew up 16 years ago when the Republicans came here for their convention and they will be out in force much more significant than we saw in Cleveland, Ohio. And my third hunch is that by Wednesday all this matter about Bernie Sanders will be behind the DNC and Hillary Clinton.

MACCALLUM: Yeah, I think you're right about that.


MACCALLUM: When you look at the sort of -- go ahead -- sorry, Howie, we got a little bit of a delay and we're just getting the kinks out here. I think we just sat down on this set brand new just a few minutes. But basically I think you're going to see the Democratic National Committee try to sort of shift to a lighter more optimistic tone here. They're definitely hinging upon the idea and the theme that it was a very dark convention for the RNC and that they're going to try to be lighter and more optimistic.

But they also going to have to play that off of Hillary Clinton's record, and really the true state of how things are in the world right now -- even the president chimed in and said, you know, it was a dark convention and that it portrayed sort of dangerous world, and what we found in Cleveland is that a lot of people do feel that they live in a dangerous world, so they're going to try to counter balance that message here in Philadelphia.

KURTZ: But Martha, pick up for a second on Bill's point about we're likely to have almost a split screen experience this week with Donald Trump still making news while the Democrats gather here in Philadelphia. During the Cleveland convention, there really wasn't much Hillary.

She came back into the news obviously on Saturday with her pick of Tim Kaine. What does that tell us about the news business? Doesn't Donald Trump frankly still drive ratings and clicks even when it's not his week to have a convention?

MACCALLUM: Yes. It's kind of one of the benefits of going first in a way because you've already laid down your markers and set your theme. So, they're going to try to reinforce that theme over and over. The RNC has been sending out, you know, e-mail last week. It was interesting because the DNC was sending out a lot of stuff.

In one point they sent out a list of the speakers for the RNC and then they had everything crossed off except, you know, some of the people that we've saw to sort of send the message that they hadn't been successful in lining up the speakers that they wanted to at the RNC.

So, there's always that awful effort that's going on, but at least Donald Trump sort of already has his in the bag and he can react to what's going on here in Philadelphia, and no doubt he'll do that -- he did this morning with his tweets and social media that we always see from him.

KURTZ: And Bill, what about the story that's really kind of starting to bubble up this weekend about this 20,000 hacked DNC e-mails including some embarrassing and trash talking -- embarrassing comments and trash talking about Bernie Sanders leading to the point that Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chair is now not going to speak at her own Democratic convention. Is that going to scramble the storyline for the press compared to what we all thought it would be 48 hours ago?

HEMMER: I don't think there's an aggression (ph). It will Howie and I don't think it's good at all for DNC. I don't think it's good at all for Debbie Wassermann Schultz. Bernie Sanders has been breathing down her neck for months right now, you know, he wants her out. I'm not suggesting she will be out, but we understand she won't be speaking.

There were some reports already this morning that the position she has to preside over this convention will no longer last. If that's the case, just like the Republicans perhaps had a few distractions on Monday and a few more on Tuesday, I would expect the same for the DNC. This will not start smoothly. We know that already, Howie.

KURTZ: And Martha, the way in which the press largely covered Donald Trump's speech -- dark, some called him a demagogue, a lot of fear, there weren't a lot of light moments. Does it seem to you that journalists and some pundits talk about Donald Trump differently than any other presidential candidate in the past? Obviously there are many differences including his outsider status.

MACCALLUM: Well, I think they do. I mean, I think in a way he opens himself up to that because of the nature of his tweets and how brash he is in his talks. The fact that the whole country sort of already knows him in that reality TV show since from "The Apprentice" and all of that, but yeah, the gloves have been off for a long time between the press and Donald Trump and it does feel as if there's -- that it's okay, you know, to jump on him.

It's okay to put him in a framework that, you know, is definitely more sort of belligerent in an open way by many in the press. So, it's a challenge, you know, to cover all of this in a very fair way, and to listen to what each candidate is saying, and to hold them accountable for what they're promising in these speeches and kind of let that bigger picture fall to the wayside and stick to the facts of what each party is presenting. And you know, when I was driving in here there's a big billboard that said, "Hillary We Have Your Back," you know, love the media, as if it was a post- it note to her as she came in to Philadelphia.

KURTZ: Probably from the RNC.

MACCALLUM: Yeas, exactly.

HEMMER: I would just add to that, Howie, I think the RNC -- I think Republican voters care a lot about that. I don't think Donald Trump cares about it. You know, when he sent his tweet out last week talking about Melania's speech, and he said, "If you believe all press is good press," and I think that's what he lives by. As long as people are talking about him, he feels that he's winning the day.

KURTZ: That tweet nailed it and naturally you two did as well. I should mention that you'll be anchoring a two-hour coverage from Philadelphia at the top of the hour, and since you've been so nice to me, I might wander over there and join you. Bill and Martha, thanks.

HEMMER: Please do.

MACCALLUM: We look forward to it. Thanks, Howie.

HEMMER: See you Howie.

KURTZ: All right, one of the biggest stories in Cleveland was Melania Trump and the whole plagiarism controversy. Did we overplay that? Back in a moment from Philly.


KURTZ: We're back from Philly. The media reviews for the Melania Trump speech were very good until hours later when journalists playing over and over again passages that seemed plagiarized from the current First Lady's convention address eight years ago.


FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA: Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values.

MELANIA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S WIFE: From my young age my parents impressed on me the values.

OBAMA: You work hard for what you want in life.

M. TRUMP: That you work hard for what you want in life.

M. OBAMA: That your word is your bond, that you do what you say you're going to do.

M. TRUMP: That your work is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise.


KURTZ: But in a series of TV interviews, campaign chairman Paul Manafort refused to admit that the words and phrases you just saw had been taken from Michelle Obama's speech fueling a media uproar.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: What happens when you're running the government of the United States and you don't want to deal with what happens then?

PAUL MANAFORT, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, Chris, I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder because the pattern that I see is a pattern of the media not being prepared to look at what's really going on in America, look at what's really happening in the Trump campaign.

CUOMO: I can't move on because you keep lying about it so I can't move on from it because I have to talk about what is true.

MANAFORT: Chris, I'm not lying about anything.

CUOMO: Did the language -- did a portion of the language of that speech come from Michelle Obama's speech? Yes or no?

MANAFORT: As far as we're concerned there are similar words that were used.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: They are making the candidate's wife take the fall, even leaking to the New York Times that this was Melania.


KURTZ: Finally a Trump speechwriter said she had mistakenly added the quotes after Melania read her some passages she liked from Michelle Obama's speech over the phone. And Donald Trump declined the staffers offer to resign. Joining us now herein Philadelphia, Lisa Boothe, columnist for The Washington Examiner and a Republican strategist and Julie Roginsky, a Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor. Lisa, Chris Cuomo wouldn't move on CNN but Paul Manafort wouldn't acknowledge the obvious and how much of that fuel the story?

LISA BOOTHE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I don't think they sounded anything like, just kidding. No, I'm joking.

JULIE ROGINSKY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: ...about to fall off his chair.

KURTZ: Let's check your talking points here.


BOOTHE: No, I mean, OK. Look, clearly there are similarities there, and they should have just admitted it and moved on especially considering the fact they eventually did admit it. Plus the coverage was obsessive and you go back to 1987, Joe Biden had to drop out of a presidential race because of a plagiarism scandal. You go back to 2008 and President Obama lifted things from Governor Duvall's speeches as well. So I mean, look, this kind of stuff happens in campaigns. I think...

KURTZ: From Governor Deval Patrick?

BOOTHE: Yes. And you know what, I think it would be a lot more impactful if it was Donald Trump himself as opposed to the candidate's wife, but the coverage was excessive and sort of on the borderline ridiculous in my opinion.

KURTZ: Well, you may want to push back on that and maybe you know, my view was that it was a small to medium deal. It wasn't huge. What made it huge - - what made the story go on for three days was that the campaign (inaudible) it just didn't happened. It's so it's like, oh, well, let's play the tape again and again.

ROGINSKY: No question, but this is the problem, the reason you have this obsessed media coverage and you're so right about that is because the campaign mishandled it tremendously. If you make a mistake especially with the press, the first rule of any good campaign is don't lie to the press because the press has, you know, you could be ink by the barrel now. We got 24 hours a day of cable news television to fill. People are going to talk about it. What they should have done is admitted there was a mistake, fired whoever they needed to fire to have scalp (ph) and just moved on.

And then we would have moved on, everybody would have moved on. But by extending the story, of her saying Melania had written it herself, which I thought was a huge disservice to her, and then by saying well, there are no similarities. Well, of course there were similarities and then continuing to go on and on for a few days and only then having some woman who worked for the Trump organization not the campaign come out and say, yeah, by the way I'm the one that's responsible for this. It became a three or four-day story where it really should have been a one-day story.

KURTZ: We'll we're going to move on. My verdict is the media probably overreacted but the campaign made sure this did not go away until Wednesday of last week. All right, so it's no secret the convention in Cleveland was largely panned by the mainstream media as being too dark, as being disorganized, the Ted Cruz problem. Was this an honest assessment of a bumpy convention or do you think there was a fair degree of anti-Trump bias?

BOOTHE: Well look, I mean, I was watching other networks and also reading a lot of this -- the headlines and all of it was negative. There really wasn't a whole lot of positive news that stemmed from it. And what's ironic too was CNN actually had a poll from viewers that said 75 percent of viewers view Donald Trump's speech in a positive manner but that certainly wasn't the coverage that they drove. So now I do think...

KURTZ: Well, more Republicans may have watched the speech than Democrats when you do that kind of poll.

BOOTHE: Well, I mean, I don't know. How do you think the poll would be relatively objective if those were done in real time after the speech? But I mean, I'd certainly wouldn't -- see the perception that you would get watching other networks and or reading various newspapers.

KURTZ: (Inaudible) the media verdict was the speech was so, you know, on the verge of a disaster, but on the other hand there's been polling since that shows that maybe he's flipped up a few points, you know, it's ephemeral. But it certainly didn't seem to hurt him.

Contrast to whatever you saw as the Cleveland coverage, with the coverage that we here in Philadelphia leading up to the Hillary Clinton convention, because up until these leaked e-mails, I was not really saying the same intense level of media interest in this democratic convention.

ROGINSKY: No, because I think Hillary Clinton is a cautious candidate and she's not a show woman. And Donald Trump, whatever you might think of him puts on a good show. We all went to Cleveland, all of us who were there. I think all three of us were -- went there knowing that whatever was going to happen it was going to be new breed. This is candidate that puts on the greatest show on Earth. He's P.T. Barnum.

BOOTHE: He's not.

KURTZ: So you're saying boring candidate, borin convention and the media will...


BOOTHE: Can I just point out a couple of things that are a little bit ridiculous?


BOOTHE: But you0`ve got the media that obviously drove this narrative of disunity in the Republican Party. You have the own DNC chairwoman that is not going have a presence at the convention this week because of the WikiLeaks document. Also, you have Michael Brown's mother, a man who was shown to have robbed a bank and reached for an officer's gun speaking this week and I have not seen any coverage on that. That should be ridiculous.

ROGINSKY: I've seen this timeless coverage of Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

BOOTHE: Published (ph) survey.

ROGINSKY: No, no, from a...


BOOTHE: I thought you were mentioning the other.

ROGINSKY: No question, I mean, there is tons of coverage on Debbie Wassermann Schultz in every network, in every newspaper, everything I've seen today.

KURTZ: So you're thinking in 20 seconds, do you think that that is going to change the coloration of what might have been a scripted, boring convention and the media coverage will be looking for signs of disunity as they were in Cleveland?

ROGINSKY: If Bernie Sanders has any signs of disunity, which I don't expect him to have, but if he pulls a Ted Cruz, it's going to be covered the way it was covered in Cleveland. Obviously, I don't see that he's doing that. But look, (inaudible) they took it away from Debbie Wassermann Schultz, they put this to rest. They should have done this with Melania and they didn't, and that's what's going on.

KURTZ: It's called damage control.

ROGINSKY: Exactly right.

KURTZ: All right, Lisa Boothe and Julie Roginsky, thanks very much.

BOOTHE: Thank you, Howie.

KURTZ: And when we come back, we talk to somebody who's been at a work at a number of conventions. Joe Trippi, coming up her in Philly in just a moment.


KURTZ: If it seems a little damp in here, we're essentially in a giant air- conditioning pen here in Philadelphia and it's pretty hot under the lights. You know what we need now? We need a Democratic strategist who's, been through many of these conventions. Joining us now is Joe Trippi, Fox News contributor and former campaign manager for Howard Dean and a lot of other people in your party.

So, true or false, the media love conflict, they love excitement, they love when people are butting heads and they're going off script. So, the Democratic Convention compared to the Republican Convention in Cleveland is going to be a relative snooze for the press.

JOE TRIPPI, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: True about that's what the press loves. And I'm not sure, I think Monday night is a show -- I think we have a little conflict. I think there will be -- I think differently than the Republican Convention, the Democrats will try to get it all out of the way in one day.

KURTZ: Get their fighting out of the way?

TRIPPI: If there's going to be a rules vote or something like that, if you're going to put Cruz on, you put him on Monday, not on -- so Bernie will speak on Monday. I don't expect to have the same kind of conflicts that happened at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, but if it happened, we're going to try to get them all out of the way on Monday, and then try to turn...

KURTZ: Except that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have this nice choreographed convention plan. And along comes WikiLeaks, and I hate hacked e-mails, but you know, 20,000 e-mails are out there, and the disparaging things that Wasserman Schultz and others working for her said about Sanders, kind of proving Bernie's complaint that they were tiling to Hillary Clinton, and now as a result, Debbie Wassermann Schultz is not going to speak at her own party's convention so, detecting media temperature index going up as far as what's going to happen here in Philly.

TRIPPI: Well, appropriately said. I mean, Bernie people who are out -- I mean it's not Bernie himself but a lot of his supporters, his delegates were furious already and this enflames it. The one thing I would say, look, if the party operatives weren't out to get you, you wouldn't be an insurgent and I've experienced that myself in the Dean campaign that I ran --

KURTZ: Dean was a democrat, but he was an outsider.

TRIPPI: Yeah, but we were announcing (ph)...

KURTZ: But how about this. When Hillary Clinton picks Tim Kaine, I would say that got very restrained coverage, very positive coverage. But compared to the GOP, I mean, you didn't go through this whole like, is it going to be Kaine or Tom Vilsack. It all just kind of rolled out nothing like the Trump frenzy, why?

TRIPPI: Well, I think two things. One is they had pretty much telegraphed it was going to be Kaine for a long time.

KURTZ: You think that was deliberate?

TRIPPI: Yeah, I think so.

KURTZ: Draining the drama out of it?

TRIPPPI: And, you know, to soften the blow to any Sanders, to some of the pull back they got from progressives (ph) but also, again, they're better at choreographing these things. I mean they, you know, they didn't change their strategy, they went through with the -- they went with the text message to announce him and then showing up in Miami the next day.

KURTZ: Here, Senator Kaine is more favorable toward banking industry than is Hillary Clinton. He had been for free trade, he's now modified his position. He's personally opposed to abortion, although he follows the Pro- Choice position. So, why not media focus on the differences between the two of them, which is what we saw when the press picked on Mike Pence and what he had said there was an opposition to Donald Trump.

TRIPPI: Well, I think -- it seems like the press is going easy on Kaine. Well, one, I think Kaine really is respected on both sides. I mean you can't -- it is like this Jeff Flake's -- Senator Flake said, you couldn't come up with something bad to say about him. So, I do think there are differences. And look, I think the other part of this is its not unusual for vice presidents and presidential nominees to have to fix their different views for the first, you know, wrap (ph) or so.

KURTZ: Right. So, this is a more typical rollout, where everything about the Trump campaign is sort of exciting all opposed to...

TRIPPI: Also, look, I was really interested on who Trump was going to pick or what he was going to do? That's part of what he creates, for the media is this, you know, this whole question of what's he going to do now.

KURTZ: Even Joe Trippi is breathlessly following Donald Trump. All right, Joe Trippi, thanks very much for stopping by. Some final thoughts from here in Philadelphia, when we come back.  


KURTZ: When it comes to covering conventions, stuff happens. And the media love the stuff, the unscripted stuff, as we rather dramatically saw in Cleveland. Sometimes we make too much of these facts and missteps creating an endless loop.

Sometimes campaign mistakes such as the Trump folks refusing to admit the plagiarism involving Melania's speech, keeps the story alive. Sometimes a moment is so dramatic, Ted Cruz sticking it to Trump and getting booed big- time.

But the narrative is irresistible, but it drowns out other important moments like Mike Pence's speech as the V.P. nominee. What concern me going into Cleveland, where all the media stories predicting chaos and journalist accustomed to the drama surrounding Trump may have played that up because it's good for ratings perhaps, because, well, it's Trump.

Will they apply the same standards to Hillary's convention here, especially now that those leaked DNC e-mails have re-opened old wounds between the Hillary and Bernie forces?

We'll be carefully watching the media coverage and so, I bet, will you. That's it for this special convention of "MediaBuzz" -- the special convention edition of "MediaBuzz" here in Philadelphia. I'm Howard Kurtz. We hope you'll like our Facebook page. Check it out, give us a like. We post a lot of original content there. Write to us, Continue the conversation on Twitter @howardkurtz.

Meanwhile, I've got Bill and Martha coming up behind me. They were gracious enough to join us this hour. I'll be out here all week -- all week. And we'll be back in D.C. next Sunday after the Democratic Convention. Hope to see you then with the latest buzz.

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