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Kelly File

Coverage of Trump controversies raises questions about media

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," August 12, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

TRISH REGAN, GUEST HOST: Breaking tonight, a remarkable week between Donald Trump and the media. He's being accused of inciting violence against Hillary Clinton and of believing that Mrs. Clinton and the President were the founders of ISIS.

Trump today insisting he's simply misunderstood and he is misrepresented by the media. Is he? And if so, how might the media influence the outcome of this election? At what point does this start to become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Welcome, everyone, to THE KELLY FILE, a special Trump versus the Media. I am Trish Regan in for Megyn Kelly tonight. So let me walk you through it. Quite a week. On Wednesday, Trump was declaring that President Obama and Hillary Clinton were the founders of the terror group known as ISIS. This remark coming just 24 hours after his comments about Second Amendment supporters, comments which some interpret as a call for violence against the Democratic nominee. He insists it is not. Meanwhile, he told a conservative radio host this about the President and Clinton's role in creating ISIS. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Last night, you said the President was the founder of ISIS. I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum. He lost the peace.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: No. I meant he's the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her too by the way.

HEWITT: But he's not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He's trying to kill them.

TRUMP: I don't care. He was the founder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REGAN: You know, but today he took to Twitter and he said, nah, I was just kidding on that, writing that, quote, "The media needs a serious lesson in sarcasm." And not only did Trump suggest he was kidding, he said this at his Pennsylvania rally today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: So I said, Obama is the founder of ISIS. The founder. And these dishonest media people, the most dishonest people, they said, oh, did he mean that? Obviously I'm being sarcastic. Then, then -- but not that sarcastic to be honest with you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REGAN: Maybe this is why people show up at these rallies. A little bit of humor there. Trump campaign national spokesperson Katrina Pierson joins us in moments. But first, we have more from chief political correspondent Carl Cameron, who has more from Pennsylvania tonight. Carl.

CARL CAMERON, FOX NEWS CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Trish. Trump here in Altoona, Pennsylvania, this evening went back to the well when it comes to Barack Obama being the quote, "founder of ISIS." And as you just showed earlier today, he continues to debate himself on this issue. And so, tonight he renewed that. Listen to the new version.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I have been for numerous days sarcastically saying that he is the founder of ISIS. Don't forget when he took over, I think they were in eight countries, seven countries. Now I understand they're in 28 countries. They're rampant all over the world. So I've been saying and I'll keep saying because it's true, but somewhat sarcastically, I've been saying he's the founder of ISIS, and I say she's a close second. If it weren't for them, you probably wouldn't even have ISIS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMERON: Self-contradictory statements like that explain why so many Republicans have doubts about Trump's ability to beat Hillary Clinton come Election Day, and there are a number of polls in battleground states that suggest that Clinton has been surging and Trump has been fairly flat in the polls since his convention. New Marist polls in Florida say that Trump has slipped to five points behind Clinton, 44-39. In North Carolina, she's ahead nine points, 48 to 39.

In Virginia, Clinton's up 13 points, 46 to 33. And in Colorado, she now trails by 14 points behind Hillary Clinton. Here in Pennsylvania, polls this week suggest that Hillary Clinton has pushed out to a lead, and today Trump said the only way he's going to lose Pennsylvania is if there's voter fraud. Cheating is the word he used, and he urged his voters, when they go to the polls in November, to watch for any of it. And if they see any irregularities, to call the sheriff or the cops -- Trish.

REGAN: All right. Thank you very much, Carl.

Joining us right now to respond to the week that was and what's coming up, Katrina Pierson, Trump campaign national spokesperson. So, Katrina, the media can't take a joke?

KATRINA PIERSON, DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, they can, but not when a Republican tells a joke. I mean the sarcasm is definitely one-sided. I don't recall a four-day fallout or even follow-up questioning when Hillary Clinton said she wiped her server clean with a cloth. No one asked if it was a terry cloth, if it was microfiber because they knew she was kidding. And this is the exact same thing.

And when Trump says it was sarcasm but not really, of course he's being sarcastic about Obama being the literal founder of ISIS. Of course Obama didn't file any paperwork of incorporation, but he's very serious because it was the Obama/Clinton failed foreign policies that gave birth to ISIS because we know for a fact they ignored the intelligence coming from the Middle East.

REGAN: Hugh Hewitt gave him the opportunity to basically say that, and he said, no, no, he's the founder. I mean, she's the founder. Is that in part because he's trying to drill this message in to people that, in fact, it is the failed policies of the Obama administration that have led to the rise of ISIS?

PIERSON: Oh, absolutely. And even further in that Hugh Hewitt interview, he talks about the policies and how horrible that they were, the way they went into Iraq and exited, and basically put all of their positions out there for all the public to see. But this goes further than that because I've heard specifically over at CNN saying, well, Donald Trump said he would have followed the same timeline. You cannot compare a private citizen that does not have access to intelligence information like the August 2012 DIA report, which told Obama and Secretary Clinton that if you go in and arm the rebels in Syria, if you do X, Y, and Z, this is what will happen.

They told them in that report in 2012 that there would be a vacuum created and also told them that ISIS itself would form, the Islamic State. And General Flynn came out and reported blatantly that this wasn't just a blind eye the President and Hillary Clinton turned. It was willfully ignored intelligence, and now we have global terrorism.

REGAN: You know, let me ask you, Katrina. Do you think in some ways, he's -- he's hurt by the fact that he is willing to go out there and speak so candidly at these rallies, not on teleprompter. I mean Hillary Clinton it's been 250-plus days since she's had a legitimate press conference. In fact, I think the last one was the one where that server joke came up. So, he's out there talking all the time. Is this what's getting him in trouble?

PIERSON: Well, I think it's only getting him in trouble with those who have an agenda. The American people see right through this. There's no question about that. Hillary Clinton can turn out 150 people to her events. Donald Trump is turning out 15,000. Donald Trump is speaking past the mainstream media, past the pundits, and speaking directly to the folks, and that's what's important. And I wouldn't even look at these polls coming out right now. We saw the last couple of weeks NBC, and ABC, those guys were all weighting their polls differently to show Hillary Clinton above.

I have no doubt this is exact same thing that's happening because they see that crowd as well. Remember, Trish, we were told for a year Donald Trump didn't have a campaign. It was awful. He didn't have staff. There was no ground game, and he broke the record in turnout. So the Trump campaign, we're just fine. We're moving forward and heading into November.

REGAN: All right. We'll be watching. Thank you so much, Katrina Pierson. So, you know, Katrina talked about the polls. We're going to get to those in just a little bit, but she also mentioned whether or not these controversies matter in the minds of voters. She says they don't.

Here to debate it, Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist. And Marcy Stech, vice president of communications at Emily's List. Ben, what do you think the takeaway is for your average voter out there that's watching this media circus --

BEN DOMENECH, PUBLISHER, THE FEDERALIST: Well, I have to say this -- I'm not typically on this program defending something from Donald Trump. But this week the pearl clutching that I saw from the media over these comments, it was just silly. It was gas lighting. This reaction as if he was suggesting that Obama had actually organized and founded ISIS and some sort of real serious way, it was just ridiculous. I mean, were they asking these questions when Hillary Clinton was saying that Donald Trump was the lead recruiter for ISIS.

Were they asking these questions when Elizabeth Warren was saying that Republicans wanted to sell guns to ISIS. The simple fact is this. This is a foreign policy critique he's making. It's a typical Trump exaggeration because he knows if you say something like created a vacuum, that's what led to the rise of ISIS --

REGAN: Yes.

DOMENECH: That is not something that's going to get reported about. This comment does.

REGAN: Yet the other side is doing it. We heard both President Obama and Mrs. Clinton refer to this exact same thing in their own style, in their own way. Marcy, I'm going to play this for you, and I'd like your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I think the kinds of rhetoric that we've heard too often from Mr. Trump and others is ultimately helping do ISIL's work.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He is becoming ISIS' best recruiter. They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REGAN: Whoa. All right. So where was the media then, Marcy?

MARCY STECH, VP OF COMMUNICATIONS, EMILY'S LIST: Look, I have to tell you this week watching Donald Trump do what he has been doing, defending himself, defending sexual harassment in the workplace, talking about --

REGAN: No, no, no. Marcy, forgive me, but I did play that clip for you. I want to get your reaction. What do you think of those on the left saying stuff like that and not being held accountable for that?

STECH: There is absolutely some merit to the questions that Donald Trump is being asked every single day about his credibility on the issues and the ability to keeping the American people safe. Look, I think that we saw this week Donald Trump incited violence against Hillary Clinton.

REGAN: Okay. Again, you didn't respond to what I showed you. I mean, look, I'll let you have a shot at it, Ben. I mean, those folks, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama essentially said the same thing. I mean maybe they've got a better tone, more stylized tone, but the exact same stuff.

DOMENECH: I certainly wish that Donald Trump would talk less and smile more, but I think this is a situation where unfortunately for the media, the fact is that in January, Donald Trump said that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were the inventors of ISIS, the creators of ISIS, and the founders of ISIS. He said it three different times in January. Here's the difference. In January, he was beating up on other conservative candidates, and the media didn't care about it. Now he's beating up on Hillary Clinton, and they do.

STECH: So, in January, he wasn't the Republican nominee for president of the United States.

DOMENECH: So the media changes the way they approach somebody --

STECH: You know what? Everything he says is on the table, and you know what, the media's job is to ask questions and dig deeper.

REGAN: Well, I got one more for you because he was under a lot of criticism as well this week for what many said was inciting violence, that Second Amendment supporters were somehow going to go out and there would be this call to arms for potentially the assassination -- a horrible thing to talk about -- of Hillary Clinton. He said, no, that's not what I meant at all. But here you go. How do you like this? Back in 2008, Hillary Clinton is being asked why don't you get out of this race? Because you know why? The media wanted Obama to take it. And here's what she said. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I, you know, regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REGAN: Offensive? I mean here you've got the first African-American candidate who has actually got a shot at winning the nomination, and she's talking about Bobby Kennedy and assassination? I mean so, again, you know, two wrongs don't make a right. But I would hesitate to say that Donald Trump was going as far, Marcy, as she actually went there.

STECH: Well, I have to tell you that these conversations that we're having right now about things she said years ago are not actually what voters are thinking about and talking about on a regular basis. Right now they want to talk about the issues.

REGAN: I mean that's where the media seems to be falling short because nobody remembered what she said in --

STECH: What we are experiencing right now is not Mitt Romney versus Barack Obama. Look, I am a Democrat. In 2012, when Mitt Romney won that election, if he would have won that election, I would have been upset, but you know what? I wouldn't have been concerned about the safety of the American people.

REGAN: Yes. And we heard that though back then as well. Didn't we hear, right? That, you know, Mitt Romney was going to be a disaster for the country?

DOMENECH: "The New York Times" called him unfit. They said that he was someone who you couldn't trust in this office. Look, this is the situation. The voters care about the fact that under President Obama and that under Hillary Clinton, we saw mistakes made in Syria and Libya across the Middle East that led to the rise of ISIS. The question of who's going to deal with it going forward is now before them and they have to decide who they're going to trust.

REGAN: All right. Lots of good stuff to talk about in the coming days. Thank you so much to both of you. Ben and Marcy.

DOMENECH: Thank you.

REGAN: New calls, everyone, to investigate Hillary Clinton's charity as we get reports that the Justice Department may have shielded the Clinton Foundation from the FBI. Attorney David Wohl and Alan Colmes are here on that, on whether we can expect answers from the Clintons anytime soon, anytime at all.

Plus, Donald Trump is slamming the media for what he's calling an obvious bias, a bias in favor of Hillary Clinton. Dr. Ben Carson says the media is focusing on Trump for one simple reason. He's next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The biggest rigger of the system is the media. The media is rigged. It's rigged. It's crooked as hell.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: There is absolutely no connection between anything that I did as secretary of state and the Clinton Foundation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REGAN: That was former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on "FOX NEWS SUNDAY" with Chris Wallace, insisting that she kept official government business separate from the work of her multibillion-dollar family charity, the Clinton Foundation. But tonight there are new reports being added to a growing list of allegations that those lines were blurred between the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. And investigators and lawmakers are taking this very seriously.

FOX News correspondent Rich Edson is live in Washington with the latest for us. Rich?

RICH EDSON, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Trish. And a top Senate Republican is urging the Department of Justice to investigate the connection between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. In a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn writes, "Representatives of the foundation repeatedly sought special treatment for its donors and associates from senior officials at the State Department. This kind of conduct is unacceptable and reflects the worst concerns harbored by the public about the abuse of government office to benefit the powerful."

Critics have charged the Clinton Foundation allowed donors to buy influence with the State Department, Clinton and her campaign deny that. In January, FOX News reported the FBI was investigating the possible intersection of the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. Senior Justice Department communication officials maintain that they know of no current investigation into Hillary Clinton or the Clinton Foundation. However, these same officials say if there were an investigation by other offices, they may not know about it.

The Clinton campaign is also defending a trip by then Secretary Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills. She traveled to New York to conduct business for the Clinton Foundation. A Clinton campaign spokesman says, quote, "Cheryl volunteered her personal time to a charitable organization, as she has to other charities. Cheryl paid for her travel to New York City personally, and it was crystal clear to all involved that this had nothing to do with her official duties. The idea that this poses a conflict of interest is absurd." A State Department spokesperson adds, government employees can work on other projects on their own time, as long as they follow federal ethics rules -- Trish.

REGAN: All right. Rich Edson, thank you so much. As we await responses to these new and lingering questions over the Clinton Foundation, there are now growing concerns tonight over whether Hillary Clinton will ever give the American people any answers at all. Because the last time Mrs. Clinton held a traditional news conference -- how do you like this? December 4th, 2015. That was 252 days ago. One reporter going so far as to say, you know, she is the least accessible presidential nominee in modern times.

David Wohl is an attorney and Trump supporter, and Alan Colmes is host of "The Alan Colmes Show." David, what's she so afraid of?

DAVID WOHL, ATTORNEY: Well, I mean, Trish, granted she doesn't speak too well off teleprompter and she doesn't tend to ad-lib too well. But she has issues that transcends politics. She has serious Fifth Amendment issues. I mean, it's been scandal after scandal. First the e-mail server scandal, then the perjuring herself at Benghazi scandal. Now these 44 e-mails indicate that her chief of staff -- and don't tell me it wasn't at her direction -- engaged in beneficial activities for fat cat donors to the Clinton Foundation, basically in total violation of ethical standards.

And in my estimation, this could be public corruption criminal charges. So if I'm advising Hillary Clinton, I'm going to tell her, you know what, you're not going to do any press conferences because if you give the wrong answer to one of these questions that are no doubt forthcoming, you could be handcuffed the next day.

WOHL: Yes, I mean --

COLMES: It's that serious.

WOHL: Yes, I mean, not to mention she's not, as you said earlier, the most natural in those situations with those press conferences. Alan, you know, I got to say, this stuff just doesn't look good. The appearance of it sure doesn't feel good. Your thoughts.

ALAN COLMES, HOST, "THE ALAN COLMES SHOW": It may not feel good to you.

REGAN: It can't feel good to anyone. I mean, I don't want a member of my government, you know, taking payouts.

COLMES: Well, there's no evidence of that. That's not been proven.

REGAN: Let me jump in, and you'll get a chance. But one thing that really I have found issue with -- and again I come from a financial background -- UBS United Bank of Switzerland.

COLMES: Uh-hmm.

REGAN: They tried to get a bunch of their clients off the hook because the IRS was looking into whether or not the people who were committing some kind of tax evasion. About 55,000 clients. And so, they went to Hillary Clinton and the State Department, and guess what? She got them off the hook. It turned out only 4,500 of them had to be investigated by the IRS. So, that was a good deal.

And then the biggest speaking fee of Bill Clinton's year, $1.5 million in speaking fees he collected from the United Bank of Switzerland after this whole thing goes through. Alan, I just look at that, and I say, you know, couldn't she have said, hey, hon, you know, maybe sit this one out. You're making enough money already. I'm doing a deal with them on the side. Again, it speaks to this inherent conflict of interest that seemed to be happening --

COLMES: Again, there's no evidence that there's any quid pro quo here. Cheryl Mills who was just mentioned, who was on her own time. That's already been proven. David --

WOHL: Please, Alan.

COLMES: If I could please finish a thought. David, you just accused Hillary Clinton of perjury. She's not been indicted. She's not been convicted. You're putting out false information.

WOHL: Jim Comey came out of his press conference and said, yes, she did lie about the e-mail information at the Benghazi hearing. He said she didn't --

COLMES: No, no, no -- she was not convicted of perjury. She was not indicted. You're making a false claim. You're making a false claim.

WOHL: He said, no, no, no. He said, I need a referral and I'll investigate it. But he said, yes, she did lie.

COLMES: Why wasn't she indicted, then?

WOHL: Because he didn't have a referral to investigate.

REGAN: Alan, David is right. Effectively he said she was not fully truthful.

COLMES: Then she should have been indicted but she wasn't. There was no - -

WOHL: She should have been --

REGAN: Alan, I don't know how she gets indicted when the President would effectively be indicting his own administration. I mean, he had a little bit of a self-interest in making sure the DOJ did not do that.

COLMES: You had a Republican FBI head saying that there was no precedents to indict. There was no reason and there was no intent. That's the reason why.

REGAN: Hey, Alan, let me ask you --

COLMES: Alan, Alan, Loretta Lynch --

REGAN: Hang on one second, David. There's more news coming forward that I want to get to because we just have a short amount of time.

COLMES: Okay.

REGAN: But we are hearing reports that the FBI did want an investigation into perceived conflicts the Clinton Foundation and the State Department and that DOJ shut them down. Alan, you know, I realize that, you know, you're more on the left, and you're advocating her side.

COLMES: Proudly. Proudly.

REGAN: However, however -- isn't there a part of you that just says, you know, maybe it's work checking out because it sure doesn't seem right?

COLMES: I would question that you have John Cornyn, who you mentioned in the introduction, who wants to have her investigated in the middle of an election season. Gee, I wonder what the agenda here. I question the timing of all of this on the behalf --

(TALKING OVER EACH OTHER)

By the way, David, you're supporting a candidate who is going to be on the fraud, he is up for fraud in November. He's going to be on trial for Trump University. You should worry about that a little more --

WOHL: A civil suit, Alan? A civil suit. I'm not worried about a civil suit.

COLMES: You should worry about that.

WOHL: And by the way, we both agree that Loretta Lynch won't do anything as far as prosecuting Hillary Clinton. Could it possibly be that her boss has formally endorsed Hillary Clinton?

COLMES: I don't know. Maybe it's a conflict there.

REGAN: Maybe. All right. Guys, good to see you.

COLMES: She's not acting because the FBI said there was no reason to indict. That's all.

REGAN: Thank you, Alan. Thank you, David.

Coming up, next, everyone, it's not just Trump. The media has it out for conservatives as a whole. Marc Thiessen and Rich Lowry are going to join us on that.

Plus "Time" magazine and others proclaiming it's meltdown time for Donald Trump with several outlets reporting on a, quote, "Come to Jesus meeting with the Republican National Committee." Has the media gotten ahead of itself here? We have Howie Kurtz here tonight.

Along with Dr. Ben Carson, Trump campaign insider. That's next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I've run out of words to express, you know, my shock and how completely beyond the pale that Donald Trump is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

REGAN: Fresh reaction tonight to research suggesting newspapers are even more off kilter than television when it comes to balancing coverage of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The Media Research Center points to multiple headlines they deem double standards. "The New York Times," Wednesday, in all caps blares, "Trump's suggests gun owners act against Clinton. Alarm at his remarks."

From "The Washington Post," "Trump decries for gun remarks. Critics see his comments on Second Amendment as a threat against Clinton." And from "USA Today," "Second Amendment people, his secret weapon, Trump hints."

Howie Kurtz has more live from our Washington Bureau. Howie.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA BUZZ SHOW HOST: Trish, if one image could capture the recent coverage of Donald Trump, it would be this "Time" magazine cover, "Meltdown." The media's more hostile approach began with Trump's speech at the republican convention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Donald Trump did tonight is a disgrace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The press also ripped Trump during the Democratic convention for what seemed a sarcastic invitation to Russian hackers to dig up Hillary Clinton's 33,000 deleted e-mails.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I've run out of words to express, you know, my shock and how completely beyond the pale that Donald Trump is as a potential leader of the free world and commander-in-chief of our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Then came the media backlash when Trump criticized a Gold Star family after the Muslim father, Khizr Khan, denounced him at the Philadelphia convention. Some pundits even questioned his sanity. "Washington Post" columnist Gene Robinson calling Trump flat out crazy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like a lot of people around him, even in his managerial inner circle, if that isn't a contradiction in terms, are wondering if not about his sanity, about his ability to control himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: There was another media uproar when the Republican nominee said Clinton, as president, would essentially abolish gun rights but that second amendment people might be able to do something.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump spoke off the cuff and took his campaign off the rails, again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me say this to my Republican Party. You are -- you are letting Donald Trump destroy the party, and you've done it from the beginning.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: You don't say stuff like that. It can be seen otherwise, and it's not the press. It's not the Democrats. This is a self-inflicted wound.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: And Trump has been stepping up his own rhetorical assault on those who cover him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICEN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would actually say that the media is almost as crooked as crooked Hillary Clinton. I mean that. I mean that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The question now, does Trump deserve the tidal wave of negative headlines or is there almost like of a bias against him? Trish.

REGAN: I guess one of the worthwhile questions in all these Howie is at what point does it become a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, if there is a huge pile on effect and everyone is running headlines like you've seen in the "Time" cover that you referenced, then did that really sealed his fate?

KURTZ: At some point, the sheer volume of all this Trump coverage -- not all of it negative, but a lot of it negative as you see, whether Donald Trump's invited some of it or not with some of his language -- becomes an imbalance in the way that he is covered versus Hillary Clinton.

REGAN: All right, Howie, we're going to see you a little bit later on in the show. Thank you so much. Our next guest says all the controversies playing out right now around Donald Trump are due to the fact that the media has a bull's-eye on Mr. Trump's back.

Dr. Ben Carson is joining me now. Dr. Carson, if the media indeed has set their targets on Trump, then might he want to maybe not do so many live rallies, so many unscripted events? I mean, should he be backing off this impromptu stuff?

BEN CARSON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not necessarily because, you know, this is really a battle between the establishment, the political establishment and Donald Trump, who is seen as an insurgent. And some of the political establishment is on the Republican side, too. They're not all on the Democrat side, but most of them are. And they've been working for a very long time to get to this point, and he threatens them.

They need just one more term so they can get two to four Supreme Court picks and stack the federal court system, and then it really doesn't matter who is the president after that. They know that. And he is a huge threat to that. So they're going to pick apart everything that he has to say.

And as long as they can talk about him all the time, they don't have to talk about Hillary because, my goodness, her negatives are through the roof. But if you never get to talk about them, then the people don't know about them.

REGAN: You know, you see so many on the conservative side, the conservative elites that are also very critical of Donald Trump. Have they effectively sealed his fate as well? In other words, if they had embraced him earlier in this process more fully, might we be looking at a different situation in terms of some of the poll data we see?

CARSON: Well, the fact of the matter is if the Republicans, the Conservatives, the people with common sense start working together, there is just no way the progressives can overcome them. The progressives know that, so they have to spend a lot of time and energy convincing the conservative group that there's a real problem here and that you can't really get behind this person, and then they're going to go home and laugh their heads off.

You know, Conservatives and Republicans always seem to find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We cannot let it happen this time because we're talking about our children and our grandchildren. We're talking about the future of this nation. People have to get over their little things and look at the big picture here. This is huge.

REGAN: You know, Dr. Carson, we're going to talk a little bit later in the show about how the media has treated conservatives all along, including Mitt Romney, but one of the common themes that you hear over and over again is that this person is unfit. They said Mitt Romney was unfit. They say Donald Trump is unfit. It seems to be a big talking point from the left. But as I look at this campaign, it has ratcheted up to a level that I don't think we've necessarily seen previously. Is that a fair assessment?

CARSON: I think it's a fair assessment, but it's going to get a lot worse. If the polls begin to tighten or Donald Trump gets in front, you will see things that you've never seen before. They will pull out all the stops because like I said, there's a lot at stake for them, and they know that.

Now, the media unfortunately has become complicit with the progressive movement, and my hope is that some of the young journalists will shake themselves free of the influence of those who are leading them astray and stand up with courage and say, you know.

There's a reason that the press is protected by the constitution and we are going to stand with the people, and we're going to be objective. I don't care what's going on. We're going to ask the hard questions no matter who it is. I hope to see that.

REGAN: Look, Dr. Carson, you're absolutely right. There needs to be more objectivity and so for the media to completely write him off this early in the game frankly just isn't following through on their obligations to be actual journalists in this whole process. Dr. Carson, thank you so much. Good to have you here.

Donald Trump taking on the media again today. We will investigate his claims and analyze whether or not his battle with the press is helping or hurting his campaign.

Plus we go back in time to dig up some of the media's worst attacks against GOP figures. Mark Thiessen and Rich Lowry are going to join me on that next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have the transcripts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did in fact sir so, let me -- let me call it an act of terror.

ROMNEY: Can you say that a little louder, Candy.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

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REGAN: We're taking a closer look at Donald Trump's often cynical portrayal in the media over these past 14 months. But it's worth noting that Mr. Trump is in some ways just the latest in a long line of Republican president or nominees who have faced a somewhat hostile press. George w. Bush was called murderous and a fascist.

John McCain was called intellectually shallow, and Mitt Romney was called unfit -- we've heard that one -- for office. Joining me right now with more Mark Thiessen, former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush and resident fellow at American Enterprise Institute and Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, good to see you guys.

MARK THIESSEN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE FELLOW: Hi, there.

REGAN: You know, Mr. Thiessen, I want to start with you because you had to have confronted some of this head-on there as you were working for President Bush. What was your experience?

THIESSEN: Oh, absolutely, we did. And look, I mean media bias is a fact of life for Republicans that we just have to live with. It's just like in the Olympics when the American athletes always knew that the Soviet judge was going to rule against them every time they could. It was just the rare fact of life. And you can recall just in the Bush administration how much press coverage there was of unfounded and now disputed -- and now proven wrong accusations that the Bush administration doctored intelligence on Iraq.

Well, just this week, we have a report from Congress proving that the Obama -- under the Obama administration, Centcom doctored the intelligence on Iraq. There's almost no coverage of it or if you look at the 2012 campaign, Mitt Romney was made fun of for saying that Russia was our number one strategic enemy. They had all this fun with Obama saying the 1980s called, they want their foreign policy back. Now the media is beating up Donald Trump up for saying the opposite. So, they can't even be consistent in their bias.

REGAN: I have a question for you Rich and you've experienced this obviously as the editor at National Review for many years as well. Why is it that so many people in the media are not objective, are actually that far to the left that I think many now feel as though it's their duty to influence the story in a way that hurts conservatives?

RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW EDITOR: Yeah, I think Trish it's even worse than that. There's an ingrained liberal culture in the media that's self- reinforcing and is so pervasive, a lot of journalists are biased without even realizing it because they swim in this ocean of liberalism. And, you know, everything that Mark said is correct. I think the most stark example though, was John McCain.

He was beloved by the media his entire career. He would joke about how the media was actually his political base. And then as soon as he won the Republican nomination, the media viciously turned on him. So, this is not an unusual phenomenon that the press is so hostile to Donald Trump. But that doesn't mean that he should be reckless about it and constantly give them material, and I think the question you're asking Ben Carson a little earlier was very sound. Control your message at the rallies more. Do fewer interviews.

REGAN: Don't give them the opportunity, right?

LOWRY: This week should have been about two things, his economic speech and about those devastating Judicial Watch e-mails. Everything else is a loss for Donald Trump. But instead, we've had this nonsense conversation about various gaffes and controversies all week.

REGAN: You talk about the institutional bias and I think that's very interesting, but I also, like Dr. Carson, question if that can change. I mean, he made the point that there are younger journalists that are coming into this field every day, and how is it that they're getting so entrenched, Mark, with what everyone else in the organization is telling them to do?

THIESSEN: I think Rich is exactly right, that they swim in this pool of liberal bias and they don't even realize it. But the difference between then and now is that at least in the past, they used to feign objectivity. They used to pretend they were not biased. Today they've given up all pretense of not being biased. We just had front page story in "The New York Times" this weekend, by the media report of "The New York Times" who said, and I quote, "Let's face it, balance has been on vacation since Trump stepped into his golden Trump Tower escalator last year to announce his candidacy," and he defended it.

He said many reporters think that Donald Trump will be dangerous for the country and so therefore, if you think Donald Trump is dangerous you have to -- that has to affect your coverage. So, they're not even pretending to be objective anymore.

REGAN: And he said coming clean.

LOWRY: They're patting themselves on the back for being biased.

REGAN: Wow, that's how crazy it has gotten, right?

THIESSEN: Exactly, on the front page of "The New York Times."

REGAN: You guys, it's so good to see you. Thank you so much.

THIESSAEN: Thanks, Trish.

REGAN: All right. Plus, a new narrative emerging from today's headlines. Donald Trump is continuing to look as those he is highly challenged in this race. We have many polls out saying that it's going to be an uphill battle and you have seen a number of media organizations really reflect a bias and that they are saying it is over. Is it really over? It ain't over till it's over, right? As we always say. Howie Kurtz is going to shine a spotlight on these allegations of media bias. That's next.

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REGAN: On the campaign trail today, Donald Trump rehashing his fight with the media. Mr. Trump's allegations of unfair coverage, they started almost immediately after he announced his bid for the White House back in June 2015. And since then, the billionaire businessman has called many in the media, quote, ""dishonest and part of a rigged system that is working against him and his supporters." Fox News host of "Media Buzz," Howie Kurtz investigated these claims and he joins us right now with his report, Howie.

KURTZ: Trish, from the moment Donald Trump got into the presidential race, much of the media mocked or minimized his chances. A loud-mouth New York billionaire beating all those Senators and governors? Really? New York's "Daily News" depicted Trump as a clown. "The Huffington Post" relegated all Trump stories to its entertainment section. And most pundits dismissed him as a summer fling.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think this is Donald Trump's biggest day, and he will be ignored from henceforth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we better be ready for the fact that he might be leading the Republican ticket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know you don't believe that, but I want to go on.

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KURTZ: But the laughter faded as Trump all but clinched the nomination. "New York Times" columnist David Brooks says he was surprised by Trump's success because he spent too much time with affluent professionals like himself.

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DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST: I didn't think -- not only did I not think he would win. Now, I didn't think he was really running for president. I thought he was trying to drum up some kind of publicity for himself.

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KURTZ: Now, with Trump slipping in the polls, much of the media is again suggesting or flat out predicting that he can't beat Hillary Clinton. The Republican nominee meanwhile practically made press bashing part of his platform. He skipped a Fox News debate while feuding with Megyn Kelly. He yanked the press credentials of such media outlets as the "Washington Post" and "Politico" and now refuses to appear on CNN and MSNBC.

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TRUMP: We're going to punch through the media. We have to. "The New York Times" is totally dishonest, totally dishonest. And CNN, boy does CNN -- it's like all Trump, all the time -- all Trump, all the time. You walk out of an interview, you said, that was a good interview, and then you get killed for the rest of the weekend.

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KURTZ: That kind of tough talk fired up his base during the primaries. But in the general election it's not clear whether Trump is being damaged by the constant warfare with the media, Trish.

REGAN: Well, you know, the one question I'd have Howie is why the heck is the media not spending more time on the actual policy that would actually be meaningful to our country? I mean, here we are talking about the horse race all the time, all the things that Donald Trump does. But nobody out there -- aside, I would point out, from us, because we do dive into this policy -- but they're not out there talking about his economic platform. It's almost as though they're afraid to.

KURTZ: Well, the press is addicted to polls and flap of the day and insults and all of that. But what's happened now is that day by day, hour by hour really, you have all of these controversies swirling around Trump. Some of them media-generated and some of them self-generated and very little devoted to Hillary Clinton, who I think is deliberately trying to make little news and let the media and Trump box it out in the ring.

KURTZ: I mean, it's been 252 days since she had a press conference, so she is certainly is trying to stay out of the headlines and perhaps let him grab the spotlight for attention that she doesn't want. Howie, stay with me. Joining our conversation with Howie Kurt, we have Nely Galan. She is the former president of entertainment for Telemundo and the author of the New York Times bestselling book, "Self Made." Nely, good to have you here and forgive me, it's Galan.

I do want to ask you, you know, it's been remarkable and that we've seen a tremendous shift, I think, in how politics is done, the politicking if you would, of this campaign in that Donald Trump's out there tweeting. He's out there, you know, on various media channels talking to his supporters and getting his base excited. Does this mean that going forward, there is going to be a real shift in accessibility of politicians?

NELY GALAN, TELEMUNDO FORMER PRESIDENT FOR ENTERTAINMENT: Well, I think so. I mean, look, he is a TV person. I mean, I was on "Celebrity Apprentice" with him. He's someone who knows how to be scandalous and we have -- the public love scandal and love arguing and everything we're talking about today in the media, I mean it's all changed because he is the first real TV personality president.

REGAL: Yes, but its one thing, right. It's one thing to have scandal on a reality TV show. It's another thing to have scandal when you're running for president.

GALAN: That's right. And I think, you know, as someone who just wrote a book about women and Latinas being the emerging market and the fastest growing entrepreneurs, I feel like he's missed the boat on talking about women like me, and he's not talking to us. So, we're sitting here, going, oh, my gosh. All this scandal and you're right, we're not talking about the facts. We're not talking about the public that's out there that really wants real things talked about.

REGAL: We need to spend time on that policy because there's a lot of meaty stuff for us to all chew into. Thank you so much. Good to have you here Nely and Howie. We're going to be right back with more "Kelly File" after this.

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REGAL: Love to hear from you. Go to facebook.com/thekellyfile and tell me what you thought of tonight show. Thank you so much for watching. I am Trish Regan in for Megyn Kelly tonight. This is "The Kelly File." I will see you on the Fox Business Network at 2:00 p.m., "The Intelligence Report" where I am every day. I'll see you there on Monday and back here on Monday night. Have a greet weekend. "Hannity" -- Huckabee is in for Hannity next.

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