Media declare Trump 'meltdown'

Hitting him on guns, ISIS


This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," August 14, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the buzzmeter this Sunday, Donald Trump accuses The New York Times of publishing fiction as the media establishment announces his rhetoric especially those comments on Hillary Clinton, judges and the Second Amendment. The latest firestorm from what he calls the dishonest press.


SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS: Donald Trump spoke off the cuff and took his campaign off the rails, again.

DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS: Did Donald Trump cross the line?

LESTER HOLT, NBC BEWS: We ought to start at home with Donald Trump and a potential new controversy simmering tonight after a remark that at best was a joke and at worst, as an implied threat of violence.

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

MONICA CROWLEY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: He is operating in an environment now where Mrs.
Clinton and her campaign, the left of the media, is going to twist every single thing he says. He's got to understand he's got to be more precise with his language.

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS: Imagine if she had said or somebody had said that about Donald Trump. Vicariously, say, oh, maybe somebody will assassinate him. We would all be going crazy.

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

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There can be no other interpretation. Even reporters have told me. I mean, give me a break, but they're dishonest people.


KURTZ: But should Trump now be accusing the Times of inventing unnamed sources and reporting that his campaign is flailing? Or are the mainstream media just piling on? New York Times media columnist admits the coverage of Trump is unbalanced but says that's understandable because many journalists heard as potentially dangerous. Really?

New e-mail show influence peddling and favor seeking between Hillary Clinton and the State Department and the Clinton Foundation. But is that story being drowned out by the uproar over Trump?

Plus, NBC and other media outlets under fire for belittling or a sexist coverage of female athletes at the Olympics. We'll have a scorecard. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

Donald Trump's campaign was already awash in negative media coverage when the spotlight suddenly shifted from a major economic speech to Republicans bailing on his campaign.


JAMIE GANGEL, CNN: Bottom line, do you think he was -- it would be dangerous if he was president?

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, R-MAINE: Donald Trump in my judgment would make a perilous world even more dangerous.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: You just called Donald Trump a clear and present danger.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Well, if he governs in any way close to the language that he has used in the campaign, I fear for our future.


KURTZ: But that was wiped off the media air when Trump went to a North Carolina rally and made this attack.


TRUMP: Hillary wants to abolish -- essentially abolish the second amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick -- if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the second amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know, but -- but I'll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.


KURTZ: Trump riled up the press again by calling Clinton a founder of ISIS and then last night he said this.


TRUMP: The New York Times, okay, I love them and they wrote a story today, anonymous sources have said -- three anonymous sources, anonymous this, anonymous that. They don't use names. I don't really think they have any names, okay?


KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the campaign coverage, Heidi Przybyla, senior political correspondent for USA Today, Lisa Boothe, a Republican strategist and a contributor to the Washington Examiner, and Kirsten Powers, Fox News contributor and a columnist for the USA Today. Heidi, that New York Times story that Trump was calling fiction quoted a lot of anonymous source said, "He remains a crudely effective political showman but aides think he may be beyond coaching and is not a plausible president.
Your take on the story and Trump's response?

HEIDI PRZYBYSLA, USA TODAY SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's obviously a story that was not just reported overnight, Howie, and it wasn't just four anonymous sources over the course of however long they've been reporting it. This is an evolution that we've all been watching in terms of Trump's advisers trying to get him to do things that maybe he didn't do during the primary campaign.

That said, it comes in the midst of what is undoubtedly a media pile on, and so I think Trump kind of took this one story and is reacting to it in a very emotional way in going after the New York Times, but the truth of the matter is, Howie, to report -- and you know this -- to report a story like this, you have to use anonymous sources. People who are in the campaign and who are worried about the direction of the campaign are not going to tell you that on the record.

So, that's the only way that a story like this can be reported. That's why I think that deeper in the body of the story the Times did mention that they had talked to 20 people.

KURTZ: In fairness to the "Times," there were three Trump advisors like Rudy Giuliani recorded on the record as well as the campaign communications director, but this kind of -- I mean, Trump is basically saying this is Jayson Blaire territory, making stuff up, as opposed to just saying the story isn't true. What's your take Lisa?

LISA BOOOTHE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, I think the New York Times, as has most of the media, essentially discredited themselves in this election cycle. The Republicans have worked in campaign, clearly there's been bias, you know, throughout a large period of time with newspapers and other publications, but I think we've seen they've been utterly transparent in their bias this election cycle.

I think this is the reason why 20 percent of Americans have confidence in newspapers because it does -- they're saying that people that are close to the campaign or have some sort of communication with the campaign that could be anyone. Who are these unnamed sources? And I think the New York Times has already discredited themselves this election cycle.

They ran a story about women and Donald Trump and one of the interviewees actually stepped forth and said that her words were taken out of context, that it was not true, that she was misled by the reporter himself. If you look at the fact that the New York Times ran an almost 1,300 page article on his second amendment comments but did nothing about a terrorist father attending or endorsing Hillary Clinton.

KURTZ: We'll get to that in a sec.

BOOTHE: But they've shown their bias this election cycle.

KURTZ: A Trump campaign insider told me, Kirsten Powers that this is a case of people at least close to Trump, if not within the campaign itself, who are kind of distancing themselves from what they fear will be a loss in November, the fact that these leaks are taking place, we don't know who the sources are, what does that tell you about the relationship between the campaign and the media?

KIRSTEN POWERS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, obviously the campaign
-- people in the campaign are panicking a little bit. We know this from other reporting, but just so this idea about the New York Times being so biased, look, I mean they're not a perfect newspaper, but I wouldn't put his second amendment comments on the same level as some person showing up at Hillary Clinton rally with -- somebody who she basically said she didn't want his support. It's not really the same thing.

KURTZ: And again, we'll have more on that coming up.

POWERS: The only thing I would -- the only thing I would say here is I've known Maggie Habermann for, I don't know, 15 years probably. She's covered campaigns that I've worked on. I know her well. She's a first-rate reporter.

The idea that somehow she's making up sources here is beyond preposterous and also the New York Times I know has a very rigorous process. They don't get to just make up sources. They don't get to just say somebody said something. That's just not the way it works there. It's not...

BOOTHE: But who were those sources? I mean they could be people on the lower tier that have no involvement, who have never even sat in a room with Donald Trump. We don't know who those are.

POWERS: I know, but a good reporter isn't going to just take an intern and quote them.

BOOTHE: But I the New York Times has already discredited themselves.

POWERS: I don' think that that's true. I think that's actually kind of character assassination against a great reporter.

KURTZ: Well, the story said that four of the sources had detailed knowledge of certain meetings which had seemed to be pretty closely. Now, by the way, Trump said that he might yank the credential of the New York Times. He told me that two months ago. He doesn't seem to want to do it. It's his hometown paper.

He has a special reverence even thought he's not rather disgusted with it, right. What consumed a lot of media oxygen this week obviously were the second amendment comments. You've all seen and heard it, but here's an interview that Trump did with radio host Hugh Hewitt, conservative radio host, in which Hewitt pressed him on the nature of those comments. Take a look.


HUGH HEWITT, CONSERVATIVE RADIO 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.

TRUMP: No, I meant he's the founder of ISIS. I do. He is the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.

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

TRUMP: I don't care, he is the founder.


KURTZ: So, this seems to me to fall into the category of the political license. I mean, does anyone really believe that Trump is a literally saying that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton founded ISIS? At the same time, CNN put up a banner that actually basically called Trump a liar saying he isn't, meaning Obama, isn't the founder of ISI. What do you make of this?

PRZYBYLA: This is part of a broader change that we've had to make in this campaign cycle about covering Donald Trump, which is that a lot of the statements that he says that are not sarcasm, because he later said this is sarcasm, are just factually incorrect so the news organizations have taken to live fact checking. In this case, he later came back and said, well, that was sarcastic, but he said it on so many occasions that we as the media have to report that what he's saying is literal when he tells us that it's literal in several interviews as he did.

KURTZ: Let's put up the tweet where Trump said because he was criticizing CNN's coverage of it, "Ratings challenged CNN report so seriously that I call President Obama and Clinton the founder of ISIS & MVP. They don't get sarcasm?" But Lisa, then on O'Reilly after that he said, "Well, obviously I'm being sarcastic but not that sarcastic." So what is the media to make of where this falls on the sarcasm?

BOOTHE: The problem is CNN also doesn't do that fact checking element when Hillary Clinton rarely does interviews, when she actually does interviews, even though we know that Hillary Clinton has systematically and methodically lied to the American people for a year and a half throughout the FBI's investigation. So, you know, that's the problem here. And then further, you know, I think there was a level of hyperbole to his statement that...

KURTZ: Of course.

BOOTHE: But the crux of what he is saying is that President Obama left a vacuum for ISIS. This is something that has been reiterated by someone like Leon Panetta who served under President Obama who has said on record that President Obama leaving Iraq left a vacuum for ISIS.

KURTZ: That's a fair...

BOOTHE: It was something that was reiterated by his own defense secretary.

KURTZ: That's a fair charge. Well, Hugh Hewitt gave him the opportunity to say that he's -- no, I'm saying founder of ISIS.

BOOTHE: And I think (inaudible) there's a level of...


POWERS: He also said it at least seven times, I mean, so why did he not just say that at some point, what Lisa just said. Why didn't he, in all those other times just explain that? That's not what he did. And then he said it was sarcasm. So, I feel like the people who want to clean up his mess are saying that's what he meant, but he's not saying that.

KURTZ: Let me read you a tweet that I showed just before we came on the air. Again this is the @realDonaldTrump account on Twitter. "If the disgusting and corrupt media covered me honestly and didn't put false meaning into the words I say, I would be beating Hillary by 20 percent."

POWERS: Yeah. Well, so here's the thing. I have sat on this set and said that I thought the media was hard on Trump many months ago. I cannot sit here today and say that anyone's being hard on him in this situation. He has...

KURTZ: Not being hard on him or that he was saying it's justified?

POWERS: Unfairly hard. I think they were maybe, you know, going overboard with him. When he's coming out and saying the kinds of things he's saying and then trying to tell us that its sarcasm, it's moving into a realm that I think is getting a little crazy...

BOOTHE: But the point -- I think there's an important point that's missing here though. The media should be able to cover what Donald Trump says and I have said before that I think he overstates things, you know, and so I don't completely put that on the media.

KURTZ: He creates some of his own problems.

BOOTHE: Yes, to some extent, yes. I've conceded that before. But the problem is the media should be adept enough to be able to cover that while simultaneously covering the stuff that Hillary Clinton has, but there's not an equal amount of fact checking. There's not an equal amount of criticism that's being applied to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. You should be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

PRZYBYLA: Look, political (ph) fact that a mid-year review, like a roundup of all of the statements...


PRZYBYLA: ...and 70 percent of the statements by Trump were false compared to 20 something percent by Hillary Clinton.

KURTZ: Let me jump in there because we're short on time. We will get into Hillary Clinton on a segment later in the program. I just want to put up this Time Magazine cover this week, "Meltdown" and you see the melting face. So, that seems to me like...


KURTZ: ...the mainstream media have now concluded that not only is Trump behind and he is creating a lot of problems to himself, he's going to lose this campaign. And I wonder if that is a trap that we're falling into since it is August.

PRZYBLA: They have accused him -- let's go take a walk down memory lane here -- of melting down, those exact words, on several occasions. And "Time" has, you know, likes to push the envelope with its covers. I saw one about Hillary Clinton, you know, back during the e-mail scandal that was pretty provocative before there was even an investigation.

You know, that said, I think, you know, we have to wait for several more weeks of polling as well as look at other factors like the fact that he is still taking in a lot of money before we can necessarily all kind of jump on that melting down bandwagon. But I think when you are struggling like you are in the poll numbers right now, you're going to invite headlines.

KURTZ: All right, let me get a break here. We will come back to this a little later with you panel. Also, continue the conversation on Twitter, @howardurtz. Write to us, -- they normally come back.

Are some pundits using the latest polls to predict that Trump is actually toast? Trish Regan is up next. And later, is all the Trump, Trump, Trump coverage overshadowing Hillary Clinton's latest e-mail mess?


KURTZ: Is the poll-obsessed press starting to write off Donald Trump? I put that question to Trish Regan, host of "The Intelligence Report" at 2 p.m. Eastern on Fox Business from New York.


KURTZ: Trish Regan, welcome.


KURTZ: Let's start with the polling prognosticators. Nate Silver says that Hillary Clinton has an 87 percent chance of winning this election. New York Times upshot blog, a little more pessimistic, Hillary Clinton has 86 percent chance winning this election. Everybody writes off the latest polls. Couldn't these numbers and the coverage become a self-fulfilling prophecy against Donald Trump?

REGAN: You know, I've been thinking about that a lot, Howie. That's why we as journalists need to be extraordinarily cautious I think over the next several weeks as we get close to November because keep in mind, anything can happen, right. You think back to Dukakis, 1988, he was actually ahead in the polls in August but wound up nowhere near the oval office. So in other words, the onus is on us as journalists to be cautious about not effectively making this a fait accompli.

KURTZ: I couldn't agree more. Now, what about the sheer imbalance in the coverage? I mean, there's absolutely no denying it. You look at any newspaper, website, most cable shows, it's Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump. And then Hillary is maybe the fourth or fifth story.

REGAN: Well, part of that is because Trump's selling papers, right, or landing ratings on televisions so, the media likes to cover Trump, but I think one thing that I find frustrating in the process is that there's not enough policy coverage. It's all just sort of what did he say lately?

And so there's hesitancy on the part of the media to actually dive into the nuts and bolts of what he's talking about versus what Hillary Clinton's talking about. And instead, it becomes very much about the horse race and very much about just what the latest faux pas, right, shall we say on the campaign trail.

KURTZ: Or the latest insult or the latest flap, but you set me up for my next question by bringing up policies. So this week, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump both gave major economic speeches. Now, if you're not working for a business network, my sense is they got a half day of coverage, maybe a little bit more, but is there a tendency by particularly political journalists to shy away from the details of tax plans and estate tax and marginal tax rates and carried interest because it's hard to explain particularly on television?

REGAN: Yeah, I'll go a step further. I think a lot of them just don't even understand it, Howie, and they chose not to understand it and they deliberately shy away from getting into the nuts and bolts of tax policy because it's just, frankly, too complicated for them and I think that's a very, very sad thing. It is incredibly important that we take on the responsibility of making sure that we understand all of these policies, especially on the economy and then think about it.

This is the biggest issue in this election and we need change when it comes to the economic future because our economy is in such a bad state. So, what are the things that Hillary Clinton is proposing? What are the things that Donald Trump is proposing and what will they mean for our economy? And yet no one, frankly, other than us wants to cover that.

KURTZ: But if they don't understand it or choose not to understand it, isn't it also perhaps a fear that people who will turn the dial, that economic policy can be dry and abstract and let's go to, you know, the latest Donald Trump said, that Hillary Clinton is the founder of ISIS.

REGAN: You're so wrong. I'm going to tell you, they are so absolutely wrong. I mean, I can tell you, I see it every day on the show. Viewers respond to substance. They really do. And it is shortsighted of members of the media to think that viewers won't care about economic policy because, again, this is the thing that everybody cares about.

I mean, how are you going to feed your family? How are you going to make sure that your kids have a brighter future than what you have? These are the issues that voters want information on and so, you know, for the media to say, OK, we're not going to cover that because we don't think it's going to rate, they're wrong.

KURTZ: Let me jump over the last question, about half a minute. So, what about the argument that some of the journalists are making that, you know, Donald Trump, we've never seen a candidate like him, he's always stepping in it and he's always saying (inaudible) challenge things, therefore we need to give him a lot more scrutiny than we give to Hillary Clinton?

REGAN: Yeah, I think they do give him a lot more scrutiny. I don't think it's because he's stepping in it. I think it's because they don't really like him. And that, in fact, is coloring some of their reporting. What I would recommend is, you know, regardless of what you think of either candidate, it is up to us to scrutinize very carefully both of these folks and you can't give anyone a pass just because you may like their policies a little more. And I think that we see that from mainstream media quite a bit, Howie.

KURTZ: Or just because one candidate has been around in the political scene for a lot longer. Trish Regan, always great to see you.

REGAN: Good to see you too, Howie.

KURTZ: Thanks very much.

REGAN: You bet.


KURTZ: Ahead, are some media outlets being condescending to the female athletes winning medals in Rio, but first, big changes at the "Huffington Post" and in Fox News. Plus, the crazy climber who hijacked cable news.


KURTZ: Arianna Huffington is stepping down from the popular website she helped found 11 years ago to pursue a startup. The Huffington Post now owned by Verizon has become a global force with more than 100 million monthly visitors, and though it regularly fails to turn a profit and gets much of its material by linking to others, it did win a Pulitzer four years ago and is an undeniable success.

Huffington, a conservative in the '90s who became an unabashed liberal, originally described the site as a forum for many voices, but Huff Post long ago became consistently left wing. Every story about Donald Trump has an editor's note saying he's a liar, racist, misogynist and worse.

And closer to home, Rupert Murdoch who took over as chairman of Fox News after Roger Ailes' resignation, has just announced his new management team.
The network will have two co-presidents, one is Bill Shine, a 20-year veteran who had been in charge of all programming for FNC and Fox Business Network. He'll now be overseeing all content at both channels. The other co-president, Jack Abernethy, who is now CEO of Fox Television Stations and will oversee the business side.

Now, Since Ailes' negotiated departure on a wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit, there's been plenty of reporting and speculation in the media not just about the Gretchen Carlson suit and other allegation that have surfaced, but about the impact on Fox. The promotion of these two insiders and the deputies' right under them shows that Murdoch wants to bring stability to the place after this major upheaval and that the network isn't changing its direction.

Well, cable news got hijacked the other day by a 19-year-old guy from Virginia who climbed up Trump Tower -- and despite the apparent lack of danger, this was considered mesmerizing.


SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS: This is 56th Street and 5th Avenue in New York City.
It's Trump Tower where some guy, we don't know who, is climbing the side of Trump Tower.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: We're watching that situation at the Trump Tower in New York City. Now, this individual climber outside the building has made it up to the 16th floor -- past the 16th floor. Right now, he's still moving up. Police are trying to talk some sense into him.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Breaking news right at this hour out of New York City. A man, look at this, is climbing Trump Tower in Manhattan. He's using suction cups to make his way up the side of the building. Good grief.


KURTZ: Good grief. This went on and on. Steven Regatta (ph) who's been arrested and charged, said he wanted to give Donald the message but he must be a little dim (ph) since was out of state campaigning. But he did send a message that if you push a stupid stunt like this, you can be famous on TV at least until the cops grab you.

Coming up, new e-mails reveal a favor-seeking environment involving Hillary Clinton's State Department and the Clinton Foundation. Is that story getting enough media scrutiny? And later, a spectacular defense of newspapers by that noted journalistic champion, John Oliver.


KURTZ: It has all the elements of a big story. Previously secret e-mails revealing a cozy, favor seeking relationship between Hillary Clinton's State Department and the folks at the Clinton Foundation.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN: Later, Secretary Clinton's allegation of big donors to the Clinton Foundation paying for State Department access and, yes, newly released e-mails.

STEVE HAYES, WEEKLY STANDARD: This was a pay for play operation. Basically, people who solicited the Clinton Foundation, they gave money to the Clinton Foundation and got the State Department to weigh in on various disputes and matters.


KURTZ: But the reporting on this tangled web between the Democratic nominee and her top government aides and allies at her husband's foundation has paled in comparison to the tsunami of Trump coverage. We're back with the panel. Kirsten, are these latest e-mails obtained by Judicial Watch a big story and do they deserve more coverage?

POWERS: I think yeah. I do think they're a big story. They have been covered but they could stand to have more coverage and likely, they did not get as much coverage as they should have because Donald Trump was making new news basically every five minutes.

KURTZ: If you say every hour, I think you're right.

POWERS: Yeah, and so he just, you know, he constantly is giving the media some new outrage and sort of stepping on any bad news that's coming out for the Clinton campaign.

KURTZ: So, if Trump had taken a few days off then there might have been more scrutiny of Hillary Clinton?

POWERS: I think so. Yeah. I definitely think so and I think it did get some coverage but I think it would have gotten more coverage if they weren't so busy dedicating most of their time to Trump.

KURTZ: Lisa, I think you kind of tipped your head on this in the earlier segment, but do you believe the media are intentionally playing down this e-mails or is it just that the story has been simply over shadowed by all of the controversies that swirl around Trump?

BOOTHE: All right, I think they're absolutely covering up for Hillary Clinton. You look at ABC, CBS...

KURTZ: Covering up is a strong charge.

BOOTHE: Well, I stand by it. I think that you look at the coverage of ABC, CBS and NBC, they gave two times more coverage to the Trump Tower climber than they did this new revelations on Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Hillary Clinton is the only presidential candidate to have been in -- have two FBI investigations -- one on her e-mail server and now this new revelation that there is an investigation into public corruption charges with the Clinton Foundation.

She has quite literally put our national security at risk, potentially risking lives as well with the information that's based on her server, but somehow this hyperbole and rhetoric gets more attention than action that has put our nation at risk.

KURTZ: Would you agree some news outlets, including the big newspapers, cable news networks have covered the story in some substantial detail?

BOOTHE: I think to an extent, but not enough. I mean, she's facing two FBI
-- two FBI investigations and she's the Democratic nominee. That is mind boggling to me.

KURTZ: What jumped out at me, Heidi, is the way that there was a big donor, a foreign guy who wanted to get a meeting with someone at the State Department and suddenly Hillary's top aides are at it. I mean, I think the meeting never ended up taking place, but was the news value here undercutting it all by the fact that there was no incriminating e-mail that was released at least in this round written by Hillary Clinton herself?

PRZYBYLA: Well, it's involving her aides but they are her closest aides, right? Huma Abedin...

KURTZ: Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.

PRZYBYLA: Right. So, like Kristen says, there's definitely -- this merits a lot of attention, but in these specific e-mails, not only was it not Hillary Clinton writing the e-mails but this is not textbook pay to play and that you can't take it to its logical conclusion that there was some favor given on behalf of this donor. But the question is what more is there to come out? And the media does need to be really vigilant about this because there's more...

BOOTHE: She facing another investigation.

PRZYBYLA: ...there are more e-mails that may come out as part from WikiLeaks or from the Russian hackers. And so, we have to keep on this narrative just as strong as we are on, you know, the daily kind of like incendiary comments that Trump makes because Lisa's right. It's serious if there is pay to play there, but we have not seen textbook pay to play in these e-mails.

BOOTHE: But she's facing another investigation regarding the Clinton Foundation. I mean Donald Trump has not faced two FBI investigations. I mean, this is huge news.

PRZYBYLA: I conceded your point but we need...

BOOTHE: We need to follow these investigations.

KURTZ: She's agreeing with you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it's still not getting enough coverage.

KURTZ: Well, another story that has gotten a lot of chatter this week, and it's been covered more on Fox than any other cable news networks, is about the father of the Orlando mass murderer showing up at a public event for Hillary Clinton, uninvited.

The campaign said they didn't know about it, and this generated some coverage and chatter. I'm having trouble understanding why it's a story if he wasn't invited and the campaign didn't know about it, but maybe you can set me straight?

POWERS: Well, I think we see it the same way. You know, the idea that Donald Trump has come out and criticized Hillary for this when he has all these supporters who are white supremacists and he doesn't feel any need to disavow them and yet somehow some guy showing up to a Hillary Clinton event, she needs to disavow him, which she actually ended up doing.

KURTZ: First, you're not suggesting that many Trump supporters are white supremacists?

POWERS: I would say white supremacist websites are frequently posting stuff in favor of Donald Trump. They have attacked -- made anti-Semitic attacks against reporters who have even gotten off on Twitter because they've been so attacked -- he's been asked about that and he still has to refused to criticize them.

So the idea that he's going to come out and claim that there's a problem with some guy showing up to a Hillary Clinton's event, which by the way, she did disavow in any way.

KURTZ: She did disavow just as Trump disavow when David Duke endorsed him.
Can't campaigns be held responsible for any who really wants to offer support?

BOOTHE: But the problem here is that the David Duke endorsement got six times the media coverage of the terrorist father endorsing Hillary Clinton and attending her rally because we all know that if he had attended a Donald Trump rally, that would be front page news the next day when all but would completely discredit his campaign so, that's the problem.

KURTZ: And I would have a problem with that, too. I mean, if it's not somebody that was invited by the campaign.

BOOTHE: And further to that logic, to lump Donald Trump in with these white supremacists, then by the same logic you would have to say well, then why isn't Hillary Clinton -- Hillary Clinton should denounce, you know, people among the Black Lives Matter movement who have said statements like pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon. The reality is there's just not an equal amount of scrutiny applied to.

POWERS: There's no evidence that they're Hillary Clinton supporters.

BOOTHE: She's endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement.

POWERS: No, because that's not -- that's not the same thing.

BOOTHE: I think it's the same logic.

POWERS: What I'm talking about are people who are attacking people making anti-Semitic attacks against reporters because in one case they're mad at the fact that the reporter wrote an anti-Melania piece allegedly and then he is asked about this and he basically says, "I don't have anything to say to my fans." That's not the same thing.

KURTZ: I've got just a few seconds left for Heidi.

PRZYBYLA: I have actually, in the motorcade, when this went down, in Hillary Clinton's motorcade, and I can tell you proof positive that they were just as shocked as everyone else that he was there because having covered, you know, 16 years of these campaigns, I know that the way these things work is that anybody who wants to wait in line for three hours and go through a metal detector can wind up standing behind the platform. Yes, sometimes they do put their supporters there as well, but literally the campaign was shocked to learn this along...


KURTZ: Got to end it there. We're out of time. Heidi Przybyla, Lisa Boothe, Kirsten Powers, we'll continue this off line. Up next, a debate about the New York Times columnist who's okay with the media tilting against Trump because he's such an unorthodox candidate. And later, The Daily Beast apologizes for a story that outed gay Olympic athletes.


KURTZ: Media are tilting against Donald Trump, at least according to New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg who acknowledge that in a piece this week and appear to justify it saying, "This is the situation facing journalists. If you view a Trump presidency as something that's potentially dangerous, then your reporting is going to reflect that. You would move closer than you've ever have to being oppositional."

And that's acceptable says Rutenberg, "It would be an abdication of political journalism's most solemn duty to ferret out what candidates would be like in the most powerful office in the world. It may not always seem fair to Mr. Trump or his supporters."

Joining us now from Charlottesville, Virginia is Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. So, Larry, do you agree with the premise here that there has been a definite media tilt against Donald Trump?

LARRY SABATO, CENTER FOR POLITICS UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA DIRECTOR: Yes. I don't think there's any question about that but, look, Howie, there was a media tilt against Mitt Romney. There was a media tilt against John McCain.
There was a media tilt against George W. Bush. It has more to do with party and personal characteristics of journalists than anything else.

KURTZ: So you believe that the press is generally unfair on presidential candidates, but of course I've never seen anything like this level of vitriol and some of it may be caused by Trump with the statements he makes.
So here's the argument, and Jim Rutenberg is a good reporter.

The New York Times put this column on the front page, "Reporters think Trump is dangerous or would be dangerous as president, and it's their patriotic duty to stop him except they're not commentators, they're not activists, they're reporters."

SABATO: Yeah. See, I think that's a very important distinction. If you're a commentator or pundit, you can say whatever you want and the chyron should read "analysis" -- that's what you're doing, or analysis on a newspaper headline. But if you're a straight reporter, if you're supposed to just report the facts of what's happening at a particular event, then I think it's more problematic.

KURTZ: I ask you about all of this because people don't know that you have a minor degree in press criticism. You once wrote a book called "Feeding Frenzy." This Rutenberg column quotes a top political editor at the New York Times, Carolyn Ryan as saying that Trump's candidacy is extraordinary and precedent-shattering and to pretend otherwise is to be disingenuous with readers.

Now, I'm not arguing for false equivalency here. Trump says four disputed things and Hillary says one, so be it, that's why we cover it. But when you talk about being close to oppositional, it seems to almost be coming out and saying publicly that some journalists, many journalists, believe that they have to be tougher on Trump because of the nature of his candidacy, your thoughts.

SABATO: Well, the political party is the -- the other political party is the opposition to Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton is the oppositional candidate. The press is not the oppositional party and they shouldn't pretend to be the oppositional party. What they will say, and I agree with them in part, this campaign, the Trump campaign has no precedent, Howie.

There's nothing in American political history like it. I don't know why he doesn't adopt the theme song from the real chairman of the board, Frank Sinatra "My Way" because he's doing everything his way. And it is difficult even to adjust to if you've been covering politics for a while.

KURTZ: Yeah, well his way obviously worked in the primaries, but he's having a tougher time in the general election. He has been stepping up the rhetoric against the press. Let me play you something that he said at a rally just the other day.


TRUMP: The media is unbelievably dishonest. I would actually say that the media is almost as crooked as crooked Hillary Clinton.


KURTZ: So, do you think that these kinds of attacks on the press, which are intensifying, as I say, help Donald Trump?

SABATO: Howie, they're counterproductive and you know that. You've got such a long history in the press. First of all, he makes no distinctions between and among members of the press. Reporters are human beings. This will come as a shock to some people, but reporters are human beings, and while they steel themselves to a certain degree against criticism, still, it's a lot when you have a candidate pointing you out in rallies filled with thousands and thousands of activists and saying you're evil, you're crooked, you're bad and then you have individual Trump supporters coming up and screaming and yelling at them while they're trying to do their jobs. That is wrong and he's encouraging it and he needs to stop it in his own interest.

KURTZ: Even individual news organizations there are fair reporters or not so fair reporters or commentators. I do agree that those distinctions should be made. Larry Sabato, great to see you this Sunday from Virginia.

SABATO: Thank you, Howie.

KURTZ: Have a great day. After the break, a woman wins an Olympic medal and her husband gets the credit? That and more on the Rio coverage next.


KURTZ: NBC and other media outlets taking plenty of heat for the way they depict female athletes at the Olympics. NBC chief marketing officer John Miller explaining why the network packages the events, which is sometimes delayed, with soft focused features about those competing said this, "More women watch the games than men, and for the women, they're less interested in the result and more interested in the journey.

It's sort of like the ultimate reality show and miniseries wrapped into one." Joining us now from New York, Lola Ogunnaike, a host of Arise News and a Today Show contributor. So, what do you think of the argument others have made that women are different. We got to tell them nice stories so they'll watch the Olympics.

LOLA OGUNNAIKE, ARISE NEWS HOST: I think it's ridiculous. I think anyone that's tuned in to watch the Olympics doesn't hear the stories but more than anything, they enjoy watching the competition. They enjoy watching superior athletes leave everything on the floor, blood, sweat and tears.
That's what they tune in for.

They want to see the built in drama that goes into the competition. They're not there for reality show. It's not an episode of the "Bachelor" or "Survivor." It's the Olympics.

KURTZ: That was a gold medal answer. Let me get you to some specifics here.

OGUNNAIKE: Thank you. Thank you, tens (ph) all around.

KURTZ: So, when a woman won the trap shooting bronze, the Chicago Sun Times reported this way, "Corey Cogdell-Unrien, wife of Chicago Bears defensive end, Mitch, wins bronze. In the second paragraph, "Her husband, Bears defensive end Mitch Unrien cheered her from his home near Chicago. They've been married for two years. What? Your thoughts.

OGUNNAIKE: It's really difficult for some people to understand female athlete without the proxy (ph) of the males. So, a female athlete either have to be the wife of, the daughter of, the mother of, she can't simply just be a female athlete. And can you imagine if the same sort of language is used to describe a male athlete? No one ever describes Michael Phelps as son of, husband of, fiance of.

He's just Michael Phelps. No one has ever referred to Michael Phelps as the male Katie Ledecky, but Katie Ledecky is always referred to as the female Michael Phelps. Why is that Howie? I don't understand it. It makes no sense. She swims like a man -- she is Katie Ledecky. She's an amazing athlete in her own right and that's it.

KURTZ: All right. Here's another example for you. So, Hungarian swimmer -- I hope I don't blow her name -- Katinka Hosszu, she won the gold and NBC's Dan Hicks said that her husband and coach was the guy responsible for her performance. He later said, well, it's impossible to (inaudible) take your story accurately without giving appropriate credit to shame her husband.
Kind of making you point.

OGUNNAIKE: And that's -- listen. Was he in the pool with her? Did he drag her across the finish line? I don't think so. I mean, he was there to support her. He's there to, you know, be a great champion for his wife and that's about it. I mean, I just don't understand. My favorite though is from the San Jose Mercury about Simone Manuel. The headline read, "Michael Phelps shares historic night African-American."

KURTZ: That is so nice of Michael Phelps. What a guy.

OGUNNAIKE: So gracious of him.

KURTZ: I want to mention that the "Daily Beast" deleted and apologized for a piece after a reporter used dating apps like Tinder to arrange hook ups with gay Olympic athletes, not only outing them, but in some cases endangering them because in those countries or some of those countries, gay sex is illegal.

The "Beast" said they screwed up and that's true. Our quick final question for you, former Olympic gymnast medalist, Sean Johnson said, "Tired of the devastating scrutiny on female athletes, what they wear, how fat or thin they are, whether or not they're pretty." Does that resonate with you?

OGUNNAIKE: I'm sorry, Howie, what was the question?

KURTZ: Whether or not -- the focus on whether or not the female athletes are fat or thin or pretty, the appearance question. Is there too much of that?

OGUNNAIKE: Listen, we should just focus on their performance, that's it.
The women are not there to entertain men. They're not there to titillate the audience. They're there to compete. They are leaving everything -- they're breaking records.

KURTZ: Right.

OGUNNAIKE: They are creating historic moments. That's solely what they are there for. If you're looking for a beauty contest, tune into a beauty contest. That's it.

KURTZ: Got it. Thank you so much Lola Ogunnaike.

OGUNNAIKE: Thank you.

KURTZ: Still to come, John Oliver and how TV news really, really leans on newspapers. And what really happened when Frank Luntz, on this set, threw a phone.


KURTZ: It's hardly breaking news that local newspaper are financially struggling as they try to adapt to the online world. HBO's John Oliver has a twisted take on why this matters you even if you get your news from TV or Facebook or Twitter or a bunch of websites.


JOHN OLIVER, HBO LAST WEEK TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Those places (ph) are often just repackaging the world of newspaper and it is not just websites while
(inaudible) often TV news ends up citing print sources.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: According to The Chicago Tribune --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to the Detroit Free Press --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to the San Francisco Chronicle --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to The Times --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Boston Globe --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Orlando Sentinel --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Philadelphia Inquirer --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Pittsburgh Tribune Review --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Detroit News --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Houston Chronicle reports --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Los Angeles Times reports --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Oklahoman reports --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Hartford Courant reports --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Salt Lake Tribune reports --

OLIVER: It's pretty obvious, without the newspapers around to cite, TV news would just be Wolf Blitzer endlessly battling a ball of yarn around.


KURTZ: The shrinking business also means fewer reporters checking up on the state houses and city halls and county councils, and it even affects comedians.


OLIVER: Whenever the show is mistakenly called journalism it is a slap in the face to the actual journalist whose work we rely on.


KURTZ: But John Oliver, I have to say, does a pretty good imitation of a good journalist.

Frank Luntz was on the program last week talking about Donald Trump slipping in the latest polls when he got a little carried away.


FRANK LUNTZ, PUBLIC OPINION GURU: In fact, give me your phone. You got your phone right there. If I were a Trump strategist I would absolutely take the phone and I would throw it away. I would dump it.


KURTZ: Now, many of you took to Twitter to ask about the condition of my poor iPhone. But Frank engaged in a little sleight of hand there. Tossing his own phone to the floor, not my mine. He says his phone was damaged and that cut into his tweet (ph). Good thing my little iPhone here was spared from his intemperate moment, it's a good thing I have this as a backup. I know that people think that Blackberry unfashionable but it's good for e- mail.

That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. Thanks for joining us. We hope you like our Facebook page. We post a lot of original content there. You can be part of the Your Buzz feature. I respond to your questions on video. Give our page a like. Follow me on twitter, @howardkurtz. DVR the show. Got many, many ways that we can get through to you. We are back here next Sunday, 11:00 and 5:00 eastern. We hope you'll join us then in this crazy campaign. Crazy campaign is drinking from a fire hose. A new story every single hour, every five minutes, back here next Sunday with the latest buzz.

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