This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," September 4, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the "Buzz Meter" this Sunday, Donald Trump wins the media praise for his surprise trip to Mexico then endures the media scorn for his fiery speech on illegal immigration, first, the meeting with Mexico's president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Now, here he is standing on the world stage with the world leader. This is a big step.
STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I think this is actually the single best day of the general election campaign for Donald Trump.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: It seems that this probably turned out for Donald Trump to be a pivotal moment, and I would argue probably the best day of his campaign.
GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: This is the best thing he's probably ever done in his life.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN: This was certainly the most diplomatic moment we've seen from Donald Trump.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Welcome to a quaint essential Trumpian stunt. A hastily assembled trip to a country that's openly mocked him to meet with a leader that at one time compared him to Hitler.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: A few hours later the coverage turned sharply negative.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAM PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: There will be no amnesty.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: The Trump yesterday, he is diplomat and then he is readily populist, and you're right, he's a con artist (ph)...
ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The legal immigrants here would say we don't want you. It's a terrible trap for Republicans and Trump played into it.
Eugene Robinson, THE WASHINGTON POST: It was the, you know, the Mexicans were bad again and they're going to have to pay for the wall. They're too dumb to know it yet and by the way, the Mexican immigrants are committing crimes at a historic pace and have to be kicked out.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Is the press being fair on immigration and on Trump's outreach yesterday at a black church. That FBI document dump on the Hillary Clinton email probe does not change the media's handling of the case. The presidential debate moderator has been picked and for the first time one of them is from Fox News, a conversation with Chris Wallace. Plus, this story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Hard to believe we're saying this since yet again, but Former Congressman, Anthony Weiner has been caught in yet another sexting scandal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Clinton adviser Huma Abedin dumps Anthony Weiner after a New York Post expose and embarrassment, sure. But shouldn't this be big political news?
I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."
Donald Trump stunned the media world by quickly accepting an invitation from Mexican President, Enrique Pena Nieto and even some of his fiercest critics applauded the candidate's first foray on to the Diplomatic stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: There's a lot of value that can be created for both countries by working beautifully together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But the coverage turn far more negative when Trump gave a loud, harsh, and fiery speech hours later in Arizona. And while softening one part of his plan, warned of the dangers of illegal immigration and blamed part of the problem on the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Only the out-of-touch media elites think the biggest problem facing American's side, well you know this, you know this, this is what they talk about facing American society today is that there are 11 million illegal immigrants who don't have legal status.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the campaign coverage Heidi Przybyla, senior political correspondent at USA today; Sarah Flores, Republican strategist and former aide to Carly Fiorina's campaign; and Ruth Marcus, deputy editorial page editor and columnist for The Washington Post.
Heidi, let's just deal with trip to Mexico. Is it fair to say that in this meeting with President Pena Nieto that Trump and how he handled himself, that Trump got some rare media praise?
HEIDI PRZYBYLA, USA TODAY: Yes, and I think the reason why is because it was the opposite outcome of what many of us were expecting. Like Chuck Todd said in opening, here he was flying into the den of the man who had likened his rhetoric to Hitler and Mussolini. And instead he walked out of there with a very presidential looking accomplishment in his pocket. It was very respectful.
KURTZ: Trump tells us it was stunt but others were much positive about it.
PRZYBYLA: Well, most of -- most people were positive. Myself, I called it a win for him and again I think it was just like the expectation thing. That was not the outcome that we are expecting. But I also want to say, Howie, that I think this was a good example of how the media is really becoming the whipping boy for whatever new cycle doesn't benefit your candidate because I had gone on before the second -- the speech and a lot of these people on the internet came back to kind of troll many of the journalist who called -- who pronounced that a win without really respecting that you have to react within the 24-hour news cycle and it was very much fair that...
KURTZ: You can't react to something that hasn't happened yet when the speech he has driven...
KURTZ: ...well, I was on the special report right here in the studio with Charles Krauthammer and Stephen Hayes, two of Trump's fiercest critics and as you saw, they praised him. I almost fell off of my chair. So, at least on the part of the Mexico visit I mean he did get a lot of praise.
SARAH ISGUR FLORES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, and I mean I've never saw seen actually twitter do the 180. I was watching the speech, you know, beforehand. Oh, there's no American Flag, this is going to be -- this is going to end his campaign. How could they possibly not have an American flag before him to a huge win?
And as an operative, I have to say there was something very refreshing about a campaign putting to something together that quickly that wasn't perfect and yet was a win. Because so often you're told, oh, can't be done. You need at least...
KURTZ: Six months.
ISGUR FLORES: ...three months...
ISGUR FLORES: ...to possibly do a state visit. And it's like, no you can do it in a day.
KURTZ: I like the way you proudly wear the word "operative."
KURTZ: Ruth Marcus, did the news account of the trip though undercut Trump a little bit when he said they hadn't discussed paying for the wall along the border and Mexico's President said, he had told Trump no way that would happen.
RUTH MARCUS, WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think Trump undercut himself a bit. It wasn't the news accounts that undercut him. I did think and, you know, it's interesting that you actually can put on the play or put on the stunt or put on an event with the world leader with very little notice. I thought it was a smart move for him.
I thought he carried it off well. I think we all tend a little bit with Trump to both overreact to the negatives and overreact to the positives. So the fact that he's there standing with the world leader, not spouting what we're used to from Trump was a positive for him.
It was a mistake for him to say something that it was easy for the Mexican President to then contradict. And then he -- that made that actually compounded the problems he had later in the day with the speech, because he had to put "and they're going to pay for the wall, believe me" back into the speech...
MARCUS: ...he said, "I had to."
KURTZ: Is there a medication for these wild mood swings about covering Trump?
KURTZ: All right. So, now let's go to the speech in Arizona and it was pretty roundly criticized by the media. I mean both in straight news reports and in the commentary, is that because many of the press didn't like the tone or was it more than that?
PRZYBYLA: I'm going back again to the expectations argument, Howie. Because many of the people who cover the Trump campaign know that the campaign itself had kind of set the expectation that he would be softening -- softening...
KURTZ: Trump used that word, softening.
PRZYBYLA: Yes, yes and they didn't see the softening in the rhetoric, even though to be fair as a journalist, I have to point out, you know, there was some policy elements. Like there was no mention of the Muslim ban. He really did leave it unclear whether there would be some immediate deportation of the 11 million which has been the issue all along.
Then there was also the expectation of -- we are now seeing Trump 3.0. He is reaching out to minorities. He is reaching out to African-Americans. He is apologizing for something and this would fit into that narrative. This is the time he has to do it to reach these suburban independent women.
But instead the rhetoric was pretty much similar to what we had heard in the very beginning of the campaign. The emphasis on the criminality aspect of immigration...
PRZYBYLA: ...where this could have been an opportunity for him to kind of highlight the very good contributions that legal immigrants make to this country...
PRZYBYLA: ...to try and balance it out a bit.
KURTZ: Well, I think Trump did say that it would be several years before most of the 11 million illegal immigrants would be deported until at least others steps look like (ph), but he kind of buried in the speech and kind of got buried in the coverage, but Ruth is there a mindset among many journalist that modest immigration before makes sense. This goes back to the debates in the Bush Administration and therefore does that sentiments sort of creep into new stories when Trump is kind of depict as a demagogue in this issue?
MARCUS: Well, I'm an opinion journalist.
KURTZ: Well, give us your opinion.
MARCUS: So, modest immigration reform does make sense. It may creep into news stories, but I think that it was really the Trump campaign that set expectations and the journalists were more reacting to the expectations of softening set by Trump and campaign and actually accentuated by these statements like might be a little bit strong but a totally credible performance in Mexico. So, I was confused just as not an operative, but I've seen some on TV...
MARCUS: ...about what was the message that Trump was trying to send because the day to me was kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Trump and is he statesman-like guy or is he the round-them-all-up guy? It was a little bit of softening but he also made it really clear there was no path to legalization without people leaving the country.
KURTZ: What also made news in the wake of the speech were reactions of some previously supportive Hispanic folks including I mean Jacob Monty who was on Trump's Hispanic Advisory Council. Here's what he said on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACOB MONTY, TRUMP'S HISPANIC ADVISORY COUNCIL: I had, I guess the naivete to believe that this guy was a businessman, that this guy was a Republican. And we didn't hear a Republican last night. We heard a populist propaganda con artist and I'm done with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Does that sort of coverage hurt?
ISGUR FLORES: It does, and to both of your points about expectations, this is where you see why a larger campaign infrastructure a more professional communications team actually does matter for coverage because that's who is supposed to set those expectations.
ISGUR FLORES: They're supposed to get you embargoed remarks ahead of time like we were talking in the green room. They're supposed to have their surrogates prepped. Those guys I think were caught by surprise a lot on the Hispanic Advisory Board. You never want that to happen to your surrogate team.
MARCUS: But Sarah, don't you think one thing that might be going on here is that Trump's team is not necessarily unified in what message it wants to be sending?
ISGUR FLORES: I think some of them are surprised sometimes...
ISGUR FLORES: ...about is going out there and saying.
KURTZ: But there have been stories about internal debate among the Trump advisers about...
ISGUR FLORES: That's right.
KURTZ: ...how much too soften or not soften?
ISGUR FLORES: Which isn't a problem in and of itself. It's a problem, though, when you're talking about expectations for a big speech like that with the reporters think they're heading into one thing but they're actually going into another and they tweet and rate...
PRZYBYLA: I kind of think though with some of the language in the speech as a journalist, even if I gotten that in advance, I would look at it and say, whoa, you know, zero tolerance, focusing only on immigrants as criminals, you know, these types of messages. Even if I've seen it in advance, maybe I would have had some time to chew over the fact that he was easing up a bit on some of the policy...
PRZYBYLA: ...however, I still think there would have been a lot of people surprised.
KURTZ: Well, you know, there are still Hispanics who support Trump including this fellow Marco Gutierrez who went on MSNBC and said, "My culture is a very dominant culture and if we don't do something about it, we're going to have taco trucks on every corner." I don't know how helpful that was.
MARCUS: ...Hispanics like this.
KURTZ: ...the mic, what about the medium mindset? There was a morning consult poll out today actually, it says by 56% to 37% people say they believe that all immigrants should go back to home countries after being applied for admission, which is a position that many in the press' view is extreme.
MARCUS: Yes. But, you know, it sounds fair but then when you start -- now...
MARCUS: ...now, this is the opinion journalists to me that when you start kind of going through the logistics of it, of course Trump has always said, and the good ones are going to come back in. And, you know, it's just not - - it's not practically feasible.
PRZYBYLA: And you can use different numbers too. I mean you can use...
KURTZ: People believe contradictory things.
KURTZ: Before we go, I want to -- I want to talk to you about two political headlines and this is the polls that we're all obsessed with. So, one headline is Clinton's advisers tell her to prep for a landslide. The other one is, inside Trump's tower facing grim reality and Trump's campaign is described as teetering and threatening to collapse. Bit too far based on late August early September polls?
PRZYBYLA: Yes, you can't call it a race especially because -- at this point and before we've even had a debate that's said in defense of some of this coverage, we did see a pretty big gap in the past couple of weeks in some of these battleground states, which you know, as scholars of elections we know these are the battleground states that...
PRZYBYLA: ...determine the election. But that said, these polls are swinging very radically. That doesn't make them incorrect...
PRZYBYLA: ...but you certainly can't call it a race based on it.
KURTZ: It's very respected as a sport (ph), let me get a break. Remember to write to us and I'll respond it's email@example.com or at our Kurtz on twitter.com.
When we come back, that FBI release of its interview with Hillary Clinton and a memo summarizing the investigation, does it change the media's handling of this case?
And later, is the latest Anthony Weiner's embarrassment anything other than a tabloid tale?
KURTZ: Reporters are suddenly scrambling on Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend. That's when the FBI chose to put out its interview with Hillary Clinton over her private email server and investigative summary of the case.
Sarah Flores, Washington Post says, "The documents do not seem to provide any major revelations about Clinton's actions, though they paint her and her staff is either unaware or unconcerned with State Department policies on email use. Wasn't there more news in it than that?
ISGUR FLORES: I think it's incredible and once again the FBI doing Hillary Clinton a huge favor by putting it out on a Friday of Labor Day weekend. But to be clear if a private corporation had destroyed emails in anticipation of litigation, they would be in such enormous trouble.
And I think this is a part where maybe you see a gap in political reporters who don't quite know the law as well aren't entirely familiar with security issues, saying that there was nothing new here when, in fact, I thought that was explosive that that was...
KURTZ: So, what does it say to you that the Washington Post in its news story said no major revelations?
ISGUR FLORES: Yes, they're going to need to -- they're going to be backtracking off of that as people point out to them that in fact this was a major revelation that they only wiped the server afterwards.
MARCUS: ...it was the lead story in the print newspaper, so...
KURTZ: Is that...
MARCUS: ...so, you know, once again so that sort of just underscores at the degree to which major revelation -- minor revelation. This email story is just like a chronic disease for Hillary Clinton and there are just going to be flare-ups on it that, you know, last -- that started more than a year ago and that are going to continue to Election Day.
KURTZ: She said she couldn't recall many, many times and didn't...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three dozen.
KURTZ: ...and didn't seem -- three dozen, thank you.
KURTZ: Didn't seem familiar with some of the email classifications for security stuff, so on some kind of cosmic scale, how important is this story?
MARCUS: You know, the question is who is changing their view about Hillary Clinton as a result of this story, right? There are some people who think that the email story has been terrible and disqualifying all along, and there are some people who will either vote for her or never vote for Donald Trump no matter what.
And so the question is the kind of marginal impact of this drip, drip, drip. I am -- I think it does have an impact but it's not this drip, it's the kind of accumulation of drips.
ISGUR FLORES: It's her inability to answer it and then you're heading into this first debate which will be so important for her.
KURTZ: Right. But I want to -- I want to stick with the media's coverage here. So, the media I think prefers a smoking gun. So, you have this simple headline, Clinton date X and here that wasn't exactly a smoking gun, but there were these new revelations that certainly didn't look good for her, so...
PRZYBYLA: And we've had email revelations that we've thought were, you know, really important for the past year. And while I agree with you that the deletion that is a new thread, and that may go somewhere, you know, we are hearing Jason Chaffetz other Republican saying that they may pursue this. Again, it's an allegation and we don't know if this was her technical support guy trying to cover up -- cover himself because he was supposed to delete this a year before?
MARCUS: It was supposed to have...
PRZYBYLA: It was supposed to happened a year before.
MARCUS: I think...
PRZYBYLA: So, I think it's going to be like Ruth says, it's part of the drip, drip, drip. Personally as a journalist, I think the much more important thread in this news story about Hillary Clinton is going to be the focus on the foundations because we have been talking about emails for so long, that I do think for people who already have formed an impression about the emails, it's going to be -- it's just going to be another drip, drip, drip and the real focus is going to be on the foundation.
KURTZ: Leaving us -- go ahead.
MARCUS: I'm sorry, just one quickie thing. I think the reason that the destruction -- I mean I think the deletion of these emails was a huge mistake and the deletion of it afterwards was a huge mistake that may think that un-smokes the gun, if you will, is that there was absolutely nothing tying Hillary Clinton herself to it and no evident knowledge of that. I mean if that were true, then the gun would be, you know, a machine gun.
KURTZ: Well, that's a fair point but shouldn't the headlines have been, you know, massive deletion of past emails which may or may not have been incriminating that we didn't know about until the FBI put the stuff out.
ISGUR FLORES: Absolutely, and more -- I think the media should have covered more of the 30 Benghazi emails that's were not sure if those were even turned over the first time. If that's the case, it's going to be very hard for Hillary Clinton to claim that she had no clue.
KURTZ: And on that point, Sarah Flores, Heidi Przybyla, and Ruth Marcus great to see you here this Sunday.
I had Chris Wallace on being chosen as the moderator for the third presidential debate. The first time anyone from Fox News has been tap for that role.
But first, HLN literally wipes the Trump logo off the screen and Facebook screws up those trending topics with a huge mistake about Megyn Kelly.
KURTZ: We'll talk about Clickbait. It was a dramatic headline on Mediaite. Sarah Palin urges violence against Ungrateful Punk, Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who refuses to stand for the national anthem. And what was this violence Palin wrote, let's suck him. A play on a football term, come on throwing a penalty flag on that one.
HLN was doing a story on a Good Samaritan, a guy named Steven Eckel who had saved the baby from a hot car. Check out the t-shirt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Steven, I know you don't necessarily want to be called a hero, but we're going to take the liberty of doing it anyway if you don't mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But when HLN reran the piece, the Trump part of the shirt had been digitally blurred, kidding me. The channel was apparently so offended that it changed the reality that the man was a Trump fan. HLN spokesman told Mediaite, we blurred the logo and shouldn't have, it was done in error. That's for sure.
Mark Zuckerberg admitted Facebook had a problem after the flap about liberal bias affecting its choice of trending topics. But then the social network fired the staffers all of them who work on the list relying even more heavily on computer algorithms. Well, that didn't work out so well. Here's the story that made it on to the trending list. Tell me if this sounds like a real headline to you. "Breaking, Fox News exposes traitor Megyn Kelly, kicks her out for backing Hillary."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: Also tonight a phony article about yours truly, manages to climb its way to the top of Facebook's trending feature. Fired, what? So, can I sue my friends at Facebook?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: That story is as Megyn says complete and total garbage. A bogus piece came from something called endingthefed.com which in turn attributed to something called Conservative 101. Any human being with a pulse would have realized that it was fake.
Facebook eventually apologized for falling for this hoax, not the story of trending topics but would someone who wasn't a TV star have had a harder time getting corrective action without human being it turns out it's too easy for underlying con artists to game the system for cheap clicks.
Coming up, the host of "Fox News Sunday" picked as the presidential debate moderator, my conversation with Chris Wallace.
And later why is the president addicted to the sleazy Anthony Weiner's soap opera?
KURTZ: A presidential debate moderators have been announced. First debate NBC's Lester Holt; VP debate CBS is Elaine Quijano; second debate, shared between ABC's Martha Raddatz and CNN's Anderson Cooper. And the third presidential debate on October 19th the Fox News anchor for the first time, Chris Wallace. I sat down with the host of "Fox News Sunday" shortly after news broke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Chris Wallace, welcome.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Thank you.
KURTZ: How does being chosen for this presidential debate -- how do you feel about it personally and what does it mean for Fox News?
WALLACE: Well, it is an enormously gratifying thing to be chosen. Obviously, the commission on presidential debate has entrusted one of the three to you to be the moderator, to help tens of millions of Americans make up their mind comparison shopping between the two or if one of them reaches 15%, one of the third party candidates as well, and I'm very proud to be a representative of Fox. This is the first time that any journalist from Fox has ever been chosen to moderate a general election debate, so I'm very proud for that.
KURTZ: There are as, you know, Fox critics out there who say, oh, it's a right wing network. It's a network that favors Republicans. Does this help dispel that perception by building on a work that you and Megyn Kelly prepared did during all the primary debate?
WALLACE: Well, I have to think that I don't know this, but I have to think that the commission which is really a blue ribbon panel, the two chairs are Frank Farren top former Republican National and Committee Chairman Mike McCurry who is a Bill Clinton his first press secretary, but there are also a number of very distinguished people on the commission. I have to think they looked at the debates and the work that we did and thought these guys was pretty tough on Republicans. They really are going to be fair and balance.
KURTZ: To coin a phrase. Now, when you're on that big stage in Las Vegas, it's not like hosting a Sunday show, correct?
WALLACE: No, it's very different, and I'm very mindful of that. It isn't coming up with a killer question, not coming up with the great follow-up. I see myself as a conduit to ask the questions and basically to get the two candidates, or as I say, if one of the other people is on the stage as well, one of the third party candidates, but to get the candidates to engage. I view it as kind of being a referee in a heavyweight championship fight. If it succeeds when it's over, people will say, you did a great job. I don't even remember you ever -- even being on the stage.
KURTZ: Well, I understand that and I think it's the right approach, not making it about you, on the other hand, there is a lot on your shoulders, both in terms of the question selection, but also as they, you know, had it let's say Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, what do you do if they make assertions that you know to be untrue?
WALLACE: That's not my job.
KURTZ: That's not your job.
WALLACE: I do not believe that it is my job to be a truth squad. It's up to the other person to catch them on that. I certainly am going to try to maintain some reasonable semblance of equal time. If one of them is filibustering, I'm going to try to break in respectfully and give the other person a chance to talk. But I really want it to be about them -- I want it to be as much of a debate. People talked and talked that it's simultaneous news conference...
WALLACE: ...I want it to be as much of a debate as possible. Frankly, with these two and the way, you know, as Keith Jackson used to say about football rivals, these two just plain don't like each other. I suspect I'm not going to have any problem getting them to engage with each other, but I don't view my role as truth-squading. I think that's a step too far and if people want to do it after the debate, fine. It's not my role.
KURTZ: Now, there is a lot on your shoulders I mean it's a great honor, but also you have essentially sole discretion to decide what topics are going to be covered and how the questions are going to be crafted. Are you going to -- how do you go about drilling down to decide what to pack in to 90 minutes?
WALLACE: Well, first of all, I didn't really know what went into it, and I'm learning, and it is a little daunting. For instance, the way the debate is organized, there are going to be six topic areas, six buckets, if you will. And, you know, one might be immigration, one might be ISIS and on and on.
And each one, the moderator asks a question and each of the candidates gets two minutes to respond. If you assume it's two candidates, that's four minutes, and then you have the remainder of the 15 minutes for that bucket to engage the two in a conversation.
I asked one of the people on the commission yesterday, well who decides the six buckets? Because somebody has to tell the campaign -- the two campaigns a week in advance what are the six buckets. They said, "You do." Then I'm like, really? They said, yeah, you decide...
WALLACE: ...what the topics are going to be and we tell the campaign and that's it.
KURTZ: No committees, no bureaucracy.
KURTZ: Your father, Mike Wallace, had an extraordinary broadcasting career. What advice do you think he might offer you?
WALLACE: Well, he -- it's funny I thought about this a lot. He would be very proud of me. I think he probably would have tried to steal it from me...
WALLACE: ...because that's...
WALLACE: ...who he was.
KURTZ: He was known to have sharp elbows.
WALLACE: He did. And I think that he basically say just do what you do. And yes it's different than a Sunday show but just ask smart questions, listen, follow-up in the sense that if somebody says something, try to engage the other person and get them to engage with each other. And again understand that this isn't about you, it's about the candidates and it's about the voters having an opportunity at the end -- because this last debate will be less than three weeks before the election, an opportunity for voters to comparison shop the last time they'll see these two on the debate stage together.
KURTZ: Chris Wallace, do what you do and thanks for doing it with us.
WALLACE: You bet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: The "New York Times" reports that Hillary Clinton's campaign didn't want anybody from Fox News but the debate commission is independent.
After the break, Anthony Weiner sending nude pictures again and the media make it about the Clinton campaign because of his wife. Is that a stretch?
And later, is the press taking Donald Trump outreach to black voters seriously.
KURTZ: There was no way not to cover what happened to Anthony Weiner not after the New York Post caught him sexting with another woman. This was the third time. And not after his wife announced they were separating.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS NEWS: It is about the last thing Hillary Clinton's campaign needed a scandal involving the husband of her top aide, Huma Abedin. Anthony Weiner, the former New York Congressman, was caught sexting again.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS: It's an announcement that had immediate reverberations in the political world because Abedin is one of Hillary Clinton's top advisers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But did this warrant leading two of the three network giving newscast on front page stories in The Washington Post and The New York Times whose headline was Weiner's nude messages catch shadow on the campaign.
Joining us now Gayle Trotter who writes for the Daily Caller and The Hill and Mara Liasson of National Public Radio also a Fox News Contributor.
Mara why is this Anthony Weiner embarrassment worthy of that kind of coverage and especially New York Times saying it's cast a shadow on the Hillary Clinton campaign?
MARA LIASSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think that's really an exaggeration. I don't think it is worthy but it's one of those things where you try to look away, you know. It's like an incredibly compelling car wreck and people want to about it.
Now, it's a perfect tabloid story, why the "New York Times" would say it cast a shadow on the campaign? Because it's a bad thing to happen, it's not good news and it has to do with her top aide. That's I guess about it.
KURTZ: Gayle, again Anthony Weiner was a congressman. He runs for mayor of New York. There was a documentary made about that, so it's news, but is this an attempt by the many of the media to take an essentially tabloid story and kind of pump it up with some political significance?
GAYLE TROTTER, THE DAILY CALLER: I would agree with that, and I think the conservative media like Breitbart, National Review, PJ Media, or the Drudge Report they're all going crazy with frustration because they know the real scandals that are happening and they feel like this is a distraction by talking about this. But the story was salacious, it was reckless behavior, think of his proximity to power, and they could not cover it.
KURTZ: Well, on that point about and I'll let you make your point, everyone quoted the Trump statement. Donald Trump said...
KURTZ: ...Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent just to read it in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information. But that's assuming that Huma Abedin who's, you know, Hillary Clinton's closest adviser, was reckless in allowing her husband to see any of this stuff.
LIASSON: Right, which we have no way of knowing, and that's why even though you say that Conservative media was anxious to cover the real scandal, Donald Trump wanted to cover this scandal. He wanted to pump it up as much as possible and make a connection between classified information and Anthony Weiner, which is tenuous at best.
KURTZ: Political reports that the marriage was essentially estranged already and had been for some time. But now also from this "New York Times" story said it threatens to remind voters about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, really?
TROTTER: Yes, it certainly does. And the interesting thing is I went back and looked at when he first had to resign from congress. Tim Kaine that name might be familiar to you, at the time when Anthony was a congressman and had to resign, Tim Kaine said, lying is unforgivable. Lying publicly about something like this is unforgivable and he should resign.
KURTZ: But, the difference is Anthony Weiner is not running for public office and he's married to someone who is certainly on the key part of Clinton campaign but it just seems like one step removed, no?
TROTTER: Right, but Tim Kaine is saying that lying about sexting is unforgivable, but now he's signed on to be Vice-President of Hillary Clinton's campaign when she lied on this very network about her email and the scandals and the paper play stuff and the classified information.
KURTZ: Let me move on to the media debate about psychopath. Here is former Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe on "Meet the Press."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DAVID PLOUFFE, CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR BARACK OBAMAS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I mean basically we have a psychopath running for president I mean he meets the clinical definition, OK. Hillary Clinton...
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Wait a minute, let me ask -- wait a minute.
TODD: Do you really think you would -- diagnosing people on air and but -- I assumed you don't have a degree in psychology. Is that fair?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC: No, I think it's worth asking someone in the mental health community if this is someone you'd want to look that this is -- are these signs of something that perhaps could lead to...
SCARBOROUGH: I think, you know what...
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: All right, so David Plouffe is a partisan Democrat and shut tied to his credit. He did (ph) pushback when you play the whole thing...
KURTZ: ...but it fuels more media chatter about is Trump crazy?
LIASSON: I think...
KURTZ: ...and probably what the democrats wanted.
LIASSON: Yes, it's what the Democrats want, it's over the line. It's just as bad as Donald Trump saying, oh, Hillary had a concussion. She's not with it. There's something wrong with her mentally. And then all those false stories about that her aides carry the syringe. It's all out of line.
And, you know, after the Goldwater Election, some group of American psychiatrists signed a letter and pledged to a policy that they wouldn't do that. They wouldn't diagnose someone from afar and they're psychiatrists. So, David Plouffe who maybe is playing a psychiatrist on TV shouldn't do it either.
KURTZ: Is this a case of letting a top Democratic strategist set the media's agenda?
TROTTER: Oh, yes it is. And when you think about it, it's the boy who cried wolf. If they go to Def Con One (ph) on every issue and come up with the most, you know, outrageous smears on Donald Trump and people start tuning him out. Because they see that, you know, Donald Trump is not a psychopath, and, you know, it also hurts people who are from families with actual mental illness that they use that kind of rhetoric when they are using it in a non-medical fashion. And it does allow the media to set the agenda based on what the Democrats are saying.
KURTZ: I understand a lot of people feel strongly about Trump but, you know, having a psychopath to win the Republican nomination, build the global business and so forth, so you seemed to be in agreement that this was going too far?
LIASSON: Yes, there's so many things that Donald Trump has said that are objectionable just by their very own selves, you don't have to diagnose his...
KURTZ: I have no objection looking at his own words as these phrases...
KURTZ: ...these incendiary phrases...
KURTZ: ...that the media shouldn't use.
TROTTER: On that one, we are...
KURTZ: ... Mara Liasson and Gayle Trotter, thanks very much for joining us.
Still to come, Donald Trump courts the black vote in Detroit after the "New York Times" report that the whole thing was totally scripted. We'll look at that next.
KURTZ: Donald Trump has been peppering his speeches with appeals to African-American voters and yesterday for the first time he took that message to a black audience. Here he is at a church in Detroit.
TRUMP: I fully understand that the African-American Community has suffered from discrimination and that there are many wrongs that must still be made right.
KURTZ: Joining us now from New York Amy Holmes, political analyst for Rasmussen Reports and a former anchor of The Blaze and Keli Goff, Columnist from the Daily Beast and host of Political Party a show on WNYC Radio.
So, Amy, the New York Times reported a couple of days ago that when Trump was going to do -- a taped interview, we haven't seen it, you know, with Bishop Wayne Jackson in Detroit and the bishop has confirmed this that it would not only be close press it would be a scripted Q&A. The script was leaked in the Times by somebody, how damaging is that story?
AMY HOLMES, RASMUSSEN REPORTS: Well, it certainly it influenced events because the pastor came back and said that he was going to be adding questions that the Trump campaign was not aware of.
HOLMES: But, you know, this whole coverage of Donald Trump and going to the black church and reaching out to black voters and the way the media is covering it, it sort of reminds me of the perpetually dissatisfied restaurant customer who says the food is terrible but the portions are too small. The media -- they can't get enough of Donald Trump but it's always perpetually dissatisfied with his efforts.
KURTZ: On that point, Keli, here's a "New York Times" story who says on yesterday, they said that Donald Trump, his campaign is a blunt provocateur, dismissing complaints of racial insensitivity as political correctness took an uncharacteristic step on Saturday meeting he went to a black church. Does he not at least get points from the media for going there and giving what was a pretty soft-spoken and humble speech?
KELI GOFF, "THE DAILY BEAST": Well, credit -- I mean here's the tough thing for the Trump campaign is he has a couple of problems. He has this media narrative that he is relying on to mobilize his base of support.
And that narrative is that the big, bad mainstream media is conspiring against him because they're bias and therefore they're going to misconstrue and misrepresent his thoughts as intolerant when really he is just speaking for a vast majority of Americans.
He has two problems with selling that media narrative, though Howard. Problem number one is his own mouth and words and problem two is the only person who seems to enjoy press attention more than Donald Trump is David Duke. When one of your most enthusiastic supporters is a white supremacist who likes talking to the press...
KURTZ: Whoa, wait, wait. I don't want to go there because Trump has nothing to do with the fact that David Duke has endorsed it. So, let's stick to Donald Trump and the way he is trying to prove his...
KURTZ: And the media coverage...
KURTZ: It seems to me, no matter what he, you know, -- it's fair to bring up what things he said in the past with the media coverage of him potentially trying to get at least make inroads in the black community has been skeptical.
GOFF: Right. But the reason that it's been skeptical, Howie is you just had David Duke gave an interview where he said "The New York Times" gives me credit for Donald Trump's campaign and the success of it. And the other major problem he has in terms of media coverage, Howie...
GOFF: ...is what he has said that's the negative about Hispanics and Muslims Americans for the last year. I think his campaign did not anticipate how that would hurt him in terms of coverage in black media which it has, because for starters there are plenty of Hispanic Americans who actually identify that as black whether they are Puerto Rican descent...
KURTZ: I got to jump in. I got to jump in.
GOFF: ...to come by a year later...
HOLMES: Hold on, hold on if I could jump in.
KURTZ: Any quick response and I need to move on.
HOLMES: Sure. If I could jump in to the coverage of his visit yesterday in the black church and I was on a competing network and they covered it live so voters could hear Donald Trump's words for their own -- with their own ears...
KURTZ: I watched the live on Fox as well.
HOLMES: ...the analysis -- sure. But then came the analysis and what was interesting to me was how the reporter was covering that inside you have skeptics and outside you have protesters. And it was only later on Conservative blogs that you'd found out he actually got a standing ovation.
KURTZ: All right, let me move on to Pastor Mark Burns because he has been a major African-American surrogate for Donald Trump. He got in trouble for putting up a cartoon of or for tweeting a cartoon of Hillary Clinton. We're going to show you the revised version here.
The original one showed her in black face. At first Pastor Burns refused to apologize. He later did say he was sorry. And then, Friday on CNN, we'll show you this, CNNs Victor Blackwell said that he had lied about his resume he hadn't graduated from North Greenville University as he had claimed. Let's take a look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN: We're still rolling. I'm still asking you questions on the record.
PASTOR MARK BURNS, EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN TELEVANGELIST: I'm off the record.
BLACKWELL: Did you make that claim...
BURNS: I'm off the record.
BLACKWELL: ...that you graduated from North Greenville University?
BURNS: ...because I think this is not fair that you -- this is not fair at all. This is not what I agree. I thought we were doing a profile and all of a sudden you are here to try to destroy my character.
BLACKWELL: I'm not -- I'm not...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: And then he walked out as we are seeing here. Amy, how is a character assassination to ask somebody about something that's not true on their resume?
HOLMES: I don't think it is. I think those are totally fair questions and in fact, the pastor after that interview, he put out a statement trying to explain what he -- how he represented himself that he was trying to seek credibility within the community as a young pastor. And so he didn't use the word inflate his resume, but that's what he did...
KURTZ: All right.
HOLMES: ...and he was asked legitimate questions about it.
KURTZ: All right, I got half a minute Keli.
GOFF: That's the kind of interview that makes all political pundits and commentators cringe. It was so uncomfortable to watch but I would also say that this is part of Trump's problem in terms of coverage. If you want to get serious coverage about reaching out to minorities, you need to have serious surrogates. This guy, Omarosa and the guy who made the comment about taco truck is not to note that you're wanting serious coverage about the issues and policy in terms of minority voters, Howie.
KURTZ: All right, great discussion guys. Thanks very much, Amy Holmes, Keli Goff.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
Up next, 270 plus days and counting, what's behind Hillary Clinton's refusal -- absolute refusal to hold a news conference?
KURTZ: Every day, reporters get an email from the Trump campaign. Today, he says hiding Hillary day 274. It is unprecedented for a presidential nominee not to hold a single news conference for this entire year and frustrated journalists are starting to make that an issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
O'DONNELL: Trump is turning up the heat on Hillary Clinton to hold a news conference.
TRUMP: No press conference in what 255 days or something like that.
Nancy Cordes, CBS NEWS: Clinton has given no reason for the delay.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN: So, is that something you're going to remedy soon?
HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Oh, I'm sure we will.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: It's no secret that Clinton is wary of the press and believes she would be unfairly hammered especially about the email scandal and questions swirling around the Clinton Foundation if she devoted half an hour or so to taking reporter's questions. So, when journalists raised the issue during her infrequent television interviews, she deflects.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: How do you respond to that? Will you give a press conference?
CLINTON: Well, Anderson, I'm talking to you right now and I've given I think way in excess of 300 interviews this year. So, I'm going to continue talking with the press and answering questions and...
COOPER: Why not give a press conference though with a lot of different reporters?
CLINTON: Well, you know, I mean I've got a lot -- a lot that I have been sharing with the press, talking to the press as I'm doing with you right now.
TIM KAINE, DEMOCRATIC VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, you see Hillary take questions from reporters every day. She does -- she talks to the press everywhere she goes.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Everyday? That's not true. Even if you include local press and the 300 interview figure also includes tough grillings like this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Jimmy, my emails are so boring.
JIMMY KIMMEL, TALK SHOW HOST: Yes, I know.
CLINTON: And I mean I'm embarrassed about that.
CLINTON: They're so boring and so we've already released I don't know 30,000 plus so what's a few more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: That was with Jimmy Kimmel. Now, Clinton would probably be hit with a barrage of questions about ethical issues because these build up like a pressure cooker when you are so inaccessible to the press. I know this can sound like journalistic whining, but it's not about us. It's about a candidate's responsibility to answer questions for the public as every president does. Clinton's spokesman says she will hold the news conference soon. I hope that's true and that she won't stop at one.
That's it for this edition of Media Buzz. Thanks for watching on this the third anniversary of our program on Fox News. I'm Howard Kurtz. If you like our Facebook page as I always like to say, we post a lot of original content in there including my video of responses to your questions firstname.lastname@example.org. Stick to the media and tell me why you love or hate Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton stick to the media.
Also, let me know what you think on Twitter at howardkurtz. The programming note, our Sunday morning edition next Sunday will be pre-empted by the 15th Anniversary of 9/11 and they'll hold ceremonies and the coverage and the painful memories that bring ups.
I'll have a special live edition at 5:00 Eastern, 2:00 Pacific. See you then with the latest buzz.
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