Clinton's 'deplorable' attack

Media muted as she rips Trump backers


This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," September 11, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, Hillary Clinton make as big blonder by denouncing Trump's loyal backers.


HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorable.


KURTZ: But the media are slow to react. That is until she apologizes. How did news organizations botch this one? And with Clinton getting overheated and leaving a 9/11 ceremony today, has it open the door to scrutiny of her health along with political over-boundary (ph)?

Matt Lauer taking heat for the grilling of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on national security issues and the pundits panning both candidates.


JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: This was a rough night for Hillary Clinton, Robin, I mean, 13 minutes of questioning was on her e-mail.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: She was basically having to defend the entire foreign establishment of both parties, so that was never going to be easy. That's my point. Trump had it easier and he blew it.

MARC THIESSEN, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there she goes again. I mea, she came up with another new e-mail excuse.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS: Donald Trump never says a word. He just says I have a secret plan, he impugns the president...


WILLIAMS: He has heard stuff and the body language, it is very wild to me.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: Donald Trump is held to a lower standard. He just is. Nobody expects him to know the specifics of policy, so they do not push him on it.


KURTZ: Is the criticism bipartisan? And why are so many commentators especially on the left, ripping (ph) Lauer for the questioning?

The remembrance of the attacks on New York and Washington 15 years ago today, how the media climate has changed since the dark aftermath of 9/11.

Plus, a bone-headed attempt to income out Chris Wallace as a presidential debate moderator.

I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

We will get to how Hillary Clinton dealt with her Sunday morning health incident in just a moment, but first, much of the media were slow to jump on these offensive comments that Clinton made at a Friday night fundraiser.


CLINTON: You could put what of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.




CLINTON: The rapist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.


KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze how the press is covering the campaign charges and counter charges, we have Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at the Federalist. And Nina Easton, Fox News contributor, author, and formerly editor at Fortune Magazine. And Penny Lee, a commentator and Democratic strategist. So, the New York Times put the basket -- in the last two paragraphs that was a story about Trump, without any suggestion this might be over the line, and then, a fuller story is inside the paper today. So a new play perhaps?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: It is interesting you mentioned the New York Times because they were the paper that ran very quickly with the Mitt Romney 47 percent line.

KURTZ: That's like everybody else.

HEMINGWAY: They were just like everybody else, but within hours, they put that up, even though it was leaked footage. And so you saw the media very much underplaying this, trying to contextualize the remarks, rather than going immediately into the feeding frenzy that you saw with Mitt Romney.

KURTZ: Hillary Clinton Hick put out a state say I was grossly generalistic, and that was never a good idea, I regret saying half of Trump supporters, that was wrong. The Huffington Post headlined citing her for apologizing, the headline was backbone, they are deplorable.

NINA EASTON, FOX NEWS: Right, right. And I think -- I think that sort of plays through in some of the press coverages that she should not have said it, but the press kind of gets that some of them are deplorable. I have to disagree though with the premise that the press underplayed this. Because you have to look at the totality of the press including social media, there was enough noise that she had to apologize. And I think the press rightly compared it to the 47 percent comment that Mitt Romney made, and to remind everybody that was when he said 47 percent of Obama supporter are really people who are just dependent on the goodies he gives out through government. These are very, very important moments for the media to cover because it is a time when a candidate is being at a fundraiser first of all, so they do not think they get full coverage, a message to candidates. And second of all, it is a real glimpse at how that candidate sees the supporters.

KURTZ: Right. While the Romney comments were leaked or secretly taped, there were cameras.


KURTZ: The way that the media framed this. So Politico did jump on it, Trump campaign demands apology. The Washington Post which did put on the front page today said Republicans jump on Clinton's deplorable remarks. So that is how the media signaled the political food fight, not that journalists think there is anything wrong with what Hillary Clinton said.

PENNY LEE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yeah. I mean, and that to Nina's point was there was a lot of buzz on social media. I mean, it instantly went out and they did create for the campaign to have to immediately apologize, which is not something that they always have done.


KURTZ: But that suggest to me the power of Twitter and Facebook and ordinary people posting sometimes supplants the big news organizations, which were slow and in some cases, just made it as he said-she said.


LEE: We have seen that throughout the campaign. I mean, we are in a new media where people are communicating. We have this time and time again with Donald Trump where Twitter is actually breaking the news, and how it is being responded to. So we are in a different you know atmosphere of how news is not only covered, but what it is considered news.

EASTON: And those were a lot of journalists tweeting about.


EASTON: OK, so it was in the mix. There was noise building that made her apologize.

KURTZ: I just think it is not a good idea to attack the voters of another candidate, even though some of them may be fringe extremists, but you have your own fringe extremist. And by the way, Politico today described Hillary Clinton's words about the deplorables as inelegant prose and inartful honesty. All right. Now, let me turn to what happened at the 9/11 ceremony today. Let's put up the video, Cable News is now playing it in a loop. Hillary Clinton leaving early and going to her car, and we can see there that she stumbles getting into the car.

Now, let me pick up with you, Nina, how she dealt with the crisis. One and a half hours, there was no word on what happened until the campaign finally said that she was overheated in the low 80s in New York. She also ditched her press pool which is just the kind of eventuality. They had to remain in a pended area, so did the secrecy made matters worse?

EASTON: Yeah. What happened there was there have been a couple of health events, the coughing that was publicly in which it kind of built this narrative that she may have a health problem. So I don't think the waiting or the lack of transparency helps them. With that said, I think journalists covering this have a duty to separate legitimate coverage of her health from a lot of the conspiracies that are going on about her health, like we saw what went around the internet last week about that she was wearing a hearing aid because the light was hitting her ear strangely in that forum.

KURTZ: Completely bogus.


EASTON: You have to be careful about it.

KURTZ: You set up my next question. I do want to mention that Fox's Rick Leventhal was the first to report at least on cable news, according to the sources and then everyone else pointed out, and this was before there was video, we weren't sure what happened. So, Mollie, journalists have been treading lightly on Hillary's health issues, feeling that I think the consensus is that some conservatives are making a federal case out of every coughing fit for partisan reasons but I also feel that that changed today.

HEMINGWAY: Certainly. There was a little bit of an overcorrection on how the media traditionally covered Hillary Clinton's health. Just last week, the Washington Post had a headline can we please stop talking about Hillary Clinton's health.


KURTZ: This is clear as crystal.

HEMINGWAY: And it was all about how the media or conservatives are way overplaying any health problems. In fact, you should play it down the middle. There are conspiracy theories out there, but at this point, the only real conspiracy theory is that there no is no problem with Hillary Clinton's health.

KURTZ: Right.

HEMINGWAY: And that is what you want to avoid.

KURTZ: In today's episode, in a column in the Washington Post, or another issue, it is a legitimate issue based on changing circumstances, and of course, she is taking some flack on that. So, no question that this needs to be covered, we don't even have the full story as we are speaking now, but I think we should still be weary of diagnoses from TV doctors who might be very good doctors but have never examined Hillary Clinton.

LEE: I am not a doctor, and I don't think of us do. So I do think you have to be with great caution. You know, I was watching CNN, Sanjay Gupta was saying look, all I can do is tell you I am not here to tell her what the illness is, all we are doing right now we are speculating which is not necessarily helpful .


LEE: Not everyone so-called doctor on television is that cautious.

HEMINGWAY: Sanjay Gupta repeatedly all throughout the week is leading up to this, assured us there was nothing wrong with her health. That's not journalistic either. Just play it down the middle. You know, journalists cannot diagnosis people, but they should not treat everyone as a conspiracy theory, they shouldn't underplay things, just report things as they are. That's dramatic enough as it is.

KURTZ: Right. She is 60-year-old who does a lot of public speaking, so she has to cough, but this was in a different category.


EASTON: The American Psychiatric Society has to say that stop call Donald Trump crazy, or whatever you want to call him.


EASTON: Quit trying to analyze this.

KURTZ: And just as critical of those who never met the guy. All right. So let's go to this NBC commander-in-chief forum because it was amazing to me and I think it made news with both candidates -- it was amazing to me how much heat Matt Lauer took in the NBC Today Show anchor Matt Lauer. Let's take a look at some of those questions.


LAUER: You are communicating on highly sensitive topics, why wasn't it more than a mistake, why wasn't it disqualifying?

CLINTON: As I have said repeatedly, it was a mistake to have a personal account.

LAUER: But when you say inflammatory things in a presidential campaign, it is different than saying them when you are commander-in-chief. If you say things when you are commander-in-chief, you can spark a conflict, you can destabilize a region, you can put American lives at risk. Can we afford to take that risk with you?


KURTZ: So in my view, a series of tough questions to both candidates, but, Mollie, it was a fierce media assault against Matt Lauer, most of them from the left, because he was described as being mean to Hillary and he failed to reduce Trump to rubble.

HEMINGWAY: I think that was really unfair. I don't think this was particularly a hard-hitting forum. He only had half an hour with each candidate, but he pushed back on Trump about his praise on Putin, specifically mentioning how Putin had annexed Crimea and invaded Ukraine and what not, and he also let seven certain things that Hillary Clinton said without too much push back including some lines she told about her e- mail server. I think what was really going on there is that people were upset that Hillary Clinton underperformed relative to what they wanted and Donald Trump over performed somehow, so they took it out on Matt Lauer.

KURTZ: Blame the moderator. And now, I couldn't help but notice, Nina, in the New York Times, it was a news story, this was a news story. The headline was Lauer surrenders to Trump, certainly not what we saw just there. An editorial said Lauer failed to call out falsehoods by Trump, a TV critic wrote that Lauer was like a soldier on a mission without ammunition ending with a humiliating retreat. That is a lot of firepower against one NBC anchor.

EASTON: Well, I think one of the things that we just left out right here, he came in with a lot of detailed specifics attacking or going after Hillary Clinton for a third of the interview. He did not have the ammunition, the specific ammunition to go after Donald Trump on his claim that he opposed the Iraq war before the soldiers marched in. And that is very significant. I think people were really concerned that he did not follow-up. I would also say that this is such a warning shot for the moderators...


EASTON: Coming up in the debates.

KURTZ: Right.

EASTON: No one is going to be happy.

KURTZ: Right. That was the one big mistake that Matt Lauer made because Trump has said many, many times I opposed Iraq war, there is no public record, and Matt Lauer should have also anticipated that. At the same time, it was a commander-in-chief forum, so the controversy surrounding Trump having to do with the Trump Foundation, Trump University didn't quite fit national scrutiny the way the e-mail did, but, Penny, putting Trump aside for a moment, anything wrong with the way that Matt Lauer questioned Hillary Clinton?

LEE: Well, I think for one thing, the forum was too short. I mean, to have 30 minutes with so many of the issues that are out there, and the public and the concerns. I mean, that is really a short time.


LEE: You have 24 minutes, which is a very short time.


LEE: And for a third of that to be just about her e-mails, a lot of people felt it was disservice not only to the people in the audience but the greater American public that really wanted...


KURTZ: Why should she not be aggressively questioned on that?

LEE: She should be and she has been, and she has been repeatedly questioned, she has been through multiple interviews.


LEE: She did over 300 in the last area.


KURTZ: Including with Jimmy Kimmel.

LEE: She does do interviews, and she has been asked and answered repeatedly about her e-mail questions. So you can ask the question, I think it is absolutely appropriate to have the question asked, once or maybe twice with a follow-up, but a third of the time was a little bit over the top.

KURTZ: All right. I disagree, but you have the last word for this segment. Remember to write to us at with a question about the media, not about whether you love or hate Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

When we come back, Donald Trump drawing more media flak for his comments on Vladimir Putin, and an interview that wound up on a Russian channel.

And later, why a huge TV flub may have a silver ling for a third-party candidate Gary Johnson.


KURTZ: Donald Trump has been saying positive things about Vladimir Putin throughout his campaign, but the media criticism is intensifying over this answer in that NBC forum.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin in that system. He has been a leader far more than our president has been a leader.


KURTZ: So, Nina, Trump also did an interview with Larry King whose show airs on RT, Russia Today, the Kremlin-backed channel. His campaign says that there is Larry King Podcast, maybe that was a staff screw-up, maybe they should have known. But a lot of news stories are now saying Trump criticizing the American president and praising the Russian president on Russian channel as if he knew going in that is where it was going.

EASTON: Well, first of all, this is part of the Russian propaganda network.

KURTZ: Yeah.

EASTON: No getting out of that. Secondly, this whole question about Putin and what he says about it is totally legitimate coverage point for the press and for the media. I mean, he said that he is a stronger leader. Putin is a leader who is strong because he invades other countries, has crashes own economy, and while killing political opponents and journalists, killing them, and he is sing his praises. I think that this is, again, a legitimate -- a legitimate criticism on the part of press.

HEMINGWAY: What is not legitimate is how the media can't keep their stories straight on their own posture toward Russia. When Mitt Romney four years ago called Russia our major geopolitical threat, they mocked him, they made fun of him. The New York Times wrote...


HEMINGWAY: Obama said that they want their foreign policy back and the media supported that. There was an editorial in the New York Times saying the Cold War is over, but there are new stories, too, saying everyone is very concerned, even Republicans are concerned. Now, you have someone coming from a totally different angle and the media are now saying that that is a wrong posture to have and they are just flipping back-and-forth every four years, seemingly dependent on which Republican is saying what.

KURTZ: On that point, the usual media -- Republicans are accusing Democrats of being soft on Russia, so this is a feed day for the press to have, somebody taking the approach of Donald Trump.

LEE: Well, you know, it is also a double standard. I mean, can you imagine if Barack Obama had gone on Russian television and said, you know, Vladimir Putin is better than George W. I mean, they would have been an absolute field day on calling for him to drop out of the race and he was completely unqualified. So I think it is right to go and question him about what not only his latest, you know, in his admiration for this man, who even Paul Ryan has said is absolutely deplorable, someone that we are not putting our praise in, has called out and questioned into the competency of that.

KURTZ: Let me stop you there because I am told we have a statement from Hillary Clinton's doctor. This is just coming in to Fox News. As soon as they feed it to me, I will share it with the audience. OK. Here I see it on the prompter, a statement, this is Dr. Lisa R. Bardack, M.D. Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies. On Friday, during follow-up evaluation of her prolonged cause, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics and advised to rest, and modify her schedule. While at this morning's event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she now is rehydrated and recovering nicely.

Just briefly, let's go around. Now, we know a little bit more about what happened, and it is a little less mysterious about why she had to leave the event.

EASTON: Pneumonia is a pretty serious stuff, and to have gone into an event like that and standing out in the heat, and she was not following doctor's orders.

KURTZ: Right.

HEMINGWAY: I think the big challenge here will be to just be as transparent as possible, that applies to both candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. They have not been totally forthright about their own medical histories or health issues. This is obviously something that they should be.

KURTZ: I would like to see both candidates' medical reports.

HEMINGWAY: Transparent as possible.


KURTZ: Just very briefly.

EASTON: And I think it is the right thing that Mrs. Clinton did, I mean, to put out a statement and try to dispute this, as much as possible, so the crazy conspiracy theorists, it is not going to stop them. There is going to be some, but I hope they are reporting them done in a fair and balanced manner.

KURTZ: Right. So Hillary Clinton is suffering from pneumonia according to her own doctor, and that is not a great thing to have happen in the final stretch run of a campaign. We will see how it affects her ability to campaign. Thank you, all, Mollie Hemingway, Nina Easton, Penny Lee.

Ahead, the 15th anniversary of 9/11 and how that has transformed the media then and now.

But up next, why Chris Wallace is staking slack from the west after being picked as a presidential debate moderator.

And Fox News settles a lawsuit that led to the departure of Roger Ailes.


KURTZ: David Brock who runs a Media Matters, as well as a pro-Hillary Super PAC has two overriding missions, defending Hillary Clinton and attacking Fox News. So he is pushing the non-sensible and the convoluted idea that Chris Wallace should be dropped as a presidential debate moderator because he liked working for Roger Ailes who of course is no longer the chair of the Fox News, but is informally advising the Trump campaign. The debate commission yesterday rejected Brock's letter saying it is quite happy with its choice of moderators, while it also drew flat for liberal media types after my conversation with him on last week's program.


KURTZ: Let's say Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, what do you do if they make assertions that you know are untrue?

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: That's not my job.

KURTZ: That's not your job.

WALLACE: I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad. It is up to the other person to catch them on that. I certainly would try to maintain some reasonable resemblance 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.


KURTZ: The Huffington Post's lead story Chris Wallace won't call candidates on their lies. Think Progress, Fox News debate moderator says he will let candidates lie. Just a minute, Chris wasn't saying he wouldn't present the candidates with the facts and ask follow-up questions. He did not want to be drawn into debating the candidates himself, as when CNN Candy Crowley was wrongly criticized for backing up President Obama when he had quickly described the assault on Benghazi as terrorism.


MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Get the transcript.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN: He did, in fact, first, so I will call it an act of terrorism

CROWLEY: Could you say that a little bit louder?


KURTZ: What does liberal outrageous is really about is the assumption that Donald Trump will tell lots of lies and a Fox anchor will not call him on it. Here's a modest proposition, how about we forget this partisan sniping and judge all the moderators after the debates?

As you may know, Fox News has settled the sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes that led to his departure as chairman. That suit was followed by former daytime host Gretchen Carlson after her contract was not renewed. The network's parent company, 21st Century Fox, did not disclose the terms, but no one disputes that the company is paying Carlson $20 million under the agreement. A company statement praised Carlson referring to the highest standards of journalism including this strong message, we sincerely regret and apologize for the fact that Gretchen was not treated with the respect and dignity that she and all of our colleagues deserve. Carlson thanked the women who came forward to tell their own stories and said all women deserve a respectful workplace. Now, companies in litigation do not apologize and do not pay many millions of dollars unless they believe there was wrongful conduct. So this settlement ends a difficult chapter at the network.

Coming up, Hillary Clinton is finally talking to her press corps, and Donald Trump is thought banning part of his press corps. Look at the video warfare.

And later, why the Donald Trump candidacy is prompting conservative commentators to attack each other.


KURTZ: This is a Fox News alert. We are following breaking news at this hour, Hillary Clinton's doctor has examined her after she fell ill this morning at the 9/11 ceremony. Jennifer Griffin is live outside the Clinton residence in Chappaqua, New York. Jen.

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS CORREPONDENT: Hi, Howie. Well, we understand that Dr. Lisa Bardack who is the long time doctor for Hillary Clinton examined her after she returned to her Chappaqua home from her daughter, Chelsea's apartment in Downtown Manhattan after having to leave the 9/11 ceremony so suddenly. This is the statement that Dr. Bardack released after examining Hillary Clinton. And I quote, Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies. On Friday, during a follow-up evaluation of her prolonged cough, she was diagnosed with pneumonia. She was put on antibiotics and advised to rest, and modify her schedule. While at this morning's event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now rehydrate, and recovering nicely. Again, as she was leaving the 9/11 ceremony, she had to cut that visit short, the videos that showed her walking toward the vehicle, what was troubling about that video is that it showed her leg trembling as she took a step forward, and then she stumbled, as she headed toward the van. And then, what was somewhat unusual is that the press pool was not allowed to follow her and for about 90 minutes, the press did not know where she was and there were no statements until her campaign issued a statement saying that she was fine, feeling better, having rested at Chelsea's apartment. That is when they released this video. She came walking out of Chelsea's apartment, smiling, waving, and looking back to normal, very different from the earlier video we have seen just 90 minutes before. So, Howie, she is back home resting and the Dr. Bardack said that she diagnosed her with pneumonia on Friday. And that now, she is taking antibiotics. Back to you.

KURTZ: Jennifer Griffin in Chappaqua, thanks for the live update.

And joining us now, here in Washington is Fred Barnes, executive editor of Weekly Standard and a Fox News contributor, and in New York, Catherine Rampell, a columnist for the Washington Post is here. Fred, so now we know the diagnosis is pneumonia. We have seen the video. How much does this elevate to the top of the campaign agenda, the state of Hillary Clinton's health, and how much of an issue is it for the press?

FRED BARNES, WEEKLY STANDARD: It is going to be a big issue for the press particularly those who were writing that this was an outrage that Donald Trump raised any questions about her stamina and health, and so on. Perfectly legitimate questions because her conduct, and not just the coughing, but showing up late for an interview and odd expressions, there were a lot of things that she did. And here's what we need, Howie, we need to hear from the doctor. We need to hear from Hillary Clinton. You know, one of the things and I know you have noticed it over the years, one thing that politicians, whether they are Republicans or Democrats are never honest about, or rarely honest about, and that is their health. Woodrow Wilson -- and then, his wife ran the government, they never told us.


KURTZ: Let me get Catherine Rampell in here in the question of how much the issue is fair game, given we are in the home stretch of a general election and whether or not also it will lend itself to those who want to perhaps exaggerate the health failings of Mrs. Clinton?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, WASHINGTON POST: I don't know, I don't understand why a cough has been such a big deal. People get sick. I can imagine that the campaign trail has been a very exhausting experience. The fact that she has pneumonia which apparently her doctor said now, actually, makes it more impressive that she has been able to have as much stamina to use the word of art, as she had. I have had pneumonia in the past and I am sure I would not have been able to withstand that. But I don't really understand why having a cough, having pneumonia is really the critical concern for who should lead our country. You know, I care more about temperament, I would say, than one's lung health.

KURTZ: Well, I think it is a fair statement to say that it doesn't help if you're in September of an election year and you have to deal with pneumonia, even...


KURTZ: Let me turn to other things involving Hillary Clinton this week. Fred, she finally held a press conference after nine months. She talked to her press corps on a plane a couple of days in a row, there were questions from Andrea Mitchell of NBC asking about her e-mail to one reporter saying the RNC has criticized you for not smiling enough, I think, at the NBC forum. So what do you think?


BARNES: I am glad she showed up, particularly with the traveling press which is one press corps or at least one that is following every story, they were up to speed on what is going on whether, whether it is the e- mails or anything else. So they're the ones to talk to, but you need to talk to them more than just you know 5 or 10 minutes. If she keeps it up, she will be fine. I only think she did it though because she was getting criticized for it and it became a problem for her not showing up.

KURTZ: No question. The media made this a major issue, Catherine. At the same time, Donald Trump who had more than a year-long battle with the press ending the media black out, listing the credentials of organizations like the Washington Post, Politico, Huffington Post, Buzz Feed and others, so it seems like both candidates are trying to be a little more accommodating to the press corps. Your thoughts?

RAMPELL: I think both of them have a long way to go to be fully transparent with the press to have more contact with the press corps. I mean, Donald Trump still does not allow the press pool following him to be on his plane. Both of them, I would add, you know, should have more contact, should disclose more on taxes, on health, on everything else. There is a long way for both them to go.

BARNES: One thing there, look, Donald Trump is a hard guy to interview. He is tough. He is kind of a bully. We do not like to go back and repeat the same question over and over again, which is what they need to do with Trump to she he is not answering something.


BARNES: Trump has been available more than any other presidential candidate than I have ever seen. You may not like his answers...

KURTZ: In the history of mankind, but you set me up for this, because one of the issues that has dogged Donald Trump is the question of why he has not renounced the birth argument he made five years ago with President Obama. Rudy Giuliani, one of his top surrogates, was on MSNBC with Chris Matthews and they had this heated exchange.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Do you confirm that, do you agree?

RUDY GIULIANI, FMR. MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: I confirm that and Donald Trump now confirms that.


MATTHEWS: When did he do that? When did he do that? When did he do that?

GIULIANI: He did that a few years ago. Two years ago. Three years ago.

MATTHEWS: When did he accept that it was nonsense?

GIULIANI: Donald Trump believes now high was born in the United States but that issue was...



KURTZ: Catherine, I have got half a minute. Is the press entitled to say we don't want to hear it from Rudy, we want to hear it from Donald Trump so we can kind of close that chapter?

RAMPELL: Well, Donald Trump has been asked about this several times in the last couple of months. And every time he has said, I'm not going answer that. I don't talk about that anymore.

KURTZ: Right.

RAMPELL: So, yes, I agree. We need someone other than a surrogate. We need Trump himself, to definitively declare that you know the suspicion about the president's legitimacy, about his birth, had been lifted. He should recant his whole campaign that he led trying to discredit the president himself.

KURTZ: All right.

RAMPELL: And Trump needs to come out and acknowledge it.


KURTZ: Fred, last comment.

BARNES: We need to hear it from Trump just as we need to hear from other than a written statement from the Hillary Clinton campaign about her health, her doctor, and from her.

KURTZ: All right. Fred Barnes, Catherine Rampell, thanks very much. I think we will be hearing from Hillary Clinton as she would want to talk to the country about this new diagnosis, just disclosed this hour of pneumonia.

Ahead, look at the fall out from conservative commentators sniping at each other over the Trump campaign.

But first, 15 years later, has the media culture moved beyond the dark legacy of September 11?


KURTZ: This is a Fox News Alert. Hillary Clinton has been diagnosed with pneumonia, that according to a statement from her long time physician. This came up because she left a 9/11 ceremony event early today. For an hour and a half, the press didn't know what was going on. She was later complained that she was overheated. There is video, which you probably now have seen of her kind of stumbling as she gets into the car. She went to her daughter's, Chelsea, apartment. She is now at her home at Chappaqua, New York. The doctor's statement says that she was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest, and modify her schedule. So that elevated the health issue to the front and center of this campaign. And I suspect that we will hear from the Democratic nominee in the coming days about the state of her health.

So we remember 9/11/2001 and the horrifying attacks -- the terror attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. That dark day, 15 years ago, utterly transformed the media and the political culture. How are things different today? Joining us now, Gillian Turner, a Fox News contributor who worked on national security issues on both the Bush and Obama administrations. On that day, you were in New York, it was your second day at Columbia University, how did that affect you?

GILLIAN TURNER, FORMER NSC STAFF UNDER BUSH AND OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Personally it chained everything. Being in New York and a lifelong New Yorker at that point, I think I was 19 years old, it really felt like you know this was personal, this was something that was directed at us, it was intended for us and we were targets, us being New Yorkers. I know that, obviously, we were not the only people who were targeted. We had the other events in Pennsylvania and Washington...


TURNER: It felt very directed and very specific.

KURTZ: Now, the media culture after 9/11 was patriotic, rally around the president and don't question the military too aggressively, which we saw in the run-up to Iraq subsequently. How has that changed?

TURNER: I think there has been a bit of a backlash generally speaking over the last 15 years. A criticism I hear against the media all time now is that somehow we are fear-mongering, right. We are over-exaggerating the terrorist threat, we are covering it too much. When there is a terrorist attack unfolding, you know, we tend to cover it for too long, but I always pushed back against that. I don't think it is possible to overstate the threat. And 9/11 is a really good day to remind people of that. Politicians nowadays like to say that terrorism is not existential threat, but for the 3000 people who died on that day and their families, and the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have died at the hands of terrorism, it is an existential threat.

KURTZ: But I remember the years after the 2001 attacks when there was an atmosphere of fear, and there were these color-coded alerts. And every time there is a big chatter about how there is going to be an attack over Christmas or attack at the stadium, most of which were just chatter, it would get days of cable coverage. So I am glad we have moved away from that. On the other hand, when there is an attack now in lone wolf, the stories seem to come and go more quickly, almost as if we are immune to it. Your thoughts.

TURNER: Yeah. The first thing that jumped into my mind hearing you say that is that CS Lewis quote something like day by day, nothing changes, but when we look back, everything is different.


TURNER: Excuse me, if I paraphrase.

KURTZ: Paraphrase.

TURNER: But, you know, the point there being, of course, the way that the media covered terrorism has changed, especially in the 21st century because the nature of the terrorist threat has changed. These organizations look very different today than they did 15 years ago. They have diversified. They have multiplied. They have metastasized across the globe. We are in longer staring down the mouth of al-Qaeda.

KURTZ: Is it also a factor that President Obama unlike President Bush de- emphasizes war and does not hold a press conference when the top ISIS leader was killed, doesn't react as emotionally as some might hope when this is a terrorist attack, and the way that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton talk about terrorism has become more of a campaign fodder.

TURNER: I think that is an accurate way of describing President Obama. It is for very specific reasons he does this. I don't align with them, but his worldview tells him that we cannot constantly exaggerate the terrorist threat because it perpetuates this idea that there is a religious war going on here, which he believes there is not. And so he feels that by in some respect downplaying the terrorist threat, he is actually protecting the American people.

KURTZ: Right, a lot debate about that and the way in which the media try to calibrate, and sometimes we go too far one way or the other. Gillian Turner, great to see you this Sunday.

TURNER: Thank you.

KURTZ: After the break, Jonah Goldberg -- we will update you as well on the Hillary Clinton health situation. And Jonah on the backlash he faces from the right, for staying in the never-Trump camp.


KURTZ: Hillary Clinton is suffering from pneumonia, that's the diagnosis by her doctor who has put her on antibiotics. She is said to be recovering nicely at her home in Chappaqua, New York. This came up because Hillary Clinton left a 9/11 ceremony early today, we did not know what was going on. The press was not informed and this is said to be related to the coughing that she has suffered recently and she was overheated, and the temperature was in the low 80s in Manhattan. And now, we have the pneumonia diagnosis.

Joining us is Jonah Goldberg, National Review senior editor and Fox News contributor. So, how much will this diagnosis and what happened to Hillary Clinton on this Sunday morning going to rise to the top of the media agenda and covering her now?

JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW: It has to, partly because Donald Trump will make it, a politically fair game.

KURTZ: Nothing said so far, but sure.

GOLDBERG: It's a good bet. And second of all, you know, let's just say that the pneumonia diagnosis is all there is to it, and the other rumors aren't true, then why in the world did Hillary Clinton just put this out proactively.

KURTZ: We did not have the diagnosis. She knew she wasn't feeling well.

GOLDBERG: We were told she had a cough and that she had not been diagnosed, but they have this tendency of behaving as if anytime there is a problem, they turn on the smoke machine, so people think there is fire. And they are so secretive and protective of information that it makes these stories bigger than they need to be.

KURTZ: I think the brief media black out did not help her. All right. So the conservative media, it is no secret, has been divided over Donald Trump's candidacy, really for more than a year now. And Sean Hannity who strongly backs drop and has interviewed him many times, recently let some of his fellow conservative pundits have it.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Let me just say to all of and you that includes the commentator class, that includes the Jonah Goldberg class, that includes radio talk show hosts, here is what I say to all of you never-Trumpers, Glenn Beck, I hope you're listening, you own Hillary Clinton's Supreme Court agreements. You own it. You are doing everything you can do to cast doubt in people's minds.


KURTZ: So you and Hannity are having a bit of a Twitter war.


KURTZ: Let's respond to the larger point here.


KURTZ: You and the National Review, and other people who are still sort of in the never-Trump on the right...


KURTZ: Could be responsible for the election of Hillary Clinton.

GOLDBERG: No, we couldn't. First of all, I think there is a lot of bad journalism where they say anybody who isn't voting, who is sort of part of the normal Republican block, who isn't voting for Donald Trump, is a never- Trumper. They treat it as if it is a voting electoral demographic, which is nonsense. These are people who haven't been persuaded. The women in the Philadelphia suburbs who are soft Republicans not voting for Donald Trump are not voting for him because of the editorials of the National Review.

KURTZ: But it is a binary choice. I know you don't support Hillary Clinton, but to the extent that you use your platforms to criticize Donald Trump. If Donald Trump doesn't win, Hillary Clinton is the next president. It's a binary choice.

GOLDBERG: For one, it is not a binary choice. That is what something that people who approach Trump say because they want to force people to make one choice or the other, but there are other people on the ballot, not voting is an objection, my vote is meaningless. I live in Washington, D.C. I have never lived anywhere where my vote was not canceled out.


GOLDBERG: But people think it is about my vote. At the same time, look, my idea of journalistic ethics, I think you media guys get a little bit too worked up about how complicated this needs to be. My understanding...

KURTZ: Educate me.


GOLDBERG: Yeah. My idea of journalistic ethics is never say anything I don't believe is true. OK. There are a lot of Trump supporters who say things that they do not believe are true.

KURTZ: You wrote this. You said there is a class of pro-Trump pundits who as soon as the cameras are on will tell you or others how awful Trump is, so why are they backing him?

GOLDBERG: They have a funny definition of what their job discretion is. They think their job is to be supporting the Republican nominee. That is definitely what Sean's position is. Sean is out there essentially like an infomercial pitchman selling a product that the audience has already bought into.

KURTZ: Right. But he says he believes that Donald Trump will be a better president that Hillary Clinton. And he certainly gave air time to Ted Cruz and lots of other Republicans during the primaries.

GOLDBERG: Sure, yeah.

KURTZ: So when you say selling a product, he sees as a matter of principles and your principles just are alike.

GOLDBERG: No, but his principles is to do everything he can for the Republican nominee. I don't work for the RNC. I have never worked for the RNC. One of the most disappointing things about this whole period is how many people are angry at me for not living down to their expectations. I am going to say what I think is true. I'm a never-Hillary person, I am a never- Trump person.

KURTZ: I've got about half a minute. How's your stance against Trump and you have been very forthright about this.



KURTZ: Has it hurt you professionally including among your readers who want Donald Trump to be president?

GOLDBERG: Sure. It has hurt in all sorts of ways. This is not a great business decision in my part. I'm just trying to do what I think is right by telling the truth as I see it. And the truth is I think this is essentially a choice between two crap sandwiches on different kinds of bread.


KURTZ: Thanks very much for joining us.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

KURTZ: Just to update you again on our top story, Hillary Clinton has been diagnosed with pneumonia after leaving the 9/11 ceremony early. Her doctor now said she is on antibiotics to deal with the diagnosis, once again is pneumonia.

Still to come, could Gary Johnson actually have help his long shot campaign with his moment of televised ignorance?


KURTZ: It was a cringe worthy moment, a career ending moment, a hide under the table moment, when MSNBC Mike Barnicle put this question to the libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson.


MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC HOST: What would you do you were elected about Aleppo?



JOHNSON: And what is Aleppo?

BARNICLE: You're kidding.


BARNICLE: Aleppo is in Syria, it's the epicenter of the refugee crisis.

JOHNSON: OK, got it. Got it.


KURTZ: For a man applying to be commander-in-chief not to know the war torn Syrian city is pretty shocking, but I will say this, the former New Mexico governor owned up to his lack of knowledge, didn't try to pretend he really knew the answer, said he had to get slaughter, and he did a bunch of TV interviews.


JOHNSON: Now, I'm going to try and make lemonade out of this, this is what I'm going to try and do, which is to talk about the policy in Syria right now and Aleppo is at the epicenter of that policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did not seem to know that.

JOHNSON: Oh, yeah. I was thinking acronym when he said Aleppo. Guilty. No excuse whatever.


KURTZ: The irony is this blunder won Johnson far more media attention than he has ever gotten for his long shot campaign. And now, everyone is talking about Gary Johnson.

Well, that's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. We hope you like our Facebook page. Check it out. We post a lot of original content there. We respond to your questions., ask us a question. Continue conversation on Twitter @howardkurtz.

You know, this is a fortunate coincidence that we are live this hour to be able to do the breaking news of Hillary Clinton being diagnosed with pneumonia, which obviously will be one of the major campaign issues at least for the next few days as the press rappels with this. We're back at our regular time next Sunday, that's 11:00 to 5:00 Eastern. See you then with the latest buzz.

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