This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," November 6, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On our buzz meter this Sunday, the final countdown, less than two days before America picks a new president. After a wild campaign in which Donald Trump's attacks on the media and Hillary Clinton's avoidance of the media took center stage, news outlets have turned this final stretch of 2016 into a blizzard of polls, punditry and pontification and lots of maps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: And as of tonight, polling indicates that there could be enough Republican voters in the battleground states to give Donald Trump the presidency.
BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: I don't know. It still looks to me like Hillary Clinton wins.
JON MEACHAM, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: If he wins North Carolina, I think the whole map is blown up.
SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS: His path is still narrow, but weirdly, it's not as narrow as it was six minutes ago.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, CNN: Donald Trump still has a narrow path to 270 and it is really a narrow one.
KARL ROVE: She wins Florida and the blue wall, she's president of the United States. Florida is the must win state for Donald Trump in order to stay alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They believe this America is ending, their identity is ending. And that is why Trump is going to win this election.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: A wall to wall prognostication, do journalists have a clue who will win on Tuesday? Was it a blunder for much of the press have written off Trump's chances just two weeks ago as the FBI probe of Hillary's e-mails is fueled by lots of leaks been as big a bombshell as the pundits predicted. And what role has media bias played in this endless election? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."
It's all become a blur for the media as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton make their final sprint to the battleground states across the country and the rhetoric in this often ugly campaign has turned even harsher.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: She will get us into World War III. She will get us into World War III. I will tell you that. She's incompetent. She will get us into World War III. The arrogant political class never learns.
HILLARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am sick and tired of the negatives, dark, divisive, dangerous vision and behavior of people who support Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the campaign coverage in these chaotic last days: Erin McPike, a political commentator and former reporter for RealClearPolitics; Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist and Joe Trippi, Fox News contributor and a Democratic strategist.
Erin, a number of pundits came out two weeks ago and said this race was over, done. Hillary was going to win. Who is going to be in her cabinet? No way Trump could pull this thing off. Was that in retrospect reckless?
ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It was in a way because throughout the primary the media kept saying that Donald Trump couldn't win the primary and then he kept winning state after state after state and became the nominee. I guess we know that he media will never learn but maybe, just maybe, this time we know that it's always going to be a race until it's over.
KURTZ: Mollie, I'm not saying Donald Trump is going to win, but given that whole history of journalists and pundits writing him off and also the avalanche of negative stuff in the press against him, he is still in convention. What does that tell us about the role of the press here?
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST SENIOR EDITOR: Again, people should be very humble when they are analyzing how things are going in this race. That humility should have been built in from how often we got things wrong during the primary. At the same time, this change of heart is actually completely legitimate.
It did seem like it was unwinnable a few weeks ago. It's still an uphill climb for him. But the change is because he has gained in the polls and because Hillary Clinton had such a bad couple of weeks. So, this is not necessarily a problem, this is just reflecting the reality of the changed race.
KURTZ: Your middle name is humility, Joe Trippi, but many on your side did think it was a virtual lock for Hillary but don't veteran commentators know that even without the FBI and these other stuff that races almost always tighten in the final days, presidential races.
JOE TRIPPI, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think a lot of commentators said things like that or prefaced (ph) it with hey, anything can change.
KURTZ: The more cautious ones did.
TRIPPI: Yeah, but I think the media was over -- always goes overboard in these things and never -- look, they always get closer at the end...
TRIPPI: ...they always do, and so...
KURTZ: But why is that? Because you want to appear so smart that you called it a day before someone else and then you hope if you're wrong, everybody loses in the video?
TRIPPI: Well, first of all if you're wrong, no one -- generally everybody is wrong. When it's going the way it was -- when it was going the way it was pre-Comey letter where everybody was sure it was going to happen, it was like little danger in doing it.
KURTZ: And you set up my next question. Looking back, did the media overestimate the impact of James Comey sending that letter to the hill, opening an inquiry into Hillary Clinton's e-mails, Anthony Weiner's laptop and all that, because it was covered wall to wall as if it was the biggest bombshell of all time.
MCPIKE: It was a big bombshell and we talked about this last weekend. It needed to be covered in a big way...
KURTZ: I agree with that.
MCPIKE: ...that weekend when it broke. But I think the coverage has sort of evened out as we've gone on in the last nine days or so. It deserved to be covered because it was a huge story, and the FBI's involvement in this election is something that the media couldn't possibly ignore.
KURTZ: Well, over the next few days after the weekend that that story just kind of took over this campaign, Mollie, there was an intense media focus on Comey, the FBI director, and whether he was meddling in the election. A "New York Times" news story even compared him to J. Edgar Hoover. So that shifted the focus in my view. What do you think?
HEMINGWAY: Shameful the way the media covered this. There was no daylight between the Clinton campaign's approach to what happened in the FBI letter and what you were reading in many media outlets. This is a story that should have been covered on the substance. You have an FBI investigation, into one of the candidates who is running for president.
That is just legitimate on its own. How it affects the race should not be the primary concern of the media covering this race, and it is a big reason why people have such a difficulty trusting their media to cover things.
KURTZ: Are you suggesting that media follow the Clinton campaign line or just somehow came to the same conclusion as people in the Clinton campaign.
HEMINGWAY: You can see it just by the way that the media covered things differently when the FBI let her get away with the mishandling of classified information in July, a lot of Republicans were upset of that. You saw the media coverage saying that this was so awful that you would question an FBI investigation. All of a sudden, when this changes, they also change. So again, it's following the Clinton campaign instead of doing real journalism.
TRIPPI: You can't take this out of the politics of it. I mean, it's got to get covered and there were politics and the other thing that was going on was the Republicans -- I mean, both sides for partisan purposes piled on and the press -- the press initially covered what Chaffetz and some of other Republicans were -- and Trump were saying, and that immediately politicized it.
HEMINGWAY: Well, what they said was that there was a reopening of an investigation, obviously true, and immediately you had the media changing the headlines on their stories in response to Clinton campaign complaints. And it was the silliest, most ludicrous thing to say that this is not a reopening of the investigation.
TRIPPI: And finally Trump is screaming and it's a criminal investigation and that she's going to jail and if he was president...
KURTZ: Well, there is...
TRIPPI: ...they're going to cover that.
KURTZ: There is a legitimate question of whether or not the hundreds of thousands of e-mails that were found on Weiner's laptop could turn out to be incredibly incriminating for Hillary Clinton or nothing. We don't know, and that's time this exploded -- the FBI didn't know because they weren't allowed to read the e-mails.
But at the same time, Hillary Clinton started to -- and her people started attacking James Comey personally, and Mollie's right, that this (ph) sort of become the media narrative to some degree or would you challenge that?
TRIPPI: No. I think what happened was it was politicized. The Republicans - - I mean I'm not...
KURTZ: You're saying both sides.
TRIPPI: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. Both sides politicized it. The Republicans did and the Democrats -- that's what I mean. Once this all starts happening...
HEMINGWAY: But the media should not -- the media should not take part in that politicization process.
TRIPPI: But they have to...
HEMINGWAY: They should just cover things down the middle of the road. And we have a lot of questions that we need answered about the investigation into Hillary Clinton, into the Foundation and instead we're wasting all this time talking about James Comey instead of the actual investigation.
TRIPPI: Because there's an election for president going on in both sides and you know, one side is trying to use this to further its cause and the Democrats are going to push against that. If that means questioning why Comey did it and why he did it at that time, they're going to do that. Then the press has to report all this.
KURTZ: Let me get back to the road to 270 electoral votes. Let me put up a frame grab as we call it, of CNN the other day, breaking news banner -- have we got that? There was a breaking news, look at this -- there, we dropped the banner, "Clinton Drops Below 270 in CNN Electoral Map." The only breaking news there was that CNN analyst had adjusted a couple of states in their count by their projection.
Clinton was no longer a lock for 270. Remember these are all projections based on analysts. An interesting exchange on MSNBC between anchor Brian Williams and analyst Marc Halperin over the path to 270 which Williams kind of gave Halperin a hard time. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC CHIEF ANCHOR AND MANAGING EDITOR: I think you've gone out of your way to find the path, argue for the path, forge the path for him in an argumentative way with your co-host to the nomination tonight. I thought you were interestingly optimistic. Where are you getting the path of positivity laid out on your broadcast?
MARK HALPERIN, BLOOMBERG POLITICS CO-MANAGING EDITOR: Well it's not a question of optimism, it's basically looking at the data.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: It's getting rough out there.
MCPIKE: That was surprising. Now, the CNN breaking news banner, I mean, we haven't actually had election day yet...
KURTZ: That's right.
MCPIKE: ...that was kind of an interesting strange (inaudible). Now, I will say, as you know, to fully disclose my bias, I love playing with the Electoral College map. It's really fun. But put in context, I want to read you a couple of sentences on the front page of the "Washington Post" this morning, "The U.S. presidential election has become an object lesson in everything that ails a country, long seen as a beacon of freedom and hope."
In the second top story of the post its, "On the eve of the election, America is afraid." Put in perspective, talking about the electoral map is not quite that bad. You want to take an antidepressant after reading this.
KURTZ: I see. You're suggesting that press has a dim view of this. I wonder how much of that is suddenly really about Trump. But Joe, look, as everybody in the press now obsesses on every new tracking poll in states like Arizona and Colorado and North Carolina and Florida and all that and Donald Trump going to Michigan and maybe he thinks that his campaign does believe they can put down play and now even Hillary Clinton going back there and President Obama going there tomorrow. It still seems like a crap shoot.
TRIPPI: Well look, you can't cover this election without the map. I mean, this is a national election.
TRIPPI: I mean, no one cares -- everybody knows how California is going to vote and how Idaho is going to vote. So the whole -- everything, the campaigns, where they're going, where they're putting ads up...
TRIPPI: ...everything is all useful information. It's all about...
HEMINGWAY: Having said that, horse race coverage can kind of overwhelm the actual substance of the campaign. This has actually been an interesting campaign with candidates who have different ideas about foreign policy, immigration, economic policy -- when you obsess over horse race politics at the expense of those issues, it kind of teaches people not to vote on issues so much as to vote strategically.
MCPIKE: Well, let me just say that back in 2008, the night before the election, David Gergen who was a CNN commentator went on CNN and said I expect Barack Obama to get at least 332, maybe 339 electoral votes. He went on to get 365 electoral votes.
I remember watching that coverage and being surprised that someone would go on TV and say what would happen the next day. Now we do it all the time so it doesn't shock me at all, but it did back then but we changed so much, that's what we do.
KURTZ: All right. Got to get a break.
KURTZ: All of a sudden, next segment. Remember to e-mail us, firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask questions or comment about the media. When we come back, Donald Trump calls out an NBC reporter at the rally and the network pushes back. And later, the coverage of FBI's Clinton e-mail investigation and a related inquiry. Is the press making James Comey the bad guy?
KURTZ: Donald Trump has been much more disciplined on the stump in the last 10 days. But at one rally, he couldn't resist calling out NBC's Katy Tur.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
TRUMP: There is something happening, they're not reporting it. Katy, you're not reporting it, Katy. But there is something happening, Katy. There is something happening.
KATY TUR, NBC REPORTER: It is a unique experience to have an entire crowd of people, whether it is an open air venue like we were today or a stadium with ten plus thousand people booing you. It is especially unique when they're actually saying your name and looking directly at you. This is a shtick he does. It is to rile up his base.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: It was relatively mild, but it was a departure from Trump's scripted approach and he does have a history of calling out Katy Tur, in his words of fair and right reporting.
HEMINGWAY: Yeah. There is a social contract in play and the way we treat each other is part of that contract. The media have done a lot to hurt that social contract. In recent years, you know, destroying the life of a low level Capitol Hill staffer because she had the audacity to criticize the Obama family, publishing the addresses of gun owners, hounding pizza shop owners because they have the wrong religious views and UVA -- we just saw what happened where they tried to destroy an entire institution, a fraternity and administrators.
When people break that social contract, you do expect to see people start to boo back. And the sensitivity and defensiveness that we're seeing among media people when they have done so much to destroy civil discourse and to disparage the views of so many people, I'm not that impressed that we're getting that upset by it.
KURTZ: Erin, Katy Tur has written of being shouted at by crowds, of once having to be escorted out by his Secret Service. Would you think the media are being overly sensitive as Mollie suggest to when Trump singles out journalists by name and the crowd kind of turns on them?
MCPIKE: I don't. I think she's within her rights to talk about how this affects her personally because she is just doing her job, and she's doing a pretty good job at that, a very good job because she's never covered politics before. I think this is a more complex story than that though because she is the first reporter from a major news organization to be assigned to Donald Trump as she was in June of 2015.
She's been there from the very beginning as MSNBC says frequently before her live shots. And I think Donald Trump probably feels that he should get more positive coverage from her and that's what he expects. But I think she's doing her job pretty well.
KURTZ: Well, Donald Trump feels he should get more positive coverage from a lot of news...
MCPIKE: I agree. That's true.
KURTZ: Well, many of which he banned from covering his rallies for months and months. Let me get your...
MCPIKE: He gives her a lot of access.
TRIPPI: I think it's all the press' fault and Trump had nothing to do with it. Yeah, I mean, when he calls them out like that. I mean, it's -- yeah, he has a right to do that and the reporters can push back particularly when he's literally seeking his crowd on them, which he has a tendency to have done in the past.
KURTZ: Well just to clarify, (inaudible) seeking his crowd on, you're not saying that he's suggesting that anything physical?
TRIPPI: Oh, no, not...
HEMINGWAY: The media have lower approval ratings than both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and there is so little self-reflection on why that is and what we should be doing to improve our reputation.
KURTZ: Not big on self-reflection (ph), I agree. Let me get to Melania Trump, she gave a speech in Pennsylvania in which she said this about the web, our culture has gotten too mean and too rough especially to children and teenagers. And the media reaction was sort of along the lines of CNN's Dana Bash -- have you met Donald Trump? Maybe you should talk to your husband about the examples he set."
HEMINGWAY: Well, it's a very fair criticism since the person we know who's bad behavior on social media than anybody is Donald Trump. But at the same time it's interesting to see how the media kind of engage in their own bullying of Melania Trump or making fun of her language skill or what not and also how they have a different standard for her relationship to her spouse or Donald Trump's relationship to his spouse than we do for Hillary Clinton to her spouse. We're supposed to create this huge wall between Bill and Hillary Clinton that we don't see applied to the Trumps but...
KURTZ: Obviously Bill, a former president. Overall, had the media been fair to Melania Trump who doesn't really seek the spotlight and this is the first speech she's given since the convention.
MCPIKE: I think a number of the stories on her has been fair and I think the campaign knows that, her working illegally in the U.S. I think where she's gotten short shrift is that she hasn't gotten some of the warmer fuzzier coverage that spouses of candidates often get. You might remember in 2012, Chris Wallace went to Ann and Mitt Romney's home and she was making pancakes. Melania Trump doesn't really get those stories but campaign hasn't put her out there in that way but she's gotten some short shrift there.
KURTZ: She's an asset to the campaign. There was some snarky coverage earlier on about her life as a model and all of that. But since the "Access Hollywood" tape and the accusations against Donald Trump, she's mainly stayed away from TV interviews, probably not wanting to have to deal with that sort of thing.
TRIPPI: Well, also I think the press has been unfair to her. I think it -- she is not a politician. She's never been out there before. This is very tough thing for a family member to do. And so when she goes out there and like they give her a bad speech they wrote, or they have her talking about something, I mean, the press should put more focus on bad staffing and sort of mismanagement.
KURTZ: You can tell that Trippi has been in a lot of campaigns because he has empathy for people who are -- or civilians as we call them. Joe Trippi, Mollie Hemingway, Erin McPike, good to see you this Sunday.
Ahead, we'll hear from Fox News correspondents who spent months following Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and what that has been like.
And up next, CNN conducts an internal investigation of Donna Brazile leaking questions to the Clinton camp but won't make it public.
KURTZ: CNN cut ties with Donna Brazile for leaking the network's questions to the Clinton campaign. This is an ethical outrage in which no one looks good. Donna, now the acting DNC chair is a nice person, but she was not straight with me when she vehemently denied leaking any questions before a CNN town hall with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders last March. As we reported after the first WikiLeaks disclosure, Brazile, a CNN contributor at the time, told the Clinton team in an e-mail that she sometimes gets the questions in advance.
She said one person would ask about gun control and forwarded some statistics on guns that's exactly how the question was set up by Roland Martin of TV One, CNN's partner on the town hall. CNN insisted it hadn't given her any questions and pointed the finger at Roland Martin who has said he doesn't believe he consulted Brazile in advance. CNN's criticism was mostly just aimed at its partner TV One.
This week the other shoe dropped. In another e-mail to Clinton aides, Brazile wrote, "One of the questions directed to HRC tomorrow is from a woman with a rash. Her family has lead poison and she will ask what, if anything, will Hillary do as president to help the people of Flint." And this is how it went down at the Flint town hall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE-ANNE WALTERS, FLINT RESIDENT: After my family, the city of Flint and the children in D.C. were poisoned by lead, will you make a personal promise to me right now that, as president, in your first 100 days in office, you will make it a requirement that all public water systems must remove all lead service lines throughout the entire United States?
CLINTON: Well, I agree completely. I want to go further, though.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now, after word leaked that CNN president Jeff Zucker had ordered an internal investigation, my sources say the following -- that Donna Brazile didn't talk to Lee-Anne Walters, the woman you just saw, but another Flint woman who also had a rash and then hoped to ask a questions -- this while Brazile and other CNN folks were handing out bottled water in Flint. But Zucker fired Brazile nearly three weeks ago even thought this was announced as accepting her resignation.
But remember, they had no public announcement until the latest WikiLeaks embarrassment. And finally, that the probe found no one at CNN did anything wrong. Here's the problem. Zucker hasn't addressed this publicly even though word leaked to the Huffington Post that he told his staff on a conference call that Brazile's actions were disgusting. CNN has limited itself to a terse statement saying it was uncomfortable with what Brazile did.
Now Zucker is a media savvy guy, he should know that just leaking word of an internal probe won't convince anyone. Imagine CNN's reaction if a presidential candidate did that. Part of the problem was keeping Brazile on the payroll while she was the DNC's vice chair. All the networks employ Democratic and Republican strategists who spin for their candidates but it's something else to engage in outright cheating, and CNN needs to address disdain that Donna Brazile left on its reputation.
Ahead on "MediaBuzz," Trish Regan explores whether media bias has twisted the coverage of this campaign. But first, John Roberts and Jennifer Griffin with the behind the scenes look at following Trump and Clinton.
KURTZ: Time now to talk to two correspondents who went out there covering the presidential nominees for a long time. John Roberts has been traveling with the Trump campaign and he joins us now from Sioux City, Iowa. John, is it harder to cover a tiny campaign team where unlike in a traditional campaign you don't have top press people going out to dinner with reporters and that sort of thing?
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS: Well, I think Howie, for us the most difficult part of this is that we haven't been able to ride a campaign plane as we have in so many other campaigns in the past, whether it was Romney or whether it was Bush in 2004 or Gore in 2000. We're flying commercial between the stops.
We're almost kind of leaping ahead here and he's not taking press on the plane with him so you miss those intimate moments where the candidate comes back to the back of the plane and talks to the press and you interact with people from the campaign on a regular basis. Clearly, we see people from the campaign from time to time, but it's not that same sense of intimacy that I've experienced in previous campaigns, which makes it a little bit more difficult. You spend more time on the phone making sure you keep up the contacts.
KURTZ: Yeah, and not to mention the challenge of getting to all these places by commercial flight. Has Donald Trump ever gotten upset with something you've reported and you've been maybe frozen out for a few days?
ROBERTS: You know, not this campaign cycle. I remember in 2012 when I was interviewing him in Las Vegas when he was about to endorse Mitt Romney, I said something to the fact that the endorsement would happen at his hotel, which doesn't have a casino and he's on the Las Vegas strip. When I met him to interview him later that day he said, you said something not nice about me. And I said, hey, I thought you were a big enough guy that you had a thick enough skin that he could, you know, talk about what the real situation is. You don't have a casino. You're not on the strip.
Well, I didn't like it very much. Funny thing with Trump is, is that if you're a little critical of him, he tries to win you over, whereas if you're very fair and balanced with him all the time and don't say anything particularly critical of him, he kind of ignores you. So if you want to get his attention, say something about him that he doesn't like.
KURTZ: And then you'll get courted. You've been on the trail...
KURTZ: ...with all these rallies where he often rails against the disgustingly dishonest press, calling journalists scum, calling some of your colleagues out by name. Is that disturbing to watch?
ROBERTS: You know, to some degree, clearly with Fox News, almost everybody who comes to these rallies appreciates the fact that we try to be fair and balanced in our coverage. We had a couple of people yesterday who didn't like us a whole lot but by and large, people -- these are Fox News viewers who come to these events. But to see the way that he plays off the media and uses the media as a foil, to some degree can get disturbing when the crowd turns on the media.
I mean the other day in Miami, I saw him calling out one of my colleagues and he was winking at her as he was doing it so, he's just playing the game. But I think sometimes people in the audience take it a little bit more seriously. People are flipping off the media. They're yelling at them. You know, you might hear somebody say tell the truth, which is fine. But when they start to get a little nasty and almost -- I want to say borderline mean, it does get a little disturbing because you wonder what might happen.
I remember one event, and don't ask me what city it was in Howie, whereas the press came in off the charter, they were booed by 15,000 people in the audience. And I mean, that goes to show the fact that what he's said about the media over the course of these weeks really is having an effect.
KURTZ: Right. Yeah, media not too popular these days especially among Trump supporters so I was wondering how it felt to be experiencing week after week. John Roberts, great to see you. Tough campaign for you and a lot of...
ROBERTS: Good to talk to you. Thanks.
KURTZ: ...a lot of frequent flier miles. Meanwhile, Chelsea Clinton and Joe Biden are on the campaign trail right about now. They're about to speak at events in Chester and Scranton, Pennsylvania. A key battleground state where the polls have really tightened. I spoke earlier, with Jennifer Griffin, who covers the Clinton campaign from Cleveland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Jennifer Griffin, welcome.
JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS: Hi, Howie.
KURTZ: For months you covered Hillary Clinton during that period when you had very little access to the candidate. She wasn't holding news conferences. How did that feel in terms of you trying to cover her?
GRIFFIN: Well, it doesn't feel that much different from today. We don't have much access to her today, even though we are on the plane with her. We haven't seen her on the plane, she's not come back to talk to us since the FBI e-mail story broke so it feels very much like when we started over the summer when she was in a very tough race against Bernie Sanders before the convention, before she crossed the finish line and got the nomination. We're kind of back to the future with that one.
KURTZ: Right. So that brief period of availability is now history. Now, you told "People" magazine that the WikiLeaks e-mails have really shown that there was a disdain in the Clinton camp to the press. Have you felt that personally?
GRIFFIN: Well, I can't say personally and I don't think it's any different towards me or Fox News as to the rest of the press. I think what you're dealing with is a candidate who has been in the public eye for 30 years. They've been in the white house before. She's been Secretary Of State before and she -- ever since the e-mail controversy started shortly after she launched her election, she has been in kind of a bunker mode and her campaign has been in bunker mode.
And so, it's really just the way that they treat all of the press and I think that it's going to be a very different White House if she wins in terms of very difficult to cover. In fact, I mean I would compare the way it's been even with her aides in the last week since the FBI director's announcement used to be. At least they would come back -- her spokesman would come back and talk to us. Now, they just sort of dip their big toe in and then retreat like a turtle or they'll come back and everything is off the record. I mean it's very difficult to get on the record statements.
KURTZ: Right, so it's a bit of a stone wall it sounds like in these final days. Do you think this whole attitude is related to the scars of the last 25 years as they see it, media's treatment of Hillary Clinton going back to the days when she was first lady?
GRIFFIN: Absolutely. I've even heard that some of her aides say even when she thinks she's sitting down with people she's known a long time, people she might consider friendly press, she always feels like she gets a "gotcha" question or somebody goes back to something that she doesn't really want to talk about.
And so -- but what's surprising to me is Hillary Clinton has been around a long time, and as you've seen her on the debate stage, she can answer any question. There's no question that we the press can throw at her that's really going to stump her. So, I do find this reticence to talk to us somewhat surprising given the fact that she can handle herself for 90 minutes on a stage with tough questions in a debate format.
KURTZ: Yeah, she's perfectly capable handling those (ph) but she just doesn't like to do it if she can avoid it. Jennifer Griffin, great to see you.
GRIFFIN: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: And coming up, has the press been as unfair to Donald Trump as he says? Trish Regan will be here on that. And later, Ed Henry on the coverage of the FBI and the Clinton campaign.
KURTZ: As this crazy campaign draws to a close, Donald Trump ratcheting up his criticism about the media favoring Hillary Clinton's campaign. And joining us now from New York is Trish Regan, host of "The Intel Report" which airs weekdays at 2:00 eastern on Fox Business.
So Trish, I'm going to hold up a couple of New York magazines, Trump, loser -- big close up of his face and the front page of The New York Times, here a glowing picture of Hillary Clinton with Beyonce and Jay Z. Thoughts on that?
TRISH REGAN, FBN HOST: Well, first of all, don't get me started on Jay Z because you want to talk about someone who is demeaning to women, that is Jay Z. If you go and look at any of those lyrics and we did this week on the "Intel Report," and you know, look, I can't even repeat them. I wouldn't even dare repeat them on the air. They are so horrible.
And he's a misogynist in terms of what he's saying there and it's horrible to think that he has had such a successful career promoting this kind of hostility to women and then the idea that Hillary Clinton's touting him as someone, you know, who is one of her big supporters?
I mean to me, there's a double standard there in that, you know, this is a guy who writes horrifically about women, using many, many demeaning words. Of course, everybody is concerned about Donald Trump's words and granted he is the one running for president, but to stand up there with the likes of Jay Z and say that you're for women, I don't get it.
KURTZ: Now, Trump of course has complained and I've talked about a lot of the coverage of him being in balance in the sense that he gets a lot of media scrutiny far less for Hillary Clinton, and some of it's, you know, absolutely legitimate. Trump Foundation, his business records, charitable contributions, the statements, but has there been in your view any comparable or I should say not that Clinton hasn't been covered but a comparable level of scrutiny of the Democratic nominee?
REGAN: Well, I think that the media is incentivized to go after him much harder than they're going after her. We've seen evidence of this, for example even in the WikiLeaks documents that have been released that there is a cozy relationship, if you would, between many members of the media and the Clinton campaign. And so they, for whatever reason, and perhaps it's because of their own political bias, they are out to get Donald Trump in a way that they just aren't for Hillary Clinton.
And so, yes, we're covering the WikiLeaks releases. We're covering the concerns about pay to play, whether or not that exists, but they certainly have come forward with a lot of evidence that suggests there is some impropriety there. We're covering that, but most of the media is reluctant to do so, Howie. They would much rather go after Donald Trump.
KURTZ: I think the people get that. There's a USA Today poll by nearly 10 to 1, people think that -- people surveyed think that the media want Hillary Clinton to win and that's also true of three-quarters of Clinton supporters. But let me ask you about something that jumped out of me. New York Times liberal (ph) columnist Charles Blow writing about Donald Trump and saying, "with my last breath, America, are you blanking (ph) kidding? I cannot wrap my head around how others with level heads and sound minds can even consider Trump for president of this country." And to me, that's insulting to the people who -- those people who support Donald Trump when somebody says, oh, I can't even see or anybody can even consider the guy.
REGAN: Well, you know, Charles is living in a bubble where he just doesn't get out much, I guess. Because if you go anywhere in this country outside of some of the big metropolitan areas, what you see is that people are really hurting. They're hurting economically. They have lost their jobs. They have lost their jobs to places like China and Mexico and so that is why this message is resonating.
They don't like big political establishment types telling them what they should do. And frankly, this is a problem that political parties have had on both sides, right? I mean, you think about Mitt Romney and what he represented and how out of touch he was with the middle class in America. You now look at Hillary Clinton, she's out of touch.
Suddenly, you got a billionaire who's worth more than any of them and he seems to be relating more to the middle class in a way that regardless of what happens, the conservative party and the liberals as well, they need to embrace that more because people are feeling it.
KURTZ: I got just a few seconds, do you think it is fair to say that much of the mainstream media are out of touch with or insufficiently sensitive to the concerns of these millions of people, many of them working class who think the system is broken?
REGAN: Yeah, of course. Because mainstream media I mean, you know, people are highly educated. They're living in affluent areas. They have no idea what it's like to be living on a paycheck to paycheck basis and you're worried about your factory shutting down because of the completion coming from overseas. Go to any little small town in upstate New York and you see how devastated they are, Howie.
REGAN: And they're just, you know, just a fraction of what they once were.
KURTZ: Great to see you.
REGAN: That's the feeling out there in the country and the media doesn't get it.
KURTZ: Trish Regan, thanks so much. Good to see you. Meanwhile, both candidates are not doing TV interviews anymore as a matter of strategy. Hillary Clinton hasn't made once, a national TV interview since September 12th. After the break, we look at the leaks and counter leaks at FBI and Justice over the Hillary Clinton investigation. Ed Henry is on deck.
KURTZ: It is the final days of the 2016 campaign. The media have been awash in leaks about James Comey launching new FBI inquiries into Hillary Clinton. Joining us now to look at the coverage, Ed Henry, Fox News chief national correspondent. So, Brett Baier and Fox reported based on sources that a separate FBI probe of the Clinton Foundation has been going on for more than a year.
It's very high priority, many interviews being aggressively pursued. NBC's Pete Williams says, "few want to call an investigation. That's a term of art at the FBI. It was initial inquiry opened a couple of months ago based largely on media reports and the book, "Clinton Cash." So, is this becoming a battle of leaks?
ED HENRY, FOX NEWS: It is a battle of leaks, and we can get to the substance of the allegations in a minute. But first, I spoke to a senior FBI source who said Bret and others were right, that there was this big meeting at the beginning of this year. FBI and the Obama Justice Department, where some of these FBI agents presented serious allegations against the Clinton Foundation -- wrongdoing, financial issues -- and they got pushback. Not just from the Obama Justice Department. Some people assume that's just politics.
They don't want to come out in an election year. But I'm told some of the FBI superiors as well said, wait a second, it's not quite there. And by the way, that's not that unusual. This happens with FBI investigations on any number of issues. Agents present evidence, they present facts, they present hearsay, they present everything. And then people above them have to make decisions. By the way, Howie, that's what we do in newsrooms as well. You say I want that story on the front page tomorrow.
KURTZ: Yeah, I'm your editor and I say, Ed, you haven't got it. Go back and do more reporting. That's not unusual in (inaudible) investigation. What is unusual is the way in which this has all leaked out because this stuff is usually so closely held. I want to come back to that but let me mention that Bret Baier clarified his report on Friday saying his sources although (ph) not certain if Hillary Clinton's server, the personal server, was hacked by you know, foreign intelligence agents.
And he addressed a subsequent interview after his report in which he had said, yes -- well, he's asked about whether the investigations would continue after the election -- he said, yes, our sources said it would, that they would continue to likely an indictment. That was a mistake Bret Baier said, that he was sorry. He shouldn't have said they'll continue to build their case, and that was the right thing to do to clarify it.
But on this question of it's all playing out in public, I mean the Wall Street Journal was the first to get at this, Ed, saying that FBI agents were pursuing this. They were kind of hot on this story, but senior Justice Department and FBI officials didn't think they had much evidence, and they asked the agents to stand down but some of them kept going. So it sounds like somewhere between an important investigation that is being pooh-poohed or some rogue agents that don't want to give up.
HENRY: Here's what I took away from the report on the Wall Street Journal and to focus on what Bret got right, which is that there's not just one investigation, there's a second track here. Everyone assumed, look, this was just an investigation of classified information. And by the way, let's not forget Hillary Clinton lied about that in March of 2015. She said there's no classified information on the server.
Proven again and again it's not true. She wasn't indicted over that but she told a lie. Second track now that Bret was reporting on is that the FBI has been looking at the Clinton Foundation. And as I have been investigating this whole WikiLeaks situation over the last couple of weeks, is there a quid pro quo?
We're not sure, but there is an awful lot of quid here -- $12 million that we first broke on Bret's show from the King of Morocco going into the Clinton Foundation. Do you think they didn't want anything on the Clinton State Department? Do you think they won't seek favors from a potential president Clinton?
KURTZ: For $12 million?
HENRY: $12 million, that's kind of a lot of money. So this is fruitful stuff to investigate. And by the way Anthony Weiner's laptop which goes back to the first track on was there classified information or not, and secondly, Huma Abedin was being paid by the state department and the Clinton Foundation.
So that laptop, by the way, Howie, might have information that these FBI agents Bret was talking about might be kind of interested in, in terms of whether -- I'm not saying there was -- was there a nexus with these donors giving millions to the Foundation who might have got something from the Clinton State Department. That's a big question.
KURTZ: I mean the lead of Bret Baier's story was that there was an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation and Fox stands by that.
KURTZ: There is now this debate about, well, is it an investigation? Is it an inquiry? How far has it gotten? And Rudy Giuliani took some heat because he indicated in one Fox interview that he knew about the Comey letter -- this is on the other investigation when it's been publicly (inaudible) on the e-mails in advance and then he kind of backtracked to say, well, he'd only talked to former FBI agents who obviously maybe a conduit (ph) to current FBI agents.
I used to cover the Justice Department. This is extraordinarily hard stuff to get, and as a reporter you always like getting the inside scoop, but at the same time, law enforcement people are not supposed to be talking to reporters about ongoing criminal probes.
HENRY: And so why are these leaks coming? Is there politics involved? I mean look, Rudy Giuliani shouldn't have gotten a heads up on that.
HENRY: ...at the end of the day, that's a distraction and doesn't get to the main point of what Bret is getting at and the Wall Street Journal is getting at, which is that let's follow the facts, and that's something for Hillary Clinton. The major point of all of this that's come out in the last few days is that the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton is not over. Win or lose, she's going to have big questions coming, especially if she wins. She's going to be dealing with James Comey as her FBI director. This is somebody who was nominated by President Clinton. As you know, they have 10-year terms.
HENRY: So whether it's Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, James Comey is still there. This is not going away.
KURTZ: Right. We're not going to find out much more before Tuesday in election but this is not going away seems a safe assumption. Ed Henry, great to see you.
HENRY: That's what I'm sticking to, the facts.
KURTZ: Thanks very much, Ed. Still to come, a devastating legal loss for "Rolling Stone" magazine, and some final thoughts on the coverage of this campaign.
KURTZ: Look at this. ABC national reporter Lindsey Davis doing a live shot in South Carolina where a sex offender had allegedly held a woman captive, but that yellow police tape behind her is phony. Put up by her crew. That's right. ABC faked a crime scene as noted by CNN. ABC calls this completely unacceptable and pulled the producer from the field, but doesn't the correspondent also have some responsibility for this troubling trickery?
Rolling Stone lost a major libel suit on Friday over that utterly botched and utterly false story about a supposed gang rape at the University of Virginia. A jury held Sabrina Erdly -- she's the reporter in the case -- libel in the $7.5 million suit brought by UVA administrator Nicole Eramo and also found the magazine defamed her with actual malice. The trial showed that many red flags took place that Rolling Stone simply ignored this and not fully checking the claims of the accuser named Jackie. Publisher Jann Wenner apologized to Eramo but Wenner was way too late.
Now this wild, crazy, intense, utterly absorbing campaign finally comes to an end on Tuesday -- I guess some of you cheered (ph) -- but I have to say the media have never had a worse campaign. The constant focus on sensationalism and insults and the parent (ph) candidates bear some responsibility here, drove the race into the tabloid gutter. And then it was the misjudgments and sometimes outright hostility toward Donald Trump and the far lower level of scrutiny visited on Hillary Clinton, and the repeated attempts to declare the race over and coronate the former first lady.
No matter who wins, the press needs to do some self-examination here even as we gear up to cover the new president-elect.
Well that's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. Thanks for joining us. We hope you will like our Facebook page. Check it out. We post a lot of original content there including "Your Buzz," my video responses to your questions. You can send them in by e-mail, email@example.com. Stick to the media, firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's consider (ph) a conversation on Twitter.
And you know what's fascinating, everybody here wants to know what's going to happen, and we have this great national melodrama where we really don't know.
Heading up to New York tomorrow. I'll see from this fancy new Fox studio in Manhattan on election night. Everybody is very jealous of that studio including me. And we are back here next Sunday. Hope you'll join us then with the latest buzz. Our latest post-election edition where we look back at the campaign and the coverage of the new administration. We're live all day here.
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