This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," December 4, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: This is a Fox News Alert. We are standing by for a news conference on that devastating warehouse fire Friday night in Oakland, California, where the official death toll is 10 but many people have not been accounted for. Many unanswered questions about what former residents described as a death trap, and we'll bring you to that, back to you in just moments.
But first, a very newsworthy week for president-elect Donald Trump, and joining us now to analyze the cover, Erin McPike, political commentator and former reporter for RealCearPolitics, Sarah Flores, a Republican strategist and former aide to Carly Fiorina, and Michael Tomasky, special correspondent for "The Daily Beast." So that rally in Cincinnati, Trump went off of what he calls a dishonest media. Is he sending a signal that even though he's not a candidate anymore, he's a president who's going to continue his hand-to-hand combat with the press?
ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he absolutely is. He's doing this because he hope that it will inoculate him against the media when in the face of future controversies when the media continues to criticize him, I think, but what the media could do is take this as a challenge to be sharper and more precise in its coverage.
KURTZ: Let me play you just a little bit of what Trump had to say in that rally, Sarah, and we'll get your reaction on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP: Breaking news, Donald Trump has won Florida. They say, whoa!
And we won it big. But then the people back there, the extremely dishonest press -- we won in a landslide. That was a landslide and we didn't have the press. The press was brutal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: He did face a lot of negative press, but would you have advised him to rub salt in the wounds of some of these battles with the media?
SARAH FLORES, FORMER AIDE TO CARLY FIORINA: Well Donald Trump is a master at creating these narratives and every good narrative needs a bad guy. The press has willingly played in to this bad guy narrative.
KURTZ: Willingly? Well, we like being masochistic. We like being beat up?
FLORES: The reporters I talked to understand that they never found a way to adequately cover Donald Trump during this election. The problem is they don't really know how to change it now and so they're still doing the exact same thing they did during the election that didn't work that time.
KURTZ: Michael Tomasky, it seemed like Trump was mending fences a bit after the election. He went to the New York Times, he had that meeting with the network executives and needed them quite a bit as well. Now he's playing greatest hits about the corrupt media.
MICHAEL TOMASKY, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, I think we'll probably going to see both modes as you know, as it suits him. I mean sometimes he'll be willing to, you know, try to extend an olive branch and then other times and when he goes and gives his big rallies, he's going to do what he does.
I think, you know, what the media needs to be watching out for her are actual substantive things. If Trump lives up to some of the promises, keeps some of the promises he made about the press -- like he said, the Washington Post are going to have big problems when I'm president.
They're going to have big problems. So what does that mean?
KURTZ: What do you think about Sarah's play about the media willingly playing the role of bad guy or foil for the president-elect?
TOMASKY: Yes, there's probably something to that, I think. I think that's true and I think that's going to be a pretty antagonistic relationship going forward, and I think the media in general, probably didn't really think he was going to win. And so they didn't take a lot of his stuff very seriously.
FLORES: And they didn't want him to.
TOMASKY: Well, they probably didn't want him to but --
FLORES: And made that pretty clear.
TOMASKY: -- but they didn't think he was going to. And now that he has, they're going to try to figure out, well, now what do we do.
MCPIKE: I think your point on the both modes is really interesting because he went after Katie Tur all the way through the campaign as we know. He also gave her a lot of access.
KURTZ: She's an NBC reporter covering --
MCPIKE: She's an NBC reporter covering him and she covered him from the very beginning. But so many times before she went on NBC Nightly news, she would say I just got a call from Donald Trump on my cellphone.
MCPIKE: SO he did give her a lot of access and yet used it against him.
KURTZ: So Michael talks about substance and the media freak-out, that's a technical term folks, over the weekend, it was about the president-elect accepting a call from the president of Taiwan, breaking decades of protocol under which we officially recognize China and we have an unofficial relationship with Taiwan. And just a couple of the headlines, Erin. Politico: "Bull in a China Shop." Vanity Fair: Trump's Call Truly Bizarre." He's newsworthy, but does it deserve this level of craziness?
MCPIKE: One thing is for certain. The American people are going to tire of the word unprecedented very, very soon. That's for sure. You know, I would point you to early 2009, about the 100-day mark into President Obama's presidency when he met the Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez, and there was a collective media freak out over that. There is always a learning curve and the press is going to score it as such, and the opposition party is certainly going to bring attention to it.
FLORES: The problem is though, everything is the same. Their amp goes up to
11 on everything. When he went to dinner without the protective pool, I feel like the coverage was the same as him talking to the president of Taiwan.
KURTZ: So, we all have one volume know or our volume knob is broken, I think you're saying. But look, Trump using his twitter weapon, I guess we can call it, defended this even as all the diplomats and experts were saying this is horrible and shocking. And China by the way, you know, for strenuously objecting, saying interesting how the U.S. sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call and I thought people say that -- before we get to that, we're going to go to the news conference as we mentioned, the devastating fire in Oakland, California, Friday night. Let's dip into that.
OK, obviously, they are setting up in Oakland. There have been regular briefings on the situation there. And this is the first one for this Sunday. It's really a remarkable story. Let me know guys if you want to stay with this for now. A converted warehouse, people were living there. It became kind of an artist colony. Here we go.
(BEGINN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNA WATSON, SPOKESPERSON, OAKLAND POLICE DEPARTMENT: Let me do a sound check just to ensure everyone can hear us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it again.
WATSON: Let's do a sound check. Ensure everyone can hear us. We just had the generator turned off, so we want to double check on the sound, OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's that?
WATSON: What do you mean?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaker's not working? Which mic is that? Oh, you can hear it? OK.
WATSON: How about now? Is that a little bit better?
KURTZ: As I was saying, there were former residents in the area that called this a death trap. And here we are getting under way.
WATSON: Everyone, it's been a very long -- we're into our second day, so we appreciate your patience. My name is Officer Johnna Watson. I'm one of the public information officers for the Oakland Police Department. We'd like to update you this morning regarding this tragic fire.
Currently, we have with us Sergeant Kelly from the Alameda County Sheriff's office as well as the Battalion Fire Chief, Melinda Drayton. (Inaudible).
I'm going to right now turn it over to Fire Chief Battalion to discuss with you some of the logistics that have occurred during last night.
MELINDA DRAYTON, BATTALION FIRE CHIEF, OAKLAND BATTALIN FIRE: Good morning, everybody. My name is Melinda Drayton, M-E-L-I-N-D-A D-R-A-Y-T-O-N, battalion chief for Oakland Fire. I took over from our deputy chief last night at approximately 9:00 to start our night of operational period which lasted 12 hours ending at 9:00 this morning.
Our goal was to work collaboratively with public works to breach the B- side, would be the left side of the warehouse building, the fire building, in order to gain access for our firefighters and Alameda County sheriffs to be able to remove debris systematically from the building to the vacant lot next to the building literally bucket by bucket in a methodical, thoughtful, mindful, and compassionate way. We had firefighters with basically cover-all and buckets and shovels taking bits of debris out into the vacant lot to then be loaded into dump trucks and removed to an off- site location.
In order to do this, we had to gain access by breaching the wall with heavy rescue equipment, specialized tools that turned out to be a very successful operation. We have gone from one end to the other end of the building, encompassing approximately 20 percent of the building searching for victims and doing debris removal.
At this point, we have approximately 80 percent left to search. So, within
12 hours of our operational briefing, we made it through one fifth of the building. This will be a long and arduous process, but we want to make sure that we're respecting the victims, their families, and our firefighters'
safety to work slowly and carefully through the building.
Public works brought in an unbelievable amount of equipment that worked in concert with the firefighters in a very teamwork approach to make sure that everything was removed that need to be removed out of the building, that we took care of everything that may cause any hazards to our firefighters, and I can tell you when I was in there throughout the evening, the somber approach that our firefighters and Alameda County Sheriff's Department members took to this search.
It was quiet. It was heartbreaking to get through what we were able to accomplish in 12 hours was a phenomenal feat. We have a lot more to go.
We're going to be here for a few more days just getting through the building, if you do the math and we'll be taking the same approach.
WATSON: Thank you Battalion Chief Drayton. Thank you.
RAY KELLY, SHERIFF, ALAMEDO COUNTY SHERIFF: Good morning, Sergeant Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff's office. I'll be talking about our Coroner's Bureau Operations, our work at the Family Assistance Center and kind of where we are and what we've gone through last night. I think as the chief described, you can feel that emotion in her voice. We all feel that.
When I came back this morning and I saw our people, our firefighters, our first responders, our deputy sheriffs in there, they're tired, they're exhausted. This is very emotional.
I want to update people on where we are, as far as how many victims we have, how many more we possibly anticipate, and where we're headed right now. We have located thus far with about 20 percent of the building searched. We've located 24 deceased victims of this fire. We've only been able to do three official notifications to families so this is going very slow for us because we have to go back to our Coroner's Bureau and try to identify these people. This is very hard work and it's very slow and it's definitely taken a toll on the first responders here, and we're working in a 12-on 12-off capacity. And so we have people around the clock, and we will be here for days and days to come.
I have a few requests that I ask of the public and of the press. If people would no longer call the number that we originally had put out, we have been completely overwhelmed by phone calls. So we're asking at this point that you not call that number, unless you have a legitimate concern that someone you know is missing. We have contacted every family member. We have sat down with them. We have cried with them. We have spent hours and hours with them. We couldn't do this without the assistance of the Red Cross, the city workers, the chaplains, the amount of people that have come forth to help to do -- I mean, the offers of assistance have just been amazing.
So we couldn't do it without all those people. As we move forward later on today, we will begin to release names of the victims and that's going to be very hard and we want to do that in a respectful manner. We want to make sure that the families are prepared for the names of their loved ones to be public. And so, in the coming hours, we will be releasing victims' names.
I'm going to refer it back to Officer Watson.
WATSON: Thank you, Sergeant Kelly. Last night, Oakland police officers did what we call an area-wide search. What they did was went through and they looked at all of the parked vehicles gathered license plate numbers for any of the victims that may have driven to this location and we're trying to match vehicles with registered owners, with cars that have been driven. So, we're working the scene from many different angles, many different resources, many different agencies involved. I will certainly open it up for questions.
We're going to be brief on the questions, and let me explain to you for the reason why. We'd like our city officials such as the mayor to be able to have her opportunity with the media as well as provide additional information as the sergeant and the battalion chief indicated, we still have and are recovering more additional victims. And as the information is made known to us, we want to share it with you.
So at this time, I will say we will have a media availability at 11:00. A media availability at 11:00. We'll certainly send out an advisory. I'll ask again if you have not provided us with your contact information, again, we have a lot of media that is from out of town. Please, I'll be available. My partner Officer Marco Marquez will be available. We'll collect that information. Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You say the number is 24. Can you give us any idea, where they all found together? Again, reports of some of the body was huddled (ph) up, and secondly --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: We've been watching the news conference in Oakland, California, about Friday night's fire in a converted warehouse that had become an artist haven where people were living illegally, where there weren't enough exits. It was described by some former residents as a death trap. The news here without question are more than doubling of the confirmed number of deaths in that fire in Oakland.
It had been ten when we came on the air this morning. It's now 24. And that number is very likely to go higher because as you just heard officials say, they've only searched 20 percent of the warehouse. So still a lot of devastating searching to be done. Obviously very heartfelt responses by the officials describing that painstaking search. Our Fox News correspondent Adam Housley, in California, has more information. Adam.
ADAM HOUSLEY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we're here right now. You can see over my right shoulder, that is the building right there. The press conference is basically off to the right-hand side so you don't really see it from the press conference location, but as I step away, they moved one of the trucks out of the way so you can actually see inside right now from this angle, the two-story building where basically it's a pile of rubble.
I've had a chance to talk with a chaplain from the fire department as well as several other firefighters who have come out of that building this morning. They were in there for about four hours and say the view inside is completely devastating. In fact, one of the firefighters said all you can do is pray for the people that were inside that building. I have been told that they have found a number of victims.
They're not officially announcing that. You heard at the press conference.
They did not give an exact number but we do know according to the firefighters that a number of victims have been found together, basically piled on top of each other as if they had found each other during this horrific fire and then together were trying to find a way out, but none of them made it out.
He says there are a lot of young people inside that they have found. Again, they won't elaborate on the numbers at this hour, but they do believe it could be as many as 40. Just a very, very tragic scene here in Oakland, one that continues to develop, of course, and when we talk to the firefighters as they come out, they also have this look on their face, one of just complete sadness, guys. A very difficult situation here, of course, as you might imagine.
KURTZ: Adam Housley reporting for us in Oakland. Thanks very much, Adam, and grim news indeed, as we just reported. We'll continue to monitor this throughout the day.
Let's get back to the conversation we were having about the media coverage of president-elect Donald Trump who I just brought up before it went to the news conference, that he had accepted this congratulatory call from the president of Taiwan. This sparked sharp objections from China.
Going back to the panel here, Sarah Flores, Trump, as I noted took the twitter, his favorite way of communicating with the American public I think and said interesting that Taiwan sell billions of dollars -- the U.S., excuse me -- sells billions in military equipment to Taiwan but I should not accept a congratulatory call. So does the press get too upset here over breaches of protocol?
FLORES: I think perhaps all of D.C., but in particular, the press likes certain things to happen next to another certain thing. They're a little OCD, perhaps, in their coverage, and president-elect Trump has thrown that playbook out the window in the last six months. And so the press needs to start catching up to the idea that he's going to be far less meticulous in his wording because that's not how real people talk to each other in protocol and those type of things. And so the press needs to take a larger, a 30,000-foot stance and stop chasing these rabbits down the holes in the meantime.
TOMASKY: I think on foreign policy in particular, this is going to be true.
Foreign policy is built around this elaborate, very embroidered language of diplomacy that everyone uses and that Trump obviously is not going to use.
TOMASKY: And it's going to shock people. And it's going to get, you know, it's going to be really easy for reporters to call people in this town and elsewhere who are shocked and who are appalled, and it's going to make for big stories.
KURTZ: One of the tweets, Erin, that got so much media attention, and rightly so I think, was when in the face of this recount effort, which is now fizzling, Trump tweeted that millions of people voted illegally in this election and if it had not been for that, he would have won the popular vote. Media organization's pointed out, rightly, that there was no evidence to back that up. It wasn't based on any facts and the Trump people have been pushing back but they haven't really been able to defend it or provide any evidence.
MCPIKE: That's right, and some of these tweets have unsubstantiated claims or he is raising an opinion as he did with the flag burning tweet that he issued on Tuesday morning. I don't think all Trump tweets should be covered equally. The tweet with respect to the Taiwan phone call, when he put out his -- when he said, you know, as you just mentioned, the U.S. sells billions of dollars in military equipment to Taiwan, that kind of tweet, analysts said, oh, well, he may have a point with that.
KURTZ: Yes. Well, you're right. Everything is not --
MCPIKE: That kind of tweet made the kind of impact that no damage control spin could make. That's an important tweet to cover.
KURTZ: Sure. OK. And look, he's entitled to talk about flag burning and a lot of people probably agree with him but --
FLORES: But every time the media overreacts to one of these things, frankly, his favorables keep going up.
KURTZ: OK, so you're saying it's working for him. On the other hand, so, he really went after CNN in a series of tweets after the millions of people voted illegally. CNN correspondent Jeff Zeleny did a report in which he suggested that Trump is being a sore winner. So, the president-elect re- tweeted, a guy named @Filibuster who turns out to be a 16-year-old kid, "@jeffzelent Pathetic -- you have no sufficient evidence that Donald Trump did not suffer from voter fraud, shame! Bad reporter."
The kid says he didn't say bad reporter. That was added. So, what do we do when he chooses to -- when Donald Trump chooses to go after journalists and news organizations by name for reporting on something he said earlier for which there may not be much substantiation?
FLORES: Well, far all of the hand wringing and whatnot by reporters, frankly it's helped all of their ratings. They massively benefitted from this entire cycle. So this idea that they're going to cry foul on the one hand but keep reporting it and keep getting excited about it on the other hand, it's silly.
MCPIKE: I think the one way we could do it is when he has opinions or unsubstantiated claims, it could be a tweet of the week or the tweet of the day with a branded segment on television or a sidebar story in a newspaper, but not every tweet should be covered in the same way.
KURTZ: Exactly, even if we were to agree that perhaps there's a bit of media overreaction here and that every single presidential thought doesn't deserve, you know, a full day of cable news coverage. There is also the question of holding Donald Trump accountable and how do you do that if not by focusing on his own words and what are the implications for policy and now there facts to back it up and so forth. It seems like it's kind of a dilemma for our business.
TOMASKY: It is a dilemma. It is a dilemma. There's a school of thought now that says, well, let's not give all this attention to all these tweets because when he does these tweets, he's doing it to distract from something else that's going on that's more substantive and more important.
KURTZ: Well, that's a position on your part -- may be true, maybe partially true.
TOMASKY: I'm describing something, I'm not supposing it. Maybe it is that thought out on his part. Maybe it's not. But it highlights that this is a really new situation for the media. We've never had a president in my adult lifetime who just says what's on his mind.
KURTZ: Yes, OK. We got to get a break. Sorry our time was truncated. We'll hear that a lot more, Michael Tomasky, Sarah Flores and Erin McPike, thanks.
My conversation with Mike Huckabee on behalf of the Trump campaign in just a moment.
KURTZ: How does the Trump team view the coverage of this transition? Joining us now from Santa Rosa Beach, Florida is Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate who is a vocal supporter of president-elect Trump. Governor, thanks very much for being here. Let's go to the endless drama about the cabinet search.
You have said that Mitt Romney, still a candidate for Secretary of State, at his dinner the other night with Donald Trump, had a slice of humble pie.
Why are you and many others in the media mocking him so much when lots of former GOP rivals are kind of mending fences with or saying nice things about the president-elect?
MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: You know, I don't think it's about a personal thing, but it's about the fact that Mitt Romney didn't just disagree with Donald Trump. He went after him in a way that was unprecedented for somebody who had previously been the nominee. He basically called all the followers of Trump a bunch of suckers. He said that Trump was a fraud, a phony, a con man, a failed business guy. I mean, that's pretty serious stuff, Howard.
So here's the question. Why would Mitt Romney want to work for someone for whom he held such contempt? I think the obvious question is, there's so many good people that he could select for that role, don't put somebody in there that is not only going to be maybe not compatible with your views but really that will create a firestorm among the people who elected you. So, if he picks Romney, so what.
KURT: I totally understand that. But the president-elect obviously has a different view or not. We'll see whether he or one of the other contenders gets picked for that job. The New York Times I'm sure you said had about a zillion word piece a few days ago about Donald Trump's real estate holdings around the world and all the conflicts he could face in making decisions as president. Aren't those fair questions given that foreign leaders around the word may try to curry favor with the new White House?
HUCKABEE: Well I think they are fair questions in the great universal sense but look, let's be realistic. Donald Trump has a lot more on his mind than some business deal that he has going anywhere in the world. The fact that he's donating his salary to charity indicates that he's not doing this for the money. I mean, nobody in their right mind, in fact, a survey came out today that showed Donald Trump even under the most conservative estimates of his wealth, is actually more wealthy than the first 44 presidents combined.
Donald Trump doesn't need the money. So, you know, I think it's a little ludicrous for somebody to say, oh, Trump is really going to be working to try to maintain his fortune. He doesn't have to work to maintain his fortune, and it's one of the refreshing things about his presidency.
KURTZ: You've said the New York Times has no credibility, but Donald Trump went to the newspaper and had an hour-long conversation there.
HUCKABEE: Yes, I'm not sure why he spent that time. I think that was an hour that he could have spent napping and probably have more of an effect on his future.
KURTZ: Or tweeting.
HUCKABEE: I have a real disdain -- no, I do Howard -- I have areal disdain for some of the gas bags in the media who have done nothing but nit-pick everything Donald Trump has said and done, most importantly, they've nit- picked the manner in which he has said it. They need to understand, whether they get it or not, we're in a world of new media. This is not the days when people sat down and leisurely read newspapers and got ink on their hands. A few of us still like that medium. I'm included.
But it is a day in which most people get their news from YouTube and from short bursts of tweets and Facebook posts. Donald Trump has capitalized on that and I think a lot of the traditional media are gasping for breath because they don't know how to handle a guy who understands people's maybe ways of getting news better than they do.
KURTZ: For me to question whether the nit-picking is driven by a continuing hostility to Donald Trump, I've got about a half a minute governor. You had a meeting with the president-elect. You say you turned down the offer to run a department. Why not join the administration? Are you still considering it or being considered?
HUCKABEE: You know, again, that's a conversation that I only want to have with Donald Trump. I want to be able to be helpful to Donald Trump in whatever way I can. I'm not sure that being a federal employee is the best way I can do it.
KURTZ: You better get my (inaudible) down.
HUCKABEE: I want what I do right now. Yes, I mean, I kind of enjoyed, you know, sparring with guys like you --
KURTZ: all right, let's do it again, governor. Good to see you. Thanks very much. And we'll be back with more on Trump and twitter and other subjects.
Stay with us.
KURTZ: Donald Trump is still using twitter as we noted to make news, huge news, just as he did during the campaign. That prompted the New York Times to ask this question, "If Trump Tweets It, Is It News? A Quandary for the News Media." Really? Joining us now, Mark Feldstein, former correspondent for ABC and CNN and is now a professor of journalism at the University of Maryland, and Susan Ferreccio, chief congressional correspondent for the Washington Examiner. Susan, New York Times is asking the question, whether it's news when the president-elect says anything?
SUSAN FERRECHIO, CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I know. And what's interesting about Trump is he's not the pioneer of twitter in the White House. That, of course, was Obama. He's got 16 million Twitter followers. The top rated network newscast has 9 million viewers. So think about that. He tweets something, and he gets more of an audience than the top rated evening news.
Of course, what he says is news. Just this morning on social media, he put out a message that he was going to, you know, he re-upped his tariff threat of companies that leave the country could be threatened with a 35 percent increase on the products they try import to the U.S. Of course it's news.
KURTZ: He also went after "SNL" for the third time as unfunny and Alec Baldwin's impersonation bad. But the argument seems to be and I've heard some pundits who make this, that if Trump tweets something that doesn't have a factual basis, like millions of people voted illegally, the media shouldn't amplify it, then we're acting as his megaphone, but if he says something like that, isn't that news as well that we should all scrutinize and debate?
MARK FELDSTEIN, FORMER INVESTIGATIVE REPORTE FOR CNN AND ABC NEWS: A lie is perhaps more newsworthy than the truth. I mean I don't think everything he says is newsworthy. What he ate for breakfast isn't news worthy and "Saturday Night Live" you know, is newsworthy, but not big newsworthy. It says something more about his thin skin and it's always perhaps anything else. But yes, you know, presidents make news by both what they do and what they say.
KURTZ: So, instead of being twitter, which a lot of people may find sort of weird because they're not on it, but it was a 30-second video on YouTube.
If it was a short press release sent by fax as they used to do, would anyone question it?
FELDSTEIN: Well, I suppose anyone -- his opponents would but look, Teddy Roosevelt used to gather the reporters around when he was getting his morning shave at the White House. President's use the tools they have.
KURTZ: But At least in that instance, reporters could ask questions. A lot of this is going around the media, which other presidents have tried to do.
Ronald Reagan started a weekly radio address that made news. And as Chris Wallace pointed out in the New York Times piece he was in, it was news when Reagan would shout a few words over the helicopter blades. So, I'm having a hard time understanding. I understand like everything should be pumped up to 11, but I'm having a hard time understanding this oh, gee, he's tweeting again, and we're falling for it.
FERRECHIO: Falling for it is like a way of delegitimizing Trump, which I think the media unfortunately has fallen into a habit of doing. I think the real question going forward for Trump on twitter is -- this is very practical one, is he going to have two Twitter accounts? The POTUS, he will inherit that from the president. I suspect that will be monitored, regulated, and handled away from him.
Will he keep his current twitter, which has 16 million followers? Will he have that on the side? So, you know, daytime POTUS tweets may look more traditional like we've seen from president Obama. Then maybe we'll get these 3:00 a.m. Tweets from the real Donald Trump saying things about tariffs and "Saturday Night Live."
KURTZ: And I just wonder which would be considered more newsworthy. So, but to me, this is another manifestation of the journalistic idea that Donald Trump must be covered differently than other presidents because look, he does things in a different way or just because he's using twitter, just because they are 140 characters, although sometimes he does multiple tweeds, there is a media debate about it.
FELDSTEIN: Well, yes, I mean I think some of it is what Susan said. There's some denial, but I also think the media feels like it got played by Trump.
That it got manipulated, and there's a lot of soul searching being done by the mainstream media about how to deal with that. I'm not defending it. I'm trying to explain it. And there's a sense that yes, we don't want to be just stenographers for power, particularly, you know, deceitful statements.
But to go to the other extreme and say we're not going to cover it at all, I mean that's obviously ludicrous.
KURTZ: Maybe there should be some journalistic soul searching about the shortcomings that we all had during this campaign saying Trump had no chance, even on the morning of the election, and some I think still haven't accepted him, but clearly, he's breaking all the rules here and that makes it interesting and newsworthy. Susan Ferrechio and Mark Feldstein, thanks very much for joining us.
Up next, we'll talk a bit about Kellyanne Conway who seems to be making lots of news, and Morning Joe, they got into a little spat.
KURTZ: Kellyanne Conway is known for speaking her mind and that has prompted some pushback from the media. While Donald Trump has been seriously considering Mitt Romney -- one of his harshest critics -- for Secretary of State, his former campaign manager seems to be leading the opposition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you campaigning against Mitt Romney as secretary of state?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISER FOR TRUMP: I'm not campaigning against anyone. People feel betrayed to think that Governor Romney, who went out of his way to question the character and the intellect and integrity of Donald Trump now our president-elect would be given the most significant cabinet post of all, secretary of state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Then things got even weirder. Joe Scarborough reporting on his MSNBC show that the president-elect was mad at the woman helping to lead his transition, and Kellyanne texted him during the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: This was somebody going rogue, according to the top three people in the Trump organization. Trump furious. We have a response from Kellyanne Conway, who says about our reporting this morning, it is sexist. She says she can have any job she wants, and thinking about taking a role inside and outside of the campaign.
I'm not sure how that reporting is sexist because those were sources at the top of the campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: I'm not sure if it was sexist, but it seems to have been wrong.
Trump quickly put out a statement saying he encouraged Conway or approved of going public with her concerns about Mitt and considers her a tremendous asset. A rough week continued at a Harvard forum moderated by a journalist from MNBC, the Washington Post and BuzzFeed where Jennifer Palmieri, Hillary Clinton's communications director, let her have it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER PALMIERI, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR HILLARY CLINTON: If providing a platform for white supremacists makes me a brilliant tactician, I'm glad to have lost. I would rather lose than win the way you guys did.
CONWAY: Did you think I ran a campaign where white supremacists had a platform? You're going to look me in the face and tell me that?
PALMIERI: It did, Kellyanne. It did.
CONWAY: Really? Guys, I can tell you're angry, but wow. I mean, Hashtag he's your president. How's that?
I understand they're angry. I understand some of them are bitter, but they made it very personal last night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard that you were accused last night of giving a platform to white supremacists. Do you think that perception still exists and is the campaign concerned with that?
CONWAY: Well it's not a fact. It's just completely false and that's why I asked Jen Palmieri, communications director for Hillary Clinton, if she would look me in the eye and tell me that I ran a campaign that would allow that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: I get the very raw feelings here, but the Clinton folks and the media need to come to terms with Trump's victory and stop saying he won 306 electoral votes because of white supremacist. Why is Donald Trump going after a major network anchor? That and more when "MediaBuzz" returns in a moment.
KURTZ: Why was the newly elected president of the United States going after ABC'S Martha Raddatz. We talked about the Cincinnati rally earlier in the show. Here's Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: How about when a major anchor who hosted a debate started crying when she realized that we won. How about it?
Tears. No, tell me this isn't true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Well, here's the context, and we'll show it to you. It was late on election night, and Martha Raddatz, ABC correspondent and anchor who spent a lot of time in war zones with the military was quoting Tim Kaine as saying that his own son was serving in the military and he, Kaine, wouldn't trust Donald Trump as commander-in-chief. And then she added this, so let's play it for the viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That's a pretty extraordinary thing to say. If you have a son in the Marine Corps and that you don't trust the commander-in-chief. People in the military defend the constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: We're back with the panel. Erin McPike, what do you make of Donald Trump seizing on that moment and making it that Martha Raddatz was crying about his election?
MCPIKE: Well, first of all she wasn't crying and there were no tears as he said. And Matthew Dowd, who was on set right next to her went to Twitter and said I was sitting right next to her and she did not cry. ABC came back and said she has been on the air for seven hours, and so her voice may have cracked and I think that's as far as you can go with that one.
KURTZ: Well Raddatz herself said its fiction and she didn't even choke up.
She kind of looked choked up to me, but everyone can make their own choice, your thoughts Sarah.
FLORES: ell, I think the real problem is you pair that with the debate performance where she decided to debate Donald Trump herself instead of letting Hillary Clinton debate her, that's what created the foundation for this argument that she cried. I think she sounded like she was choked up. I think that --
KURTZ: That's a little bit of an overstatement. But you're saying -- you think in your opinion, she was tougher on Clinton than on Trump.
FLORES: Well, she debated Trump, but more to that, I don't know of a single reporter who was rooting for Donald Trump in this, and there were several who are rooting for Hillary Clinton. That's the problem that this gets to a larger narrative.
KURTZ: I can move on right now and you know, one of things that I've really been struck by in news conference of all the appointees this week is that many of them are, well, the political headline was team of gazillionaires.
And it is certain that many of the people who Donald Trump has tapped are the billionaires of multi-millionaires. In other words, they're pretty rich. Let's look at a little bit of the media chatter on this subject.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross tapped for commerce secretary. Todd Ricketts, who's billionaire family owns the Chicago Cubs, deputy commerce secretary. Sensing a pattern here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Administration is starting to staff up with its top names. It's turning into quite a full employment program for the nation's billionaires.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: So the Washington Post has a whole piece on this on the front page, "Their collective wealth in many ways defies Trump's populous campaign promises." So, because they are successful businessmen and have made a lot of money, they're going to be anti-populist, is that a fair assumption?
TOMASKY: It may prove not to be a fair assumption, but it's not totally unreasonable assumption on which to base a news story where like now at this point in time I don't think. I mean --
HURTZ: JFK, FDR were pretty rich guys who certainly did a lot for the American middle class.
TOMASKY: Yes, they were. But you know, I mean, JFK or FDR's labor secretary was Francis Perkins, she wasn't a rich person. I mean, you know, all these cabinet people are rich in both administrations, both parties. That is certainly true. Trump talks a very, very different game. That's fair.
FLORES: Obama's ambassador appointments were mostly donors. I didn't see the collective media -- Obama had more than any past president.
KURTZ: And President Obama's commerce secretary, Penny Pritzker, who comes from the Hyatt family, worth about $2.5 billion or something like that. So, is there an assumption -- by the way, if these people carry out policies that do favor their wealthy friends and try to stick it to the middle class, then I think the press should hold them accountable. But they haven't taken office yet. So is there an assumption when it's Republicans, with Republicans it's a little different?
FLORES: Of course there are always different presumptions of incompetence given to Republicans, but I think also the American people elected a billionaire president. They elected someone who is a current businessperson. This idea that he was suddenly supposed to, you know, shake off all business ties to his own business, that he was never going to appoint someone who he knew through his business ties. That's not what the American people said on election day. I think until he starts, as you said, actually taking actions in one direction or another, the media needs to take a deep breath and find a new way to cover him.
KURTZ: You know, president-elect Trump talked about seeing a report, it was actually on NBC Nightly News about people at the Carrier air conditioner plant saying they thought he had promised to save their jobs. It's a great symbolism of what he did there, whether you think it was a good deal or not, a thousand jobs.
Just to come back to the flag burning tweet, it actually happened after Trump saw a Fox News report about a college in Massachusetts where some student who are opposed to Trump's election had burned the flags. It wasn't completely out of the blue. So, just to wrap up here on his use of twitter, I mean, sometimes he gets to set the agenda. The president tend to have a pretty good megaphone.
MCPIKE: That's right. Again though, with that particular tweet, that has -- that president has been set by the court on flag burning and --
KURTZ: Well, he's being provocative. He didn't say I will propose on my first day in office. He said, I think they should go to jail if they burn the flag. A lot of people would agree.
MCPIKE: It could be that some of these tweets stop once he is the president. Kellyanne Conway was asked this morning if these tweets will continue once he's in office and she said that's up to him and the Secret Service.
KURTZ: Well, he can appoint the Secret Service how he wants. Erin McPike, again, Michael Tomasky and Sarah Flores, thanks.
Still to come, my take on President Obama blaming the Trump victory in part on Fox News and too many bars?
KURTZ: Sometimes off camera jokes are just not funny. Go ahead and listen to this video of CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux waiting for Donald Trump's plane to arrive in Indianapolis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I do this, that means he's landed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. That means his plane crashed. No, I'm kidding
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like that.
KURTZ: That means the plane has crashed? CNN says in a statement, "an unfortunate and inappropriate remark was made by one of our producers off camera yesterday. We have apologized to the Trump transition team and the producer has been disciplined." Good response from CNN but can you imagine that morbid joke being made about President Obama's plane?
Barack Obama couldn't resist. Just couldn't resist. After eight years in which he often seemed to have one network on his mind --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Look, if I watched Fox News, I wouldn't vote for me either.
My good, affordable health care might see thing a fanged threat to the freedom of the American people on Fox News. It turns out it's working pretty well in the real world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now he's taking one parting swipe. Obama explained Donald Trump's success among white working class voters this way to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, who enthusiastically supports him: "Part of it is Fox News in every bar and restaurant in big chunks of the country. A part of it is also Democrats not working at a grassroots level."
Obama did partially blame his own party but here is what's striking. The president has the world's biggest bully pulpit but he often portrays Fox as all but drowning him out. Some folks at this network now pushing back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: This president for all of his kind of no drama Obama comes out and in a very infantile manner blames cable news -
BRET BAIER, CHIEF POLITICAL ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: I mean we are number one Jenna (ph). He thinks we control the universe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The great irony of this is that he complained about Fox News to "Rolling Stone" magazine, the people behind the fake UVA rape scandal which was -- they were just found guilty of defamation in a federal court.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: That's true. Rolling Stone suffered a huge black eye for that bogus story. Now, President Obama is entitled to challenge whatever he views as unfair criticism, but at times he has used Fox as a scapegoat.
Well, what would have been better is if the president, not to mention Hillary Clinton, had done more than a precious few interviews with Fox as a way of reaching the very voters he says the Democrats have lost touch with.
That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. Thanks for watching. We hope you'll check out our Facebook page, give us a like. We post a lot of original content there, firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask a question, make a comment about the media. No political rants. And continue the conversation on Twitter @HowardKurtz. So check out our twitter page, @MediaBuzzFNC on Twitter. We're back here next Sunday. See you then for the latest buzz.
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