Spicer says press is often dishonest

New press secretary views some outlets as unfair


This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," January 8, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS HOST: On our Buzz Meter this Sunday, the president-elect whipping the media for lying about his stance on the CIA, on Russian hacking, on his views of founder of WikiLeaks, an the press pushes back on Trump's twitter thoughts.


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Trump also continues to bash the media of course, even quoted the hacker Julian Assange calling American media coverage "very dishonest." Trump added to that, more dishonest than anyone knows. Trump is engaged in an un-president (ph) effort by an American president to undermine the trust (ph).

CHARLIE SYKES, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, RIGHT WISCONSIN: You see, Donald Trump taking Julian Assange at his word and mocking American intelligence agencies. Look, if this was a monologue from Rush Limbaugh it would be bizarre but coming from the incoming president of the United States is generally alarming.

DANA PERINO, FOX NEWS HOST: Democrats are trying to soothe themselves with the notion that Russia interfered in the election, trying to delegitimize the Trump presidency and I think he's right to push back on that.


KURTZ: Sean Spicer, the new White House press secretary and whether he agrees that journalists are dishonest in his first "Media Buzz" appearance.

House Republicans do a 180 on gunning the Congressional Ethics Office. Did the media outcry forced this embarrassing reversal?

Megyn Kelly stuns the television world by deciding to leave Fox for NBC.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a tough decision for me because I love this show, our staff, my crew, my colleagues here at Fox, and you, all of you.


KURTZ: We'll look at the impact on both networks and talk to her prime time replacement, Tucker Carlson.

Plus, Wall Street Journal editor Gerry Baker says he' be careful about calling Trump or any politician a liar and gets a ton of media abuse.

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

With the president-elect at the center of a growing storm over Russian hackers and CIA investigations and Julian Assange and of course the media and punching back on twitter, let's get right to my interview with Sean Spicer, the incoming White House press secretary. I spoke to him from Trump Tower.


KURTZ: Sean Spicer, welcome.


KURTZ: Donald Trump tweeted on Friday about the leaking of the administration's report on Russian hacking, I'm asking the chairs of the House and Senate committees to investigate top secret intelligence shared with NBC prior to me seeing it. I can understand his concern, but does that signal as president he will be ordering leak investigations to find out reporter sources?

SPICER: Well, it's not the reporter sources. It's trying to figure out where it came from. I mean, there's a big difference between reporters doing their job and sourcing things and people in the government improperly giving classified information to people or potentially doing that. And I think there's a big difference whether you're targeting the source or the recipient.

KURTZ: Right. Now, Politico has a big headline, "Trump's Twitter Feed Paralyzes Washington," because apparently it upsets beltway power brokers and you know, some girls (ph) seem say, hey, we shouldn't even cover his tweets which is ridiculous. Why do you think these short messages are unnerving to the establishment?

SPICER: Well it's not just to have the length of them, it's the movement that's behind them. That's the important part. He's closing in on 19 million people that follow him on Twitter alone. He's got close to 50 million across three different platforms, and I think what people have realized in Washington and elsewhere is that when he tweets, he has a movement that's behind him.

His speaks truth to power, he understands the frustration and concerns of the American people like nobody else and he can speak directly to them, and the thing about Twitter that's unique is that you see the number of re- tweets and the actions that are taken and the coverage it gets. And people understand that, you know, mountains get moved when he tweets, businesses react, governments act, he gets things done, he is successful because of the message that he has and the movement that he commands.

KURTZ: And you're not getting the memo in advance so then you have to respond to questions about this, do you think that will change a bit after January 20th?

SPICER: Nope, not at all. I think he's going to continue to do -- look, the thing that I find interesting about the question, and I know you're asking it, but from a lot of the mainstream media they ask a question as if there's something wrong. I think it's been phenomenally successful. And I think that to some degree, you know, the headline that you just read is right.

People realize that when he speaks, whether it's by Twitter or otherwise, he actually has a tremendous amount of sway and influence on other politicians, on companies, on executives, on foreign leaders because they understand that he has tapped into where the country is and where the support is well, for key positions in policies.

KURTZ: No, what I say is get used to it. This is the way he communicates and is part of the reason he won the election. But let's quote a tweet involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Trump quoted him as talking about dishonest media coverage.

He added, "more dishonest than anyone knows." Is it unfair, Sean, for the media to point out that it's rather unusual for an incoming president to side with a guy who's a fugitive from justice in expressing skepticism for the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies?

SPICER: You know, that's not what he did. He stated a fact whereas Julian Assange went on your network and said when asked by Sean Hannity whether or not he did this, and he was behind you, he said no. And I think part of what is missing a lot of times in the mainstream media's dialogue of this particular instance is the context in all of it, which is that Julian Assange while factually stated that he or -- excuse me -- he stated that he wasn't behind it and I think that the president-elect was simply stating a fact that he stated in an interview with Sean Hannity.

KURTZ: Right. Now, Trump also accused -- this is another tweet -- accused the media of peddling lies in painting him, he says, as being against the intelligence community. My question for you is, you've dealt with reporters for years. You're a veteran spokesman. You're very good at this. Do you think the media lie and are intentionally dishonest?

SPICER: I think some reporters clearly have a bias and choose to only look at only part of the story so there's no question about it. As you said, I've been doing this a long time. Thank you for the complement, but I also believe that some reporters have chosen to look at the click bait model of reporting which is ignore some facts because more will be sensational and will generate more, you know, re-tweets or clicks, and I think that is dishonest. A job of a good reporter should make sure that you put all of the facts out there, report the entire story in context and I think for some reporters, they would rather overlook certain facts because the story wouldn't be as glamorous and sensational.

KURTZ: But does it make it harder for you to do your job when your boss uses words like lying and dishonest, you know, part of your job is to maintain cordial relationship with the press corp.

SPICER: And I have, and I think we'll continue to do that and reporters will do their job fairly and responsibly. We'll continue to treat with the level of respect that you should with any human being. But I think that some of these folks when they bend dishonest, when they fail to overlook the facts so frankly, you look to get the whole story and get it right, they should be called out.

I don't think there's anything wrong. Reporters have a first amendment right to write whatever they want, frankly. But I think that individuals, including the president-elect have a right to correct the record and then make sure that factual inaccuracies or the failure to report the entire story is equally called out.

KURTZ: They and you absolutely have that right. On the question of White House briefings, you've now said that there will be something every day, may not be televised, maybe some kind of off camera gaggle or meeting, but what's the argument against televising every White House press briefing that is too much posturing for the cameras?

SPICER: Yes, and again, I just wanted to 100 percent crystal clear, what I'm doing is the same thing that the president-elect has challenged everyone that he's asked to serve at his administration, whether at the staff level or at the cabinet level.

Which is to go in, look at how we can do things better in building a better product to the American people, whether it's a press briefing or getting information out or whether it's reforming the V.A. He's challenged everybody that is going to serve in this administration to see if we can do things better, more effectively, more efficiently. And I'm doing what he's asked me to do, which is to study all these things and work --

KURTZ: Right. On this question of the cameras -- on this question of the cameras --

SPICER: Right.

KURTZ: Potentially, what's the effect?

SPICER: Right, and I think of the things -- right, and one of the things that reporters and others have pointed out equally is that sometimes once the cameras go on, then it becomes more of a show than an informational session where news is discussed and a back and forth ensues with the press corps. So, several folks in the press corps and frankly past press secretaries have suggested that that be looked at.

It wasn't until, you know, it hasn't been that long since that's been the case and I think there are other institutions that have done that. And again, maybe we don't change anything, maybe we add a gaggle to the daily press conference, maybe we just invite more of the American people into this conversation, which I think the president-elect is very keen on because this is a conversation that shouldn't be limited to just the big media, if you will.

There's a lot of proliferation especially on the conservative media side. People have done a really good job and are committed to making sure they get the story straight. They should have equal access and have an opportunity to have their questions asked and answered to get that perspective out to key constituencies.

KURTZ: Sean Spicer, thanks for coming in front of our cameras. Hope you'll come back.

SPICER: Of course. Thanks Howie. Have a great weekend.


KURTZ: And joining us now with analysis, Erin McPike, political commentator and a former reporter for RealClealPolitics, Amy Holmes, political analyst with Rasmussen Reports and Charles Lane, Washington Post columnist and editorial writer and a Fox News contributor.

Erin, Donald Trump is now accusing the media of outright lying of (INAUDIBLE), of the intelligence agencies, his skepticism about U.S. intel though he's now essentially accepted the findings of this report. Is he going too far of that charge of lying?

ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think he is because I don't think, and I know this will be unpopular for some of the viewers (INAUDIBLE) but the media doesn't knowingly lie. You know, what Sean Spicer said in that interview was that the media would include some facts and not others. Some details versus others, that's editorial judgment. You can put in to your story what you want and make a decision about what you don't put in.

KURTZ: You're saying there is bias, there is tilting --

MCPIKE: There is a bias, sure, absolutely.

KURTZ: -- there is out of context but you don't think it's intentionally lying?


KURTZ: Trump told the New York Times the other day that all this amounts to a political witch hunt. What the press sees as this unusual spectacle I mentioned to Spicer, incoming president at odds with the U.S. intel agencies over Russia. He sees, I believe that it's his detractors using the hacking issue to undermine the legitimacy of his victory with --

AMY HOLMES, RASMUSSEN REPORTS: And I think that he would be right -- also, excellent interview with Mr. Spicer, Mr. Kurtz.

KURTZ: Thank you.

HOLMES: You look at a New York Times headlines for example that said, "Putin Ordered Influence Campaign Aimed at U.S. Election Report Says." Well, the government report said that but a lot of conservative and also technical experts have said that the report doesn't prove that.

And if you could prove that Putin was influencing this election, then you have a spy who is more brave and gets more information than James Bond as far as the CIA. And Maureen Dowd also in her column is saying, you know, the world is upside down. We now have the New York Times at the Cold War years believing he CIA and conservatives being skeptical.

KURTZ: Chuck Lane, Trump as I mentioned to Sean Spicer, urging the Hill committees to investigate the leak of the intelligence (INAUDIBLE) to NBC - - actually it's the Washington Post first reported on this then nonpublic report, and you heard Spicer say that president Trump would pursue investigations to find the government officials who were leaking, he says not reporter sources but can you disentangle the two?

CHARLES LANE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Of course not. I didn't understand what this distinction was that Sean was trying to draw. I think under the current president, if I'm not mistaken, James Rosen of this network got named as an undivided co-conspirator in a course of a leak investigation, which was ostensibly aimed at the State Department official who was thought to be the ultimate source of the information.

KURTZ: Right. And those phone records and other private material were without his knowledge or anyone at Fox were subpoenaed and obtained.

LANE: Yes. So, leak information inevitably is going to lead somehow to reporters. So I think Sean owes us a little bit better explanation.

HOLMES: I disagree with that. I think there were actually points up the distinction that Mr. Spicer was making., which is the government investigating illegal leaks from the government to the press versus putting the attack dogs on members of the press.

MCPIKE: This is what Nixon did. I mean, you know, like this is -- to me, these two tweets, and there is another one he said, "a couple of days earlier, how did NBC get an exclusive look into the top secret report Obama was presented? Who gave him this report and why? Politics. This is a --

KURTZ: That's a fair question.

MCPIKE: That's a fair analysis.

KURTZ: Somebody leaked this.

MCPIKE: What I'm saying is he said that one day and then a couple of days later he said he we wanted to direct Senate and House committees to investigate. Going after the source of a leak is a problem. I mean it's a warning shot to the intelligence community. We all know that he's rumbling with the intelligence community and once he becomes president he doesn't want the intelligence community continue leaking to the press.

HOLMES: Exposing national security information to the public is not legal and government authorities do have the right to go after that, but there is the distinction that reporting on it is and the Supreme Court has protected that right.

KURTZ: And there has been a great up surge in these leak investigations that journalists under the Obama administration has a lot of people now freaking out about president-elect Trump.

All right, ahead, Tucker Carlson on covering Donald Trump now that he's succeeding Megyn Kelly in primetime. But when we come back, conservative pundits and politicians who couldn't sand Julian Assange, now singing his praises.


KURTZ: Some conservative commentators now taking a very different view of Julian Assange. Here's what Sean Hannity told the WikiLeaks founder during their interview in London.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I -- and I've told you this before when you first came on the scene in 2010, I was concerned you were waging war against the U.S. I can't believe that you've done two things that have been extraordinarily helpful to the United States and then I think journalism in a way.

One is you showed us that we do not have cyber security, you acknowledge that. And two, I think in this election in particular you exposed a level of corruption that I for 30 years on the radio as a conservative knew existed.


KURTZ: Amy Holmes, it looks like some conservative commentators who despise Julian Assange as a left winger, who was endangering U.S. national security and secrets, are now making him to a bit of an icon, not just talking about I'm here, because he damaged the Democrats during the election.

HOLMES: Well, I think actually that among conservatives, that there are a lot of mixed views about Julian Assange particularly when it came to Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden because national security issues were at stake. And now there is still mixed views of Julian Assange if you read or (INAUDIBLE), they take what Julian Assange has to say with a lot of salt. There's a lot of holding the nose at the source of this but looking at exactly what he did expose and whether or not that was helpful to Republicans in the election.

KURTZ: Chuck, six years ago Sarah Palin likened Julian Assange to a terrorist when WikiLeaks published her personal e-mails which she says were boring. She just apologized to him on her Facebook page so, what's going on here?

LANE: What's going on here is that people don't have principles, that this is a cancer of American politics, which is that people will believe or say what suits their partisan interest in the short-term.

KURTZ: And both parties do this.

LANE: Well, it's an across the board phenomenon and of course, you know, now we have a lot of people who used to (INAUDIBLE) Julian Assange talking about what a menace he is and that's going on as well. No, this is the fundamental problem with American politics across the board, is that people no longer make principled arguments, they make opportunistic arguments and this is simply just a particularly galling and extreme case of it.

KURTZ: Erin McPike, here is what Donald Trump tweeted, "The dishonest media, he says, like saying that I am in agreement with Julian Assange, wrong. I simply state what he states. It is for the people." Here's a very good exchange, you might have seen this clip this week of Donald Trump, then businessman billionaire talking to Brian Kilmeade about WikiLeaks.


BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS HOST: You had nothing to d with the leaking of those --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT: No, but I think it's disgraceful.

KILMEADE: You do think it's disgraceful.

TRUMOP: -- it should be like death penalty or something.


KURTZ: So evolution of views about Assange?

MCPIKE: Maybe so. That's the principle that we like to call in media saving the tape. So, we might see the rest of the conservative elites who are now, you know, siding with Assange. Flipping back is at some point WikiLeaks put out more about what's going on in the government in the next couple of years in Trump's administration because inevitably things will go wrong.

KURTZ: (INAUDIBLE) I want to get more thing, MSNBC Joe Scarborough accused Republicans of hypocrisy and said Sean Hannity was having a bromance with Assange. Well, Hannity tweeted back that "Morning Joe" had used part of the interview and "Joe, what's really repulsive says, Hannity, is the pathetically low ratings you have on the network that colluded with Hillary Clinton." It's getting heated there.

HOLMES: I will let them have their food fight and watch. But you know, conservatives have always had a very conflicted attitude toward Julian Assange. I remember when I worked at TheBlze, there was this feeling of hate -- love the sin, hate the sinner. The information is important, how we are getting it, that's something we need to look more closely on.

KURTZ: Let me get another break. You can e-mail us on, weigh in on the media. Ahead on this program, the editor of the Wall Street Journal on being attacked for saying he's careful, careful about accusing Trump or any politician of lying. But first, did the press force House Republicans to cave on gutting an ethics office.


KURTZ: House Republicans generated a wave of negative headlines by secretly voting to gut the Congressional Ethics office followed by a scalding tweet from Donald Trump and spanking by the pundits on the right as well as the left.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST: This is ridiculous. It's the last thing -- this is what happens. I mean, time and time again a party takes control of power and here Republicans have complete power and their first act out of the gate is just complete arrogance, it's a horrific misstep.

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO SHOW HOST: It was disastrous timing and messaging. For the first moment out the gate they had the story out there. When I woke up when I saw this this morning, I thought to myself, you've got to be kidding me.


KURTZ: Within hours, the GOP caucus caved and reversed the vote on the independent ethics office. Chuck Lane, a lot of people credited this Republican caving to Trump tweeting that this shouldn't be a priority with a country facing so many problems, but wasn't he in part reacting to all the negative headlines and punditry about this (INAUDIBLE)?

LANE: In the sense that I'm sure he didn't know it was going to happen in advance, he probably just read about it in the papers and I guess it's a tribute to Donald Trump's common sense if he was able to see that what everybody else saw, which was this is a bone-head move and terrible --

KURTZ: He could have said nothing.

LANE: He could have said nothing which leads me to my next point, which is think that in the whole matrix of factors that cause the GOP representatives in the house to back down on this, the Trump tweet was the most important and showed that he was willing to go up against them and sort of bring them into line. And, you know, the question is like how many more times is that going to happen over the next four years. It was sort of a little opening inning kind of power struggle between him and --

KURTZ: -- with the baseball. Now, the House also was flooded with angry calls from constituents and that always gets the attention of the members of Congress. But, you also have to say that this happened on the morning where the big front page stories and the New York Times and Washington Post have basically said, "This is the first thing you guys are going to do in the Trump era?"

MCPIKE: OK, there are negative headlines about House Republicans all the time. Why does anybody think that this time negative headlines forced the Republicans to reverse course? I do think and I know a lot of comments is saying not --

KURTZ: Are you thinking it got very little effect?

MCPIKE: I think it's more the calls in Trump's tweets. Of course, when Donald Trump has the ability to separate himself from House Republicans who are not popular, still, he's going to do it. He is going to show independents.

KURTZ: There maybe arguments about how the ethics office operates. Both Democrats and Republicans hate this independent office, but one hot button for the press, Amy, is that this was done behind closed doors on a federal holiday?

HOLMES: Certainly it seems very sneaky, but you know, I want to leave it at Chuck saying that this is a tribute to Donald Trump's common sense. I think that is the--

KURTZ: We'll write that down.

HOLMES: Yes. Absolutely.

KURTZ: Do you think that's his --



LANE: But what little he has. But I do think that the Trump role is what's decisive because it is true that the Republicans get bashed in Washington Post headlines every day.

HOLMES: Could I add, I think it also that they're getting criticism across the board including from conservatives -- including from conservatives on this network.

KURTZ: Yes, very basically, the media may have more occasion to write about Donald Trump versus House Republicans and Senate Republicans because he ran against the GOP establishment.

MCPIKE: And think about it, a lot of voters in the Rust Belt might have voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and they are probably the ones who put Donald Trump over the edge. He knows that. So when he has the opportunity to bash Republicans, he's going to do it.

KURTZ: By the way, we're talking about Julian Assange and shifting views of the WikiLeaks (INAUDIBLE) segment. He's a fugitive from justice, I just want to underscore that, and hold up in the Ecuadorian embassy rather than face sexual assault allegations. All right, that's a wrap. Erin McPike, Amy Holmes, Chuck Lane, great to see you this Sunday.

Up next, Tucker Carlson on this challenge of succeeding Megyn Kelly and responding to his critics, and later, can Megyn succeed in daytime when she moves to NBC.


KURTZ: Well, it didn't take look for Fox News to announce a new 9:00 p.m. show after Megyn Kelly's decision to leave for NBC. Tucker Carlson, whose program at 7:00 eastern launched only a few weeks ago moves into the coveted primetime slot tomorrow. I sat down with him here in studio one.


KURTZ: Tucker Carlson.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Howard Kurtz, ladies and gentlemen.

KURTZ: So now you're officially a big primetime star. Your huge anchor ego is soaring out of control?

CARLSON: It's out of control. Is it out of control? No. Except a lot of e- mail -- I have more e-mail that I used to have. No, I mean it's --

KURTZ: -- confrontational question.

CARLSON: It's a little intimidating. But, you know, the beauty of working at Fox is Fox has a big audience and one that I'm not going to convince myself that it's about me. I've worked with a lot of different networks and where you works makes all the difference basically.

KURTZ: Well, you do things a little bit differently at 9:00 o'clock because though Fox, that's been more of as much as a new show, it's an opinion show because it's consistently live hour in primetime. Are you going to make some tweaks and adjustments here?

CARLSON: Of course. I mean look, you got to have -- 9:00 is an hour for, among other things, newsmakers and -- I mean my view is that, you know, you can have a newsy interview that cuts through a lot of the cant and (INAUDIBLE) gets to the core point, doesn't need to be confrontational or half so or anything. But it does need to be direct and I think viewers want that.

KURTZ: You're an unabashed conservative founder of The Daily Caller. Some media critics react to this by saying, well, you're sympathetic to Donald Trump and now Fox (INAUDIBLE) Trump skeptic in primetime, fair on unfair?

CARLSON: Well, I'm a skeptic of everything, of everyone. And I think if there's one lesson of this election is that voters want deep skepticism trained on Washington especially, but on all concentrations of power.

KURTZ: And you think there's not enough of that in the media?

CARLSON: There is not enough for that at all -- at all. It's very much our team and their team. It's very partisan. But I think there's a lot of sucking up to power here. A lot of Trump sniffing going on in D.C. now more than ever.

KURTZ: Well, you've said Trump wasn't your first choice for president and you (INAUDIBLE) weren't even sure if he really wanted the job and he has got it now. And you also said in your tweet (ph) to other day that when you launch the show you want to hold people accountable, let people in power tend to lie, that they can be pompous so, does that apply to the new president and the new administration?

CARLSON: Of course it does. It will always apply to anybody who is taking my money and wielding power over me, of course. What I thought about Trump to the very beginning is what I think about now, which is despite his flaws as a man, he was saying things that no one else dared to say that were not only true but resonant for a lot of people.

I mean he forced the Republicans Party to rethink its economic views. I'm not even sure we thought them but he has forced them to reckon with a whole different way of looking at economics, and in my view that's why he won. I saw that (INAUDIBLE) and I said wow, you know, people don't buy the Republican economic program actually.

KURTZ: You've told the story about 15 years ago, you're on CNN, you said something nasty about Trump's hair, you got a voicemail from him. Funny, too vulgar to repeat on the air, what did you take from episode?

CARLSON: That Trump -- I mean I took a bunch of (INAUDIBLE). That Trump is brazenly direct, that he's vulgar, and the life of the newsroom so that's obviously not a departure from me -- that he's hilarious, that he can be thin-skinned and that he's interesting. And I think all of it seems now.

KURTZ: Everybody will be asking you off the air, what he say -- what he say. All right, now you have gotten attention with this new show as an aggressive interviewer. Some critics thought you were too aggressive for example with a young woman named Lauren Duca from Teen Vogue. You took her on over her criticism of Donald and Ivanka Trump and she didn't like it and she called you a bully and there's a whole lot (INAUDIBLE). So is there a line about between being aggressive and being too rough with the guest?

CARLSON: Well, it depends on who the guest is. I mean I would never be aggressive, I mean I'd probably be pretty timid with a lot of guests who weren't there to push their political views on other people but the second you're out there espousing your views and demanding other people conform to those views, I think, you know, I have the right to press you and ask you to explain your views.

And that's all I was doing with her. I was treating her like an adult. I don't think she's used to that and she didn't care for it and started yelling at me but I didn't treat her any differently than I treat anybody else who wrote what she wrote. And by the way, its total legitimate to dislike Trump, of course it is. Well, a lot of people I know dislike Trump and even more legitimate to disagree with Trump, which I do myself sometimes. But I just didn't think she was explaining herself.

KURTZ: You paid a lot of dues. You worked for CNN -- you had a show. You had a show in MSNBC where in matter of fact you famously were on "Crossfire" when you got into it with John Stewart.


KURTZ: Did you think after those two stints that maybe you were a good (INAUDIBLE) when it came to being a host?

CARLSON: I don't know, I mean, I think maybe my one advantage is I have failed in the past and I would recommend failure to anyone. It's painful.

KURTZ: How so?

CARLSON: Because you learn a lot about -- you know, winning doesn't teach you anything. It gratifies all your instincts. It tells you whatever you are doing worked, keep doing it.

KURTZ: You thought you're a hot stuff and you --

CARLSON: Exactly. Failure forces you to assess yourself in a way that nothing else does and real failure, like your neighbors abort their gaze when you pull into driveway at night. You're ashamed to be who you are. That will get you thinking about what you're doing, what you're not doing. And I learned a lot about my own shortcomings. I'm not a perfect person. I'm a much more self-aware person though than I was, that's for sure.

KURTZ: I can see that just in the exchange right now --


KURTZ: Exit question. Are you feeling the pressure?

CARLSON: I mean I guess. You know, I'm a pretty small thinker to be totally honest and I think if I thought a lot about, wow, you know, I'm anchoring the 9:00 p.m. on Fox News channel I would be pretty nervous but I tend to think about the show. What's the show tonight? What am I going to ask? What guest do we have as long as you keep thinking about that every single night, let's make the best show we can every day, you're fine.

KURTZ: I think the technical term was rock and roll. Tucker Carlson, great to see you.

CARLSON: Howard Kurtz. KURTZ: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KURTZ: Tucker will be on at 9:00 and Martha McCallum has a new show at 7:00 p.m. eastern with the first 100 days of the Trump presidency. Coming up, can Megyn Kelly succeed in two very different formats at NBC? And later, is it fair for journalist to call the president-elect a liar?


KURTZ: As we were saying, it was front page news this week when Megyn Kelly decided to leave Fox News for NBC where she'll launch a daytime talk show, host a Sunday night news magazine and join in special events coverage. Here's what Megyn said on "The Kelly File" about feeling a rapport with her audience.


KELLY: But it's the kind of feeling that makes one feel connected to another human being, and that after all is why I believe we're here, human connection. The truth is, I need more of that in my life in particular when it comes to my children who are 7, 5 and 3. So, I'll be leaving Fox News at the week's end and starting a new adventure.


KURTZ: Joining us now from New York is Joe Concha, media reporter for The Hill. And Joe, let's start with the obvious, Megyn Kelly was a huge star here. Number two show on cable news. What's the impact on Fox?

JOE CONCHA, MEDIA REPORTER, THE HILL: Impact on Fox, Howie, I don't think will be a heck of a lot believe it or not. You know, Fox, I compare to the University of Alabama football program this week because Alabama keeps playing for championships every year yet their graduating players are going to the NFL and I looked at these two examples. Glenn Beck leaves in 2011, there's a gaping hole at 5:00 highly rated host.

Fox takes off their bench five people, puts them around the table and says talk about stuff, an attempt at eclipsing Beck and being a highly rated show. Same thing with Greta Van Susteren, she leaves 7:00 o'clock, they have Brit Hume on their bench. They fill in until Election Day, then Tucker Carlson comes in and obliterates the ratings that Greta had if you compare them year over year. I think the bottom line is Howie, that Fox does not rebuild, it reloads, and that's scary if you're a competitor.

KURTZ: Right. My former colleague (INAUDIBLE) by the way, starting a show at MSNBC. Some people say that Megyn Kelly left for money. Fox News offered her $100 million package over four years, is believed she's taken so much less money to go with NBC.

I think a lot of this was about her schedule, her life and the three kids that you heard her mention. You heard my interview with Tucker Carlson. He's only had his own show here for a few weeks. He gets the 9:00 p.m. slot, how do you see that working out?

CONCHA: If we're looking at December ratings, if we're looking at what Tucker Carlson has done since he took over on November 14th, we have never seen, Howie, a debut like Tucker Carlson has had for his show. Not just ratings which have been off the charts, but also it seems like every day I'm seeing a viral video of a segment that he does the night before debating somebody.

So I think Tucker certainly is going to be just fine and may even a clip -- Megyn's right, but to your point about Megyn though, you're exactly right, this was about her children. This is why you leave primetime for daytime for less money. We've never seen this with a broadcast journalist before at the top of her career.

I read her book cover to cover. I interviewed her a couple of weeks ago. It is an inescapable thing. She wanted to be there when her kids were getting home from school, doing their homework and tuck them into bed at night and that's why you take less money.

KURTZ: Let jump in. Yes. OK, but now she's going to be starting a daytime talk show which has been sort of a graveyard period for some pretty amous and successful journalists, how do you see her fairing?

CONCHA: Exactly Howie. Look at (INAUDIBLE) here, Anderson Cooper, big name, has a show in daytime to do a talk show like Megyn is going to try to do. It fails in two years. Katie Curic with Jeff Zucker producing before he was CNN president it fails in two years.

But here's why it's not an apples to apples comparison, 12 years ago, Megyn Kelly in her 30's with not television experience whatsoever, leaves the corporate lawyer job for television and years later becomes one of the most watched people in television. So, while it's going to be a big challenge for her Howie, I wouldn't bet against her if her own personal history is any indication.

KURTZ: And just recently starting a Sunday night news magazine show for NBC, of course Sunday night is "60 Minutes" night so, tough competition is now head to head.

CONCHA: Yes, "60 Minutes" has been around for nearly 50 years. It's been a perineal top 10 show. So you say I put it on later, right? Well, the problem is that NBC has the number one rated show in Sunday night football from September to January.

So, where are you going to put that show? So certainly, there are some unanswered questions as far as how NBC is going to utilize Megyn Kelly. She's going to be on in daytime. We don't know the time slot there too. We're going to find out probably sometime around September exactly what NBC's plan is for one Megyn Kelly.

KURTZ: All right. Well I wish Megyn Kelly all the best having been on her show and collaborating with her so many times. I wish you all the best too, Joe Concha, and you probably fed Tucker Carlson's ego as I was kidding him during our conversation.

All right, after the break, Wall Street Journal editor Gerry Baker on taking flack for his approach of covering Donald Trump's misstatements. And later, Joe Scarborough wants you to know he was not partying with Donald Trump on New Year's Eve.


KURTZ: Gerard Baker of the Wall Street Journal set off a bit of a furor when the subject of Donald Trump's veracity and how the press should cover any inaccurate comments surface on "Meet The Press."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If somebody says just an outright pulse (ph) said when you say the word lie, is that important to start putting in reporting or not?

GERALD BAKER, EDITOR, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, I'd be careful about using the word lie. Lie implies much more than just saying something that's false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead.


KURTZ: I spoke to the "Wall Street Journal's" editor-in-chief earlier from New York.


KURTZ: Gerry Baker, welcome.

BAKER: Thanks for having me.

KURTZ: You got a torrent of media criticism for those comments about whether or when the press should accuse the president-elect of being a liar. In fact, you say in the Journal, "you stand accused of imperiling the Republic by adapting a craven defense of presidential mendacity. How do you plead, sir?

BAKER: Well, I thought I was going to be a fugitive from media justice for a while and I was wondering whether I should go and lie low. Thank you very much for your concern. I've weathered it OK so far.

KURTZ: Well, my favorite line in your column which you responded to this in the Wall Street Journal after Dan Rather called you deeply disturbing is the following, "I will confess to feeling a little burst of pride at being instructed in reporting ethics by Mr. Rather. It feels a little like being lectured on the virtues of abstinence by Keith Richards." How so?

BAKER: Well, I mean, again, look, we're in the media and Howie you know what it's like, you expect criticism from all sides. It's a little bit rich to be honest with you to be criticized for reporting ethics especially after something like this which where I'm convinced that we're doing the right thing by someone who remember, who had his employment terminated by a network because he was involved in making up a story about President George W. Bush. So, for me to be criticized by somebody like that, I actually -- I should say I took it what you say grace, a very small modicum of pride.

KURTZ: But certainly a story that couldn't be confirmed that with CBS had to retract. Now, the "Journal's" did --

BAKER: Yes, they didn't think it was true.

KURTZ: The "Journal's" editorial page has actually been pretty tough on Donald Trump, has pointed out some statements that are sort of inconsistent with the facts for example mass illegal voting in the election, the birther conspiracy against President Obama, but there's a difference you say, between your knowing that something is a lie using the word knowing in quote. The paper describing it that way and explain the different distinction.

BAKER: Well look, first of all, politicians speak untruths all the time. Lots of people speak untruths a lot of the time and we report that and so the right thing to do, I believe, is to say, when someone says something we report what they say -- someone as important as Donald Trump, the president-elect, which we reported and we then measure what he says, examines what he says against the facts, and we give an estimate as to whether or not that as far as we can tell, that statement is true.

And several times in the last year Donald Trump has said things that frankly aren't true. There is a difference though between saying that a person, a subject said something that was untrue and saying that they lied because lying is a -- to know that someone is lying, you have to know their state of knowledge and you have to know their state of mind, that they had deliberate intent to deceive.

Now, you may be able to infer from a lot of what you know, a lot of what you think you know to when somebody says something is untrue and Donald Trump says what he said about Muslims on the roofs of New Jersey celebrating 9/11. That's untrue. You may even think it's a lie. I'm not prepared to report it's a lie because that's a much, much, much higher standard of proof.

KURTZ: Just briefly, do you think there would have been this media criticism if you had said something similar about Hillary Clinton had she won the election, what does this say about the media's mind set toward president elect?

BAKER: I think you're absolutely right, Howie. I think look, I mean the first thing also is all politicians they've lied all of the time, you know. We didn't get any criticism at all when President Obama said if you like your health insurance plan you can keep your health insurance. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. We didn't describe that as a lie. It was an untruth but we didn't describe that as a lie.

We haven't described things that Donald Trump has said as a lie. I think the answer, Howie, as what you're getting at is a large section of the media have decided that there is something specifically and uniquely threatening and malevolent about Donald Trump that they actually have to take a posture of confrontation and opposition to him and they have to be going out -- they have to be in the arena --

KURTZ: Right.

BAKER: -- and actually saying this man is a terrible threat to our freedoms and to our democracy and they have to be out there actually in a partisan way disagreeing with him.

KURTZ: Gerry baker, great to have you on the show. Thanks very much for joining us.

BAKER: Thanks, Howie. Thanks for having me.


KURTZ: Still to come, how the Washington Post botched a scary story about the Russians supposedly hacking our electrical grid and Joe Scarborough calls a reporter a liar for tweeting about his relationship with Donald Trump.


KURTZ: The Washington Post made a dramatic headline last week, "Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, U.S. officials say." But the story quickly short circuited. And the danger here -- lesson is about the danger in relying on anonymous intelligent sources and not getting a comment from a key player. Now, 90 minutes after the paper posted the story saying the discovery -- there was a discovery of a computer code associated with Russian hackers that reflected "a potentially serious vulnerability for America's electric grid," the utility said only a single line of code was found at one laptop not connected to the Burlington grid.

The Post softened its headline and the next day ran an editor's note but this week essentially retracted the entire story in a piece headline, "Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility say people close to the investigation." The Post spokesman wouldn't comment to us but told the paper there have been internal discussions to make sure something similar doesn't happen again.

And now, bad week for the "Washington Post." Its "Express" tabloid does a cover splash on the women's march plan to go protest Trump's inauguration and uses the universal symbol for the male gender. Do the editors need their eyesight checked?

Joe Scarborough had dinner with Donald Trump last week and then he and his MSNBC co-host, Mika Brzezinski, met with the president-elect at Mar-a-Lago as a New Year's Eve party was getting underway. When CBS reporter Sopan Deb twitted that "Morning Joe's" host partied with Trump, the former GOP congressman called him a liar and then explained on the air that they didn't get dressed up or anything. It was just a 20-minute meeting seeking an interview.


SCARBOROUGH: Well, judging from the response that I get every time I meet with anybody associated with him, no journalist have ever done this before. "60 Minutes" has ever gone to a president or a principal or the New York Times and certainly Tom Brokaw never did and we know Ben Bradley (ph) never did, but I'm just not going to let them lie because they've been lying for years so, you go meet the president-elect when the staff says you can meet the president-elect.


KURTZ: That's true. Every president holds lots of off the record chats with journalists and commentators, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Obama, this is only controversial because it's Trump. Now, Scarborough and the president- elect have had a stormy relationship over the past year so I'm glad they've patched things up.

Hey, Trump even went over to (INAUDIBLE) on Friday and met with them on "Vanity Fair" editor Graydon Carter who has been mocking him since the spy magazine days in the 80's, this after he had tweeted about Graydon, "no talent, will be out!"

That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. Thanks for joining us. Let us know what you think, Stick to the media questions, comments, We respond on our Facebook page with videos. Feel free to give us a like. We post a lot of original content there.

Continue the conversation on Twitter and hey, do you know, I do a media minute during the week, SiriusXM, 24/7 headlines, this is the new station. You can check that as well. All right, end of infomercial. We're back here next Sunday. Hope you'll join us then with the latest buzz.

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