Trump, Spicer trash media

Over coverage of inauguration, crowds


This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," January 22, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On a buzz meter this Sunday, President Trump and Sean Spicer denounced the media for their coverage of this inaugural weekend, especially the debate over crowd size.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong. There has been a lot of talk in the media about the responsibility to hold Donald Trump accountable. And I'm here to tell you that it goes two ways. We are going to hold the press accountable as well.


KURTZ: What's behind this war against the media? The new president's inaugural address draws the harshest reaction from the pundits.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.


This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was one very powerful line there, there American carnage must star -- stop right here, right now. This was the speech of an insurgent of the leader of a revolt that has won, has taken control in Washington and he intends to push that agenda.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And it was militant and it was stark. The crime, the gangs, the drugs, this American carnage, disrepair, an ddecay. I can't imagine the outgoing president giving a speech like that.

TUCKER CARLSON, THE DAILY CALLER CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR IN CHIEF: I see Trump's hostility is focused every bit as much on the Republican Party and his leadership at the Democratic Party. This was not a conservative speech. There was nothing in here about paring back government at all.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: O have to say it was surprising divisive of the entire inaugural address. That wasn't the type of inaugural address that was intend to bring the country together.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: But I have to say I think -- I think it will go down in history as one of the most radical speeches ever given by a president.


KURTZ: Now what about the contrast between that criticism and the heavy coverage of the big women's marches in D.C. and across America. Did the protests steal the spotlight?

Our lineup includes Corey Lewandowski, Trump's first campaign manager, and the co-anchor of our coverage, Bret Baier.

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

Sean Spicer made an unusual appearance in the briefing room yesterday and the new White House press secretary unloaded on the press.


SPICER: One, it was a particularly egregious example in which a reporter falsely tweeted out that the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office. After it was pointed out that this was just plain wrong, the reporter casually reported and tweeted out and try to claim that a secret service agent must have been standing in front of it. This was irresponsible and reckless.


KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze this battle of the inauguration, Erin McPike, political commentator and former reporter for Real Clear Politics. Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist, and Joe Trippi, democratic strategist and a Fox news contributor.

That was an extraordinary scolding by Sean Spicer of the media and he took no questions. What message was he and the new president trying to send?

ERIN MCPIKE, FORMER REAL CLEAR POLITICS REPORTER: Well, listen, first of all, I'm hearing that some people are calling it a press conference. It is not a press conference if you don't take questions. It was a statement.

And the fact that he came out there and gave a statement and scolded the press on the first day was really troubling. You know, and I think it was troubling for every reporter. And there are so many reporters who come out and said that that was a chilling moment. It was really bad for them.

KURTZ: Well, I think any administration has the right to push back. The question as a matter of strategy does it make sense for President Trump and Sean Spicer to mount an offensive about the size of the inaugural crowd versus President Obama's crowd. Is that really what is this about?

MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, SENIOR EDITOR, THE FEDERALIST: Well, it is an interesting choice for them to make because it seems like such an unimportant thing to litigate crowd size, at the same time it is absolutely true that the media were utterly obsessed about making the inauguration seem small and trying to denigrate everything that happened on inauguration day.

And I think that what the administration is doing is coming out and saying we are not going to take this lying down. This has been. I mean, the media are years into a war on Donald Trump. They are not even hiding it and the administration is letting them know they're not going to just take it like Republicans normally do.

KURTZ: Some people around Trump believe this deflects attention from the women's marches which got a lot of coverage. We'll get later into the program, because this is what we're talking about this morning. This is the lead of every Sunday show.

Does it, does this battle overshadow what Trump is trying to accomplish? Because without this fight, we would be talking about executive orders and what's he's going to do the first week in office and visiting the CIA.

JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think it overshadows what probably the most important thing he said in his inaugural speech which was "The establishment let you down, it protected itself, it didn't protect you."

It was a radical speech. I mean, that reporting is correct. Because it was and that's what we should be debating. I think that was a very important thing for him to have said. And what it means, instead we're now litigating the crowd size which the press may have raised that.

But when you do go back -- no, but when you go back into the -- into the briefing room and you are going to take the press on that, it would be nice if the facts were on your side, like when you say the white plastic had never been used before and it wasn't. All the other things...


HEMINGWAY: You're absolutely right about the speech being a declaration of war against the established order. A major part of the established order are the media.

TRIPPI: Exactly.

HEMINGWAY: And that is why we're seeing this war being brought to them immediately.

TRIPPI: So then take -- don't take the war to -- if you are going to take the war to the media, which is great, do it with facts on your side. Not with - not with the magnetometer that stops the crowd from getting in and the secret service says that didn't happen. There were no magnetometer.

MCPIKE: Yes, the crowd size on Friday were a detail and the reporters were tweeting pictures out, and there were some side stories. But that was not the main coverage. But then Trump and Spicer made it the main coverage the following day.

TRIPPI: It is.

MCPIKE: And look, it's very clear that President Trump wanted the very same coverage that Barack Obama got in 2009. But look, this is a very different story. Now Donald Trump is the President too, so he has the chance to create his own story.

KURTZ: This is exactly what Donald Trump did with great success throughout the campaign where he would pick these fights often with the media sometimes with opponents and he would dominate the coverage. And this is what we would be we're now discussing.

At the same time, there been media missteps. I mean, the Time magazine's Zeke Miller felt the need to put the full report that the Martin Luther King bust had been taken out of the Oval Office that was not true. That gave Sean Spicer something to puch back on and the reporter apologized. Spicer accepted it but of course made an issue of it.

Watching the Sunday show as I'm thinking there is a larger battle here. So, Reince Priebus was on with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday said there was an obsession by the media to delegitimize this president. That's what they see the crowd size kerfuffle as being a proxy for.

And Kellyanne Conway, the new White House counselor really got into it with Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press." Here's just a bit of that.


TODD: I want to go back to a question that you continue to deflect. Why was it necessary to send out the press secretary on his first day in office to utter unprovable falsehood that now calls into question everything the press secretary state or say from here on out.



TODD: It will for many Americans.

CONWAY: No, it doesn't. You want them to hear that. You want them to hear that I'm not answering your questions, which I'm doing. You want them to hear that they can't trust our press secretary. I think that is a very dangerous statement to make...


TODD: What was the motive then? What was the...

CONWAY: Respectfully, your job is not to call things ridiculous that are said by our press secretary and our president. That's not your job.


KURTZ: Mollie?

HEMINGWAY: So, this is a great example of this, of how the media are handling or responding to this poorly. The media took it lying down for eight years when the press secretary or other people in the Obama administration explicitly said false things about Benghazi. Lied about the extent of the IRS targeting of conservatives.

Lied about cash transfers to Iran, bragged about making an echo chamber to pass the Iran deal and had the president himself saying repeatedly if you like your healthcare plan you can keep it a gazillion times while millions of people lost their healthcare plans.

A media that doesn't push back against that type of falsehood for eight years and then acts all upset about Sean Spicer talking about numbers is not going to be taken seriously at all.

KURTZ: So, Chuck Todd says the crowd size thing is provably false. The New York Times uses similar language. Is it - let's answer Kellyanne Conway's question. Is it the job of an anchor or journalist or correspondent to challenge the administration when he or she believes there is something false, or are we just getting caught up in what most Americans been see as a bunch of bull.

TRIPPI: I don't think the Americans care about what the crowd size.

KURTZ: I don't either.

TRIPPI: Which is why...


KURTZ: It becomes this facts war.

TRIPPI: ... this is why sending Sean Spicer in to actually sort of pour gasoline on the charges is I think a mistake. And I think the press, however, once he does that, and then literally I think there was on one thing he said that was true, and I can't remember what it was.

Because everything else is provably false about the magnetometers and every -- everything he make. The press is going -- you are declaring war, and then you are saying here are the facts, and the press isn't going to come back and go wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, true? And I think they -- you know, that's basically where it is right now.

MCPIKE: And then the press go back, right, the New York Times did a huge story based on crowd scientists from the protests yesterday to inauguration on Friday.

KURTZ: Wait, you are litigating this like its weapons of mass destruction. It just seems to me that there is a lot of fire power aimed on this. Let me turn to the coverage of the speech, you saw some of those reviews, radical, dark, troubling.

Some pundits, particularly on the right thought it was a great populist speech. Many on the left were really trashing it. What do you make of the divide there?

MCPIKE: I don't think it can be broken down and how you pivoted between just left and right. I mean, David Frum is actually a conservative writer for the Atlantic.

KURTZ: And former Bush aide.

MCPIKE: He said it was the worst inaugural address in history. That was probably going a little too far.

KURTZ: And George Will as well. But the New York Times as Mollie called the speech an angry Jeremiah. Politico's headline was "Trump paid a dark America only he can say." So, there was -- I mean, everybody is entitled to an opinion. But there was -- this was pretty much pinned.

HEMINGWAY: Well, and I think too many people moved immediately to how the speech is going to play instead on just reporting on what it said. but even the issue of how something plays this is a really important reason why people need more diversity in newsrooms. That speech played differently to average Americans who voted Donald Trump that it does to David Frum who's hated Donald Trump for years.

And you need to have some perspective from people who heard in fact, a very inspiring call to unity. And we're very excited again about his call to destroy Washington, D.C.'s established order.


KURTZ: And the establishment that includes....

HEMINGWAY: That's what they voted for and he said I'm going to do it. And that's exciting.

KURTZ: The establishment that include both parties. OK. Chris Matthews goes on MSNBC and says this, the speech was Hitlerian or Hitlerian overtones because of the use of the phrase "America first."

Now this came up in the campaign that Donald Trump has a different meaning and he is trying to use "America first" popularize it from the pre-World War II movement that has this overturns to try to keep this country out of the Second World War. Why go there and bring up something like Hitler.

TRIPPI: Well, I think one, I wouldn't agree with that language. But secondly, I think Mollie is right. That what's going on here and that's why he pointed to that line in the speech about the establishment. The press and media is reacting to this thing as establishment all alarmed about what the president is saying.

I think that's what you're seeing. I think one of the things that the media has to do a better job of is we have opinion people and we have news people. And the opinion people all tend to come out of the establishment right now, and I think are reacting to him in a much different way than a lot of reporters. I mean, journalists who should just be reporting the news and not stating opinions in this institution about this.


KURTZ: It was a very big target for this new president. And it worked for him in the campaign and perhaps we're having some of those license.

E-mail us at what your thoughts on the coverage. When we come back, President Trump visited the CIA yesterday and said the media were creating a fictitious feud. We've got Bret Baier and Corey Lewandowski coming up.


KURTZ: President Trump visited the CIA yesterday on his first full day in office. And it wasn't long before he took aim in his favorite target.


TRUMP: As you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth.


And they sort of made it sounds like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you are the number one stop, it's exactly the opposite.


KURTZ: Mollie Hemingway, did the media conjure up some fictitious feud between Donald Trump and the leaders of the intelligence community?

HEMINGWAY: It was not fictitious particularly not with the leaders of the intelligence community. Donald Trump tweeted and talked about his dislike of what was happening in terms of Intel chiefs leaking information against him to delegitimize him.

KURTZ: And even suggesting like let me interrupt for a second, of Obama's last CIA Chief John Brennan, was this the leaker of fake news?

HEMINGWAY: SO, this is...


KURTZ: I mean, this is the unsubstantiated dossier with the Russian allegations.

HEMINGWAY: Right. What was happening was there was a war between the Intel chiefs and Donald Trump and they were both engaged in this war, the Intel chief through leaking, Donald Trump by talking against what they were doing.

The media did portray a lot of this as if he was at war with the intelligence community or intelligence agencies were at large. When in fact, there are a lot of rank and file Intel officers who were extremely displeased with the politicized nature of this leaked campaign that was very unprofessional by these chiefs, people like Brennan and Clapper.

KURTZ: So, the new president goes to the CIA to show its importance to him in his first official visit. But once again it's about the media, Joe.

TRIPPI: Well, going there was good, and telling them that he did back them up was good and I think, but I do think it was news when he started talking about how many times he was on Time magazine's cover and crowd size. And that again takes away from the main message of what he was trying to do, I think...


KURTZ: Look, this is not a teleprompter president. I don't think he - it's flying to bring up some of this other stuff, still fighting the election and basking in the glow of his victory. That's fine. But again, instead of the headline being, you know, Trump show for CIA, it was Trump blames media for intelligence feud which he says that we have kind of exacerbated or cooked up.

MCPIKE: And he said he was at war with the media at the CIA on his first full day in office. I mean, that line alone was a problem. You know, and...


KURTZ: Why? Because maybe he is at war, maybe his people want him to be at war with the press that they don't trust.

MCPIKE: Look, I'm sure they do. Is it the right message for day one? I don't know. I mean, we got to cover this in an entirely new way. I think it makes it harder for a lot of the press to have an open mind. You know, I do. I have an open mind about covering President Trump. But I think he made it harder for the entire press to do it.

Now, I think we are not getting into some of the more important lines in his inaugural address because this is being up. I think one of the most important lines in that address was when he said we are going to eradicate Islamic -- radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth. That was a huge statement. And it will be very difficult for him to do. We'll be holding him to account on that for the next four years, but we're not talking about that today.

KURTZ: Mollie, you said -- Mollie, you said during the break that all of this Trump versus the media and crowd size and came up all of that. That it seems, it burns very brightly here in Washington, but his comments, his speech you believe is heard differently out in what I'll call the heart land.

HEMINGWAY: Well, just taking this media war. We talked earlier about the proxy wars.


HEMINGWAY: The media are engaged in a proxy war, too. Their attacks on Trump are viewed by a lot of people as attacks on them. And the media have no trust, no objectivity, no credibility. They are not in the position to fight this war with Donald Trump, because they don't have good footing.

They are reviled, and people understand that the media seems to revile them. So, when Donald Trump is talking about going to war against the media, the media -- a lot of people see that as finally someone championing them. They are sick of the media attacking them and their beliefs and the things they love and care about.


KURTZ: Erin will respond later in the program because Mollie took the last word. We'll see you later, panel.

up next, Donald Trump and Barack Obama have startling different views of the media. We'll take a look at that. And later, Donald Trump's first campaign manager, Corey will be here.



KURTZ: These are two striking different views of the media as the presidential handoff took place, at President Obama's last news press conference, he paid tribute to the notion of a free press.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You are not supposed to be sycophants; you are supposed to be skeptics. You are supposed to ask me tough questions, You are not supposed to be complimentary, but you are supposed to cast a critical eye on folks who hold enormous power.


KURTZ: In his interview with Fox and Friends, President Trump offered a darker view of the media as the reason behind his Twitter tones.


AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX NEWS HOST: What about Twitter? Are you going to continue to tweet?

TRUMP: Yes. Look, I don't like tweeting. I have other things I could be doing. But I get very dishonest media, very dishonest press.


KURTZ: Joining us now Susan Ferrechio, chief congressional correspondent for the Washington Examiner. So, what do you make of the contrast between the Obama sendoff and all those specials on TV and front page series, the New York Times writing about what books he likes, and the Trump transition, which I would say he received no honeymoon.

SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: None. Well, you just laid it out right there. Two completely different approaches by the media towards these two distinctly different people.

KURTZ: Right.

FERRECHIO: They were both different. The way they handle the media, the way they handle themselves in public. And the media has responded accordingly.

KURTZ: And Barack Obama, you know, wasn't always friendly with the press, particularly when it came to investigation, the leaks investigations and eavesdropping, getting reporter's e-mails.

FERRECHIO: They were spying on reporters. James Rosen here at Fox News. That's what's interesting about this. I mean, Rosen called the Obama administration the greatest threat to press freedom in generations. Because they were so lacking in transparency and so, you know, the way they cracked down on whistleblowers, they wanted to really keep FOIA request from going through.

Yet, the press was still quite easy on him as a president, despite the fact that, you know, he did have this reputation that was not talked about much and he was not pressed on it much. Yet they still sort of a friendlier relationship with him especially compared to Trump.

KURTZ: Right. Sean Spicer was on the program last week talking about whether or not the plan that seem very active to move the reporters out of the White House press room to some larger quarters which would be across the street or across the campus or whatever. Trump address that and kind of settled it in a Fox and Friends interview. Let's watch.


EARHARDT: The press briefing room, are you going to move it?

TRUMP: So, we said we're going to move it to a larger room in a nearby area, but you know, on the same area and the press went crazy. So, I said let's not move them. But some people in the press will not be able to get in.


KURTZ: So, did the media kind of win that skirmish? Because the press went crazy and Trump decided that's not worth the battle.

FERRECHIO: I don't think the outcome is clear yet. They could possibly move people. I think the Trump administration as Kellyanne Conway said this morning wants to change the terms of the relationship between the press and the president. And that makes sense.

Because clearly, there is a war going on clearly between the press and Trump. Trump said it yesterday in front of CIA headquarters. We can argue all day who started it, whose fault it is. But I don't know anyone right now who can say honestly that the press is going to fairly cover this president.

Because it seems to me they've already set themselves up as sort of the enemy of Trump. And I read their Twitter feeds. I watch their coverage. I saw the inaugural coverage. It just doesn't seem fair to me. And I think that's why Trump is trying to redefine things and trying to level the playing field.

KURTZ: Did you get on a different level on snorkeling in a sand, maybe through feelings on the Twitter account and some of these reporters. Now let's talk for a moment about the impact of partisan view. You have this Pew Research did a poll, Fox was sided as the most main source of election results by the most people.

But when you break it down Trump voters 40 percent said Fox was their main source. CNN 8 percent, Facebook 6 percent, NBC 6 percent. Hillary Clinton voters, CNN, 18 percent, MSNBC, 9 percent, Facebook, 8, local TV 8. So, Hillary Clinton voters were more diverse in their viewing habits. But a lot of Trump voters watch Fox.

FERRECHIO: The country is divided.


FERRECHIO: And so they are dividing their viewing habit. I think yet the inaugural coverage ratings bears out the evidence that a lot of people were watching Fox News for the coverage because as you know, as Trump supporters you turn on CNN or MSNBC and they are talking about a dark speech, and then over on Fox News they feel the coverage is more fair.

KURTZ: Right.

FERRECHIO: So, clearly there is a divide in the country and they are viewing now.


KURTZ: Well, people watch the coverage on Fox News even in the broadcast networks, and more than twice as much as CNN and MSNBC combined. So, that is telling as well. Susan Ferrrechio, great to see you,

Coming up, Bret Baier on anchoring the inauguration and the new president's declaration of war against the press. That's next.


KURTZ: Joining us now with his perspective on the coverage of the inauguration is Bret Baier. Special report and Fox News political anchor and author of the book "Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower's Final Mission."

So, you've been all tearing up our shows.


KURTZ: (Inaudible) Special Report yesterday Sean Spicer came to the briefing room, unloaded on the media. President Trump had done that earlier and now we're all talking about it. Do you think this is what the administration wants?

BAIER: Listen, I just look at the past during the campaign, and I look at someone who was candidate Donald Trump who was a master at controlling the narrative and the oxygen that we talk about, that the topic the next day. I mean, look at every Sunday show. Every single one, and the lead in large part of it had to do with that press briefing, crowd size. The thought about the press versus Donald Trump. What was not in there?

I mean, there was not a lot of folk fuss on these massive protests in cities around this country and around the world. At least as far as the lead of these Sunday shows. Is that all part of it.


KURTZ: This happened again and again in the campaign and people would say, well, they've gone too far this time. But meanwhile, they will get the story line what they wanted. And I think most of this is not by accident. And at the same time people out there, those who are sympathetic to Donald Trump would root for him against us.

BAIER: Yes. I mean, we were not a sympathetic bunch, the media. I mean, we don't go in great standing.

KURTZ: Understatement of the year.

BAIER: Yes. And I think that they want to break the China and shake things up. And this is part of their strategy. It's just an interesting day one.

KURTZ: Does this create problems for the new Press Secretary Sean Spicer in terms of the tone that he took, now he's got to deal and he's on the front line dealing with journalists.

BAIER: Well, I'm sure it may have changed that may not have been how he thought he was going to start...

KURTZ: Right.

BAIER: ... with his first briefing, and that really wasn't a briefing, it was a statement. But you know, I covered the White House as chief White House correspondent, there is a relationship there, and Sean has a great rapport with a lot of these reporters heading in.

KURTZ: It doesn't really take (Ph) for a long time.

BAIER: So, you know, does that change that? I don't think so. But if it continues like that all the time, it would change the dynamic.

KURTZ: Right. And probably many of us need to get a thicker skin because we're going to be criticized them for the next four years.

BAIER: Of course.

KURTZ: And sometimes it's warranted. So, you were down in the mall co- anchoring the inauguration. It's when how we're talking about the speech, it was a pretty remarkable speech whether you liked it or didn't like it.

Does this inauguration feel to you different from your anchor chair than the others that you have covered or watched in that protest and even some on the right not liking the speech? I mean, Donald Trump is almost like an independent candidate who has taken on both parties.

BAIER: Yes. I mean, I said on Fox News Sunday this is part of the completion of the takeover of the Republican Party. And it's not a hostile takeover because people went willingly in part because of the actions of the Obama administration and the action or inaction of republicans in the past.

And this was Donald Trump, this was what they wanted. They soaped up inaugural version of a campaign speech. But that fit what they are looking to do, and that is change Washington at its core. So, in that sense it felt very different. The fact the speech kind of took on republicans and democrats in a very aggressive way.

As far as the coverage you know, it was great to work alongside Martha and we did let it breathe a lot. And at rally going in we talked about that letting natural sound tell the story. Because the transfer of power as you know, is one of the most sacred things that we have in America, and to let people hear that natural sound I think was important.

KURTZ: Right. Now, as we are talking about Sean Spicer as Press Secretary, in your book about Ike, he had a powerful press secretary in James Hagerty.


KURTZ: He had a good relationship with the reports. But President Eisenhower released at one occasion thought that Hagerty was little too open with the press.

BAIER: Yes. That was his heart attack in 1955 in office. And there was all this talk at what's happening, and Eisenhower tells Hagerty, be as transparent as possible and put all the health records out that you can. And there's a note about a week later. "Dear Jim, transparency doing fine. I can do without the updates on my bowel movements."


BAIER: Dwight Eisenhower. But, you know, Eisenhower was about openness. He was the first president to put transcripts on the record. Before that you couldn't...


KURTZ: Well, I didn't know that until I read your book.

BAIER: before that you couldn't quote directly a president. You had to paraphrase the president. You can go to news conferences and ask some questions, but you couldn't quote directly. He put the transcripts one, then he says, go ahead, record it. Tape it for radio and TV. And he is the president who has the first live television news conference where the fourth estate is questioning the American president in front of the people.

KURTZ: It's funny because people remember JFK as the only televised press conference as maybe he wasn't a bit better at it. But Eisenhower was the pioneer.

BAIER: Yes, he was. And clearly he was not the best at delivery or phrasing and reporters wrote that because they were gobbling up what was now on the record saying this guy is stilted in his delivery.

KURTZ: Right.

BAIER: But in essence he is the guy who get it to that point.

KURTZ: Just to put a punctuation mark on this. I mean, you've interviewed candidate trump, President-elect Trump many times. I've interviewed him a few times. There is a line here for journalists to be aggressive and try to hold him accountable as we would with any president and in -- versus being seen as almost as an opposition party, which I think how they do much of the press.

BAIER: Yes. And there is a line to be challenging and challenge facts. And then be cheering for them not to do well or appear like you are on one side. And clearly, the coverage of the campaign we saw elements of that. And opinion writing on front pages.


BAIER: And very aggressive coverage. So, listen, they have the upper hand right now, the Trump administration, and we'll see where it goes.

KURTZ: both sides facing a big test. Bret Baier, great to see you. You're giving a special edition of a Special Report tonight.


KURTZ: Next on Media Buzz, the first Trump campaign manager is known for being combative with the press just like the 45h president. I'll tangle with Corey Lewandowski in just a moment.


KURTZ: Corey Lewandowski was with Donald Trump from the beginning serving as his first campaign advisor and still an informal adviser with the Washington consulting business. He joins me now on this inaugural weekend here in D.C. How does it make sense for President Trump who you know so well to spend his first full day of office in part declaring a war, his word on the media, and arguing about crowd size.

COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Howie, we have to remember, this is very, very important to Mr. Trump that he has a fair opportunity to outline what his agenda is going to be. And if the media can't report fairly the fact that the bust of martin Luther King, Jr. is still in Ova Office, what makes us think that the next four years they are going to be fair about anything.

So, this is -- this is a clear marker right at the very beginning of this administration. He's going to have the opportunity to push back. We saw that with Sean Spicer yesterday. We're going to see to move forward. If they are not going to be fair, there is going to be a recourse.

KURTZ: Is this a calculated strategy and we are hearing some political insiders say that he needs a target, an enemy. The campaign is over, he can't beat up on Hillary Clinton. The press which obviously he's taking a lot of issue with you, he did as well, is a very big fat target, particularly for his supporters.

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, that's part of it. But it's also you have to remember he wants to accomplish a lot of things for the American people. He wants t bring people back to work, repeal and replace Obamacare, renegotiate our trade deals. He's not going to get a fair shot in any of those things with the media. If he can't give him a fair shot at the beginning that's why...


KURTZ: But the kind of argument tonight, Corey, is that the more time that we collectively spend talking about the pundits that he doesn't like. He goes after CNN and NBC, and a lot in the New York Times, or the crowd size or mistakes that the press has made, that that leaves less air time and less print issues and less oxygen for what you are saying, trade, Obamacare, the reasons that he was elected.

So, in a way could he be said to be stepping on his message?

LEWANDOWSKI: It's very early. You know, we're -- we've been eight hours. I think as long as he's been in office as well, that would never spent. Give him the opportunity. Look, I think the disappointing part, is that we saw 60 members of the Democratic Party boycott the inauguration. That is not helpful to bring the country together.

You know, hat we wanted to see is a fair and clear opportunity, fair and balanced media if that's possible. Which means, hey, the bust still there. Where is the recourse on that media outlet. It was perpetuated 3,000 times on that bust was removed, clearly a false narrative. No accountability.

Why don't we fire the press person for being false? This the problem there is no accountability in the media when they say things other than lip mea culpa. We won't do it again next time.

KURTZ: Well, it was a mistake, a bad mistake that the Time magazine reporter apologize. I take your point. Reince Priebus said on Fox News Sunday that he believe whether we're talking about crowd size, the bust or other skirmishes that the media are obsessed with delegitimizing his presidency. Would you go that far do you believe that?

LEWANDOWSKI: I have to agree with Reince. Here's the problem. From day one, if you rmember, June 16 of 2015, Donald Trump came down that famous escalator. The media didn't think he was going elsewhere as president. And ever since that day they have not taken him as a serious candidate up until 5 o'clock when the election early polls came out and they said, well, the race is over. Donald Trump can't win.

He won the greatest electoral victory since Ronald Reagan re-election campaign in the Electoral College for a republican.

KURTZ: The media blew the election. They didn't understand what was going in the country. There is no debate about that. But my question is do you believe now we have President Trump for the next four years at least, that journalists are deliberately trying to undermine his presidency, I know it's early, but we had three months of a transition, or do you think there is just sort of a couture clash between this research?

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, the Media Research Center did an analysis right after the election. And what they saw from the American people was 96 -- 96 percent of the American people didn't let the media bias impact how they are going to vote. Because the media is going out of their way.

You know, don't forget, it used to be that people got their media from three men at 6 o'clock at night. Those days were over. Now where they get their media from? Donald Trump's Twitter account, right, which gives him the opportunity to bypass the mainstream media and go directly to the people.

We saw today he has tweeted many times and say on different issues, that's his opportunity to make sure that his messages is going to clear and not filtered through this lens of liberalism which the mainstream media unfortunate has become.

KURTZ: Although some conservative pundits were not, you know, continuing to attack his speech, for example, and then not like him during the campaign. Could there be a troops, could Donald Trump and the mainstream media forward to a working relationship? I mean, he did go to the New York Times, he has given certain interviews. Could you see things cooling down and a little less of the hostility?

LEWANDOWSKI: I think so. I think what I know about Mr. Trump is that he wants to have a great relationship with the media. I know what the public persona is, I know with the private persona is and I've seen him in those private meetings with many reporters who have never been very fair or candid with him.


LEWANDOWSKI: And when you bring him in close and he has an opportunity to sit down with him it's a very different thing. Because he wants to have that good relationship. You saw him as the president-elect go to the New York Times and do a lengthy sit down interviews.

KURTZ: You were a CNN contributor last year. Do you believe the network is largely anti-Trump as all segment yesterday about hw he was not telling the truth about the crowd estimates?

LEWANDOWSKI: I think what happens in some of the media is they have run with the narrative which we know not to be true and look at that false dossier that was put out. You know, some of the media which...


KURTZ: many didn't report them until BuzzFeed.

LEWANDOWSKI: Well, that's exactly right. And BuzzFeed writes a story which is wholly and factually inaccurate. It was never unverified. And again, no accountability. You know what happens is, I think when the people turn on the television, they are now looking at it very, very skeptically and saying, is this reporter actually reporting the truth or trying to make the news.

There's two very different things. It used to go from reporting news. Now reporters want to be the news. They want to write books about their time traveling on the Trump campaign, they want to do whatever it may be.


LEWANDOWSKI: Because it's good for them. That's not what Trump is looking to do.

KURTZ: I've got 20 seconds. When you signed on with Donald Trump in early 2015, at the time when most people didn't think he was serious about running, do you think he would be celebrating his inauguration this weekend?

LEWANDOWSKI: I'm not so sure about that. But I'm telling you I'm really, really happy the way things turned out. That's going to be the best for our country.

KURTZ: I like the way you handle that. Corey Lewandowski, great to see you here in Washington.


KURTZ: Thanks for stopping by. After the break, wall-to-wall coverage on some cable news channels for the women's protests here in Washington and around the country. We'll take a closer look.


KURTZ: There were scattered violence and 200 arrests during anti-Trump protests on Friday. And yesterday, CNN and MSNBC offered virtually nonstop coverage of the huge women's march here in the nation's capital and other major cities across the country.

We're back with the panel. So, well, CNN and MSNBC were wall-to-wall, Fox kind of dig in and out, perhaps undercover it. It would be interesting to hear your view on that. CNN headlines, "Women's marches across the U.S. send message to Trump." Was that overplaying what happened, was there a clear message?

TRIPPI: I don't -- I don't think it was overplaying yesterday. I mean, yesterday was pretty big, I mean, it's pretty big news. i think you can get into did they over cover and at Fox under, and probably both of those arguments are correct in my view which have probably done more.

KURTZ: Mollie Hemingway, it's undoubtedly news that there are so many thousands of women turned out. But then you had these celebrities, and of course, that sort of I can't be for the television cameras. And you had Madonna talking about blowing up the White House. I should dreamed of doing this. I didn't see a lot of anchors coming on saying this is really reprehensible thing to say.

HEMINGWAY: Right. It's not just how much cover you -- how much coverage you give, but also how you are describing what happened. And it's important for people to cover this. It's a really big event and this happened all across the country.

But CNN reported it as rejecting hate -- rejecting hate and divisiveness for hope, love and unity. And actual journalists on air described the marches as being that way. That's inappropriate for journalist to speak that way and also it's ignoring that these were marches that included a variety of messages including some that were very violent and vulgar. That needs to be covered as well.

KURTZ: Is it, speaking of vulgar, I want to bring as Madonna did was she - - when she was addressing the crowd she dropped a couple of "f' bombs and these were heard live on MSNBC and CNN. Not their fault, in my view. CNN apologized to its viewers.

And MSNBC Lawrence O'Donnell tweeted, "Why should the networks protect the public against words we all use?"

So, a little more tolerant attitude toward the "f" thing.

MCPIKE: Well, I don't know he would say that. I mean, we are supposed to bleep those words out. Look, you know, I think...


KURTZ: It's hard when you don't have a script and it's live coverage.

MCPIKE: When it's like, right, right, that's right. Look, you know, what happened yesterday was kind of unusual. It was the day after the inauguration. So, it did deserve a lot of coverage and it exceeded expectations of what the numbers were supposed to be.

But then we get to this quite about crowd size. I think a lot of the coverage was quite gauzy where, you know, why were these marches happening. They were just protesting the inauguration of a president. But where is all this energy going to go? Where was it before? You know, what's the end goal here?

KURTZ: People have the right to protest. It's nice that people are engage in the process. But we just had an election. So, it's not entirely clear to me other than they don't like Donald Trump on what they are protesting. Also on Friday, there were also some protest rallies. And Alec Baldwin who of course plays the president on Saturday Night Live spoke. He is very brief look on what he said.


ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: These people are a disgrace. They are a disgrace. To everything you and I believe in.


KURTZ: So, when he is ridiculing Trump on SNL, you don't like the guy.

TRIPPI: No, but look, yesterday was more than just a story here in the Unites States. I mean, these rallies were happening in London and Berlin, I mean, in Madrid.

KURTZ: Right.

TRIPPI: I mean, across the world. Also there were a lot of differences in what the speakers were saying. Van Jones was one of the people I saw said that he hated the fact that with all this love Trump hate talk, there was so much talk going on at some of these rallies that was hateful towards Trump.


KURTZ: Right. I already heard more on that Van Jones...

TRIPPI: Right. But I don't think, I agree it was a gauzy and some of that didn't get covered and...


KURTZ: Van Jones is a liberal CNN commentator. All right. On Friday, you had those some of the people setting the cars on fire, smashing windows of the Fox truck, and Larry King's car. Here is Griff Jenkins reporting on that. Let's pause for a moment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of the way. Get out of the way. Step out of their way -- hey!


KURTZ: He got to be covered but to what extent there is always this question of how much play do you give that when you got an inauguration going on.

HEMINGWAY: Right. It's always fun to cover riots. And the visuals are very exciting. I saw some people expressing on social media, editors saying this should be covered more relative to what was actually happening on Trump's first day as president.

And it seems like we need to keep that perspective. It's still more important what the president is doing, you know, signing the nomination forms or whatnot, as oppose to a couple hundred people violently...


KURTZ: He is patient having the parade and all the things we usually celebrate with a new president.


KURTZ: Great discussion, Joe Trippi, Mollie Hemingway, and Erin McPike. Still to come, one Trump appointee drops out, and some final thoughts on this inaugural weekend.


KURTZ: Monica Crowley who gave up her job as a Fox News contributor to joint President Trump's national Security Council staff said this week she will not be taking the job and will pursue another opportunity. Quote, "I greatly appreciate being asked to be part of President-elects team and I will continue to enthusiastically support him."

Crowley may have feared becoming a distraction as she battles allegations of plagiarism. There were reports by Politico and CNN that Crowley either lifted material r didn't properly accredited on her Ph.D. dissertation. And on a book which HarperCollins has temporary pulled until it can be revised.

Finally, you know, the television which is really captured the story, I was so struck by the graciousness between outgoing President Obama and incoming President Trump and their wives, a vivid reminder of the peaceful transition of power.

But this inauguration felt different to me, not just the protests, not just the democrats who boycotted. But the vitriol that continued on social media. And the partisan divide on the coverage. Some presidents seeing the new -- some pundits seeing the new president's speech as proudly populist, many others viewing it as frighteningly dark.

There will be plenty of time for the political fights and media attacks and Twitter wars. But now in Washington, Donald Trump has to turn his rhetoric into reality. And the news was has to hold him accountable like any president without sliding into relentlessly unfair negativity and cheap shots.

That's it for this inaugural edition of Media Buzz. I'm Howard Kurtz. It's been a long weekend for us. We hope you like our Facebook page, we post a lot of original content there. E-mail us, to Fox and comments on the media.

And check out my new segment every Monday night at 9 Eastern on the Tucker Carlson show. It's called News Abuse. Let's just say there is plenty to pick from these days. I'll talk to you on Twitter @howardkurtz. And check it out. We'll see you back here next Sunday to talk to you them with the latest buzz.

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