TRANSCRIPT

Media tout health care defeat

Pundits pile on president, Paul Ryan

 

This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," March 26, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: President Trump had demanded a vote on his health care bill. But late Friday afternoon he called The Washington Post's Robert Costa and the New York Times' Maggie Haberman to say he was having Paul Ryan pull the bill. The media casting the failure to replace the Obamacare as a huge setback for Trump, Paul Ryan and the GOP.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I never said, I guess I am here, what? 64 days? I never said repeal and replace Obamacare -- you all heard me up speeches -- I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: An epic collapse by the Republicans and the Trump administration on what was supposed to be their easy lay-up.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: It's an embarrassment for the White House and the House Republicans.

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: This supposed to be Donald Trump's wheelhouse. It's not his fault. Because he is used to dealing with people in deal with financial incentives.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: It's impossible, impossible to exaggerate the enormity of what happened to Donald Trump today. His presidency effectively ended today.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage: Erin McPike, White House correspondent for Independent Journal Review and Mollie Hemmingway, senior editor of the Federalist and a brand new Fox Contributor and Joe Trippi Democratic Strategist and a Fox New Contributor as well. No question about it Erin, major defeat of the President Trump and the House Republican but any chance some you maybe over dramatizing for example if you said this was the end of Donald Trump's presidency.

ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR FORMER REAL CLEAR POILITICS: I wouldn't lump Lawrence O'v Donnell in with the rest of the media. It was a huge embarrassment for the Trump Administration, I think the bigger point that I took away, it wasn't just the media Democrats cast it as a huge victory for them. But it was covered and talked about like a football game. Healthcare is supposed to be a very personal issue. Now you have people in the country wondering what HHS is going to do to implement healthcare and Obamacare. We should be asking the rest of the country what they thought about how it was covered on Friday and how they talked about both Democrats and Republicans.

KURTZ: Mollie Hemmingway, this is a rushed bill, nobody liked this bill in the end. But do you have the sense many in the press are celebrating the outcome?

MOLLIE HEMMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST SENIOR EDITOR: That is what it seemed like from some people in the media. It was such a defeat for Donald Trump because people want to bring them down. But it's good for the media to cover it's just the level of hysteria that goes along with that is a bit much. In November the media coverage tone was democracy is dead. Fascism is downing and here we are just a few months later, look at these clowns, they can't get a bill passed. It has to do with why people don't take the media seriously when they are exaggerating how bad this is.

KURTZ: Couldn't be a bit premature to say Republicans can't govern and when Trump administration is crippled when we are basically a little more than 60 days into a new administration?

JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Lawrence and I agree it was way overboard. This is their first legislative milestone the Republicans put out there. 7 years, and it didn't work. A lot of that is their own doing, settings up the artificial deadline and things like that, but in the end --

KURTZ: What do you think of the finger pointing stories? Base on leads that this is President Trump fault, he was engaged in (inaudible) and it's Paul Ryan fault because he said he is going to bring this home, Reince Priebus' fault it is the House caucus to blame?

TRIPPI: This is a problem for the Republicans if they have so many different factions, I mean from the communicating stand point, you can't keep this all in one direction because all those different caucuses and different players have a different message. That is why they couldn't agree on the healthcare on the first place. It's now ending up in terms of how they are attacking each other and blaming each other.

KURTZ: I agree, because Donald Trump ran in this campaign as a different Republican. He said we don't want anyone to lose coverage and from the day he took office he would be at odds with the most conservative wing of his party. The only question was could he, and Paul Ryan and the White House staff pressure the freedom caucus into saying we got to go along, because it was his first blog test and we owe this vote to the president.

HEMMINGWAY: There is so much finger blaming and point out what people did wrong. It's why the media coverage helped us understand the dynamic in the Republican Party. And why you have to want reporters to understand exactly what was in place but it doesn't just become about finger pointing and be a little more constructive going forward about how to publish things.

MCPIKE: Going found, let's see if the media covered this as Trump's New Hampshire as it was to Obama. Remember President Obama lost New Hampshire. How he came out of that and went on to further victory was kind of a big deal, and how the media saw Obama grow. We'll see if the media covers this in terms of Trump's growth.

KURTZ: What about the fact that the president often talks about fake news. He announced his decision to pull the bill by calling The Washington Post and The New York Times.

MCPIKE: He pick-up the phone and call the Post, called the New York Times and he also sat down with Time magazine this week. He is going to mainstream media. He is maybe thinking about how he is changing strategy a little bit.

TRIPPI: The big story, I still think is the president won largely on this art of the deal, I can make deals happen. And that is why this was such a defeat for him personally. That is a story that isn't getting examined with all the infighting and sort of the finger pointing.

KURTZ: One person who says it is not the president's fault that he is a businessman and it falls on Paul Ryan is Judge Jeanine. She called for Paul Ryan to step down as speaker because hours earlier Donald Trump tweeted that people should watch her show. He gave her a promo. Reince Priebus said that was just a coincidence and the White House didn't know what she was going to say.

TRIPPI: And today he tweeted after the show and pointed at if the freedom caucus and others to deflect from that. What did he know about that if anything and why did he tweet that people should watch the show? Sure it was great for her ratings.

KURTZ: Let me turn to another big story, the continuing fallout coverage, charges and counter charges about surveillance, wiretapping the president's original claim. Let's take a look at what some commentators and others are saying on the air on this subject.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS: The accusation on President Obama is actively involved in harming the Trump campaign has now harmed the president himself.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: Donald Trump was lying about Barack Obama with the wiretap.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC: We all knew that.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: The liberals still refuse to accept a simple truth. This not shred of evidence showing collusion between President Trump and the Russians, none, zero, zip.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: So just to back-up it was only last Monday that James Comey the head of the FBI testified there was no evidence to support the president's original wiretapping claim aimed at Barack Obama. Do you think all the coverage saying the president was not telling the truth is justified?

MCPIKE: We haven't seen any evidence. It doesn't exist. I think there is hysteria over it. But there is nothing to support his claim.

KURTZ: Do you think the media constantly tried to fact check or acting truth squadrons against President Trump and have seeds on this moment to say, we finally got them. Even the FBI says there is nothing to support the wiretapping tweet.

HEMMINGWAY: The thought that Obama personally crawled into Trump tower and laid down the wire, then President Trump isn't telling the truth. But the media themselves have been involved in receiving leaks you have surveillance from Trump official and others and they have been happily spreading these around for months. The idea that you would act aghast when someone says, by the way I think we are being watched, and the other hand you are printing all this things seems ridiculous.

KURTZ: I want to cool down everybody, I also want to make a point, this is not necessarily a right-left battle where you would expect the liberal side of the media to beat up on the president and defend on point one on this Joe is Wall Street Journal conservative editorial page in which accusing Trump on this issue of a seemingly endless stream of exaggeration, evidence pre accusations and plausible denial and other falsehood, of course (inaudible) is never a big fan of this president but that was a pretty stinging editorial.

TRIPPI: Look I don't see any way you can talk about hysteria. There is no way. If any president of the United States accused his predecessor of essentially a felony, that would be big news that should be covered and may result in hysteria, but there is a reason for it. The "Wall Street Journal" is right to make that editorial.

KURTZ: This is one of the few times you agree with the "Wall Street Journal." The plot really thickens for the press when Devin Nunes' said he had new information and he ran over to the White House and briefed the staff there and really the consensus in the media was that really compromise the investigation, because he seem more interested in playing.

MCPIKE: What a distraction.

KURTZ: This is a Fox News alert. One person is dead -- one person dead, 14 injured last night after a late-night shooting inside a Cincinnati nightclub. Official are about to brief the media, let's listen in.

(BEGIN VIDEO LIVE FEED)

ELIOT ISAAC, CINCINNATI POLICE CHIEF: There are a lot of questions we are exploring and we won't be able to answer everything. But we'll give you what we know up to this point. With me this morning is the mayor, the acting if fire chief, councilmember Yvette Simpson. My command staff, the special agent in charge of Ohio for the ATF Trevor and I, always mess up his last name, Velanor. Also City manager Harry Black is traveling today was not able to be with us, but I have been in contact with him throughout the night and the morning and he is fully aware of what's taken place.

Let me begin by saying last night at about 1:30 a.m., our emergency communications section began receiving calls that shots had been fired with injuries inside the cameo nightclub which located at 4601 Kellogg Avenue in District II. The night unfolded and the initial investigation determined the bar was very crowded. Approximately a couple hundred people and what we know at this point in the investigation, several local men got into some type of dispute inside the bar. And it escalated into shots being fired from several individual. As a result, there were 16 people that sustained gunshot injuries. One of which is deceased. A total of 15 others that were injured, one in extremely critical condition in addition to that. Several others more serious injuries and some very minor and were released. The individual that was deceased at the scene has been identified, his family has been notified, Mr. Brian Spike a male, 27 years of age. Some additional information I can tell you about the incident, this is a very large establishment. They do employ --

(END VIDEO LIVE FEED)

KURTZ: A tragic situation in Cincinnati. The briefing there of violence has become all too common in American cities. We'll go to break right now and on the other side we'll continue our coverage of President Trump's not so great week on several issues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: We are back and before we went to break. I was asking about Devin Nunes who said he had new information, documents he described, that show President Trump's communications were picked up on surveillance of foreign nationals. He went to the White House to brief the president staff on this, inviting a lot of media criticism.

MCPIKE: It may have been a purposeful distraction, think about it this way. He could have picked up the phone and called the White House. But he physically went there and went in front than cameras. CNN soon after had a story with four bylines on it --

KURTZ: Let me get to that CNN Story in a minute. So let me go to Mollie quickly, so New York Times headlines was Devin Nunes puts credibility of house committee in doubt. But it was sort of murky and I know you wrote about it this week because the next day you seemed to back off just the day while he was exactly sure which officials had been pick-up on this intercept, were they unmasked or not. What do you make of the way it was covered whether the press gave it enough significance?

HEMMINGWAY: I don't think it was murky and what he said was really interesting. We don't know if it's true, but what he said there were dozens of reports with information collect on Trump transition officials that it didn't have foreign intelligence value. But it was unmasked, and it had nothing to do with Russia. This is the house intel chair on the record saying these things and no one ran with it like they do with every anonymous claim of Russian collusion. That is not good. You should not down play this story. Just treat it with the seriousness that it requires.

KURTZ: What about the next day, Chairman Nunes saying, the spokesman saying he didn't know for sure whether Trump or members of the transition team were on these communications that were picked up.

TRIPPI: It is like doing it, deflecting then walking back, I think it's clear that I agree it should have been covered differently. But in the end, it's still the coverage of what the damage he did, I think, to the independence of his intelligence investigation was done, because of the way he handled it.

HEMMINGWAY: I don't think it's true he was walking it back. They were trying to be precise. Every claim made by a staffer was hyped. He came out with big news. He thought it was so important he went to brief the White House. This is significant, and should not -- to have media people be upset that he is speaking on the record about it is a weird approach for a publication that loves to take anonymous sources and run with them.

KURTZ: That was a fair point. Let me get to the CNN report, it was seemed like kind of a bombshell on the surfaces of the report citing unnamed federal officials about the probe of the Trump team and the Russians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAMELA BROWN, CNN: The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging Hillary Clinton's campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Then a moment later the report went on that some officials believe the findings were premature and based on circumstantial evidence. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: The officials we spoke with said the information is not conclusive and the investigation is ongoing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: What are those qualifiers, do you think it undermines the report?

MCPIKE: What I think is happening is there are people in the intelligence community and the FBI who are really displeased with what's happening. Every time something happens that comes out of the White House, they are leaking something small to CNN.

KURTZ: This wasn't small.

MCPIKE: It's coming out in drips and drabs. And we don't know what is behind it.

HEMMINGWAY: I thought this was something of a joke. When you go through the words they use, they put this story out as if it is more important than what Nunes revealed, indicate, suspected, possible, circumstantial. This story should not have gone to press with that number of caveats. To make that seem more important than what Nunes was saying about Obama Administration officials collecting and disseminating information, that is journalist degree in appropriate.

TRIPPI: Same case about what Nunes did. He is not sure whether any administration officials were or were not --

HEMMINGWAY: We have nobody on the record yet another CNN story with nobody actually named.

KURTZ: Got to wind it down, I think the word I would use right now is murky. But you make some good points about the different standards on the way that this is covered. Mollie Hemmingway, we will see more of you, Joe Trippi, Erin McPike, thanks very much for joining us. Erin, actually stick around. We'll talk about the flack you got for being the only reporter on the Secretary of State's plane during this trip to Asia. I was depressed handling the Democratic filibuster than the Gorsuch's nomination.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Rex Tillerson refused to take a press pool on his trip to Asia but the Secretary of State did allow one reporter on his plane Erin McPike. And that lead to a wave of criticism aim at her and her media organizations independent journal review. Erin once you end up as the only reporter, should you have filed pool reports to the rest of the press?

MCPIKE: That was not the decision that was made ahead of time, so maybe on another trip. We would have made a different decision but it was not decision we made so we stuck to it.

KURTZ: The argument here by some of the critics and the media is that Rex Tillerson blew up the pool and took you as the representative of Independent Journal Review, because it has a strong conservative (inaudible) that you would take a friendly approach.

MCPIKE: I have never been a conservative reporter. I'm a straight news and fair reporter and I am an independent. People can make all the criticisms they want. But it does not make me what they are saying that I am. I'm not a shill, and I'm a fair reporter.

KURTZ: There was also sort of what do you know foreign policy arguments. You some experience writing foreign policy.

MCPIKE: I have covered a number of presidential campaigns and I covered the White House a couple of years ago. I always tried to focus on foreign policy and international relations, because that is where my interest lies.

KURTZ: Would it be different if you think if you are major network anchor had gotten a ticket to ride on the Secretary's plane and conducted an interview?

MCPIKE: Yes and that is what I said to you last week that I think if Matt Laure had gotten the exclusive first interview with Rex Tillerson, no one would have said a thing.

KURTZ: Do you think there is any sexism was used.

MCPIKE: Yes, I do. Mostly men who work with - the word someone used was man spitting about how I should do my job. I should be tweeting out the whole thing as if tweeting was supposed to save journalism.

KURTZ: What happen when you quickly publish the transcript of the first of your two interviews -- that was an exclusive interview? How did you see the rest of the media's treatment of that?

MCPIKE: It was a newsy trip and a newsy interview and we thought it would be the right thing to do. But then I heard that a number of this major news organizations that are also traveling with Tillerson in the countries chose not to pick it up, because they were doing it out of principle. They were ignoring that transcript out of principle.

KURTZ: He said he didn't really want the job and his wife pushed him to take it. How many reporters contacted you for comment?

MCPIKE: I got nothing until Friday. Three days in after they started reporting it, I thought that was pretty crazy. Some of the reporters who wrote about the story said we realize you are in an unwinnable position. This is very awkward for you. But nobody covered that side of it. They only covered it from their point of view. And I think there was some laziness in this. Michael Flynn began of the lax times month wrote about me looked at my linked in page but didn't look at any of my work. And then Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post quotes I should say a line from Finnegan's story in her own without ever looking at my work either and I thought that was pretty lazy too.

KURTZ: Erin McPike thanks very much. A radio host retracts a conspiracy story in the case known as pizza gate. Corey Lewandowski takes on the president's coverage in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Joining us now to talk about this is Corey Lewandowski, Trump's former campaign manager and the founder of Avenue Strategy, I know you are a savvy guy so you will not sit there and tell me this loss on healthcare is anything but a significant defeat for President Trump and the Republican Party.

COREY LEWANDOSKI, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Look, you have to remember Howie. This president has been in Washington for 64 days. There are creatures of Washington who understand how to move legislation a lot better than the president does. I am not giving anybody a pass. I think he is the failure of a larger Republican leadership in both branches of congress who couldn't get a bill a done that is both going to be acceptable on the House side and approve by the senate reconciliation process, look that is a failure of congress on my opinion.

KURTZ: The media take is Donald Trump is a very successful businessman, a deal maker and he knows how to butt heads to get an outcome and that he really had little idea of how much harder or different it is to do that in the political world. It sounds like you are not disputing that.

LEWANDOSKI: That is what I think, I think that Barack Obama, it 14, 15, 16 months to get Obamacare done with both Democrat and control of the house and the senate, it took him until March of 2007, I think, I am sorry 2011. This president is trying to get everything done right away because those are the campaign promises he made. Now we'll look at tax reform and a bill for transportation. Plus other issues he is going to get done. You have to remember his budget is just put on the Hill, his priorities to funds the military and to fund the veterans. This is not the pride of our industry.

KURTZ: I understand all that and it may have been mission impossible, because his position on healthcare was different than the conservative caucus. He wanted to keep certain elements of Obamacare. It's also the job of the president to lead. He thought he could surround himself with staff that could work with congress and get something done. Again this is very hard to do in just a short period of time, but doesn't he have to take responsibility? He blamed Democrats when he spoke before the cameras. But this was a GOP production beginning to end.

LEWANDOSKI: We need to have Republicans in uniform and key on these issues, no question about it, but what the president said on the campaign trail and what he is implementing now. We are not going to throw people off healthcare. We are not going to have people on the streets that can't get coverage. We know Obamacare in its current form will fail next year. It will implode, companies are continuing to pull out premiums and it will continue to go up and what the decision has been made by the members of congress, they are willing to let that happen. I think the president has said clearly that would be more devastating to the American public than having the repeal and replace he precision for.

KURTZ: Is the coverage of this matter fair or unfair to Donald Trump?

LEWANDOSKI: Look, my opinion is the president did everything he could over the last three weeks to get everything done. He met are individuals one- on-one.

KURTZ: He did a lot. And the stories have reflected that.

LEWANDOSKI: There are 435 different personalities in the house and 100 in the senate. When you move to the right to help the freedom caucus the individuals on the left said we can't support this. It's hard to govern. There is no question about it. But you have to rely on the leadership of Congress. Before this bill came to the president's desk, had we buttoned everybody up? What did we put a false time frame on that this had to be done by Thursday or Friday, there is no reason for that.

KURTZ: Look at this Time magazine cover "is truth dead?" inside is a headline saying Can Trump handle the truth? And exhibit a in this piece in which the president spoke at the time magazine is his tweet that Barack Obama had him wiretapped or surveilled. We can go back and forth on how he may have been surveilled. But he made a charge against the former president and James Comey of the FBI said, testified there is no evidence to support this. Isn't that a self inflicted wound on the president's part?

LEWANDOSKI: It's not may have been picked up. We know they have been picked up because they were working in Trump tower.

KURTZ: If you are not targeted -- when you are looking at foreign nationals.

LEWANDOSKI: A crime has been committed by releasing any information by unmasking those individuals that is the real accountability here. Now, incidental pickup is perfectly legal. We know Mike Flynn was picked up. We know unequivocally his name was released. That is a crime to release that information. If there was a FISA warrant issued for Trump tower? Question there was one that was denied and one in October that was authorized. Who was under the FISA warrant and why was the presidency under investigation.

KURTZ: Corey, there is a lot that we don't know and I take your point that these matters should be taken very seriously. But the president started this media explosion by making that charge against Barack Obama on twitter. Does President Trump need to choose his words more carefully even the intense media every syllable he utters.

LEWANDOSKI: There is no question everything he said is scrutinized. What sounded to me this week with Chairman Nunes, there was pick-up from individuals in Trump tower that was not related to the Russians.

KURTZ: Should he choose his words more carefully?

LEWANDOSKI: Of course the president has to be careful for what he says, but what we also know that Loretta Lynch, if there was a FIAS warrant had not spoken on this issue, should have to personally sign off on this document. We haven't heard a word from her. James Clapper said something different. James Comey said something different. We have not heard from the person that have applied for the warrant or signed off on the warrant.

KURTZ: Not an easy assignment this week, Corey Lewandowski, we really appreciate you coming on this Sunday.

LEWANDOSKI: Thank you.

KURTZ: Good to see you. Coming up, Neil Gorsuch draws favorable coverage on his Supreme Court confirmation hearings. But how will the press handle a Democratic filibuster. And later, should Glen Beck have suspended one of his stars for taking up pro choice stand on abortion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Democrats are vowing to filibuster the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch. Even some liberal commentators complain that the Supreme Court nominee deflected most of the questions. Joining us now to analyze the coverage in New York, Amy Holmes, political analyst for "Rasmussen reports" and Julie Roginsky a Democratic Strategist and Fox News Contributor, Amy, even most liberal legal analysts say Neil Gorsuch was a very good witness, he was charming and he was funny and he emphasize the independence of the Judiciary but he really didn't really answer most of the questions.

AMY HOLMES, RASMUSSEN REPORTS: That may be true. Nearly half of the voters thought that opposition to in Mr. Gorsuch was largely political and 82 percent of likely voters think he is likely to get confirmed. There is a broad consensus Neil Gorsuch is a qualified candidate to sit on the Supreme Court. And also remember I think this positive coverage has to do with the fact that he has a conservative would be replacing a conservative justice. The coverage would be quite different if we were talking about replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

KURTZ: We will see that in the next nomination. Julie, Gorsuch even said he is disheartened and disappointed by anyone who criticizes judges and of course that anyone was Donald Trump and everyone knew who he was talking about.

JULIE ROGINSKY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The interesting thing about the Gorsuch nomination is how little coverage it got because of what else is going on.

KURTZ: that is so true.

ROGINSKY: The healthcare debacle got more coverage on both sides and the investigation into Russia got more coverage. Neil Gorsuch probably benefited from the lack of coverage to him. Again he was very charming nominee, obviously during his hearings, but it's interesting to see how little people probably know what he was saying, because the coverage is virtually nonexistent.

KURTZ: CNN and MSNBC didn't even take Judge Gorsuch's opening statement because they were on the Comey hearings. Amy are the Democratic complains about Gorsuch really the reflection of liberal frustration with the fact that Merrick Garland never got a hearing, we hear a lot of pundits bringing up Merrick Garland name this week.

HOLMES: They will bring that up to try to attack this nominee. But during the campaign Hillary Clinton refused to promise she herself would re- nominate Mr. Merrick Garland.

KURTZ: That is a lot, the point is he was President Obama's nominee and he didn't have a hearing.

HOLMES: I think the point is you have Democrats who are not going along -- they haven't said yes to Chuck Schumer's threat to filibuster in Gorsuch and I think that is where the news is going to be.

KURTZ: Whether that materializes, do you think the effort will be portrayed in the press as obstructionism or justifiable payback going back to the Garland nomination next year.

HOLMES: Depend on the press you are talking about.

KURTZ: The mainstream press, not the opinion airs on the right and left.

ROGINSKY: I don't any there is a mainstream press that is not opinion either. The reality is nothing will be portrayed as a conservative hero replacing another conservative hero on the court. It's the president's prerogative to nominate who want on the court. Or he will be portrayed as being nominated by an illegitimate president or because her I Garland that he should not get a vote up and down or either.

KURTZ: You made a good point. I have never seen a Supreme Court nominations in the week of the hearing make so little news. Before we go, let's get you in on the healthcare situation. The press widely describing the failure to even gets a vote on the bill, the decision to pull it to be a major defeat, a massive setback, crippling of the Trump presidency, Amy, then Julie, do you think that, that accurately reflects the situation or is it overly dramatization?

HOLMES: I think it accurately reflects on part, clearly it was a train wreck. The bill had to be pulled from the floor, not put to a vote which I actually think was smart politics. But I don't think it's fair to overlook the fact that I think President Trump was showing leadership when he said fish or cut bait. Vote on this up or down so we can move on to our other agenda items. I think it was unfair to say as we saw in a lot of stories that Donald Trump won the presidency on repeal and replace. That is simply not true. He won on job and economy.

KURTZ: I got to get Julie in, but he did talk a lot about it, obviously wasn't necessarily the top issue, Julie, the coverage fair or overstated?

ROGINSKY: Well I think it is fair in the sense that both Republicans in congress have voted more than 60 times to repeal Obamacare. And Donald Trump has spent a lot of time talking about repealing Obamacare. Obamacare continues to be the law of the land. If the question mark is what this portend for the other part of the agenda. Now that Democrats and Republicans understand there may be no penalties to crossing this White House. It's -- it creates a lot of aggravation from the White House when they have a lot of stuff on the line and were ultimately unsuccessful.

KURTZ: That story has yet to be read. Amy Holmes, Julie Roginsky thanks very much for joining us from New York. After the break. Conservative pundit Tomi Lahren is sidelined on "the blaze" after coming out as prochoice in the bill, is that fair?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Tomi Lahren is a 24-year-old conservative commentator but her job at The Blaze is on hold after this appearance on the view.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOMI LAHREN, THE BLAZE: I can't say to him and be a hypocrite and say I think the government should decide women do with our bodies, I can sit here and say that as a Republican and I can say you know what, I am (inaudible) government so stay out of my guns and you can stay out of my body as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Tomi it seems to be a relatively reason change. There is no secret that Tomi and I don't agree on quite a lot. That is about personalities, people calling for Tomi to be fired. That is not for you to call.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Beck suspends Tomi Lahren for a week. And joining us now from New York to talk about this, Marisa Guthrie Editor for the Hollywood Reporter, Glenn beck can employ anybody he wants as a private company but by sideling Tomi Lahren after her appearance on "The View," in which she proclaimed her pro choice stance looks like he has a litmus test?

MARISA GUTHRIE, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER EDITOR: He is allowing her to herself in the first amendment and become a defender of the first amendment and appeal to a broader liberal base at the same time that like he said, it might be about personalities, necessity may have their disagreements. He also pointed out, this is a recent change and there is a lot of criticism that she subject describes to fake conservatism and she doesn't actually belief some of the things she says and changes her opinions based on what will get the most notoriety to her.

KURTZ: Beck did employ as an anchor at the blaze, previous guest actually Amy Holmes on The Blaze who is pro-choice on abortion. But that thing about Tomi Lahren, the left is celebrating her for what she did. Whoopee Goldberg and the gang, she wants to declare to liberals, I am your worst nightmare. Now you have a lot of people on the left rallying to her defense.

GUTHRIE: Glenn Beck is in a touch spot. She says this on "The View" and it's a one-day story. He suspends her and it turns into a week, two weeks, who knows how long the story of will be. He played into probably what she wants by suspending her.

KURTZ: She has 3 million Facebook followers for example and a lot of people like her show on The Blaze. She must have expected there would be a strong reaction when she went on "The View." the panel seemed to know in advance she was going to say she is pro choice. Do you think this is a stunt on her part to become a bigger star?

GUTHRIE: That is what some people in the conservative blogospheres are positing. Those are the words being used in the Christian conservative blogospheres, obviously she express the view of that is (inaudible) to Christian conservative.

KURTZ: Is this what the media has come to in these days. If you have followers on the right or followers on the left, and you take a position on one issue they don't like, they turn on you and savage you on twitter and call for you to be fired?

GUTHRIE: The internet has become a lynch mob. I think she knows that. And she used it and she has probably been a victim of it before. That is unfortunately where we are now.

KURTZ: The internet has become a lynch mob. Many good things about the web, but sadly that are too often of the case, Marisa Guthrie great to see you, thanks very much.

GUTHRIE: Thank you.

KURTZ: Finally an apology in the case of that bogus conspiracy theory involving a Washington pizzeria. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Radio host Alex Jones has abandoned the bogus conspiracy theory involving Washington's common ping pong, a pizza place where James Alefantis was hit by vicious rumors last year that Hillary Clinton and John Podesta were using it to operate a child sex ring. After a letter Alefantis accusing defamation, Jones by a long statement saying he relied on third party accounts and quote reporters who are no longer with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our commentary about what had become known as pizza- gate. I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in site, I regret and for which I apologize to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Well better late than never. The government who went to the restaurant under that conspiracy theory and fired off shots pleaded guilty, Friday. Maybe that closes that chapter. That is it for this edition of Media Buzz, I am Howard Kurtz, you can email us mediabuzz@foxnews.com weigh in on today's show. Give us a like on our Facebook page. I am Howard Kurtz and we are back here next Sunday, and see you then with latest buzz.

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