TRANSCRIPT

Media accuse president of flip-flops

As Trump positions evolve from campaign

 

This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," April 16, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On our buzz view this Sunday. The pundits say Donald Trump is doing an about face on Russia in the wake of his airstrikes against Syria and changing his stance on crucial issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: Today President Trump making a 180 on so many statements he made during the campaign it was enough to give the White House whiplash.

CHRIS STIREWALT, FOX NEWS: This is a -- what a president and administration in the White House, it look like they are doing a pretty hard reboot right now. We have a lot of campaign promises being traded in.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: Why is there suddenly so much bashing of Steve Bannon? The media slamming Sean Spicer over his mistake and it is big one in dragging Hitler into the debate over Syria's use of chemical weapons. A story that led all three networks newscast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS: It happened again today when Sean Spicer made one colossal error. He was comparing Syria's dictator to Hitler.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN: What Spicer said was false and kind of ignorant.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Spicer is in way over his head.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: Sean Spicer proved himself today, to be a profoundly stupid liar working for a profoundly stupid liar. The president of the United States has a spokesman he deserves.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Frankly, I mistakenly used an inappropriate reference to the Holocaust and for that I apologize.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: Why did the piling on continue after his repeated apologies?

United takes a journalistic pounding for its monumental mishandling of the incident in which a passenger was forcibly dragged off a plane.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. DAO, UNITED PASSENGER: No, I'm not going. I am not going. I don't go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Why did some in the media insist on trashing the 69-year-old doctor whose face wound up bloody? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

It was a media refrain throughout the campaign that Donald Trump was too soft on Russia. But this week they accused Moscow of covering up Syria role on the chemical tactic that prompted those U.S. airstrike, the New York Times called it, a head-spinning shift from coziness to confrontation and many commentators complain of confusion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: Is Donald Trump headed for a nasty confrontation from Moscow, the man who helped elect him?

MATT LEWIS: The truth is that this is not consistent with what Donald Trump ran on except I think it was the right thing to do.

KRAUTHAMMER: I don't think the administration is sure what it's going to do, sending a message to the whole world that we are not going to be walked over.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: That is just one of the half dozen or more issues on which the press is accusing President Trump of doing about a face from candidate Trump campaign on, such as his criticism of NATO.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage is Erin McPike, White House correspondent for Independent Journal Review; Amy Holmes, political analyst for Rasmussen Report, and Marie Harf, Fox News contributor and a former spokeswoman for the Obama administration.

Erin, in Huffington Post, whiplash, Trump 180 on more issues, exclamation point, so is this the new media critic that he is flip-flop on the whole bunch of issues?

ERIN MCPIKE, INDEPENDENT JOURNAL REVIEW: What you played there, NATO hasn't changed. Some countries are slowly in a very small way increasing their defense spending. In part he says, and the secretary-general says it's because he made it such an issue. But it's the same organization. Flip-flops like that have to be called out.

KURTZ: They have to be reported on. Amy, for example, the president accused China of manipulating its currency. President Trump tweeted I'm not going to call China a currency manipulator while we need their help on North Korea. So another way for journalist to put this would be that Trump is facing up to the reality of being commander in chief which every new president does to some extent.

AMY HOLMES, RASMUSSEN REPORTS: Right. Things look different once you are in the White House. I would make the argument President Trump is staying true to form if not through substance. Even throughout the campaign he was stays conservative. After San Bernardino he made the comment about the Muslim ban and then he pulled that back and moderated. What has been consistent is Donald Trump has always projected strength. That is always his top priority and I think you saw it with the Syria bombing and Afghanistan.

KURTZ: When a politician flip-flops or changes to a position the media doesn't like, he is flip flopping. If he changes to a position the media kind of likes, he is growing in office, if he is taking a more realistic policy on x, y, z.

MARIE HARF, FORMER CIA SPOKESPERSON: I think there are two big problems here and I think this is why you see pundits in the media covering it in a different way. The first is, it is not just candidate Trump, it is President Trump, he flip-flop on issues like Syria in a matter of weeks, days really, so two weeks ago they said one thing about President Assad, now they say something different. It's a huge change in a short period of time. The second piece is that we have seen voters say that they did think he was going to do what he was running. Voters want candidates to fall through on promises.

KURTZ: I can give you a long list of Barack Obama, George W. Bush. So it depends on how purist you want to be.

HARF: I think what is concerning to voters is there doesn't seem to be an underlying set of principles.

HOLMES: His popularity has gone up. He was portrayed as a fascist when he was advocating none intervention. And now they are saying he is a great liberator now the he view unilaterally using those military intervention.

KURTZ: A chemical attack by Assad, saying it was a proportional response. Eric Trump said if there, but Eric Trump, president son, Erin came out and said it in an interview was anything Syria did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie. Is the media narrative going to change about he is too close to Moscow?

MCPIKE: No, because there are two separate issues and it were too convenient for Eric Trump to say.

HOLMES: I would add actually that when it comes to conspiracy theories, it doesn't need facts or even logic that people who want to tar President Trump with his Moscow brush will continue to do it no matter what he does.

You saw who he chose for his Cabinet. "Mad Dog" Mattis. You saw a lot of his in terms of who Donald Trump would be taking advice from, and they weren't going to be the isolationists.

KURTZ: These investigations of possible ties in Trump associates and Russian ties were really rooted in the notion there was an unholy alliance between the Trump side and Putin side. But you don't think the changes in policy are knocking that down at all?

HARF: I think they are rooted in the fact that the intelligence community said Russia interfered in this election. The FBI investigations and the congressional investigations, these are ongoing.

KURTZ: Less coverage is rooted in the notion there is something smelly here.

HARF: Well because you have multiple Trump administration officials including a national security advisor who got fired after 24 days, because they didn't tell the truth about their contacts with Russia. It smells fishy because the Trump administration has not been up front about these ties. They don't tell the whole truth and that makes people suspicious.

HOLMES: In both things can be true, that there can be ties between Trump advisors and Russia and they can say relations between the two countries are at an all-time high.

MCPIKE: He fired Michael Flynn, are we forgetting this?

HOLMES: And I also think both things could be true as well, that Trump is flip-flopping and his voters might see him as a flip-flopper. And you have seen both stories come out in the media.

KURTZ: Interviews with many of his voters are strongly standing by him. I want to come to all this stories about Steve Bannon extremely negative. I have done some reporting on this, has there been a lot of infighting with Bannon versus Jared Kushner, absolutely. "The Washington post" called him a marked man, likened him to a terminal patient in hospice care. But he is probably safe for now, so why is so much media drama?

MCPIKE: Well it depends on who the leakers are, because I think different times and different weeks there are different leakers. Remember Reince Priebus was on the way out and he is still sitting in the White House.

KURTZ: When you look at the tone and the coverage. Bannon is portrayed as a nationalist hardliner blow everything up kind of guy, and Jared Kushner is the leader of this moderate wing, bipartisan, work with Democrats. Do you have the sense some in the press are trying to push Bannon out of the White House?

HOLMES: I think so, the coverage of Steve Bannon has always been nasty and the press painted him as a Darth Vader puppet controller of Trump. The only story than the press likes more is GOP and sex scandals. But at this point the speculation he is going to be pushed out of the White House is pure speculation. The media is licking their chaps at getting to grill Steve Bannon.

KURTZ: Has that affected the way he is covered?

HARF: I think it probably does, it sort of a chicken and an egg question. He treats them with disdain. He said he came to blow up Washington and the press is the enemy. And to Erin's point, when you have sources going to reporters openly talking about this infighting, the president make up this story. I don't think -- I think it's overblown that he is going to be out of a job. I don't think he would be president without Steve Bannon.

KURTZ: My sources say that Bannon thinks this is overblown. The president acknowledged telling them to work it out because the infighting keeps stealing the media spotlight. But I can't get away from the notion the press does not like Bannon. Do you buy that?

HARF: I'm sure that is the case. But you are forgetting the president did give a little bit after smack down to Steve Bannon. Because he is getting plenty of attention and he was also on the cover of a magazine. This is Donald Trump's presidency.

KURTZ: It wasn't a smack-down. He said in a couple interviews he said he is a staff guy. He came into the campaign late. It wasn't he needs to work and play well with others.

HOLMES: The media is always trying to identify who is the puppet behind the Republican president. They never give the Republican president a credit for coming up with his own ideas.

KURTZ: I got to get a break, let us know what you think, MediaBuzz@Foxnews.com. United Airline is struck such a (inaudible) core, when we come back, fallout for a conservative critic of the president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Jonah Goldberg has been a fierce critic of Donald Trump since the campaign and he is still feeling the backlash. He writes every day I'm criticized because of my coverage of President Trump even if I include praise or beneficial context. A Fox News Contributor and senior editor of national view joins me now. You say your criticism of Trump has changed your situation at Fox.

JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW: I'm fine with the position of fierce critic, but praised him when I thought it was his due, that is my job. When I started criticizing Donald Trump when he got more popular on the right, one of the most things that I discovered was how many people were mad at me for not living down to their expectations. There are a lot of pundits on the right who think their job is to be a cheerleader for their team. That is not my job. My job is to tell the truth as I see it, and that is gotten a lot of people angry.

KURTZ: So in terms of financial impact, giving speeches, appearances on TV, you think you have taken a hit?

GOLDBERG: I don't think there is a conspiracy on Fox. I used to be on CNN. Television news tends to have a format for the base. If you are a Democratic administration, you have conservatives criticizing it and liberals defending it. If a Republican administration the other way around, I am sort on the grey area on this, because I don't follow the talking points of the Trump boosters or certainly don't follow the talking points of the insane left. So sit creates this weird space I have never been in before where I don't have a team where I used to.

KURTZ: You were explaining to New York Times magazine about the story of (inaudible) that you believe that represent your position and quoted as saying bout a never Trump movement, that was about the GOP primary in general election, and not the presidency.

GOLDBERG: Which was factually true, for the quote and quote never-Trumpers, the point was I wasn't going to vote for him or endorse him, I didn't think he should be the nominee of the Republican Party. But the fact is he is president of the United States. But what the left wanted the never-Trumpers to do is say he should not be president. He was lawfully elected. It doesn't mean I give up my skepticism and start waving the foam finger as a cheerleader. But he is a president of the United States and you have to give him a shot.

KURTZ: You got a call from the New York Times fact checker. You ended up complaining about the (inaudible), what happen?

GOLDBERG: Right, the New York Times agrees that it was mischaracterized.

KURTZ: Put in an editor's note after you weighed in.

GOLDBERG: The point of Pearl Stein argument was by me saying never Trump is over, it meant I dropped to my knees and embraced our new president. It's factually not true. I have been very skeptical except when I think he is right about some things. The New York Times fact checker never asked me have you embraced Trump as the author suggests. I was asked if I wrote those things that were taken out of context. To their credit, I didn't think it was going to happen. I said the issue isn't that it was criticized. The issue of is its fact actually untrue.

KURTZ: Small victory for you, we got half a minute, for example you support President Trump's airstrikes against Syria, but at the same time you wrote that they are breathtaking hypocritical, why not just say he did the right thing and I support him on this particular issue.

GOLDBERG: I did say that he did the right thing, it is true and I think the problem is he is doing good stuff on China as well, but the flip-flops, when I heard your previous conversation about it. They should give some people cause, concern that he is not as committed to this thing called Trumpism as a lot of us thought. He is calling these things on the fly and that is something to be aware of.

KURTZ: Jonah Goldberg thanks very much for coming on a Sunday.

GOLDBERG: Good to be here.

KURTZ: Good to see you. Up next, Melania Trump wins a big tabloid payday. How the press treated Sean Spicer on his apologies for his unfortunate comment about Hitler.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: The news has been flying so fast sometimes we just don't have time to follow up on stories we have covered in this program, here are just a few. Melania Trump has sued London's daily mail over allegations that she once worked for a modeling agency and punch him as an escort service, the tabloid has now agreed to pay the first lady $3 million along with an apology and a retraction. And another lawsuit, Rolling stone has reach a settlement with the former administrator at the University of Virginia after retracting that story based on fabrication by a non-existing gang rape at a UVA fraternity, the jury already awarded $3 million damages part of the magazine the student at the University of Virginia. Tomi Lahren went on "The View" and proclaimed she is pro-choice. It is puzzling beck says that she is still being paid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BYRON PITTS, ABC NEWS: I'm struck by every time we go there, you get emotional.

TOMI LAHREN: My job is my life. I feel lost, when your outlet is taken away from you. And you don't understand why, you are so disappointed and blindsided by it, it hurts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: I think it's fair to say she has a future. Remember when Sean Spicer told a reporter in the briefing room to stop shaking her head. Almost immediately CNN hired her as a contributor. Spicer tells the press he is sorry that his comments about the holocaust and it were overplayed. And more on the doctor who was dragged off the united airlines flight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: It was a big blunder in the briefing room when Sean Spicer compared Bashar Al-Assad and his use of chemical weapons in Syria to the leader of Nazi Germany and dug himself a bigger hole when he was offered an escape route.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

SPICER: We didn't use chemical weapons in World War II. You had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons.

CECILIA VEGA: Quote Hitler didn't sink to the level of using chemical weapons. What did you mean by that?

SPICER: I think when you come to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people in the way that Assad is doing.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: He apologized in interviews and the next day at Washington museum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SPICER: I made a mistake. I got into a topic I shouldn't of and I screwed up. It's a holy week for the Jewish people and the Christian people. To make a gaffe like this is inexcusable and reprehensible. Of all weeks, this compounds that kind of mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: A gaffe by a spokesman led all three network newscasts. Overplayed or not?

MCPIKE: I think it's overplayed when you see Lawrence O'Donnell calling him a liar. As we know in journalism and political discourse. Never make the Hitler comparison. Strike it off your list. But I think Alan Dershowitz made a comment.

KURTZ: I thought Fox News underplayed it the night that this happen between 7/11, there was one mention of this on Martha McCallum's show. Was it newsworthy?

HARF: Absolutely. I know how hard it is to be in the briefing room. But Sean Spicer has shown not just in this case, although this is definitely the most egregious, but throughout the whole administration that he is a little out of his depth. He was trying to make a historical analogy that wasn't historically accurate. When his first briefing started out as you know basically not telling the truth about the size of the crowd at the inauguration. That is how he got off to a bad start with the press, if you are the press secretary and I asked you to do that, you say no.

KURTZ: When you were the state department spokesman you got a lot of flack when you had a comment about ISIS about going after is and the opportunity for jobs. When you were in that harsh spotlight did you feel there was a lot?

HARF: I have some sympathy for Sean Spicer, this are tough jobs. You are up there briefing on complicated issues. But if you are the White House press secretary, you need to be better than this. This is the last in a long series of gaffes and misstatements and telling things that weren't exactly true. I think that hurts the office of the president and I think that hurts the White House.

KURTZ: Erin, in real-time it made reporters says this is a big story because it's blowing up on twitter. It's amazing how social media drives the regular media.

MCPIKE: I would also point out when Sean Spicer is briefing at the podium, he doesn't have the ability to see what's blowing up on twitter and the reporters do. He didn't realize what he had stepped into. Spicer did try to take this apology on in full force which is not something you see from this White House very often. See he deserves -- so he deserves credit for doing that.

KURTZ: I agree with that and I think that people in the press could learn something from that, we all make mistakes. You just say, I screwed up, and I'm sorry. Some of the critics weren't further. Obviously he said Hitler used gas but calling him a holocaust denier. No one thinks that is what he was trying to say.

HOLMES: No one does and I think, just you know, people who would be attacking President Trump and its spokesperson for anything, but I want to go back to Mr. Dershowitz' column. He said those types of criticisms and attacks on Mr. Spicer, they serve to diminish the importance of the holocaust and Hitler and none of us should be going in that direction.

KURTZ: The White House announced it will not make public the visitor logs so people will know who goes in and out of the White House. Isn't that something that mostly affects journalists? Because that is one way we can get stories?

HARF: It affects journalists and the American public. They have a right to know who their government is meeting with. We get sent to Washington as elected official or public servants to act on behalf of the American people. This is the latest in a long stream of Trump administration decisions to keep information from the public. I'm not sure what they are trying to hide. But it seems like an unforced error. In the grand scheme of things, bombing Syria and Afghanistan, this is not the top story.

MCPIKE: Yes I would agree and I would say the context is another flip-flop because Trump and his team said they would have the most transparent administration in history and this is not transparent.

KURTZ: They say for security reasons, it saves money. Marie Harf, Erin McPike and Amy Holmes thanks very much for joining us.

HARF: Happy Easter.

KURTZ: Happy Easter to you and speaking of that, "MediaBuzz" is an Easter Sunday look at why TV news has so little coverage of religion. The dragging of a passenger was turned into a huge media story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRYSTAL DAO PEPPER: What happened to my dad should never have happened to any human being regardless of any circumstances.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Sometimes the media freak-out is justified. United airlines having a -- a 69-year-old doctor who paid for his ticket, dragged off the flight to Chicago, because the company wanted his seat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC: When you drag someone off who paid for a ticket and you see them bloody his face, it's kind of rude.

ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS: It's horrible. United, you screwed up, the cops screwed up.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: The airlines' totally tone deaf response for CEO Munoz. The CEO said I apologize for having to re-accommodate those customers. And Dao who suffered a concussion, this situation is unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers who politely asked to deplane was refused. The CEO apologized on good morning America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REBECCA JARVIS: What did you think when you saw the man being dragged off one of your planes?

OSCAR MUNOZ, UNITED AIRLINES CEO: It's not as much what I thought as what I felt. The word shame comes to mind. The first thing is to apologize to Dr. Dao, his family, the passengers on that flight, our customers and our employees.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: I sat down with Liz Claman of Fox Business Network.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Ms. Claman, welcome.

LIZ CLAMAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Thank you so much.

KURTZ: Obviously the footage of this 69-year-old doctor being dragged off the plane by these goons is so appalling everybody covered it. But is there something deeper here?

CLAMAN: This was the smashed teeth heard around the world. I have been amazed by this. We have seen things that are horrific caught on tape. But this somehow struck at the heart of what a lot of people feel is bad treatment on behalf of the airlines. As long as I land safely, to me it's a decent flight. But this went far and beyond anything that is called for and when it is captured on tape, in the age of cellphones and YouTube-ification, you saw during that video there are were so many people holding up their phones.

KURTZ: Without the video is just another he said, she said story, but is the media ritual to this things when something awful happens and the next day the president comes out, sit down and holds a press conference and says how sorry he is. Were journalists outraged that he didn't seem to get it?

CLAMAN: From a business standpoint we are where are you kidding me? You came out and said Dr. Dao was belligerent? CEO's better take a lesson from Oscar Munoz. You can stand by your employees but still take the part of a 69-year-old grandfather. He was a smaller stature and Asian. But certainly everybody looked and said he had a ticket, he paid for it and they seated him, and that is been me.

KURTZ: How many of us have been on overbooked flights. It turns out the flight wasn't even overbooked. United just wanted the seats for crew members. By saving $800 on the offers they gave people, the stock took a big hit and its reputations I would say tens of millions in bad publicity.

CLAMAN: Yes you could imagine it knocked millions of dollars off the market cap value of the company itself, because it's publicly trade. That is the monetary aspect, the human aspect, is people looked at that, and said wow! My dad used to say the pen is mightier than the sword. But television may be mightier. You see it and it's visual and it became quite dramatic. First it's all this -- it's always this horrible, then what is the company going to do. Then the smear campaign of the victim.

KURTZ: We had the "New York post," "people" magazine and TMZ and others reporting on Dr. Dao on how 12 years ago he lost his medical license when he traded drugs for sex. The terrible thing is that the guy is trying to rebuild his life and what did is has to do being dragged off this plane, I wonder if that was overplayed and unfair to a guy who was a victim here.

CLAMAN: Irrelevant to the crime. When journalists do their due diligence, they will find out people's backgrounds. But that did not have anything to do with what had happened. Finds somebody who hasn't done something slightly belong their lives. Does that make them unable to complain about the fact that they have a concussion because they didn't want to give up what they paid for?

KURTZ: Every time I see it I got even angrier.

CLAMAN: I got even angrier when I heard the teeth were smashed. Let it be a lesson on every CEO on how not to handle a crisis.

KURTZ: It was great to see you.

CLAMAN: Great to see you too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: After the break, the editor of the New York Times admits the elite media don't get the role of religion in people's lives. Mollie Hemmingway is on deck.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Christians around the world celebrating Easter today and Jews are celebrating Passover this week. But as a subject, religion is often invisible on television news. That is seemed an ideal topic for a former religion reporter Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist and a Fox News contributor, Mollie Hemmingway, welcome.

MOLLIE HEMMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST: Thank you.

KURTZ: the media has struggle with this question of covering religion. Executive of New York Times has this to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The New York-based and Washington-based media powerhouses don't quite get religion. We have a fabulous religion writer, but she is all alone. We don't get the role of religion in people's lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: I give him credit for Candor, your thoughts.

HEMMINGWAY: It's something you hear editors say every few years. But you don't see the changes you would like to see so they do a better job of covering the news. A lot of the problems with coverage of religion which is one of the most important aspects for many people's lives are that it's not more covered anywhere else from sports to politics.

KURTZ: Particularly when you get to television news. It seems like it's barely covered except major holidays, the pope gives speech, and the pope comes to America. Why do you think that is?

HEMMINGWAY: Actually I think it is because for many people religion is a subtle force for good in their lives.

KURTZ: There is no conflict. You can't put two people to yell at each other.

HEMMINGWAY: Someone making a casserole for a neighbor whose husband just died does not make the news. That is not how it works out in people's lives. Media outlets need to figure out a way to incorporate that day to day way religion can play a role in people's lives, the decisions they make.

KURTZ: The politics of abortion and not about raising money for Catholic or other charities. The exception seems to me to have to do when politics plays a healthy role in a religion story. For example will Donald Trump win over evangelicals? When you reduce it to politics it seems easier to deal with. Why is that?

HEMMINGWAY: I think for many in the media politics is their religion. That is the way they understand the world. There is certainly you are certain -- there are certain traditions that go along with it is around the calendar of politics. But I would still argue they don't do a particularly good job even when you take the issue of how it was evangelicals could vote for someone like Donald Trump. They did not understand how religious people felt the last 8 years, they felt under attack and they voted for someone they might not have otherwise voted for.

KURTZ: Yes they started to understand many reporters don't know a lot of people who are evangelical. Speaking of Trump, "Washington post" had a piece that boggled my minds. It's about Passover, how some Jews are updating the Seder. Is it right to cast the president of the United States as the villainies pharaoh? In other words trump playing the role of the Seder of the leader of Egypt who enslaves the Jews thousands of years ago. That struck me as a phony trend story before it was cast as a perfectly acceptable question.

HEMMINGWAY: It is a perfect example of what religious people have grown to be accustom to when it covers -- comes to how holidays are handle, people don't like covering things that happen. They are look to for a twist or turn to make it seem like something different. And you combine that with the insatiable hatred of Donald Trump.

KURTZ: Just briefly it is sort of kind of sanction in the coverage of religion, you think?

HEMMINGWAY: Well absolutely, and it comes from an ignorant and failure to understand people who believe differently than people in many news rooms too.

KURTZ: The media needs to do a better job. Great to see you, Mollie Hemmingway, thanks for joining us. Still to come, do you trust news on Facebook and Cosmopolitan Bizarre advice for losing weight?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Cosmopolitan use to give tips to its female readers and this story seems to fit right in. How to lose 44 pounds without any exercise? But there was a horrifying catch. She was suffering from cancer. The next to the last line says it proves everybody can lose weight without breaking a sweat, simply by eating more mindfully no gym requires. After the internet exploded Cosmo editor cut that line and changed the headline to a serious healthcare, help me love my body more than ever. I am sorry, counting weight loss for a life threatening disease is just sick.

Facebook has become a dominant provider of news but 54 percent of people in the news survey say they trust that news only a little or not at all. 66 percent say anyone can post content on Facebook that looks like news, say like the poll by Buzz Feed. 44 percent just don't trust news on social media. 42 percent says Mark Zuckerberg's company doesn't do a good job of removing fake news. 82 percent says it depends on the news source. And 63 percent will read what their friends or acquaintances share online. As a major Facebook user, I find these encouraging, online consumers are often a bit savvier than we on the media, give them credit for.

That is it for this edition of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. I hope you are having a good Easter or Passover weekend. I'm Howard Kurtz and if you want to weigh in on the show? MediaBuzz@Foxnews.com. Keep your comments in the media. Tell us what you think of the show, MediaBuzz@Foxnews.com.

Back here next Sunday, 11 o'clock Eastern as always with the latest buzz.

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