TRANSCRIPT

The media's 100-day fixation

Out of control in Trump era?

 

This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," April 30, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, the president stiffs the White House correspondents dinner holding a rally in Pennsylvania. While the media gala celebrated press freedom and took some shots at Donald Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Our job is to put the best attainable version of the truth out there, period, especially now.

BOB WOODWARD, WASHINGTON POST: Mr. President, the media is not fake news.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They are gathered together for the White House correspondent's dinner -- without the president -- correspondent's dinner -- without the president -- because as you know they are a disgrace. The Washington media is part of the problem their priorities are not our priorities and not your priorities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The president and the media blitz the airways over his first 100 days. We'll talk to Sean Spicer's about the media mix take on the president's record.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NAVARRO: We are coming up on 100 days and we have no big legislative victories.

PAVLICH: To say he has had no wins is not true.

JANSING: When you look at the 10 things in the contract he was going to get done, he got exactly zero.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Nobody in the media is willing to give this president credit. You have had a great 100 days in so many ways.

CILLIZZA: They make it seem like the 1,000th day, not the 100th day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Is this a ridiculous exercise the president said, and why did he stop watching CNN and MSNBC? The White House revealed a sweeping tax plan and many headlines call the plan either unrealistic or gift to the wealthy. Liz Claman on whether the coverage is fair. Plus, Ivanka Trump takes her first trip as a White House official. Why are the media pundits beating up on the first daughter? I am Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

The debate over the president's first 100 days reaching fever pitch. I went to the White House and sat down with Sean Spicer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Sean Spicer, welcome.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Thank you.

KURTZ: You challenged the media obsession with the first 100 days, the president called it a ridiculous standard, but you and your team campaign pushed the message out, so why pin it on the press.

SPICER: Well it is not pinning on the press, they are telling us they are doing a story with the first 100 days, and we recognize the volume of incoming, made sure we did things like put together a web page that lists out all the things the president has done whether it's national security, keeping the country safe offend off radical Islamic threats or the bored or -- or the border.

KURTZ: The president has a lot of accomplishments.

SPICER: Thank you.

KURTZ: And putting Neil Gorsuch on the court and regulations rollback.

SPICER: That is right.

KURTZ: The media narrative seems to be yes, but -

(CROSSTALK)

SPICER: Neil Gorsuch is the first president since 1881 to confirm in a hostile way -- what does the Washington Post do? They said yes, but. But at the same time you look how long it has taken to get the cabinet done. The president selected Neil Gorsuch who is so qualified. He kept a promise by putting those individuals out during the campaign and we got him through the senate in a very systematic way. And at some point people got to give this president credit for accomplishing the things he has, instead of constantly questioning whether or not something is real or not, he pass the sections choice for act which is helps so many veterans get the care they need, so as far as priority and accomplishment, if you're a veteran that waited so many months to get the care that you need, if you can't see a doctor because the V.A. system is backlogged to that veteran that is an accomplishment, if you are talking about women pursuing an education in stem and engineering or math.

KURTZ: Let's talk about the 100 day poll. That you are advice that says Donald Trump is the least popular president at this stage in modern times. The president tweets fake polls.

SPICER: In some cases these are the same polls that underestimated his win in the first place. I think when you look at the same polls that didn't understand the makeup of the country that got him 306 electoral votes. You recognize in a lot of cases the polling is misrepresenting a lot of folks out there. His popularity among those hop supported him is at an all-time high. They are misrepresenting -- they are showing the people who support him sill support him, but that number is still skewed. That total population in the overall poll lied riding up to the -- overall poll leading up into the election.

KURTZ: Avoiding government shutdown and the stop gap budget deal. The president stopped his insistence on funding for the border wall for this deal. He tweeted, don't let the fake media tell you I changed my position on the border wall. What they are saying is he is not getting money out of congress right now, so again why fake news?

SPICER: You just accurately portrayed what happened. At the end of September he will have more money to start the construction. They tried to talk about the fact that he wasn't getting certain things. The reality is that there is a planning phase and a building phase. We are going to do a lot to exist the -- to enhance the existing structures. Nothing this president does can ever be applauded for him doing what he said he would do and getting results. There always has to be a caveat in the mainstream media and I think that is where the disappointment comes through.

KURTZ: All right. There have been questions about Mike Flynn taking tens of thousands of dollars from Russia. No matter how reporters phrase it you seem to go out of your way not to criticize General Flynn at all. Why is that?

SPICER: It's not my job. What I'm trying to do is explain the facts as they are. General Flynn who is a career army officer had a security clearance through his it in career. The point people are trying to make is we should have done something different. Every reporter who gets a clearance to come to the briefing room has to get a security clearance. A security check is a security check. General Flynn went through the same security check every other government employee who has a security clearance went through. The accusation from Democrats that an event in 2015 should have been picked up, ok fair enough, that event occurred in 2016 while the Obama administration was still in office. If Democrat is concerned, it shouldn't be with us, it should be the system under the Obama administration that processed that clearance. For the Democrats to take pot shots at us for a system that was in place that adjudicated his security clearance in 2016, they are misdirecting their criticism.

KURTZ: Let's turn to 100 days question around. Do you sense any change in attitude in if the press corps as a whole with this president from the beginning to now, any softening?

SPICER: I think some reporters have done a good job. There is no question, I think there are some individuals in that briefing room and some who are not in the briefing room on a regular basis that really seeks to get the facts straight or tell stories that are critical but fair. And lay out the facts as they are. But some continue to have an agenda and use the briefing to get on television or get clips on twitter.

KURTZ: The president told the associated press he has stopped watching CNN and MSNBC, because he believes they are so unfair to him. My question is has he really stopped? And do you agree they are egregiously unfair to the president.

SPICER: I know he watches a lot of Fox. A lot of the cases, they have -- they assume facts, they take narratives and continue them that are clearly not true. In a lot of cases it's the Chiron along the bottom where they sensationalize something. But you are trying to drive viewership through a sensationalistic tactic. A lot of it is what they don't cover.

KURTZ: Just to be clear, there are a lot of journalists at CNN and MSNBC. Are you suggesting most of those are just unfair to President Trump?

SPICER: There are some at both that clearly are trying to sensationalize things, drive narratives that are not fair, or not consistent with the facts. For as much as they criticize us, it's interesting how many times they perpetuate a story that is not false, but they come back to what we meant was. They always have the benefit of the doubt, they rarely admit fault, but they are the first one to throw the stone and the last ones to admit fault.

KURTZ: The Washington Post reported the president said there is no way to get rid of you because the guy gets great ratings. People tune in. Is there pressure on you to put on a compelling show?

SPICER: My job is to do the best job I can every day.

KURTZ: Isn't there some theater to the job because you have got the television correspondents poking and producing you?

SPICER: The bottom line Howie is, they will cover it when they want. They won't cover it when they want. My job is to facilitate the president to tell his story, to amplify the message he has. That is it it's an honor to do it every day. It's a tremendous privilege. I will do the best job I can every day of the week.

KURTZ: Sean Spicer, thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Let us know what you think at mediabuzz@Foxnews.com. Ahead our panel weighs in on the media constant coverage of the first 100 days, when we come back last night, amazing that split screen showdown. Trump on the stump versus the media's glitzy gala.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: President Trump made a great show of blowing off the White House correspondent's dinner, holding a rally in Harrisburg instead to march his much debated 100 days in office. Joining us now to analyze the coverage, Erin McPike, White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review, Mollie Hemmingway, Senior editor of the Federalist and a Fox News Contributor and an author of this cool little book, "Trump versus the media." and Joe Trippi, the Democratic Strategist and Fox News contributor. Erin so, Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, communicating with his people, was basically a form of counter programming against the White House. Did it work?

ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR FORMER REAL CLEAR POILITICS: I think it did. Comedian at that dinner really went after the media, too saying that we need to restore public confidence and get the trust back. But I want to read a line from the New York Times story about this. Mr. Trump's thumb in the eye to the express corps felt manufactured. He spent much of the last week to the same reporters that he snubbed Saturday night. This was the strategy and it works.

KURTZ: New York Times also doesn't attend this dinner as a matter of policy. Trump along with his staff decided to dominate the news and make the speech in part about attacking the press.

MOLLIE HEMMINGWAY, THE FEDERALIST SENIOR EDITOR: When he announced he wasn't going to go to the dinner that was a technical knockout. And when he announced he would do a rally at the same time, it was bloodying the corpse. It just felt different without having the president there. Then to have the jokes made by the president, but at the dinner to see people congratulating themselves for being so important. They were so defensive about this. We are not fake news and they would give themselves standing ovations instead of thinking about why people think they are fake news.

KURTZ: Bob Woodward said we make mistakes and public trust is down. He did acknowledge in a way many others didn't. But all three cable news networks took Trump's speech live as you would expect Joe, I don't want him for not wanting to spend the evening hobnobbing with journalists he doesn't much like. And he seemed very personal.

JOE TRIPPI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It was planned, it was strategy and it worked. The split screen is what he has been doing since he has been in office. Project the media as fake and he is the one fighting for you. Forget about anything that was said in the speech or at the dinner last night.

KURTZ: I was there, wearing a tuxedo, because it was a black tie event.

TRIPPI: Right, so the elites are having their fun time and he is talking to real people in Pennsylvania. That is all it was. I wouldn't make a whole lot more out of it.

KURTZ: It wasn't like he went and gave a speech at the same time. He gave us the sound bites. I could be there, but I chose to be with you.

MCPIKE: The "New York times" also reported that he was going to try to make real news at that event, but made news throughout the week and took away the reason for why he is going to go.

KURTZ: The president was having fun doing it.

HEMMINGWAY: I also think the people feel like they have been attacked by the media, to have someone bullying them.

KURTZ: The tone of the dinner was very flat, I think. Journalist actually had to talk to other journalist. Usually there is a red carpet, you have celebrities coming in. This time journalist's kind of sheepishly taking pictures, because there were no celebrities. It was partly because of Trump, and it was a dinner that lacked a headline. Up next, Ivanka Trump draws some brutal coverage over a trip to Germany. And the media's turning against her and later behind the media heavy focus on fired national security advisor, Michael Flynn.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Ivanka Trump drew some scattered boos in an event in Germany with Angela Merkel and that open some flood gates to some media criticism of her role at the White House that was unusually personal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One paper called you the first whisperer in a front page headline asking whether you will steer your father towards a more moderate course or be an accomplice.

IVANKA TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S DAUGHTER: I don't like the intonation of that. I don't like the word "accomplice" in this context. I don't think that is productive. One of the things I value. My father first as a businessman and now as a leader of our country is he curates ideas and he likes to hear from people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I see Ivanka Trump taking up his role, I really see her becoming like Hillary Clinton in the worst ways. She is becoming increasingly unlikeable. She tries to the get jobs she is not qualified for based on family connections.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if you have look at Bobby Kennedy's record some good things came out of that. You didn't let me get it out. You don't have to be so rude.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Ok. Mollie, I get that Ivanka Trump being on the White House staff is unusual, controversial some people don't like it. I was just really struck by the personal nature of some of the debate of her role that was kicked off by the Germany trip.

HEMMINGWAY: It seemed like a little bit of booing was elevated into a major story. People didn't do a good job of explaining she is an unpaid advisor. This is not Hillary Clinton running healthcare, this is someone going abroad and speaking about women's issues and how the country is doing. But at the same time she has her father's ear. She is someone who is so not conservative and is clearly close to her father and what that means and how it affects policy.

KURTZ: Joe, you tell me that if you were a Democrat, Hillary Clinton had won and put Chelsea Clinton on the White House staff, the media would be savaging her like this.

TRIPPI: Yes. I think they would be. I'm not for that. Spouses and children, even adult children should be left out except once she starts putting an end to these kinds of positions where they are making foreign trips, there are going to be questions.

KURTZ: Questions are fine.

TRIPPI: But it would have gotten personal for sure with Chelsea. I don't condone it getting personal, but there is a line that gets crossed where partisans starts to the play. But a lot of these questions happened on that panel in Germany where she was asked. Ways your role, are you making money -- what else your role, are you making money? And there were no good answers.

KURTZ: Ivanka Trump is seen more moderate than her father. How can she defend her father on his treatment of women? Why isn't she pushing him more to the left. She is in sort of an impossible position because she is his daughter and she is on the staff.

MCPIKE: I think she'll always defend her father. I think Joe is right -- there is so much interest in her. And she does have her father's ear. They won't say what her role is and she isn't either. I think she handles herself beautifully on that panel saying the role is new, politics is politics. But she needs to say what she is going to do. And that would help the White House if she were to do that.

KURTZ: We have a low-profile first lady who is for now remaining in New York. Coming up, President Trump blaming the networks for keeping his approval rating down and later CBS goes on vacation with the Obama's and says that is just fine for a journalist.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation's capital right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: President Trump taking another whack at the White House correspondent's dinner at his rally in Harrisburg last night. By the way there were virtually no celebrities there, unlike the Obama years. Isn't the media's coverage of the first 100 days out of control? I mean isn't a whole industry devoted to this arbitrary date?

MCPIKE: We need to get out of ritualistic coverage patterns. We do reports on how Donald Trump is doing every single day. That is why it makes the 100 days kinds of meaningless. I would tell you this, Sean Spicer said, respectfully, one of the reasons that Donald Trump is skipping the dinner is because it's the 100-day mark of his presidency.

KURTZ: There is a huge media divide, Mollie between pro-Trump commentators said it was fabulous 100 days and anti-Trump commentators virtually nothing done.

HEMMINGWAY: Right and I do think it actually relates to this issue on how we frame things. He doesn't come from a military or political background. The framework doesn't quite apply. But there are many different ways we should be look at it. The electorate voted into office someone to be disruptive and throw a wrench in the works and make Washington, D.C. go crazy and make the media freak out, by that standard's for instance he is doing very well.

KURTZ: That is a good point. Anyone from outside Washington would have a learning curve. That is how the media judged these things when we do the score cards.

TRIPPI: Part of it is Trump himself. He talks about all these things he would do the first 100 days. And he put out a big list of accomplishments he has gotten done. But we are all making too much of it. In the end if healthcare repeal and replace happens 10 days from now --

KURTZ: I want to play a sound bite from the president with Martha MacCallum a couple days ago. It's how he views the media coverage in its impact on his young presidency, let's roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: At least the network you see with the exception of Fox, Fox has been fair. Every network you see hits me on every topic. It's made up, like Russia. For me to have great approval records in leave it all the faux press and the fake press, I think are amazing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: He is blaming the networks for the fact that he is in the 40's in his approval rating.

MCPIKE: He said he has great approval ratings and they are in the high 30s and low 40s. That is not particularly good. I do think he is right that the networks go after him on absolutely everything and the media often don't give him a win when he deserves one and he is right that to some degree.

KURTZ: It's not like three months from now they will make up.

HEMMINGWAY: I think in the last month the coverage has gotten more serious. In the case of Syria he got a little bit after high mark for a day.

KURTZ: He is been on the defensive with Michael Flynn. Flynn got payments from Russia and didn't disclose them. They have been trying very hard to get Sean Spicer to criticize Flynn and he is determined not to do it.

HEMMINGWAY: Reporters are latching on to it because they got out over their skis on this Russia story. So they are trying to find something to cling on to. No question that Flynn made bad decisions. But it's also true he got security clearance. The speech that he gave quite publicly doesn't quite add up about the media coverage of this, their inability to understand the story very well.

KURTZ: One major issue is why wasn't he more thoroughly vetted by the Trump transition team? The president blames on Barack Obama administration had - during the previous job.

TRIPPI: That is a bit of a stretch. You are talking about national security advisor. Forget about the legal and security checks. There is also the political check, political vetting. Does this pass the smell test with the entire country? It just doesn't make sense that he can somehow try to pin this on the Obama administration.

MCPIKE: He tried to equate it with the background checks reporters go through to get into the briefing room. I mean that is ridiculous. Sean Spicer, I think he does have a really hard job and he does what he can, but that spin was terrible.

HEMMINGWAY: Unmasking and leaking of Mike Flynn is the most criminal thing that we had since the entire Russian investigation. And I think people are trying to deflect from that, because they don't want to give Donald Trump any credit or any cover for his tweets were he erroneously said that he was been wiretap in the White House. So reporters should be focusing on this issue, the criminal unmasking of Mike Flynn. Whether you made that decision or whether he should be vetted more, that is actually unrelated to that very specific question.

MCPIKE: I think Joe is absolutely right, a background check is different from a security clearance, is different from politically vetting the person who is going to be national security advisor. And I think reporters are trying to ascertain why it is the Trump administration won't say it's wrong.

KURTZ: I think it is both things, you have to look at the unmasking. If you don't particularly like the president and you focus on these questionable payments in Russian and people on the periphery and if you do like this president you say the real story is the Obama administration revealing or unmasking the identities of people associated with Donald Trump.

TRIPPI: You are right about who is following which story. There is a difference. But I think in the end the one thing the Trump administration continues to do is to stall or stop or not -- won't say anything bad about Flynn and seems to be changing its story which is leading to more coverage of the story.

KURTZ: Before we go, Mollie. I mentioned your new book "Trump versus the media." I got it right here and you say in there, the public now sees major media as tabloids and scandal sheets that act as propaganda organs for major parties.

HEMMINGWAY: It would be good if we had a media that actually served the public interest and could be trusted to tell us the truth and hold the president accountable and other people accountable. They decided to go very hard against Donald Trump and in the course of that they lost a lot of their credibility and ability to hold people accountable.

KURTZ: Tabloids, that is a depressing (inaudible) and I don't actually to argue, Mollie Hemmingway, Joe Trippi, thanks for a great conversation this Sunday, next time on Media Buzz. The "New York times" says President Trump's tax plan is all about helping the rich. Liz Claman is on deck. And later the Simpsons take on Donald Trump and Fox News.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: New York Times ran a sweeping front page five column headline, tax overhaul for the wealthiest. That was pretty typical, the media reactions to President Trump tax cut plan. Joining us from New York is Liz Claman, the host of countdown to the closing ballot on the Fox Business Network. Liz, what do you make of that headline, not on the news analysis, but the news story as the single most important take away of the president's plan?

LIZ CLAMAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Well part of this so much has to do with the fact that when Steven Mnuchin the treasury secretary and economic advisor to the president unveiled this Howie on Wednesday, it was a trial balloon. It's the tax plan. That left a lot of room for fleshing out -- you have got the skeletal structure, when you don't give the flesh, the media are left to connecting the dots, and make assumptions and depending on which way a newspaper or media outlet skewed they were either positive or negative about it. But I would say that to say it does not help the middle class is neither right nor wrong. You can't really tell. When they streamlined -- they got a lot of headlines saying the tax bracket have been streamlined. That is true. It went from 7 brackets to 3. But what they didn't explain is which income levels are attached to each one of those, so it would be very well for the middle class if they are attached to the 10 percent.

KURTZ: We are talking about a one-page plan. Whether it explodes the deficit or helps the wealthy is hard because you don't have a set of numbers. It is fair, you say for the media to be raising those questions.

CLAMAN: The role of the American media has never been to wave the flag and say thanks for doing a good job. It's to question and probe. However the skewing is what become a little disturbing and that goes both ways, where the media got it wrong by not questioning the deduction issue as it pertains to whether people in the future will be able to deduct state and local taxes like they do now. That could be a slam on taxpayers especially in high-tax states like New York or California. You will have blue state Republicans voting against this thing. I think Peter King of New York said you had me at hello with this tax plan and everything afterward until that point.

KURTZ: The president is not releasing his tax returns, he has made that clear, and I see a number of stories that say if the alternative minimum income tax were repealed that would help Donald Trump. Or if the capital gains tax were repeals that would help Trump. What about all the millions of Americans who might benefit?

CLAMAN: Upon checking, you know I don't check the articles. I check the comments to the articles. There were some very interesting comments all across the nation. And some people were saying, come on we have been doing the same thing for 8 years. Let's just try this. But when you have Steven Mnuchin the treasury secretary saying the growth that is spurred from this will pay for the tax plan, we have seen that movie before, even George Herbert Walker Bush said that is voodoo economics. You got to wait and see, but I can tell you so-called dynamic scoring. That is making an assumption that the new policy will incentivize behavior that will then cause growth. There is no really guarantee of that. But I believe we want to attract corporations from overseas.

KURTZ: We have less than a minute. There is scattered criticism about former President Obama accepting $400,000 speech from Wall Street after all the criticism of all three. Do you think that story deserves more coverage than it's gotten?

CLAMAN: If people criticized George W. Bush after President Trump's situation after he is done with president that he would get that. It seems like the mainstream media would pounce on that. Charlie Gasparino broke that story on the Fox Business Network Monday, and as far as I could search, CBS news was the only one, I saw something online Tuesday, and they jumped immediately on it. ABC and NBC happen to -- Bill Maher took until Thursday. They don't want to give Fox business credit, that is ok, but at least call it like you see it.

KURTZ: Great to see you, thanks so much.

CLAMAN: Thanks Howie.

KURTZ: After the break, CNN Jeff Zucker firing back at his old friend Donald Trump who calls the media outlet fake news. Trump and the network, that is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: CNN president Jeff Zucker said journalists are threatened by officials at top of our own government. Joining us now, Joe Concha media reporters for The Hill, so Zucker said, is the White House threatening journalism?

JOE CONCHA, THE HILL NEWSPAPER: I heard this a lot last night at the White House correspondent, the first amendment is under attack. Here is what I will say to that. Press briefings with Sean Spicer are more Democratic, they are more voices and there reporting in terms of Skype, journalist has stolen Air Force One, also Trump is doing an enormous amount of interviews. Not to mentioned he has tweeted 98 to a 100 times during his first 100 days in office. This week alone Howie, he has done interviews with "Washington post," Washington examiner, New York Post, CBS news, Reuters, Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, so does that sounds like the first amendment is under attack. Just because you are criticizing reporters doesn't mean you are attacking the first amendment. Actually it is the opposite because he is exercising his right to free speech.

KURTZ: I just want to know if the Obama administration prosecuted or dragged reporters into the leak investigations and that was threatening journalism.

CONCHA: James Rosen secretly see's A.P. phone records, rejected a record amount of (inaudible) those are actions, not word are more important. That is more of a threat to the press.

KURTZ: All right. The president tweeted this about an FBI anchor Lou Dobbs just stated President Trump's accomplishments are unmatched. In recent presidential history, thank you, Lou and at the same time it has really been going after the other two cable news networks. Take a look at last night's rally.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Media outlets like CNN and MSNBC are fake news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: So he likes Fox, doesn't like the other two. Does this impact the networks themselves?

CONCHA: In terms of their ratings in CNN and MSNBC?

KURTZ: Coverage and attitudes toward the president. When you are getting beat up on all the time, does that get in your head?

CONCHA: I think it does if he is mentioning them. He only went after CNN normally, MSNBC is a rare mentioned, I interviewed (inaudible) about two months ago, he said you could mention us once in a while and that will be good for us.

KURTZ: So the president of MSNBC wants to be included in the attacks, it would give them street credit?

CONCHA: yes that is what he said. I love what Trump did last night in terms of that rally, because those networks CNN and NBC were forced to do the split screen. On one side, there is Trump with the American people and on the other there are people like me and you in tuxedo at the Washington Correspondent's Dinner that was a visual that will not get out of some people's head.

KURTZ: Annual Tuxedo Event. All right ESPN, you are a former sports writer, laying off a hundred people and putting on your town, the subscription base is dropping as much as 60,000 a month. How do you turn such a mess?

CONCHA: I looked to Bob Lee, who has been with the ESPN since 1979, a great investigative reporter. He said and I quote, there is no diversity of thought at ESPN. The public editor says internally there is a feeling among many staffers, but liberal concerted that the company perceived more leftward and has had a stifle effect on discourse inside the company as affected its public face and product. It becomes political, that is one thing and another thing is I don't have to watch sports center in front of a TV anymore. That affects Disney stock.

KURTZ: Thos are all three factors and you had done it very nicely, Joe Concha, nice to see you in person here in Washington.

CONCHA: Good to see you.

KURTZ: Still to come, hell freezes over. MSNBC gives a show to a conservative, and "the Simpsons" take a whack at the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Nichole Luis the former communication director for George W. Bush is getting an afternoon show on MSNBC. That is right for the first time in many years the network dominated by liberal commentators is giving an actual conservative a solo hosting gig, smart move. Gayle King went on vacation with Barack and Michelle Obama. The optics is awful for journalists who interviewed the Obama's when they were in the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAYLE KING, CBS ANCHOR: My vacations are not political. I went on vacation with a great group of people and to me that is not a political statement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Sorry when you are part of a network morning show there is no such thing as a private vacation. Especially to somebody that have donated to the Obama victory fund and the DNC. So the vacation raised questions for the viewers. Everyone is getting into the act of poking fun at Donald Trump. That includes the Simpsons. Warning something quite unfortunate happens to Sean Spicer in the opening scene.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not replacing him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't make him a suit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 100 days in office, so many accomplishments. My twitter following increased by 700 and finally we can shoot hibernating bears. My boys will love that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is a bill you must read immediately. It lowers taxes only for Republicans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can a Fox News read it and I will watch what they say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you have to read it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: What is great about the Simpsons, there are no sacred cows. That is not the first time that it happens, that it for this edition of Media Buzz. I am Howie Kurtz. We hope you like our Facebook page, check it out, give us a like. Plus a lot of original content there, let me know what you think on Twitter, @HowardKurtz, email us mediabuzz@Foxnews.com. Love to hear from you. See you next Sunday. We are back 11 o'clock Eastern with the latest buzz.

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