This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," June 4, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: This is a Fox News Alert: The world is still stunned by the latest London terror attack carried out by three knife wielding men in a van. At the moment, at least seven people are dead, 48 people injured. Let's go to London for a live update.
DAVID LEE MILLER, FOX NEWS: Howie, this is where the incident occurred just over my shoulder about a few blocks behind me and at this hour we're seeing a number of people showing up here to present flowers and other objects at a makeshift memorial as for the terror threat this hour. It remains at severe. It has not -- and I underscore that, it has not been upgraded to critical as it was after the attack in Manchester.
And now we're getting our best look yet at the white van that caused so much of the carnage and mayhem. Take a look at this still-frame. This is the vehicle in question. This vehicle was heading south over the London Bridge last night when it ploughed into pedestrians. It jumped the curb coming to rest near a light pole. Three men then exited the van, and then they began attempting to stab people nearby.
As you mentioned, the death toll now seven dead, 48 wounded. Police killed the three attackers. The question now, did they do it on their own or did they have any help? In the east end section of London, the neighborhood of Barking, in the last few hours, there have been a series of raids and as of now, 12 people have been arrested. Not clear, Howie, to what if any extent those 12 people are connected to the carnage that took place just 16 hours ago. The investigation here continues.
KURTZ: Hopefully, we'll find out soon. David Lee Miller, thanks for that live update from London. We appreciate it. Joining us now Gillian Turner, White House national security official on the George W. Bush and Barack Obama; Katie Pavlich, editor of townhall.com -- both are Fox News contributors; and Erin McPike, who covers the White House for Independent Journal Review. Gillian, to what extent are these attacks designed to instill fear in Britain and around the world through -- by generating saturation media coverage?
GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: A 100%, that's pretty much -- aside from killing as many people as possible during the attack itself, this is the purpose of those attacks. And to that degree, they're enjoying unprecedented success in the last year, couple of years, this is something that ISIS has excelled at and really driven to new heights, thanks to social media and the way that they reach out to the community of interested people, you know, by that I mean potential terrorists around the world. And hope to get this going.
KURTZ: Thankfully, Katie, this is not a huge death toll but the heavy coverage seemed justified because what this attack does is it instils the sense of fewer and concern...
KATIE PAVLICH, EDITOR OF TOWNHALL.COM: Right.
KURTZ: ...that if you're on a bridge in London, if you're shopping at London's Borough Market that you can't be entirely sure that you were safe.
PAVLICH: Well, that's one of the definitions of terrorism, right? Is to instill fear and not just take people's lives, which is the worst-case scenario, but to try and make sure that people don't go out and enjoy their freedoms that they have in these western countries like the UK and United States and all over Europe. That's certainly something that they want to do.
We also see in these reports that these men who got out of the van were wearing fake suicide vests in order to instil even more fear which obviously they probably were connecting that to the recent Manchester attack. This is not something that seems to be isolated. This is not a lone-wolf problem. We have 12 suspects arrested this morning in London and also the 18 suspect who are arrested in Manchester today as a result of that suicide bombing recently and so this is ongoing.
British officials and officials all the world are clearly having a very hard time coming to terms with this, but they're having an impact on the way that people think about whether they want to go to a crowded area or to a concert with their children.
KURTZ: Erin, President Trump reacting quickly certainly calling Prime Minister Theresa May, but also a series of tweets. And some found the first one odd, this was last night, when the president retweeted the drudge report saying fears of new terror attack. This was after the initial ramming of pedestrians by the van since he has access to all the top intelligence.
ERIN MCPIKE, INDEPENDENT JOURNAL REVIEW: I'm sorry, the question is?
KURTZ: The question is, certainly, we all want the president to speak out forcefully and twitter is his medium, but since he has more information than anybody else in America and some people thought it was odd and he was retreating...
MCPIKE: Yes and it's possible that he didn't get a full briefing on it just yet. Maybe, he's getting a full briefing this morning. In past White Houses, the president will get a briefing before the White House puts out a statement on a terrorist attack and what their - their plan is going forward and what they plan to do in terms of talking to other world leaders and, Gillian would certainly know this, but that is important that these statements generally have to go through a number of layers of checks before they put them out to the public.
MCPIKE: And the president is not doing that.
KURTZ: Well, and that also often put the White House behind news reports, but it is always this balance between being quick and making sure that you've got it nailed down. The president also tweeting today, Gillian, that we're not having a gun debate as often follows these terror attacks because this particular attack in London was carried out with a van and knives by three people I guess have been shot dead. So, it does show the terror problem in this country is far more than just a debate about gun control.
TURNER: I mean to me, that's - that's sort of a political point. But, yes, I agree with it. I think that having the gun debate today would be an aftermath of yesterday's attack...
TURNER: ...would be a little bit useless.
KURTZ: But don't political points often follow these terror attacks as different political factions to try to...
KURTZ: ...use the event tragic as it is to make arguments from their side.
TURNER: Well, yes, and we see that with the gun debate and we see that with the travel ban debate. Is the policy solution to these problems one or the other? Do we restrict gun access? Do we restrict access to the country via immigration and refugee status?
To me, those are both political arguments but they are made by both sides of the aisle. I think both are equally applicable to the problems of terrorism, so both are valid for discussion. At least from a media perspective, it's important to examine both of these because these are major issues for American voters.
KURTZ: We'll talk more about that. Katie, I've got to ask you about this tweet by a CNN host, whose name is Reza Aslan, let's put it up and we're cleaning it up slightly in the wake of the London attack. Aslan writes, "This piece of blank is not just an embarrassment to America and a stain on the presidency. He's an embarrassment to humankind." Now, I don't usually do this but this guy has a show on CNN and he called the president a piece of excrement (ph). Within a day, I'm wondering whether he will still have a show on CNN.
PAVLICH: I'm not going to speculate about what CNN...
KURTZ: Right. What's your reaction to...
PAVLICH: ...response but, you know, this again goes back to the - the double standard for the way that we treat the presidency. I think there would be a lot more attention on this today and all of the media if it was a conservative on Fox News who had a show tweeting about a Democratic president, the reaction would certainly be different and there would be a lot more attention focused on it.
It's unfortunate, and I just think it really shows where we are in the state of our politics today and the aftermath of a terrorist attack this is the kind of name-calling that we see from the media towards the president.
TURNER: If I may. I think it shows that there's no respect for the office.
PAVLICH: No, right. Absolutely.
TURNER: Never mind the politics or policies of the individual, it shows a lack of respect for the importance of this.
MCPIKE: I will speculate. I would think that CNN would suspend that person for a week or two as they have when other CNN reporters have editorialized on Twitter for things that have been less.
TURNER: But is he a reporter or is he...
KURTZ: He's a host. He has a show.
TURNER: He's a host but he might be in...
KURTZ: ...it's not a high profile show.
TURNER: ...opinion host.
KURTZ: And, you know, I don't mind even CNN hosts taking issue with the president's policies. This was a vicious personal attack this line of chart.
KURTZ: So, the president was apparently Fox & Friends this morning. Reference was made to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan who said that there's no reason to be alarmed addressing the people of his city because there will be an increased police presence in the coming days. The president tweeting, "At least seven dead, 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says, "There's no reason to be alarmed," exclamation point. The president reacts to TV in real-time.
MCPIKE: Yes, and that - that puts him in the same category as a pundit and he's supposed to be the president. Now, you know, the Mayor of London also said other things like we will never let these cowards win and we will never be cowed by terrorism. I usually think a lot of the coverage after these attacks are fairly routine at this point. And I think we actually need to do a better job asking about next steps. And not just those political issues but what actually a number of countries are doing about counterterrorism because I don't think we're getting to the bottom of that at all.
KURTZ: We'll come back to this, but let me turn now to the momentous climate change decision, the president pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement garnering publicity worldwide, much of it negative. Here's just a brief look at some of what was said on the airwaves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is hard to think of the worst thing this president has done but so far this might just be the one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This will be the day that the United States resigned as the leader of the free world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just watched a dangerous little man give a very, very scary speech.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The left immediately became hysterical, even more than usual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Katie Pavlich, leave aside the pundits for a moment, did the straight news reporting on President Trump's decision here which was obviously not popular in many quarters and much of the world, was it fair that it clearly tell against the president?
PAVLICH: I think that it was more about attacking the president and his decision than it was about looking at what the Paris Climate Agreement actually was. This was something that was agreed to by the Obama Administration. I think a lot of people based on the coverage of the election and all the news that we've had, really have kind of forgotten about what the Paris Climate did, what it was, what the obligations of the United States were.
During the coverage, I didn't really hear about why are we in this? Why did President Obama make this decision? What are the binding factors for the United States? And how does it affect the American economy? What was the thinking behind the president's decision to pull out? It was more about calling the president a climate denier telling, you know, saying that he was committing an act of treason against the American people and the world for pulling out of this agreement. There wasn't really a lot of substance and context to what the agreement actually was.
KURTZ: With some exceptions, I would say. Well, Gillian, you may disagree with the president's decision, and that's fine. But it would be hard to look at the totality of the coverage, and you look at, you know, all the newspaper articles and the way it was framed and what a setback this was and U.S. giving up his global leadership role and to say that it wasn't largely negative. Do you agree?
TURNER: Oh, I think that as a whole, the media coverage of this decision was overwhelmingly sort of crushingly negative. And while I - while I don't agree with the president's decision to reneg (ph) on the agreement, I think the bigger point here is that it seems that a majority of my fellow Americans might actually disagree with me, in the sense that this is something that President Trump was very upfront and very forward about on the campaign trail. Almost, we were discussing in the greenroom, it sort of was a campaign platform issue for him. So, he certainly has a mandate.
TURNER: Right, my personal disagreement, you know.
MCPIKE: I agree with all of the points that you both made here. But I do think in flipping the script a little bit, the White House has not done a good job setting up for him making this decision. And, in fact, we saw, you know, there were reports that Gary Cohn and Ivanka Trump were trying to change his decision.
KURTZ: Right. So, it was a bang within the White House.
MCPIKE: I understand that, but they didn't spend time messaging this over the past two weeks and building support for his decision and explaining why.
KURTZ: Well, first of all, they hadn't made a final decision and there were leaks from the White House...
MCPIKE: There were leaks...
KURTZ: ...that's pretty clearly indicated that the president unless he change his luckless moment (ph) was going to do this.
PAVLICH: I think based on his decision regardless of whether they would have built the support that you're talking about, he would have been criticized because again the coverage was not about what the climate agreement means for the country, it was about the president being a denier and his decision to tell the world that he's not interested in protecting the environment, which by the way, we're not hearing a whole lot about the fact that he said, I like to renegotiate this deal. I care about the environment. Let's redo this.
KURTZ: That really is distractive (ph) because the next thing the president said and it kind of got dismissed by the president as if he hadn't even said it because it's almost like everyone was geared up for the yes or no or staying in, not going. You know what would really surprise me Katie, hours after the president's speech announcing this, MSNBC and, you know, Liberals care passionately about climate change, all -- they all led with Russia -- Chris Matthews, Comey is going to testify in a week, 8:00 o'clock show, the 9:00 o'clock show, the 10:00 o'clock show, all about the Russian investigation.
PAVLICH: Well, maybe or I mean, the climate change issue on the scale of what MSNBC thinks is obviously a lower issue and Russia has been running their coverage for weeks. This has been working for them. Their ratings are higher than they've been in years. I mean, clearly they are going to stay on that story because it's been good for them, and I think that the American people are interested in it.
KURTZ: You know, I've said that I thought last week Fox News played down some of the involvements in Russia investigation, but just the fact that it happened on the day of the climate change decision whether you want it or attack it, praise it, or try to analyze it, just struck me as an interesting moment. Let me get a break panel. You can let us know what you think firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be right back.
KURTZ: Sean Spicer was back at the podium this week after a dilute (ph) of stories saying he looked to be on his way out as part of a large wave of media speculation about a big White House shakeup. Katie Pavlich, if you believe all of these shakeup stories, Spicer would be gone. Reince Priebus would be gone. Bannon would be gone. Jared would be on a leave of absence. Why do journalists keep writing these pieces over and over again?
PAVLICH: Well, they're clearly getting some kind of information from someone about this...
KURTZ: Yes, from all these different factions within the White House...
PAVLICH: ...right, so somebody is giving them information about a shakeup, but as we've seen that hasn't exactly happened yet. When it comes to Sean Spicer, I'm always curious about why journalists think that he would be on his way out in a sense of he goes out to the podium everyday whenever there's a briefing and acts the way that President Trump would act.
He's speaking on behalf of the president and his contentious attitude with the press seems to be exactly what the president would do and want. This idea that he's somehow making the office look bad, making the president look bad, he actually speaks on behalf of the president, and I think he's doing what the president would do and therefore why would he be fired?
KURTZ: Well, CNN made a big deal this week about one of the briefings that was off-camera, it audio-only, which actually the cable networks send it taking some of that live and CNNs Liberal Commentator, Van Jones saying Sean is the incredibly shrinking man. First of all, it's not unusual to have off-camera briefings. Every administration has done it.
MCPIKE: And he probably do it - Spicer probably does it once a week or once every two weeks...
MCPIKE: ...does an off-camera briefing.
MCPIKE: And they do plenty of off-camera briefings with cabinet officials or other senior aids all the time to give information about things that they might be doing in the coming week or so. So, you know, I don't think it's that big of a deal and at least we're getting information he's getting in front of us to take questions.
KURTZ: Right. I mean you can critique how he handles it, you can critique his answers as journalists tend to do, but I mean he is doing his job and it's a difficult job.
MCPIKE: No, by the way, TV networks don't like the off-camera briefing...
MCPIKE: ...because they can't use it.
MCPIKE: ...and they need a picture, that's really was that...
MCPIKE: ...they want the ratings.
KURTZ: ...that we get that much. But, you know, what really strikes me, Gillian because some news networks are practically proclaiming and this fact when the president was overseas, well Sean Spicer if he does hang on to his job, he's not going to do the briefings anymore. And it just seems that, you know, some of this is bad from factions with the White House, but some of it is just, you know, the way that sort of this journalistic addiction to, well, who's going to get shoved out next? I don't know that the country is breathlessly awaiting that answer to that question.
TURNER: It's like addiction to palace intrigue. But I think that the media could be forgiven in this instance for this speculation about shakeups at the White House because if you look - if you look elsewhere in other corners of the White House, there have been spectacular shakeups in the first 100 days.
You look at national security policy, we had an FBI director who was fired, a national security adviser who was fired, a deputy who's being posted elsewhere. We've got the acting attorney general fired. So, shakeup is not, you know, the media could be forgiven for extrapolating from conflict that shakeups are going to happen.
KURTZ: I'm a little less - little less following on that.
PAVLICH: I don't think that...
KURTZ: And Communications Director, Mike Duffy he was let go after three months. He didn't have much of an impact, but why is this gotten so personal to a Sean Spicer. You know, he's sort of - he's very famous figure now because of the live coverage and the SNL parodies, but when you have again, CNN Van Jones saying he looks like a depressed little kid up there, I mean he's trying to do his job and he has gotten a little bit more terse in his answers. But I think that's an effort to stay on message.
MCPIKE: Yes. I think some of it is that reporters don't like when he gives information that may be false or not totally accurate, but I would disagree a little bit on the larger point. I think local papers are doing a lot better coverage. They're actually covering the substance of what the administration is doing. They're pulling back some regulations, and I talked to a reporter from the Salt Lake Tribune yesterday who was taking how certain regulations are affecting that state. And local papers don't have an appetite for the palace intrigue at all. They're actually covering the real stuff at that.
KURTZ: Just briefly, Katie, the last briefing, you know, Sean Spicer made it clear all that all the questions related to the Russian investigation he is now simply going to refer it to the president's private lawyer and try to keep it though at that briefing room.
PAVLICH: Well, I mean that - that was one of the benefits of this social counsel coming in because now the White House doesn't actually have to answer any questions related to this investigation, as if they were going to do that anyway. It does give the White House an out, and it certainly going to give journalists even more work to do in terms of digging in to find that information.
KURTZ: It's a discussion I think that other administrations have used as well. Katie Pavlich, Erin McPike, thanks very much. Gillian, stick around. And as we go to break, let's take a look the live picture of London. This is Scotland Yard in the wake of the terror attack on the bridge. Three attackers have been killed. We'll talk more about that with Gillian Turner in just a moment.
KURTZ: This is the Fox news Alert. I'm told that we are awaiting a briefing on the Scotland Yard underlying terror attacks. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK ROWLEY, METROPOLITAN POLICE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER: ...more about them, about their connections and about whether they were assisted or supported by anyone else. And as I think you're aware, there are searches ongoing in East London and 12 arrests have already been made. There is clearly more to do and we will work relentlessly to get to the facts. We have established that the van used during the attack was a white van that was recently hired by one of the attackers.
As our own ascending (ph) grows, we now understand that the van at London Bridge started the attack at 21:58 yesterday they went from north to south down the river remember the public calling police a few later. The van mantled the pavements and collided with pedestrians before being abandoned where attackers were armed with knives continued into the Borough Market area stabbing numerous people.
The attackers were then confronted by the fire-armed officers, and I can confirm that eight police firearms officers discharged their weapons. Whilst this will be subject to an investigation by the IPTCC, our initial assessment is in a region of 50 rounds in the reason of 50 bullets were fired by those eight officers. The three attackers were shot dead.
The situation these officers were confronted with was critical, a matter of life and death. Three armed men wearing what appeared to be suicide belts. They had already attacked and killed men to the public and had to be stopped immediately. Until then, I'm not surprised that when faced - with what they must have feared were suicide bombers.
The firearms officers fired an unprecedented number of rounds to be completely confident that they had neutralized the threat that those men posed. I'm humbled by the bravery of an officer who will rush toward a potential suicide bomber thinking only of protecting others. As the officers confronted the terrorists, a member of the public also suffered a gunshot wound.
Although, the injuries are not critical in nature, they are in hospital receiving medical attention, and we will of course keep you updated on that. Seven people have been killed in addition to three attackers were to inform the next kin of the victims is ongoing, and this might take some time as we believe some of the victims are from abroad.
On top of that, we have 36 people remain in hospital suffering from a range of injuries. Some of these are extremely serious and 21 remain in critical condition. You will have heard today about the British transport police officer who suffered injuries in the attack responding to the incident. I can also confirm that an off-duty Metropolitan Police Officer based on sort of Borough was caught up in the attack.
Fortunately, he has not suffered life-threatening injuries. He remains in hospital. The investigation team is taking statements from hundreds of witnesses and, I again, appeal to anybody with information or put it on the incident to make contact with the police. Recorders have been placed around London Bridge and around Borough Market area will remain in place (INAUDIBLE) and we've encouraged the public to avoid the area while our investigation continues.
This is likely to have some impact on travel arrangements in the first part of tomorrow morning and we'd asked everyone to check with that travel operators and take alternate routes when necessary. Now the public can expect to see additional police both armed and unarmed across the capitol over the forthcoming days and as security plans and policing plans for forthcoming events are being reviewed. You will also see increased physical measures in order to keep the public safe on London Bridges.
Finally, I asked the public to remain calm but vigilant and if you see anything suspicious, no matter how insignificant you think it might be, please don't hesitate to contact the police either 999 or the antiterrorism hotline, 0-800-789-321. I'll take a couple of questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think all the main perpetrators were struck dead by...
ROWLEY: We're increasingly confident that this attack was conducted by three individuals. Clearly, we need to establish whether there's any associate or anyone else involved in the planning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
ROWLEY: I want to finish the - finish the work, confirm the identity of those involved before I give those details in respect to that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
ROWLEY: So, we have a routine plan for a terrorist incident to immediately -- so and especially support from the military to be available whenever necessary. This incident was resolved, though, by police officers as the first responders.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, the military arrived after to be dealt with, or they didn't arrive?
ROWLEY: The military weren't involved in the resolution incident. Thank you all very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Mark Rowley, London police official briefing the media on the terror attack on London Bridge and we're back with Gillian Turner. What did you take away from that briefing? Did you learn anything or we learn anything new?
TURNER: Definitely, didn't learn anything new, but what this shows me is that law enforcement right now, at least in the UK, is still on the tactical phase of this investigation. They're focused on the who, what, when, where. They haven't looked at the why, yet. They're cautiously sort of now affirming that it was terrorist related, but beyond that, things like motives and larger connections and terrorist network is not something they have really penetrated. Yes, they're going to work on that over the next 48 hours.
KURTZ: So many unanswered questions as there often are in the wake of these terror attacks. Gillian Turner, thank you very much for joining us. I'm happy to have you here this Sunday.
And, let's go now to Manchester, New Hampshire, Corey Lewandowski, the president's first campaign manager still an informal adviser is joining us now.
Corey, you come in the middle of a Breaking News event as you know, let me ask you President Trump tweeting this morning, among the things that he said about the London attack. We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. What does he mean by politically correct?
COREY LEWANDOWSKI, FORMER Trump CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, Howie, as you know first and foremost, our thoughts and prayers with the victims and the families in London and the president said that he will stand firm with anything he can do to help the people there. I know he has had a conversation with the prime minister over there and has pledged his support.
But you have to remember, we have seen courts legislating from the bench prohibiting the president from implementing a program which will call for extreme vetting coming in to the United States. These are the same courts which have decided to legislate from the bench as opposed to interpret the rules that the president clearly has a constitutional authority to implement on behalf of the people of our country.
And what he said was our system is not designed right now to make sure that we know who's coming in to our country, so we have to stop being politically correct so that we're saving American lives and hopefully we don't have terrorist attacks on our own soil.
KURTZ: But, Corey, several different courts have found the two different versions of the ban did not pass constitutional master (ph) is heading now to the Supreme Court. I understand you, the president, and a lot of American people feel strongly about it, but that is the role of courts in our society, is it not?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, it is. But the question is does the president have the constitutional authority, which is the same authority that George W. Bush used, Barack Obama used, and dates all the way back to World War II to preclude people from coming in to the country of the United States, which is a great privilege and an honor until we know exactly who they are.
And what we've seen is that we're now going to have the opportunity to check people's social media activities because it wasn't that long ago where the San Bernardino killer came in under a K1 visa, committed a Jihad, and if we would have had the opportunity to look at her social media activity with we would have seen that she was exactly going to do that when she came to this country.
KURTZ: Let me move on now to the president's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, highly controversial as you know, avalanche of coverage, much of it negative in tone. Do you feel like the press in covering this kind of glossed over the fact that during the campaign when you were advising Donald Trump that he promised to do this that this was a campaign promise that was carrying at?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, this is the thing, Howie. This president can't win with the mainstream Liberal media if he would have stayed into the Paris accord, which is, you know, is completely voluntary and countries like China and India and Russia pay zero as part of this. If he would have stayed in, the mainstream media would have said see? The president has flip-flopped. He changed his position on the campaign and he has no principles.
Instead, what he did was exactly what he said he was going to do, which is exactly what he campaigned on, which is he said that is a $2.5 trillion expense over the next 10 years. It's 6 million jobs lost. It's a $3 billion slush fund to the United Nations of which the United States is paying all of it. And he said this is a bad deal for the U.S. We're going to pull out of it based on merits.
KURTZ: Corey, several reporters have asked a number of top administration officials in the recent days whether Donald Trump himself believes as he suggested in the past that climate change is not real or whether it's some kind of hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and the questions have all been deflected. Why is that such a difficult question to answer?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, look, I think it's very clear that the president speaks for the president. But what he has said and he's been on the record of -- in the past, of what he believes climate change and if it's real or if it isn't real. And I think the only person who's going to speak for the president on this is the president. He is the most accessible president we've ever had.
He's exceptionally successful not just to the American people through Twitter but also to the media coverage and we've seen that to the White House Correspondent Association. They said that he's unbelievably accessible. And so, I'm sure they'll have the opportunity to directly ask the president that question.
KURTZ: Good point. You wrote in The Hill the other day, and there was a piece on climate change on how you think the president made the right decision. Even though the mainstream media would like you to believe President Trump's first four months were not a success, are you arguing that it's been a smashing success and the press has completely misinterpreted what's happened?
LEWANDOWSKI: Howie, if you look about - if you think about this, the president has a Supreme Court Justice which by all accounts was exceptionally qualified. He has him sitting on the bench. The president got no credit for negotiating the release of the U.S. Citizen in an Egyptian prison which Barack Obama couldn't get done. He literally got no credit for this.
He's put jobs back - he put jobs on the table. The economy is booming. The stock market is at the highest it has been. If you look at the last month, there's supposed to be 185,000 new jobs created. There was 250,000 new jobs created are, you know, by every measure that you can look at this administration has been successful and the mainstream media has given him no credit.
That doesn't even include all the executive orders that he has done, which allows coal miners and steel workers back to work and stops countries from dumping their goods on our soil without some kind of repercussion.
KURTZ: Corey, you're at the White House this week. It is no secret that the president has asked you would have consider joining the White House staff given at how close you were to him during the campaign said something that you are still open to considering.
LEWANDOWSKI: You know, Howie, I've been very, very lucky that I had a front row seat to history to help him become elected President of the United States, that is a small role on it and I think I can be very effective for the president on the outside. I think there's a lot of things that I can do and say to help him from the outside. If he were to say to me, Corey, I absolutely need you to come in, it would be a tough family decision.
I've got young kids. I live in New Hampshire. I've got a great life and look I'm willing to serve my country in any capacity possible, but I think there's a lot of ways that I can do this from the outside to make sure that his agenda of tax reform and infrastructure spending and repeal and replacement of ObamaCare and building a wall on the southern border all get done.
KURTZ: Well, these are tough family decisions given the back-breaking nature of these White House jobs and for the record you had more than a small role on the campaign. But you have spoken out about weeks from inside the White House and there's been pretty much a constant flow of these leaks where unnamed officials and sometimes they've designed to make another faction or official look bad.
We've seen a lot of that with these shakeup stories or alleged shakeup I should say, and sometimes they kind of make the president look like he is not completely in control or they reflect badly on the president. As somebody, who is at least considering going inside, what do you make of this constant flow of leaks to reporters about the boss?
LEWANDOWSKI: Well, Howie, I've said it many times now, there's repeating. Anybody who is not on the president's team should not be working either in the White House or in this administration in any capacity. And anybody who continues to leak information to the media for their own benefit or at the detriment of some of their employees or colleagues that they're working for should not be in this administration in anyway shape or form.
KURTZ: You think they should be - you think they should be fired -- if they can be identified, you think they should be fired?
LEWANDOWSKI: OK, look. Absolutely, Howie and I'll tell you why. Because not only you are hurting your colleagues that you have to work next to on a daily basis, you're hurting the president and you're hurting our country. Then what we've seen is there's been reports now that classified information has been leaked out.
We've seen what happened in the previous administration was unmasking those being taking place for political reasons. If anybody has been part of that, they shouldn't be there. This president was elected to change Washington. He needs people around him who want to help him do that and if they're leaking...
LEWANDOWSKI: ...information about the president or about their colleagues that shouldn't be out there, they should absolutely be gone and go find themselves a job in the private sector.
KURTZ: Cory Lewandowski thanks very much for joining us on a very busy Sunday. We appreciate it.
LEWANDOWSKI: Thank you.
KURTZ: Good to see you. And we will be right back with more "MediaBuzz" in just a moment.
KURTZ: Scott Pelley is suddenly outed at the CBS News after six years anchoring the third place newscast. Pelley will join 60 minutes full-time. He never had a high public profile, though he did start controversy over the way he has covered President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT PELLEY, CBS "EVENING NEWS" ANCHOR: It has been a busy day for presidential statements divorced from reality. His boasting and tendency to believe conspiracy theories have led to a deficit of credibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Joining us now is Terrence Smith, One-time CBS Correspondent who also worked for the New York Times and the PBS News Hour and Terry...
TERRENCE SMITH, FORMER MEDIA CORRESPONDENT FOR PBS NEWS HOUR: Good morning, Howie.
KURTZ: ...well, Scott Pelley basically bounced for low ratings or is this something more, it's such a messy breakup. I mean his office was cleaned out while he was overseas. He's speaking accounts about that and no successor lined up, so pretty messy.
SMITH: It was very messy and it gotten out of control about the network and I'm sure that unlike the way it has unraveled but neither did Scott Pelley. I think he has ratings more certainly the primary cause. He had been there for six years. They didn't see, I gather much chance that he would build the ratings at this point. So, they thought it was time to get somebody else. You know, there's an old line about when the evening news starts going down, you know, network division gets nervous. First, they - they change the set...
SMITH: That doesn't work.
KURTZ: New design.
SMITH: Yes, right. Then they change the executive producer, that usually doesn't work either. And finally, they go to the anchor. But in this case, they went to stage three right away.
KURTZ: Right away.
KURTZ: So, some of the loaded language we saw Scott Pelley using against President Trump, I think it would be fine for a cable host to use but a big three network anchor, I wonder - I don't know that it was a factor here or maybe he knew he was on his way out and he just wanted to admit some of his feelings about the president or get some attention.
SMITH: No, I'm told that it was not a factor in the decision to remove him that the management was -- they were - they were comfortable with what he was saying and the way he was saying it. Certainly, unusual for a, you know, an evening news host.
SMITH: And yet I'm told really reliably that Steve Capus, the Executive Producer and management were not worried about that. They're worried about not only ratings but what was happening to the evening news. Where was the audience going? Ratings are down. They were making progress on the CBS Morning News.
SMITH: With CBS this morning...
KURTZ: ...a lot more money.
SMITH: ...which is longer, has more ads, makes more money and they were making progress with John Dickerson at Face The Nation.
KURTZ: Right. Now, I'm also told that very strange relations - fairly on speaking turns between Scott Pelley and CBS News President, David Rose is not the guy who gave Pelley the job. That was Jeff Fager who is now at 60 Minutes and you'll be reunited, beyond the personality clash, which are often a factor here, look, you worked from CBS in a darn rather era.
I covered the story when Katie Couric got the CBS Anchor job. It was huge national story, similar for Diane Sawyer, a big star at ABC. Now, one of the big three network anchors gets dumped and it hasn't really caused much of a ripple, what happened?
SMITH: What happened is what happened to television, to the evening news broadcast as a centerpiece. There simply are no more Walter Cronkite's, the most trusted man in America. That's why you don't see an obvious replacement just coming right up for Scott Pelley. The evening news is simply not what it used to be. Cable news ratings are rising, the network broadcast are losing audience and yet they still - they may not be the natural hart (ph) that they once were...
SMITH: ...for the whole country, but they still, you know, among them bring in about 22 million viewers a night.
KURTZ: They're still a big combine franchise. We've got about half a minute here. But it seems all to me that once all the networks moved away from the sort of, again, rather Katie Couric and Sir Romano (ph), that all the network anchors now are a little bit more working like and Scott Pelley was a very good reporter. I never thought he...
SMITH: He's an excellent reporter.
KURTZ: I never thought he was a natural anchor.
SMITH: I would agree with that. I think he did a very fine broadcast.
SMITH: He -- it had the most news content of all the broadcast, and he's a very good guy, but they felt it was time for a different style.
KURTZ: Right. You would think they would have this all orchestrated but...
KURTZ: ...these breakups are often messy, as we said at the top. Terry smith, great to see you, thanks for coming in.
SMITH: Yes, thanks, Howie.
KURTZ: And you watch the whole Kathy Griffin President Trump thing, it just got out of control this week. We'll have a report on that in just a moment.
KURTZ: At first, CNN said it was evaluating the Kathy Griffin situation. But, the network let her go, fired her from the New Year's Eve extravaganza after this image -- after she pulled this grotesque stunt posing with the decapitated head - a blood Trump mask and after the condemnation who sold out on the left and the right. It was then that the comedian made a video apology.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHY GRIFFIN, AMERICAN STAND-UP COMEDIAN: The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake, and I was wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Fine. But then at a tearful news conference on Friday, Griffin tried to shift the blame to the president's family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: I don't think I will have a career after this. I think he - I think he - I think he -- I'm going to be honest, he broke me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: I spoke earlier with Carley Shimkus, a reporter for Fox News Sirius/XM Station 24/7 Headlines. Carley Shimkus, welcome.
CARLEY SHIMKUS, FOX NEWS 24/7 HEADLINES: Good to be here.
KURTZ: So, Kathy Griffin thinks that Donald Trump broke her, that he is responsible for CNN dumping her, for sponsors bailing, for five concert dates being canceled. Excuse me, isn't this a reaction to what she did?
SHIMKUS: You know what they say that they say the cover-up is always worse than the crime. And I think that analogy pertains quite nicely to the disaster of a press conference that we saw on Friday. And the most mind- boggling part of this whole thing is she's now accusing the president of trying to ruin her career when she's the one who held up the fake, decapitated head of President Trump.
So, for her to play the victim is crazy. You know, she's saying that she has her free speech right to do whatever she wants. Well, you know what, Howie? The president and his family also have their free speech right to speak out against her.
KURTZ: I was going - I was going to make that point. I mean, the president sent out a tweet. Melania Trump put out a statement. They were reacting to what she had done, but there was a lot of talk at this presser about the First Amendment about censorship. This is happening because she's a woman, and I have to ask you, you know, nobody's trying to stop Kathy Griffin from telling jokes about Donald Trump or anyone else, but companies have a right not to associate with her, correct?
SHIMKUS: Yes, yes. Of course and the whole sexist argument, I think women should actually be very offensive - offended by that because there are real examples of sexism that happened every single day. But the president tweeting about Kathy Griffin isn't something that you can say is sexist. It's because she mocks a - she pretended to be a terrorist and thought it was funny. It has nothing to do with sexism. So, I think that actually women should be very offended by her bringing that into this argument. What a total excuse?
KURTZ: Yes, I think she should have stuck with her original apology, which at least seemed heartfelt. Now, CNN had some initial hesitation for its network said nothing and then it said we're evaluating the situation. As the story or criticism got louder, CNN severing its ties with Kathy Griffin who of course had been a fixture on the New Year's Eve Special with Anderson Cooper. Did the network really have any choice here?
SHIMKUS: No. I don't think that they had a choice. I think that CNN actually acted within a relatively appropriate timeframe. They came out -- they condemned the picture and then around 24 hours later, they severed ties with her. Of course, other companies, Squatty Potty in particular pulled the plug on her endorsement...
KURTZ: Once you've lost Squatty Potty, the career is going downhill.
SHIMKUS: You got to go, absolutely.
KURTZ: Yes. And, Anderson Cooper, to his credit, you know, her co-star in the New Year's Eve very quickly tweeted some very tough language about what she had done. But, I'm wondering this, pullback the camera a little bit look at the sort of Hollywood hatred of this president, do you think Kathy Griffin may have thought she would have gotten not just laughs but applause for doing this outrageous photo stunt?
Because, you know, others have either paid no price or actually has helped their careers whether it's Madonna using about blowing up the White House or Stephen Colbert telling that crude sex joke about Trump and Putin.
SHIMKUS: A 100% and Kathy Griffin really isn't the first celebrity to threaten the president physically. Of course, Snoop Dogg made that music video earlier this year pointing a fake gun at the president, like you said, Madonna blowing up the White House. Robert de Niro said that he wanted to punch the president.
And I think the media also is partly to blame here as well. There was a recent study that said that 80% of the president's news coverage in the first 100 days was largely negative. So, in the words of Donald Trump Jr., this is shocking but it really doesn't come as any surprise...
SHIMKUS: ...that Kathy Griffin would think that this would be a well received image.
KURTZ: Well, I don't think she was trying to threaten the president. I do think it was grotesque and she is paying the price and it's not because of anything the president said, it's because the country left and right was kind of repulsed by this. Carley Shimkus, great to see you.
SHIMKUS: Good to see you. .
KURTZ: Now, at least, there is some kind of line that you can't cross in terms of vicious personal attacks on the president. And CNN ultimately did the right thing. No way, the network could have put her on with one of the top anchors, Anderson Cooper.
And Bill Maher apologized yesterday for calling himself a house n word, using the actual word, an interview with Senator Ben Sasse. Maher said he used an offensive word and a banter of a life moment and he is very sorry. HBO, which runs the show called the use of the racial epithet, completely inexcusable and tasteless, and I agree with that. We'll be right back with some final thoughts.
KURTZ: After I exposed the Jason Flair fabrication scam at the New York Times, the paper decided to create a job of ombudsman or public editor. Now, 14 years later, The Times is abashing the job as the Washington Post did a few years. Publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. told his staff the responsibility has outgrown not one office and that the papers social media followers can act as a collective watchdog.
That I'm afraid is a rationalization. The ombudsman demands answers from editors and reporters when they screw up. Liz spade was being let go from the position after just a year on the job called out sometimes reporters were being too opinionated on Twitter and that, "there is a slide toward coverage that can be misperceived as rooting for Trump's demise". This is precisely the wrong time The New York Times to silence the kind of voice.
You know, we came in here this morning as we have on many mornings and had to rip up the show to deal with the London attack, the attack on the bridge there, the van and knife-wielding assailants and, you know, I have to ask all these questions. What's the latest? Will there be a news conference. What can we get rid of?
And, you know, we try to be on the breaking news but not ignore other news and that is always a balancing act as we look at these pictures. I have to say, we've all gotten weary of the constant scourge of terror, perhaps especially journalist who have to chronicle each attack, there is a level on which - that we give the terrorists what they want by spreading their message of fear.
What happened at London Bridge was horrifying and deserves every minute of coverage but the challenge for the media, for all of us in the news business, for all of us who are dedicated to reporting and analyzing news is to aggressively report the facts to each one of these horrifying attacks - this heart-breaking attacks without losing a sense of proportion, without making a dangerous world seemed more dangerous than they're already is which is exactly what our enemies would want.
That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz", I'm Howard Kurtz. Glad you could be with us. We hope you like our Facebook page. We post a lot of content there and I continue the conversation. You can also let us know what you think by emailing email@example.com. Do you want to comment on the media, let's continue the conversation on twitter @howardkurtz. Many of you not very shy by letting you know what you think.
And Fox will continue its coverage, of course, of the London terror attacks. We're back here next Sunday. See you then 11 a.m. Eastern for the latest Buzz.
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