This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," July 2, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, President Trump causing a huge uproar by ripping Mika Brzezinski on Twitter moments after she and Joe Scarborough attacked him in personal terms once again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC: ...nothing makes the man feel better than making a fake cover of a magazine about himself lying every day and destroying the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: That prompted the president tweet saying he is saying Mika bleeding badly from a facelift.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRZEZINSKI: The president tweet whether they are personally aimed at me or aimed at me in some way, that doesn't bother we one bit. It does worry me about the country. He appears to have a fragile, impetuous childlike ego that we've seen over and over again especially with women.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: He for some reason takes things so much more personally with women. He is so much more vicious with women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Did the president cross the line? Does he get too personal with female journalists?
And are the media ignoring the harsh criticism of Trump by MSNBC's morning duo?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that the president is pushing back against people who attack him day after day. Where is the outrage on that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: President declaring victory over so-called fake news outlets after CNN retracts a story on the Russia Investigation and three of its journalists forced to resign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS: President Trump is crowing tonight about the resignations of three CNN employees. He says it's more proof of fake news in the media.
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, FOX NEWS: If the CNN was chasing ratings at the expense of human collateral damage and individual they smear like Anthony Scaramucci and also a blood lust to go after the American President and delegitimize...
SHEPARD SMITH: ...like an example of how to do it.
JOHN BUSSEY, WALL STREET JOURNAL: It's how to do it.
SMITH: If you make a mistake, Journalism 101 says you admit your mistake, you correct it immediately and you take corrective action.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: How did that story get published and was CNN apology enough? We'll talk to the Trump adviser who was targeted by that story and calls it a lie, Anthony Scaramucci.
Some journalist crying foul as the president and his team use the CNN mistake to ratchet up their criticism of the entire press corps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN KAREM, SENTINEL WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: We can't take the bullying anymore. It's undermining the 4th State. It's undermining the first amendment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: But is it bullying when the administration pounces on media mistakes?
Plus, Sarah Palin suing the "New York Times" over an inflammatory editorial linking her to a 6-year-old shooting, does she have a case?
I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."
Mika Brzezinski and her fiance, Joe Scarborough have been bashing the president for many months on "Morning Joe."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRZEZINSKI: I had hope and an open mind and I have lost hope completely and my mind is closed. His presidency is fake and failed.
I think he is such a narcissist. It is possible that he's mentally ill and away and that this is on the table. I said it months ago...
BRZEZINSKI: ...and now everybody is turning to say it like it's new and it's OK to say...
BRZEZINSKI: He is not well.
SCARBOROUGH: My mother has had dementia for 10 years. That sounds like the sort of thing my mother would say today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: President Trump, as you know, firing back on Twitter. Put it up on the screen, I heard poorly rated "Morning Joe" speaks badly of me. Don't watch anymore, but how come low IQ crazy, Mika along with crazy, Joe came to Mar-A-Lago three nights in a row around New Year's Eve insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a facelift. I said, no.
The condemnation across the media and political spectrum including some Republicans was almost unanimous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
TRISH REGAN, FBN: As soon as I saw the word "bleeding"... I flinched and he just took it too far.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, it degrades a political discourse and it embarrasses the country.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN: It's something that's meant to go at, you know, to demean the woman specifically to her womanhood, right? It's a misogynist attack.
ANA MARIE COX: To his mind that is the worse insult you can make about a person and especially a woman in having to do with her looks and having to do with something about blood.
GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: That was a rude tweet. But did some of the crap that's she's been - they've been saying in the morning, I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Sarah Huckabee Sanders defending her boss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: This is a president who fights fire with fire and certainly will not be allowed to be bullied by liberal media and the liberal elites within the media or Hollywood or anywhere else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage, Sharyl Attkisson, host of the Sunday show, "Full Measure" on Sinclair Television and author of the new book, "The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What you See, What You Think, and How You Vote"; Mollie Hemingway, Senior Editor at "The Federalist" and a Fox News Contributor; and Ray Suarez, a former correspondent for the PBS News Hour.
This is a "Fox Buzz Alert", this just happened President Trump, still on this July 4th weekend taking after the media on Twitter. Here is a video that he put up moments ago.
Let's go around the table, over the top, funny, too violent? Sharyl?
SHARYL ATTKISSON, SINCLAIR TELEVISION: I don't care a whole lot about it, but I would say that the president knows by now the kind of response his tweets get and he's obviously decided it works in his favor whether it does or not, that's clearly what he thinks.
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, "THE FEDERALIST": Yes. I personally believe that you should turn the other cheek when you are attacked that it's not what this president believes and he has definitely picked out CNN and Joe and Mika as the target that he is going to punch back and certainly those groups in particular have been quite harsh against him.
KURTZ: Well, the video him wrestling Mika next, Ray?
RAY SUAREZ, FORMER CORRESPONDENT, THE PBS NEWS HOUR: It's peculiar and that's part of what's attracting our attention, the peculiarity of all of this. We're pattern searchers.
SUAREZ: News people look for patterns...
SUAREZ: ...and they look for things that deviate from the norm. Well, this deviates from the norm.
KURTZ: Well, that's why I saw this an hour ago and said let's put it at the top of the show. All right, let's get on to this facelift tweet, by the way, Mika Brzezinski saying didn't have any facelift. She had a little skin tight down her neck.
It's unanimous. The media say, this has crossed the line. The president should have done it. It's really bad. At the same time she and Scarborough have been relentlessly attacking her, your thoughts -- attacking him, excuse me?
ATTKISSON: I think in general that this is sort of coming to ahead, the battles that we've seen started over the last two years or so, with the media attacking Trump, Trump counterattacking or attacking back as harder than he gets it. And, I think, this is sort of the results and once again his followers are not deterred, at least in my experience with people I've been speaking to over the course of time by his behavior when he does this.
KURTZ: Do most of the media, in covering this, ignore or minimize downplay some of the language that we saw that Joe and Mika used against him mentally ill, thug, Dagon I mean very harsh personal stuff on their side.
HEMINGWAY: Right and without, you know, he's the president...
HEMINGWAY: ...he should be held to a different standard than the media, but I don't see any reason why we shouldn't acknowledge that the media have been so hostile and so personal in their attacks. There is clearly something very personal going on in some people's opposition to this president.
And also though, the issue of whether he's being particularly misogynistic or something, that just boggles the mind. It's like you haven't followed Donald Trump for years. He is like the Don Rickles of politics. If you're in his orbit, his stick will be that he insults you if you are opposed to him.
That happens to man, that happens to women and the idea that it only happen is just - it's like, you can't make that claim -- when we all watched the primary, we all watched the general, we know exactly how he operates.
KURTZ: Right. No, I've got a long list of insults that he hurled against men, but there is something about going after woman's looks that obviously get a lot of people upset. By the way, Ray, he had a tweet yesterday that was sort of a little bit cooler saying that, Joe and Mika are not bad people. Mika, by the way, damn as a rock, says the President of the United States.
SUAREZ: Well, he wants to get it off her looks apparently and go on to what he feels is more solitary to her...
SUAREZ: This is just odd. The President of the United States, himself, coming down from Olympus to sort of put himself on the same level as morning cable commentators.
KURTZ: You see that he is punching down. But, you say, you know, it's not sexist - again it's about (ph) sexist -- about gender, I should say, but does it remind people of the president slamming against Megyn Kelly, blood coming out of her or whatever and, you know, what he said about women on the "Access Hollywood" tape. In other words, is it self-destructive on that level?
HEMINGWAY: I don't know. I mean, I think that people understand it he is an insulter. He goes after people whether they are male or female. And you take someone like Joe Scarborough, I think that there is something very personal there too. You have to remember during the primary wasn't Joe Scarborough floating his own name as a VP Candidate. He was very...
KURTZ: He was floating his own name, but it was some chatter...
HEMINGWAY: ...favorable -- they were very favorable to the president...
KURTZ: Well, while you're talking, let's put up - let's put up some footage of that Mollie, interviewing the president at the beginning of 2016, go ahead and make your point.
HEMINGWAY: Right and he was - I mean, they really did a lot to normalize or legitimize his candidacy during the - during the primary...
KURTZ: Well, they said, they thought he might win at the time when many...
HEMINGWAY: Yes, and they had him on all the time and they were very friendly toward him. And now - so, this is kind of erratic nature thing. It's not just the president it's also these media outlets.
KURTZ: The day - the tweet storm began and everybody started talking Joe and Mika, great publicity for them, by the way, you know, billion dollars' worth for free publicity, was the day the travel ban partially took effect due to a Supreme Court ruling, that would have been the lead story?
And so I've had many White House officials said, you know, with some just justification but the media are often chasing the side issues and scandals or pseudoscandal as they see it and not covering the substance of his agenda, but isn't this the case where the president is detracting from his own agenda?
ATTKISSON: I think it's helping, but you know, Mollie said something about him being held as too a higher standard. There is truth to that, but I look at it a little differently. I expect politicians - I don't expect a lot from them, and I think regardless of what they do even if it's the president, we in the media should be held to a professional standard regardless of what our observations lead us to think personally and I think that's where we're falling short a lot.
KURTZ: You know, as much as the media mavens are outrage by this and it's consumed all of this airtime and ink and a lot...
SUAREZ: Which shouldn't have, by the way, but...
KURTZ: OK, well you can tell me why, by at law even (ph) when you have Paul Ryan sort of criticizing you'll cover with that, but Trump supporters love this when he beats up on pundits and they don't mind that he uses street language.
SUAREZ: The term, "The Media"...
SUAREZ: ...has come to mean so many people doing so many different things in so many places, that we no longer seem to have the discretion to see the difference between somebody who writes straight ahead journalism versus somebody who just says what they feel on any given morning or whacks somebody that they don't like particularly, they're doing different jobs and in different context all the time.
ATTKISSON: But one of the prompt though is that those used to be very distinct jobs, and now it seems they're bleeding into...
HEMINGWAY: And often you see - you see reporters on Twitter revealing everything about what their personal and political biases are and they're not doing as good of a job of keeping those out of their actual copy as well.
And, so many of these things that I don't think people realized is the media attacks on Trump or the media attacks on Republicans in general are taken personally by that half of the country that is not represented in most newsrooms.
HEMINGWAY: So, they attack these people but a lot of people think of it as a personal attack on them.
KURTZ: But come back to the point about how personal it has gotten, so for example, during the campaign before the romantic relation between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, before they went and now they are engaged to be married, Trump tweeted and this caused the big stir, a very insecure tweet called Mika, Joe's very insecure long-time girlfriend, two clowns. He also called her neurotic and all of this is catnip for the media, so he knows how to work us.
HEMINGWAY: Yes and also I think - I mean I think there is something interesting about the NBC connection too and that this is a former employer of Donald Trump...
KURTZ: Yes, "The Apprentice."
HEMINGWAY: ...and you see also this in the CNN Connection and that Jeff Zucker is a former NBC person too. I don't know if there is some...
KURTZ: Yes, he runs the network.
HEMINGWAY: ...or maybe the president feels personally betrayed somehow...
HEMINGWAY: ...and that's what leading to personal...
KURTZ: Yes, there's a twitch show with Scarborough going on the air the next day and saying that White House Aids told him that the "National Enquirer" was going to do a piece on him and make a negative piece and that he could be killed if he apologized - the "Enquirer", by the way, run by a close pal of President trump and that said off some people saying, wow, this is pressure. This is blackmail.
ATTKISSON: I don't know that in an environment that we're discussing that that qualifies as blackmail. It is pressure and all kinds of pressure is being exerted on new organizations and opinion people to say and do certain things which is one of the things that I write about, that the idea of that pressure to create a narrative or to stir away from a narrative is very heavy on many fronts. The president seemed able to uniquely cut through that whether for good or for bad and the mind of his critics and supporters with his social media and his comments.
KURTZ: Well, my way have source to say that it was Joe Scarborough that called Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and White House official and told him about this "Enquirer" piece that was sort of looming. It was ultimately published under the - under headline about a big cheating scandal at "Morning Joe". Jared said, "Well, talk to the president." Joe said, "Well, he's mad at me." And Jared said, "Well, maybe you should apologize", that's not exactly the same as a threat.
SUAREZ: Well, Joe Scarborough says he has a series of back-and-forth communications...
SUAREZ: ...but he hasn't shown that.
KURTZ: That's right, he said his text.
SUAREZ: And they may backup his version of events so they may backup Jared Kushner's, I guess we have to wait to see, but I can't even believe we're talking about it.
KURTZ: But, clearly we need a special prosecutor for this. We must find out this - by the way, the Editor of "The National Enquirer," Dylan Howard told me that there was no harassment of Mika's kids as she had acclaim her teenage kids and that's story was routinely published and he has what conversation may have gone between Scarborough and the White House.
All right, we'll move on to other forms of journalism in a moment. Head and Trump Adviser, Anthony Scaramucci on being falsely accused by CNN. When we come back, we'll breakdown that retracted story that caused three CNN journalists their job.
KURTZ: Three journalists at CNN had to resign in the wake of that retracted story on the Russia probe Investigative Chief, Lex Harris, reporter of Times, Frank, and assistant manager editor and Pulitzer Prize Winner, Eric Lichtblau.
The president fired up his twitter account, wow CNN had to retract big story on, "Russia" with three employees forced to resign, what about all the other phoney stories they do with fake news?
The story as we reported last week said the top Trump Adviser, Anthony Scaramucci, we'll hear from him later in the program, was under investigation over ties to a Russian Investment Fund and for having a secret meeting with an executive from the fund about lifting U.S. sanctions against Moscow.
Scaramucci told me, it was all a lie. Sharyl Aatkisson, how bad a mistake did CNN make in publishing this story which either both retracted and prompted an apology to Scaramucci?
ATTKISSON: They never said that they thought it was false or just retract because it was not second sourced or did the source even exist, so I don't know a lot of detail, but I can tell you it's usually fair. Especially for a well-respected journalist from formerly well-respected organizations like CNN, "The New York Times," "Washington Post" to be making mistakes that wouldn't be allowed in journalism school.
And I'm talking about not doing basic due diligence and this is I think reflective of the larger picture which many in the media publicly exempted themselves from the normal editorial rules because they view, they said this president or the candidate as so dangerous. So, this is what happens when you step back and say this is different, we're not going to follow our normal rules.
KURTZ: Or just rushed on to a web story that was not ready. It was very thin...
ATTKISSON: But, only because I think it was Donald Trump.
KURTZ: I see. Well, this prompted a response in the press room, Mollie Hemingway, from Sarah Huckabee Sanders who sort of working overtime this week here's what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I think that we have gone to a place where if the media can't be trusted to report the news, then that's a dangerous place for America. You mentioned the Scaramucci story where they had to have reporters resign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEMINGWAY: Yes, CNN said that the story failed to meet editorial standards but I'm not entirely sure how this story was that different from many other stories that they have been running and they have really been very intent on this Russia conspiracy story. They had the dossier story that they run before vetting the dossier which later turned out...
KURTZ: The CNN didn't publish the details of that...
HEMINGWAY: Didn't publish the details of the dossier...
HEMINGWAY: ...but, they have - they could have vetted and seen the accuracy of the dossier before running explosive headlines. They bizarrely claimed that the Susan Rice unmasking story was false when even she didn't deny it.
They falsely claimed that James Comey was going to say that Donald Trump had not been told that he was not under investigation when in fact his testimony revealed that he was.
There are so many stories with the pattern of getting things wrong when you're using anonymous sources, no accountability when those anonymous sources turned out to have misled or what not, so this is part of a pattern.
KURTZ: Although in this case, Ray Suarez, there was accountability in the sense, Jeff Zucker, the president of the network showed, you know, he took the matter very seriously by taking the story down, retracting and apologizing and three journalists involved no longer have jobs. Some people said maybe that went too far, so did CNN at least mitigate the damage by taking those steps?
SUAREZ: The bigger the scalp, the higher the risk. And when CNN was trying to reach inside Trump's inner circle to take a scalp, if you're wrong, you tumble a long way. The system worked. They retracted. They apologized and they fired three people. They - they...
KURTZ: In effect, yes.
HEMINGWAY: They're not being transparent about what happened in the same way they weren't transparent about what happened with the Comey story. For the day leading up to the testimony, they had over and over and over again the claim that he would refute Donald Trump's claim that he had been told three times he wasn't under investigation. In fact, under oath, that's precisely what he did...
KURTZ: He said the opposite.
HEMINGWAY: ...and they didn't explain what happen that we know what...
KURTZ: ABC made the same mistake. But, here is the thing on this retraction story, there's been no coverage on the air on CNN of this. No coverage on the air by MSNBC, except some fleeting members mentioned after Sarah Huckabee Sanders denounced CNN but didn't get into the substance of the way in which Anthony Scaramucci had been defamed. What do you make of that?
HEMINGWAY: Right, the way to restore trust then is to be completely transparent and be upfront about it and that is difficult, I mean, good journalists make mistakes. We all - we've all seen it, every media outlet does it. Just have to take accountability.
KURTZ: Sharyl, quick thought?
ATTKISSON: I don't think this is a case of good journalists making mistakes because I think some of the mistakes are so rookie in nature that it's the kind of sloppiness that, as I said, wouldn't be allowed in journalism school that speaks of something different.
KURTZ: Well, are there rookie mistakes when you have - as one of these three, a Pulitzer Prize Winner who had worked for the "New York Times" or is it a problem of lack of oversight or is it a problem of, as you were saying earlier or Mollie was suggesting, that the standards somehow are bent a little bit because of the media animosity towards this president?
ATTKISSON: All of the above. I mean, the idea that slipped on the air in the first place, those reporters should have known better. When I was at CBS and when I was at CNN like you were, that kind of story would never have been able to air. I'm not sure why it was allowed.
SUAREZ: The hoops you used to have jumped through were far more numerous once upon a time.
SUAREZ: A lot of places have been emptied out...
SUAREZ: ...with editors and producers, gatekeepers being fired.
KURTZ: There is that and there is also the question of how this president is covered. Sharyl, we'll see you a little later in the program. Ahead Sarah Palin suing the "New York Times" for reviving a 6-year-old sweet smear, but can she win that lawsuit?
Up next, a reporter's rant in the White House Press Room brings him all kinds of attention, but does criticizing the media really amount to bullying?
KURTZ: And Sarah Huckabee Sanders used the White House briefing to rip CNN for its retracted story on the Russia probe, she was interrupted by Brian Karem, Executive Editor of Maryland Suburban Sentinel Papers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREM: Now, what you just said is inflammatory to people all over the country who look at it as they say (ph) once again the president is right and everybody else out here is fake media. And everybody in this room is only trying to do their job.
SANDERS: If anything has been inflamed, it's the dishonesty that often takes place by the news media. And I think it is outrageous for you to accuse me of inflaming a story when I was simply trying to respond in those questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Brian Karem was also a columnist for Playboy was treated like a hero, Mollie he's booked on a whole bunch of MSNBC and CNN shows. He is the guy who told off the White House. I didn't see him get a critical question.
HEMINGWAY: He didn't get a critical question. At the same time, you know, the media tend to be self-obsessed about the media. That's, you know, that makes sense. They did have a dialogue here. He did make his complaint known.
She did respond and it was a little bit more truthful than a lot of what we've seen from some reporters, where they are just complaining nonstop -- whining nonstop about whether the briefings are televised or not. They do nothing but asked grandstanding questions.
If there were more dialogue and if there were more substance come out of these things, I think it would be better for everybody.
KURTZ: In some of those subsequent interviews, Brian Karem said the White House was bullying journalist, undermining the First Amendment and that kind of thing, because the spokesman criticized the press from the podium and because numerous briefings have been moved off-camera, may I just wonder does that really warrant that level of criticism?
SUAREZ: Well, the news business is walking into a trap by complaining about the rules.
SUAREZ: Well, who does making the briefing off-camera curt? Just television.
SUAREZ: The information is still transmitted.
KURTZ: Well, on the record.
SUAREZ: The points are still put out. The spokesman is still quoted, so you're disadvantaging radio and television and then radio and television says, wah, wah, wah in a totally unsympathetic world that already thinks the media complains too much about its perks says, Oh, well this is great. Make them scream, make them complain.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, exactly. The CNN White House Reporter literally tweeted something like, "is this America?" Because, these briefing aren't televised. What that looks like to average Americans is a TV person wants more TV time, so that he could have TV time, not - this isn't about serving America or getting information in the minds of an average viewer.
KURTZ: Well, look when we talk about undermining press freedom, I mean there was some criticism but I didn't see this level when the Obama Administration did those leak investigations and started to ping reporters' phone records and emails James Rosen at Fox's, AP and so forth. I just didn't see the same level of intensity in reaction to that.
SUAREZ: I don't know, Howie. There were a lot of stories about James Rosen's troubles and what it meant for the White House to be going after reporters in that way the idea that it was just...
KURTZ: No, no. I'm not saying it was swept under the rug, but at the same time, there is just a level of animosity here that is really something. We were talking here in the break about the president's use of tweeter and he put up another one saying, well people say he's not presidential, this is modern-day presidential. You were struck by that Mollie.
HEMINGWAY: Yes, I thought that was one of the more interesting tweets we've seen from the president. Not, I don't think, he's commenting on the fact that he uses Twitter since we've seen previous presidents have used Twitter...
HEMINGWAY: ...so, I think he's making - he's explaining some things people who will hear about how he has a different attitude about the presidency. That it does require punching through some of these established ways of doing business that we have seen.
And this is a good reminder of why it's good to have someone in your newsroom who kind of understands how Trump speaks and how that message hits the average voter because you can help - it helps you understand what he's tweeting.
KURTZ: These of us in Washington and New York, you know, should remember that a lot of people like this message even when he uses some pretty tough street language. All right, Ray Suarez, Mollie Hemingway, thanks very much for joining us this Sunday.
Coming up, Anthony Scaramucci on being targeted by that false CNN story and his take on media coverage of the president.
And later, Sharyl Attkisson says there is such a thing as fake news pushed by shady political operatives.
KURTZ: Anthony Scaramucci is a top Trump adviser who was targeted by CNN in a story that the network had to retract. That story said Scaramucci was under investigation over ties to a Russian investment fund. He was described, based on unnamed sources, is having had a secret meeting in January with an official from the Russian Fund and having discuss U.S. sanctions against Moscow.
CNN had apologized to him and accepted the resignation, as we mentioned, of three journalists who worked on the piece. I spoke to the businessman who has just accepted a presidential appointment to the export-import bank here in Studio One.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Anthony Scaramucci, welcome.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, U.S. EXPORT-IMPORT BANK SENIOR VP: Pleasure to be here, Howie, thank you.
KURTZ: How did you feel when CNN went ahead and published these allegations about you after you had specifically explained that they weren't true?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, it was definitely frustrating. I thought it was a little unfair. It didn't seem like...
KURTZ: A little unfair.
SCARAMUCCI: Yes, it didn't seem like they did their homework, trying to be fair and generous to them. But, then when I started to make some calls to senior leadership at CNN and explained my position, I thought that they moved pretty quickly. And so, I was pretty satisfied with the fact that probably 12 to 15 hours after I've spoken to them they realized that they made a mistake and they took the thing down. So, I was...
KURTZ: ...the network's apology.
SCARAMUCCI: And I think it's important because, you know, I'm - I'm like you who is full-time journalist, I used to play one on television for your sister network and...
SCARAMUCCI: ...for journalist what goes on.
KURTZ: Well, let's just run through with some of the basic facts that we have it on the record here. CNN had said that you had a secret meeting in Davos with an executive from the Russia direct investment fund secret meeting?
SCARAMUCCI: Yes, super false on that. You know, he run into me in a restaurant, he's actually a guy I did know for a while because I've gone to Davos in the last 10 years. I've shaken his hands many times before. And after I've made a speech about the president's economic agenda of that evening, I was at a table that was owned by my colleagues from...
KURTZ: He came over.
SCARAMUCCI: ...he came over.
KURTZ: Settle low.
SCARAMUCCI: He settled low. I stood up and talk to him. We must have talked for 3 to 5 minutes...
KURTZ: Three to five minutes.
SCARAMUCCI: ...he then left, and then somebody took a picture of that and said that a Senior Trump Official was talking to the Russian staff and well fund.
KURTZ: Right. This is back in January. So...
KURTZ: ...then it also said that you discussed lifting you a sanction against Moscow.
SCARAMUCCI: Yes. That was again very unfair. I think that came from an Elizabeth Warren letter that was sent to Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin and so when I got back from Davos, that very next day, Stephen was -- Secretary Mnuchin was up on "The Hill" in this confirmation hearing and she brought it up, and again I thought that was a very outrageous example of the scandals incorporated nonsense in the politics and personal destruction that go on here.
KURTZ: Have you ever done any business with Russia?
SCARAMUCCI: I haven't. No.
KURTZ: Have you ever been to Russia?
SCARAMUCCI: I have. I was in Russia right after Chernenko's Funeral when corporate stocks (ph) took tower...
SCARAMUCCI: Yes, I was 21, it was March of 1985...
SCARAMUCCI: ...I was on a field trip from a law school of economics. I spent four days in Moscow.
SCARAMUCCI: No Russian client. No interaction with Russia ever.
KURTZ: I know you've responded to a report you threatened some kind of a major lawsuit against CNN saying that's not true but did you indicate that there might be legal consequences of the story?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, I definitely indicated to them that what they were doing was defamatory. I had been on their air, I think that they, you know, they rough up Trump Officials on their air which is totally fine except that it's like being a Yankee playing in family park and so I totally accept that.
But, I thought they've always been fair to me and so I wanted to give them due process to make that correction and since they did pretty quickly, I sent out that tweet immediately that it accepted their apology.
It wasn't until it became clear to me that there was still some uncertainty inside their organization about what the facts were that I had to make another follow-up phone call and I said, OK, guys, listen, I'm not under investigation, I've done nothing wrong. I swear and feel like (ph) you guys have to clear this up.
And if you don't clear it up and of course I have to take action to protect myself and my reputation which I also think...
KURTZ: Out of court...
SCARAMUCCI: ...is fair.
KURTZ: What do you think in general the way the media have covered your friend, the president, people around him and just on the Russian investigation since he became president?
SCARAMUCCI: I think in general that the media is having existential crisis because he is president. He is a terrific guy. I've known him personally for 20 years. I have enormous amount of respect for him and his family. He loves the country. I'm obviously a big ardent supporter of his agenda...
KURTZ: But, why an existential crisis?
SCARAMUCCI: That is an existential crisis because that he was the improbable president to them. They didn't expect him to become the president. He's outside of the mainstream of Washington. He is not a politician, but I love what the president so often said about his candidacy, that he was part of the establishment when they were fundraising off and they were hosting these big dinners in his apartment.
But, once he became a politician, they immediately turned the knives on him and sort of to go after them.
KURTZ: Well, interrupting (ph) politician, but are you saying that journalists have never actually accepted the fact that he won the election?
SCARAMUCCI: I think they're accepting it now. I think that they - I think that the next six months for the president are going to be phenomenal. That's just my personal opinion. He's got a great economic plan that he is going to execute. The healthcare situation is going to right-size itself.
And so the next six months are going to be great and I think that the media probably needed to make an adjustment to the fact they had high expectations that Secretary Clinton was going to be the president.
KURTZ: Everybody just - but, everyone believed that. Does the president, however, go too far when he says that not just CNN, but ABC, CBS, NBC, New York Times, Washington Post are all fake news and these are big news organizations put a lot of pressure...
SCARAMUCCI: Sure. Well, he said that he is making a very broad point to the average American - you know, one of the things about this race in the campaign for me, because I grew up in a middle class family, Howie I didn't realize the pain and economic desperation that's out there in the middle of America, the president got that ahead of me.
I should have gotten it, but I missed it. It took a billionaire on Fifth Avenue and shows it to me. And so, I think he is already talking to those people. I think what he is saying is that the media has been very unbiased and unfair to him. He's letting his ardent supporters know that and I think that they respond to it very colorfully.
KURTZ: Anthony, you're investment banking guy, a Wall Street guy, and now you're coming to Washington, what have you learned so far including...
SCARAMUCCI: Yes, up now.
KURTZ: ...the experiences you just went through...
KURTZ: ...about the beltway culture?
SCARAMUCCI: Yes. It's a very, very tough town. Maybe, it's endemic from the Watergate crisis. There's a politics of personal destruction here. There's manufactured scandals.
KURTZ: But that Wall Street is a rough environment.
SCARAMUCCI: I think that Wall Street is a little bit fair than Washington. I'll tell you why, I think we're front stabbers on Wall Street. You know, if we don't like each other we come right at each other and we tell each other how we feel. And then because we're both on the green team, I say there's no green team in Washington...
SCARAMUCCI: ...what I mean by green team, we're transacting on money. I can buy a building from you, do a net present value of wall trade, you'll make money, I'll make money. In Washington, there's no green team, so everybody has got mixed incentives and there's a lot of backstabbing.
KURTZ: A pretty...
SCARAMUCCI: ...don't like it at all to be a candidate.
KURTZ: Pretty tops the culture as you are learning. Anthony Scaramucci, thanks very much to be here.
SCARAMUCCI: It's a pleasure to be here, thank you.
KURTZ: CNN has responded to the Donald Trump wrestle mania video that he put on his Twitter feed that we played at the top of the program shows him body slamming a wrestler with CNN logo superimposed on the guy's head.
All right, here is a sad day (ph) at CNN, when the president of United States encourages violence against reporters, clearly Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the president has never done so. Statement goes on to say that what the president has done was juvenile behavior, far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his, tough response from CNN to that video.
Next on "MediaBuzz", our news organizations allowing themselves to be used by political smear artists, Sharyl Attkisson is on deck.
KURTZ: We're back now with Sharyl Attkisson of Sinclair Television to talk about her new book, "The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What you See, What You Think, and How You Vote," so, you write that "Smear Artist" feed reporters "news", but don't all leakers have motivations and often questionable motivations?
ATTKISSON: Absolutely, so that's part of your job in sifting through and I would argue that they - the industry of Smear influencers, those who try to put narratives out have gotten so good at getting their nose under the tent at news organizations that they've made it where we as reporters oftentimes aren't being the proper filter. We have become conduits and tools to advance their narratives.
KURTZ: From your book, "we report on internal information feed to us opposing interest to advance their agendas, media are being used", didn't you just the story at (ph) CBS that report to you by opposing interest isn't the key point that's just alluded to that you independently confirmed such information?
ATTKISSON: If the process works right it can be good and I would say, I pretty much it was pretty rare for me to do a story brought to me by anybody because I try to look for those stories that weren't being pedalled by someone. I think those are the better ones because they're not being why they report it, that's what I like to do...
ATTKISSON: But I can tell you there is almost a - well, there's a formal and informal process. The formal process now is, this PR firms that spin for this corporate and political interest literally sit down with top news people at organizations and pick stories one at a time.
They have clients that they pitch for and they hand you the research. It's completely done for you. And you wouldn't believe how many of them use that as a starting point without doing a lot of independent verification or finding out who's behind it.
But, secondly, there's the informal influencing that goes on which is much lower below the radar but it's very insidious in Washington, D.C.
KURTZ: How did some of this relate to President Trump given all the leaking against him from within his own administration, national security staff and a whole bunch of other topics?
ATTKISSON: I think that there are organized forces and some that are probably less organized who have opposed this president whether Democrat, Republican or media, he is fighting all three fronts. And they are certainly colluding together to undermine him in any way possible and this includes the use of, as I described in the book, fake social media accounts.
There's now software that the government uses as well as private interest that can maintain, this is just one example, 20 social media accounts that look like they are from different people but they are all being operated by one actor and they have all the distinct IP addresses and rotated security so that you can't tell that this is the case...
KURTZ: But if a news organization takes a leak or a document or something from somebody within the administration who doesn't like the president and it's true and runs the story, is that collusion by the media or is that just sort of grabbing a leak wherever you can get it?
ATTKISSON: I don't think that's collusion, though. I think that there are many legitimate ways to use and that people are sometimes using leaked information.
KURTZ: Yes, as you mentioned you worked at Sinclair Television which has recently hired a couple of things over that have account (ph) including Boris Epshteyn, a Former Trump White House Aide who defends his boss, two recent Washington Post stories about you have lumped you in with Conservatives hired by Sinclair. How do you respond to that, did they call you?
ATTKISSON: No, it's just kind of funny. In fact, one of them, I think Paul Farr (ph), he acknowledged he had never watched the show and was calling it, my show, a Conservative show. You know, people can think what they want, but I'd asked them to at least get the information like you're required to do in journalism school before you make a - make a judgment on that.
KURTZ: Over the years, you have done stories on Republicans and Democrats because I followed your career...
ATTKISSON: I have won Emmy Award for investigating Republicans. I've won Emmy Awards not to pat myself on the dash, but I guess I just did...
ATTKISSON: ...for investigating Democrats as well. But, I find that a narrative was established about me when I started looking into uncomfortable places and uncomfortable narrative for people who opposed certain stories was to try to label me as a Conservative who have to leave CBS News for that reason rather than me quitting CBS News for a wide range of reasons that was not really holy under that daily week (ph).
KURTZ: Right. And you are frustrated by the obstacles to some of your investigative reporting. Now, you go over after a number of Liberal targets in this book including David Bratt's (ph) media matters, but you're also saying for example, there are legitimate questions about how Hillary Clinton's healthcare developed into a smear.
ATTKISSON: Yes, I mean, you know, the Clinton's were quintessential in so many respects because they perfected the modern smear in a way, whereby, Hillary Clinton was said to have been running the war on women, the war room against someone Bill Clinton's accusers were coming forward.
But, at the same time, as I point out in the book, the Clintons were also victims of smears and I outlined how the billionaire, Richard Mellon Scaife actually did financed an effort for reporters to dig up dirt on them and report them in their stories.
And so, yes they were victims of and perpetuators of smears at the same time.
KURTZ: There's a lot here to unpack, Sharyl Attkisson, thanks very much for sharing something with us, great to see you as always.
ATTKISSON: Thank you.
KURTZ: And after the break, President Trump on the attack over coverage of him and the stalled healthcare bill as he has appoint.
Plus, Sarah Palin suing the "New York Times" over a false editorial that I think is an outrage.
KURTZ: It was a tragic day six years ago in Tucson when a crazed gunman badly wounded Democratic Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords and killed six others. And some Liberal commentators try to link the mass shooting to Sarah Palin.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Sarah Palin whose website put end today scrubbed bull's-eye targets on 20 representatives, including Gabby Giffords does not repudiate her own part however tangential and amplifying violence and violent imagery in American politics, she must be dismissed from politics. She must be repudiated by the members of her own party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: As I wrote that day, such suggestions were monstrously unfair. There's no evidence the mentally ill gunman even saw that political map. New York's Times resurrected that smear two weeks ago when a Republican hating gunman nearly skilled Steve Scalise and wounded four others at a Virginia baseball practice.
The paper said hat in the Gifford shooting, the link to the political incitement was clear. Palin called the editorial sickening and she was right. That editorial was reprehensible, mean-spirited, utterly tone-deaf and flat-out wrong. The "Times" had to run a correction the next day.
Palin sued the "Times" this week. The paper says it will defend the case vigorously. The truth is it will be difficult for the former VP nominee to win that suit, because the Supreme Court says a public figure must prove a news outlet (ph) active with actual malice or reckless disregard for the truth.
And the "Times" can point to the correction; although the paper never apologized to Palin which might have averted the lawsuit. That squid (ph) should never have been published.
The morning after senate Republicans pulled their healthcare bill because they didn't have the vote, the "New York Times" headline said, Trump kept at arm's length and health talks. The story adding that until Tuesday's deadline this past week, the president was largely on the side lines.
President Trump hitting back with these tweets, here he goes again, the failing "New York Times" writes false story after false story about me. They don't even call to verify the facts of the story, a fake news joke and some of the fake news media likes to say I am not totally engaged in healthcare. Wrong, I know the subject well and I want victory for U.S.
Well, the story said the president was deliberately leaving most of the arm twitching to Mitch McConnell as the tactical matter and that wasn't entirely wrong. On the day to measure - revamp ObamaCare was yanked, Fox devoted only one segment to it, during three hours of primetime fuelling criticism that some media Conservatives and other outlets are downplaying the setback.
And while the mainstream media have been quick to pronounce this an embarrassment for Republicans, we still don't know whether the bill is just dead or on the critical list.
Still to come, "The Washington Post" accuses Donald Trump of fake news at his golf courses.
KURTZ: Greta van Susteren, our long-time colleague here at Fox has been dropped by MSNBC after less than six months. She suffered from low ratings and perhaps wasn't a great fit for the network's left-leaning culture. She is being replaced by liberal host, Ari Melber.
The "Time Magazine" Cover hanging in some of the president's golf courses as an unusually positive headline, Donald Trump, "The Apprentice", a television smash. There has been so much media chatter about this since the "Washington Post" reported that the supposed 2009 cover is a fake, "The Post" took that photo and "Time" wants Trump to take down the cover.
Now, this is not exactly an impeachable offense. Don't people make up this self-promotional magazine covers from time-to-time. Since the president has been a "Time" cover guy, more than a dozen times for real, it's a little bit odd. And the "Post" reporting today that at least they've won Trump golf course those pictures have come down.
This is actually what spared the Mika Brzezinski ridiculed Donald Trump that led to the tweet that you've been hearing - there are probably sick here hearing about by this point.
That's it for this edition of MediaBuzz, I'm Howard Kurtz. I hope you're enjoying the 4th of July weekend. Hope to get a little bit of that myself. Let us know what you think, email@example.com -- firstname.lastname@example.org. Stick to the media and we want your opinion.
I also want to know what you think on Twitter @howardkurtz and checkout our Facebook page. Give us a like. We post a lot of original content there and I try to respond as often as I can. Also, you can DVR the show if you missed it and we have a podcast. Go to our home page download it, listen to it anytime.
That's it. We're back here next Sunday, 11:00 Eastern. If you forget the time, see you after the 4th, Happy 4th of July. See you then with the latest buzz.
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