TRANSCRIPT

Conway hits CNN's 'terrible' criticism

Denies Trump trying to bully network

 

This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," July 9, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, with President Trump ratcheting up his rare work (ph) against the media. Kellyanne Conway weighs in on his wars against the Fourth State from Washington to Warsaw where he went after CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They have been "fake news" for a long time. They've covering me in a very - a very dishonest way.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: I'm not sure that the American president should be bashing the American media when he's overseas with a - with a foreign leader who tried to repress the free media in his own country.

MARK HALPERIN, MSNBC & BLOOMBERG TELEVISION ANALYST: But the timing of it on foreign soil before a summit in a region of the world where the question of press freedom is still a really important one. No other president in our late time probably ever would say such a thing.

KATY TUR: The American president criticizing the American press in Eastern Europe, it sounds a lot like something that Vladimir Putin would be pretty happy with.

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: The thing is the press keeps losing this fight because they're out of practice. No one has come at them like this about their biases or their assumptions.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: Should the president have slammed CNN and NBC on foreign soil. Why on Earth will the CNN correspondent call the session a "fake news" conference? And is the news business overplaying the CNN wrestling video and the taunt against Mika Brzezinski or is Donald Trump destructing from his own message. A huge media build-up for the president's meeting with Vladimir Putin and the post-game punditry is decidedly mixed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

DAVID GERGEN, CNN: The bigger takeaway here, for me right now, is this seemed -- he seemed presidential today.

ARI MELBER: But the Trump administration instead offered a very mixed message suggesting that Donald Trump talked to Putin about Russian interference but that the very interference itself was a question.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: And for the President of the United States to say, you know, states to say, my people, my work (ph) concerned about this, what can you tell us. It seems so idiotic.

JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS: I thought it was a very high stakes meeting and I think Donald Trump made the country proud.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: But why is the press now calling Trump's approach isolationist? Plus, a "New York Times" columnist compares Twitter to porn and abandons the dirty environment. We'll take a G-Rated look at that. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

With President Trump escalating his attacks on the media both here and overseas, I sat down with Kellyanne Conway, the White House counsellor here in Studio One.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Kellyanne Conway, welcome.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELLOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Howie.

KURTZ: The president criticized CNN and NBC in Poland standing next to the Polish leader in response to a question he asked. But, there was a lot of handwringing of the press it was bad form to do that on foreign soil.

CONWAY: The president also said that he would like to have an honest media, a fair media, a free media, a beautiful media. He used all of these adjectives and I would hope each of us can agree. He has been treated very unfairly. He has been treated very dishonestly, not by all media, not even by most media I would say.

And, you know, Howie, I've been paying close attention to print reporters, to networks, the cable stations there are a few journalists out there who have really done a great job trying to get to know this president and his administration, his cabinet, his senior staff. And I think those folks are still doing what traditional journalism has always done which is they're trying to get the story. Others are trying to just get the president.

Look at the screaming headlines. Look at the lower third, the chyrons and what they say. And I just -- I think the media spend too much time talking about themselves and covering issues they think are important to them or that they want the American public to focus on rather than what the Americans are telling the journalist including in the media's own polling is important to them then.

KURTZ: Maybe a self-absorption, let me take a second to process that, but after this presser in Warsaw CNN's, Jim Acosta says that because the president took the question about CNN from a friendly reporter, David Martosko of "The Daily Mail", that he branded him a "fake news" conference.

CONWAY: Well, that's terrible. I think it's terrible to say that about a president on foreign soil to go back to your previous question but look CNN has had a bad couple of weeks, that's by any objective standard that would be true.

And that particular reporter also used the term "fake news" this week and had to, you know, how do I think backtrack on his claim that 17 different agencies had come to a conclusion where it's 3 or 4 the "New York Times" made a similar retraction...

KURTZ: About...

CONWAY: ...so none of this is helpful...

KURTZ: ...Russian involvement in the...

CONWAY: That's correct, so the upshot of this is none of this is helpful to whom, to the viewers. Why? Because the viewers are Americans who need to know what's actually happening in this administration and the media. If they're not going to -- some of the media are not going to acknowledge their responsibility to be fair and honest about this presidency, they should at least acknowledge their role.

Their role is to be the connective tissue between information and the people who deserve to hear it. So, if you are one of these outlets and you are not, through print or through TV media and radio, you are not connecting veterans with information about their new 24/7 hotline at the White House for the fact that this president in the first couple of months, on-the-job has made it easier for a veteran to access private care if he or she cannot find quality time of care for the VA.

This president has signed into law the accountability and Whistle-Blower Protection Act. This president has made it easier for a veteran to access a care but also access information.

KURTZ: But on this question of media focus and the president has every right to hit back at his critics and the media, but when he post a video showing him tackling at a wrestling ring a CNN blockhead guy, how -- doesn't that also take the focus off of the substantive agenda?

CONWAY: Howie, we know from the statistics that if the media weren't covering that video and that tweet they'd be covering Russia. How do we know that? Oh, because, there was a report done very recently by the center for media research and what they - media research center and what they showed is that the networks between May 17th and June 20th spent 353 minutes on Russia, that is 70 times the amount of minutes they spent on jobs and the economy. They spent 5 minutes on that.

KURTZ: CNN president...

CONWAY: They spent one minute on tax reform. They spent 17 minutes on ObamaCare's failures. These are the issues of the day. What do you think it's going to affect Americans, the fact that there have been 220,000 stories about Russia with absolutely no connection to this president or 220,000 jobs created in June? I'm going with jobs.

KURTZ: Point taken but when the president does the wrestling video, when the president tweets about Mika Brzezinski and her looks, he knows it's going to cause an explosion because the media loved to cover this kind of stuff and you can say he is kind of punching and that's fine, but isn't he doing what you are accusing the media of doing which is distracting from the things that Americans really...

CONWAY: No. Because, look at everything he is doing, that's all they're doing. What is he doing every single day, he is helping people 800,000 private sector jobs created since he got on-the-job. The stock market loves his presidency. The economy - the stocks - the stock market is up.

ISIS is on the run. You've got unemployment, I just read the report, unemployed among teenagers and African-Americans is down and for the first time in quite a while. You've got homebuilder confidence, manufacturing confidence. Where are the stories?

Why aren't the media out there telling America that the senate bill, the house bill, the president's views on healthcare are important because 19 of the 23 ObamaCare collapse has failed, 83 insurance have pulled out of the ObamaCare...

KURTZ: Well, healthcare had gone a lot of coverage...

CONWAY: It got 17 minutes.

KURTZ: ...it's told...

CONWAY: It got 17 minutes in five weeks in the network. Russia got...

KURTZ: Well, that's just the network using the...

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: ...this is controvertible.

KURTZ: CNN President, Jeff Zucker telling the "New York Times," he's trying to bully us and we're not going to let him intimidate us.

CONWAY: Nobody is trying to bully. I mean, they've had to fire - they have to fire three reporters, one had worked to the "New York Times" for 15 years. I didn't even know he gone over to CNN, so I've read his name who is somebody who had been fired for going with a story that many journalists have admitted to me privately was very thinly sourced and was shockingly inadequate by any objective journalistic standards, but do we have objective journalist anymore for some, for all, Howie?

I mean, you read the "New York Times" article during the campaign that Donald Trump just compels responsible reporters to suspend these objective standards. That would be a terrible president to send.

KURTZ: I just - that was a media...

CONWAY: We have...

KURTZ: ...colleague.

CONWAY: Well, you've got - you've got -- his opinion, but I think that many have followed - you've had the A.P. "Washington Post," "New York Times", and CNN had to retract or correct stories. And the reason that they -- everybody makes mistakes, right? They tend to know on these bones (ph) longer about people than else wise (ph), but everybody makes mistakes, but it's just a rush for judgment.

It's that we're going to - we're going to go with a single source, we'll go with anonymous sources, a single sources because we want to be first. We don't want to be right. And we want to - we want to try to diminish what this president is trying to do for Americans. I'd say who notice this Americans...

KURTZ: OK.

CONWAY: ...they see what he's doing for them.

KURTZ: These media outlets and the commentators are trying to diminish the president, as you say, is that for ideological reasons because they resent him, they don't like him personally? What's your take?

CONWAY: Well, there have to be a couple of reasons maybe. I think that the media weren't afraid enough to challenge the last administration, and I think they're not, you know, they're - they are - they don't show that same kind of respect to this - to the office of the president, it's current occupant and I was raised to do that.

Look, I just want to say something to my friends in the media and I have many. I'm a person in the west wing who does not say "fake news" in any media people, on opposition party. I'm not sure what it really gets us.

KURTZ: But your boss does.

CONWAY: But, I don't - but, I don't. but, at the same time, I would say to my friends in the media, our allies in the media, that if you have disposable income, if you're kids are in great private schools, if you live in a nice house that you can pay for, if you have enough to eat and enough to put in your gas tanks, and if you have enough to make the mortgage and rent at the end of this month, God Bless You but you're unique among many Americans right now and you are doing it as a service to other people by not connecting them with the information they need...

KURTZ: I think that's a fair point.

CONWAY: ...about job creation...

KURTZ: I think that's a fair point.

CONWAY: ...and about healthcare reform and tax reform.

KURTZ: But, you told George Stephanopoulos that all of these constant media attacks on the president which is certainly entitle to criticize him neither productive nor patriotic, really want to suggest that the criticism might be unpatriotic?

CONWAY: It isn't what I said. I just want to say it all. I said - I said that, but you're trying to - you and I think a lot of...

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: ...the haters on social media were trying to make it as I was questioning the patriotism. Again, the media make it about them.

KURTZ: That's why I'm giving you a chance to talk.

CONWAY: The media make it about them.

KURTZ: Right.

CONWAY: I think to challenge the president on these issues, to challenge the president on his actions if the media feel that it is their duty to do that to challenge, to probe, to question, terrific. That is - that is one of the essential roles of the Fourth State. When I talked about - they've question so much about this president, and I'm not wanting (ph) to go there...

KURTZ: Well, some questions...

CONWAY: ...and repeat it.

KURTZ: ...I see it everyday on the air and in print and on the web.

CONWAY: OK. So, if we're showing disrespect to the Office of the Presidency which is - which is the ultimate symbol of America, one of along with the flag and the troops and some others, but -- then that is - that is disrespectful towards our nation.

It's not unpatriotic to question a president's position on issues or actions as president, even though all of that seems very ideologically charged and a lot of it so things go viral and so that people's speaking fees go up and ratings go up, that's for a lot of clicks.

But, it is - it does seem to cross the line when the questions are much more personal and the challenges are much more disrespectful toward the Office of the Presidency. So, you gave the - you gave the example of Jim Acosta from CNN in Poland.

That speech in Poland by President Trump was roundly regard and lauded as one of his best if not the best since he's been president. And even people who are often critical of him at every turn, they even said...

KURTZ: That is true, but...

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: But, why didn't Jim Acosta say that? Why didn't Jim Acosta say that? Why he didn't take the chance...

KURTZ: Well, because he was about the president hitting back at CNN and NBC which some would say detracted from what was a widely well-crafted, well-delivered, well-received speech.

CONWAY: Now, the only people who would say that - the only people who say that are again people who want this to be about them and not about...

KURTZ: Well, and speaking of the media...

CONWAY: ...the country.

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: I'm here for the country, I'm sorry.

KURTZ: In the run-up to Friday's meeting with Vladimir Putin, the biggest single media issue was, was President Trump going to bring up Russian hacking, Russian interference and the election that seem to be the focal point in the run-up?

CONWAY: And the focal point in the run-up again seems to be or some people are saying, you mean the media were saying it should be that should be a topic of conversation. I heard that 50 times for every one time anybody said, you know, what does - what does President Putin think about Assad's actions gassing his own people?

Can we rely upon him and others for that matter to help us with North Korea or to keep an eye on what North Korea is doing now or they've got an ICBM that seems very different than in the past? Should they be talking about energy? Can they bond together as candidate president-elect and President Trump have suggested?

Can Russia and United States have a role together jointly, Howie, where they are joining together to try to put ISIS in retreat if not defeat, so why aren't those questions being asked?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: More of my conversation with Kellyanne Conway later in the program. Let us what you think mediabuzz@foxnews.com. When we come back, our panel jumps in on this question, should the president be bashing the media in a foreign capital?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: And President Trump took questions from reporters with Poland's leader in Warsaw it led to a new round of media bashing on foreign soil.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID MARTOSKO, U.S. POLITICAL EDITOR "DAILY MAIL": Since you started the whole wrestling video thing, what are your thoughts about what has happened since then? I mean, CNN went after you and has threatened to expose the identity of a person they said was responsible for it? I like your thoughts on that.

TRUMP: Yes, I think what CNN did was unfortunate for them. NBC is equally as bad despite the fact that I made them a fortune with "The Apprentice," but they forgot that. But, I will say that CNN has really taken it too seriously and I think they've hurt themselves very badly, very, very badly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage Ed Henry, Fox News Chief National Correspondent and Author of "42 Faith, the Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story;" Meghan McCain, our co-host of "Outnumbered," and Mo Elleithee, Former Democratic Strategist, Director of Georgetown University Institute of Politics and a Fox News Contributor.

Ed, you've travelled aboard with presidents, you've covered these sorts of things, is there something unseemly about President Trump ripping CNN...

ED HENRY, FOX NEWS CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I don't think so.

KURTZ: ...NBC in a foreign capital?

HENRY: I think as he came out of nowhere and just said, I'm going to pick news and...

KURTZ: Yes.

HENRY: ...who's asked the question and he answered it. And look at the track record over the last week, two weeks alone, how many stories CNN is either retracting or running from, people resigning. It wasn't just about this video is my point. And so, you know, look - yes, maybe there was a calmer point in American politics where presidents didn't beat up on the media quite this much.

But, you know what, I remember a time when I was overseas with President Bush '43, President Obama and mayors didn't go over there to the G-20 Summit and be up on the president. Mayor De Blasio leaves New York City to say I'm going to give an alternative view of what's going on...

KURTZ: Right.

HENRY: ...and sort of makes it like he's almost sympathising with this resistant...

KURTZ: Politics has changed.

HENRY: What was he doing over there?

KURTZ: Now, did the overseas venue for the president has criticism the way threw in "The Apprentice"?

MEGHAN MCCAIN, "OUTNUMBERED" CO-HOST: Yes.

KURTZ: How can NBC criticisms gave him a hit show, did that trouble you at all?

MCCAIN: No, I am with Ed on this one. I was more impressed with him going after Syria and going after Russia and making a speech that I felt was a revival of American exceptionalism, the end of the apology towards of Obama.

I was really impressed with his speech in Poland and I think again he was asked a specific question by David Martosko that he chose to answer. And honestly, CNN is doing this to themselves. They're at all-out war right now and into the topic.

For better for worse, that's in the news and it is his every right to answer it. I don't really care if it was on foreign soil.

KURTZ: But, of course, the president can choose to deflect the question if he doesn't want that to get consume a lot of media oxygen and wants to keep the focus on other foreign policy priorities?

MO ELLEITHEE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, look I'm not one who believes the media is immune from criticism. I think the...

KURTZ: Because we get...

(CROSSTALK)

ELLEITHEE: Yes, I know that.

(LAUGHTER)

ELLEITHEE: I'm on the wrong show, right?

(CROSSTALK)

ELLEITHEE: Well, I don't think it's immune from criticism. I think the media has made a lot of mistakes as someone who was a communications director in politics for 20 years I've done my fair share of battle with the media.

I think there's something a little unseemly to me about the president standing in region of the world next to a leader who openly tries for a press, the press joking with Vladimir Putin who murders journalists -- joking with them about the press, but does that mean there can't be any criticism overseas? No.

My bigger issue is this, my bigger issue is there is this continued escalation of an assault on our - I'm sorry, trust in the media and trust in institutions. Does the media bear some responsibility? Sure. They made some serious mistakes, right?

KURTZ: Right.

ELLEITHEE: But the president standing at this venue, escalating that - I just wish there was a turn, you know...

KURTZ: Right.

ELLEITHEE: ...criticize, but turn down the temperature a little bit.

KURTZ: I would suggest there's been escalation on both sides, and speaking of that, after this news conference in Poland this involves your friend and former colleague, Jim Acosta of CNN, he had this to say about the news conference itself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: For the president to then go off on CNN as "fake news", to me he just made this entire spectacle seem like a "fake news conference". This was not an attempt by the president to seek out a question from somebody who is going to challenge him on the issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: A "fake news conference" because he called on somebody, David Martosko, who had been talking to the White House about a job, but still...

HENRY: Yes.

KURTZ: ...Acosta doesn't like a fake news conference?

HENRY: There's a CNN reporter right now, Jeff Zeleney who I think was a Chicago Tribune and asked President Obama, at that time few years back, what enchanted you about the presidency among other things? So, was that a fake news conference?

(LAUGHTER)

HENRY: I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: ...for presidents to call on...

HENRY: Pretty friendly, of course.

KURTZ: ...who might be sympathetic or friendly?

HENRY: President Obama didn't call on Fox all that often sometimes but not...

MCCAIN: But, we were talking about an agreement before this that Crystal was to put out a tweet this week saying, "Oh, my God; Oh, my God; Oh, my God" in reference to the First Lady of Poland shaking our First Lady, Melania Trump's hand before President Trump literally one second difference between a handshake and he was implying that she was, you know...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCAIN: ...nothing, snubbing...

KURTZ: Yes.

MCCAIN: ...President Trump and that somehow she didn't want to shake his hand. It literally happened a second later. So, when people are taking about fake news, you have a journalist for CNN that's implying the first lady of another country refused to shake our president's hands.

KURTZ: And what did you - how did you handle that on Twitter?

MCCAIN: I said that he sounded like - because he said, "Oh, my God; Oh, my God; Oh, my God", he sounded like a 12-year-old girl to Justin Bieber concert.

KURTZ: On that point, I need to get a break.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: Up next, some anchors and commentators intensifying their criticism on President Trump after his tweet storm against CNN and MSNBC.

And later, Kellyanne Conway on sexism in the media.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: The wake (ph) of Donald Trump's tweets about Mika Brzezinski's looks and the wrestling video showing a body slamming a guy with a CNN logo for a head some journalists ramping up their own criticism of the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, "MTP DAILY" HOST: Some of the words are pretty, pretty nasty. Folks, if these actions and this language was being used by a leader in a different country, our state department would be saying, "that country is inching towards authoritarianism".

GREG GUTFELD, "THE FIVE" CO-HOST: It was silly, harmless, nonsense yet people lost their minds. Sorry, did I say people? I meant humorless lives who ignore real incitement but take issue with this.

JAKE TAPPER, "THE LEAD" ANCHOR: These nasty personal tweets against individual cable news anchors or those more broadly seeking to undermine any critical journalism, I'm not sure how that serves the soldier in harm's way or the hungry child in the Inner City or in Appalachia or the unemployed factory worker in the decimated factory town.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Meghan, even most commentators at Fox said that the tweets about Mika Brzezinski and her IQ and her facelift were not a good idea, but has there been a media overreaction we hear in some of these?

MCCAIN: Well, I'm the first person to say we're kind of predominantly women show. I think men take it as general rule don't talk about cosmetic surgery in women ever, I think that's a good rule to live by.

But, I do think CNN going after the person some random internet person who made the gift of, you know, the wrestling match against CNN, going after someone and basically trying to blackmail them and just saying nice things about CNN and threatening to expose their personal information, that's a dangerous precedence.

You can be someone who is making jokes online and then you're going to have national, you know, organization calling you and saying, "Hey, I'm going to expose all your information to the internet unless you apologize to us is very, very dangerous.

KURTZ: Ed, let's pick on that. So, some critics were using words like blackmail. CNN denies this and denies threatening this guy. He's a user of Reddit, the online...

HENRY: Yes.

KURTZ: ...message board. He created this wrestling video, a version of which Trump re-tweeted and he apologize and he also apologize for putting up racist and anti-Semitic posts and CNN said, "Well, we won't tell anybody who you are as long as you stick with that apology".

HENRY: Yes.

KURTZ: Was that a threat?

HENRY: It sounded like a threat. I don't know for sure that it was and I think it was a self-inflicted wound for CNN. I used to work there. I have respect for people there. But, I think when you're going to Jim Acosta calling it a "fake news conference" and then getting some of the facts wrong where he said, you know, about how many intelligence agencies had come up with his Russia assessment.

And he sort of, you know, calls it a "fake news conference" for the president and then kind of sloppy with what the president said about look, the "New York Times" had to correct that there were 17 intelligence agencies that made this determination...

KURTZ: It's actually four.

HENRY: ...so, it's actually four.

KURTZ: Yes.

HENRY: So, it sounded like the president was more right than he was wrong. Here's the bigger point, I'll agree with something most in a couple of minutes ago and I think just saying something (ph) positive about someone at CNN, I think Jake Tapper is right in that last point there that -- and it feeds into what most have been saying which is, OK, you know, a little bit of media bashing sometimes it goes a bit far with this president, number one.

KURTZ: Right.

HENRY: Number two, he can get - it can get dangerous. There are people at CNN saying they're under threat. Let's be careful with all of this, but finally how does any of this help, as Jake said?

KURTZ: Right.

HENRY: The jobs issue...

(CROSSTALK)

HENRY: ...that's what the president got elected on?

KURTZ: I try to press this point with Kellyanne, isn't he -- the president also adding to the distractions, but some people - some people thought the CNN wrestling video was funny. The CNN says it encourages violence against reporters and Jeff Zucker, the network president telling the "New York Times," he's trying to bully us. We're not going to let him intimidate us, where do you come with that?

ELLEITHEE: No, I think it was uncalled for. I think it was unseemly. I think it was unpresidential and I think we are living - we were talking about this in the news room earlier - in the green room as well, you know, we saw there is a move right now towards overheated rhetoric that is pushing some people over the edge.

And, we saw some really bad behavior at Trump rallies. We saw some really bad behavior in rallies or in the protest in Berkeley. We saw the tragic situation with Congressman Scalise, right?

KURTZ: Right.

ELLEITHEE: And we're seeing more and more rhetoric like this. You can push back on the media without threatening to body slamming them, right? What people were saying - the rhetoric that people say induced the attack on Scalise and the members of congress, that video was just a visual representation of the same kind of rhetoric. It all has to temp down.

KURTZ: So, I just add that he wasn't threatening to body slam. It was, some people thought, a spoof, but I understand the visual - let me get another break here.

Ahead, a columnist says Twitter is as harmful and it's addictive a pornography, is that really true?

The media build up to the Trump-Putin meeting and how the closed-door session was fun in the press, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: A media build-up for President Trump's sit-down with Vladimir Putin was as massive as for the old U.S. Soviet Summit Meetings and then came the duelling spin from both sides. We're back with the panel.

Ed, you've covered some of these international meetings, journalists reduced to kind of sifting through the spin from both sides because we don't know what actually happened between the two presidents.

HENRY: We don't, but there is another example where CNN, you know, there's all kind of more of these gifts and photos out there in the internet where, you know, CNN before the meeting was out there pounding this narrative that, you know, Donald Trump is not even going to raise election meddling with Vladimir Putin. And, then he raised it.

Now, we can argue and this can be debated, did he raise it hard enough? Did he - did he take Putin's answer at face-value? But, it reminded me of a few weeks ago before the James Comey testimony where CNN was saying, sources say, he's not going to back-up the president on the idea that Comey told the president that he wasn't under investigation.

Then he testified and he said, "Yes, I did tell the president he was not under investigation".

KURTZ: The president indeed brought it up, Mo and Rex Tillerson said, told reporters that Trump pressed him more than once, turned out to be twice. Lavrov on the Russian's side says, "Well, Trump accepted the statements of denial by Russia" and journalist were left to try to figure out where the truth lies.

ELLEITHEE: Yes, this is actually where I criticise - I think the media's spin about the duelling spin is actually off, right? This is where I think the media is getting it off. I actually think there isn't that much difference between Lavrov's account and Tillerson's...

KURTZ: They're not necessarily contradictory.

ELLEITHEE: Well, they're not - they're certainly not contradictory...

KURTZ: Right.

ELLEITHEE: ...and to hear some of the media today, it sounds like these are two completely radically...

KURTZ: Right.

ELLEITHEE: ...different perspectives. No. Lavrov said, "The president accepted our assurances." Tillerson said, "The president asked Putin, Putin answered no. He pushed back a little bit and then said let's moved on." That's actually not that radically different. And I - I, personally, I think that's a problem, but it's not that different.

HENRY: But, also President Trump started the meeting with it and spent like five minutes...

KURTZ: Yes.

HENRY: ...point on it, that's more than the media thought he was going to spend.

KURTZ: Do you think there was too much focus on that as well as like, please just spare me anymore analysis of handshakes and body language...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCAIN: That's right. We were talking about that going forward. I was like if I have to hear one more body language expert into it, what was going on in this meeting, I'm going to kill myself. But, I will say, the problem with covering things like this as a commentator, I'm not a journalist, but you get people from one side who are like if you - well, whatever happens, this is going to be a bromance.

It's just going to absolutely be every fear you ever thought of the relationship between President Trump and Vladimir Putin. But, on the opposite side, I've gotten a conversation on my show with one of our lucky guys about how, I think Optics are still important. But, if they were hugging and kissing each other on the cheek, it would optically be bad. And he said that that's not important at all. And I still think Optics matter. So, I think depending on how you view this president, it's sort of a personality test on how you think this meeting went.

KURTZ: Speaking of Optics, what did you make -- it started with a lot of outrage on Twitter and every news organization has a story on the fact that Ivanka Trump sat in for a few minutes, a G-20 Session on African Health because the president had to leave the room, didn't seem like that a big deal to me, but there was all this outrage about who elected her and...

MCCAIN: Yes.

KURTZ: ...the first family is running the country and she - and she's not qualified and all of that?

MCCAIN: Well, Angela Merkel, of all people came out and defended her and I guess there's a rule that if you leave, you can put your top-serving surrogate in to seat and...

KURTZ: Yes.

MCCAIN: ...I guess President Trump left for another meeting, so I don't really understand...

KURTZ: Excuse me, Ivanka Trump, is a White House official.

HENRY: Right?

MCCAIN: Yes, she's a top White House official and I think this poor girl can't win for losing. I mean, people are just going after her for every reason. I didn't love the fact that she went on TV and said that she's, "not a political person." I think if you're working in the White House, you are innately...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCAIN: ...a political person...

KURTZ: I think she may...

MCCAIN: ...that being said...

KURTZ: Yes.

MCCAIN: ...sitting in on a meeting where it's perfectly normal protocol to do so and getting attacked so viciously on...

KURTZ: But...

(CROSSTALK)

HENRY: ...I don't know why she push the reset button. Oh, wait, no that was Hillary Clinton, I'm sorry.

(CROSSTALK)

HENRY: That was someone else.

KURTZ: So, now we have these headlines today, "New York Times" and there was yesterday one stop (ph) United States finds itself isolated at G-20; "Washington Post", so many exposures Trump's isolationism. So, he's pushing...

ELLEITHEE: A narrative.

KURTZ: ...he's pushing the Europeans in particular on NATO, on trade, on climate change, he's taking different position...

ELLEITHEE: Yes.

KURTZ: ...that word isolating, I mean isolation like a dirty word in the journalistic lexicon as opposed to he's challenging these other countries.

HENRY: Sure, and rather than just going along with Angela Merkel. I mean if you look at some of the pre-summit coverage, it was Angela Merkel trying to make sense of Donald Trump. She'll have to, you know, lead the way because he may not want to focus on just her and she's the lead dog here. Wait a second, since when did the German Chancellor lead American foreign policy under this administration or the Obama Administration. Angela Merkel's views are important, of course, but she shouldn't have to drive it.

KURTZ: Right.

HENRY: And this president is showing leadership.

KURTZ: Do you think, Mo that once the meeting - particularly, the Putin meeting was not a train-wreck, seemed to be done professionally that the media, which had low expectations of president just kind of moved on to other geopolitical issues?

ELLEITHEE: I mean, look, I personally think that meeting was a train-wreck for American foreign policy. I think the events people did a nice job...

(CROSSTALK)

ELLEITHEE: ...I think the events people did a nice job...

HENRY: Wait, the Putin meeting?

ELLEITHEE: Yes. I think that was...

HENRY: Didn't they get a Syrian ceasefire out of it?

(CROSSTALK)

ELLEITHEE: Well, we'll see what happens. It's not like...

(CROSSTALK)

ELLEITHEE: Hold on. Hold on. It's not like the Syrians and the United States have the same - I'm sorry, the Russians and the United States have the same objectives...

HENRY: Sure.

ELLEITHEE: ...in Syria he wants to prompt up...

HENRY: There should be scepticism...

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: Get to your other point.

ELLEITHEE: But, to the point about, you know, the isolationism that we were talking about, you know, the president was the only leader there who had pulled out of the Paris accords. The president was saying things on trade that's about to - that could lead to some trade war. So, on policy, the United States is more apart from the other 19...

KURTZ: All right, but just...

ELLEITHEE: ...you may embrace that. You may like that.

KURTZ: OK, fine but let me - let me get Meghan...

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: He campaigned on these things. He said he was going to do these things and now it's being portrayed as well, America is his own ally.

MCCAIN: Angela Merkel for a lot of people too is sort of the last figure of the progressive left. She came in an era with Obama and she's really the last global figure...

KURTZ: Right.

MCCAIN: ...still representing that. It's been taken over completely by populism globally, so I think when people are looking to her it's simply just because she's the last remaining figure.

HENRY: And, by the way, at these summits having covered them when they say, there's a big deal on Climate Change oftentimes the fine print, we're going to do this in 2037.

(CROSSTALK)

HENRY: When they've all get the office.

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: All right, got to go. Ed Henry, Meghan McCain, Mo Elleithee, thanks very much.

Coming up, Kellyanne Conway on the subject of sexism and the way media treats her as the highest-ranking woman in the White House. And later, are journalists Trumpeting too many conspiracy theories they find on Twitter?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: More now of my sit down with Kellyanne Conway as the conversation turned more personal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: There's been a lot of media chatter about sexism especially in the way because those presidential tweets around Mika Brzezinski, "dumb as a rock", talking about a facelift, do you feel that you, as the highest ranking woman in the White House, are also these target of sexist attacks?

CONWAY: Oh, sometimes, sure. Absolutely, but - and it's too bad. But, I don't - look, it also just doesn't get me off kilter at all. I say prayers for those people. I'm there...

KURTZ: But can you...

CONWAY: ...for the women who wouldn't be so snotty and aren't so miserable with their own lives - in their own lives that they would have to attack a stranger or a woman in power. I'm there for the women who don't have power. I'm there for the women -- the million - literally, 10s and millions of American women who don't have jobs -- who don't have jobs that pay well, who still don't have healthcare who were lied to by the President of the United States that they can keep their plan if they wanted to -- they can keep their jobs if they wanted to. I'm there for the women who are struggling with opioids in their family.

KURTZ: But on this question of sexism if there are commentators and others who are saying things that you think are unfair because you are woman, where are the stories about you as a victim of this as...

CONWAY: You're not going to see these stories. I...

KURTZ: Why is that?

CONWAY: ...because I'm a Conservative. I work for President Trump and I'm pro-life. Any questions, that's OK. In other words, you have no idea because we live in the bubble. You have no idea how many Americans feel the office that way. I mean, we hear from people all the time, thank you for being a role model and thanks for inspiring my daughters or being a mother of four and doing this, but I don't want this to be about me.

KURTZ: Just to be clear, you think that there are - on one hand, there are media charges, allegations, criticisms against this president of making crude comments about women of being sexist and at the same time you feel like if somebody like you, a Conservative who works for Donald Trump, is the target of such attacks that that doesn't rise to the level of people of being sympathetic?

CONWAY: Well, you said that, but I think it's empirically provable. In fact, there are studies done about it, but in the meantime, I wasn't elected to anything. I'm there to serve the people of this country. And I'm there to -- if I can provide even a modicum of inspiration or help to Americans, men and women, then I'll continue to be there.

But, you know, you've got to see because it happened to Sarah Palin. It even happened to Hillary Clinton back in the day. You guys see most of the attacks that are specious and gratuitous about what women look like or what they wear. It comes from women and people should look at that.

I'm not comfortable telling my three young daughters, Howie or my son for that matter that women are treated the same way. Women are treated a certain way in the public eye in politics, but make no mistake, people say that everyday. If you were a Democrat, if you were Liberal you'd be treated like this.

But, you know what, it wouldn't be because they very much believe in the kind of policies that this president is putting forward and I very much believe in helping people however we can. We are in a bounty blessed position to do so and it doesn't matter what the haters say. It matters what we get done.

KURTZ: Are we locked in this cycle now where there are harsh media attacks on President Trump where he makes harsh attacks in return and the people out there who as you say care about jobs and healthcare and taxes think we're all crazy.

CONWAY: No, but they may - look, their approval ratings in the media is really poor. Their president's approval rating is much higher than the media, so that will tell you something. They also see - they know that the president is doing many things that don't get covered.

What have I said from the beginning, I'll continue to say it others are saying it now. It's not about biased coverage so much as about incomplete coverage. And so, you had two to three networks never even mention the passage of Kate's Law last week. Kate's Law was huge. It's a huge moment for this country.

KURTZ: Kellyanne Conway thanks very much for joining us.

CONWAY: Thank you.

KURTZ: ...here at "Watchman".

CONWAY: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The house passed Kate's Law after the murder of Kate Steinle to toughen penalties on deported illegal immigrants who try to return to the U.S.

After the break, the "New York Times" columnist who says, "Twitter was corrosive as porn", we'll look at the ex-rated indictment in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: The headline was a pure click bait rather unlike the "New York Times," how Twitter pornified politics. Conservative Columnist, Bret Stephens is making the comparison to ex-rated fair saying, "Twitter is degrading the users tend to overwhelm its elevating one.

If pornography is about the naked grunting body, Twitter is about the naked grunting brain." And Stephens is announcing he's getting off Twitter. Joining us now is Shana Glenzer, a technology analyst here in Washington.

SHANA GLENZER, TECHNOLOGY ANALYST: And let's be careful, I have to leave church a little early to come here, so.

KURTZ: This won't be much paperwork.

(LAUGHTER)

KURTZ: All right, so Stephens' argue is that Twitter amplifies ugliness and coarseness debate, you know, it's fast and exciting it's ultimately degrading, is that too dark?

GLENZER: No, I think Twitter provides this release for people and they can go on, they can say whatever they want in short bursts, completely uncensored and they can do it anonymously sometimes. So, yes it does tend to make for a dark, dirty place for people to live in, especially those who are targeted on Twitter.

KURTZ: Exactly. Now, Bret Stephens' argues that it facilitates a form of, in his words, self-righteous, digital bullying, he mentions the president and he is anti-Trump. But, more broadly, a kind of a mob mentality can take hold that can ruin some people's lives.

GLENZER: Yes, I mean - tell me about it. I make a mistake on air sometimes and I, you know, dozens of tweets about how ugly and dumb I am, but you know, that's obviously can go much deeper than that. And, you know, Twitter is a great place to unify people around good but it can also be a lot of piling on hatred.

I mean even this week, a popular musician, Ed Sheeran announced that he is leaving Twitter because he got so many mean tweets from Lady Gaga supporters who thought that they had - he'd insulted their idol.

And so, you know, one of the point humans made which I found interesting was, he called us out for this kind of dirty behavior of taking pleasure in watching the humiliation of others on Twitter. And I -- I feel that we've all been guilty of this kind of base behavior at some point.

KURTZ: Right. That you forget that these are human beings on the other end and even they say or write something stupid, do they deserve the kind of abuse. Again, sometimes they've lost their jobs over this. That concerns me; although, I've - I do think there's a lot of healthy aspect of Twitter too opening up the dialogue. So, a tech columnist, Farhad Manjoo and then also - another columnist where he says it is making the news dumber.

He says there's a lot of group thing, particularly among journalists because journalist tend to flock to Twitter and use it to promote themselves, and that there are so many conspiracy theories on Twitter that sometimes these breakthrough to mainstream media because journalists pick up on unproven garbage basically.

GLENZER: It does seem and there's this trend that journalist are more and more covering things are people talking about that are making it to the trending list on Twitter. And, you know, they feel they're not doing their job if they don't and, you know, furthering, you know, furthering this is the reaction - the coverage that they give to reaction of these stories.

I mean, you know, any Joe SMO can get, you know, Carson Daily to read their tweet on-air on Today's Show for example and so, you know, you've got journalist covering stories that are trending and also then news programs, you know, giving a reaction time to the stories and so it's just one big, you know, dumb circle to author's (ph) point.

KURTZ: Right. So, everybody wants to be cool, so if trending on Twitter, it must be cool so let's talk about it on-the-air and it may not be important enough, is kind of the fine line there.

GLENZER: There is a fine line and I, you know, it's not the one that I think with the rise of Twitter even - given all of the, you know, the dark and dirty parts of Twitter, you know, it's not one that we're going to solve anytime soon.

KURTZ: Yes and we love Twitter but at the same time it can be a rough neighborhood. Shana Glenzer, great to see you.

GLENZER: Thank you.

KURTZ: Thanks for coming by.

Still to come, a firing at Fox Sports and a suspension of Fox Business over allegations of improper conduct.

And a "New York Times" mistake of nuclear proportion.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Fox Business Network has suspended Charles Payne, host and program "Making Money" and he'll remain off-the-air while the network investigates allegations of sexual misconduct. We take interest of this nature extremely seriously and have a zero tolerance policy for any professional misconduct Fox Business had in the statement.

This matter is being thoroughly investigated and we are taking all the appropriate steps to reach a resolution in a timely matter. Now, according to the Los Angeles Times, a married female political analyst who frequently appeared on Payne's Program and who then worked as a CNN Contributor last year, made the allegations last month to Fox's outside law firm.

The woman alleges that Payne coerced her into a three-year affair but she was black pulled (ph) from Fox Business after ending the affair in 2015 according to the LA Times. And that she tried to report the situation to executives at Fox News. Payne's lawyer denies the allegations and the host offered a strong response on Twitter, "that is an ugly lie. I vehemently deny to my core. There is a mountain of proof that also proves it's a lie."

He also tweeted, "I will fight this like a lion armed with truth." The statement National Enquirer which for us reported on the matter, Payne acknowledged a, "romantic affair with the woman," said he was "ashamed and trying to rebuild trust in his marriage and apologize to his wife, children and friends." Now, some websites have identified the woman, but major newspapers have declined and we will decline as well because she is alleging coercion.

I will say this, Fox's Parent Company, 21st Century Fox has shown a determination to move quickly in such cases, a number of cases starting with the lawsuit last year that led to the ouster of the late Roger Ailes.

In a separate matter, Jamie Horowitz, Fox's Head of Sports Programming was fired this week over allegations of sexual harassment as first reported by the LA Times. The Sports Division President told staffers in a letter, "Everyone at Fox Sports no matter what role we play or what business function or show we contribute to should act with respect and a view to professional conduct at all times. These values are non-negotiable.

Horowitz's lawyer, Patricia Glazer said the company's treatment of Horowitz have been appalling and that at no point in his tenure, was there any mention by his superiors or human resources of any misconduct or an ability - inability to adhere to professional conduct. The attorney for Fox counted that this termination was fully warranted and his lawyer's accusations are ill-informed and misguided.

Now, I'm not going to go ballistic over this "New York Times" correction, but after the paper said that North Korea's Government had tweeted that a military exercise between the U.S. and South Korea demonstrated near total ignorance of ballistic science, the paper had to acknowledge that came from a parody Twitter account, boom.

That's it for this edition of "MediaBuzz", I'm Howard Kurtz, thanks for joining. We hope you like our Facebook page, check it out. We post a lot of original content there and respond to your comments, same thing on Twitter @howardkurtz, let's keep the dialogue going, email us mediabuzz@foxnews.com keep it to the media and we will continue the conversation there as well.

You can always DVR us if you miss any part of the program and you can check out our podcast as well. We'll see you here next Sunday 11:00 Eastern, every Sunday morning. Look forward to talking to you then with the latest buzz.

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