Fair coverage for Trump, Moore, Franken?

This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," November 26, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On buzz meter this Sunday, television icon Charlie Rose fired by three networks after a devastating report in The Washington Post.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CBS News and PBS take Charlie Rose off the air after at least eight women accused him of sexual harassment.

GAYLE KING, CBS NEWS: They called and said are you OK? I am not okay. After reading that article in The Post, it was deeply disturbing, troubling, and painful for me to read.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: Rose apologizes for inappropriate behavior, but how did his misconduct stay secret for so long? This as The New York Times suspends star White House correspondent Glenn Thrush over harassment allegations.
And as Roy Moore accuser Leigh Corfman goes on NBC, President Trump defends the embattled Alabama senate candidate and is denounced by many of the pundits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

LEIGH CORFMAN, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: He basically laid out some blankets on the floor of his living room and proceeded to seduce me. I guess you would say. And during the course of that, he removed my clothing.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Let me just tell you, Roy Moore denies it. And by the way, he totally denies it.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC: The president of the United States effectively endorsed an accused child molester for U.S. Senate. I'm just going to repeat that to let it sink in.

JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS: The lesson if you listen to what the president said is, if you deny the allegations, you get the benefit of the doubt in politics. That is a strange --

JOHN HEILEMANN, NBC NEWS: Donald trump didn't seem to find problem to be on the side of neo-Nazis and apparently he doesn't see a problem being on the side of the accused child predators either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump obviously taking a pragmatic approach to the Alabama senate race. A Republican victory would at least ensure the senate GOP would preserve its majority by the its current margin.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: What is behind this tsunami of criticism for the president? This as three more women accused Al Franken of probing them. He keeps on apologizing. And Congressman John Conyers admits settling a former staffer suit that included claims of sexual harassment. Is the press covering these cases fairly?

Plus, Trump getting into Twitter words with NFL protester Marshawn Lynch and the father of UCLA basketball player the president got sprung from Chinese custody. The pundits scorecard says he's picking the wrong fights, but is that true? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "Media Buzz."

After President Trump's initial statement that Roy Moore should get out of the Alabama senate race if the sexual misconduct allegations against him are true, he suddenly seems to shift his stance. That was after Leigh Corfman, who first told The Washington Post that Moore sexually accosted her when she was 14 appeared on "The Today Show" and explain why she did not speak out when Moore first got into politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CORFMAN: My children were small. I was a single parent. And when you're in that situation, you do everything you can to protect your own. So when The Washington Post sought me out, I didn't come looking for this. This fell in my lap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: When the president took questions from reporters, he made clear he wanted the former judge in the senate over Democrat Doug Jones.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat, Jones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is an accused child molester better than a Democrat?
It is an accused child molester better than a Democrat?

TRUMP: Well, he denies it. He denies it. I mean, if you look at what is really going on and you look at all the things that have happened over the last 48 hours, he totally denies it. He says it did not happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: And the New York tabloids reacting with these headlines. Striking the same theme. Joining us now to analyze the coverage: Ellison Barber, Fox News correspondent here in Washington; Gayle Trotter, political commentator who contributes to The Daily Caller and The Hill; and Juan Williams, co- host of The Five.

Ellison, President Trump's comments as we just saw causing a huge media uproar, because he was seen as essentially endorsing Roy Moore in the Alabama race. Has the White House pushed back on that?

ELLISON BARBER, FOX NEWS: It's a non-endorsement endorsement. Initially you had the White House saying, as we heard earlier, saying that if these allegations are true, he should step down. And they repeatedly said that President Trump wants the voters of Alabama to decide.
He had noticeably not said anything about it until those comments on the south lawn.

Then you had the comments on the South Lawn. Then you had him tweet again today that it's better than a Pelosi or Schumer puppet. So, I mean, there is only so much they can push back at some point. The White House can say as much as they want that he wants the voters of Alabama to decide, whatever, that if he thinks the allegations are true, then he should step down.

I believe they have also said that he considered the allegations troubling.
It doesn't really matter when President Trump comes out and then says what he has said. I think we have to take his words more than anything from the press secretary.

KURTZ: Gale, much of the media are portraying this is a dramatic shift for President Trump. And they say, well, if he is essentially siding with Roy Moore or attacking a Democrat which is kind of the same thing, that shows he doesn't care about these sexual harassment allegations. Is that a lift
(ph) the president making?

GAYLE TROTTER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That is a lift (ph). And just think about what you said, his previous position was that if the allegations were true, he should step down. And then when he spoke to the press this week, he said that he totally denied it. Forty years was a long time ago. There have been multiple races where this hasn't come up.

So I would say he has changed his position. And when asked by the media specifically was he going to go down to Alabama and campaign for Roy Moore, he said I will decide next week. So, saying that he has taken a different position is an unfair characterization and saying that he is endorsing Roy Moore is inconsistent as well with the facts.

KURTZ: The press does not seem to be buying that argument. They are saying that in effect and this is not everybody in journalism, but many say that in effect, if he is saying the Democrat is terrible and you got to listen to Roy Moore's denials, he is kind of sending a signal. So is there a leak
(INAUDIBLE) question I asked Gayle?

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS: No, I think you have to put it in the political context, Howie, and the political context is this. Remember, President Trump did not back Judge Moore in the republican primary in the state of Alabama.

KURTZ: Right.

WILLIAMS: He picked the incumbent, the appointee Luther Strange. So, what you get is a situation where then once Roy Moore won the seat, there was pressure on him, I think he felt somewhat, you know, hey maybe I made the wrong call earlier. My base is with Judge Moore. The (INAUDIBLE) community is strong there.

KURTZ: Is the press reading him right? Is the press --

WILLIAMS: I think they're right.

KURTZ: -- interpreting what he is doing here with --

WILLIAMS: I do not think there is any question that Steve Bannon who has been involved in this and is part of the push in the press by the way at Breitbart, to get people to look at Roy Moore differently has also influenced President Trump.

So, while it may be fear (ph), as Gayle points out, I have to say, well, he really hasn't changed. I think the statement that he made going out to the helicopter before the Thanksgiving holiday was far more aggressive and public in terms of support for Moore than anything that he had done before.

BARBER: I think part of the context too is President Trump did not speak about it until the south lawn. So in terms of did he change is a matter of he said this, his press team said this.

KURTZ: Many of these politicians try to avoid the media allegations. So for example, Roy Moore, the initial radio conversation with Sean Hannity, has not talked to a journalist. Now he may be can do that, of course he got twice as many accusers now as in the beginning, but the president is constantly in photo ops and opportunities, he ultimately does not have that option, does he? Just saying nothing?

BARBER: Not necessarily. Sometimes, you see instances where reporters shout questions and he keeps walking by, so he can certainly strategically avoid them if he wants or not answer. I do think whether people love or hate President Trump, I think the most thing that everyone agrees on is that he usually does not, I don't think, usually ignore a whole lot of questions.

I think when the questions are thrown at him sometimes, I think his press office would wish that he doesn't. I think he usually answers or responds with Twitter or whatever. He usually is better about responding. That is why it was particularly notable initially and why so many people talked about ho he hadn't commented on Roy Moore.

KURTZ: He engages with reporters a lot more than he used to. More than most presidents, I must say. Now, you've seen stories, segments trying to resurrect the harassment allegations against Donald Trump himself. About a dozen women who made these allegations at the end of the campaign last year. He has called them horrible liars. Is it fair or unfair for the media now to revive that issue?

TROTTER: Certainly relevant for the media to bring that up, because it is historically interesting and it gives color to the story, and it certainly gives an insight into what President Trump is thinking. And if he truly believes that these women were liars, then that could show why he would be more likely to support Roy Moore and think that there should be a presumption of innocence.

And like Juan was saying, I was a little surprised that he did not come out and say, well, I was right, I supported the challenger to Roy Moore. And like Ellison was saying, there is no filter on him and so he has the ability to go out there and say that. It is a little surprising that he didn't say, hey, I was right, you should have listened to me.

WILLIAMS: I think what surprised me too to pick up on this point is, that he then opened the door to the media criticism of his past and going back.
Now the argument would be that voters are different than a private employer. You mentioned some cases at the top of the show, Charlie Rose, Glenn Thrush and others. These are people who are in the public eye, but they really work for a private enterprise, a media organization.

KURTZ: There is no verdict by the voters.

WILLIAMS: Correct. But here with President Trump, there was a verdict by the voters. And some people say, well, does that mean that they were judge and jury with regard to the sexual harassment claims? Or did they prefer him as president? I don't know if they were truly judge and jury, but I think lots of people in President Trump's camp say, that issue is dead because the voters --

KURTZ: Yes, I don't say that, some people misinterpreted what I said on the show last week, just noting that there was an election at these allegations. Ivanka Trump certainly has said she believes the women involved. The president is taking a different stance. And I guess, you know, that does lead lots of questions of why these women accused you.

You say that they are not telling the truth and maybe he is skeptical of Roy Moore. Let me go a little more here because the spotlight now is shifting to the Democrats. If I can just go through, three more accusers since last week saying that Senator Al Franken grabbed them. But in photo ap, one picture of one woman, at least we can put that up, Linsay Menz. He has apologized again. He said he crossed line. And senator is going to talk to Minnesota reporters later today.

Eighty-eight-year-old John Conyers, Democrat, dean of the House actually, first reported by BuzzFeed that he secretly used $27,000 taxpayers money to settle a former staffer suite that included allegations of sexual harassment. He denies it. In terms of media coverage, is this all becoming a blur? Is it muddying the waters about who did what?

BARBER: I do not know if I would say a blur. I guess it depends on how you think of blurt? I think in terms of just the amount of information that is being thrown at a reader, maybe there is a lot to process and digest. I feel like everyday, I am trying to keep up with it.

KURTZ: Right, and we do this for a living.

BARBER: Right.

KURTZ: But also, are there important distinctions to be made about the level of conduct or harassment compared to people who have been accused of sexual assault or rape?

BARBER: Yes, absolutely. I think the difference can be seen usually in the reporting. I think that is the reporters job, is to accurately portray sort of where this falls and whether it is child molester, rape accusation or something else, but that doesn't mean it should be covered simply because there are other major --

WILLIAMS: Right. Let me just say. Another distinction to be made, in the Conyers case, the allegation -- I think it is more of an allegation now.
You could correct me if I'm wrong. He used taxpayer dollars --

KURTZ: No, that's a fact.

WILLIAMS: that is office funds to buy off or silence --

KURTZ: Yes.

WILLIAMS: -- this woman.

KURTZ: This was just a couple of years ago and it was done in secret.

WILLIAMS: Right. That is the case, that is different than what we are talking about. Other cases, I do not know about settlements, but the idea that you're using public funds, if that is not an exception, not common practice on Capitol Hill, I think that is a problem. And that is why the Detroit Free Press in their editorial call for him to resign.

KURTZ: Yes, because there's a clear public interest here because of taxpayer money. But now you have this other case involving Republican Congressman Joe Barton of Texas. InfoWars posted a naked picture of the congressman that he had sent to a girlfriend, consensual relationship.

The Washington Post has a recording of Barton telling the woman he would report to Capitol police if she tries to expose him. But some people are saying Joe Barton is kind of a victim here of revenge porn.

TROTTER: It is hard to see that he is a victim of anything besides his own stupidity. And when you look at a public figure like this in a position of power, in a position of public notoriety, and you look at the privacy laws that govern this kind of rape or porn revenge statute, then it is hard to say how that will play out with someone like this.

KURTZ: Yes. I just want to point that he is not accused of harassing anyone, but certainly may be guilty of the conduct, as yo said. Let me get a break here. When we come back, Frank Luntz will join us on whether people trust all this reporting on this sexual harassment allegations. Later, we will look at the journalism that prompted three networks to fire Charlie Rose and how CBS handled it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: New controversy brewing over President Trump's latest attack on CNN.
Joining us now is Frank Luntz, the veteran political analyst and republican pollster.

Frank, let me put this tweet from yesterday up on the screen. Fox News is much more in the us than CNN, says the president, but outside of the U.S.,
CNN International is still a major source of (fake) news, and they
represent our nation to the world very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them.

CNN responded, that is not CNN's job to represent the U.S. to the world.
That is yours. Our job is to report the news.

Does this kind of thing potentially hurt CNN and correspondence around the world? That the president is so publicly blasting network?

FRANK LUNTZ, POLITICAL ANALYST AND POLLSTER: Well, it undercuts the credibility, but I think at least to a bigger point. We are ending a year that we never dreamed we were going to have. That we would had more contention, more anger, more division.

And the media has a responsibility to report the truth, but that responsibility is essential. And when you undercut them, when it becomes impossible to look at CNN or read The New York Times and simply not trust it, then we have a problem.

KURTZ: So you're making the leap that many people will not trust CNN because of the constant barrage of fake news. And of course he also says always say nice things about Fox, which makes people think that Fox is on the president.

LUNTZ: I'm not making a leap.

KURTZ: Yes.

LUNTZ: Had this on the focus group that I do, the public simply doesn't trust the media anymore. And that's a mistake, because without an effective efficient media, how do we know what is truth? How do we get our news?

I'm very concerned that the fundamental aspects of our democracy are under threat, which means the news organizations have to be more accurate. They have to be more careful. And most importantly, they have to be more accountable. But just trashing them day after day is not helpful to democracy.

KURTZ: So in the case of Roy Moore, for example, you have nine women who did not know each other making these accusations. He has chosen to attack The Washington Post. One of his aides said it was a worthless piece of crap. The Post didn't report all of these allegations, many of them. Do you think that this is having an impact on Alabama Republicans who are more inclined to distrust the media and believe these women?

LUNTZ: That is the whole problem. If this had been Bill Clinton, imagine what the Republicans would have said. They would have demanded his impeachment, his resignation. But it is perfectly acceptable if it is a Republican or at least they turned a blind eye. That is not right.

KURTZ: And the same thing with because you Democrats like Al Franken and John Conyers, Republicans would criticize them, conservatives and Democrats will hold back a bit but more likely to criticize Moore or president himself.

LUNTZ: If you're going to drain the swamp, that is Republicans and Democrats alike, if you sever the country, you don't sever one-third of the country, you serve every American. And in these focus groups I am doing, the level of distrust and anger is even higher today than it was on election day.

And frankly, we have a president and a congress and a news media where all of us are responsible for this level of cynicism and it is only getting worse.

KURTZ: Now, Charlie Rose in 24 hours have lost his positions at CBS, PBS, Bloomberg over the sexual misconduct allegations. You've been interviewed by him many time. You've been a consultant at CBS News for half-dozen years? What do make of what happened?


LUNTZ: I think of what it means. He was the most respected journalist in America one week ago when you last had you show. And today he is the least respected. What does that do for our faith and confidence in the democratic processes? At some point, you start to see it unraveling. And people say well, it is not civil war, it is the revolutionary war. We have had worse times. The fact is we never had worse times in the TV air.

KURTZ: Briefly was a great personal disappointment to you because you know Charlie and have worked with him.

LUNTZ: You know, it's funny. I don't see it from my own personal perspective, I see it from a national perspective, and it is a tragedy. And I love how Gayle King handled it, because she spoke straight to the camera without a teleprompter and she spoke from her heart.

KURTZ: We are going to get to that in just a few moments, and we will see you a little bit later in the program. Frank, thanks very much. Ahead, The New York Times suspends White House reporter Glenn Thrush after another story of allege sexual harassment. But up next, the fate of CNN after the Justice Department tried to block a big mega merger. And President Trump taunts Time over the upcoming "Person of the Year."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: President Trump says he is taking a pass on Times's "Person of the Year" honor after winning last year, Trump tweeted, but the magazine called to say he would probably be named, but would have to agree to do an interview with a major photo shoot, and he said probably that is not good enough.

Now, Time called that account inaccurate and the pick will remain secret until early December. What exactly is the magazine denying? Time does arrange advance interviews and photo sessions with the finalist. So, is president trying to save face or just working the refs here?

The future of CNN got murkier this week as the Justice Department filed suit to block AT&T from taking over the network's parent company Time Warner. And President Trump, well, let's just he approved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The AT&T-Time Warner merger, sir -- what do you think about it?

TRUMP: Well, I'm not going to get involved in litigation. But, personally, I've always felt that was a deal that's not good for the county. I think your pricing is going to go up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Trump has made no secret of his disdain for CNN, so some media outlets suggest that is what is behind the lawsuit. But the DOJ, whether it is prodded by Trump or not, raises some key issues in trying to block this
$85 billion merger. AT&T will control a lot of content including HBO and TNT which had a lot of sports.

And because the company already owns direct TV, Justice argues it would mean higher monthly TV for for consumers. AT&T says that is nonsense, but these are perfectly reasonable anti-trust concerns. If the Trump administration didn't take over, CNN will just keep operating as it has been and probably keep ticking off the president.

Some pundits have had fun with Rand Paul over that attacked by his neighbor that left him with six broken ribs. Now, the senator's wife, Kelley, says in CNN op-ed that her husband has not taken a single breath without pain and has pneumonia. She dismisses concocted theories about some ongoing landscaping dispute with the neighbor.

"It is incredibly hurtful that some news outlets have victimized Rand a second time as he struggles to recover, delighting in hateful headlines like 'not a perfect neighbor.' This was not a scuffle, a fight, or an altercation, as many in the media falsely described it. It was a deliberate, blindside attack." Well, she's right. And that hurts.

Ahead, the president generates more headlines by punching back at sports figures. Is that just a distraction? But first, the stunningly swift downfall of Charlie Rose and his media empire.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE ROSE, TELEVISION JOURNALIST AND TALK SHOW HOST: Today, a New Yorker article online by Ronan Farrow shares accounts from several women who have come forward about sexual harassment and assault.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: It took just 24 hours for CBS to fire Charlie Rose as the morning co-anchor and "60 Minutes" correspondent and for PBS and Bloomberg to drop his nightly talk show. This after The Washington Post reported eight woman saying he groped them, walked around naked, and engaged in other forms of sexual misconduct. Post reporter Amy Brittain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMY BRITTAIN, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Within the office, this is relatively pretty well known. And I think that many of them have a tremendous fear about speaking out against someone who is powerful as Mr.
Rose.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Rose said in a statement, I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior. I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe all these allegations are accurate.

Rose's former colleagues in CBS this morning tackled the issue head on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GAYLE KING, CBS NEWS: I have held him in such high regard and I'm really struggling because how do you -- what do you say when somebody that you deeply care about has done something that is so horrible?
How do you wrap your brain around that?

NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS NEWS: Let me be very clear, there is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: CBS News spoke to three unidentified women at the network who made allegations, one saying Rose whispered a sexual innuendo while inappropriately touching her and former Rose intern Sarah Gordon told NBC he once showed her a sexually charged movie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH GORDON, FORMER CHARLIE ROSE INTERN: And he proceeded to turn on the film, "Secretary," which is a, you know, sexually involved film involving sex (ph) and unfortunately -- and he asked me how does this make you feel?
You know, (INAUDIBLE) does it turn you on? That kind of stuff.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Joining our panel now from New York is Liz Claman who anchors "Countdown to the Closing Bell" at 3 p.m. Eastern on the Fox Business Network. Liz, despite Charlie Rose's stature in the business, 24 hours and he lost all of his media empire really. What does that tell you?

LIZ CLAMAN, FBN: It tells me that the atmosphere right now enables a situation that has not been allowed to get out there in a long time. But it is also quite interesting to see and terrifying for anybody who either is accused of this or knows in their mind and yet hasn't been outed yet. That they too may be up for scrutiny on this issue, and that is that careers will be erased if this type of behavior is outed or it continues.

And that's pretty fascinating. I mean, it's the title of the show as Mediabuzz, the power of the press appears at this point when it comes to this thread of discussion, never to have been greater. The power of the press right now enables an article to come out and say the "Washington post," the "New York Times" or a piece on "Vox" one day, and the next they sometimes even that night, people's careers have been vaporized.

They not only lose their shows, as you know Howie, but they will lose any affiliations. You know, the big news over the weekend was that Charlie Rose just had two journalistic accolades taken away from him from the Cronkite School and another journalism school in Kansas. And that really speaks volumes. People don't want to touch this anymore and that culture of silence is now very loudly out there.

KURTZ: Right. You know, I've been interviewed on Charlie Rose's show a few times. He is very talented broadcaster and yet, when you read the graphic details in this "Washington Post" story, I was not surprised that this all happened so quickly. But this new atmosphere you talk about do you think it can go too far? Do you think it's a healthy development?

CLAMAN: Well, you know, you can't suddenly conflate every single situation that's coming out there. There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to do that.
Put them all on the same level playing field. Charlie Rose is not Harvey Weinstein. And Harvey Weinstein is a criminal type of situation where there can be allegations of rape.

We got to be careful about putting every single one of these. Marc Halperin for example is not the same as a Louis C.K. who is not the same as a Kevin Spacey. The Kevin Spacey and the Harvey Weinstein's of the world dealing with actual actionable situations where there could be a criminal case, but we haven't seen any trial. We've seen no arrests. We have seen no indictments.

And I think that people have to be careful about this. Nonetheless, that culture of silence has gone away and people are concerned now that, you know, be careful of what you say and what you do in the workplace.

KURTZ: Most of the original allegations, Gayle Trotter, were about Charlie's PBS show which he kind of ran as a private (INAUDIBLE). But with CBS News reporting is more recent allegations and the three women not identified who work in CBS, how significant was that?

TROTTER: Oh, very significant because we're seeing -- I think Americans are disgusted that the entire entertainment, media and political world are infested with these men who are taking advantage of their privileged positions of power to abuse women who are relying on them and trusting them.

And so, when we see this happening in the media industry, we see a fundamental shift in reporting of this because they see that it's infesting them and you see it at CBS, you see it at NPR, you see at PBS, you see at all of these other media organizations and this is -- Harvey Weinstein was a tipping point.

KURTZ: Ironically, a longtime producer of Charlie Rose's PBS show, Yvette Vega, she told the Washington Post that she failed because some of these women went to her with these complaints and she did not help them. And she says that she should have. It's not easy covering these allegations at your own news organization, believe me, but Juan Williams, Gayle King, and Norah O'Donnell, you know, led off the show two straight days and spoke out very strongly. That's the guy who they sat with for six years as a friend and colleague, that's hard.

WILLIAMS: I think it's very hard now. I was very impressed with Gayle King because she spoke not only to the camera but from the heart and saying that this is someone that she deeply admired, but that he had engaged in horrific behavior and I think there's an important point to be made here about the power differential, that while these events did not occur at CBS or PBS, they took place in his own company. His company produced the Charlie Rose Show and then syndicated it essentially to PBS. And so he had power over these women. So it was a power differential.

KURTZ: And some of them were applying for jobs. Let me turn to this other story, the New York Times this week suspending star White House correspondent Glenn Thrush who is also an MSNBC contributor and has been portrayed on SNL.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN THRUSH, NEW YORK TIMES WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sarah, sort of a followup on what you were talking about, our obsession with Russia and responsibility --

MELISSA MCCARTHY, ACTRESS: Glenn Thrush, New York Times, boom! Go ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Laura McGann wrote on the website Vox that Thrush when they both worked for "Politico" once tried to kiss her and put his hand on her thigh after drinks in a Virginia bar. And she interviewed two other women who complained of unwanted advances. The Times said his behavior was not in keeping with the paper's values.

And Thrush, while disputing McGann's own account said, I apologize to any woman who felt uncomfortable in my presence and for any situation where I behaved inappropriately. Any behavior that makes a woman feel disrespected or uncomfortable is unacceptable.

And Liz you were saying we have to make this distinctions but you know, Thrush essentially was accused of being overly aggressive in many of these cases. There's not a case where it's consensual. Is that in a different category and is that perhaps why the New York Times is just suspending him at this time?

CLAMAN: It is in a different category. But the most egregious thing perhaps about say for example a Glenn Thrush is the pattern where he would be at events off-site from the New York Times, he would get people inebriated or they of their own volition would do so. Then he'd toss a twenty to somebody who was there as a third person say take a cab a home I'll pay for it so I can be alone with this person.

Remember, Harvey Weinstein tossed a $100 bill at a kitchen person or a dishwasher and said get out of the kitchen while I'm giving this woman a tour. And then, he would make his move. That is very different from the Harvey Weinstein situation but in the end, perhaps the most egregious situation about Glenn Thrush is the scores of woman he may have deterred from entering the journalism world. We'll never know what great stories they would have broken or how they would have contributed to the world of journalism.

That said, the New York Times came armed and prepared as did CBS. And let me just quickly add this, I thought CBS's David Rhodes, the president, handled it really well because the point he made was, and I even wrote it down. He said, despite Charlie's important journalistic contribution, there is nothing more important than enduring the safe and, you know, professional workplace. But a supportive environment where people feel they can do their best work.

KURTZ: Right.

CLAMAN: There is no criminal part here.

KURTZ: Right.

CLAMAN: But if you run a business, it's criminal if people are being prevented from doing their best work, and the company loses money.

KURTZ: Just briefly, Gayle, Glenn thrush said that he has a drinking problem, that he's seeking treatment for alcoholism and the New York Times is supporting that, so that's a big step.

TROTTER: Well, if that's acceptable. I mean, we've seen a lot of excuses by these powerful men about, you know, Kevin Spacey said well, I'm gay, and we've had many people tried to come up with excuses for why that they've engaged in this behavior. But the truth is, it's great that the media have changed and are finally reporting on this because there are credible allegations, patterns of behavior and it's not going to be tolerated anymore.

KURTZ: All right. Gayle Trotter, Juan Williams, Liz Claman in New York.
Thanks very much for joining us.

And the parent company of Fox News which has had its own high profile problems with sexual misconduct allegations reached a settlement this week.
If approved by a judge, 21st Century Fox will receive $90 million to settle claims by a shareholder. The money will come from insurance companies covering Fox executives and Fox directors and from the estate of the late Fox News chairman Roger Ailes. Fox also agreed to create a council to improve the work place environment.

Coming up, President Trump in a Twitter war with a seemingly ungrateful sports dad whose son was freed from Chinese custody, and later, why the social media czars are ticking off just about everyone.

(COMMERCIAL BHREAK)

KURTZ: President Trump is back on the sports battlefield for persuading Chinese President Xi to free three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting. Trump was not pleased when LaVar Ball, a father of one player refused to thank him. Now that the three basketball players are out of China and safe from years in jail says the president, LaVar Ball, father of LiAngelo is unaccepting of what I did for his son and that shoplifting is no big deal. I should have left them in jail. We have a sound bite here?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: But he thinks that he did something for the boys and he should be thanked and instead you took a shot at him.

LAVAR BALL, FATHER OF LIANGELO BALL: OK, fine. If he thinks it, that's fine. If he thinks -- I didn't took a shot at him.

CUOMO: You did.

BALL: Somebody asked me a question, man. I give them my opinion. But I ain't taking no shot of the president. For what? I don't know him like that.

CUOMO: It sounded like you were taking a shot at the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The president sure is taking shots at him calling LaVar Ball an ungrateful fool. And we're back with Frank Luntz, big sports fan. So the president is ticked off. The media hate it when the President Trump gets into his twitter spats, but they can't get enough of it. And so that became
-- that sort of really got traction.

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER: Well, the problem is that no sports fan wants politics to intervene on the court, on the field.

KURTZ: Good luck with that.

LUNTZ: And no politician wants sports to intervene with -- I'll be curious to see whether people turn off this segment. What bothers me about this --

KURTZ: Only if you don't keep the interest level up.

LUNTZ: What bothers me about this is that with everything that's going on in the world, in Washington, across the globe, that this becomes some big issue that it makes its way onto the news pages of the newspaper.

KURTZ: But the president wants it to be a big issue. He thrives on things like that and the press portrays this as a character flaw. Why is he punching down on an odd ball like LaVar Ball? Must be he hadn't heard of --

LUNTZ: But in this case --

KURTZ: --but reporters have a different view of these bites.

LUNTZ: Right but in this case, I think Donald Trump is correct. Why do not show humility? Why do not express thanks to a president whether or not you like or dislike them? They president still intervened. He went out of his way and those kids could have been in serious trouble and I remind LaVar ball that his son broke the law. His son was a criminal in a foreign country. That was a stupid thing to do and the president still acted to protect --

KURTZ: I agree with you on the substance. I still can't wrap my head around why a simple thank you was not -- why he was not capable of that.
So, in other sports related thing, big football fan. Here is another tweet from the president. Remember the Oakland Raiders, Marshawn Lynch of the NFL's Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican anthem and sits down to boos for our national anthem. Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.

Now, I personally think that a lot of the media don't like Trump pushing these NFL protest. I think it's worked well for him. It's controversial, but a lot of his supporters like it. But to suggest that a particular player be suspended or potentially suspended, does that cross a line?

LUNTZ: Let me take you back to Richard Nixon when supposedly he had a play given to Coach Allen and everybody went nuts. What the hell is the president giving plays to a coach?

KURTZ: Right.

LUNTZ: You know, the American people agree with Trump on this and it has caused a lot of damage for the NFL. That said, is this what a president should be doing? And particularly when you're protesting if there is a military person singing the national anthem, which is what happened this last Thursday at a Redskins stadium. And the player says, hey, I'm trying to draw attention to what's happening in the black community.

KURTZ: Right. Yes.

LUNTZ: There is a right way and a wrong way to do that. Just as these twitter wars are wrong, not standing for the national anthem is wrong. I believe we have to respect the players and the messages they're sending.
Just do it the right way at the right time for the right reasons.

KURTZ: Football fan, Frank Luntz, thanks very much for joining us. After the break, what is it now it seems that everybody hates Facebook and Twitter and Google? Steve Hilton on whether we should we blame the tech giants or ourselves?

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KURTZ: How do we reach a point where the big tech companies that everyone used to admire now so unpopular? I spoke earlier with Steve Hilton, the tech entrepreneur and host of Fox's "The Next Revolution" from Los Angeles.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KURTZ: Steve Hilton, welcome.

STEVE HILTON, FOX NEWS: Good to be with you, Howie.

KURTZ: Twitter, Google, Facebook, I mean these were the hot new companies, the glittering brand names with cool CEO's. Now, everybody seems to be mad at them. What happened?

HILTON: It's interesting isn't it because as you say, it's everyone. It's the left and the right. Everyone, whichever way you look at it. These big tech companies are too powerful and the way that they use their power is harmful to what they foresee to be the public interest. If you look at particularly a company like Facebook I think in the firing line, particularly from the left over what they perceive to be the platform's role in helping the Russians to swing the election against Hillary Clinton and for Donald Trump.

But if you look on the other side, you've got Republicans who believe that these big tech companies are run by die-hard liberals who are using their power over the information that we consume and the way that people connect with each other to push an agenda of liberal values. And so I think all of these problems really are a consequence of the massive success of these companies in producing tools and products that billions of people around the world want to use.

KURTZ: Right. Yes, they've all been dragged into this special counsel's investigation for allowing phony Russian sites access and taking ads from these Russians or Kremlin-linked groups. Even Google and Facebook now saying they'd be willing to take some federal regulation of online ads. But why can't they do a better job of policing their own content? Is it because they cling to this fiction that they're not really media companies when in fact they are among the most powerful media companies on earth?

HILTON: Well there are two parts I think. The first answer is there is just so much of it that the sheer scale of the content, the number of hours of content that's uploaded every second to YouTube, the amount of, you know, think about of the 2 billion people using Facebook. It's just so much that actually it's very difficult to police that or, you know, using automated means because even though we hear a lot these days about artificial intelligence and what's called machine learning and natural language processing where computers if you like try and understand the meaning of different words and trying then understand what's going on.

Actually, all that is still in its infancy and so to police the content for example, to spark terrorist plotting or child abuse, those sorts of things.
Actually, it's pretty difficult.

KURTZ: I get it. I get that it's a fact of life --

HILTON: On the other hand, if you want to do this manually, it costs a huge, you know, you go to employ not just tens of thousands but hundreds of thousands of people. That would be their argument. That's just really difficult to do.

KURTZ: Well, they make lots of money. It's about money. They don't want to spend the money. I guess Facebook are now going to hire another 10,000 fact checkers. It's just interesting you talk about these companies getting badder from the left and the right. Twitter is now going to remove the blue verification for prominent people if in Twitter's judgment those people post hateful or racist messages.

When you get into hateful, you start attacking politicians, is that hateful? Could they come under fire for exercising that judgment in a way that's controversial particularly as you say these Silicon Valley companies are perceived as being run by liberals?

HILTON: Yes, it's a really big issue. And I think one of the arguments that you hear a lot from the right particularly is that there is a double standard. Their judgment, the company's judgment of what is hateful actually is driven by their politics. So for example ads that promote pro- life position are considered to be provocative, and hate speech, and you've seen that. You've seen YouTube getting into hot water over classifying conservative philosophical instruction videos as contravening their guidelines.

KURTZ: Final point, are we all partially to blame? Do we give these tech companies and these sites too much of our time, too much of our information and then we grumble about it?

HILTON: Yes, I think that is right. On the next revolution, we regularly come back to this point about the impact of technology on our humanity and it's something I feel very strongly about. I wrote a book about it. I advocate -- I don't use a smart phone for example. I haven't had a smartphone for five years and I live perfectly without it.

KURTZ: How do you survive? You live here in Silicon Valley. You don't use a smartphone. This is a revelation!

HILTON: I don't use and I haven't for five years and life goes on. It's perfectly fine. And so I'm really concerned about the way there are phones in particular have made people basically addicted to this technology. But that doesn't absolve the companies from their own responsibility whether it's in terms of their market power, their dominance over a particular market for example online advertising or their power over information.

And I think that they definitely need to take all these issues much more seriously than they have in the past. I think to be fair to them, they are realizing that now and they are starting to think much more deeply about their broadest social impact.

KURTZ: Steve, I'm sorry. I lost track of what you're saying I was just checking my feed here. Steve Hilton, thanks very much for joining us. Great to see you.

HILTON: Great to see you. Thanks, Howie.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KURTZ: Life goes on. Still to come, Newsweek and a new low in comparing Donald Trump to the most evil people on the planet.

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KURTZ: Even in the media and entertainment culture that feels free to compare to Donald Trump to the worst villains in human history, this was a new low. Newsweek used this week's death of Charles Manson to compare the president to the cult leader, who happen to be a mass murderer. This utterly illogical connection rested on one psychologist who said both Trump and Manson use emotional anguish to appeal to alienated people or something.

But even the person said he wasn't comparing Trump and Manson though that did not stop Newsweek. The magazine later deleted all references to the president saying the original piece didn't meet its editorial standards which were sadly missing in action. Just pathetic.

Well that's it for this edition of "Mediabuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. We hope you're all enjoying a good Thanksgiving weekend. Check out our Facebook page. You can read my day columns and videos there. I respond to some of your comments, mediabuzz@foxnews.com if you want to write to us, @HowardKurtz if you want to continue the debate on Twitter. Well, we're back here next Sunday. See you then 11 o'clock Eastern with the latest buzz.

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