Covering the shock of mass shootings

This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," August 4, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: This is a Fox News alert. At least 29 people have died in two shootings in two different American cities in less than 24 hours. The numbers are just stunning. We begin with a late-night shooting in Dayton, Ohio that has left nine people dead. Matt Finn has the latest. Matt?

MATT FINN, FOX NEWS CHANNEL NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Howie. The latest out today, the mayor now says 10 people are dead, 27 people were injured at local hospitals. Right now, the area around the shooting is blocked off as police investigate this massacre. It happened around 1:00 a.m. in Dayton's popular Oregon District that was filled with people at bars and restaurants.

Police say the unidentified shooter came prepared with body armor and extra magazines. Police were in the area and responded in about a minute, shooting and killing the suspect. The motive of the shooting is unknown. The FBI is assisting local authorities. One witness describes the terrifying scene. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY PULLEN, WITNESS: All of a sudden, people start running, and that's when I started hearing shots fire. A lot of people on the backside were falling, a lot of people getting trampled.


FINN: The shooting happened in Dayton's Oregon District, which is considered a safer part of town, a historic area. Some people in the area said the night life was so loud. There were thousands of people out. It was hard to make out the sound of the gunfire. Dayton's mayor is now praising the rapid response of police.


MAYOR NAN WHALEY, DAYTON, OHIO: If Dayton police had not gotten to the shooter in under a minute -- and figure that 26 injured, nine dead -- hundreds of people in the Oregon District could be dead today.


FINN: Right now, three patients are listed in serious conditions. Some will be undergoing surgery soon. The president a short while ago tweeted that information is rapidly accumulating in this investigation, Howie.

KURTZ: Matt Finn, thanks. The shooting in Ohio comes just hours after at least 20 people were killed by a shooter in Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Jeff Paul is live in El Paso with the latest. Jeff?

JEFF PAUL, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Howard, authorities are still here at the Walmart in El Paso where the shooting happened and they tell us they plan to be here for quite a while. They say this is not only a horrific and devastating scene but it is also a massive one, so it's going to take some time to methodically and thoughtfully go through all of the evidence that scattered throughout the Walmart area in and around where the shooting happened.

What makes this shooting a little more unique compared to some other ones is that it happened around 10:30 a.m. local time and there were about, according to some estimates, 3,000 people shopping. They are taking advantage of the tax-free holiday, doing some back to school shopping.

Witnesses say the suspected shooter, a 21-year-old white male, who we aren't identifying, was shooting at anyone who was moving. Some ran for their lives understandably while others stayed behind to try to get as many as they could to safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I was putting the babies before myself because I just thought about if I had a child and if I wasn't around my child, how I would want another man to react if they saw my child running around without me around.

PAUL: Investigators are looking into the possibility that this shooting could be categorized as a hate crime. They are looking at this manifesto that might have been written by the suspected shooter. Officials who have read it describe racist and anti-immigrant language, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): This is disgusting, intolerable, it's not Texan, and we are going to aggressively prosecute both as capital murder but also as a hate crime, which is exactly what it appears to be without having seen all the evidence yet.

PAUL: Now, dozens were hurt in the shooting. Today, medical officials are calling for even more blood to be donated to help those who have survived, Howard.

KURTZ: Jeff, thanks very much. Joining us now here in New York: Ben Domenech, founder and publisher of The Federalist; Liz Claman anchors "The Claman Countdown," weekdays at 3:00 on Fox Business; and Jeanne Zaino, commentator who teaches government and media at Iona College.

Liz, we in the media have, I got to say, been through so many of these mass tragedies, these mass shootings. There's certain numbness and certain fatigue. The stories don't last this long and yet this one feels almost especially shocking, the one in El Paso.

LIZ CLAMAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: Yeah, but if you look at simply what we call the rundown and the commercial break structures, that's all you have to look at to show that we are in a way inured (ph). Even when there is a huge shooting yesterday, 13 hours later, last night it was wall- to-wall coverage immediately, all commercial breaks blown out, and then you look today and people are back to their regular programming.

They are here, CNN, MSNBC going back to their commercial break structure even though you have -- and it is so tragic -- you have every booker at every network with an entire folder of names that they immediately go to for mass shooting expert reaction. This is what it has come to. So, yes, it is extremely disturbing. KURTZ: And then we know the pattern, which is inevitably there will be political finger pointing and speculation about how this could happen. For example, this morning on CNN's "State of the Union," Jake Tapper had some democratic candidates on, says to Pete Buttigieg, is Trump -- Donald Trump -- President Trump a white nationalist? Buttigieg, yeah, at least he is -- at best, he is condoning and encouraging white nationalism. Beto O'Rourke, yes. So, somehow this is being linked to the president, the actions of a crazed gunman.

BEN DOMENECH, FOUNDER AND PUBLISHER, THE FEDERALIST: Look, I don't like to talk about, you know, the kind of reactions to this in the realm of things that are impossible. And I think that unfortunately, I think a lot of the reactions come from a sort of impossibility. The president tweeting differently is not going to prevent these types of events from happening.

The Congress, even if they had taken the actions that were proposed in the wake of Las Vegas, for instance, wants that every Senate Democrat voted against of putting, you know, people who are on the terror watch list, making them impossible to purchase firearms. That also apparently at least would not have prevented the El Paso situation.

I think one thing, though, that we do need to talk about in the wake of these things is the responsibility of the corporations that actually provide the infrastructure that is used to create the sites where these -- this shooting sub culture thrives and where young, angry men can get together and -- and share information. KURTZ: Are you suggesting that that perhaps should not be allowed? That people should be -- DOMENECH: I think it's not just about banning people from the sites. I think it goes further than that. We now live in an environment which these corporations make a lot more determinations about the way that we live and what's allowed on their different platforms and on the servers that they have than anything that Congress can do to change the laws in different respects.

Is it responsibility of Silicon Valley in the sense to say there are certain things that you're not even going to -- you're going to have to build your own server to make this kind of thing happen as oppose to allowing this type of stuff to foment (ph) where these people share information, where if they were engage in Islamic terror or something like that, everyone would be in favor of shutting these places down. KURTZ: That is certainly worth debating. Jeanne, MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi said you are certainly at greater risk in 2019 and America being a victim of white nationalism than you are being a victim of ISIS Islamic terrorism. We are going to hear a lot about white nationalism in the media in the coming days.

JEANNE ZAINO, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, IONA COLLEGE: Yeah. And one thing we know and the research shows is that when it comes to any breaking news coverage, particularly of mass shootings, much of it is wrong and mistaken.

So if there is one thing I always tell my students, it is that you must reserve judgment. The Washington naval yard 2013, much of the coverage of that was proven incorrect. You go to Gabby Giffords shooting. You go forward. You go to shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise. There are so many examples of where blames placed mistakenly.

So you have to reserve judgment and talk about real policy issues once we have the fact.

KURTZ: Wait for the facts even the age of live cable. Now in the days leading up to these two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, the news was dominated by President Trump's attacks on the city of Baltimore and such figures as Elijah Cummings and Al Sharpton.


JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC HOST: A racist president is now openly, nakedly, and brazenly telling us he intends to run a racist re-election campaign.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He says he's not a racist but the racists believe he's a racist. And for someone like me, proud Baltimorean, born in Baltimore, still call that area home. GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST: Once again, the media calls President Trump racist, this time for exposing the obvious that Baltimore's democratic machine has failed their city.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: My friends, it's not Trump who has given up on urban America. The charlatans calling him a racist have.


KURTZ: This seems to be a turning point in the coverage of President Trump that we didn't even see after Charlottesville. Many in the media feel empowered to say just flat out he is racist. He sends racist tweets rather than, you know, use language like why they view this racist, why they criticize this racist. The media seems to be taking a stand on President Trump on this volatile issue. CLAMAN: OK, in a single week, though, you had the Cincinnati rally, right, where he did not necessarily call out the "Squad," the four women of color who are serving in Congress on the democratic side, but he did talk about how they were out there and they are now the face of -- of being against everything that Americans hold dear. Then he takes on Al Sharpton and of course Elijah Cummings.

Look, if you look at the four corners of exactly how president speaks, President Trump is doing what he does. He comes out swinging. It's almost like he is color blind, if you're just simply looking at the action.

However, he does not help his own cause when it turns out that every single one of these people is either African-American or brown, had some type of color to their skin, and therefore it gives people an easier pathway to say in the aggregate, it sure looks like he is taking on when it comes to his rhetorical battles, high profile black and brown people.

KURTZ: Ben, I want you to respond to that. But one of them, as I mentioned, Al Sharpton, MSNBC host and a long time civil rights activist, who has a history of what some would call racial ambulance-chasing. I covered the Tawana Brawley hoax, which Al Sharpton has never apologized.

She was a white woman in upstate New York who claimed she had been gang raped -- excuse me, a black woman -- a black teenage -- by six white men. And yet he has a platform on MSNBC and sometimes ends up covering himself when he goes in stage protests.

DOMENECH: Sharpton is someone with a long history and a lot of questionable behavior within the states. I agree with you, Howie, on that point. To me, the larger conversation here is one that I think is really worsened by the media's aggression and trying to make everything about the president though.

How does -- how do we have these kinds of scenarios with urban decay, the Baltimore last year being the homicide capital of the country and not have that be a bigger front page subject within the media until the president gets into a political scrum with Elijah Cummings?

This is the type of thing that I think the media ought to be covering in a way that says, actually, you know, how we reached this circumstance, are we going to ignore what's going on in San Francisco just because it's another city in which Democrats and policies have failed?

I think that the conversation about this and the willingness of the media to just say the president is racist in every circumstance where he's going someone with whom he has political disagreement is overblown and if you think that he only does this kind of aggression toward people of color, I'd like to introduce you to someone named John McCain. KURTZ: But it is true that by in large the media don't cover much of the problems of cities until the president takes on Elijah Cummings. The president drives the news coverage of these things. He is very good at it. Some people say we are too quick to follow. ZAINO: Absolutely. You know, let's be honest, the media wants a fight, and Donald Trump is great at bringing them the conflict. What they don't do is follow up, to your point with, and Ben's point, what is the root of the problem? Why are these cities suffering? Why the endless cycles of poverty? Why the housing problems?

We don't hear about that why because I will tell you, when you go out and give policy talks, it's boring. People don't click and watch and listen, and the media will not cover it for that reason. They want to fight.

KURTZ: Before we go, I want to turn to CNN's Don Lemon. He was one of the debate moderators this week. President Trump attacked him as dumb. He interviewed one of -- a group of pro-Trump pastors who met privately with the president at the White House. Here is what happened.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: As a man of faith, as a Christian, you are saying he attacks anyone. It sounds like you are condoning attacks. Is that Christianly or godly? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just stating a statement of fact. I'm not condoning anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DOMENECH: You know, in that conversation between Don Lemon and that pastor, it was so odd. As soon as the pastor wasn't going along with what Lemon wanted him to do, the CNN (INAUDIBLE) underneath changes to controversial pastor meet with Trump.

You know, I worked in the same town, the same region, the same part of Baltimore that Freddie Gray (INAUDIBLE) from years ago when I was a kid under the leadership of John Perkins, a prominent civil rights pastor, and we worked there on the House.

This is where I first met -- met the first politician I ever met in my life, Jack Kemp, HUD secretary there, and there's a willingness on the part of a lot of African-American pastors leading civil rights voices to reach out across partisan lines and work with people to try to better their communities.

That's exactly the kind of leadership that I think we need in these communities to make things better. And for Lemon to sort of posture and criticize someone who is willing to meet with the president on these issues is ridiculous. KURTZ: Right. If you're inviting someone on to provide another point of view and then you start questioning his Christianity, I just question that. At the debate, Lemon was the opinion guy in the panel, called President Trump bigot.

Let me get a break here. When we come back, we are going to talk about those democratic debates and more on the mass shootings, straight ahead.


KURTZ: Media build-up to the democratic debates was all about how Joe Biden needs to come on strong after his performance last time. The media reaction afterwards was decidedly tepid.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can't beat President Trump with double talk on this plan.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely. Unfortunately, Vice President Biden, you're just simply inaccurate in what you're describing. DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the good news for Joe Biden is this was maybe the best he could do. And the bad news is this maybe the best he could do.

JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC ANALYST: What happened tonight is that bar was really low for Joe Biden and he got over it. He came to play.


ALTER: He wasn't terrible.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Joe Biden was the party's one real hope. And after last night, it seems pretty clear, conclusively clear, really, that Uncle Joe is heading for a well-reserved retirement. (END VIDEOTAPE)

KURTZ: Biden got roosted in the debate. It was not against one. He got some missteps. He was 500 percent better than previous debate, energetic, combative, and ready to take on his rivals. Why are the media, by and large, ah, best he can do, not so great, I guess it's all right.

DOMENECH: I think the media is tired of Joe Biden. I think they are tired of covering him. I think that they are more interested in some of these newer candidates.

KURTZ: Absolutely.

DOMENECH: I think that they are ready and eager to cheerlead for Kamala Harris in particular, but for other candidates who are on the stage. To be honest, I thought Biden's performance was perfectly serviceable. It was much better than what he did before.

And to be honest, we have to keep in mind this is kind of knocking the rust off for him. As long as he's been in politics, he hasn't really been in those day-to-day debates, and I think that this was a good performance on his part. KURTZ: You hear (ph) in terms of not --

CLAMAN: Damn with faint praise (ph).

KURTZ: Yeah, OK, well, he has got to be honest.


KURTZ: Look, this is the same mainstream media that insisted that as soon as Biden got in the race, he was going to implode, he was going to drop like a stone, keeps underestimating him despite the fact that he has got a big lead. I wonder if you agree, that for the many pundits, Biden is too old and too unexciting, and they really would rather have a younger, more liberal challenger. CLAMAN: Howie, this is a case of media objectivity. I'm not sure that Vice President Biden deserved much more incredible praise here. We are talking about fumbling for words. He wasn't exactly crystal clear. And therefore, he got kind of a B-minus, which is not very exciting.

There is the old expression, when people cheer and clap for a dancing bear, it's not because the bear is dancing, well it's because the bear is dancing at all. I am just saying that I think that they were looking for somebody, whether it's Bernie coming out swinging, doesn't matter if they have grey hair or they've been around a long, the media wants to see somebody who is on the point. KURTZ: I think there's an ideological component to it, Jeanne. Biden is basically a center left guy promising incremental change. He would say more realistic change. And compared to Bernie or Elizabeth or Kamala, I think he is not liberal enough for many journalists who spent a little bit too much time reading left-wing chatter on Twitter.

ZAINO: Yeah. I think there may be an ideological component. But more than that, there is an economic component. Let us be honest, the problem the media has is Joe Biden is far in the lead and has been this entire race. That first debate where people said he did so awful, his polls dipped a little and came right back. The media doesn't want a front-runner the whole time. They want to mix it up. KURTZ: They are saying it's not anti-Biden --

ZAINO: It's they want a competitive race.

KURTZ: Biden coronation would be awful.

ZAINO: Who is going to watch these debates if Joe Biden is so far in the lead that it doesn't almost matter, and he is very much in the lead?

KURTZ: Now, a growing scene for the press in the wake of the debate was, you know, these other candidates particularly Kamala Harris and Cory Booker who were attacking Biden by attacking the record of the Obama administration, is that why are Democrats when Obama has something like 95 percent popularity among Democrats, going after the previous two-term president? DOMENECH: Because he is popular as Barack Obama is personally. His policies are far less popular. You don't get to a point where essentially almost the entire field is running against your signature domestic policy Obamacare, wanting to either replace it with Medicare for All or dramatically change it and have a circumstance where you can't talk about it.

I mean, this is a core issue, health care is always going to be a core issue for Democrats, and there is no way for them to get around the fact that Obamacare didn't deliver on its promise from the perspective of many Democrats, it didn't go far enough, and even if the fact -- even the fact that policy has become more popular since Obama left office does not change that. CLAMAN: This is a crazy strategy for every Democrat on that stage to have adopted. I mean, he has got a 90 percent positive rating with Democrats when it comes to President Obama. Why didn't Joe Biden -- and may be this comes to the criticism of his performance -- knock back harder and simply - - look at the stock market.

I mean, we covered on Fox Business, over President Obama's eight years, it recovered by more than 100 percent of gains for the Dow and Nasdaq. It was very impressive. He didn't bring up that. He doesn't bring up a bunch of other issues, whether it was the fact that he was commander in chief when bin Laden was killed.

You know, he did not operate on that level. And therefore, I think that these other Democrats pounced. It just seemed counterproductive for the team.

KURTZ: But aren't the media also in a way (INAUDIBLE) the Obama record because for all Obamacare (INAUDIBLE), it is now actually fairly popular and yet, you know, they don't really grapple with the fact that even though the democratic primary voters in the left love the idea of government-run health care, Medicare for All, abolish private health insurance of 150 million Americans, that in full campaign against Donald Trump, that's going to be poison pill, and yet some have talked about that and some are just focused on the politics at the moment.

ZAINO: It makes absolutely no sense for Democrats to be talking about taking 150 million people off of their health care. I mean, that is a given. They are going to need to win in the Rustbelt. That's not a winnable strategy. But we also have to look at who got the most out of the first debate. It was Kamala Harris because she attacked Biden.

Every one of those candidates that came back for second debate learned if we want press coverage which we need to get to the September debate, we darn well better attack Biden, which means attacking Obama. That's why they are attacking Obama in the debate, and then they come back the next day and they take it back.

KURTZ: Well, that may be great for ratings, but I am not going to attack any of you as a result, even if it's good TV.


KURTZ: Liz, we will see you later. Ben Domenech and Jeanne Zaino, it is nice to have you on the panel. Ahead, President Trump versus some prominent members of the press, and more on the tragic shooting from El Paso and Dayton.


KURTZ: Fox News alert. Three people injured in Saturday's El Paso shooting are in critical condition. At least 25 patients have been treated in area hospitals. The patients are ranging in age from two to 82 years old. Now, 17 are in stable condition while two others have been discharged.

In the other shooting in Dayton, Ohio, sitting mayor, Nan Whaley, says that 27 people have been treated for injuries in the wake of this morning's shooting. Local hospital officials say that several are in serious or critical condition. At least 15 others have been released.

Well, President Trump is back on offense against his former friends, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who have been eviscerating him for what they called racist comments. Here is the tweet saying they have lost their juice. "Wow, Morning Joe and Psycho ratings have really clashed. Very small audience. People are tired of hearing fake news delivered with an anger that is not to be believed. Sad, when the show was sane, they helped me get elected. Thanks!"

Actually, Morning Joe, no cycle, hit its highest ratings earlier this year, but with dip in second quarter. Now, Mika fired back on the MSNBC show.


MIKE BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST: My anger? No, I'm not angry. Don't worry, Donald, I'm not angry. I'm sad and disgusted when pathetic politicians don't stand up to your racism, your racism. They're too afraid to. That's sad and that's unbelievably pathetic to watch.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KURTZ: Well, at least President Trump thanked them for putting him on the air before their huge falling out. The president pulled his nomination of John Ratcliffe as director of National Intelligence, blaming what he called unfair coverage by the mainstream media.

He acted hours after The Washington Post reported that the GOP congressman did not prosecute a major terrorism case as he had claimed, playing essentially a research role, and did not as he had said arrest over 300 illegal immigrants in one day. It was only 45, and he played a supporting role.

Solid reporting has torpedoed a striking number of Trump nominees, and he this when asked about the lack or apparent lack of White House vetting.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You vet for me. I like when you vet. No, no, you vet. I think the White House has a great vetting process. You vet for me. When I give a name, I give it out to the press, and you vet for me. A lot of times, you do a very good job, not always. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Apparently, the press, the fake news, the mainstream media does something right, according to president. After break here in New York, we will be back with a look at more on the El Paso shooting in particular and this online manifesto that's getting all kinds of media attention. Stay with us.


KURTZ: Fox News alert. We are getting reaction now from lawmakers and the White House in the wake of those two shootings that have left at least 29 people dead in Texas and Ohio. Mark Meredith is traveling with the president in New Jersey and has the latest, Mark.

MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Howie, President Trump is expected to make his way back to Washington a little bit later this afternoon, some time around 4:00 o'clock. It's possible that the president could speak with reporters while he's either boarding Air Force One or deplaning when he makes his way down to D.C.

But we have heard from the president on Twitter. I want to read you his tweet from 8:00 a.m. this morning. He said "the FBI, local, and state law enforcement are working together today in El Paso and in Dayton, Ohio. Information is rapidly being accumulated in Dayton. Much has already been learned in El Paso. Law enforcement was very rapid in both instances.

Updates will be given throughout the day." We've also heard from the president's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. He's defending the president after some of the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have blamed the president's rhetoric and word choice as possibly contributing to this weekend's violence.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I don't think it's fair to try and lay this at the feet of the president. There are people in this country this morning thinking that President Trump was happy about this. That's a sad, sad state of this nation. He's angry. He's upset. He wants it to stop.


MEREDITH: Former Texas Congressman, Beto O'Rourke, he's in El Paso this morning. He was having some campaign events earlier yesterday. He canceled those, flew back to his previous district. The congressman also spoke with CNN this morning and said he believes there are obvious links to what's happened to these most recent shootings.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When he says after Charlottesville that Klansmen and white supremacists and neo-Nazis are very fine people. The commander in chief is sending a very public signal to the rest of this country about what is permissible, and in fact, even what he encourages to happen.


MEREDITH: We will be seeing if the president responds to that in the latest developments when he heads back to Washington later today, Howie.

KURTZ: Mark, thanks very much for that update. Minutes before the mass shooting in El Paso, a manifesto appeared online that attacked Hispanics and immigrants. Authorities are working to confirm whether the gunman is, in fact, the author of that (Inaudible). Joining us now here in New York, Kat Timpf, a National Review writer and Fox News Contributor, and Cathy Areu, Publisher of the Hispanic Magazine, Catalina and a former Washington Post Magazine editor.

Cathy, the New York Post has the headline here. I'll just hold it up, anti-immigrant terrorist. Now, inside the story says that we don't know if this manifesto is, in fact, tied to this person. But I want to ask your reaction to a manifesto, whoever is responsible for it.


KURTZ: That attacks Hispanics. That attacks immigrants talking about how the state of Texas is being overrun and so forth.

AREU: Right.

KURTZ: As somebody born in the country but your parents brought you here from Cuba and supposed to be here temporary.


AREU: Political asylum.


KURTZ: So personally and as a journalist, what's your reaction to this sort of rhetoric?

AREU: As a journalist, all the facts have to come out. So I was watching the news nonstop for five hours. And I watched the English news. They didn't mention anything about immigrants. They didn't mention anything about the shooter. When I turned on the Spanish news stations, they interviewed the Spanish speakers at Walmart. They interviewed the people who were there.

They got coverage of the shooting. And they said he made pro-Trump statements and anti-immigrant statements when he made the shooting, when the shooting happened.


KURTZ: Telemundo.

AREU: Yes, exactly. So a Spanish station was reporting it within an hour, but the other stations had yet to do it. Even the BBC had not reported till this morning. There was anti-immigrant statements that were yelled. So journalists on the Spanish side got the story, but the American and BBC and English stations did not get the story.

KURTZ: Now, do you think that the American networks held this back because of it was deemed to be speculation or is it a question of speaking the language.

AREU: It could be a language.


AREU: Exactly. It could be a language barrier, because when I worked for people Espanol, I was actually one of 30 reporters in D.C. that spoke Spanish for people in Espanol. I was the only Spanish speaker for a Spanish speaking magazine.

KURTZ: Kat, we just heard Beto O'Rourke say on CNN that President Trump actually encouraged this sort of thing, what he said after Charlottesville. And I knew this was coming. It's a pattern after every shooting. Often, it's about gun control. And I understand that the president's actions and the verbiage he uses about illegal immigration are going to be part of this debate.

But to suggest that he's responsible, that he's encouraging, that he's condoning the actions of a crazed man, a gunman, seems to me to be horribly unfair on the media's part. Politicians can do it. They are running for office. But should the media.


KAT TIMPF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Unfair is exactly the word that I would use here. And I say this as someone who has had problems with some of the things that Trump has said about immigration in the past. I certainly don't agree with President Trump on immigration. However, I have already seen a few columns. There is one in the (Inaudible) that came out basically same thing that Beto is saying that Trump is responsible for this.

And that's just insane. Obviously, Trump doesn't want to see all these people murdered. Nobody wants to see somebody like this. These are crazed lunatics that if this manifesto does turn out to be from this shooter, then yes. I would absolutely call it domestic terrorism and white supremacist terrorism, anti-immigrant terrorism just like the New York Post did. But to blame President Trump, that's just -- it's illogical in addition to being unfair.

KURTZ: The president had already issued a statement, calling this a hateful act and an act of cowardice. And at the same time, I mean I just feel like I have a sense of dejavu. During Obama administration some times when police officers were killed, certain conservative commentators will go in the air and say Obama has blood on his hands, because of his anti-law enforcement policies.

Well, he did not. And President Trump did not. It is fair to challenge his rhetoric and handling of the immigration issue, but to suggest that he wouldn't in any way be condoning the shooting of so many innocent people. It's something I think the media needs to be really be careful about.

AREU: And the Spanish people, they were careful. They weren't saying -- they were stating the facts. This is what he said. This is what he did. This is what he said when he was doing it. This is what we found. We interviewed these people. And basically judge for yourself. The journalists gathered information. They gathered information.


TIMPF: Remember the shooting at the congressional baseball game. Look, I was a Bernie supporter and nobody brought that up.

KURTZ: He loved Rachel Maddow. It had nothing to do with that.

TIMPF: Because it had nothing to do with it in that case and it doesn't have anything to do with it in this case.

KURTZ: So I agree with you, Cathy, if witnesses said he yelled things that were pro-Trump, that should be reported as part of this story. But all kinds of people can invoke the names of president, a governor, a mayor that they don't like. That doesn't mean it's the fault of the public official.

AREU: Right. So journalism 101, you give the facts to the reader, to the viewer, to the public, and then they take that information and do with it as you will. It's not for us to give our opinion. So I am not giving my opinion as an immigrant how I feel about the situation. But the Spanish media reported what happened, gave it to the viewers. Do with it as you will. It's the same with English media. Do with it as you will.

KURTZ: Brief comment.

TIMPF: I just think that it's completely unfair to actually suggest that this is what Trump wants. I think that's really sick. It's really unfair. And we need to have honest conversations about these issues if we ever hope to solve them and not just focus laying blame on someone or using it politically.

AREU: Unfortunately, he said pro-Trump statements, unfortunately.

TIMPF: That doesn't mean that's what Trump wants.


AREU: Yes, they are, people are saying that. I am for Beto. He didn't say I am doing this for Marian Williamson. These are the comments he made. And unfortunately, Trump's name is tied to the shooting.

KURTZ: But there had been.


KURTZ: -- sometimes liberal shooters, and sometimes they're attacked by the right (Inaudible) like you said a Bernie Sanders supporter killing or trying to kill members of Congress at a congressional baseball practice. We have to be really careful making this thing, and I know on that point you would both agree. More from New York in a moment, we're going to look at the president pretty much declaring war on major American cities or at least he would like to see them run rather differently than the Democrats are doing. Stay with us.


KURTZ: President Trump didn't mention any minority lawmakers by name, not even Elijah Cummings joking that he didn't want to be controversial. But at a rally in Cincinnati, he took aim at Cummings' town of Baltimore and several other major cities run by Democratic mayors.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The homicide rate in Baltimore is significantly higher than El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala. The conditions in Nancy Pelosi's once great city of San Francisco are deplorable. They are deplorable. Look at Los Angeles with the tents and the horrible, horrible disgusting conditions. Look at San Francisco. Look at some of your other cities.


KURTZ: And Kat, that was just an excerpt of the president's rally. Now that his broadened his political assault in major American cities, most have of which do have Democratic mayors and Democratic members of Congress, I have seen few people in the media -- maybe a sense here or there, is he offering any solutions.


KURTZ: Should the media be more focused on that and a little on the political rhetoric.

TIMPF: Right. I absolutely think so. People aren't asking that question, which I have the same issue with. OK, what do we do about it, because I think the things he said about Baltimore? Those are facts based on statistics. And everybody wanted to focus on whether they were appropriate. The narrative on the left was very much these are racists.

I mean as you mentioned before, Don Lemon called even called him racist when he was supposed to be, you know, a moderator, was supposed to be completely non-bias


TIMPF: -- neutral, which I had a problem with. I didn't see them that way. But I think that, you know, him and Ben Carson should be coming out and talking about this. What do we do about these issues? If the Democrats don't have the solution, what is the solution?

KURTZ: Well, since you mentioned Ben Carson, Cathy, there was some chatter that President Trump might go to Baltimore. He didn't. He sent Ben Carson who, of course, was a world-renown Baltimore surgeon who said we want to work with local leaders. He actually mentioned Elijah Cummings. But he runs the Housing and Urban Development Department.

TIMPF: Right.

KURTZ: And he hasn't -- he didn't at least on that day say here's some programs we want to change, expand, innovate. And again, I think the media ought to ask not just White House or members of Congress. What are you going to do about this?

AREU: What a missed opportunity, because I interviewed the former secretary of HUD, Mel Martinez.


KURTZ: Of the Bush administration.

AREU: From the Bush administration. And they had these -- for the Washington Post. And he had these wonderful points and policy and what they were going to do and wonderful things. That wasn't my topic. But always, there were always ideas. And we just don't see that much anymore. And we need that and some in the United States, Louisiana, Mississippi in the south.

There are red states that are suffering right now with red governors. So let's talk policy. Let's clear up America. We have so many issues and so many poor cities across the entire United States. So the secretary of HUD, what a great opportunity for the conversation, but people don't want to talk policy it sounds like.

KURTZ: You know, as a reporter, he used to cover urban affairs many years ago. I have to ask. Does the media really care about the inner cities, because these are not the viewers and the readers who are most priced by advertisers. There's a sense of exhaustion, I think, after decades of efforts to help these cities, going back to LBJ's great society.

And I wonder, Kat, whether or not, you know, the reason we're more (Inaudible) politics is because as a collective struggling (Inaudible) while these problems are never going away in cities and it's not just Baltimore. There are sections here in New York and in Washington and in Chicago and elsewhere where you have ramped crime, drugs, and poverty.

TIMPF: I think that a lot of people in the media now rather than just having their goal to be reporting, a lot of them have a goal that's an outside agenda, some political agenda in some way. So they see a story, and they say how can this be used to support that agenda and further -- further, you know, promote it.

And so people see it that Trump makes the comments about Cummings, they say, oh, look, racist. Just like we have been saying Trump is racist, and they're more focused on their angle than they are actually reporting, let alone actually caring about the people who are suffering and, you know, pressuring people for solutions.

KURTZ: And in fact, Cathy, when the president was accused of a racial attack for calling Baltimore disgusting, rat-infested, no human being would want to live there, at least in certain sections.

AREU: Right.

KURTZ: His defenders look at statistic. Baltimore has the highest homicide rate. Baltimore has this very high poverty rate. There are sections that Cummings district that are actually much better off. But saying the things are terrible in some parts of Baltimore, does that neutralize the president's attack because now we have to circle back to, yeah, but in every administration, many administrations have failed to do much about it, including the Obama administration.

AREU: Yeah. But in defense of reporters, I mean often reporters can't control what they are going to do. The editors give an angle.


KURTZ: What do you mean the editors give an angle?

AREU: Well, they absolutely -- the story is going to about how the HUD secretary grew up. When I worked for the Washington Post -- how did HUD secretary grow up, what's his background, how did he become HUD secretary. So I couldn't talk about policy or statistics. I had to talk about his growing up and what it was like. It was factual.

But that wasn't my topic. I had to stay on an angle. So to create a story about policy and get people interested maybe more about the feelings behind it, and Jimmy Carter addressed trying to address cities and poverty. And that was a fascinating story. And I was able to write about that, because he was fascinating and made it interesting to readers.

KURTZ: You know policies sounds abstract and boring. But we're talking here about human suffering.

AREU: Real people.

KURTZ: And by the way, you know, it's not just a question of throwing federal dollars at cities. You have cultural problems, single-family households, generations of poverty that breed more generations of poverty. And these complicated issues to the media but they just don't get much attention unless a president is on a political attack.

TIMPF: Right. They certainly don't get much attention. I don't know if that's because people don't know what to do, because we have already tried to throw a lot of money at this problem. Federal government has given so much money to Baltimore, and clearly it hasn't been used in the best way or maybe they're not sure what to do with it or who knows.

The problem is no one is asking that question. People are asking instead was Trump's rhetoric OK, or how is this politically. People are not asking the question, OK, so what do we do about it because statistically there's real suffering.


KURTZ: We have to go. But you just asked the question and I think the media should be asking more of such questions. That's part of our response. Cathy Areu, Kat Timpf, great to see you here in New York, when we come back, some final thoughts on these twin tragedies, the shootings in Ohio and Texas.


KURTZ: Fox News alert. The El Paso Police Department expected to give an update to the media at the top of the hour. We will bring it to you here live at Fox News Channel when it happens. You know, the media have a choice right now. We can focus on the politics, the finger-pointing, the inevitable blame game, or we can try to cover these mass shootings in a way that ask the very difficult questions.

Is there any way -- can't really ever completely stop them but to perhaps minimize them, deter them. What do you think Liz Claman?

LIZ CLAMAN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Trey Gowdy was just on the Sunday morning futures show a few hours ago. And he specifically said any right he's ready to give up if it can promise no more shootings like Parkland, like, of course, Sandy Hook, and all of these horrific shootings that we've had. You know, there's nothing that's absolutely perfect.

But the media would do well to start focusing on Congress, certainly because right now on the Twitter verse, folks on both sides of the aisle are saying, at least some members, come back off vacation now to deal with this 2 in 13 hours is ridiculous, Howie.

KURTZ: It shows you how out of control things are. And it seems to me, though, the question will be even if Congress did come back what would congress do -- could be signed by the president, because obviously the many, many, many shootings like this. And I am also wondering, you know, the typical formula on television is go on and say it's President Trump's fault.

He created the climate, and others will say that's ridiculous. And it's slanderous. I don't think ultimately their argument gets anywhere. It's the fault of the people who pull the trigger in these situations. And I think the media ought not to play an inflammatory role. But unfortunately, that has been track record in the past.

CLAMAN: President Trump actually was the one who spoke out against the bump stocks, the contraptions that go on guns that make them shoot.


CLAMAN: Yeah, he actually did. I haven't seen a lot of Democratic presidents actually go that far, as you look at that opportunity. And there are people on the far right. There are gun owners who have written many op-eds, saying we don't do anything wrong, so go ahead and make it more difficult for the insane people, those people who are on the dark web in being able to do these things and follow these awful paths to stop them.

KURTZ: Thanks very much, Liz Claman. Perhaps, there is a commonsense solution that's eluded us so far. Well, that's it for this special edition of MEDIABUZZ from New York. Dealing with all this breaking news, I am Howard Kurtz. If you have a chance, check out my new podcast, MEDIABUZZ Meter. We talk about the face (Inaudible) stories, and you can subscribe at Apple iTunes, Google Play, or

We hope you'll like our Facebook page. We post my daily columns there and original videos. And I am sure there'll be a lot to talk about on Twitter. We're going to continue here on Fox with coverage of the shootings. We are back in D.C. Sunday with the latest Buzz.

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