Donald Trump, media escalate war

This is a rush transcript from "MediaBuzz," November 29, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, Donald Trump getting hammered by the media for his comments on Muslims, and what he says happened on 9/11, for appearing to mock a disabled reporter, and for the rockets he fires off on Twitter.


BILL O'REILLY: Are you aware that the liberal media and the Democratic Party in general are trying to paint you as a racist. Are you aware of that?

DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think so, but I think people know better than that.

VAN JONES: You have a political candidate, your candidate, who you come on night after night and defend no matter what despicable, horrible, un-American, racist, inflammatory thing he said.

This is demagoguery. It is dangerous. And somebody's going to go hurt some Muslim as a result of this kind of hatred.


KURTZ: This as the New York Times and the Washington Post denounced Trump as a racist, a liar, and a bully, and a top editor of the Daily Beast calls for a boycott of his businesses. Are Trump's journalistic critics going too far?

Chris Christie on the media of the coverage, his new focus on -- and whether his campaign is making a comeback.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am not this for a book deal or a Fox News show. I am in this to win President of the United States.


KURTZ: President Obama getting skewered for saying that the media needs to show perspective on covering ISIS. Is that unfair?

Plus, the author of a no. 1 best-seller on George Bush 41 says he once thought the former president was kinda like this guy.


DANA CARVEY AS PRESIDENT BUSH: Let me just sum up, on track, stay the course, 1,000 points of light. Stay the course.


KURTZ: Jon Meacham on journalists -- and he pleads guilty here -- rushing to judgment. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "MediaBuzz."

The New York Times editorial page is accusing Donald Trump of peddling racist lies. The Washington Post says he's running an ugly campaign and the only way to beat a bully is to stand up to him. And that's just the beginning. Trump spoke of seeing thousands of people in New Jersey cheering as the twin towers came down. No one has found any evidence of that. The Washington Post gave him four Pinocchio's, but Trump claimed vindication after finding a 2001 story from that paper, saying the far east were questioning several people in New Jersey for allegedly holding parties on roof tops on 9/11.


TRUMP: But fortunately somebody in the Washington Post wrote that and they'll try to deny it. They'll probably say we made a mistake. I like that better, because then I could show you how dishonest they are, but they'll find some reason to deny it. They'll call it a typo.


KURTZ: Joining us now to examine the impact of the media assault on Trump, Matt Lewis, Senior Contributor at the Daily Caller and a Columnist for the Week. Susan Ferrechio, Chief Congressional Correspondent for the Washington Examiner, and Simon Rosenberg, President of the New Democratic Network. Let's do a lightning round here. Matt Lewis, do you think the New York Times, Washington Post and other media outlets calling Trump a racist, a liar, a bully, has any impact on his campaign.

MATT LEWIS, SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR AT THE DAILY CALLER: No. I think they're right, and I think he is lying, but I don't think it matters. Because I think that it actually maybe helps Trump. The people who support Trump think the -- it's a back lash against political correctness. This plays into his hands actually.

KURTZ: So my next question to you, can there be a backlash on the media's part? And can that actually end up helping Trump?

SIMON ROSENBERG, PRESIDENT OF THE NEW DEMOCRATIC NETWORK: Possible, but the evidence so far is Trump is having a hard time growing beyond this core base he has. If he's going to be President, he's got to get moderate Republicans, Democrats, and you look at head-to-head polling with Hillary Clinton right now, and he's doing the worst. There is evidence it may by working to fire up his troops, but not working with the broader electorate that he needs to win the election.

KURTZ: Susan Ferrechio, let me read a couple of tweets that are put up by Noah Shatman, the Executive Editor of the Daily Beast. Another one six month ago, 8,000 racist moments later -- I guess that's an exact number -- that's no longer feasible -- a top editor at a website calling for a boycott.


KURTZ: Why so?

FERRECHIO: Because it's a liberal-leaning kind of online publication. That's who they attract, who they want to be logging on and reading. It's quick bait, as they say, but you know, it's migrating from journalism into activism, so you have to question he's running the Daily Beast and now he's calling for somebody who's staying at a Trump motel. That's activism, not journalism.

KURTZ: Sure smells like activism to me. This guy is obviously a top editor and Avalon, who worked for Rudy Giuliani in the past -- he's not a Trump fan, either. All right, so Trump has said repeatedly he's not backing down, that he saw thousands of Arabs in New Jersey celebrating on 9/11 on television, he says. No one else has found the footage. State official say it's not true, but he cites the paragraph about whether there was an investigation of some that he's right.

LEWIS: You're entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts. Donald Trump, it's hard to hold him accountable, because he has this reality distortion filter. He's going to say I saw it. There are thousands of people cheering. It doesn't happen, and he is lying, and I think it's a responsibility of the media to hold politicians accountable even if they are Republican or conservative, even if liberal bias does exist.

KURTZ: Simon, what except this story alive is this piece in the Washington Post, in 2001, which by the way didn't say the reporter had seen it, just an investigation that said they found nothing about this allegation. And a reporter who suffering from a congenital condition which limits the use of his arms, a great reporter and a great guy, Trump is -- and you've all seen this footage, it appeared to many people he was mocking the disability.

ROSENBERG: We have discussed on air here that Donald Trump knows what he's doing and pretty talented. I think this is a huge mistake. He's kept the story alive.

KURTZ: Maybe he wants to keep the story alive.

ROSENBERG: Yeah, what he's been effective at is he understood he can get in trouble and the next day reports move on, and they -- there is a new news story and so it all just evaporates and goes into the collective memory of the media hole. I think he kept what was a negative story around for days, that he's not perfect. This is a mistake.

KURTZ: Well, Trump says that he didn't remember -- it didn't seem he was backing off the story, and again he didn't say hundreds or thousands, some number of individuals. He really -- Trump got into it this morning with Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press." Let's take a brief look at that.


CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: This didn't happen in New Jersey. There were plenty of reports, and you're...

TRUMP: Chuck, it did happen in New Jersey. I have hundreds of people that agree with me.

TODD: You're running for President of the United States. Your words matter. Truthfulness matters.

TRUMP: Chuck, take it easy. Just play cool.


FERRECHIO: I really -- I disagree. I think Trump has won this round. He's won this round. It looked like my god, he's finally gone too far. I am not sure Trump can go too far. If you look at the reaction, like what he just said, I have got all kinds of calls and tweets who reported the same thing. The people who support me say there were thousands of people. So he's winning, telling Chuck Todd to play it cool, because Chuck Todd is getting so emotional trying to get Trump on this, but he couldn't.

KURTZ: Trump says he wants an apology from New York Times.

FERRECHIO: That's right. He turns it back on them, punching back twice as hard.

KURTZ: Do you agree in pure television terms if he's telling Chuck, calm down, or is Chuck Todd doing what journalists should do, and trying to pin him down?

LEWIS: I think both. I think Chuck Todd is doing the right thing, because the problem is I think our culture has changed. It used to be -- especially if you were a family values conservative that mocking somebody with a physical deformity would be seen as beneath the dignity of somebody running for President. I don't know that our culture cares that much about it anymore.

KURTZ: What about Trump -- and Bill O'Reilly chided him on this, re- tweeting reportedly bogus crimes statistics, and Trump says I can't check everything and it's a re-tweet.

ROSENBERG: He's trying to change the rules.


ROSENBERG: He has already changed the rules.

FERRECHIO: It's already happened.

ROSENBERG: He as already changed the rules. We will know whether this experiment is effective. I still think there's a lot of evidence that it actually will not play well over time, but we'll see.

KURTZ: Ben Carson initially was asked about this, did you know about Muslims in New Jersey. Not in the middle east, celebrating on 9/11. With Megyn Kelly he said this.


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: You admit to a lack of caution in answering that question?

BEN CARSON, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yeah. I felt we were just talking about the fact that Muslims were inappropriately celebrating. I didn't know they had an agenda behind the question.


KURTZ: The agenda -- what he was asked -- did you see this? Yes. Did you see it in New Jersey? Yes.

FERRECHIO: I thought it was fine. I thought his walk-back was final, and the biggest problem is his foreign policy experience.

KURTZ: He went to Jordan this weekend, kind of shrouded in secrecy, but we do get pictures of Dr. Carson meeting with refugees and of course is on several Sunday morning shows.

FERRECHIO: Sure. He needed to bolster his foreign policy credentials. To connect that with Trump, we spend all this time playing gotcha with the media with Trump and not nailing him down on substance. He is the front- runner, and we're net doing that.

KURTZ: Just briefly, the terrible shooting in Colorado, three people dead, one a police officer. First liberal Huffington Post and now the Washington Post questioning why only three Republican candidates put on any statements, first Ted Cruz and later Jeb Bush and John Kasich. Any statements regardless of what are your views on abortion, expressing sympathy for the victims. Is that a fair point to draw out?

LEWIS: They're running for President. I think it would be quicker.

FERRECHIO: Just say, I am real sorry about what happened. These candidates are very concerned. It's treacherous, on Meet the Press this morning Donald Trump was asked about it over and over where I believe Chuck Todd tried to connect his favoritism of the videos with perhaps this outcome in Colorado, and he wouldn't do it. I think that's what these other candidates are worried about.

KURTZ: It's always dangerous with if politicians that doesn't spout been that leads to violence.

Let me get a break here. You can email us, and ahead, Chris Christie on one pundit's conclusion that he's battled his way back to respectability.

But when we come back, conservative commentators hammering President Obama saying the press needs to show some perspective in covering the war on terror.


KURTZ: President Obama's taking some heat, especially on Fox, for these comments about how terrorism should be covered.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The media needs to help in this. I just want to say it, but one of the things that have to happen is how we report on this has to maintain perspective and not -- you know, empower in any way these terrorist organizations or elevate them in ways that make it easier to them to recruit or make them stronger.

O'REILLY: So therefore we should play down these stories? Really come on, what do you say?


LOU DOBBS, FBN: President Obama now sounding more like a community organizer than a commander in chief, as he tries to defend his approach by blaming the media for the disastrous results of his policies. Mr. Obama tried to blame the media for empowering the Islamic state.


KURTZ: Matt, do you think President Obama was blaming the media or saying...

LEWIS: Not at all. I think it's an overreaction and twisting what it sounded like he said to me. First of all, the media has been known to stoke fear. If all I did was watch the news, I wouldn't leave the house, they also glamorize occasionally villains. We saw that with the Boston bomber on the cover of the Rolling Stone. He's encouraging them to be responsible, what's wrong with that?

KURTZ: White House official told me that of course, these organizations was going to make their own judgments, but the President was commenting on whether people are fearful of another terrorist attack. It's no question that it feels like the press went way over on a few cases of Ebola.

FERRECHIO: I think our job is to cover events truthfully, accurately, nothing more. You can't listen to a President tell you to alter or shape your coverage. Our role is to cover it as we see it. Obviously, the news has been focused on terrorism, on his foreign policy, and it's been unflattering for him. I think that's why he's talking about changing the coverage.

KURTZ: Perhaps, but when there are days and days of coverage whether there will be an attack over thanksgiving weekend, no credible evidence, cite the authorities. Would it have been the same media coverage if George W. Bush had asked media not to scare people?

ROSENBERG: Or the color-coded system? I think what he's reminding is that the goal of terror is to scare people, and to leverage the fear to make it -- to make a single attack in Paris even more consequential all throughout the world, and to have perspective. He's reminding everybody we have to make sure we understand -- look, we've had three times as many Americans in mass shootings as died in the Paris attacks, so making sure we understand the relative strength of the attack and not exaggerate is a fair -- I think a responsible thing.

KURTZ: We debate this all the time and all the volume we use. Thank you all for being here, Simon Rosenberg, Susan Ferrechio, and Matt Lewis.

Up next, James Rosen on whether the media's coverage from the Paris attacks differs from the atmosphere during the Bush/Cheney administration.

And later, even the snarky website Gawker is getting into campaign coverage, does that meet gossip is over?


KURTZ: James Rosen was talking around the office about the coverage of the recent terror attacks and whether it resembled what went on during the Bush/Cheney administration. So we had a conversation prompting in part by his book Cheney one on one, a candid conversation with America's most controversial statesman.


KURTZ: James Rosen, welcome.

JAMES ROSEN, AUTHOR: Thank you, Howie, great to be with you.

KURTZ: In the wake of 9/11, Dick Cheney was going on the television. But here's the media question -- in the coverage now, do you see echoes of that period after 9/11?

ROSEN: Sure. There's always of course, the objectivity question that circulated in 9/11, and now. One difference I see between the debates then about coverage and today's debates, we used to wrestle with whether or not to show the latest video message from Osama Bin Laden. That has by and large been decided, no, we'll just show still photographs and that sort of thing, but now that decision has been rendered moot, by the media where you can find the gruesome videos.

KURTZ: So the media's gatekeeper is done, the people can see it more readily. And the press, could we be objective, meaning was there fervor in the country, or fear, then/now, for those who want to march to war?

ROSEN: And that is a tough line for journalists is it not? Journalists like to maintain a pose whereby they are disinterested. Whichever horse hears the race, as long as it's an exciting race to cover. But when the story is the fate of your own nation, when it's come under devastating terrorist attack, that's a hard one to maintain interest in the outcome.

KURTZ: Of course, the goal then is to at least have a multiplicity of voices on the debate. So I remember these great media debates a decade ago, about every increase in chatter, versus concern about are we unnecessarily scaring people? Do you see that -- are we still walking that tight rope?

ROSEN: We are, but first quarter, I recently did a story for a special report about Bret Baier that new alert system five years ago, and guess what we found when we looked at it? That new system hasn't given the American people one single alert. There are no tweets on this advisory Twitter page, for example. So the question becomes -- is the government sometimes doing too little to keep Americans informed?

KURTZ: Right, but back in those days, when the memories of 9/11 were so fresh, you know, every approaching of a holiday or major sports event there had be new possible terror alert, and most of those have turned out to be false alarms. The Paris attacks were a wake-up call about the evil capability of ISIS. My question is, is there a danger now, as then, that we unwittingly serve as a conduit for propaganda if we are constantly peppering people with story alerts that could frighten them.

ROSEN: Here's the bottom line. We report the news. If ISIS issues a threat in a video, we report it, but then you go to the authorities, and the FBI and DHS says there had no credible threat. So you report them both, we report and let the viewers decide.

KURTZ: That sounds suspiciously like a slogan. In the seconds we have remaining, what was your takeaway from spending all these hours with Dick Cheney, who still speaks out quite frequently against the Obama administration?

ROSEN: If you love or hate Dick Cheney, you're going to love this book. I spent ten hours with the man across three days, and I have never heard him open up the way he did in these ten hours, about his childhood, his spiritual faith in Christ, the Presidents and foreign leaders he's worked with, and 9/11 and Iraq, where he was very candid in admitting some mistakes to me.

KURTZ: James Rosen thanks very much for joining.


KURTZ: Tweets are pouring about our discussion about Donald Trump and the media. Terry Kershaw I think there maybe a stupidity bias and honesty bias.

All right coming up, my sit-down with Chris Christie on whether the press is being fares in covers the Syrian refugee crisis, and his attempted campaign comeback.

And later, how on earth did author John Meacham get George Bush to open up to him and share his private diaries?


KURTZ: Some of the pundits were starting to write off Chris Christie, but the campaigns new focus on terrorism is starting to change his media narrative. And just today he got the coveted endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader, the New Jersey Governor sat down here in Studio One.


KURTZ: Chris Christie, welcome.


KURTZ: Front page of the New York Times this week -- Christie's -- are you willing to acknowledge a new respect for the newspaper's fairness and judgment?

CHRISTIE: No, sir.

KURTZ: Said nice things about you.

CHRISTIE: They did. I think they're finally reporting it accurately.

KURTZ: Could it be said that you are in some fashion playing on the fears aroused by the Paris attacks?

CHRISTIE: No, it's acknowledges fears. I was in New Hampshire this weekend. My town hall meeting, every question was on national security.

KURTZ: So for somebody running for high office, you have to just acknowledge them, but address them?

CHRISTIE: Absolutely.

KURTZ: As Governor you said you don't want any Syrian refugees in New Jersey. This is a very emotional issue, do you think the pressure approach to this issue has balanced or are the media largely portraying people like you as heartless?

CHRISTIE: The latter. They have no responsibility for protecting the lives of the people of New Jersey or this country. My test is very simple. The FBI director has said before congress there's no effective way to vet these people. That's the beginning and end of the conversation for me because American national security and homeland security has to be first and foremost.

KURTZ: Over any humanitarian concerns?

CHRISTIE: Yes, sir.

KURTZ: There is no question that the Paris attacks changed the tone of this campaign. Ted Cruz wants to only admit Christian refugees. Is that a problem?

CHRISTIE: It is a problem. The problem is we shouldn't be admitting any.

KURTZ: You don't even get to the religious question.

CHRISTIE: I don't.

KURTZ: One of Ben Carson's foreign policy says he doesn't know about the Middle East. Is that a problem for Ben Carson?


KURTZ: You can expand if you want.

CHRISTIE: You want quick answers, you better be ready to answer these questions.

KURTZ: Does Donald Trump go too far with some of his harsh rhetoric?

CHRISTIE: Of course he does, but Donald goes too far on anything. So this is not something that anybody should be surprised with. That's the way Donald speaks, that's the way he's always spoken, whether he's firing somebody on the Apprentice or whether he's running for President.

KURTZ: I would ask a broader question. It seems you are going out of your way not to criticize your Republican rivals, understandably you're keeping your ammunition trained on Hillary Clinton and President Obama, but I wonder if it's because you feel like maybe I have an outside shot of winning the nomination and I don't want to rough anybody else.

CHRISTIE: No, it's because I want to beat Hillary Clinton. That's the adversary we have to beat to get to the White House.

KURTZ: But for you to face off against Hillary Clinton, you have a lot of other people in this race in your party that you have to beat. It seems to some people -- you're a bit of a political brawler, but like you're pulling punches.

CHRISTIE: No, sometimes you need the driver, and sometimes you need the pitching wedge. That's called strategy. It's not called pulling your punches.

KURTZ: What's your strategy?

CHRISTIE: To make myself the person that the people in the Republican Party trust the most to beat Hillary Clinton.

KURTZ: But inevitably it's a game of compare and contrast. So would you say you're passing up opportunities to take on some of the people who are way ahead of you in the polls right now?

CHRISTIE: No, I don't think so. While people are standing on the stage, they don't need you to do it for them.

KURTZ: I have heard you talk about the executive experience of governor. Is it frustrating, three out of race, most running at 3 percent or 5 percent, is it frustrating for you that voters seem not to place a high value on having run a state?

CHRISTIE: No, it's pollees. There are no voters yet. No will vote until February 1st in Iowa caucus.

KURTZ: So you're saying politicians tend to love polls when they're in the top tier.

CHRISTIE: Sure. They love polls when they're in first. I understand that, but the fact is everyone will acknowledge that 60 percent to 70 percent of the people polled say they will or could change their mind. So I am not too worried about that. I am still in the mind changing business.

KURTZ: Chris Lizza said you have fought your way back to respectable.

CHRISTIE: No, my goal is to win. I think I have always been respectable. I appreciate his left-handed compliment, but I think our campaign has always been issue-driven and competitive. I am not in this for a book deal or Fox News show. I am in this to win and be President of the United States.

KURTZ: Of course, thank you very much for joining us.

CHRISTIE: I appreciate it.


KURTZ: That Union Leader endorsement used to be huge in New Hampshire, but keep in mind only a couple of the politicians backed by the paper or Republicans I should have ended up winning the nomination.

After the break, former Newsweek Editor John Meacham on why he and other journalists love to kick around Presidents, and how he changed his mind after spending time with George Herbert Walker Bush.


KURTZ: John Meacham made plenty of news with his biography, and in the former Newsweek Editor get the -- we sat down with the author of Destiny in Power, the American odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush.


KURTZ: John Meacham, welcome.


KURTZ: The media verdict on George H.W. Bush at the time, great job with the Gulf War, broke the no in talks pledge, therefore failed President, and was that short sighted by the media?

MEACHAM: Not short-sighted by the media,

KURTZ: Did that feel that way to you at the time?

MEACHAM: Sure. I had sort of the Dana Carvey view of him in my head. It was only after meeting hem and then the passage of time we can come to better historical judgment. There's a rule that it takes 20 to 25 years after an administration that you can judge it whole. I think that's true.

KURTZ: From your book, 1987 Newsweek eluded to rumors that he an affair by a longtime aide. George W. Bush asked his dad about the rumors and then did what?

MEACHAM: He called Howard Fineman, Evan Thomas, and the answer to the big- A is NO, and that shut it down.


KURTZ: But his parents...

MEACHAM: Mrs. Bush was apparently angry or upset. She thought that it would feed the story. Then Vice President Bush said in his diary that he worried that Barbara was right, but the parents was wrong. It put the story to rest.

KURTZ: Given that Bush's '92 unofficial slogan was annoy the media, reelect Bush, but before you got there, 1987 ran that famous cover, calling him a wimp. How did you persuade Bush 41 to give all these interviews and share the documents?

MEACHAM: Good question. I found him to be a much more complicated and interesting figure. My argument to him was that this was my book-writing part of my life. You're a multi-tasker too, you know this. There was a lot of question, because I was coming from the republic of Newsweek...

KURTZ: What would you have done if you had wanted to take back or asked you not to use some of what he said?

MEACHAM: I was simply going to note parenthetically that whatever response he had had.

KURTZ: Give him the chants to revise or...

MEACHAM: Just extend.

KURTZ: In some of the reaction for some of the -- there was perhaps an implication that you, in interviewing a man who's now 91 years old perhaps took advantage of him. How do you feel about that?

MEACHAM: I don't think there's any trust to that, whatever. He made these comments in '08. Anyone who knew George Bush knew in 2008 he was firing on all pistons. So I think this accurately reflects his view of Cheney, Brumsfeld and his son's rhetoric.

KURTZ: (Inaudible) that you fall in love with your subjects?

MEACHAM: Sure. That was my great worry about doing a living President, was that I wouldn't be able to throw a punch.

KURTZ: A very charming guy in his life.

MEACHAM: Yes, any President there's a charm there. But part of the ethos he created, which was make the historical judgments, I found it easier, much easier than I expected to say what I thought.

KURTZ: Isn't it also true that we as journalists who have daily deadlines, minute by minute Twitter deadlines often rush to judgments about Presidents, politics based on incomplete information?

MEACHAM: Oh my god, yes, that's the reflex to kick them in the shins. It's I think one of the perils of journalism right now. Everyone's a journalist, right? Just because we have the ability to speak all the time doesn't mean we always have something worth saying. That's a discipline that all of us should impose more often.

TRUMP: You're speaking at somebody who is perhaps a reformed sinner?

MEACHAM: Not reformed. Absolutely a sinner on this, but one of the interesting things was seeing how this culture was taking shape in the Bush 41 years. But CNN's political talk shows are growing. Rush Limbaugh is becoming more of a force. Limbaugh endorses Pat Buchanan, so what does Bush do? He actually invites Limbaugh over to the White House to spend the night, and carries a suitcase for him. That shut down Limbaugh. Suddenly Limbaugh was introducing Bush at campaign events. But the 24-hour cycle really was -- and his diary is full of remarks about how the press drives him crazy. Any President who says they don't read the notices is not telling the truth.

TRUMP: John Meacham thanks very much for joining us.

MEACHAM: Thanks, Howie.


TRUMP: Next on MediaBuzz, Gawker dropping the gossip to cover the 2016 campaign and going after other Donald Trump and other Republican candidates. Stay with us.


KURTZ: Gawker, which pioneered a more steaming level of online gossip, is now reverting itself as a political website to define the deeper meaning here (Inaudible).


KURTZ: Lola Oguinnaike, does Gawker getting out of the media and cultural gossip business mean that gossip is now -- very 2009.

LOLA OGUINNAIKE, ARISE TV ANCHOR: It does mean that gossip is 2009, but it also mean that's the election is far more interesting than anything else happening in the media landscape today. So of course, they've decided to throw their hat into the election ring because what bigger story is there than election 2016?

KURTZ: It's huge, to quote somebody part of that campaign.

OGUINNAIKE: I think I know that guy.

KURTZ: Gawker specialized in snark. It pledged to become 20 percent nicer when it apologized outing a executive. Do you think that's a factor in this evolution to politics?

AMY ARGETSINGER, WASHINGTON POST STYLE SECTION EDITOR: Snark is not going away. This is what internet content was built on over the past 10 or 12 years, however it's gotten harder to make money off of snark. Social media has changed the dynamic. People may love to read bitchy news stories, but they want to look like nice people as far as what they share. That's why you saw the rise of all these inspirational stories, puppy videos, and things like that. So Gawker is basically doubling down on the one area where it's still ok to be snarky, where it's still profitable to be snarky, and that's politics.

KURTZ: Lola, thanks to Twitter and Snapchat and a million blogs it seems like gossip, snark whatever you want to call is everywhere. Is there less of a market niche for it?

OGUINNAIKE: Snark is ubiquitous and you can thank Gawker for that. But people do want to be liked. They're concerned with their followers, and what is more likely to generate more likes, more followers, posting or forwarding or making something perceived as nice go viral. There's not big business in people individually being seen as mean or as bullies.

ARGETSINGER: The exception, of course, is with political coverage, political stories because that's where you see people really forming these tribal identities on Facebook where you will still see people getting into big fights with friends and relatives. So I think that's something where - - you know, Gawker is not new to politics. Some other bigger hits have been in the political realm, the Rob Ford story out of Toronto, the Craig's List congressman.


KURTZ: What about the fact that there are by my count roughly six billion websites devoted to politics.

OGUINNAIKE: Yes. But the thing that Gawker has is name recognition. There is a brand identity, and you understand that when you go to Gawker you are going to get snark, but this time they will be laser-focused on politics. If you want more than just the facts man and you want your politics with a heavy dose of snark, go to Gawker.

KURTZ: Gawker doesn't particularly like Hillary Clinton but Gawker said GOP candidates would be apocalyptic disastrous especially Donald Trump.

ARGETSINGER: Trump has been very good business for Gawker. If you want an example, this is where snark lives these days, every time they write about Donald Trump they have a new thing that describes him. This week it's been human dust ball Donald Trump, Republican candidate and pee-stained snow cone.

KURTZ: As somebody who made her living at this in the past...

OGUINNAIKE: There are magazines that have made entire industries of making fun of Donald Trump. There would be no spy magazine for not for calling he names. There is big business of making fun of Trump. I am sure Gawker figured it out.

KURTZ: Maybe Trump is the key.

OGUINNAIKE: He's the gift that keeps on giving.


KURTZ: Hope he stays in the campaign. Finally, Amy, again, you used to make your living at this. The facts that -- do you think that gossip is just sort of transmuting into new forms or do you think it's peaked?

ARGETSINGER: You know I think it's continuing to evolve on the web. People are still figuring out what will get the clicks. Certainly, though, political news is where a lot of the stuff lives. We got saturated with celebrity gossip. We needed to move on.

KURTZ: Social media, everybody can now be a professional gossiper, Amy Argetsinger and Lola Oguinnaike, thanks very much for joining us.


KURTZ: And next we try something new, your questions from Facebook.


KURTZ: Time for your Facebook questions. Kat we actually are more informed or simply more opinionated? No question all the opinion mongers on cable news have helped fuel the polarization of the news. But we're also in a wired world. More news and information is at your fingertips. Here is a question from Marcy. If the media stopped covering Trump's every cough and sneeze it would force him to spend his own money on advertising which would end this media circus. How hard would that be? Things are better. We only cover every cough, not every sneeze. You seem to indicate we're -- Trump is a master, much of the coverage is negative, although we said earlier I think that helps him. He makes himself endlessly available for interviews but some of his rivals might take a page from his playbook.

That's it for this edition of MediaBuzz. I'm Howard Kurtz, hope you're having a good thanksgiving weekend. Check out Fox's new Sirius XM station, 24/7 headlines where I do a daily media minute. We're back here next Sunday 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern. Look forward to seeing you then with the latest buzz.

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