This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," October 22, 2017. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On buzz meter from New York this Sunday, the media pounced on President Trump for suggesting Barack Obama and others rarely or never call the families of fallen soldiers. And play up of congresswoman's harsh account of his phone call to a widow which was strongly disputed by General John Kelly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
PETER ALEXANDER, ABC NEWS: Earlier you said that President Obama never called the families of fallen soldiers. How do you make that --
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I don't know if he did. No, no. I was told that he didn't, often, and a lot of presidents don't. They write letters. I do --
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: The part about President Obama was false and just moments later when confronted with that false said
-- the president said in so many words, I don't know, I was told, maybe he did, maybe he didn't, maybe other presidents didn't call or write. That, too, was false.
BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS: Now someone is politicizing the entire event.
AINSLEY EARHARDT, FOX NEWS: I don't think anyone who hears thise story, Democrat or Republican, would actually think that if the president of the United States is going to call the wife, that he would belittle her.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: It is one thing if the president inadvertently spoke in unintentionally callous manner to somebody he should have prepared better to speak to. It is another matter when the president then called on that chooses to deride the grieving family of a fallen soldier as liars.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: You have to be a really sick, twisted, ugly person that puts politics first -- with most of the media today -- to think that the president got up out of bed, purposely got on the phone, and wanted to hurt this family after what happened to them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Is the press holding Trump accountable or holding him to a different standard than other presidents? Nearly half of Americans believe major news outlets fabricate stories about Trump really or his fake news attacks taking a toll?
Jimmy Kimmel admits that his political attacks are driving away Republican viewers and says he probably wouldn't want to have a conversation with them anyway. Is this the new reality of late night?
As women make accusations against Harvey Weinstein, huge numbers of women speak out about sexual harassment and assault under the hashtag "me too."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, MEDIA PROPRIETOR: When something this major happens, when you have the fallout, 50 women coming forward, that it's a watershed moment. It's triggering a lot of unreleased pain, repressed anger, guilt and suffering that a lot of women have had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Did all this media coverage help change the culture? Plus, a front page New York Times story on a huge settlement of sexual harassment allegations against Bill O'Reilly, a case that hasn't been public until now. I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "Media Buzz."
It began with a press conference question about why President Trump hasn't said anything publicly about four American soldiers killed in Niger. He said his predecessors rarely called the families of the fallen and moments later said that's what he had been told.
The next day, the president made such a call and there was a media explosion when Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson who was there said he made the sergeant's mother cry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. FREDERICA WILSON, D-FLA.: This man is a fake man. He is cold-hearted and he feels no pity or sympathy for anyone.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN: What did you hear? Tell us about this phone call.
WILSON: Well, I didn't hear the whole phone call, but I did hear him say, I'm sure he knew what he was signing up for, but it still hurts.
TRUMP: I didn't say what that congresswoman said. I didn't say it at all.
She knows it, and she now is not saying it. I did not say what she said.
And I'd like her to make the statement again because I did not say what she said. I had a very nice conversation with the woman.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think it frankly is a disgrace of the media to try to portray an act of kindness like that and that gesture trying to make it as if it's something that it isn't.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage here in New York: Shelby Holliday, senior video reporter for the Wall Street Journal; Jessica Tarlov, senior director at Bustle and a Fox News contributor; and Kimberly Guilfoyle, co-host of "The Five."
Kimberly, what made this whole thing --
KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, FOX NEWS: Yes.
KURTZ: -- was the condolence call to the mother of Sergeant La David Johnson, who told the Washington Post he disrespected a son. You had Congresswoman Wilson all over TV denouncing him. Now there are all these stories saying it's racial because Wilson is black, Sergeant Johnson was black. The congresswoman says the White House is full of white supremacists. Are the media taking debate here, racial?
GUILFOYLE: I think the media is taking debate. And I think it's debate that has been (INAUDIBLE) up by Frederica Wilson. I think it's really shameful to be politically opportunistic in a time of grief for a family to come out and make those statements, something should be (INAUDIBLE).
Does anybody think really that the president of the United States would not show incredible compassion and kindness to someone grieving, losing a family member like that, losing a son they loved so dearly who has given up everything for this country.
It's sad that it's fallen this far in terms of just being disrespectful to the loss of loved ones. And I don't think that she gained anything by this and John Kelly did a fantastic job representing the president.
KURTZ: We'll come back to him. The whole thing is just sad. But, Jessica, you can't argue both sides are politicizing and President Trump went on Twitter and called the congresswoman wacky and other things. But the media are trumpeting almost everything that's previously obscure for what the congresswoman says and she says now -- she actually comes and said, I'm a rock star.
JESSICA TARLOV, SENIOR DIRECTOR AT BUSTLE: The rock star comment, I certainly haven't gone for. I don't think that accusing General Kelly a little while for being racist or his comments was the way to go here.
But I do believe it's important to hold on to the fact that this began with President Trump in the press conference when he talked about what Barack Obama had or hadn't done, which ended up revealing that he had private conversations with General Kelly about what happened when General Kelly lost his son seven years ago --
KURTZ: In Afghanistan, yes.
TARLOV: -- in Afghanistan and, you know, we think everyone involved for their service to our country, and with the conversation with President Trump or with Sarah Huckabee Sanders who then got herself into some sticky business later in the week with her (INAUDIBLE) will get to --
KURTZ: We will.
TARLOV: We can't lose sight of the fact that this did begin with the president. I think that Frederica Wilson pressed too far. Donald Trump played a key role in this.
KURTZ: Yes, you know, there's a lot of fair coverage and lot of unfair coverage here in my view, but the president at that news conference said he wasn't asked about did you call anybody, he was asked why he discussed it publicly. So, did he open the door to what become a week of coverage in a way that almost nobody looks good in this thing?
SHELBY HOLLIDAY, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes. What's unbelievable about this whole story is we've been talking about who called who, who said what, and the question that was asked in the Rose Garden had yet to be (INAUDIBLE). We still don't know of the details of what happened in Niger.
The reporter was simply asking why we hadn't heard from the president about those four fallen soldiers. We don't know all the answers. However, we have ended up here five days later. The political football continues to be thrown.
KURTZ: And this --
HOLLIDAY: The unfortunate thing is that everybody is politicizing it from President Trump and you could say General Kelly to the congresswoman and even to the families of the soldiers.
KURTZ: We've talked about General Kelly.
KURTZ: Let's revisit the moment when John Kelly, White House chief of staff, who as we said lost a son in Afghanistan, came out in the briefing room and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of congress doing. He knew what he was getting himself into because he enlisted and it was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. That was the message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: General Kelly who heard the call, defending the condolence call. Did he in those moments bring the focus back at least briefly to the sacrifice, in this case the ultimate sacrifice made by American soldiers?
GUILFOYLE: Absolutely. Who better to speak to that than a man who lost his own son, OK, and as a Gold Star family member as well. So, anyone who suggests that this man was trying to politicize, you know, he's a four-star marine general. This is a man who has been a politician in life.
He is continuing to serve his country honorably and faithfully by being in a position that is not easy, OK, and when he talked about that, that was bringing something very personal and raw from his family in defense and in natural spirit because he was in the room and was outraged by what happened. A lot of people step back. They don't say anything.
They go ahead and let people take it. He didn't do that. He stood up and held the line and told the truth about what happened. I think that the winner in that was General Kelly. And Frederica Wilson then changed herself by the next thing going out and attacking another Gold Star family member with John Kelly.
KURTZ: At the same time, Jessica, someone in the media demanding that Kelly apologize because it turned out he didn't accurately describe a speech the congresswoman given two years earlier in dedicating a building to two fallen FBI agencies, said she bragged about getting money for buildings and the video showed that she did. So, he sort of got sucked into this as well.
TARLOV: He absolutely did and I blame President Trump for that. John Kelly is an incredibly private man. He doesn't want to speak about the loss of his son. He went out there I think for the sake of the administration and to also defend President Trump's call.
He didn't refute, by the way, the account of the mother or Frederica Wilson of what actually happened on the call. He just said, you know, his intentions were good. And I believe that in a condolence call, Donald Trump's intentions were good.
KURTZ: -- because in all the criticism and the (INAUDIBLE), it seems that very few journalists are willing to say, you know, there was some awkward moments in that call. It is a hard call to make and president was trying to do the right thing.
TARLOV: It is a personal call with the family that is why General Kelly has advised him in the past not to actually make the call. It is a too difficult time. It is too sensitive. There is tape released actually of President Trump making a condolence call, writing instead all the right things, and told, you know, young kids, your father died a hero, which is exactly what you should be saying.
GUILFOYLE: He's not doing the politically expedient safe thing. He's saying I feel your loss, I care for your family, thank you for your service. By the way, General Kelly is a four-star marine general. Nobody is forcing him to do anything. This is a man who stands up and does what he believes and so to blame President Trump for General Kelly coming up and telling the truth I think is very --
TARLOV: He lied about the 2015 comments. He also said that --
TARLOV: -- convention but there were Gold Star families on the stage of the RNC as well.
KURTZ: Let me jump in and ask you, Shelby, about Sarah Huckabee Sanders who in the course of defending General Kelly said something that has really created another media furor within the large explosion. Let's take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: If you want to go after General Kelly, that's up to you. But I think that if you want to get into a debate with a four-star marine general, I think that's something highly inappropriate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: CNN (INAUDIBLE) said Sarah Huckabee Sanders should apologize. Jake Tapper said it is one of the most shocking things he had heard from the podium.
Did she mean in reality, did she mean to say that a four-star general should never be questioned or that in this particular instance talking about fallen soldiers as she later says (ph), she is saying it is in inappropriate to impugn his credibility on how to (INAUDIBLE) fallen soldiers?
HOLLIDAY: I don't know what was in her heart, but I will say taking her words as facts are troubling for a lot of reporters because what she is saying is you shouldn't question this person the administration put out in front of you to answer the questions.
And General Kelly did answer questions that day. It's perfectly fair to ask him questions. It's perfectly fair to question what he said. When you're a reporter, that's your job. General Kelly is a hero. His son who died serving our country is a hero. Nobody can argue that.
But you can say as you come out in front of the press as a member of this administration and you are no longer only associated with a military, you're associated with this administration, you have to answer questions.
KURTZ: And now you have reporters from many organization calling every Gold Star family they can find, did the president call you? One grieving family was put on CNN saying didn't get a call.
GUILFOYLE: Yes, a grief check to see whether or not the president is compassionate enough to have gone down the list. I mean, the bottom line is the president is trying to do the right thing. General Kelly did the right thing by standing up.
What happened? Frederica Wilson called him a racist because in the neighborhood he grew up, he's an Irish Catholic, which I think exception to as an Irish-Puerto Rican Catholic, so how dare she then interject race in it (ph)?
Because we all bleed the same color. It has nothing to with whether you're black, white, Hispanic, Asian, women, man that served this country faithfully and it really is disrespectful to those who have lost family members to continue in that (INAUDIBLE).
KURTZ: And I will just say calling (INAUDIBLE). I am not saying it's illegitimate for reporters to call. But I don't think (ph) any other president has ever been subjected to that standard. Finally, all the press is saying, why didn't the president talk about the four deaths in Niger?
When you go back and we look at the four days of coverage, you know, the evening news, most of them gave it 30 seconds, 45 seconds. NBS News did two minutes. Fox did the most. There was a four and a half minute report.
MSNBC, CNN, couple of two-minute reports. New York Times and Washington Post has three stories each. So, where was the press before? Before it was a Trump controversy, where was the press in talking about this horrible ambush in Niger?
TARLOV: Well, this began on Monday with the question but that was still 12 days later. I mean, we lost four Green Berets. There should have been a much bigger topic. That is the original press fail. Turned into many further press fails and many administration fails as well.
KURTZ: All right. Let me get a break. MediaBuzz@FOXNEWS.COM if you want to write to us ahead on "Media Buzz" from New York.
Two former presidents take (INAUDIBLE) the current one and many pundits
(INAUDIBLE) will be here. When we come back, that New York Times report on Bill O'Reilly settling a major sexual harassment case. A story that he's calling a smear.
KURTZ: Bill O'Reilly signed a big contract deal last February before he was later ousted over a series of legal settlements involving sexual harassment allegations. But The New York Times reported yesterday that 21st Century Fox knew at the time of a sexual harassment settlement between O'Reilly and a former Fox legal analyst Lis Wiehl.
That settlement worth $32 million although the company was not told the amount. Wiehl alleges over a period of 15 years, she was subjected (ph) to repeated harassment along with a nonconsensual sexual relationship.
O'Reilly wouldn't discuss the details with the Times, but said he never mistreated anyone, that the allegations against him were politically and financially motivated. Last night, he called the story a smear.
The 21st Century Fox said in a statement it didn't know the details of the private settlement with Lis Wiehl and Fox News "surely would have wanted to renew the contract of the biggest star in cable news."
According to an internal e-mail from 21st Century Fox's general counsel, the Times reported, prosecutors looking into the allegations involving the late Fox News chairman Roger Ailes had a "legal theory." "We hid the fact that we had a problem with Roger and now will be applied to O'Reilly and they will insist on full knowledge of all complaints about O'Reilly's behavior in the workplace regardless of who sell them."
Joining us now from Los Angeles is Matt Belloni, editor of The Hollywood Reporter. Matt, O'Reilly boasted on the air that he boosted Lis Wiehl's career by putting her on the show. The settlement worth an eye-popping $32 million out of his pocket. So while Bill O'Reilly is calling the allegations crap, it does not look good, does it?
MATTHEW BELLONI, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: No, absolutely not. It doesn't look good for O'Reilly because the first question you have is, if these allegations are crap, why spend $32 million to settle them? That is an extraordinary amount of money.
The second question is for Fox News. Even if you really wanted to resign Bill O'Reilly, Megyn Kelly had left, Roger Aisles had left, why did you not inquire as to the nature of the settlement and more specifically the amount of the settlement? Did you not have a -- if not illegal, a moral duty to look into that amid the culture and some of the claims that have been made against Fox News?
KURTZ: So is it your impression based on what the Times reported which included the fact that the lawyers for the company kept Murdoch family informed, that 21st Century Fox wanted to keep this particular one involving Lis Wiehl from becoming public at the time that it was dealing with the fallout, and the federal investigating involving the allegation that surrounded Roger Ailes?
BELLONI: I think that's what it looks like. It looks like there was an effort to resign O'Reilly, look the other way or willfully don't inquire about the nature of this settlement and then move forward. They did put a protection in the deal where if other allegations came up, they could terminate employment, which ultimately happened.
But amid these investigation and the results of overarching effort to buy the rest of the sky broadcaster in the U.K., that's always been a Murdoch goal, and there's another inquiry there. It just seems like the effort was look the other way, and hopefully this will work out.
KURTZ: Right. So, you're not buying the notion that because this was done as a private legal settlement between two parties, Bill O'Reilly and Lis Wiehl, that the company didn't have any responsible, other than as you say (INAUDIBLE) in the new contract which (INAUDIBLE) that if new allegations surface it could be cause for a termination?
BELLON: Yes, I don't quite understand that because even though this was a "private settlement" and a deal between O'Reilly and this analyst, this was a Fox News employee for 15 years. So, it's not like this with some woman who he met at a party or a woman that was solely in his private life.
The allegation concerned behavior that allegedly occurred at Fox News and between a Fox News person and Bill O'Reilly. So, why would you not just inquire about that?
KURTZ: This is resonating even more given the huge media (INAUDIBLE) Harvey Weinstein which you and I talked about last time you were on and mounting questions about who knew what, when, at his former company. Do you think that is making (INAUDIBLE) big story regardless making it an even bigger story because of the sharp media focus on these kinds of allegations?
BELLONI: I think the first and foremost thing is Bill O'Reilly is trying to get back into the cable news world or the news broadcasting world. So, I think these claims coming forward and the settlement coming forward now is a product of that. But also the culture has completely changed after Bill Cosby, after Roger Aisles, after all of these allegations have been made against very powerful people.
The Harvey Weinstein then comes in. Now there are other allegations against people in Hollywood. This morning, a director, James Toback, has been accused by 30 women of harassing them. You know, there is a producer at Nickelodeon who was fired last week.
BELLONI: It's all coming forward.
KURTZ: It seems to be a different climate. Matt Belloni, thank you for joining us. I just want to say 21st Century Fox has been trying to move on from this mess, hiring a bunch of new female executives and on-air hosts among other steps. But this is a significant setback for Fox.
It is no question about it. It's embarrassing. It's disappointing that O'Reilly was given a new contract under these circumstances. I hope it doesn't impede the progress that the company has been trying to make which in the end the company did fire its biggest moneymakers.
Up next, the media (INAUDIBLE) new allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
What does that tell us about the Hollywood culture and the culture of the press? And later, (INAUDIBLE) how the Weinstein cases spur an online campaign in which many women are saying, me too. Is this changing the situation?
KURTZ: Every day, it seems there's a new revelation and allegation involving Harvey Weinstein, his company, and now a spate of criminal investigations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS: Harvey Weinstein cut the last link to the management of his former media empire as the sex scandal widens. And this morning, his brother Bob Weinstein is also facing a sexual harassment allegation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Los Angeles police now investigating a new claim of sexual assault and yet another Oscar winner opening up now about her encounters with Weinstein.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: We're back with the panel. Kimberly Guilfoyle, we just talked about situation at Fox News.
KURTZ: You have the sheer volume of allegations now against Harvey Weinstein, criminal probes, six women charging rape, many are just charging other things. Beyond Weinstein, why has this become such a huge cultural story in your view?
GUILFOYLE: Well, because this now is such a bright light, you know. Sean and there were people like, OK, let's really talk about this, let's make sure, and then courageous women coming forward have encouraged others to come forward.
You've really seen this especially with the Weinstein case because one after the next, you build on strength. And so you've seen no all of them coming forward to share and give their voice. And having prosecuted cases of sexual assault in Los Angeles District Attorney' Office as assistant DA, you know, and then San Francisco, we take these cases very seriously.
And this is not just sexual harassment. There is specific allegation of sexual assault and misconduct that now there's multiple investigations including internationally with (INAUDIBLE). So, this is just basically scratching the surface of this case. We are going to hear a lot more about it.
KURTZ: All right. Shelby, I thought that it was just because you had famous actresses involved, names like Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, but now I think it is just and maybe all these other cases which also stretch back to David Letterman who kind of got a past for his conduct with his own staff.
KURTZ: I think it has just touched some kind of (INAUDIBLE) culture. What are your thoughts?
HOLLIDAY: It's absolutely odd. You know, in some way, it is this perfect media story. It's Hollywood. You have glamorous actresses as you said.
Terrible, terrible allegations. Stories you never wanted to hear. But they're real and they exist. And I think that's why so many women have come forward.
There is power in numbers. As Kim said, one after the other, once you hear someone else is courageous enough to do this. I think this women feel they are able to do it as well. And it's not just with him, it's with other producers.
HOLLIDAY: We just got an Amazon -- had get fired because of the same exact thing. I think the dominoes will continue to fall. But generally, the
(INAUDIBLE) movement and just this empowering women movement we've seen online is something that I think we wouldn't have seen had only one person come forward.
KURTZ: Well, more on that next segment. Jessica Tarlov, you have other people now coming out who knew and admitting they knew. One classic example is Director Quentin Tarantino, who worked a lot with Harvey Weinstein, "Pulp Fiction," "Kill Bill" and all those movies, telling The New York Times he knew for a fact because his former girlfriend Mira Sorvino, the actress, and another actress told him about it.
He knew about a settlement with another actress named Rose McGowan. He says with the Times, he feels ashamed. I knew enough to do more than I did.
Tarantino says I wish I take a responsibility for what I heard, if I had done the work, I should have done then, I would not had to work with him, what I did was marginalizing incident, anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse.
OK, crappy excuse, too little too late.
TARLOV: So way better than what a lot of other men have said. So I applaud Quentin Tarantino for at least putting that statement out there and hopefully more men who did know about it because it's obviously quite an open secret will say that instead of I have to say something because --
KURTZ: But it isn't it easy -- isn't easier to do now after the whole world
TARLOV: -- and to the point that Shelby and Kimberly made which I think is critically important, you know, when you have powerful women taking the first step, because the gateway was actually Judd, right, someone who stood up and said, hey, this happened to me and gave the other women and lesser position or power --
HOLLIDAY: And put her name behind it.
TARLOV: And put her name behind it. And the face of the community (INAUDIBLE). I just want to add that I think that the last 18 months considering what happened during the presidential election, the "Access Hollywood" tape, actually was the beginning of the watershed, of people talking about sex harassment more openly and that is something that obviously happened here as we discussed in the last segment and I think that is critically important.
KURTZ: The story and this issue are not going away. Jessica Tarlov, Shelby Holliday, thanks very much. Kimberly, we'll see you a bit later.
Ahead on our New York edition, nearly half of Americans believe news outlets just make stuff up about Donald Trump, that's stunning. But first, as we were just talking about, legions of woman telling their sexual harassment stories under this #metoo. Is this a turning point or media fad?
Trish Regan is on deck.
KURTZ: In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein uproar, legions of women have been speaking out about sexual assault and harassment not just in Hollywood, n Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the flood gates opened after actress Alyssa Milano invited people to share their stories under the #metoo.
ALYSSA MILANO, ACTRES: I really want this to be about the every woman's voice. I want it to be -- this is your movement, women, this is your time.
And if I can be the wrestle and hold the bullhorn for you guys to shout as loud as humanely possible, them I'm honored to do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Joining me now is Trish Regan who will host the "Intelligence Report" weekdays at 2:00 p.m. eastern on Fox Business, and Trish, let's put Hollywood aside for a moment. What do you make of this social media explosion, more than one million women adopting this #metoo speaking out about their own personal experiences?
TRISH REGAN, HOST, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: I think it's fantastic. I think that this is exactly what needs to happen in this moment in time. Women need to take the stigma out of this, Howie, and it needs to be exposed because it's got to stop. It's got to stop.
I got two little girls myself and I don't want them growing up in a world where they feel as though this exists out there. It shouldn't. It should never exist. And if this can actually start to change things and start to change people's behavior and women feel empowered because they know that they will be supported and this won't be tolerated, that's a good thing.
KURTZ: It's been hard in the past for women with powerful bosses or colleagues to speak out. It's had the (INAUDIBLE) is not to rock the boat, not to risk your job. I mean, when you were coming up through the TV ranks, did you have uncomfortable experiences?
REGAN: You know, I think that the important thing is for every woman to call it out when she sees it. I really do think that because, you know, you've seen a lot of these coming out after the fact now. Call it out when it happens. It takes a lot of courage, but I think women increasingly now have that courage by sticking together with this campaign. I think that is a tremendous direction to go in.
I mean there's -- look, I think different industries have gone through this at different times. You think about the financials industry in the 80s, Howie, and they went through a similar type of experience. You think about what media is going through now --
KURTZ: Yes as we discussed earlier.
REGAN: -- what Hollywood is going through now and what technology is going through now. And these are industries that didn't experience it earlier later but they're getting their acts cleaned up and they absolutely need to do that.
KURTZ: Well here's a kind of (INAUDIBLE) view from conservative writer Heather Wilhelm of National Review. She says that this social media fad is creating an impression that to women, monsters are everywhere, that Weinsteins lurk around every corner, in other words that maybe this paints too dark a picture.
REGAN: She's saying that the me too campaign about that?
KURTZ: The me too campaign, yes.
REGAN: Look, me too is not actually exposing anyone, number one. And saying me too is very different than, you know, I mean Harvey Weinstein, my goodness. What a creep. And it sounds like judging by these allegations, he may find himself behind bars, Howie. I mean this was really, really bad stuff, and we're talking about allegations of rape and assault.
Saying me too is very different and I don't think it's anywhere near the level of what Harvey was doing but it's an important thing to do.
KURTZ: Well it varies. Some women have these old stories, some women would just says his actuations made them uncomfortable. But look, Hollywood, the community says it's all --
REGAN: A woman should never feel uncomfortable though, and that's what I really have a problem. You should never feel uncomfortable in the workplace, period.
REGAN: You should never feel as though you are being pressured into doing anything because there's an opportunity for you. A woman should never feel that. And if it takes something like this, the #metoo campaign and make men aware of that --
REGAN: -- so be it. I mean, we live in different times and the pendulum swings, I get it. But this is for the better. This is for the better of all women and men.
KURTZ: It's amazing how much of it opens secret we now know this was, the Weinstein case and Hollywood among many journalist, insiders, publicists, lawyers, agents, but Hollywood has always said as a community, we're about feminism. Now, there is this whole dark under belly exposed by the Harvey Weinstein ugliness.
TEGAN: Really ugly and you know, I've always considered myself a feminist and that's a bit of a loading term in part because I think Hollywood has hijacked that term. To me, if you believe in women, if you believe in the equality of women, you believe in whatever a woman wants to do with her life, whether it be to become CEO, become president, stay home with her children.
All of those things are of value. But in Hollywood they have taken the term feminism, Howie, and they corrupted it to be only what they want. So you can't be a feminist if you don't sign up for their politics. And now we're learning that their politics allowed this creep to do what he did for so many years and they all knew about it but nobody was willing to say a darn thing.
KURTZ: Until now.
KURTZ: Trish Tega, great to see you in person.
TEGAN: Good to see you. Thanks Howie.
KURTZ: Thanks very much for joining us this Sunday. Coming up here in New York, the president broadens his attack on fake news, but if you ever notice, he's spending more time than ever with reporters. What gives? We'll ask Kimberly Guilfoyle in just a moment.
KURTZ: President Trump broadened his attack on the press this week using his favorite venue, Twitter -- "So much fake news being put in dying magazines and newspapers. Only place worse may be @NBCNews, @CBSNews, AABC and @CNN. Fiction writers!"
In a new poll by Morning Consult and Politico says 46 percent of voters believe major news organizations fabricate stories about Trump. Just plain make them up. Thirty-seven percent don't believe that. It's just stunning.
I'm back with Kimberly.
You know, I've written about fraudulent journalism. I exposed Jayson Blair of the New York Times, Jack Kelley at USA Today. But as a journalist, I find the notion that nearly half the people say we make stuff up, pretty depressing -- it's pretty rare, actually.
GUILFOYLE: Listen, there are some fantastic, phenomenal journalists in this country who do a really incredible job in terms of researching their story. Many that travel overseas, those that cover in military and conflict areas, and so we owe them a large thank you and credit for the work that they do.
However, I think in the media where people will take stories that are thinly sourced, will say I have a source, I have one other source, and they're not -- there's no truth to them. So, he has seen that up close and personal because nowadays anybody can quote say they are a journalist when they are not. If they can start a blog and have a cell phone and take a picture, et cetera, et cetera.
KURTZ: Well the president actually tweeting this morning, this is finally sinking through, referencing this very poll. He says lost cred, the media have lost credibility. But look, unfair journalism, bias journalism --
GUILFOYLE: Bias journalism.
KURTZ: Inaccurate journalism, sure.
GUILFOYLE: Mainstream media.
KURTZ: Making stuff up is a serious indictment.
GUILFOYLE: Well that's a separate whole indictment. And I think you have to be more individual and specific in terms of, you know, who's doing what.
But we've definitely seen now. How many stories have we seen have to be walked back or retractions or revisions when they said stuff about President Trump?
The bottom line is, there is a thirst that doesn't seem to be able to be quenched for the mainstream media that wants to put forward a story that are negative about the president. They don't want to talk about all the positive job numbers and the economy or what he's doing with immigration, you know, or what he's doing as it relates to national security or ISIS getting decimated, because that doesn't fit their narrative.
KURTZ: And you know, recently Jimmy Carter telling Maureen Dowd of the "New York Times" this morning, media hotter on Trump than any other president, feel free to call him mentally deranged. But now despite the president, you know, keeping up his constant attack on what he sees as unfair, unbiased, and inaccurate journalism, he's talking to reporters more than ever before. He's having news conference and he's taking questions at the helicopter. What explains this paradox?
GUILFOYLE: Well that should be applauded. It should -- he's one of the most transparent and available president that we've seen in American political history. But that's not good enough for them. They'll find another reason to criticize him.
You should be happy that he's out there tweeting, that he's telling you exactly what he thinks, that he's not hiding behind a veil. He's like he's own best press secretary in many ways and Sara Huckabee Sanders doing a great job for having too, but he's frustrated. Wouldn't you be when you see stories out there like this doesn't have any truth or merit.
GUILFOYLE: They don't give him credit for what he's accomplished.
KURTZ: Every person gets frustrated with the press but ABC's John McAuliffe said, more opportunity to question President Trump in the last two months than he had with Obama in the last two years.
KURTZ: Let me just move to --
GUILFOYLE: But they're far more disrespectful to President Trump. They didn't ever treat President Obama like this. And my point is there shouldn't be a double standard. This is very unfair and it doesn't serve the American people who are thirsty and hungry for knowledge and accurate reporting.
KURTZ: Let me slip in a last question about Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He was asked about the potential to prosecute journalists for doing their jobs in a hearing, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, D-MINN.: Will you commit to not putting reporters in jail for doing their jobs?
JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I don't know that I can make blanket commitment to that effect, but I would say this. We've not taken any aggressive action against the media at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Is it troubling that he wouldn't rule out going after journalists legally for doing their job?
GUILFOYLE: Well, the question specifically was criminal. And the point is there maybe civil remedies that you could bring if somebody is a rival per se and defamation. But as it relates to reporters doing their job, you have to let them. That's what one of the things that make this country great. A free American press that's not afraid to ask the questions.
So if you're in a position like that, you've got to answer the questions.
You can be frustrated maybe with some of the content but then you get out there and tell your side of it and go ahead and tweet and do what you're going to do. And that's what makes this country great. And we have a president that's not afraid to do that.
KURTZ: And by the way, it was the Obama administration that used domestic surveillance against AP, against Fox's James Rosen.
GUILFOYLE: Totally improper.
KURTZ: So, I hope we're not going to see (INAUDIBLE) that. Kimberly Guilfoyle, great to see you here in New York.
GUILFOYLE: Nice to see you too.
KURTZ: Thank you so much for joining us. After the break, Kennedy is here.
We're going to look at Jimmy Kimmel saying he doesn't really care if his political crusades are costing him Republican viewers.
KURTZ: Jimmy Kimmel has become something of a liberal crusader on health care and gun control. The ABC comedian says he knows he's driving conservative viewers away and that's fine by him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, ABC: Three years ago I was equally liked by Republicans and Democrats and then the Republican numbers went way down like 30 percent or whatever and you know, as a talk show host, that's not ideal, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
But if they're so turned off by my opinion on health care and gun violence, then I don't know. I probably wouldn't want to have a conversation with them anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: And joining me now is Kennedy who hosts the showed called "Kennedy"
8 p.m. Eastern on Fox Business. Look, I get that Jimmy Kimmel believes his heart is in the right place, speaking out about Obamacare for his infant son's surgery and about Las Vegas his hometown after the massacre but how did he sound right there when it comes to Republican viewers?
KENNEDY, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: He sounded glib and I think that's why Bob Iger came out and made the statement that, you know.
KURTZ: Head of Disney.
KENNEDY: Yes, exactly. Like he -- the parent company of ABC. He is there to entertain. He is there to be a comedian and host a late-night comedy show and, you know, that's a directive he's been given. It's really tough when you put yourself out there politically and you realize that half of the audience who's consuming it wants to cannibalize you. It's very difficult and it's hard to come back from that.
And so hosts like that, you know, and Jon Stewart found this out, if you're going to do it, you kind of to go all in. You can do a comedy show that's political, but you really have to make some of those tough choices and that means you are alienating a large swath of people. If he can do that and still carry a late-night franchise, you know, fine. Have at it party boy.
KURTZ: But you know, we used to think people want to be entertained at
11:30 at night. Is this the new norm except for Jimmy Fallon who's kind of apolitical, the audience expect Kimmel and Colbert and Seth Meyers and the others to wrap their humor in politics, which in this case means liberal politics.
KENNEDY: That's fine. And they can wrap their humor in politics and there's nothing more absurd, there's no more absurd branch or material than, you know, politics and politicians themselves. And they're constantly putting themselves out there. And they are such fantastic fodder.
The problem is you have to realize, and this is the difficulty. A lot of those hosts live in a bubble. They work around people who agree with them, share their world view and have the same politics whether it's people at work or people they associate with so they assume the rest of the country is like that.
The rest of the country is vastly different. We are all in search of the American dream and the thing I will say about Jimmy Kimmel, she realized the American dream. I mean his success story is really something where he conquered an industry that is quite difficult on his own terms.
KENNEDY: And he should realize that there are other people trying to do the same thing who might have slightly different philosophical means and that means Republicans as well. So don't just alienate them because you see things differently on a couple of issues.
KURTZ: All right. Let me move you to another media controversy. A lot of attention paid to two former presidents giving speeches that didn't mention Donald Trump by name or obviously aimed at the current president. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: We are rejecting the politics of division. We are rejecting a politics of fear.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication. We've seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So, are many pundits embracing particularly what George W. Bush said because he's a former Republican president who seems to share their view that Donald Trump is a divisive president?
KENNEDY: Yes. I think there are a lot of people who feel that the president was illegitimately elected. Apparently, they haven't read the constitution and therefore they feel if they dislike him so much they can use any means necessary to pull him down. And that means, you know, a lot of polemics and some conspiracy theory and that's what we get.
When you have a climate that is so divisive and you take one side, you are automatically going to divide yourself from a big --
KURTZ: But isn't there or neither -- didn't the mainstream media spent much of the time when Bush was in office, denigrating him over the Iraq war and Katrina and the notion that he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer and all of that, and now he's kind of being held as a statesman because he's speaking out against -- I mean there's been no love lost between Bush and Trump.
KENNEDY: He's being hailed now as a statesman because it's taken so much time and he actually went away. And you know, President Obama hasn't afforded himself the same luxury and I think he would benefit from that. If he actually went away I think he'd be a more effective tool for Democrats.
But right now, people like former President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, it's all about them. It's not about the message. It's not about the economy and in that regard, they're being hypocritical.
KURTZ: Yes. It's hard for anyone to go away in this media concert.
Kennedy, thank you so much.
KENNEDY: Thank you Howie.
KURTZ: Great to see you. Still to come, Rachel Maddow under fire for pushing a wild theory tying President Trump's travel ban to the ambush of American soldiers in Niger. That's next.
KURTZ: Rachel Maddow has spun a bit of a conspiracy theory on her MSNBC show, tying the deaths of the four American soldiers in Niger to President Trump including Chad in his latest travel ban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: The government of Chad announced that they had completed the withdrawal of all Chadian troops from their neighboring country, Niger. Right after that, that's when four U.S.
Army soldiers got attacked by a large contingent of ISIS fighters in Niger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So, Maddow argued that the Trump ban somehow led to the Chad row which somehow may have led to the Niger ambush. Even the liberal "Huffington Post" called her theory, quote, so flimsy that it could be debunked by a quick glance on a map let alone a phone call with an expert.
Maddow acknowledge the criticism on Friday but said everything she reported is true. OK. Yet in an attempt to blame Trump, she connected a bunch of dots that just don't make a plausible picture.
Well that's it for this special edition of "Mediabuzz" from New York. I'm Howard Kurtz. Great studio here, great crew too. We hope that you like our Facebook page. We post a lot of original content there. We respond to your comments. You can write to us, email@example.com. Continue the conversation on Twitter @HowardKurtz. Love doing the show up here. What an All-Star line up we had for you today. We'll be back in Washington next Sunday. Hope you'll join us then, 11 a.m. Eastern. See you then with the latest buzz.
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