Media in Trump 'crisis' mode

This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," May 12, 2019. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, a fiercely partisan media debate as the House committee holds the attorney general in contempt. President Trump invoke executive privilege for the full Mueller report. And the pundits wage political combat.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's running another con not just on the American people but, essentially, on our entire system of constitutional government. And the question is whether he can rule the country the same way he used to rule the New York tabloids.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: He's engaging an ongoing cover up by defying at every turn the representatives of you, the American people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no good fate I ever hear on behalf of the Democrats. And personally, I think this is more about undermining Attorney General Barr as he looks into the origins of the Russia investigation.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: Barr has been over backwards in an effort to accommodate Democrats and to be transparent. But none of that matters. Because this is all theater. It's all choreography.


KURTZ: Is the coverage have run lofty constitutional principles or the Democrats pushing for impeachment?

Brit Hume, the veteran political analyst here at Fox joins our discussion.

The New York Times reveals that Trump once lost huge amounts of money as a businessman, took massive tax write-offs and he justifies his conduct while calling it fake news.


GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS CO-HOST: You might ask how do they get the stuff. But that doesn't matter if you hate the guy. Besides, publishing other people's stuff is what the Times is all about. Who cares if it was leaked or stolen?

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: He calls people are losers. He has such disdain and you know, drips with horror when he uses that word, and yet, he was literally the biggest loser in the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So here we have evidence that Donald Trump is a fraud. Concrete evidence once again that he's a fraud. It doesn't matter. We all know it's fake.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If anything, you read this and you're like, wow, it's pretty impressive. All the things that he's done in his life.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: Trump lost money. Well, it's a good thing CNN is on that story, otherwise nobody would have guessed that Donald Trump had financial problems in the early 1990s, except people who were alive then or people who have internet access now.


KURTZ: But is the media uproar justified if Trump took the same legal deductions as most real estate developers? Now many Democrats embracing socialist ideas because that's what their voters want. We've got exclusive research from Frank Luntz on what's behind the more sympathetic coverage of socialism over capitalism.

Plus, more Democrats want to come on Fox as Amy Klobuchar did this week. And some are getting specialized media training about how to do that. We'll talk to the congresswoman spearheading the effort.

I'm Howard Kurtz. And this is Media Buzz.

We're also hearing that produced hours of speech flying by Democrats, by Republicans and the pundits covering it before the House judiciary panel voted purely along party lines to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt of Congress.

The clash was nominally about Barr's refusal to provide the unredacted Mueller report. But as lawmakers show up in TV studios, it was clear the real issue was President Trump.


REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): What brought us here is that we have to defend our constitutional form of government.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): They want to destroy Bill Barr because they don't like an attorney general who actually does his job and follows the law -- and follows the rules.


KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage, Gayle Trotter, host of the Right in D.C. podcast, Gillian Turner, a Fox News correspondent and a former White House national security official, and Clarence Page, columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

Gayle, are the media pretty much embracing the argument by House Democrats that these subpoena battles are a flow full-blown hair on fire constitutional crisis?

GAYLE TROTTER, POLITICAL ANALYST & COLUMNIST: Yes, for sure, the coverage is picking up that left-wing talking point. And instead, it's silly to define a constitutional crisis that way. Because you have two branches that are in conflict, now that Congress if they get the information that they want they can appeal it to a court.

And if you had two branches of government being flouted by a third branch of government, that might rise to the level of constitutional crisis but certainly, at this point it's just part of our federal system and the media --


KURTZ: You say it's premature?

TROTTER: It is premature. Absolutely.

KURTZ: The media.

TROTTER: Silly and premature.

KURTZ: All right. Now, House Democrats, Gillian, are citing Bill Barr for contempt. Seven years ago, House Republicans voted contempt citation against Attorney General Eric Holder for refusing to turn over documents. And nothing happened, which is all from the way these things fizzle out. But I don't recall the media treating that early episode as a big crisis.

GILLIAN TURNER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, they didn't, to be frank. I mean, the problem here is that the media seems to be echoing congressional Democrats here, which basically says that the congressional Democrats saying there's two different roles. There's one rule for Republican's attorney general and there's another set of rules for Democrat President Obama's attorney general.

That's a line that the media has picked up in this case and is mimicking pretty uncritically. And I think when Gayle and others talk about, you know, it's premature to call this a constitutional crisis, that's what everybody is getting at.

KURTZ: Maybe it's a more dramatic storyline for the press to do that, Clarence Page, the media are right here about one thing, no dispute. There's a really important constitutional principle at stake. Congressional oversights, separation of powers and all that. But the coverage seems to go so far beyond that in turning it into at least a political crisis, if not a constitutional one.

CLARENCE PAGE, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: This is the big story in Washington, Howard. I can speak for all of the industrial Midwest right now. But the fact is, we've had people exciting or either accusing or otherwise speculating a constitutional crisis ever since President Trump came into office and tried to get his Muslim ban through. And what happened? The court stopped it.


TROTTER: It was not a Muslim ban.

PAGE: As long as the court still works -- sorry?

TROTTER: It was not a Muslim ban. I do have to jump in there.


PAGE: Well, in a language that's where we are in about these days.



PAGE: Both the --

KURTZ: Restricting immigration -- restricting immigration from countries with predominately Muslim population.

TROTTER: A few countries.

PAGE: But --

KURTZ: A few countries, exactly.

PAGE: As a campaigner President Trump said he want it -- or candidate Trump wanted a Muslim ban. He changed the language when he learned yes, that's not constitutional. So, --


KURTZ: All right. But your point is that we've been at --

PAGE: But again, that's the system.

KURTZ: -- eleven for a long time.

PAGE: This is hoe system works. And right now, you see Democrats that's talking about constitutional crisis. I think they've just jump from first gear to overdrive and they kind of start an --


KURTZ: And here's the ultimate overdrive. What about the coverage of impeachment? Now Nancy Pelosi says President Trump is self-impeaching -- interesting phrase -- by blocking all these congressional demands.

There's a whole bunch of committees demanding a whole bunch of things. Do the pundits, especially the opinion hosts at CNN and MSNBC, do they love the impeachment narrative?

TROTTER: Of course, they do. Because that's what we have seen in the reporting for two plus years of the Mueller report. They thought that the Mueller report was going to lead to the impeachment or convict -- you know, indictment and conviction of President Trump and those close to him.

And I think it's important to see the change in the tone of the Democrats it's all related to 2020. Nancy Pelosi was trying to hold back on impeachment talk. And because you have 20-plus Democratic presidential contenders who are now saying impeach, impeach, impeach, Pelosi is feeling pressure from advocates of those candidates that she needs to be out there promoting that, too.

KURTZ: Not every Democratic candidate is saying impeach, but Nancy Pelosi, I mean, the press knows full well that Nancy Pelosi does not want to go down the impeachment road. She said so, she needs a bipartisan support. PAGE: Right.

KURTZ: And besides he would be ultimately acquitted by a Republican Senate. So how should journalists cover this much tougher rhetoric by the Democrats? Real or posturing?

PAGE: I haven't heard any complaints about tough rhetoric going when it comes to getting a media audience, and that's what we have here. You got --


KURTZ: Is that why we're having the tough rhetoric to breakthrough --


KURTZ: -- the media static by the Democrats?

PAGE: No. Well, you know, every time Elizabeth Warren or somebody else calls for impeachment, they use that as a fund-raising tool. President Trump is using this whole drive as a fund-raising tool as well. This is the way campaigns work.

President Trump violates norms. We know that. But this is because by a constitutional crisis argument. Just because he violates norms doesn't mean he's violating the Constitution. And President Trump does everything out in public as he does prove --


TURNER: I think the problem here, though, from a media perspective is that, they -- most of the media seems intent on settling a score. They're very upset that President Trump sort of won the first round of the Mueller report. Right? He got the no collusion headline --

PAGE: Right.

TURNER: that he wanted it.

PAGE: Right.

TURNER: Which he all he needed to run for.

PAGE: But it's inaccurate.

TURNER: So, if somehow they can continue -- if somehow they can continue down this road whether it's the narrative surrounding impeachment, whether it's Bill Barr is not being transparent, Bill Barr is being a political hack --

KURTZ: Right.

TURNER: -- protecting the president they can give the second round to Republicans and kind of even out -- I mean, to Democrats and even out the score.

KURTZ: All right. So inaccurate vindicated just getting that on the record.

TURNER: Vindicated.

KURTZ: Let me play you a sound bite the president talking about Mueller. He has been doing quite a bit even since the report was issued some weeks ago. Let's look at it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Bob Mueller is no friend of mine. I had conflicts with him. We had a business dispute. We had somebody that is in love with James Comey. They like James Comey. They were very good friends. Supposedly best friends.


KURTZ: So, in my view, the press doesn't want to come off the Mueller- related narrative because it's good for business, good for clicks, good for ratings. It fits the business model. But every time the president tweets or talks about Mueller and the angry Democrats, isn't he fueling the story as well?

TURNER: Of course, he is. But again, that's because he got the no collusion headline he wanted, which was all he ever needed to kind of close the circle.


KURTZ: But why not declare a victory and move on? He wants to keep talking about this, something he's baiting the Democrats to impeach him.

TURNER: Well, something that keeps baiting them I think is the six separate congressional investigations that are going on since the president his campaign still on his tax returns at this point.

So, the president is not making all of this up, he's not the only one that's kind of dragging out the headline. It is still an unfolding developing story.

KURTZ: Right.

PAGE: Since this is the U.S. attorney investigations as well around the country.

KURTZ: Right. I've got a sound bite for you, Gayle. This has to do with -- Axios was the first to report that the Senate intel committee under Republican Chairman Richard Burr has secretly issued a subpoena of Donald Trump, Jr. They want to bring him back to talk about his testimony about the infamous Trump tower meeting during the campaign. And here's what the president had to say about it.


TRUMP: My son is a good person. My son testified for hours and hours. My son was totally exonerated right Mueller. Who frankly, does not like Donald Trump. Me, this Donald Trump.


KURTZ: So, the dire headlines about this, I think it may have played down or sometimes ignored the fact that the president's son has testified voluntarily on the Hill more than once.

TROTTER: Right. And I think if you look at the history of the Trump administration, there's been broad information sharing in furtherance of Mueller and his team, who were shown to be a lot of partisan Democrats that he hired for the team. There's been broad information sharing.

And it's a head scratcher to think about why the Senate intelligence committee is subpoenaing Don Trump, Jr. And so, I think the coverage is kind of a head scratcher, too because people don't exactly know what to make of it.

KURTZ: A source tells me that there's no way that Don is going to comply with the subpoena. He is not going to show up. H thinks he would just be made a pinata by the Democrats. We'll see how it plays out.

There are a lot of pundits during this Mueller investigation who went on the air or wrote and said predicted Donald Trump, Jr. was going to be indicted. That didn't happen. I mention living through that and we -- I talked about that with the president's son when I interviewed him. Now the press seems to love this as a story. The president's son being dragged back into the middle of this investigation.

TURNER: Well, because the media from the get-go I think has fairly and rightly perceived that Donald Trump, Jr. made himself a political player. In his father's campaign, in his father's administration. He put himself in the uniform, he put himself out around the field.

And because of that, the media has decided he should not be afforded -- and congressional Democrats --


TURNER: -- and some Republicans have decided he's not afforded the protections and the sort of immunities that presidential children are usually afforded. That's partially at least of his own making.

KURTZ: Clarence, on the --


PAGE: On norms --

KURTZ: On the Richard Burr thing, the New York Times has reported, Maggie Haberman tweeted from a person close to Don Jr., P.R. stunt from a so- called Republican senator too cowardly to stare enough to his boss - Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the committee. That's worked in the press because that was widely picked up.

PAGE: Yes. You're talking now about the --


KURTZ: Somebody saying on behalf of Don Jr. that this is a stunt by Richard Burr. And is he really a Republican?

PAGE: We don't know if the questions were asked that's why we have hearings, that's why Congress has that power to go investigate. And yes, they want to keep the Mueller report of what, 400 somewhat pages and President Trump says no collusion, no objection.

Well, the obstruction part obviously that's not correct because the -- even the executive summary tells you --


KURTZ: You're saying it's out of the question.

PAGE: This is why you have hearings. I think Nadler maybe scaling back his push for impeachment. You don't need impeachment to have hearings to investigate. And that's the law --


KURTZ: And you know, I got to go. I got to go. And you don't need hearings to have saturation media coverage as we have just demonstrated.

When come back, the New York Times says Donald Trump once lost a fortune and at times he didn't have to pay taxes. Should the press be playing that as a big scandal?

And later, how some Democrats are getting special training on how to deal with Fox News.


KURTZ: The New York Times triggered an explosion of coverage by disclosing partial IRS records for Donald Trump for the decade between the mid-80s and mid-90s. The hotel and casino mogul lost more than $1.1 billion during that period. More than any other American the paper said. Generating deductions that enabled him to pay no taxes in eight of the 10 years.

The president tweeted that real estate developers in that era were entitled to massive write-offs and depreciation, and you always wanted to show losses for tax purposes, and almost all real estate developers did this and that renegotiating with banks was sport. And then he added, the very old information put out is a highly inaccurate fake news hit job.

Gayle, is it newsworthy for the Times to reveal that as long as three decades ago, Donald Trump lost a huge amount of money and often didn't have to pay taxes?

TROTTER: No. This is tendentious in the extreme. Thus, the white whale obsession of the mainstream media. If you look at this report by the New York Times, it's old information. They put in some different details that were --


KURTZ: They're saying --

TROTTER: -- the basis of illegal leaks.

KURTZ: I take your point on that. It's fine to say that it's old information. It's fine to challenge the story. But tendentious? I mean, it's a highly detailed news story.

TROTTER: No. Because this is information that if you had paid attention in 2004 when Donald Trump launched "The Apprentice," he talked about how much money he had lost. He also talked about 1991 as being the nadir of his financial troubles, that was supposedly the news information in the New York Times the exact same year.

KURTZ: On Gayle's point, Clarence, Trump also wrote a book "The Art of the Comeback" where he talked about having been deeply in debt. He said I love depreciation in one of those debates with Hillary Clinton. So, why was the Times at times they were treated as a bomb shell then?

PAGE: Because of the details, that's all. We have known all this before. I remember during the debates when he was asked something like, why do you think of all deductions? Because I'm smart.

KURTZ: Yes. He avoids it. He was proud of it.

TURNER: Right.

PAGE: Well, he's right. It's illegal. That's the question. You know, have they found him breaking the law at all. This has all been out in the open. I don't know why I've not heard more, and maybe we will in the campaign trail, I'm sure. More from Bernie Sanders and others, other populous would normally rail against these rich folks in the system that lets him pay less taxes than I did. That kind of line --


KURTZ: Bernie is now a millionaire by the way by selling a book.

PAGE: Thanks to his journalism. A book, right.

KURTZ: Yes. So, in the president's tweet, he basically said look, I did it. It's justified. Everybody did it. It's perfectly fair. It's perfectly legal. And then he calls the Times story inaccurate and fake news. How can both things be true?

TURNER: Because in a very Trumpian way, both things are true. Right? I mean, the first part of the tweet and the New York Times revelations, the president's supporters who have embraced his spirit of like, we're going to shirk the system, we're going to, you know, get as much out of these people, these Washington elites as we can, you know.

They love that. The idea that you would get as many write-offs as possible and that would be a sport, it's something that they love. But at the same time, he disagrees with the way the New York Times is reporting as a bombshell.

KURTZ: I see.

TURNER: That's the part to the president --

KURTZ: Right.

TURNER: -- you know, that's fake news.

KURTZ: So, you made the point. And these are not the actual tax returns but they are IRS summaries or transcripts. And almost no journalist that I saw, a few exceptions, questions whether this leak was a massive invasion of privacy.

TROTTER: I tweeted about that. This week the New York Times and its coverage says that they got the information from someone who had legal access to the information. I think that's misleading because they may have had legal access to the information for certain purposes.


TROTTER: They did not have legal access to the information to give it to the New York Times.

KURTZ: The supposed political relevance here according to the press, Clarence, is that he ran on his record as a successful businessman and that got him elected.

PAGE: Yes. That's his public image, of course, that the winner, et cetera. This is quite legitimate. We are talking about the president here for Pete's sake. You know, he has no privacy. And he's perfectly free to sue the New York Times. And you know why he doesn't because then he would be forced in discovery that tells even more like his current tax returns. So, he's over a barrel in that regard and gets out of it when he usually does by talking his way out.

TURNER: Or maybe they wouldn't this information wouldn't have been leaked had the president release his tax returns.

PAGE: Yes.

TURNER: That's an interesting question to ask.


KURTZ: As every major candidate has in the last 40 years but Donald Trump chose not to.

Hey, let me just put out for fun, this Mad magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman. Because President Trump this week compared Pete Buttigieg to this guy, mascot of Mad magazine. And Buttigieg had to Google it even though he wasn't, maybe he's a generational thing. So Mad put out a statemen saying "Who's Pete Buttigieg?" Maybe it's a generational thing. Mad magazine. Everybody knows Mad magazine.

Clarence Page, Gayle Trotter, thanks so much for joining us. Gillian, stick around. Up next, a little detour from American politics as the press covers the new royal baby. And a racially charged debate.

And later, will the public lose interest in that constant coverage of Trump versus Congress?


KURTZ: There's a new addition to Britain's Royal family, and already a racially charged controversy over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's baby.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meghan, can you tell us what it's like becoming a new mom and tell us a little bit about baby Sussex as we're calling him.

MEGHAN, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: That's magic. It's pretty amazing. I mean, I have the two best guys in the world, so I'm really happy.


KURTZ: BBC 5 fired radio host Danny Baker for tweeting an incredibly racist black-and-white image of a couple with their child, a monkey, dressed up in a suit. He apologized for the joke. The network called a serious error in judgment.

We're back with Gillian Turner. How in the 21st century does the British broadcaster do this? And what does it tell us about the coverage of Meghan Markle who has one white parent and one black parent?

TURNER: Well, I think part of the problem here is the British coverage of Meghan Markle's entry into the Royal family has could not have been more on the polar opposite end of the spectrum from U.S. coverage from the get-go.

And what a lot of Americans don't realize is that as the U.S. public and the U.S. media has really celebrated her and gotten behind her and accepted and really loved the idea that she is a mixed-race woman American entering the British monarchy. Most of the British has not at all fallen in line with that way. They've looked at her as a transgression from the start.

KURTZ: Right. She is very different than many. And I should mention that you covered the royal wedding in London you know a lot better than I do.

The New York Times columnist Lizzie Skurnick writes, "Will the baby have kinky hair?" And she is being provocative. But she goes on to say "Meghan has always celebrated all sides of her background."

So, look, as far as we know, it's a first biracial baby in the history of the British royal family as far as we know.

TURNER: That they have embraced

KURTZ: Right.

TURNER: Or permitted.

KURTZ: But so, that's a story. But has it become in a way the only story?

TURNER: Well, unfortunately, my personal take here is that it's perfectly legitimate for the media to ask questions about what this baby might look like. Just like they would any other member of the British monarchy that's being born.


KURTZ: That's usually a cute or not cute.

TURNER: Well, or will it look like the mother or will it look like the father, the grandparents. I think there's nothing inherently racist about asking those questions.

But I think the degree to which people have been asking pointed racial questions with this glee, you know, basically the idea in mind that --


TURNER: -- they would love it if this could offend, you know, the queen or could, you know, rankle her sensibility.

Right, right.

TURNER: That borders on being racist.

KURTZ: Right. To me, the most controversial thing is the name, Archie. It sounds like a very American name.


KURTZ: But there were outrage editorials in the British press and we run then when Prince Harry said that they were going to skip the photo op the traditional appearance with the baby. I guess they changed their mind. Why did this spark such anger?

TURNER: Because the underlying story here is really about the British press relationship with Prince Harry. They are very upset with him over the last few years. They feel that somebody who grew up in the public spotlight, he really embraced the British press. He befriended them, he went to the pubs and had drinks with them and gave them stories.

KURTZ: And then?

TURNER: And in the last few years, whether it's because of Meghan or not, they receive that he's turned against them.

KURTZ: Right.

TURNER: He's been excluding them. And they are very upset about that. That's what the story is.

KURTZ: Keep in mind that Prince Harry lost his mother in a chase with paparazzi.

Gillian Turner, always great to see you. Thanks so much.

Ahead, new research on the partisan divide over -- yes, socialism. Frank Luntz has the exclusive numbers. But first, Brit Hume is here on the coverage of the broader partisan warfare behind the contempt citation against bill Barr.



RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end. One year of Watergate is enough.


HOWARD KURTZ, MEDIA BUZZ, HOST: We have the right date on the bottom there. Has the media covered the seemingly endless saga of President Trump under investigation and his clashes with Congress? They're increasingly trying to draw parallels to Richard Nixon.

Joining us now here in the studio, Brit Hume, Fox senior political analyst. And, Brit, you covered some of the scandals of the Nixon administration?


KURTZ: House Democrats -- this is the New York Times' story. House Democrats infuriated by President Trump's stonewalling, which is a Watergate term, made package of bundled contempt citations against President Trump modeled on the Nixon impeachment article, when he was withholding the Watergate tapes. Is there an effort by the press to treat this as Watergate?

HUME: Oh, I think there is -- there is a huge effort to relive Watergate. I think Watergate was really a major turning point in the history of our media.

KURTZ: Yeah.

HUME: It was. Because I am saying -- I'm saying about it is that it was the most glorious time to be a journalist. And these two young able Washington Post reporters did the reporting that ultimately brought down a president. There had never been anything like it before.

And movies were made and books written, and a hero status never before conferred on journalists occurred. And I think that's what brought a lot of journalists -- allow young people into journalism.

KURTZ: Yeah.

HUME: So along comes this character Donald Trump, the most exotic character we've ever seen in White House, a man who -- if you're trying to design somebody that media would not like, you could hardly do better than Donald Trump. He's perfectly -- perfectly suited to be hated by media. And they are all, consciously or not, pursuing this sort of Watergate reenactment. And that's we are.

KURTZ: They want to be Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman.

HUME: Who wouldn't? Who wouldn't?

KURTZ: This Democratic contempt citation against Barr, when the Republicans House, I mentioned earlier, held Eric Holder in contempt for withholding documents in that fast and furious gunrunning probe...

HUME: Right.

KURTZ: Washington Post editorial precipitous and disproportionate, New York Times editorial pandering to the gun lobby. Will there be a different stand by the press?

HUME: Totally. And, you know, if you go back and look through the events that led up to Holder contempt citation that has much more drawn out over long period of time. The Justice Department had initially lied about what was -- what happened in fast and furious. And the congressional pursuit of that had even go on a couple years, with Holder flamingly withholding stuff that didn't seem to have real legal basis for. And so, they held him in contempt.

KURTZ: This is an argument about 2 percent of redactions in the report.

HUME: Well, what we're talking about now is I'm not even sure it's 2 percent. Somebody -- I read that it was -- it's two lines and seven partial lines, that's a report that is 448 pages. So, nothing of -- I mean, there's no evidence of anything really of substance that would make a difference in the conclusions of the report that's being withheld.

And what's more is that complaining congressmen have the opportunity to go down to Justice Department read nearly all of it...

KURTZ: Nearly all of it.

HUME: None has done so.

KURTZ: New York Times reporting that Rudy Giuliani was going to go Ukraine today, to urge investigation into Vice President Biden when he was V.P., pressuring firing of the top prosecutor in that country. Now, prosecutor had been looking into energy giant on whose board sat Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden.

New York Times says it would be remarkable scene for a presidential lawyer to press a foreigner government to pursue investigation that could help Trump's reelection campaign. Now, Rudy, to his credit, discussed this on the record with New York Times. It was a backlash. He then told Shannon Bream and others on canceling the trip. Is this the case of the press exposing something that turned out embarrassing to the president's lawyer?

HUME: Well, maybe. I mean, the press didn't have to do much exposing. The trip was no secret.

KURTZ: The reason behind it, perhaps.

HUME: And the reason behind it -- well, the reason behind it was we know that Biden, in 2017 went to Ukraine. He had a bundle of money in the form of loan guarantees to give to that government. And as a condition...

KURTZ: In 2016.

HUME: Yeah. I'm sorry, 2016, excuse me. And -- and he said you're not getting the money unless you fire that prosecutor. Well, the prosecutor, at the time, was investigating among other things, a company with which his son, Beau Biden, was affiliated. Well, look, I'm not sure that it was a good reason or bad reason to do that. But Biden was the last person to have been sent on that errand.

KURTZ: Got it.

HUME: It's a clear conflict of interest. He should never have done it. And he's bragged about it. There is a videotape of him bragging about it.

KURTZ: And Giuliani now says he felt like he's being set up and he blamed the reaction of Democrats. But they're reacting to a New York Times' story that I think didn't look that good for the Trump team.

All right. Two quick sports questions. President Trump gave Tiger Woods the Medal of Freedom this past week, the remarkable comeback in which he won Masters. You're a golfer. I'm sure you were watching. I didn't realize that Trump had once hired Tiger Woods to help him design a golf course in Dubai.

So many news outlets said, look, he's using this prestigious medal to reward a business partner. Fair game for the press?

HUME: No, I think it's absurd. Tiger Woods' achievement is unquestionable. He's one of the greatest comebacks in the history of sports, arguably the greatest. He's certainly not first golfer to receive the Medal of Freedom. Several others have before him, and during the Obama years, all sorts of entertainment personalities, actors, and so on were given the Medal of Freedom.

KURTZ: And Joe Biden was given by the Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama.

HUME: Exactly so. So, I mean I think this has really much ado about not much. And by the standards that have been set by previous recipients of this, Tiger Woods was obviously well qualified. The fact he once in his sideline of developing golf courses developed one for Trump that's -- that's way overdrawn.

KURTZ: All right. Quick question, quick answer. So, the Boston Red Sox played the World Series Champion, about 10 of them didn't go including the manager, all those who are black or Hispanic. They didn't feel they should be there. And so, this was said to be racially divisive and blamed on Donald Trump. If they don't like him, they don't have to go. Should that have been played...

HUME: You can argue it is racially divisive not to go. You know, he is after all the president. My sense about that is, if people don't want to go, don't go. You know, I think that -- I don't know, if I had chance to go, he is the president.

KURTZ: Right. It's a nonpartisan event.

HUME: It's a nonpartisan event. It's a recognition of something you've done by the beholder of the highest office in the land. I think an honor. I think, you know, you probably don't want to go. But people -- you know, people under pressure where they come from, not to do anything that would appear to align themselves with this president, that's the issue.

KURTZ: Brit, great to have you back in Washington.

HUME: Thank you, Howard.

KURTZ: Great to see you Sunday.

Coming up, a Media Buzz exclusive, new research on the popularity of the socialist ideas with one political party and how that shapes the coverage. Frank Luntz is on deck.


KURTZ: We have an exclusive first look at poll by socialism versus capitalism. And it turns out that the ideas being pushed by such Democrats as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may have lots of support of their party, while capitalism isn't polling so well.

Frank Luntz found in an online survey of 1,000 people that 52 percent of Hillary Clinton voters agree with statement, I prefer living in a socialist country to capitalist one, compared to just 16 percent of Donald Trump voters. Asked about AOC proposal to impose 70 percent marginal tax rate on the top 1 percent taxpayers, 79 percent of Clinton voters agree. And look at this, so do 46 percent of Trump voters. And veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz joins us now.

Before we get to more numbers, are media kind of soft on socialism? By which I mean giving pretty favorable press to Democrats like Bernie Sanders and AOC, and while being tough on flaws of capitalism and the excesses of big corporations.

FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: I have to do is read the New York Times' business section. Typically, seven stories, six of the seven will be hostile to a corporation or hostile to capitalism, as we know it. In fact, it has gotten so bad, that it actually started to say to people, stop trying to defend capitalism, it's economic freedom. Capitalism they think Wall Street, they think about profits, they're thinking about people losing jobs. Economic freedom is Main Street, it's small business, it's why we are so successful as a country. It has been so demonized. And frankly, the rich, the successful have been demonized. The assumption now is if you made a lot of money, you did so in an improper way.

KURTZ: Well, interesting, 45 percent of Trump voters in your poll say some companies make such big profits that it can't be justified. But what you're basically saying -- I mean, in this report, you say, capitalism is dead, at least as a term that people will respond to. That's a pretty strong statement.

LUNTZ: And I'm going to get chewed up by Rush Limbaugh, but for the wrong reasons. It's not that the principles are dead. In fact, the principles of economic freedom are alive and well. But capitalism has been so demonized by media that it just doesn't function as an economic system. And if you want to oppose socialism, you oppose it by talking about freedom not capitalism.

KURTZ: It must be more than just media coverage when you have, as I mentioned, the top-half of Trump voters, supporting AOC, 70 percent marginal tax rate. And you wouldn't know that from the coverage. You would think it's purely a left-wing position.

LUNTZ: It's because the public is really frustrated about being forgotten or left behind. And those two motions, which elected Donald Trump live and well, not just on right, but also the left. That's the reason why Bernie Sanders did so well in 2016, and why -- I will be blunt with you, I think he is the most likely nominee in 2020.

And I will tell you something. Republicans should want that because Sanders cannot appeal to overall mainstream of the American people. And they should be scared to death that they get someone like Colorado Senator Michael Bennet who -- there is no issue about socialism. There is no issue. He is not on the extreme, he is in mainstream. But the reason why Sanders poll is so well is because he is so left wing.

KURTZ: Well, I'm getting two things from this. One is because even media have said some of the Democratic candidates have moved so far left, free college for all, Medicare for All, labor reparations. They have a hard time winning in general election, but maybe in tune with what a lot of Democrats think. And secondly, you say, well, capitalism looks not great right now and so as the ideas, because of the media. That seems to -- I mean, I'm a big proponent of media, I have a lot of influence, but that much influence?

LUNTZ: You have significant influence. But yes, you're correct. The Democrats who have moved to the left are in tune with the Democratic Party, they're just not in tune with mainstream America. And this whole issue of capitalism, Republicans frankly needs to wake up, that what they believed was mainstream 10 years ago. But now, the whole country is shifting, just a bit to the left.

KURTZ: Now, no secret that Donald Trump could not stand you. He called you a low class snub, you have this long-running feud, you said...

LUNTZ: I have my tie, I have a nice jacket on. I paid a lot of money for this outfit.

KURTZ: I'm sure you did. You said he has been divisive now because you're friends with Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, you've been providing advice, you got a ride in Air Force One, you went to a White House ball, are you now an ally of this president?

LUNTZ: I'm the same before as I was now. I do not deserve his criticism. And I do not deserve anybody's praise. I simply -- my job as a pollster is to tell the truth and to be accurate at the end of the day. And whether the president is yelling at me because he doesn't like the criticism, or whether they're being nice to me because they appreciate the praise, it doesn't matter. I have to be truthful, I have to tell the truth.

KURTZ: So are you -- isn't there a danger of softening your criticism because you like being on the inside.

LUNTZ: The danger is if I respond either to the praise or criticism, the danger is if I don't report as they are. This report...

KURTZ: Yeah.

LUNTZ: The language that I've looked at about capitalism is not going to make Republicans happy with me. I don't care. Saying something nice about Michael Bennet because he is a centrist...

KURTZ: Right.

LUNTZ: ... doesn't make Republicans happy. I got to tell truth.

KURTZ: You always talk about language and its use in politics. I want to wish you Happy Mother's Day.

LUNTZ: Yes. And you know what, the reason why I know you is because of my mom.

KURTZ: How's that?

LUNTZ: And you may not even know the story. But when I was getting criticized by the Wall Street Journal, my mom says to me, find a journalist who you think is the best arbiter to find out whether you're correct or incorrect, and go see them. And I said, at the time, it was you. This is 15 or 20 years ago. And she said go and see him. I said I can't, he's too important. My mom says give me a break, get over it, go see him.

And you were very kind to me. You gave me great advice. So in this Mother's Day, even though my mom is not with us, I thank you. And I am sure she would thank you for giving me great advice.

KURTZ: Well, I will still take your calls. And I try to be journalistic with you. But thank you, it's a very nice story. I never heard of it. Frank Luntz, everybody.

Still to come, more Democrats are coming on Fox News including those town halls. And apparently, that requires special training. Congressman Debbie Dingell is spearheading the efforts. She's next.


KURTZ: Should more Democrats appear on Fox News, the ice is breaking a bit in the presidential race with Bernie Sanders having done Fox town hall, and this week, Amy Klobuchar.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even at a recent poll that Democrat women felt like they should vote for a man this time, what do you think when you hear that?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: I think may the best woman win. That's what I think.


KURTZ: Now, the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee is recruiting members to show up for Fox interviews, actually offering media training. Joining us now from Southfield, Michigan is Debbie Dingell, the panel's chairman and the Democratic congresswoman from Michigan. You have been on Fox News quite a bit. Why are you actively urging some of your Democratic colleagues to also appear on network?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D), MICHIGAN: So, Fox, long before I was a member of congress, and I think it is really important, as a member of Congress, you talk to everybody, you listen to everybody. You may have some disagreements with people, the people may have a different view point from you. But if you're going to effective, you have to hear different perspectives. And you got to give your perspective.

KURTZ: Have you gotten flack from some of your base for your appearances of Fox?

DINGELL: Well, I can -- I have earned my staff in many occasions. OK, I'm doing Fox, be ready for negative hits. And you will see times on my Facebook page and on my Twitter account, and on am Instagram. But, you know, there are people that can be very unkind out there. But there are also people who listen.

And I have always believed to talk to everybody, and you listen to everybody. That's part of the problem right now. We are not listening to each other enough.

KURTZ: Right. Everybody is in their own silos. Now, your committee has put out a flier telling members that Fox has been top rated cable news network for 207 months, and that there are many straight new shows on Fox -- this is according to the flier in addition to opinion lineup. And there were some media training sessions, tell us about that.

DINGELL: So we did tell people. I mean, that's the fact of the matter is that of the cable news programs, more people are watching you, so why should you just be not appearing on that. We've got a lot of -- you know, the Democratic caucuses got a large number of different members, different backgrounds, different states. And you should just not appear, so we have been encouraging people to come on Fox, not to boycott. I certainly have not. I mean, as you know, I have done Fox for a long time.

KURTZ: Yeah.

DINGELL: It doesn't mean I haven't had some bad interviews. But either way, I have had bad interviews on other shows. You do your homework, you prep. So we did do media training from members on Friday, but that media training, by the way, can also be helpful on other network news, other programs, you know.

KURTZ: Right.

DINGELL: I hate to remind Fox, but the fact of the matter is that the major network stations are still getting more viewers than anybody.

KURTZ: Right. Of course, it's the cable news networks that cover this stuff 24 hours day.


KURTZ: Now, if Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum and these town halls, and Chris Wallace, is up next week, our fair -- I think the consensus they have been very fair, doesn't that under the argument by the DNC Chairman Tom Perez that Fox should be banned for holding a presidential primary debate. Do you disagree with him on that?

DINGELL: I respectfully disagree. I think that it is important that -- I just refuse to. And when voting -- those are voters that are watching Fox, many may never vote for me. But I want to talk to them. I want them to hear why I take certain viewpoint. And, you know, I don't like the nasty. So, do me a favor today, it's Mother's Day. You know, those who watched me and can be pretty ugly, let's refrain from that today.

But if people disagree with me, I want to hear their viewpoints. I want to understand their perspective. And I want them to hear mine.

KURTZ: Right. Congresswoman would like one-day hiatus because it is Mother's Day.

Now, this week of course -- especially this week, the press has been playing up Democrats who are calling for an impeachment of President Trump in light of subpoena battles going on, on Capitol Hill. And even Nancy Pelosi has said, you know, impeachment would be bad for the country, unless it's bipartisan. Obviously, it's not where we are now. You have been cautious on this issue. Do you think the view of Democrats who don't favor impeachment want to go slow on impeachment hearings has been drowned out in the coverage?

DINGELL: You know, this is what I am going to say. I am one of the people that read this report. And I'm now almost through it a second time, that when you read that report, there is a lot of data in there that bothers you. It's very clear that Russia tried to interfere in our elections, but I tell you something else. Russia is trying to divide this country. And that is documented in this report.

And I worry about the division that we see in this country today. And I think our democracy is something that is precious. It's something that we have to defend every single day, that we have to fight for. And I think that the president himself in refusing to allow people to come and testify is harming him.

So I believe that we've got to continue to do oversight. It's a very important responsibility. You are seeing our Committee Chairs do that. But, I -- I agree with Nancy Pelosi that a partisan impeachment would be a dangerous thing.

KURTZ: Right.

DINGELL: But I am hearing Republicans now getting -- you know, Richard Burr is doing a subpoena.

KURTZ: We got to wrap it up.

DINGELL: That is what we need. OK, we're wrapping.

KURTZ: Congressman Debbie Dingell, thanks so much for joining us this Sunday.

DINGELL: Thank you.

KURTZ: And Happy Mother's Day.

And that's it for this edition of Media Buzz. I'm Howard Kurtz. Happy Mother's Day to all those celebrating. Hey, check out new Podcast, Media Buzz Meter, we talk about the day's five hottest stories. You can subscribe at Apple iTunes, at Google Play, or

I hope you like our Facebook page. We post my daily columns there, original videos that I make for the web. Continue the conversation on Twitter @HowardKurtz.

It may be Mother's Day, but I'm sure I will hear from you. Back here next Sunday. See you then with the latest buzz.

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