Public blames media, Trump for violence
This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," November 4, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, MEDIA BUZZ SHOW HOST, FOX NEWS: On "Media Buzz" this Sunday, with two days until the election to decide who controls Congress, it has come to this. The president and the mainstream media accusing each other of fomenting violence. This as the press pounds Donald Trump over his vowed to end birthright citizenship with an executive order and his dire warnings about the migrant caravan in Mexico.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, MSNBC: You see it in Donald Trump saying he's going to circumvent the constitution with an executive order. He can't do that. It's not about anything other than scaring Americans and actually appealing to their most racist, base instincts.
TUCKER CARLSON, CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FOX NEWS: Trump's proposal will get us closer to the purpose of the 14th Amendment. And for that, he is being denounced naturally as racist.
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, MSNBC: A disease-ridden foreign invasion secretly organized by a Jew, to the extent that is the get out the vote program for the elections this year, for Republican candidates this year, courtesy of the White House and conservative media.
LAURA INGRAHAM, TALK SHOW HOST, FOX NEWS: His warning of an approaching horde of non-citizens, one organized by outside political forces is not messaging hate. It is standing up for America's sovereignty.
KURTZ: Are the media demonizing President Trump over race and immigration or is it the other way around? Plus, in the wake of those terrible terror attacks, that acrimony between the White House and the press turning even more caustic in the run-up to Tuesday's elections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says he's trying to unite the country. Why is he out there --
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The very first thing that the president did was condemn the attacks both in Pittsburgh and in the pipe bombs. The very first thing the media did was blame the president and make him responsible for these ridiculous acts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: In this hyperpolarized environment, who's really stoking fear in America? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "Media Buzz."
After a week of violence and white-hot rhetoric especially around immigration, a new Washington Post/ABC poll finds that roughly half of registered voters surveyed, 49 percent say President Trump and the way he speaks is encouraging politically-motivated violence. Nineteen percent disagree.
But wait, in that same survey, about half of those questioned, 47 percent say the media are encouraging political violence with the way they report the news. About 15 percent disagree. ABC correspondent Karen Travers asked the president about the poll Friday, but only cited half the result.
KAREN TRAVERS, CORRESPONDENT, ABC (voice over): A new poll found that half of Americans say you're encouraging politically motivated violence with the way you speak.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: No, no. You know what? You're creating violence by your question.
TRUMP: You are creating -- you. And also, a lot of the reporters are creating violence by not writing the truth. The fake news is creating violence.
KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage: Mollie Hemingway, senior editor at The Federalist and a Fox News contributor; Susan Ferrechio, chief congressional correspondent for The Washington Examiner; and Capri Cafaro, former Democratic state senator of Ohio who teaches at American University.
Mollie, I understand the difficulty of shouting a question with Marine One in the background, but didn't that sort of symbolize the media's tendency to blame Trump and avert their collective eyes from their own role in this?
MOLLIE HEMINGWAY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR, SENIOR EDITOR, THE FEDERALIST: Yes, although I just want to point out that President Trump was wrong to blame the media for violence. We have witnessed weeks if not years of the media blaming Trump for violence that he has nothing to do with. It's also --
KURTZ: He pointed a finger at you. You are responsible.
HEMINGWAY: Yeah, and it would be nice if we could separate out two conversations. One, what type of rhetoric are we using? How are we having - - what type of conversations we are having? And secondly, who is responsible for the violence they commit? We need to make sure people are held responsible for their own violence.
At the same time, there's room for improvement across multiple areas. There is room for improvement how Donald Trump talks about things. There is a lot of room for improvement how the media covers all sorts of topics.
KURTZ: Yeah, and I don't see much focus on the second half of that and most of the headlines from The Washington Post poll were Trump blames the media which is true, but half the story. He says, no, you and the press, you're spreading hate, you're spreading anger, you're dividing the country. We now know based on the survey that half the country agrees.
CAPRI CAFARO, FORMER OHIO SENATE MINORITY LEADER, CONTRIBUTOR, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: To Mollie's point, I think that one thing is clear, that there's enough blame to go around between the president and his rhetoric and how he conducts himself.
But at the same time, certainly the American people see the media playing an equal amount of role to at least dividing the country. Whether or not I agree that there are two separate issues here, one is about violence and one is about division --
KURTZ: Right. The people who pull triggers are the ones ultimately responsible.
CAFARO: Right, of course, but here's the other thing though. The American -- and I think this what shows -- the American public has lost trust in its institutions, whether it's government or whether it's media, equally our distrust. And the media is -- I always look at headlines because headlines bring in the readers.
CAFARO: And for example, the hill and The Washington Post say that Americans share the blame between the two. Now, ABC, for example, said half of America blames Trump. So, words do matter and in an editorial process.
KURTZ: And so do omissions. Susan, why do so few journalists examine whether their business which of course thrives on conflict, thrives on partisanship are contributing to anger and divisiveness in this country? Is this poll kind of a wake-up call?
SUSAN FERRECHIO, CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think the press never likes to admit it's -- whether it's complicit in all this, they don't like to look inward. They say, we correct our mistakes, we are never really to blame. That's a problem.
The media does need to take a closer look at its own fairness, at its own bias. And that hasn't happened at all with President Trump and it didn't happen with President Obama. That's an absolutely legitimate complaint.
KURTZ: On this question of birthright citizenship, the president told Axios that the policy is ridiculous and he could change it with an executive order and doesn't necessarily need Congress or a necessarily need a constitutional amendment.
Did he get the media freak out he wanted knowing fully well saying I can just sign a piece of paper would cause the press to make this a big issue and he wanted it to be made a big issue?
HEMINGWAY: He wanted to highlight birthright citizenship as an issue and the media complied and made it a big issue. I was really disappointed with how they covered this. They treated it as a foregone conclusion that the law is clear, the birthright citizenship is granted, not to people who are in the country legally for their children --
HEMINGWAY: -- but for people who are in the country illegally. The idea that that's a settled constitutional question is highly debatable. There are good arguments for first looking at various court opinions that say that that is settled. There are a ton of arguments that say that that is not settled. It really hasn't been taken up by the court very much.
So to treat this as if he's saying I'm going to overturn the constitution, we haven't seen an executive order. It depends on what the executive orders says.
KURTZ: Right. Now, a few Republicans, Susan, including Paul Ryan who is leaving anyway said, no, Trump can't do that, it's unconstitutional. But the uproar, of course Democrats opposing it, fueled in part by the media since this is hardly imminent. We don't even have the order yet. Did the press take the midterm bait?
FERRECHIO: This could end up before the Supreme Court too.
KURTZ: Right. But talking about the coverage now because --
FERRECHIO: That's right.
KURTZ: -- we have this thing coming up on Tuesday as you --
FERRECHIO: And it's another way to argue that the president is racist, that the president is afraid of immigrants coming in to our country which was based on immigration. Of course, it's all part of the sort of narrative that this is a president who is outside the mainstream and that has been part of the argument he's made against the media.
KURTZ: Sorry, Capri, I didn't see the media going nuts when Barack Obama signed an executive order that changed --
CAFARO: The DACA.
KURTZ: -- essentially saying the process for millions of dreamers --
KURTZ: -- as they're called. People on the right said it's an abuse of presidential authority and now it's kind of flipped.
CAFARO: Right, except for the fact that, you know, I think that this is more a delineated issue directly related to the 14th Amendment. I agree there are all kinds of issues that we can go around as far as the intent of the 14th Amendment and all the rest of this.
I think that there are two sort of parallel things happening here. One is the media coverage which I think has been focused on the issue of whether or not the president can do this with an executive order with the subtext of President Trump doesn't understand how government works.
CAFARO: And then you have Democrats and progressives within the campaign context saying, this is a dog whistle. So I think there are two separate things happening, both kind of playing into an anti-Trump message.
FERRECHIO: What's missing too is if you really look at what's happening in this country with birth tourism, there are whole aspects of this that the media could really get into and educate the public about. What is behind the president's motivation here? This very little understanding and very little reporting about that.
HEMINGWAY: And if you look at 2016, if there was one lesson to take, it was that people really care about the lack of border enforcement, lack of concern about national sovereignty. And instead, the media treated anyone who cared about those things as illegitimate and racist. It is a really good way to decline your credibility among people when you keep calling people that when they have completely legitimate reasons to be concerned about border security enforcement and national sovereignty.
KURTZ: My judgement is the press took the bait on this. It is a trap sort of laid by the president. Now on the caravan, Washington Post headline, "For Trump and GOP, subtle racial rhetoric is out, over rallying of white support is in." So, look, the president has clearly driven daily coverage of caravan. He sent 5,000 troops to the border. He then says there will be 10,000-15,000.
Given the title wave of media criticism over the president's handling of this issue, are journalists again helping the president to highlight what is his closing argument in this election?
HEMINGWAY: They do. I actually think that's one of the big lessons, that the media and the president are in a codependent relationship and they both get out of this. What they want -- the media gets clicks and President Trump gets to highlight an issue that was very key to him winning in 2016 and that is key again to remind people why it might be important to vote for Republicans.
KURTZ: So they need therapy. They need therapy. Co-dependent.
CAFARO: I think Democrats would argue potentially the opposite that, you know, highlighting this more divisive, you know, conversation surrounding, you know, the migrant caravan and dividing the nation. Again, all of those subtexts might actually help drive Democratic turnout. But --
KURTZ: Let me ask you this. On Friday, there was this absolute blowout jobs report. The economy is --
KURTZ: -- doing really well and wages are even up. The president says it's not that exciting to talk about the economy. But even if you think that the whole issue of this, it is now about 4,000 potential asylum-seekers, is overblown, how do these organizations not cover it?
CAFARO: They have to. I think one of the things that is really interesting about how this issue has been covered by the press is not necessarily what's been said but what hasn't been said. Images speak louder than words.
You have a lot of media outlets from PBS, you know, all the way to, you know, some of the more mainstream outlets like NBC and ABC showing these images and highlighting the humanitarian crisis of children and hunger and heat and, you know, the problems that these folks are having between here and there, why they're fleeing supposedly.
So, I think that the fact that those issues are being highlighted trying to create humanity around this issue, again, is creating a silent and juxtaposition of President Trump being mean about this issue.
KURTZ: Last night, Susan, "Saturday Night Live" mocked Fox News where it is supposedly scary coverage of the caravan. So, is there a partisan split here where critics say Fox News overplays the story of the caravan and MSNBC and CNN play up the dangers of Trump and the way he's treating the caravan and immigration generally?
FERRECHIO: No, absolutely. It's OK. I think "Saturday Night Live" is a place here to bring levity to the situation. But, you know, it's also missing in the coverage too, just the impact. We talk about the humanitarian issue which is very important. When they get here, really what happens and what's the impact on communities?
And then there's little local coverage about the impact on school systems, on neighborhoods, on how they have to absorb the cost and the difficulty of new immigration that's not regulated.
KURTZ: Right. Of course, all of that will happen after next Tuesday. And speaking of next Tuesday, let's put this up on the screen. HBO is complaining that the president is using the style and the typeface of Game of Thrones.
He tweeted this picture of himself. Sanctions are coming, it says, November 5th, like it's a coming attraction of a television show. November 5th, I guess that would be the day before the election.
All right. When we come back, the war between the president the press is really getting uglier in the run-up to Tuesday's election. And later, Frank Luntz. He says his focus groups show that voters -- he says he has never seen this before -- are really, really angry.
KURTZ: President Trump is back to calling the fake news media the true enemy of the people, prompting a major push back from the press as we see here in an interview with Axios.
JIM VANDEHEI, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, AXIOS: You are, like, the most powerful man in the world. And if you say that word - enemy, enemy - literally, tens of thousands of people go into a stadium to listen to you, and then people go on social media, and they get themselves so jazzed up. There's got to be part of you that's like, I'm scared that someone is going to take it too far.
TRUMP: It's my only form of fighting back. I couldn't be here if I do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You won. You have the presidency.
TRUMP: No, no, no. But I did this before I won.
AINSLEY EARHARDT, HOST, FOX NEWS: If you don't want to be called the enemy, then get the story right, be accurate and report the story the way that I want it reported.
KURTZ: That was Axios's Jim VandeHei asking those questions. So, we're back to now arguing about enemy of the American people and even after the horrifying Pittsburgh synagogue slaughter, we are back to the press pounding away the idea that Donald Trump is somehow to blame because he inspires lunatics.
HEMINGWAY: That was actually a great example of how the media lacks any self- introspection after spending years of calling Trump Stalin and Hitler and bigot and racist, the threat to the entire planet. They say, how can you call us the enemy of the people? Well, this is rhetoric that people have been witnessing for many years. I think the media need to look --
KURTZ: Do you justify the rhetoric? Do you agree with it?
HEMINGWAY: No. In fact, I previously said I think it's wrong for both people to do it, but there needs to be some introspection about the role that the media play. And also, they seem to think that people don't like the media because Donald Trump is calling them these things. No, Donald Trump is calling them these things because people spent so many decades frustrated with the media's performance.
FERRECHIO: I agree with that. I agree with that, but I also think, you know, enemy of the people is -- I don't like the term. I'm a member of the media but --
KURTZ: No, it suggests a kind of traitorous situation. I know some people hate the media and believe that. And yes, it's all in the fake media, but he says 80 percent of the media is fake. Look, Susan, he went to Pittsburgh this week to pay his respects after the awful synagogue slaughter.
Yes, the Democratic mayor did ask him to wait because of police resources, but the coverage was that the president brings out more division in the grieving city.
FERRECHIO: The coverage was about all the people who didn't want him there and very little coverage about the people who did want him there and do appreciate him there. The entire story was framed, Trump visits Pittsburgh even though nobody wants him there.
I mean, that's just how twisted and backwards the coverage is of the president. That interviewed you just played was really interesting where he said, look, I wouldn't be here if I didn't do this. I have to say I agree with him on that.
People have long blamed Republican candidates from just not going -- pushing back hard against the the media that many believe have long been biased and favor Democratic candidates. President Trump hit back really hard. People think that that is really what got him in the White House.
KURTZ: Right. And then Trump -- and then Trump says, well, this coverage yesterday, there were riots in Pittsburgh. Well, there weren't any riots and there wasn't any coverage suggesting it. Let me play for you, we talked last week about a Washington Post headline in the wake of the arrest of the serial pipe bomber. Here's the president pushing back on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Bernie Sanders had a fan who shot a very good friend of ours, Steve Scalise, and other people. He was a total maniac. Nobody puts his name in the headline. I was in the headline of The Washington Post. My name associated with this crazy bomber. Trump bomber or something. But I was in the headline when they got him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Even if you believe President Trump's rhetoric is divisive, how can the press blame him for the bomber and the Pittsburgh massacre by a guy allegedly who despise Jews his whole life?
CAFARO: Right. Well, again, this is an issue of separating with individuals that obviously have mental derangement that need to be held accountable for their own actions and incendiary language. I think that the difference between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump -- one of the reasons why Bernie Sanders hadn't been mentioned necessarily in connection is because he wasn't having some of those incendiary words at his rallies in the same way that I think have been perceived --
HEMINGRWAY: But that's entirely a question of how the media treat these things. In fact, Bernie Sanders is someone who inspires a lot of people. He is not responsible for the violence committed --
CAFARO: I agree, but --
HEMINGWAY: -- but the idea that --
CAFARO: -- I'm not necessarily saying that Trump, like, is responsible for the violence either, but I think that there -- you could probably give a laundry list of more --
KURTZ: But if the press, oh, this crazy person with a bomb or a gun was a fan of Bernie Sanders, a fan of Donald Trump, then it's the press, you're right, it's the press that then makes that link.
FERRECHIO: Right, but you have to report that. Look, you're a reporter out there. You see the picture of the van and you cannot say, look, there's Hillary --
KURTZ: Oh, it's part of the story.
HEMINGWAY: It's part of the story. You see those same pictures on the Facebook page of the guy who shot Scalise and tried to kill dozen other people --
FERRECHIO: Oh, people do report --
HEMINGWAY: -- and that's not covered.
KURTZ: I got to go.
HEMINGWAY: It's click-bait. It's all click-bait.
KURTZ: All right. I think we kind of came to an agreement there. Capri Cafaro, Susan Ferrechio, and Mollie Hemingway, thanks very much for joining us. Ahead, CNN's Don Lemon says the biggest threat in the country comes from white men. Up next, the reporter who says Donald Trump is more dangerous than ISIS. We blow the whistle on misleading video that includes some familiar faces.
KURTZ: Sometimes pundits just go too far, way too far in making wild accusations. Julia Ioffe, a GQ correspondent who had worked for The Atlantic and Politico, took to Twitter after the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and blamed it on President Trump. Then, she went on Jake Tapper's CNN show and said this.
JULIA IOFFE, CORRESPONDENT, GQ: And this president has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did. I mean, the way he talks, the way he -- the way he --
DAVID URBAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That is -- that's just -- it's unconscionable for you to say that.
IOFFE: The way he talks -- ISIS has like 10,000 members. I think the president has far more supporters who espouse an equally hateful ideology.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Julia --
KURTZ: Worse than ISIS, a brutal terrorist movement, are you blanking kidding me? Well, later in the program, after the RNC attacked Ioffe, Tapper gave her a chance to clarify her remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IOFFE: This has been a very emotional and personally painful time for me. I think I exaggerated and I apologize for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: I give her some credit for apologizing but she never should have made such a reckless charge. Fox Business Network took flack this week for comments by a conservative guest.
Chris Farrell, the director of Investigations for Judicial Watch, was on Lou Dobbs Tonight when he spoke of criminal involvement in that caravan of Central American migrants which he called a leftist mob, and said this about big-time Democratic donor, George Soros.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS FARRELL, DIRECTOR, INVESTIGATIONS FOR JUDICIAL WATCH: A lot of these folks also have affiliates who are getting money from the Soros-occupied State Department, and that is of very great concern. If we're going to start cutting money, start cutting money there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Soros, who is Jewish, was one of the recipients of a pipe bomb mailed to his home, as you recall, and criticism on the left heated up when that episode of the Dobb show re-aired a week ago Saturday night, hours after 11 Jews were killed in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre.
Gary Schreier, senior vice president at FBN, said in a statement, "we condemn the rhetoric by the guest on Lou Dobbs Tonight. This episode was a repeat which has now been pulled from all future airings." And he said the guest will not be invited back. Judicial Watch has since put out a release a Soros group helping to fund a State Department open government partnership in Romania.
This is really ticking me off. There's a video out there that is generating a lot of buzz online. Donald Trump Jr. is one of those who has re-tweeted it, showing a bunch of big male pundits just flatly writing off his father's presidency.
And the underlying theme is true. I have repeatedly criticized commentators for doing that going back to the early months of Donald Trump's tenure. Take a look.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, ANCHOR, MSNBC: Donald Trump is done. He is done. There is no question about that. He is done.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, HOST, MSNBC: The beginning of the end for the Trump presidency. I believe this is beginning of the end.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): I do, too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really the beginning of the end.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): The beginning of the end.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The beginning of the end of the Trump presidency.
KURTZ (on camera): The beginning of the end of the Trump presidency.
KURTZ: Hold on, wait a minute, what on earth am I doing in there? Well, I got suspicious and I did a little digging. Here's what I actually said last year while interviewing a top editor at Breitbart after Steve Bannon parted company with the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ (on camera): Now, one of your editors wrote this week that Bannon leaving the White House could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency but the impact of one person leaving isn't really that great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: I was quoting someone else in an interview. My view was 180 degrees opposite. That was a complete and total distortion. By the way, that lead off soundbite from Brian Williams, well, here's what the MSNBC anchor actually said while interviewing former Congressman David Jolly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAMS: We looked up a quote from you the day Mueller was appointed. You were on the air with us, and you said, Donald Trump is done. He is done. There is no question about that. He is done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So Brian Williams was also quoting someone else who's behind this twisted video and entertainment of it called super deluxe which was part of Turner entertainment, part of CNN's parent company until the takeover by AT&T, and which coincidentally was shut down one day after posting that video, a video that was utterly intellectually dishonest.
Next on Media Buzz, Don Lemon under fire for saying white men on the right are the greatest threat to public safety. And later, Jon Stewart on how Donald Trump is outmaneuvering the press. He kind of nails it.
HOWARD KURTZ, MEDIA BUZZ, ANCHOR: CNN's Don Lemon is drawing all kinds of flak for saying that the primary danger to America is not from migrants moving toward the border. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men. Most of them radicalized up to the right. And we have to start doing something about them. There is travel ban on them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Joining us now, two veteran political warriors, David Bossie, the former Trump deputy campaign manager, president of Citizens United, a Fox News contributor. And he's also the co-author with Corey Lewandowski of the forthcoming book, Trump's Enemies: How the Deep State is Undermining his Presidency. And Philippe Reines -- excuse me, a former State Department official and Hillary Clinton confidant.
Bossie, we'll start with you. Don Lemon, he has doubled down with those remarks. CNN had no commented. What you make of him saying the main problem is not just white men, but white conservative men?
DAVID BOSSIE, FORMER TRUMP DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, first of all, I think he's desperate for attention. I take this as somebody's whose ratings, this is just a ratings ploy, to me, as a failing anchor, failing network. Somebody who just wants to say the most outlandish thing he can to try to gain attention to himself. This is nothing more than about himself.
KURTZ: I don't think, Philippe, that Don Lemon was trying to point the finger at all white men are all white male conservatives, but I found it jarring just like when people say the problem in this country is black people.
PHILIPPE REINES, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: You know, I'm a CNN watcher. So, over the last couple weeks, they've been very shaken about the pipe bombs they received, Don in particular. I think they look at that, first of all, that was a white male who was a Trump supporter. They're looking at a white male who shot up a synagogue.
And overall, it tends to be white males. Now, whether I will put that up there, I have a hard time agreeing with Don Lemon on that kind of thing.
KURTZ: All right. Let me play you another comment. This is from Karen Attiah. She is the Global Opinions Editor at the Washington Post. And she had this to say about the whole debate, about is the president and Republican Party responsible for some of this recent violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN ATTIAH, WASHINGTON POST: This is a matter of people dying over the climate that's been created by not only the White House, being condoned by people like Steve King and even Lindsey Graham. But that people are dying, people are literally dying over this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: People are dying because of Donald Trump and the Republican Party without any sort of qualification there.
BOSSIE: First of all, once again, these are folks who aren't acting responsibly and trying to ratchet down this heated rhetoric. All of us have a responsibility to try and take all of these things seriously. I blame everyone equally. Look, the media -- the mainstream media in this country, it never -- along with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and the left-wing smear machine, never accepted Donald Trump's victory. Not for one second.
And they had spent the last two years demonizing this president at every turn. Not allowing anything that he says or does to be spoken truthfully. And that's why this president has changed the dynamic and said, the media - - and he has broken the media. I believe he has broken them for the better, because they're going to have to be more honest. And they're going to have to learn to be more honest with the American people instead of showing their bias, every single day.
REINES: Well, I think to the extent that critics are demonizing him, they're demonizing a demon. Yes, everyone bears responsibility. The president of the United States bears a higher responsibility and he has a higher opportunity to ratchet this down, but what he has actually done is that instead of unleashed betrayal or hate (ph), he has approved it by tolerating it. And I think, we've had...
KURTZ: You use the word unleashed.
KURTZ: And by the way, I hate this blood on the hand's argument. I think the perpetrator is responsible.
REINES: Of course, they are.
KURTZ: I'm sure you remember when some on the right blamed President Obama when police officers would get killed and he said it was his rhetoric about law enforcement. So you really want to say unleashed?
REINES: I do want to say unleashed because he has made it OK. I would say two things. We've had two violent episodes in the last couple weeks. I would never in a million years say and I haven't said that what happened in Pittsburgh has anything to do with Donald Trump. I just wouldn't say it.
But it is folly to say that someone sending 13 pipe bombs to 13 people that Donald Trump recites every chance he gets isn't tied to Donald Trump beyond that. Even if you want to cut him a break and give him the benefit of the doubt and say he's not responsible, he is responsible for saying everybody tone it down, starting with myself. He doesn't take responsibility, but he has a unique voice.
KURTZ: I got to move on.
BOSSIE: Well, I think you are exactly right. Barack -- the right, throughout eight years...
REINES: Probably wasn't exactly right.
BOSSIE: But we, as conservatives, did not stand up every day and point the finger at Barack Obama when police officers were being attacked and shot across this country in numbers like we've never seen.
REINES: I don't think that's true. The beer summit (ph) were full of people saying...
BOSSIE: Come on, that's not serious.
KURTZ: Let me move on because something else that's really made news in the last couple of days is Michael Cohen, a long time personal attorney of President Trump is being sentenced for the crimes that he pleaded guilty to next month. He told Vanity Fair in an on-the-record interview that Donald Trump when he knew him in private made racist comments.
And one of them was that after a rally in which Michael Cohen says he told then businessman Donald Trump in a kind of a meeting of mostly white people. He said he responded because black people are too stupid to vote for me. Is that damaging coming from Michael Cohen?
BOSSIE: Not at all. Michael Cohen is -- no one takes him seriously on either side of the aisle. So it's a tremendous burden for Michael Cohen to have to walk around and not be the center of attention. And that's what he is talking about here.
Look, Michael Cohen, during the campaign made the exact opposite statements. And Pastor Darrell Scott talked about them. They traveled together throughout the campaign. And Pastor Scott said the exact opposite of what Michael Cohen is saying.
BOSSIE: With Michael -- he traveled every day with Michael Cohen. And he never heard those things. It's outrageous.
KURTZ: And the media reaction, Philippe, yeah, you know, that's bad, the accusation that Trump said these things, but what do you expect, and it won't hurt him?
REINES: Well, I mean, he makes Ronald Reagan's Teflon look like Saran Wrap. Nothing hurts Donald Trump, I can't name something hypothetical. But in terms of Michael Cohen, someone being upset with the former boss or even having a grudge doesn't make them less credible, anymore than Sammy the Bull Gravano or you know Brutus in terms of Caesar.
And what I did note about Michael Cohen is that he's the son of a holocaust survivor. And it is possible these days he is being shaken by these things. He can't be right...
KURTZ: All right. Michael Cohen told Vanity Fair, I should have been a bigger person, I should have left, maybe I should have quit. By the way, just briefly, Kanye West, remember all the media freaked out over his embrace Trump at the White House. He now tweets I've been use to spread messages I don't believe in. And I'm stepping away from politics. Media reaction, never mind.
After the break, White House reporters chastising Sarah Huckabee-Sanders over her boss' enemy that people attacks.
And Jon Stewart on how Trump is thumping the press.
KURTZ: The escalating rhetoric between the president and the press produced some tense moments in the White House briefing room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shouldn't you reserve the term enemy for people who are actually the enemy of the United States rather than journalists?
SARAH HUCKABEE-SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president is not referencing all media. He's talking about the growing amount of fake news that exists in the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Jim Acosta pressed Sarah Sanders about CNN, which the serial pipe bomber targeted last week. But she wouldn't brand the entire network an enemy. And David Bossie, White House reporters and others are now revolting against the president bringing back discharge, fake news, enemy of the American people. I always thought that goes too far rhetorically. And then, as you saw, she wouldn't name -- Sarah Sanders wouldn't name outlets. Your take on this sort of rhetorical escalation?
BOSSIE: The frustration on the right, on the conservative side, is that CNN acts like a Democrat Super PAC all day, every day. That is all they do is act like they are trying to elect Democrats, all they ever do.
And they are trying to attack this president all day, every day. So this president says, the fake news is the enemy of the people. He's not saying the media. He's saying the fake news.
KURTZ: He said fake news is ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, so that's a lot of media.
BOSSIE: He's saying the fake news because they all have made mistakes. You look -- just look at yesterday, CNN puts a woman on during a rally. We found this woman in the audience and the interviewer, and it's Andrew Gillum's mother.
KURTZ: It was disclosed.
BOSSIE: Of course, it is not disclosed until they are caught at it though.
KURTZ: I think it was disclosed at the time. All right. Philippe, we played earlier President Trump told Axios this is my only way to fight back, by attacking the press and using that language. And that's how he uses it, counterpunching against the foe that's constantly pummeling them.
REINES: But these are codes. Counterpunching is lying. You know...
KURTZ: With what?
REINES: Well, these things he does, basically, let's narrow it down, including Sarah Sanders. It's lying. So when he says enemy of the people, the media is not the enemy, this is the one person's enemy list that he keeps reciting. It's as simple as that.
KURTZ: How was it lying if that's his opinion? It's not an opinion I happen to agree with, but he's certainly...
REINES: I just think, in general, the lying is off the chart. I mean, now, you're seeing he's lied more than 5000 times. He has lied at the rate of 80 a day.
BOSSIE: This president is demonized by the mainstream media, by the left- wing mainstream media on a daily basis, since he won the election in November of 2016. Not for one minute have they allowed him the breathing room like they have other presidents, to have that honeymoon period.
REINES: That's 93 of the coverage is negative is negative, 93 percent of what he does is negative.
BOSSIE: No. Hey, how about we look at the economy, how about we look at our national security. The facts are -- the facts are that the economy is better off, the American people are better off, we are more secure at home and abroad since this president has come into office. And those are the facts.
It's the media that doesn't want the American people to hear how good things are going, because they're afraid of having Republicans in control on Tuesday.
REINES: The good thing about this talking about Tuesday is we will go from fake news and fake polls and fake everything to real voting. And I think we're going to see after the blue tornado, I don't think it's a wave, because I think it's going to hit here, in this district...
KURTZ: All right.
REINES: We're going to see whether or not this stuff works.
KURTZ: Fascinating to me that you would say the 93 percent negative coverage is just fine, if that's the figure. But let me get you both.
REINES: Well, it's also the economy, even among Republicans...
KURTZ: All right. Let me go to Jon Stewart, no fan of President Trump, here's what he had to say about the relation. Play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, TELEVISION HOST: I think the journalists have taken it personally. They are personally wounded and offended by this man. He baits them and they dive in. And what he's done well I thought is appeal to their own narcissism, to their own ego. Because what he says is these are -- and the journalists say we are noble, we are honorable, how dare you Sir. And they take it personally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Is Jon Stewart right? Is the media covering President Trump the narcissists and not the other way around as they often say?
BOSSIE: Of course, he is right about that. And it's amazing he would make that point. Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, you name the so-called comedian, they are 100 percent, whether it's in the entertainment industry or the media, these folks are all leftists. And they are opposed to everything this president has done.
KURTZ: That may be true, but here is Jon Stewart saying the president is beating the press at their own game. Is he right?
REINES: I don't think so.
KURTZ: They take it too personally, then they fight back, and then it's all about...
REINES: I don't think so. First of all, it's hard to sit here after 15 years. And I think both you and David know that I've had my own problems with the press. But there's a constructive way to do it and there's a non- constructive way. No, it is not fair to say that he's playing them. And by the way, he has made any press is good press, Maxim, wrong. I mean, most of his press is bad.
KURTZ: I think it helps him.
REINES: Well, because it just confuses people.
KURTZ: I have like 20 seconds. When you push back against the press as a campaign person, how is that different except perhaps in tone than the president doing it?
REINES: Because we're all not the equal. He's not just some guy sitting next to me like David. He has a high responsibility to not do this. And it's crazy. It's like the Republican Party didn't get the memo.
BOSSIE: The media is offended because this president doesn't bow to them. He does it his way every single day. And they are offended by it. And they lash out -- they lash out at him.
REINES: All right.
BOSSIE: They are offended by his form of truth.
REINES: There is no form of truth.
KURTZ: All right. Guys, guys, got to go. Still to come...
REINES: We're going to sit here and keep arguing.
KURTZ: Are the media capturing the anger in America on the brink of the election? Frank Luntz is on deck.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Final stretch of the midterms. There is no shortage of public anger out there as we see in this Nevada focus group convened by Frank Luntz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want my president to be civil. I wanted him to have more than a third grade...
FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: You are talking servility and then it goes to hell the moment Donald Trump is mentioned, why is that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we are learning it from him. He interrupts people. He bullies people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The problem he's attacked nonstop by the media every single day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: And Frank Luntz, a longtime Republican pollster joins us now. And, Frank, I sometimes wonder whether the whole angry America theory is overplayed within the media echo chamber. Are you finding something different?
LUNTZ: I find it very different. I mean, that was done by HBO and Vice News. And these two guys came together to give the American people a chance to put a mirror up so they could see exactly what they're saying and doing. And we did half a dozen of these. The last one airs Monday night on HBO.
I have never done a session without people yelling at each other. I've never done a session this year without it degenerating into this abusiveness that your own children, I say this to the - they think they have the right to yell and scream if there are offended with. If your own children behave that way, you send them to their rooms. And yet, this is how adults behave when they talk about politics in every state in the country.
KURTZ: In terms of the battle for the House since we all believe that anger is a motivating factor for people turning out to vote, does this mean whether Democrats or Republicans are angrier could affect the outcome of the election?
LUNTZ: It absolutely could, but there's always been anger with some sort of control. I can't say a four letter word on this show or I'll never be on Fox News again. You have to carry yourself with certain decorum. There is no decorum anymore. There are no limits anymore.
So we feel like we have the right and even the responsibility to shout. And I wonder what that means the day after the election. We're spending more money in this election than any other off-year in the history of American politics. And it's almost all the negative ads and abusiveness and these debates have degenerated. I'm afraid.
KURTZ: I bet that many in the audience are saying, well -- half the audience will say well, it's Trump's fault. And half of the audience will say it's the media's fault. And so my question to you...
LUNTZ: It's our fault. It's our fault.
KURTZ: Who is our?
LUNTZ: The public. I am responsible for everything I say on your show. I am responsible for how I carry myself...
LUNTZ: And so are you, and so are the 320 million Americans. But they want to ignore that responsibility and they want to blame someone else. We are now in a blame-game society and it's wrong. It's wrong if we do it on the right, it's wrong if we do it on the left.
KURTZ: OK. But President Trump has the biggest megaphone and some people blame him. We who sit in front of television cameras have a big megaphone. Is that -- how much is divisive media coverage contributing to this climate of anger that you're seeing in your focus groups?
LUNTZ: I still read the New York Times and the Washington Post. I know a lot of people have stopped doing it. But I would say to them, if every editorial, 100 percent of editorials are hostile to the president, why should anyone read it? They know exactly what you're going to say. If I turn on a cable news program and I only get one side, I'm only half- informed. And that's the not the way we should be.
The fact is today, we're getting our information to affirm us and not inform us. And that is the core problem that's contributing. And the other part is there is no civics. Our kids are not being taught about history, about politics, about elections.
KURTZ: Is this -- is this a climate that's created in part by President Trump and his approach to the office, and then, exacerbated or amplified by media?
LUNTZ: Every interview tries to get me to blame either Trump or Democrats and Congress. I always say the same thing. It's both of them. They both should not be doing this. They both should be held to a higher standard. And the public is responsible for playing along and actually agitating it. They want to hear the lines. They want to hear the slogans that give them the right to yell and scream. And we've got to stop.
KURTZ: So you're pointing the finger at most Americans, how does this affect your polling this year, all this emotion and this anger and the divisive issues?
LUNTZ: I have less confidence in polling numbers today than I ever had. Because I'm looking at turnouts in places like Texas, it's a presidential level turnout. And then, I see some states that are turning out in a typical off year. I would not use polling to predict or project. I would simply use it to explain what is happening and why.
KURTZ: All right. Frank Luntz, I'm very glad you could be here in person. Thanks very much for joining us.
And that's it for this edition of "Media Buzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. Check out my new podcast, Media Buzz Meter. We kick around the day's top, most buzzy, or important or fascinating stories. You can subscribe Apple iTunes, Google Play, FoxNewsPodcast.com.
Check out our Facebook page. We post our daily videos and columns there. And let's continue the conversation on Twitter. It may be a bit of an emotional conversation these days, as Frank Luntz says, but it's an important one to have.
See you next Sunday, back here at 11 Eastern with the latest buzz.
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