Racism in the NBA and on the ranch; Mariel Hemingway's public pain

This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," April 27, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzzmeter this Sunday, President Obama overseas and under fire as columnist David Brooks says he has a certain shortcoming.


DAVID BROOKS, COLUMNIST: The man has problems in the Middle East with a manhood problem in the Middle East.


KURTZ: Is that a low blow or the media finally holding the president accountable on foreign affairs?

Rancher Cliven Bundy spouts blatantly racist views about "the negro" -- did the conservative media blunder by making him a folk hero?

And how did TMZ break the story of the racist rant by the owner of the L.A. Clippers?

NBC brings in a consultant to analyze David Gregory by talking to his wife and friends as "Meet the Press" slips to third place. Can that really fix the problem?

Plus actress Mariel Hemingway on growing up in a crazy family plagued by suicide, including her sister and grandfather, Ernest Hemingway, and why she's going public with her painful past.


MARIEL HEMINGWAY, ACTRESS: Well, you know, I mean, I can't deny that when Margot committed suicide, which was an incredible surprise, I thought, oh, my God, the baton has been passed to me. Now it's -- who else does it go to but me?


KURTZ: And her feelings on the abuse allegations against her one-time co- star, Woody Allen.

I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "Media Buzz."


KURTZ: TMZ is a Hollywood gossip site that sometimes breaks very big news. The website obtaining an audio tape of Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA's Clippers, in an argument with his girlfriend. Now she had posted a picture of herself with Magic Johnson and Sterling told her not to bring the former superstar to any more games.


DONALD STERLING, OWNER, L.A. CLIPPERS: That bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people.

Do you have to? I'm just saying, in your lousy (INAUDIBLE) Instagram, you don't have to have yourself with, walking with black people.


KURTZ: Joining us now to examine the way this story was broken, Lauren Ashburn, FOX News contributor, who hosts social buzz on the FOX website.

Matt Lewis, senior contributor at "The Daily Caller."

And Dana Milbank, columnist for "The Washington Post."

Now TMZ is known for checkbook journalism.

Does it matter how TMZ obtained this tape of Donald Sterling and whether it paid the woman for it?

LAUREN ASHBURN, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, as long as it's not fake or put together, edited poorly, no, it doesn't matter unless you're sitting at Columbia journalism J-school in an ethics class.

In this day and age, no one remembers who broke what, who paid for what. Remember radar online got an audio recording of Mel Gibson. saying that he beat his girlfriend.

KURTZ: And threatening her life.


KURTZ: It was awful.

ASHBURN: It becomes part of the public persona of that person.

KURTZ: Matt Lewis, the NBA is investigating, various NBA stars are speaking out, even President Obama in Malaysia today calling Donald Sterling ignorant.

The question about the source, if it was in fact -- the -- I guess we can call it a former girlfriend now, sources are often motivated by revenge. But this is not a he said, she said. TMZ actually has this tape, if indeed the tape is fully authentic.

MATT LEWIS, "THE DAILY CALLER": Right. And if it is authentic, and we have to say that now, although it appears that it probably is, it's horrific. I'm trying to explore what are the political ramifications of it?

I think one is clearly this underscores the fact that latent racism is still a thing, even amongst supposedly sophisticated people.

And the other angle is --


KURTZ: Even among people who employ African Americans to put the ball in the hoop on their basketball team.

LEWIS: In an industry that is heavily African American; expect conservative outlets to point out his past contributions to Democrats.


KURTZ: Let me bring Dana in and let me bring back the media angle and that is this. All kinds of news organization, basically every news organization on the planet, following TMZ's lead in reporting the contents of this audio tape.

It's very different than a few years ago when maybe there was more wariness toward, not just TMZ but a lot of these gossip sites.

DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think it's not even the site. I think we've reached a point where, you know, everybody has got a smartphone with audio and video capabilities.

Think about the most damaging thing to Mitt Romney, was some guy who was a bartender filming him at some private event. And I think that's how journalism is now. Basically everybody has a camera or audio out there.

And assuming it's not -- the veracity is not challenged, it does not appear that it's being challenged in this case, then you're good to go.

KURTZ: The Clippers put out a statement saying, not challenging that this is his voice, but saying if it is indeed authentic, but also raising questions about this woman, who is identified as Vee Stibiano (ph), saying we believe that she gave the tape to TMZ, which seems reasonable.

And also questioning her situation, shall we say?

ASHBURN: What a mess this is. It seems that the wife of the owner sued Vee Stibiano (ph), the girlfriend for -- what did they say?

KURTZ: Well, it's being called embezzlement. But what's the embezzlement?

ASHBURN: But I think it's cars that she was given, expensive clothes, money.

KURTZ: Given by her close friend Donald Sterling.

ASHBURN: Correct. So that part of it all seems to muddy what's actually happening here, which is that, allegedly, if the tape is correct, as we're all saying, this man is a racist.

KURTZ: That is -- that conclusion is hard to avoid and we will see how the investigation goes in the coming days. He does have one bit of history we should mention, and that is he paid nearly $3 million to settle a federal housing discrimination suit in which he was accused, at least -- didn't admit wrongdoing -- of pushing black and Latino renters out of his housing properties.

This is a segue to a story that everybody's been talking about this week.

Cliven Bundy became an overnight sensation, a TV symbol of government overreach through a confrontation with federal authorities at his Nevada ranch, especially in the conservative media, especially on FOX News.

But the tone of the story has sharply changed since a "New York Times" correspondent reported on some outrageously racist comments at the ranch. Bundy was talking about seeing black families at a local public housing project.


CLIVEN BUNDY, RANCHER: I want to tell you one more thing I know about the negro. The oldest people and the kids -- and there's always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch. They didn't have nothing to do. They didn't have nothing for their kids to do. They didn't have nothing for the young girls to do.

And because they were basically on government subsidy, and so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.

And I've often wondered, were they better off as slaves, picking cotton, having a family life, and doing things or are they better off under government subsidy?


KURTZ: Matt Lewis, this guy, Cliven Bundy, was built up as a symbol of resistance to overzealous federal authorities -- that part may be true. I have many hours of coverage on FOX News, in light of these blatantly racist comments. When then he repeated them when he tried to dig out of the hole.

Was that a mistake?

LEWIS: Absolutely. I'm old enough to remember before FOX News, before the rise of talk radio and alternative media. And I don't want to go back to those days when there was a major media filter.

But I think it is also worth asking, at some times, is a conservative media a net negative for the conservative movement? And I think this might be one of those occasions.


LEWIS: Well, Cliven Bundy was a story before FOX News jumped on it and talk radio jumped on it. But what they did was helped elevate him, to turn him into a sort of a folk hero and to egg this story on.

And of course once he shows himself to be a racist, that ends up impugning the conservative movement, I think unfairly, but you could argue, hey, you guys built him up as some sort of a hero. And now MSNBC and liberal outlets will spend weeks on this, pushing the narrative that conservatives are evil, racist, mean people.

KURTZ: Well, we shouldn't apply it to everybody.

But in my view, FOX News fell seriously short on this story on Thursday. All day long until a special report at 6:00 pm Eastern, there was virtually no mention of these racist remarks by Cliven Bundy when everybody else was covering it.

And I think that to ignore a major story that was on the front page of "The New York Times," at a time when the network, among others, as you say, had devoted a lot of time to covering this story and to building up Cliven Bundy, I think that gives him ammunition to FOX's detractors.


MILBANK: Well, I salute your manhood for bringing this issue up, Howie.

No, I think it's an important discussion to have because this was largely a FOX News-driven story. And --

KURTZ: You don't agree with Matt that it's a conservative media story, you think it's a FOX --

MILBANK: Well, it may have well been out there in the -- but you know, this is the 800-pound gorilla in where we are right now. And that is what put this on the radar screen for the whole nation.

KURTZ: Let's not forget, the Bureau of Land Management showed up with lots of armed guards, there was this confrontation. It doesn't take away necessarily from the argument that this guy -- although he was a lawbreaker and --

MILBANK: I think it was somewhat foreseeable. And I think the problem here is people confused people who are interested in small government, the Tea Party, with something entirely different here. This is very far out on the fringe.

This isn't Tea Party. This is anarchy. And I think people jumped into that without thinking of where this was going to --


LEWIS: President Obama said something very interesting about Sterling, the Clippers' owner. He said, when there are ignorant people, if you just give them enough time, they will destroy themselves. I'm paraphrasing. But he just said that recently.

That's what he did to Cliven Bundy. I think conservative outlets and folks like Sean Hannity were expecting this to be like a Ruby Red Branch Davidian situation where a Cliven Bundy would have been turned into a martyr. And that might have been the best thing that would have happened for conservatives.

Unfortunately, President Obama, I think, gave him enough rope to hang himself.

KURTZ: Let me jump in. So this also wasn't getting coverage on the FOX website on Thursday. You wrote a Twitter column that was posted late in the day that addressed this. And what was the reaction?

ASHBURN: And it had 4,000-plus comments on it within a couple of hours.

Look, I think the media, when they are going after someone they make into a folk hero, a la Cindy Sheehan, who, in the Bush administration, had lost her son in the Iraq war and then staged a protest in front of George Bush's ranch.

Then she came out and said she didn't pay her taxes. She didn't think she should pay her taxes and that the president should be impeached.

KURTZ: So what's the lesson here for --


ASHBURN: The lesson, I think, is that when you build up someone like this and you don't take the opportunity either because you don't have the time or the inclination to vet someone, it's going to come back and bite you or has the potential to do so.

KURTZ: Now, in fairness, once FOX got to prime time that day when the story broke in The New York Times, Krauthammer, Greta, Megan, O'Reilly, Sean Hannity all denounced this. And Hannity of course got the most attention because he had given Cliven Bundy the biggest platform, interviewed him and his wife a couple of times.

Here's what Hannity had to say.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST: I believe those comments are downright racist, they are repugnant, they are bigoted and it's beyond disturbing. I find those comments to be deplorable and I think it's extremely unfortunate that Cliven Bundy holds those views.


KURTZ: I give him credit for saying that.

MILBANK: I absolutely give him credit for saying that, too. I believe he went on to say that he was still supportive of that kind of rebellion. I think that the problem is, as my colleague Eric Wemple (ph), said, you can't have Cliven Bundy a la carte. You get the whole package.

And if you look where he was coming from, it was foreseeable that you'd get to this point.

KURTZ: Right. And "The New York Times" deserves credit for revealing these remarks. It was actually an audiotape and that -- actually, a videotape -- that helped somebody on a cell phone. You were making that point earlier.

And finally, though, "The Times" put the racist portion on the jump of the story. I'm burying the lead. Everybody else knew what the lead was. All right.

Send me a tweet about our show during this hour @HowardKurtz. We're going to read some of your messages a bit later in the program.

Ahead, my interview with Mariel Hemingway on the media and Hollywood culture.

But first one columnist says the president has a manhood problem on foreign policy. Are the pundits being a bit too harsh?




KURTZ: David brooks has been, shall we say, widely quoted this week, the conservative "New York Times" columnist was on NBC's "Meet the Press" and had this to say about President Obama's foreign policy.


BROOKS: And let's face it, Obama, whether deservedly or not, does have a - - I'll say it crudely -- but a manhood problem in the Middle East.

Is he tough enough to stand up to somebody like Assad, somebody like Putin? I think a lot of the rap is unfair. But certainly in the Middle East, there's an assumption he's not tough.


KURTZ: Now, Lewis, David Brooks has been at the White House. He's talked to President Obama a number of times. He's not an Obama hater.

So you wouldn't think he'd go there with that manhood phrase.

LEWIS: Real alpha male, that David Brooks.


LEWIS: If you showed the rest of the clip, Chuck Todd actually agrees with him, that even inside the White House, this is a question. I think the problem is, it's fair to talk about toughness. And Margaret Thatcher was a woman but she was tough, the Iron Lady.

When you inject masculinity and sexuality into it, it seems awfully personal. But I think toughness is a fair thing to bring up.

KURTZ: Not only Chuck Todd, forget about Chuck Todd. Dana Milbank writes a column which was quoted on FOX News that day, in which you said of President Obama's Asia trip, that he essentially is a tourist.

And if I can read from it, "The problem isn't that Obama projects weakness, it's that he doesn't project much of anything."

So it sounds like some liberals are abandoning the president.

MILBANK: Well, I wasn't questioning his manhood for sure.

KURTZ: You were just using different words.

MILBANK: Well, and I think that was the problem with what David did there. And I suspect if he had those words to use over again, he might have chosen different ones.

But it's certainly a long-standing and legitimate complaint to say is this president forceful enough?

I wasn't even asking for a different policy. I was just saying, well, whatever your policy is, just keep articulating it. Don't keep hopscotching around the globe and getting distracted from what your actual agenda is.

I think that's a very fair criticism. I suspect it's better not to question the manhood of the president, particularly because it throws a lot of gasoline on the fire already when we're having a lot of racially charged rhetoric out there that I'm sure David did not mean to inject.

KURTZ: But even though David Brooks did qualify it, the headlines all said "challenged his manhood," he did qualify, as we heard, it certainly got him noticed, it kind of breaks through the static.

ASHBURN: No, but it's also mean-spirited editing in some ways. And you take what you want to hear about manhood and you forget that he says, "whether deserved or not," or, you know, they left out all of the --

KURTZ: You think that it's a bad rap.

ASHBURN: Right. He gets a bum rap. And so that's why people hate the media so much because --

KURTZ: Reason 972?

ASHBURN: -- right, because things that are taken are these small pieces, this has happened to me, and I'm sure to everyone else at this table, when what you say afterwards is ignored.

KURTZ: At the same time, can you imagine David Brooks writing this in "The New York Times"" as opposed to saying it on a Sunday roundtable, where you weigh every word?

ASHBURN: He has. But he has criticized the president.

KURTZ: For using the manhood phrase?

ASHBURN: I doubt it. I doubt it. I doubt it.

KURTZ: So has this changed the media climate now, where we'll see a lot more criticism?

Because after all, the backdrop here is Ukraine, and the president, with Western allies not being able to stop what Putin appears to be on the verge of doing.

Are we going to see, briefly, from both of you, a lot more media criticism on foreign affairs?

LEWIS: Yes. First of all, this is smart PR for David Brooks. He gets attention. It's smart for the media outlets who misrepresent what he said, negative attention. But it's a real issue. I mean, I think, look I argued that the red lines that President Obama put down that were trampled upon are worth criticizing when we look at what's happening in Ukraine, I'd say it's fair.

MILBANK: I think every time we turn to foreign policy, there will be the criticism from the Right of this president's weakness. But I don't think Americans will care a whole lot about foreign policy --

ASHBURN: Well, they don't. Americans traditionally are uninterested in what happens. The Middle East could be, you know, an example of where they don't. But I think that it's in our DNA or at least in TV watchers' DNA not to care whether or not the president is at a state dinner in Malaysia.

KURTZ: Or eating great sushi.

ASHBURN: Or bowing to a robot.

LEWIS: This becomes a narrative. The problem is when narratives stick -- and this is starting to stick.

KURTZ: This narrative is over for now. Dana Milbank, Matt Lewis. Thank you very much.

Up next with "Meet the Press" sinking in the ratings, NBC orders an assessment of David Gregory.

What's up with that?

And later, actress Mariel Hemingway, on what's it like dealing with the media after having been a celebrity since she was 16.


HEMINGWAY: I have to be honest. I'm not the best celebrity. I don't believe in living out loud and like airing everything. I don't feel that that is -- I think it's uninteresting.





KURTZ: There was a time under the late Tim Russert when "Meet the Press" was the dominant Sunday morning show. But it slipped to third place under David Gregory, who has a very different style.


DAVID GREGORY, NBC HOST: And you're telling me it's not a matter of common sense that if you don't have an ability to shoot off 30 rounds without reloading that just possibly you could reduce the loss of life?

To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?


KURTZ: Things have reached a point where NBC tried to improve Gregory's performance by hiring what "The Washington Post" called a psychological consultant to talk to Gregory's wife and friends.

Joining us now is David Zurawik, television and media critic for "The Baltimore Sun."

OK, Tim Russert, hard act to follow, obviously.

But why have David Gregory and "Meet the Press" in your view slipped to third place?

DAVID ZURAWIK, TV CRITIC, "THE BALTIMORE SUN": Well, you know, A, it was a bad choice right out of the box. And I'll tell you two reasons.

One, David Gregory has -- now I'm just talking about the persona. God knows the person has been savaged enough by Washington this week. But the persona, he has no passion. And Tim Russert was steeped in passion. And it wasn't just passion for politics. It was a passion when he interviewed.

He would be the prosecutor. He would laugh sometimes uproariously.

This is a cool, sort of hollow, flat character on television. That's number one.

KURTZ: Well, off the air, David Gregory is a very funny guy, who used to call into the Imus show and do impersonations. And I think he got a lot more serious when Russert died and he felt like he had to assume that mantle --

ZURAWIK: Have some gravitas, but it didn't work. It was the opposite. Now, not having -- not coming across as having the passion for politics that Russert had, he had a producer up until last year, Betsy Fisher Martin, who was steeped in politics and who was plugged in and had all that energy. And I think she filled some of that void for him, number one, until she left.

Now who did they replace her with? They replaced her with Rob Yaron (ph), who is a TV consultant, essentially, from Megid (ph), the consultant company. Now what will a TV consultant give you? He will give you phony ways to create passion. No, it's absolutely true.

KURTZ: What we know that he's doing or what David Gregory is doing is trying to quicken the pace of the broadcast with shorter interviews, faster paced segments -- and look, this happens in TV all the time. I wrestle with this.

But the thing that made Russert such a signature player was the longer interviews where you could really drill down on an evasive politician.

ZURAWIK: Yes, and Howie, those are consultant tricks to try to get around what's not there at the core.

In addition to a lack of passion, Gregory also has a lack -- and, again, this is just a persona on TV -- of authenticity. You know, Tim Russert was an authentic person who cared about the Buffalo Bills.


KURTZ: Few of us are Tim Russert.

ZURAWIK: No, but listen, Bob Schieffer is. Bob Schieffer. And there's an authenticity to him that connects with the audience out there in America.

This is your cool, flat, homogenized TV host. This is what a consultant will give you. They have robbed the soul of TV news with (INAUDIBLE) like this.


KURTZ: Speaking of consultants, let's get to the report by "The Washington Post's" Paul Flowery (ph), who said that -- and he ran this by an NBC spokeswoman twice, said NBC had employed a psychological consultant, not to analyze Gregory, but to talk to his wife and his friends, I guess to try to kind of bring him alive on the air.

Gregory says this is utter fiction. NBC now saying it was a brand consultant.

But leaving aside the semantics, what does it say that a network does that for a guy who has worked for NBC for 20 years?

ZURAWIK: You know what it says to me? They're trying to find out if there's any there there, too, in terms of an authentic person. And it also tells me, NBC News itself, in fairness to Gregory, NBC News itself is in a big downturn.

KURTZ: He has had a history as a good journalist, aside from whether he's a good anchor, a good moderator, a good questioner. I have got half a minute.

The rap on David Gregory is also that he is -- favors Democrats, that he's harder on conservative guests.

Fair or unfair?

ZURAWIK: I don't want to go there. I don't want to make that judgment. This is a -- really, this is a disaster to lose this show the way they've lost it, you know? Along with their morning, along with their evening show now is now getting beaten, a demo by ABC.

This is a management problem. I take it all the way back to Steve Tapus (ph), who now gone, president --


ZURAWIK: -- who hired him. I really do, Howie. I think this is a larger problem with NBC News. But he is not the guy for that job. They're better off blowing it up than trying to keep consulting, consulting, consulting.

KURTZ: Sunday morning is very competitive.

David Zurawik, thanks for coming by this Sunday.

And ahead, new emails shows how cozy CNN got with Rahm Emanuel for a miniseries starring the Chicago mayor.

But up next, Mariel Hemingway on why she's now going public with painful memories about all the suicides in her family, including, of course, that of Ernest Hemingway.




KURTZ: Mariel Hemingway was born into a famous family but one that has endured plenty of tragedy. The actress and author stars in a documentary about her family airing Sunday night tonight on Oprah's OWN network called "Running from Crazy."


MARIEL HEMINGWAY, ACTRESS: It was kind of like the Kennedy family, the Kennedys had these horrible tragedies. And we were sort of the other American family that had this horrible curse.

I come from seven suicides, perhaps more.


KURTZ: I spoke to her earlier from Los Angeles.


KURTZ: Mariel Hemingway, welcome.

HEMINGWAY: Hi. How are you?

KURTZ: I'm doing really well. In this documentary, you talk very openly about your parents' alcoholism and seven suicides in your family, your grandfather, Ernest Hemingway, of course, as well as your sister Margo who was an actress. Is it hard to talk about these things?

HEMINGWAY: You know, people often ask me, like it must be so difficult. But the truth is I've been talking about it now for a good long time. And that is kind of the point of the documentary. I didn't do this documentary because I think my story is so incredible. I did the documentary because I actually think that so many people share in the kind of fear of talking about this issue, about suicides and mental illness and it runs in more of our families than we'd like to recognize. And by talking about it, I truly believe that the healing can start. You know what I mean?

KURTZ: But do you think the media are drawn to your saga and this whole question of mental illness and suicide because you have a famous last name? Because your - because there has to be a celebrity factor?

HEMINGWAY: I think that, of course, you know, you look at a family and you say, oh, you know, Ernest Hemingway was wrought with this. But what people aren't also looking at or they will, and kind of my passion in life, is to really explore the how great - I've been given not just depression and suicide, I've also been given great creativity and an amazing lineage. So, it's also the ability to look at the good things as well as the bad things. So that you can see -- have a holistic view of your life. And for me it's about awareness, about where we come from, and when you have an awareness about your family and your heritage and your genetics and all the different things that make up the beauty of who you are, then you can make informed decisions about your own well-being, your health, your wellness, all of that.

KURTZ: Did you worry when you were younger, particularly after Margo took her life, that you, too, would be crazy or at least crazier than the little bit crazy that we all are?

HEMINGWAY: Well, you know, I mean I can't deny that when Margo committed suicide, which was an incredible surprise, I thought oh, my god, you know, the baton has been passed to me. Now it's going to -- who else does it go to but me? Because I have an older sister who also suffers from mental illness who is wonderful, who's actually in the movie.

KURTZ: Right.

HEMINGWAY: But then after many years of, like, introspection, and mindfulness and awareness training and working on lifestyle, you know, food and exercise and health, and we've talked about that before, but I believe that I found a way of living my life that keeps me in balance. And I think it's important for others to know that. That there are -- there's help out there. There's ways of living your life that can help balance your brain. I'm not saying it may be a sole solution for every problem ...

KURTZ: Right.

HEMINGWAY: But it's certainly a part of the solution that people need.

KURTZ: So, the fact that you write books about fitness and about nutrition and you're an advocate for a healthy lifestyle, that is perhaps not an accident, it's in the way - your way of coping with the nuttiness ...

HEMINGWAY: Oh, absolutely.

KURTZ: That you came out of, the chaos that you came out of?

HEMINGWAY: Absolutely. No mistake about it. The reason why I did it was essentially it was because I was scared and I was trying to survive. And then it became about, oh, my gosh, I know so much about this, my life is becoming more balanced, happy. I feel good every day. And I want to share that with people that I know that how we live our everyday life, the normal things that we do, how do you wake up in the morning? These kinds of things, I wrote -- my latest book is called "Running with Nature" that I wrote with my partner, Bobby Williams. And that's what that is about, it's like exploring the simple things that we do every day and how that creates happiness, joy, well-being. How it balances the brain. It's part of a bigger conversation. And I want people to know that there are many different ways to address this issue.

KURTZ: There's no magic formula, there is no ten steps to a happy life?


KURTZ: Everybody has got to find the answer for themselves.

HEMINGWAY: There's also no pill that you can take. There's also no pill that you can take.

KURTZ: It would be so much easier.

HEMINGWAY: To make all things better.

KURTZ: It would be so much easier.

HEMINGWAY: Yeah. And we as a society, we think, oh, you know, if I take something, it will be good. Now, it might be a good way to give yourself a break, but it's not going to be the sole solution.

KURTZ: Right. You know, I always wondered this about you, because Ernest Hemingway killed himself a few months before you were born. And yet obviously his legacy and the shadow has loomed very large for you. Has that been strange for you? Strange thing growing up?

HEMINGWAY: Well, you know, here's what's funny about that question to me. It's like I've never been Mariel Smith.


HEMINGWAY: You know, so I've only been Mariel Hemingway. It's odd because ...

KURTZ: You never met him.

HEMINGWAY: Because he's so big - because I never met him. He's bigger than life. He's, you know, considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. So that's big. But it's also such an honor to be a part of a legacy that is so creative, so full of imagination and that's the part of what I've inherited that I think is extraordinary. And I feel as though I'm just beginning to dive into what that really means for my own life. I no longer fear going crazy or doing all that. I'm sort of like, wow. And, you know, we have a clip in the movie about that. I feel that it's a family about joy and happiness. There doesn't have to be, you know, it doesn't have to go hand in hand with depression and sadness and suicide. And killing yourself.

KURTZ: Right.

HEMINGWAY: It's not about that. It's about let's find what's good about this, let's find the positive in this and work from there.


KURTZ: More of my conversation with Mariel Hemingway in a moment, including her thoughts on the allegations against her old friend and co- star, Woody Allen.


KURTZ: More now of my conversation with Mariel Hemingway.


KURTZ: You've been in the media spotlight ever since you made the movie "Manhattan" decades ago. Has that meant, especially when you were younger, but also now, dealing with a lot of gossip and rumors about your life, and how have you coped with that? A lot of people aren't in love with that part of celebrity.

HEMINGWAY: You know - you know what, I am so not -- I have to be honest, I'm not the best celebrity. I ...

KURTZ: You're failing at the task of being an A-list celebrity? You're admitting this right now?

HEMINGWAY: I'm just failing. I just don't go to events. And I - you know, I mean I went to the Golden Globes this year. That was a big deal. And it was fun. And it's kind of fun that I don't do it that often because when I do, I'm like - I'm like everybody else, I'm kind of looking around like, wow, I know him.


KURTZ: But you do that because you want your privacy? Is that a deliberate lifestyle choice?

HEMINGWAY: I am a very private person. I don't -- you know, it's ironic that I made a documentary, but it's not a reality show. It's a documentary. There's a story being told. I don't believe in living out loud and, like, airing everything. I don't feel that that is -- I think it's uninteresting. I think it makes for an, actually, very uninteresting person. I would rather see people be dynamic and show their creativity and where they can go. Not that I don't love reality, but real reality to me is like, you know, exploring and having different adventures and seeing what you can do with your life and create new things. But I don't know ...

KURTZ: Not just being a bald-faced name in those gossip columns?

HEMINGWAY: Right. Exactly.



KURTZ: Now, of course, we know a lot about your life. And it is true that your first kiss at the age of 16 was with?

HEMINGWAY: Woody Allen. I fully have to admit that. I mean, it's not that I didn't kiss anybody. But I think that was my first make out session, which was highly embarrassing, for one.

KURTZ: And in front of the cameras.

HEMINGWAY: And I remember when they said, cut. I said -- I looked at the camera and I said, I don't have to do that again, do I?

KURTZ: So now that "The New York Times" and Mia Farrow Ronan Farrow have brought up again this older allegations of child molestation on Woody Allen's part, you know him, he, of course, denies this strenuously. How does that make you feel?

HEMINGWAY: I -- you know, I don't pretend to know what goes on behind closed doors. I don't know Mia. I know Woody. I think that he's an incredible filmmaker and I love him as a human being and as an artist. But I don't, you know, that stuff I just know nothing about. I don't condone that kind of behavior.

KURTZ: Of course.

HEMINGWAY: But I find it unusual that somebody who never did that all of a sudden does that. But, you know, I don't know. I really -- that would be ...

KURTZ: We don't know the truth of what happened. I just wondered how you felt about watching that come back in the news?

HEMINGWAY: I, you know, it's sad. It's very sad. Because both sides are in pain, obviously.

KURTZ: Yes, obviously. Now, many actresses talk about the difficulty of finding good parts as they get a little older. Do you find yourselves doing battle with the youth obsessed culture of Hollywood, like that sign behind you?

HEMINGWAY: Well, there certainly is a youth-obsessed culture. The good news is, as you get older, there's always a part for somebody's mom or grandmother.


HEMINGWAY: I don't know - you know I ...


KURTZ: I don't see you being cast as grandma.

HEMINGWAY: Well, I don't think so.

KURTZ: Not yet.

HEMINGWAY: But here's what's interesting about that. Is that television nowadays and television meaning all cable, Netflix, you know, all the - and some really great shows on network really show some very fabulous female characters. And I am so excited by that. I'm actually developing a television series for TV or cable or whatever it's going to be. Because I think that that's the place where a woman can actually express herself in a really powerful way. I mean look at Robin Wright Penn in "House of Cards." An extraordinary role. She's, you know, in her late 40s - and maybe it's the mid-40s. She doesn't want to be insulted. But she looks amazing.

KURTZ: Right. It has nothing to do with television ...

HEMINGWAY: It's a great, great character.

KURTZ: It's done online. And that's technological ...


KURTZ: Advance that didn't exist even five years ago. When you get your series up and running, you'll have to come back and talk about it.

HEMINGWAY: I totally will. I absolutely will.

KURTZ: Mariel Hemingway, thanks very much for joining us.

HEMINGWAY: Thank you so much.

KURTZ: An OWN documentary airs at 9 tonight. I also ask Mariel Hemingway about being on Twitter and Instagram. We'll post that video on our home page this week. FoxNews.com/MediaBuzz. When we come back, Stephen Colbert weighs in on Chelsea-Clinton's baby and takes on Lauren Ashburn in the process. Now it's her turn.


KURTZ: Time now for our "Video Verdict." And this time, the white hot focus of our debate is you.

ASHBURN: Uh-oh. Well, wait. You're going to replay one of my classic moments on "Media Buzz" and talk about how incisive I was.

KURTZ: Actually, I'm going to replay someone else replaying what you had to say on last week's show.


STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT SHOW": Now, obviously news of a grandchild is a joyous occasion. So, I just want you for a moment right now to put politics aside and offer the Clinton family a heartfelt congratulations for such a shrewd political move.


COLBERT: Right? Right, Fox News?


ASHBURN: Maybe this was planned.



COLBERT: Maybe this was planned. And we all know, only the most devious people would ever plan a pregnancy.


COLBERT: It's so obvious, folks. Bill and Hillary clearly sat down with their daughter and synched up Chelsea's ovulation cycle with Hillary's campaign calendar.

ASHBURN: Hey, did you see? I was on Colbert?

KURTZ: You're famous, but I guess he was kind of making fun of you.

ASHBURN: Well, no. I mean he knows talent when he sees it, right?

KURTZ: I see. I see.

ASHBURN: That's what it is.


KURTZ: But he also thought that you were a little out there. I saw ...

ASHBURN: But all right. Let me - let me get back, Adam, here. I did not say that that is what I thought. I was reporting on what other people were saying. That's what we do in news.

KURTZ: Are you suggesting that this very talented Stephen Colbert, soon to be the next David Letterman, was taking you out of context?

ASHBURN: I think so, and do I work for Fox News, and does he do that to Fox News all the time? Yes.

KURTZ: You're saying he had an agenda.

ASHBURN: Oh, I think so. He admitted to you in a "Washington Post" article that he's a Democrat.

KURTZ: But he made it sound like you were joining the Chelsea Clinton birther movement and thought that Hillary and her daughter got together with their calendars and figured out when is the best time to have this baby.

ASHBURN: But all said was that some people were saying it, and it's true. They were saying it on Twitter, they were writing about it in blogs, you know. You got to wring that up if that's the other side of the story.

KURTZ: Do you believe in this conspiracy theory?




KURTZ: And are you ticked off at Colbert or are you secretly grateful?

ASHBURN: No. He's trying to be funny. He's trying to be funny. I mean, he says himself he's trying to be, you know, high class idiot who is just, you know, funny and it's all satire, so, hey, you know. That's not bad. All publicity is good publicity.

KURTZ: So, the headline here is you're accusing Stephen Colbert of being a high class idiot.


KURTZ: At least the Stephen Colbert character.


KURTZ: Who is a buffoon.

ASHBURN: And I'm not sure we're going to be watching him on "The Late Show." He's got to stop attacking Fox News.


KURTZ: He puts you on.

ASHBURN: OK, then I'll do it.

KURTZ: All right.


KURTZ: Still to come, your best tweets and new emails on the reality show series revealing a pretty cozy relationship between CNN and Rahm Emanuel.


KURTZ: And here are a few of your top tweets on the coverage of Clive Bundy and his racist remarks. Maggie Thornton, "Wake up, no one but Fox covered the theft of Bundy's cattle yet jumped on the racism. Where were the mainstream media on the BLM armed assault?"

Ted (INAUDIBLE) "I respect you for bringing up the racist issue on Fox News. It was surely needed to be brought up for discussion." And David Gregory's struggles at "Meet the Press" Wayne L. "I think he's been about average as a host with a strong liberal bias on "Meet the Press." Jeff says, "I don't think Gregory is bad, but Russert was so good, it was an impossible standard to meet. People sought alternatives."

ASHBURN: It's true. When you follow a popular anchor, take Deborah Norville who had to follow Jane Pauley who had been there for years and years, you know, it's hard to live up to those standards.

KURTZ: Yeah. It's a very unforgiving business on "Sunday Morning" and Gregory is doing his best, I guess. In our press picks, this media fail. A CNN reality-type series called "Chicagoland" turned into a pretty nice platform for Rahm Emanuel.


RAHM EMANUEL: I got talking to this young man, Martel, and he was so engaging. He's a wonderful kid. There's something about his personality, and I'm taken with it, and I'm trying to help him knuckle down and buckle down for college.


KURTZ: Well, now we know why "The Chicago Tribune" obtaining emails from the production company working with CNN talking to the Democrat mayor's aide pitching a positive portrayal. For example, "Our need for deeper access is not born of a desire to expose the mayor's weaknesses, but instead to show the best of who he really is and present him as the star he really is." Here's another. "I know I'm needy, but we want more of Rahm in the series. In the February 14 podcast, "Rahm will look good making his points." Rahm will look good. Well, executive producer Mark Levin who partnered with Robert Redford on "Chicagoland" told "The Tribune" that you can't get access in Chicago without having to do a certain dance. The end result was what a "Tribune" columnist called myth-making and a re-election campaign vehicle for Rahm.

Now, CNN not dissipating the emails says in the statement, "The mayor's office was never granted editorial control over the content or the press communications for Chicagoland and no agency was ever granted authority to offer the mayor's office editorial control."

ASHBURN: As an executive at "USA Today," one of the thing I did was to sell to cable networks documentaries and series based on "USA Today" content, but at the end of the day, you, "USA Today" or CNN, are responsible for all of the communication that happens.

KURTZ: That was a non-denial denial by CNN. It looks like those e-mails are embarrassing, and it looks like the pitch was that Rahm will look good. Apparently he did look good.

That's it for this edition of "Media Buzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. Check out our Facebook page and give us a like. We post video there and we engage in a conversation with you. We're back here next Sunday morning, 11 and 5 ET with the latest buzz.

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