This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," June 3, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the buzz meter this Sunday, the culture war over Roseanne Barr and Samantha Bee. Roseanne blaming ABC, Ambien and herself for show's cancellation and the president lashing out at Disney chief Bob Iger.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DON LEMON, CNN: We know what Donald Trump thinks. We know what Roseanne Barr thinks. It's time for to us stop playing around with soft words by saying, oh, well, they are saying insensitive things. No, it's racist.
DAVID GREGORY, CNN: President Trump cannot be blamed for everything that's wrong in our culture.
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: Donald Trump is also a racist. And so of course Donald Trump's public comment about Roseanne's racist outburst includes absolutely no objection about Roseanne's overt public racism.
GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: The left takes the idiotic words of one person and blames it on millions. So it's no more about Roseanne's awful tweet, it's about the left expanding the tweet to the president and by connection half of America.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Why are some journalists blaming Roseanne racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett on the president? Why didn't he denounce it? And is there a media double standard when Samantha Bee uses the "C" word to slime Ivanka Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SAMANTHA BEE, TV HOST: Put on something tight and low-cut and tell your father to (BLEEP) stop it.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: We just saw Roseanne's show canceled after the comments she made, but Samantha Bee, an apology, that's good enough. No problem.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: The president calls for TBS to fire Samantha Bee but some liberals are defending the comedian. President Trump accuses the media of disinformation campaign, that's right, says Robert Mueller is meddling in the midterms and that he never should have hired Jeff Sessions, all of it triggering a partisan crossfire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN: President Trump continued his lie-packed crusade against the law enforcement investigation. Today he stated that it's actually special counsel Robert Mueller who will be guilty of election interference. You heard that right. Not Putin, Mueller.
NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC:: This could actually be a crime and to suggest that the Mueller-led investigation would amount to meddling is beyond fantasy. It's Trumpian projection.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: I think it's so cute that this president thinks that attorneys general are supposed to be their personal lawyers. And by cute I mean completely ignorant.
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: But on the issue of Trump wanting Sessions to un- recuse himself, that doesn't surprise me at all. I don't find it surprising that he -- if he told his White House counsel, this is ridiculous.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Plus, the New York Times obtains a leaked Trump team legal memo telling Bob Mueller the president can't be guilty of obstruction because he can fire anyone. Is this a leak designed to win the P.R. world? I'm Howard Kurtz and this is "Media Buzz."
KURTZ: Roseanne Barr was riding on top of the world with a big hit show before her spectacular self-immolation with a racist tweet against Valerie Jarrett, that one linking her to "Planet of the Apes" that prompted ABC to cancel her rebooted sitcom.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VALERIE JARRETT, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm worried about all the people out there who don't have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: President Trump made no comment about the tweet but added to the media uproar by posting this about Bob Iger, the CEO of parent company Disney -- Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ABC does not tolerate comments like those mad by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the horrible statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn't get the call?
Joining us now to analyze the coverage of all of this: Katie Pavlich, editor of Townhall and a Fox News contributor; Susan Ferrechio, chief congressional correspondent for the Washington Examiner, and Capri Cafaro, a former Democratic senator in Ohio who teaches at American University.
Katie Papvlich, so Roseanne fires off this horrible racist tweet. ABC axes the show and the president had nothing to do with it other than he liked the show and he called Roseanne and congratulate her on her ratings. And you have some liberal anchors like Don Lemon using that to say the, oh, the president is even more of a racist.
KATIE PAVLICH, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I find that interesting because when we had the congressional baseball shooting about a year ago, the man who carried that horrific event out was a Bernie Sanders supporter. He volunteered for his campaign and was an occupy Wall Street attendee, and yet you didn't see the right jumps to conclusion that Bernie Sanders was responsible for the attempted assassination of Republicans on a baseball field.
I find it interesting that the rest of what Roseanne's show represented is being ignored when it comes to this conversation. Roseanne herself and her personal life is a Trump supporter she played well on the show. However, the rest of her show was actually very diverse. You have the transgender son, you have the African-American granddaughter who has an African- American mother in the military, the feminist sister who supports Hillary Clinton.
And so I find it, you know, disappointing that all of Trump supporters and the president himself have been blamed for a comment that was put on twitter when I'm sure we'll get to it to Samantha Bee situation was a line that was put into a teleprompter approved by producers and network and said on television and that's where --
KURTZ: -- we will get to that, but let me pick it up with Capri because some other pundits will say, well, actually Trump is to blame for the Roseanne tweet because he created the atmosphere that's all racism. Again, this is Roseanne Barr, you know, "Planet of the Apes" reference and the president did nothing to do about.
CAPRI CAFARO, FORMER OHIO DEMOCRATIC SENATOR: Well, I mean, I think that the narrative and the hypothesis that, you know, President Trump somehow has, you know, ignited this racist kind of trend to come out into the forefront, into the mainstream. That is nothing new. I mean, but, you know, he did not put --
KURTZ: Not as new, but is it fair?
CAFARO: No, I mean, no in this context for sure because Roseanne Barr did what Roseanne Barr is going to do. There's nothing new about Roseanne actually saying things that are controversial or, you know, potentially insensitive of whatever you want to say. What happened in this particular context is because President Trump did not respond, did not explicitly say it was racist and even Sarah Sanders just said it was --
CAFARO: -- unacceptable or inappropriate, I think that is what the, you know, the more liberal media latched on to saying, well, if you're silent about this, you must be consistent in it. And I think that that's a bit of a stretch.
KURTZ: Let me just look at Roseanne and ABC for a moment (ph). First she said it was a joke. And then she said she was on Ambien. And then she said, well, you know, it's really my fault. What I did was so egregious and unforgiveable, no one should defend it. But given her history of ugliness and racism and spilling conspiracy theories on twitter, didn't ABC executives know exactly what they were getting?
SUSAN FERRECHIO, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: I think they are naive. I think they are naive to the intersection of television and social media. It is just the Wild West on twitter right now. There are no editors. There's no one to look at your, you know, in the old days the stars were managed. Their public appearances were managed. Now you have twitter.
I don't think these big media companies are really setting standards. They are setting standard as they go. They are playing reactionary to all these as like, oh my god, what are we going to do about this tweet while we just got to cancel the show. I mean, we all vary a little crazy the way the whole thing evolved. You have to admit, just so sudden --
FERRECHIO: But they don't have the standards in place.
KURTZ: So Katie, you mentioned Samantha Bee, you know, using the "C word" and making these other scurrilous allegations about Ivanka Trump. And then you have some in the media saying, well, you know, it wasn't really so bad or, you know, Trump uses worse language against women. So again, making it about the president because of what a comedian said about his daughter.
PAVLICH: If they ever put the shoe on the other foot when it came to what Samantha Bee said about Ivanka Trump, all hell would have broken loose in the media and for good reason.
KURTZ: -- that Michelle Obama or Chelsea Clinton, yes.
PAVLICH: Or Chelsea Clinton. Can you imagine if this was aimed at Chelsea Clinton? It would have been horrible if she (inaudible) condemned it. Samantha Bee issued an apology but she is still being kept at the network. The network itself said that it was their bad and yet she's still being kept at the network.
We are seeing this double standard also play out at MSNBC right now with Joy Reid who had horrible log posts in her early career about anti- Semitism, saying that John McCain was just like the Virginia Tech shooter, (inaudible) shopping hi.
And again, it goes back to the double standard of how conservative women are treated in the media, how liberal women are treated, and how executives on the left handle it because they believe in the things that Samantha Bee is doing overall. And in a policy that she opposes that are coming out of the Trump administration and therefore an apology is good enough for Samantha Bee. It's certainly not good enough for Roseanne Barr.
CAFARO: -- something interesting about this and I don't necessarily agree with the hypothesis. I think it's all vile and I think that it is sad that this is the world that we live in right now, but "Entertainment Weekly" which is not necessarily always in my rotation, but they did an interesting analysis on this issue basically saying that TBS could not necessarily fire Samantha Bee in the same way that ABC fired Roseanne because they were complicit in what happened, that they basically signed off on it and because of that, it didn't have the credibility to can Samantha Bee.
I mean, that's an interesting argument. You can't use the same for Joy Reid certainly, but I think that the fact that we are actually having this conversation shows how divisive the country has gotten and how the left and the right seem incapable at this point to have any consensus and common decency and I think this is what we're seeing here.
KURTZ: Susan, nobody would suggest the president is a model of etiquette. He can fight pretty hard, but when his daughter was slimed, you know, for some commentators, as long as Ivanka Trump is the target, because somehow she's enabling all these terrible policies, anything goes. I mean this kind of language and this kind of sexual crack has been used against her before by Bill Maher and others. Now, the president is calling for Samantha Bee to be fired, didn't look like that's going to happen, but it does seem like there is a different standard for going after the president's family.
FERRECHIO: There is a different standard I think and it's not so much based on Trump and the fact that, well, he sets the tone as I think Chuck Todd said in a recent interview that he president established his tone. If he was a Democrat and he was putting forward a Democratic agenda with Democratic policies, I really don't think anyone would care very much about that tone. Suddenly, I think that it would be OK for him to be hard on the media or hard on whoever his political enemies are.
I feel like this is more -- this has given the press and the people who are liberal license to go after the president over his policies under the guise of him being as brute on twitter. And so, just try to reverse it. I always play the black and white game. If this was a Democrat, would the same thing have evolved? I don't think so.
KURTZ: By the way, CNN's Michael Smerconish yesterday did something I thought was really egregious. He put out the tweet -- it's by Sally Field - - but actually spelled out the "C word" twice when everyone is saying this is so terrible, so terrible. And on a Sunday morning you're putting it out there and he had a guest using the "S word" as well, so I thought that was not classy.
And by the way, you notice with all these kinds of text, Ivanka Trump has not responded. She does not respond. She does not get out down the dirt despite the terrible name calling and scapegoating that goes on against here and I think that's worth pointing out.
All right, lead story in today's New York Times, big exclusive. Everybody is following. It has to do with a leaked 20-page letter from the Trump legal team to Bob Mueller essentially making the case that the president can't be guilty of obstruction of justice because he has the power to fire (inaudible), call (inaudible) and Mueller if he wants to and also perhaps therefore he doesn't need to testify. Katie, instant media take here is the president with this argument by his lawyers is trying to put himself above the law. Is that a reasonable at least argument for a journalist to make?
PAVLICH: If you're an attorney and a journalist I think that maybe you can make that argument. For those who are not, maybe you should just report on that memo and let the chips fall where they may. But if you look at the memo, this first reminds me of in May when we saw this leaking of the questions by someone, whether it was the White House legal team or someone else detailing the questions that Robert Mueller was supposedly going to ask the president.
This memo when you read through it makes it very clear that the Trump legal team is saying we have answered all of your questions. We have given you all the documents. Here are the details about the conversations that you want to know about and ask the president about. There is no need for you to sit down with him because we've already answered those questions.
And so, I have a hunch that this leaking came from the legal team again as a P.R. play to get ahead of the Mueller investigation to show everybody in a transparent way that they have done their part to answer the questions ahead of time since the president does not sit down with Robert Mueller as the legal team is saying he will not. They can justify the same, look, this is what we did ahead of it. There was no need to sit down with something about the --
KURTZ: This is very interesting, Susan, because the president was on twitter complaining about the leak.
FERRECHIO: Who leaked it?
KURTZ: You know, Mueller's office has been pretty leaked free. It probably was somebody on the Trump side, I'm speculating here to some degree. But also, isn't this part -- Rudy Giuliani was on two Sunday shows today making the same argument that was in this letter. Isn't it part of the aggressive strategy to try to win the P.R. battle in case the president decides not to testify or to go to court over it?
FERRECHI: And it's the most important battle for the president, because you win the P.R. battle, you get out in front of this whole impeachment threat because people in Congress will listen. They paid very close attention what the public thinks so, yes, absolutely. I think that's clearly what he's doing.
KURTZ: And even though the president does it's true. He has an executive authority to fire anybody, but if there is obstruction -- I'm not saying there is -- it has to turn on criminal intent, you know, for Mueller to make the argument that he needs an interview.
FERRECHIO: And finding intent is actually very difficult to find, but --
KURTZ: Right. So do you think these leaks are helping the president politically or is it all just the fog of war now.
CAFARO: I don't. I don't think that this leak, you know, is actually going to win the PR war because what it does is it plays in again to this narrative that President Trump thinks he's above the law. The New York Times at least online for this piece actually annotated all 20 pages with a very, sort of explicit (ph) footnotes and everything else showing what they -- trying to basically make the point that the president is showing that he's above the law. That is not helpful. That's also showing a bias when the New York Times (inaudible) help with the P.R. battle.
KURTZ: Well, also not the last word on this long-running test of wills between two sides. All right, ahead, more on some pundits actually defending Samantha Bee for slamming Ivanka Trump. Perhaps a double standard for some other liberals commentators will get into. But when we come back, more on the president versus the press and the Russia probe and his latest blast at Jeff Sessions.
KURTZ: President Trump and many members of the media now basically calling each other liars. The president tweeting this week that the fake mainstream media during the campaign ran then most highly sophisticated and dishonest disinformation campaign in the history of politics. And Katie, he also responds to that New York Times story saying that the president has privately pressed Jeff Sessions to reverse his recusal on the Russia probe by saying I now wish I never hired him. He said there is that (inaudible), and the media really pass on the president for tweeting that Bob Mueller is meddling in the midterms without offering any evidence. Fair criticism or not?
PAVLICH: Well I guess it depends what your definition of meddling is, but it is true that Robert Mueller's investigation will have an impact on the midterm elections in terms of what people see in the news, what they think about the administration Is there corruption involved? Is there obstruction of justice involved? So I think that is certainly fair.
When it comes to the president's tweet, it's about the mainstream media, it's interesting because the mainstream media, let's not forget, propped Donald Trump up during the primary. And as soon as he won the GOP nomination, went all out on him and hasn't stopped since. And so it's interesting to see that dynamic continue to play out between the president and --
KURTZ: Likely some dispute on the propping up, but on Mueller. So Rudy Giuliani goes out there and says, well you know, he really should wrap this up by September 1st. Mueller is not going to let Rudy dictate the deadline. And so, is that meddling just because he continues the investigation because he's not done? Is that meddling in politics?
CAFARO: No, I don't think so. I mean, you got to do your job and I think, you know, as Katie said, I mean, it's about what your definition of "meddling is." I think that part of the -- I would assume my analysis of President Trump's tweet is that he's trying to say if there is a poor outcome for the 2018 election for the Republicans, then this is a factor and therefore it's not necessarily him, it's not necessarily, you know, the GOP, it's Mueller's meddling.
KURTZ: It's a little advance explanation. All right, so let me put another tweet out for you Susan on the screen, the corrupt mainstream media working overtime not to mention the infiltration of people. Spies, (informants) into my campaign. Surveillance much?
So, the problem with this is that the FBI informant story was broken by the New York Times and then end the story, the segments about it, but not necessarily casting it as spying which is the president's preferred term.
FERRECHIO: It's such a hot debate right now, was it a spy or, you know, that way I see it, it is a paid informant working for the FBI who was spying on the Trump campaign. You can word it whatever way you want. I don't think that's (inaudible). I think the president is doing what he often does which is labeling something. He puts a name on it and he sticks with it and he identifies it as something positive or negative --
KURTZ: Negative. Positive --
FERRECHIO: -- depending on exactly how he wants to cast (ph) it. He puts it out there and that helps with his narrative.
KURTZ: All right, here's one for you Katie. Everybody gets a tweet on this panel. President is saying, by the way, I never fired James Comey because of Russia! The corrupt mainstream media loves to keep pushing that narrative, but they know it is not true.
And of course the media response is hey, you sat down with NBC Lester Holt days after the firing and you said you fired him regardless of recommendation from Rod Rosenstein. The quote was, I said to myself this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, and that's sort of part of the press critique of this president, that he contradicts himself.
PAVLICH: Yes, I mean, his words are on tape in that interview so it's clear when he, you know, admits in this interview that that was part of the factor. Now, also in that interview he talks about the frustration that James Comey would publicly say that the FBI was not going after him directly in terms of the Russia investigation and therefore that was part of the Russia decision that was made in terms of James Comey.
But the thing that they have to focus on is he has the right as the president of the United States of America to fire whoever he wants at any time, and that leaked memo that we just discussed actually details that argument in full.
KURTZ: Capri, brief response on the news.
CAFARO: It gives me a headache to be honest. It gives me a headache, I'm sick of it and I think America is sick of it too.
KURTZ: So would just like shutting the twitter, forget about it.
CAFARO: Pretty much.
KURTZ: Before we go, during the break you mentioned that you and Roseanne have gotten into it online on twitter. What happened?
PAVLICH: I think a few years ago when Roseanne Barr was heavily involved in the occupy Wall Street movement, she blocked me on twitter. This week, I was tweeting that here show, she unblocked me, retweeted me, responded to me twice, and then re-blocked me so.
KURTZ: Roseanne Barr paid a lot attention to Fox News' Katie Pavlich --
PAVLICH: You know, fun fact. She unblocked me. We can't have a conversation.
KURTZ: All right, great to see you all guys. Capri Cafaro, Susan Ferrechio, and Katie Pavlich, good to see you again.
Ahead, MSNBC's Joy Reid apologizes again for old posts that aren't just homophobic but cast her as a 9/11 truther. If the network says she's grown (inaudible) so it's OK. But up next, a rare praise for Fox News just because the news division covers Donald Trump fairly.
KURTZ: We don't hear a whole lot of praise for Fox News from most of the mainstream media. They prefer to poke at the caricature of Fox reducing it to a handful of opinion shows that are largely sympathetic to President Trump. But Fox says a thriving news division that tries to report fairly on the president say on his battle with Bob Mueller. And then is generating some chatter.
Here is a Washington Post story, on Fox News of all places, Trump's spy claim is debunked by Trey Gowdy and even Judge Napolitano. Got that? Fox News of all places. Andrew Napolitano challenged the president's contention (ph) that the Obama administration deliberately spied on his campaign after GOP congressman Trey Gowdy told Martha MacCallum the FBI acted properly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS: The allegations by Mayor Giuliani over the weekend, which would lead us to believe that the Trump people think that the FBI had an undercover agent who inveigled his way into the campaign and was there as a spy on the campaign seem to be baseless. There's no evidence for that whatsoever.
TREVOR NOAH, COMEDY CENTRAL: Damn, even people on Fox News are calling Trump out for this one.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Well that's the judge's view and there's no shortage of Fox commentators supporting the president's "spygate" charge. Shepard Smith sometimes tries to debunk the president's claims and that's what drew plaudits on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Here is a clip of Shep Smith, superstar. Soon to be a musical.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC HOST: Love him.
SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS: President Trump accusing his special counsel and his team of a whole new set of conspiracy theories. Unfounded, not based in fact or reason, with no evidence to support them.
SCARBOROUGH: Fox News, I mean, Judge Napolitano, Fox News' news-gathering force. Again --
SCARBOROUGH: -- doing what Republicans always did, and that is stand up and defend the rule of law. Stand up and defend the FBI.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: There is no surprise that Joe and Mika who become fierce Trump critics would single out Fox segments that support their viewers. But on Fox, there are also these very different views.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE HEGSETH, FOX NEWS: It was Comey leaks because he wanted a special counsel based on a phony dossier. They actually spied on him, then he hires a bunch of Democrats.
HANNITY: Robert Mueller's out of control Russia probe has now lost any sense of legitimacy.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
KURTZ: Obviously the president watches plenty of Fox and does most of his interviews with Fox, but if you look at the whole picture, it really undermines the narrative that Fox News is some kind of monolith.
Ahead on "Media Buzz," the president has Kim Kardashian to the White House and a CNN reporter does not like that. But first, Samantha Bee apologizes for cursing at Ivanka Trump. Well, other liberal entertainers who said the extreme things get the Roseanne treatment.
KURTZ: Uproars over Roseanne's racist tweet, the media have been far more restrained over another outrage. Samantha Bee, the Host of Full Frontal on CBS went off on the President's daughter, as you know, for the sin of posting a picture with her child with the worst word in the English language that you can use against a woman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEE: You know, Ivanka, that's a beautiful photo of you and your child. But let me just say one mother to another, do something about your dad's immigration practices, you feckless (EXPLETIVE). He listens to you. Put on something tight and low cut and tell your father to (EXPLETIVE) stop it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: After the White House denounced her, Bee said this on Twitter: "I would like to apologize to Ivanka Trump and to my viewers for using an expletive on my show to describe her last night. It was inappropriate and inexcusable. I crossed the line and I deeply regret it."
Joining us now, Emily Jashinsky, commentary writer for the Washington Examiner, and Richard Fowler, radio talk show host and Fox News contributor.
Emily, until the White House denouncing these languages, vicious and vile, I read all the media reports on this. They were like, wow, did you see what Sam said? Not reaching the Roseanne level of outrage until maybe later.
EMILY JASHINSKY, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Some of the media reports were almost -- like in some of the liberal outlets were almost applauding her like oh, this was kind of funny. And so that was really interesting. And I actually don't think -- I am glad you played the second part of that clip, because most people stop it after she used that word. And it goes on to get -- I mean I think also very inappropriate.
And so what's interesting about all of this is I don't think Samantha Bee would have ever had to apologize. I don't think we would still be talking about this, and certainly don't think she would have had the will to apologize if it hadn't happened in such proximity to the Roseanne Barr incident.
KURTZ: Actually makes its all the more, I guess stupid would be the right word, to do that and do it in a pre-taped segment. By the way, they were initially proud of it -- the executive producer Miles Kahn wrote, so feckless C word, seems to be trending. Now some others have (Inaudible) CNN's Brooke Baldwin and others, but do you think she would still be employed if she had used that awful word against I don't know Michelle Obama?
RICHARD FOWLER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean I think this is the -- word is vile, right? Let's start there. And I think what makes it even more interesting is I think you're right, Howard. And that the only reason why we are having this conversation about Samantha Bee is because it happened so close to Roseanne, which has allowed conservatives to point to this double standard.
But I don't think you can conflate the two cases. And the Roseanne case in particular, and if you talk to folks at ABC, they will tell you that Roseanne, not only does she have a history of bad behavior. But since getting the show, she has been warned about her behavior over and over and over again. This was kind of a third strike for Roseanne, which allowed them to say you're out the door.
And Samantha Bee's situation is her language vile, absolutely. But the case is different here because we don't know what is happening between her and the TBS executives. But is it vile? Is it wrong? Is there a double standard that the conservatives can point to? I think there might be here.
KURTZ: I agree that they are different. I also think (Inaudible) Samantha Bee off the hook, and especially you point at the second part, where she says put on something tight and low cut, and tell your father to change his immigration policy. That is the same (Inaudible) that Bill Maher did a few -- a while back about joking about an incestuous relationship, and somehow it's OK to do that to the President's daughter.
JASHINSKY: Actually none of this was a dramatic departure from the way a lot of liberals in the media talk about the relationship between Ivanka and Donald Trump. And so I do think these are not apples to apples. And I think what Roseanne said absolutely was worse. But in the same way they are different because what Samantha Bee said went through layers of bureaucracy. It was written to down. It was pretty much premeditated, which makes it very different in another way as well.
KURTZ: All right. Let me move on to the case of Joy Reid, MSNBC weekend host. And she had already apologized for some decade old posts on her blog that were very, very homophobic, really offensively homophobic. And now she's apologized again among other things. She seems to have been years ago a 9/11 truther. She was promoting an Alex Jones filming, charging the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the U.S. government, Richard.
FOWLER: I think the blog post is pretty insane. Here's my thought on this particular case. I do believe everybody has a past and everybody's past is murky, depending on how you spin it but how you look at it. I do believe that Joy should have a chance to explain herself. But I do think that the rope here is running a little short and she is running out of rope. And so I think she's got to explain herself pretty quickly to the...
KURTZ: And on that point, she did again apologize online, but said nothing on her show yesterday about this. She certainly had that platform. And you know let's put up a pictures she had posted. It was a photo shop thing involving John McCain, sort of grafted on to the Virginia tech shooter. And so MSNBC says in a statement, well, you know some of this is hateful, but she has grown and evolved. No real accountability. It's a long time ago, but there is so much of it, Emily.
JASHINSKY: Yes, yes. And at first, I was going to give her the benefit of the doubt, and say you have evolved. We should absolutely have room for that. It's been more than 10 years in some of these cases. But it's turned out to be so much. And the worst part, and what I cannot wrap my head around, is the fact that she pretty much clearly fabricated a cover-up story about hackers. And she's supposed to be a journalist.
And MSNBC is running ads, touting her as one of their stars, one of their star journalists, and still hasn't gotten around that.
KURTZ: You would probably say that if somebody had said half of this stuff worked for conservative news organizations, there would be a far bigger uproar than there's been about Joy Reid.
FOWLER: Well, let me pick this up from a broader context. I think we're currently living in a society where it's become so tit for tat, that it's like everybody deserves -- it's like almost like Oprah when instead of handing out cards or handing out red slips, like you get fired. You get fired. Everybody gets fired.
FOWLER: And I think we've got -- at some point in our country and in our culture, we have to come to that point of reckoning that says what's fireable and what's not fireable. Because now it's become on the left and on the right, you are fired. You want somebody fired.
FOWLER: We are not really sure why.
KURTZ: (Inaudible) but when President Trump says Disney has a double standard because it fired Roseanne on its ABC - ESPN, which is owned by Disney took no action against Jamel Hill, a sports caster, which he called Donald Trump a white supremacist. And then Keith Olbermann has just been given an expanded role on the ESPN -- here is just some of what he has said about the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is indeed f-ing crazy, as mindless and as evil the baboon's policy is. It can and will be rolled back sooner or later, congenital disease, drug use, and even (Inaudible) post concussion traumas, Alzheimer's, senility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: Now Olbermann didn't say this on ESPN, but that's OK with Bob Iger and Olbermann gets a bigger role on the sports network?
JASHINSKY: And I mean I agree with this larger point about partisan blood thirst and the tit for tat. I definitely agree with that. But if what Joy Reid has done is not -- when we are trying to find the line as to what's fireable, if that's not fireable, what is, I mean.
KURTZ: Olbermann you know who used to be a (Inaudible) MSNBC and he's called Trump a Nazi and a traitor, and doesn't seem to hurt his career.
FOWLER: Well, I mean listen, I think he's a (Inaudible) problematic. I think that language is problematic. But I really feel as though, and going back to my previous point, is we as a country have to figure out, one, we've got to bring civility back. I think it's somewhere in the middle Atlantic ocean right now.
KURTZ: But you can't impose a standard because every media organization to search its conscience.
KURTZ: When a star does this.
JASHINSKY: And how are we supposed to get back to civility when Samantha Bee is getting awards for advancing social causes. I mean she gotten awards the other night and she accepted it, and for advancing.
KURTZ: I think she is sorry for the word but I don't think she's sorry for the sentiment. I think that's troubling, great discussion, Richard Fowler, Emily Jashinsky. There is a lot more reporting on pundits and comedians slamming Ivanka by the way. My book, Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War over the Truth. I'll really go into it. Coming up, we'll look at the coverage as the North Korea summit is back on.
Plus, the President pardons conservative pundit, Dinesh D'Souza, launching massive media speculation about whether his former advisors caught up in the Russia probe could be next.
KURTZ: Well, journalists can pack their bags again for Singapore. The President Trump announced Friday the North Korea summit he had canceled is back on. Joining us now, National Review's Jonah Goldberg, a Fox News contributor and the author of the new book "Suicide of the West."
Jonah, I think the coverage of the summit of being back on has been very straightforward, whereas the cancellation was depicted as Trump throwing a tantrum, Trump being impulsive. Is that because most journalists are actually in favor of this meeting?
JONAH GOLDBERG, NATIONAL REVIEW: Probably. I think most journalists to the extent, we can generalize the mainstream media is liberal, which is probably not a dangerous thing to generalize about. There is a general view that they're terrified of someone like John Bolton. They are terrified Donald Trump will be too eager to go to war, which I don't think is actually justified by his record on these issues.
And so the idea of trying diplomacy fits within their ideological wheel house. And it's better than all the other alternatives. And so I think there is a general desire to see it -- I also think Donald Trump has been you know in his typical way kind of brilliant in staging this as this unfolding reality show drama.
KURTZ: And so the letter is delivered to the White House.
GOLDBERG: And the press loves it.
GOLDBERG: And they eat it up.
KURTZ: And the press wants to go to Singapore and cover this thing.
GOLDBERG: Exactly, yeah.
KURTZ: But in the second day pieces there is going to be a lot of skepticism. The Washington Post headline for example, critics worry Trump is already handing propaganda victories to North Korea. In other words, after this early speculation that it was Trump that wanted this summit too much. Now it's like well, just by going he is elevating Kim Jong-Un on the world stage.
GOLDBERG: Yeah. Well, to be honest I think a lot of that is fair. I'm just not sure I care that much.
KURTZ: Who cares as long as they can have serious negotiations?
GOLDBERG: Yeah. I mean (Inaudible) I personally think I'm on record. I think it is -- I will take all betters. There is no way that North Korea actually denuclearizes in the way the Trump administration defines denuclearization. North Korea (Inaudible) their own interesting definition of that. But given how we have gone through normal diplomatic channels and procedures and niceties and protocols for the last 30 years, and we've been taken to the cleaners, if we can go a different route and shake them up and catch them off guard and get some real concessions, that's fine. I'm just very skeptical of all that.
KURTZ: And the President, reporters said has been lowering expectations. This is probably the first of a number of meetings. All right, so the pardon issue. President this week pardoning Dinesh D'Souza, conservative commentator, provocateur, who had pleaded guilty to using straw donors to make illegal campaign donations for his (Inaudible). He served some time in a community facility.
The court rejected his argument that he had been singled out for political prosecution by the Obama administration, (Inaudible) your take -- the typical reaction from MSNBC's Chris Matthews.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is sending a message loud and clear to other pals like Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Michael Cohen. He's staying strong, and there is a pardon. He stays strong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: So it's not D'Souza. It's about signaling to other people in the Russia investigation.
GOLDBERG: Yeah. I have -- look, I've known Dinesh for a couple of decades. I think, as you called his provocateur role, is not one that I endorse. I don't like the course Dinesh has taken. I also do think he was singled out unjustly for prosecution. And I also think that the way you know -- but he never applied for a pardon. There was no petition.
KURTZ: Which is normal Justice Department procedure, as people should know.
GOLDBERG: Donald Trump saw something on TV and said I am going pardon that guy. I don't think -- and so I do think at least lends itself the appearance that he has got motives other than correcting an unjust act.
KURTZ: The President publicly said I might pardon Martha Stewart. She's already served her time. She went to jail for insider trading. I might pardon Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois Governor. It's just amazing. I mean he's still in prison for lots of corruption charges, including selling Barack Obama's senate seat. So that does tend to make you wonder what the process is here and is there a wider audience for pardon.
GOLDBERG: Yeah, no. I think these are larger political moves. There are a lot more people more deserving of pardons than all of these people.
KURTZ: More deserving than Martha Stewart.
GOLDBERG: Martha Stewart, I think you could make a pretty good case on the merits. I don't think he could've (Inaudible). Scooter Libby I thought deserved a pardon. But you can do the right thing for the wrong reasons in a lot of cases. And I think that's one of the things that the coverage gets skewed by is because I do think there is a political agenda to all of this. The Joe Arpaio pardon I think was utterly indefensible.
Joe Arpaio is a bad guy who did bad things.
KURTZ: Former Arizona Sheriff.
GOLDBERG: Yeah. But you can also do the right things for the wrong reasons or you can allow yourself to do the right thing for reasons that you just think are politically to your benefit.
KURTZ: Yeah. By the way, Suicide of the West is very provocative book. And I congratulate on it and to all its success.
GOLDBERG: Thank you very much.
KURTZ: All right. After the break, the tabloids have a field day as Kim Kardashian visits the White House, but a CNN correspondent disses the meeting. Plus, haven't we had enough speculation about missing Melania? Come on.
KURTZ: The New York tabloids had a field day as Kim Kardashian showed up at the White House to talk about prison reform and seek clemency for her great grandmother, a first time drug offender serving a long sentence. Here's the New York Post. The other big ass summit featuring Kim Fong-Un, Trump meets rump. And there's the Daily News competing, the only Kim he could get. That's before the other North Korea thing. I'm sure you get that. And you don't need any proof, CNN's White House Correspondent Jim Acosta.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forget about the fact that Kim Kardashian is here at the White House today. And what planet that is, anything resembling normal because it's not. She shouldn't be here talking about prison reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KURTZ: OK. So the New York Post cover was sexist. And by the way, (Inaudible) good job of bringing you back. Jim Acosta is morally offended by this because she is a celebrity. Did he forget that during Obama's term, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Zach Galifianakis, a lot of celebs getting through the White House?
JASHINSKY: Yeah. It's totally (Inaudible) for someone who is going to on this rant about normalcy. I mean this was pretty normal, but with abnormal is to have the CNN chief White House correspondent going after President's decision in a way that's critical rather that just reporting the facts of what's happening.
KURTZ: I love (Inaudible) she should not be here, like they didn't check with me on this, Richard. Of course, the media go nuts over Kim Kardashian. But she's using her celebrity to push an issue, which a lot of celebs do.
FOWLER: Here's the thing. It's a responsible thing for celebrity to do. And I give her credit for using her power to help free her grandmother, who is in jail for a very (Inaudible) crime. And so I applaud her.
KURTZ: (Inaudible) she's been in jail for years and years and years.
FOWLER: And so I applaud her for it, and I think you know hopefully President Trump, if he's in the pardoning mood will pardon this grandmother.
KURTZ: All right. So we have a consensus here. This title is very pro Kardashian.
KURTZ: At least for today. Now this other story actually I think is more serious. So Melania Trump, as everyone knows, has been recovering from surgery. She has not been seen in public for about three weeks. Endless stories about the -- Politico headline, White House silence on Melania stokes conspiracy theories. Among those theories, Emily, she's secretly moved to New York. She's cooperating with Bob Mueller. Why even mention conspiracy theories?
JASHINSKY: I don't know. And I think this is sort of a legitimate back and forth in some ways, because there were serious unanswered questions. You know the stay in the hospital compared to what would be normal for the procedure, legitimate question.
KURTZ: (Inaudible) about the first lady's condition.
JASHINSKY: I think it's fair for reporters to wonder. I don't think it's fair for the speculation to get as crazy as it's gotten.
KURTZ: Right. And we've reached the point, Richard, where the first lady had to tweet. Media working overtime speculating about where I am and what I am doing, says she is feeling great. But it's almost like the press is insulted that she is not doing anything in front of the cameras.
FOWLER: And here's the reason why. I think the reason why the press might be insulted is the fact that Melania -- she is one of the most of popular figures in this White House. And she's (Inaudible) popular with both Democrats and Republicans, and when she is a missing fixture, people are like where is Melania, but to some extent...
KURTZ: She doesn't love the spotlight.
FOWLER: No, she doesn't.
FOWLER: Absolutely her choice. And I think as we all know, there are two different times of first ladies. There are first lady's that are very active in their President's presidencies. And there are other first lady's who is like my job is to be the first lady, my job is also to be a wife, and very much in the background. And that's the role that Melania chooses to have. It's seems as though the media just wants some more Melania.
KURTZ: That is true. So how nuts will everyone go when she does a public event?
JASHINSKY: Yeah. It's going to be...
JASHINSKY: But you know I think it's also just that she -- her press team has been a little interesting the way they handled this. They sort have thrown back you know Donald Trump level things.
KURTZ: All right. This time, we are going to give you the rest of the day off. Richard Fowler, Emily Jashinsky, still to come. Devastating new information about the Puerto Rican hurricane, and it barely makes the media radar, and how the President correctly called out a New York Times blunder.
KURTZ: There is a stunning front page Washington Post story. Forget the official (Inaudible) with that 64 people died in that devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico. A Harvard study says there were more than 4,600 deaths. And even that news got only a tiny fraction of the Roseanne coverage. Some pundits try to say well, President Trump didn't pay enough attention to Hurricane Maria, but you know what, neither did the media. Even at the time, they spent says covering Trump's assault on the NFL and not the storm. And the suffering of all those Americans on the island remains on the media's back burner.
Finally, when President Trump called out the New York Times for saying only 1,000 people turned out this week in his national rally, it turns out he was right. Times reported (Inaudible) wrote the story, tweeting my estimate was way off. We've corrected our story to reflect the fire marshal's estimate of 5,500 people. When we get it wrong, we say so. And that is the best way to handle media mistakes.
(Inaudible) crowd sizes again, wow. That's it for this edition of Media Buzz. I'm Howard Kurtz. This was a show we really had intersection of pop culture and politics, which have really exploded. It's become so polarizing and so ugly in many ways, and I am glad we had a chance to talk about this. And I would certainly like to see something done about the ugliness. Let's continue the conversation on Twitter @howardkurtz.
We also hope you'll check out our Facebook page. Give us a like. We post my daily columns there, original videos, and other stuff to keep you coming back. Also DVR the show if you have something else to do on Sunday morning, nevertheless, we'll be back here next Sunday, 11:00 Eastern. Hope to see you then with the latest Buzz.
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