Rudy Giuliani's media war on Robert Mueller

This is a rush transcript from "Media Buzz," August 12, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: On the Buzz Meter this Sunday, the media take on the president's lawyer as he pushes back against a possible Trump sit down with the special counsel. And Rudy Giuliani will be here live.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Hey, Bob, you know it. Why do you want to get him under oath? You think we're fools? You want to get him under oath and you want to trap him into perjury? We're not going to let you do that.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC: The president's lawyer public negotiating position is the president is so guilty of something that he will lie about it and commit perjury if he is interviewed by the Mueller team. That is their public position.

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS: I don't envy Rudy Giuliani. He's a very strong. He's got a client who is a very strong person. Rudy is very experienced at these things.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: We will ask Rudy Giuliani about the negotiations the way the media are covering the Robert Mueller investigation along with his role in it, and why he's fighting these battles on the air in the court of public opinion.

Sean Spicer, the former Trump spokesman, takes on Omarosa, the fired White House aide, for her book trashing the president. Should the media be trumpeting her disputed allegations?

A high-tech war over free speech as four online giants, Apple, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify, ban Alex Jones but Twitter refuses to follow suit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: It is easy to dismiss concerns about big techs actions all coordinated it seems to shout down Jones, because of course, he is the media's poster child for conspiracy theories. But this isn't about Alex Jones. This is about freedom.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: Alex Jones and Rosie O'Donnell and all of these other people believe that Building Seven had imploded and that -- that -- that the United States government had killed Americans on 9/11. Why anybody would listen to them at all and Alex Jones -- my, god!

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

KURTZ: Is big tech cracking down on lies and conspiracy theories or censoring conservatives? I am Howard Kurtz and this is "Media Buzz."

From the day he joined President Trump's legal team, the former mayor of New York has been a constant T.V. presence in the battle against Robert Mueller, driving the news cycle and taking plenty of media flack in the process. And joining me now from New York is Rudy Giuliani. Welcome.

(LAUGHTER)

GIULIANI: How are you?

KURTZ: Doing well! We will drill down on these issues in just a second. First, since you have been on the case, how would you describe the overall media coverage of the Mueller investigation?

GIULIANI: Hysterical. At times, taking things that are totally unimportant or relatively unimportant, driving it into all kinds of exaggerations. I think it is a hard -- bit of a hard case for them to handle because many of these things are very kind of lawyer-like (ph) arguments.

They never understand when you're arguing an alternative or you say -- you know, even though it did not occur, it would be perfectly legal. And it didn't. And lawyers argue that all the time. They get confused. And then there's always, you know, there is the prevailing bias against him.

I mean, they did not want him elected. They are trying to delegitimatize him. Many of them remind me of Peter Strzok and the FBI. Probably texting the same things about how --

KURTZ: Many of the journalists who cover the president to FBI agent Peter Strzok is interesting.

GIULIANI: No, having the same sentiments that he had. Listen, I heard them say it. He would be a menace, he would be terrible. Terrible for the country --

KURTZ: Some pundits -- absolutely. All right, let's get down to it. The media is wrap on you, Mr. Mayor, is that you keep moving the goal post. That you say, oh, Donald Trump is dying to testify. But then you keep offering such narrow terms like some written questions, no questions on obstruction, that you make it impossible for Robert Mueller to accept, and then you run out the clock. GIULIANI: It's not possible to intercept. I mean, the reality is that we've made a good faith offer to him. He did not reject it immediately which is a good sign. We get it back last week. I think that he would say that we have negotiated with him in good faith. He hasn't -- we haven't given him all that he wants. We haven't given him all that he would like of us.

KURTZ: Yeah.

GIULIANI: But there is a way that the president would take and answer questions. But we are just not going to subject them to what we call perjury traps. In fact, I kind of think of it as malpractice if we did. KURTZ: Well, I covered you when you worked for the Reagan Justice Department here in Washington. I covered you when you were the U.S. attorney in Manhattan. I also covered your first marriage which didn't work out so well.

(LAUGHTER)

KURTZ: If a defense lawyer had said to you, I understand it's different when you're representing a sitting president, but if a defense lawyer said to you, well, we need to limit your questioning of our client. You would laugh the person out of the room.

GIULIANI: No, I wouldn't. I did not get to question most of the people that I prosecuted or that I decided not to prosecute. It's highly unusual that a person who was, whatever you want to call it, subject of an investigation, we know he's not the target.

KURTZ: Right.

GIULIANI: It is very unusual they have to testify. Most of my prosecutorial decisions were made without the benefit of what the defendant or possible defendant would say. And they can make this decision without that. They have the benefit of knowing what he's going to say, because he has given a full explanation.

No collusion with the Russians. He did not have that conversation with Flynn. And he had a very in-depth interview with Lester Holt in which he explained his reasons for firing Mueller -- I'm sorry, firing Comey.

KURTZ: Right, OK --

GIULIANI: He hasn't fired Mueller. I don't want to make news.

(LAUGHTER)

KURTZ: He almost did! Let me ask you. I want to play something for you because you have been talking about a perjury trap that Mueller would allegedly said. You said this with Sean Hannity the other night. Here is some comments by New York Times' reporter, Nick Confessore. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK CONFESSORE, THE NEW YORK TIMES: What he said in that interview is that the president's story, if told to Mueller, would put him into perjury. So what he is saying is the president's story is wrong. It is a lie. He just admitted on national T.V.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: So that is what the pundits are saying, that the president tells -- GIULIANI: No, Howie, let's examine that. I don't know if he is deliberately being like that or a complete moron. But the reality is, you can be accused of perjury when you are telling the absolute truth.

Let me give you an example for that idiot which I attribute really to the malice of The New York Times. The president will testify if asked, that the conversation about Flynn did not take place. KURTZ: Is this where Comey -- Jim Comey claims that he was --

GIULIANI: Correct.

KURTZ: -- asked, could you give Flynn a break in your investigation?

GIULIANI: We even told the president that if he said that, it's OK! I mean, it is perfectly justified. KURTZ: The president maintains he did not say that.

GIULIANI: Did not have the conversation. He said I'm not going to tell a lie. So, if he were to testify to that, even though Comey has a prior statement under oath, similar to the president, that there was no obstruction, no statement of obstruction, they could charge him with perjury. It is in their discretion to do that. KURTZ: But you're saying that the president has said these things publicly. But if he says them under oath, they could charge him with perjury. Therefore, you don't want him to testify. I mean, that sounds like to a lot of people like --

GIULIANI: I know it does because they are being deliberately -- they are being deliberately malicious about it. I mean, the reality is, I did not come to your house last night. You are lying. And you said -- you're saying I did come to your house. They put me under oath and I said, I didn't go to Howie's house last night.

But they want to believe Howie, even though Howie lied about it twice. I have no control over that. That is what they did to Martha Stewart. And since that case, all of us lawyers have been very careful. Even Judge Ellis way back in the Manafort case said basically, you guys are trying to set perjury traps. KURTZ: Just for the record, you know, Mueller was duly appointed special counsel by deputy attorney general and also a lot of other pundits have been making the point that Nick Confessore of The New York Times made. Let me ask you this because you been talking about --

GIULIANI: All the other pundits are completely wrong.

KURTZ: OK, that's why you're here, to give us your side.

GIULIANI: The reality is and any lawyer will tell you this. Truth is in the eye of the beholder. And my client can be telling the truth, their witness can be a total scoundrel and if they decide to go with their witness, my client is going to get indicted or charge of perjury in some way.

KURTZ: OK.

GIULIANI: I don't know if they just don't want to understand or they want to say the president is lying. I will tell you, he's not lying. All the evidence is against Comey on this. KURTZ: The notion that you have been pushing that Mueller needs to wrap up beginning of September -- earlier you said July 4th. Again, if you are in the southern district of New York and the defense lawyer had said to you, you know, you really need to wrap this thing up. I mean, you would have said nice try, buddy! GIULIANI: Not if I was going to run into an election and violate the Justice Department's basic guideline like Comey did for which he was excoriated by --

KURTZ: For which he was properly excoriated but there is no even, informal guideline that says you cannot continue an investigation during an election. He is supposed not to do anything publicly like bring charges or make an announcement. GIULIANI: You're right. I mean, if you can't help it, fine. But if in good faith you can get it over with before and he could, you should get it over with. You shouldn't deliberately run it into the election. Frankly, I am not sure that Mueller would not agree with that, if you were asked.

And I still think that he is going to try to wrap this up sometime in early September. And his people made it clear, they didn't want to make to make the same mistakes that Comey made.

KURTZ: Right. We shall see how the timetable works out. Now, you get personally hammered a lot in your very public role here particularly on MSNBC, so for example, just to give you chance to respond. Nicolle Wallace, former Bush White House official, said, oh, my god, Rudy needs to check his carbon monoxide monitors.

And Joe Scarborough, onetime Republican congressman, said, while criticizing some of your comments, his eyes are bulging while he's talking and he looks disoriented. Do you feel disoriented, Mr. Mayor?

GIULIANI: Absolutely. I'm completely disoriented. I'm sure it sounds that way. Doesn't this give you an indication, Howie, of what you cover, of how completely disoriented the press is, and how out of control they are, not only criticizing the president but everybody around him?

I don't know. You can disagree with me. I'm hardly disoriented. I know where I am, I know who I am. And I don't even think it is worth commenting except for the fact that aren't they way out of control as journalists, accusing of some kind of mental illness?

KURTZ: Well, that is in the political coverage of Donald Trump as opposed to the coverage of the investigation. Look, a lot of coverage of the President Trump is negative but Mueller is running an investigation where there have been indictments and guilty pleas. Let me -- go ahead.

GIULIANI: It is one thing to do that and another thing to say that a person is disoriented, who is not. It's another thing to say that the -- they said that about the president, right? All the time. Scarborough said that. Scarborough has got some deep animus to the president. I do not know if MSNBC does.

KURTZ: Let me ask you about the broader media indictment again for you to have a chance to respond. So initially the president said he didn't know anything about any Stormy Daniels payment. Later, you disclosed that he had in fact reimbursed $130,000 payment.

After the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian lawyer, the White House said the president did not personally dictate the first statement when the story came out. Now your team says he did. Jay Sekulow went on television and said he had been given the wrong information. Journalists say it's like pulling teeth to get these admissions. Your response?

GIULIANI: When you consider the 1.4 million documents, that thousands of pieces of information, to have two or three that originally and initially were wrong is hardly anything but trying to get the facts straight as possible. These are not unusual things in an investigation.

Usually you would get the chance to correct these things and to go on the record. And we haven't been on the record yet. And we're willing to stipulate for the special counsel on what the president would say. We've got it down to I think now, something really comfortable.

KURTZ: All right. I got a few more questions. We will get a break. So, let me ask you to stand by.

GIULIANI: Sure.

KURTZ: More of Rudy Giuliani in just a moment. Later, Apple, Facebook and big tech companies banning Alex Jones. Are they booting him for political reasons or for his wild conspiracy theories?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: We're back with Rudy Giuliani, the president's lawyer from New York. You said that you thought Michael Cohen was honest and you found out he taped Donald Trump and now you say he is discredited as a witness. But you put cooperating witnesses on the stand.

For example, the famous mafia commission trial. Your office called Angelo Lonardo, underboss of the Cleveland crime family, the highest ranking mafia person ever to testify. So, I'm not comparing the two, but it is not unusual in trials for somebody who has pleaded guilty to a crime to use as a witness. GIULIANI: It is not unusual and it is not unusual to try and appease him. And it becomes a question of, how bad is it and how clear is the impeachment? The reality is that on tape, Michael Cohen has said all of the things that you would need to completely come to the conclusion that the president did nothing wrong.

So anything he says now is going to have to contradict that. And of course we are going to utilize that because we believe he will be doing it in order to basically sing for his supper. I would not -- would Michael Cohen lie? A man who as a lawyer taped his own client, a man who taped a number of reporters including Chris Cuomo --

KURTZ: Right.

GIULIANI: -- under circumstances that are really, really -- he took his phone, made a big play of putting it in a drawer, locking it, telling Cuomo he wasn't being taped and then taping him for two hours, and getting to say personal things.

KURTZ: Right.

GIULIANI: And so --

KURTZ: And speaking of --

GIULIANI: If he were to testify, we would point out, can you believe that this man would not lie in order to stay out of jail?

KURTZ: And speaking of taping, Mr. Mayor, on "Meet the Press" this morning, Omarosa, who was fired from the White House eight months ago, played a tape or NBC played the tape of John Kelly firing her in the situation room eight months ago. She claims he threatened her. There are leaked stories that she also taped Donald Trump. What you make of that?

GIULIANI: I don't know. I mean, that is not my -- I'm not representing the president in that.

KURTZ: I know you are not handling that case.

GIULIANI: I kind of think between John Kelly and Omarosa, I know them both well, I would go with the general, go with the marine corps general.

KURTZ: All right.

GIULIANI: So, I don't want to get into that but --

KURTZ: All right. Let me ask you this. You are on T.V. and you are talking to reporters all the time in your capacity as the presidents personal lawyer now. Mueller of course says nothing. He doesn't go in T.V., doesn't give interviews. Why have you decided to literally try this case in the court of public opinion? Is it a deliberate strategy?

GIULIANI: It is absolutely deliberate. I mean, the reality is it is not a court case. The president cannot be indicted, they acknowledge that. That is not even an issue. So, where does this get resolved? Ultimately, it gets resolved by I guess Congress at some point decided they want to do something with it or not.

Public opinion will be as you know, very important. When I came into the case, public opinion was against us. And we got lucky because a lot of bad things have happened to them since then.

The Horowitz report, Peter Strzok, maybe some of the things coming out of the trial I don't want to mention right now which we can talk about later. And now all of this stuff with the phony dossier that Hillary paid for.

But we will utilize that try to show people what the the president has been saying for some time, this is illegitimate, it's a witch hunt.

I think people are starting to believe it now. There was a poll last week that showed there was a 22 percent swing. Think of it this way, they are our jury, they are our grand jury.

KURTZ: Well, I think the polling numbers are going down. Obviously the campaign that you and your colleagues have has something to do with it. Rudy Giuliani, I really appreciate your coming on this Sunday. I hope you will come back.

GIULIANI: Yeah, thank you very much for the opportunity, Howie.

KURTZ: Thank you. Good to see you.

(LAUGHTER)

KURTZ: Up next, our panel weighs in on an that interview and the coverage of the Mueller probe. And later, Omarosa as I meantioned getting even after White House fired her with a tell-all book. But is it credible? Sean Spicer will be here.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Joining us now to analyze the coverage of the Mueller probe and interview I just did with Rudy Giuliani: Guy Benson, political editor at Townhall.com, a Fox News contributor, and co-host of "Benson and Harf" on Fox News Radio; Susan Ferrechio, chief congressional correspondent for The Washington Examiner; and Capri Cafaro, former Democratic senator of Ohio who teaches at American University.

Susan, the fact that Rudy Giuliani is constantly on the air -- we appreciate him coming on today -- and Mueller runs a pretty closed shop give the White House a big advantage in terms of media coverage.

SUSAN FERRECHIO, THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, he's on the air all the time. He's always defending the president. He's willing to get out there and go on various networks to talk about his case.

I think he does a very fairly good job. I know people say he is all over the map and today we talked to him about whether he was, you know, disoriented or incoherent. KURTZ: It wasn't my phrase.

FERRECHIO: Right, but, you know, he is accused of that. You know, he is pretty articulate in defending the president. He does point out the very point of fact that there is some inherent media bias that is influencing a lot of the coverage. And he's getting the argument out there. I think that he's making a very important argument on behalf of the president.

KURTZ: Guy, what did you think of some of the terms that he used to describe journalists outside of The New York Times report. He said he is a moron. He talked about comparing journalists to Peter Strzok, which of course I took note of. And overall, the the points that he was making.

GUY BENSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Rudy gives colorful interviews. There are not dull interviews with Rudy Giuliani. I agree he is very accessible. Sometimes I think he gets himself in trouble and contradicts himself, but --

KURTZ: Walks it (ph) back.

BENSON: Right. So, an example of this, a few weeks ago, I was co-hosting "Outnumbered" on Fox News channel and I made a few points about an interview he had given earlier in the day. He called in live to the show and we are on 25 minutes straight --

KURTZ: It was not planned.

BENSON: Not planned.

KURTZ: Yeah.

BENSON: We blew out commercial breaks and we had him for 25 consecutive minutes because he wanted to, you know, push back and get his message out there. I mean, he is definitely, definitely eager to go fisticuffs with the press.

KURTZ: He was also on the radio on Friday. He and Jay Sekulow, two presidential lawyers co-hosted Sean Hannity's radio show.

BENSON: Yeah, that was extraordinary. I had to do a double take when I saw that first reported. Hannity -- look, we know that Hannity is very cozy with team Trump. That is no secret. No one is trying to say otherwise.

Having the Trump lawyer like legal team guest host your radio show is a new level of coziness, I guess.

CAPRI CAFARO, FORMER OHIO SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Unprecedented maybe.

BENSON: I was surprised by that. But, hey, apparently they were -- they had a great time and they were very funny, as the reviews.

KURTZ: All right. They can take the act down the road. Capri, there are a lot of, as I mentioned, highly personal media attacks against Rudy Giuliani. Does that scoff up his reputation or does it just divert arrows that would otherwise would be aimed at President Trump?

CAFARO: I think there are enough arrows to go around. As Mayor Giuliani actually did point out in your interview that, you know, a lot of the same kind of criticism that has been thrown at Rudy Giuliani has also been thrown at President Trump.

So I don't necessarily think that, you know, criticizing Rudy Giuliani for having some kind of mental incapacitation or, you know, whatever, you know, the media is taking away from Donald Trump, but rather I think, you know, there is undoubtedly media bias surrounding the Mueller investigation, Rudy Giuliani and President Trump, and I think it all plays into the same narrative.

KURTZ: I think that's a fair amount of observation. I got to get another break. We will see you all a bit later. Coming up, Omarosa getting half an hour on "Meet the Press" today as she trashed Donald Trump in a new book after being fired. Sean Spicer is on deck. And later, a very rare apology from Stephen Colbert.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Omarosa Manigault is out with a new book, savaging President Trump, who made famous by putting her on the Apprentice, then fired her from the White House job in December. She was on Meet the Press this morning she said she heard a tape from the Apprentice days of Donald Trump allegedly using the N word.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OMAROSA MANIGAULT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Once I heard it for myself, it was confirmed what I feared the most, that Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities. When he talks that way, the way he did on this tape, it confirmed that he is truly a racist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: The president had a brief but pungent response when a reporter asked about his former aide.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you feel betrayed by Omarosa, Sir?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: She is a lowlife. She is a lowlife.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: Joining us now is former White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, author of the book, The Briefing: Politics, the Press and the President. All right. So given that Omarosa was fired just eight months ago from the White House, and she's trying to sell a book about the president, which happens to be called unhinged, how seriously should the media take her charges?

SEAN SPICER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Not at all. Look, this is someone who says that she resigned moments after she left the White House, now she says she was fired. This is someone who said that the president wasn't a racist. Now, she says he was. She says that the president was a great man, he accomplished a lot common, now she calls him into question. What has changed in those eight months? She went on the record right after she left the White House, specifically talking about how she left the White House, why she left the White House, and what she thought about the president.

KURTZ: And she is selling a book.

SPICER: Hold on. I was going to say the only thing that changed is she now looking to make money off of it and sell a book, where having gone through the process myself, my guess is she sat down with publishers and said if you say the following, we can give you more money. So this is complete opportunism and it is completely false.

SPICER: Sarah Huckabee-Sanders says the book is full of lies and false accusations from a disgruntled White House employee. Now, it is interesting because Omarosa said when stuff started to leak out that she had heard -- she heard herself, she has heard herself Trump using the N word back in the Apprentice days. And then, in the book, she says sources supposedly had a tape of this. And then, she said on Meet The Press again today, how credible is that accusation?

SPICER: She is not at all. And, Howie, I think the other point that is fascinating to me is that for all of these news organizations to cry in the use of the word fake news and talk about the need to use facts and pursuing the truth. Here they are taking someone that has been largely discredited by her own words within a matter of months and putting her on an esteemed political talk show as a lead guest, wishing her well and passing along accolades on the book, as opposed to recognizing what this is. It is opportunism and it is completely false.

KURTZ: Your say she has no right to be interviewed?

SPICER: No, she has absolutely the right. But my point is look at the questions that are asked, look at the spotlight that they're putting on. These are the same people who ignored her during her time at the White House, who didn't deem her credible, who clearly, through her own words, interviews and contradictions is not credible. And yet, these members of the media who decry the use of fake news, who talk about the need to pursue facts and the truth, give her a platform and highlight her because why? Because she's attacking Donald Trump. That's why.

KURTZ: Right. She used to be viewed as kind of a fringe character.

SPICER: Right. And she came out -- she came out and continued the conversation she had at the White House, praising him. None of these people would have her on their shows and none of them would talk about her. But because she is looking to make a buck, they're willing to put her on and expose her. But because as long as you're being critical of Trump, then they will give you a platform. But the bigger issue that I think is fascinating after that interview is she taped the chief of staff of the White House in the situation room. Clearly, a violation of every security protocol that she signed when got -- when she applied for security clearance. And they did not ask one question about that on the show, not asked about undermining her own security clearance.

KURTZ: All right. And since you brought that up, we have the tape as played on NBC this morning. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do think it's important to understand that if we make this approved departure that we can all be -- you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation. And then, you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: She is boasting about this tape. She says that John Kelly threatened her with those words.

SPICER: I think John Kelly treated her with a level of respect concerning a lot of the concerns that there were rolling around the White House in terms of her recording private conversation, in terms of her inappropriate use of government resources and the treatment she had of other employees. John Kelly gave her an opportunity to walk away, with her dignity and respect. And how she pays him back is she brings a personal recording device into the situation room in the White House, in massive violation of every security protocol. That should be the story right now. The idea that you were willing to go to that length, to do that now, who knows what else is happening? But that in itself is a massive security violation.

KURTZ: OK, so let me ask you this before we run out of time. She says after she was fired, the Trump campaign offered her money $15,000 a month. She would sign a nondisclosure form, and she calls that hush money.

SPICER: Yeah. Look, here is the reality. Everyone who worked on the campaign and it was part of it, signed a nondisclosure agreement to begin with. It is standard operating procedure that she had signed multiple times before. It is nothing more than the procedure that she followed before and clearly violated. When she left the White House praising the president, I think the campaign wanted to continue a relationship with her based on the comments she made leaving the White House. Had they known that she could not be trusted, had they known she would turn on the president who has frankly given her the entire platform whether it was the Apprentice or the White House, they probably would have offered her the job.

KURTZ: Oh, by the way...

SPICER: And it was standard procedure for everyone and her, going back multiple, multiple opportunities whether it is the Apprentice, the campaign and otherwise, she signed nondisclosure agreements that made very similar language each time.

KURTZ: By the way, we talked about this supposed tape, which nobody has heard. It is been a big rumor. One of the sources quotes in the book is Frank Luntz who has come out publicly said he never heard it, he never told her that, and she never bothered to check that. So, if she is now is so troubled by the president's racial language and look, I mean, the president did hire her, so he did give her this stature before he decided to let her go through John Kelly. How does she felt for the fact that Donald Trump did so much for her career as an African-American woman?

SPICER: I mean, again, I think if you're looking for contradictions, it is the entire book, it is clearly riddled with them.

KURTZ: Which you have read?

SPICER: I have read, yes. It is -- over and over again from the mere fact that she talks about the fact that she left the White House instead she resigned, now she says she was fired. She says that the president was someone who did a lot for her, the African-American community, he lowered unemployment, he does stuff with historically black universities and colleges. He has done a lot of for opportunities in that community. And yet, now, she was so proud of it during her time, she was very public in her defense of what she had done and what the president has done. And in a matter of months, the only thing that has changed is her getting a book deal. That's it.

KURTZ: Sean Spicer, thanks very much for coming in on a Sunday.

SPICER: You bet, thanks for having me.

KURTZ: We appreciate it. More on this a little later in the program. But ahead on "MediaBuzz," the late-night host who totally botched a joke about Jonah Goldberg.

But first, Twitter's founder gets hammered for refusing to join other tech giants in banning Alex Jones. He says vetting the Infowars' founder is a job for journalists.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: It had to be more than coincidence that four tech giants, Apple, and Facebook, and Spotify and Google's YouTube banned Alex Jones on the same day. They said he had violated rules against hate speech, false information or conspiracy theories. With Twitter, the only major social media refusing to go along. And the Infowars' founder is denouncing the move.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX JONES, INFOWARS: I am literally being disappeared. We have a high-tech, lynch mob involved in really cyber warfare and again, stalking warfare, trying to have a root in the web.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: We're back with a panel, Guy Benson, what do you make of these tech giants acting on the same day against Alex Jones? Do you think they bowed to outside pressure?

BENSON: Well, I think first, Alex Jones is one of the most vile actors in the media landscape in America. What he has put the Sandy Hook families through, is skin crawling to me.

KURTZ: Right. At least for a time that it was a hoax that there was no...

BENSON: Right. Vile actors and it was not even real, it didn't happen.

KURTZ: You said something similar about the Parkland High School students, the survivors.

BENSON: Right. He is an appalling person. What worries me about what we are seeing on this subject from big tech is if the plan is to go after the truly extreme fringe, who gets to decide what the definition of fringe is and will and will we get it, and will the fringe start moving closer and closer to the mainstream based on ideological differences? And are we going to apply the rules evenly and fairly, for example, if Alex Jones is out as a hateful bigot and conspiracy theorist, should Louis Farrakhan also be out as the same thing? Who gets to make these choices and should we as consumers, in my case, trust a very liberal area like Silicon Valley and those executives to make these choices fairly?

KURTZ: So this is a classic free-speech debate. Because In the past, particularly Facebook, Twitter, and Apple have said you know, it is not our responsibility. It's a platform everyone gets to use it, and now, it has become untenable because of disinformation and lies. And so, they now are admitting that they have a responsibility to police their content and the question becomes how they do it?

FERRECHIO: Well, the private companies, too. They can allow whoever they want and kick out whoever they want.

KURTZ: Right. There is no First Amendment issue here. They're publicly traded but they're private sector companies.

FERRECHIO: So how do you decide? And I think that's part of the debate right now, as Guy was saying. There is mission creep (ph). I think there is already evidence of that, if you look at people who have been shadow banned from Twitter or who have had YouTube videos taken down for seemingly offensive content, but maybe it was conservative leaning. There is already a threat of that happening. So, how you define what should be kicked off of the social platform? Is it inciting violence? I think our David French had a good New York Times column today or yesterday about why not use the libel standards? Stick to First Amendment and stay with current libel standards. There needs to be a real conversation because otherwise, it is going to be basically, probably banning more conservative thought. And that's not -- that's not right and that's not free-speech.

KURTZ: Right. And one exception as I mentioned at the top is the Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, he defended the position of allowing Alex Jones to remain on that platform in a radio interview with Sean Hannity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK DORSEY, TWITTER FOUNDER AND CEO: We do not shadow ban according to political ideology or to your point, content, period. We -- every model that we have on the network is really looking at behaviors on the network.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: So he is taking a different position...

CAFARO: Right.

KURTZ: ... even though Twitter has since admitted that yes, some things he has tweeted have been taken down, did violate their standards.

CAFARO: Right. But I think Twitter is more sticking to the line that they are maintaining Alex Jones because he has not by and large, violating their terms. One of the interesting things about YouTube, in particular, was that apparently, Alex Jones was under some kind of a 90-day posting ban and because he violated that specific thing and I think there was a 60 day ban from the other medium, maybe was Facebook. Those outlets pointed to that specific violation as one of the reasons why that Alex Jones violated their terms and conditions.

The hate speech thing is really where it gets I think hairy. I think there is not an issue here when it comes to First Amendment because as we discussed these are private entities. No different than frankly the NFL and some of the debate about what is First Amendment there. We will leave that be.

BENSON: Can I just say I think that you're right, definitely, that these private entities have the right to ban and censor whomever they want. That doesn't make it the right thing to do.

CAFARO: I agree.

BENSON: And secondly, this is a tough question for all of us to wrestle with. To what extent do platforms like Facebook and Twitter today, represent the modern public square? And is it different than other...

CAFARO: Actually, Anthony Kennedy -- Justice Kennedy actually issued an opinion surrounding that basically saying that social media is you know the global public square at this point.

KURTZ: Well, there is no question that it is not a monopoly, but they are crucially important to public discourse. So, let me put up a tweet from Twitter's Jack Dorsey, one of several. Alex Jones, he acknowledges can sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors. So it is critical journalist document, validate, refute his information directly so people can form their own opinions. Susan, a lot of journalists went wild over this saying, hey, buddy, it is not our job to clean up your platform. You have to be responsible for what you allow.

FERRECHIO: It is what Twitter has become. It has become a forum, really. If you look at you know journalists, they use Twitter all day long to argue and post news. It is really kind of moved to the social platform. So I don't think that is -- I think it is a reasonable thing for him to just call on reporters or journalists to refuse some of the stuff. Otherwise, who is going to make these decisions? Why not leave it all out there...

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: Journalists have their own responsibility. But I don't think it substitutes for the judgment of these executive. Just briefly, Capri, you can argue this -- it helped Alex Jones. Apple booted him, but still carries his app, which surged to number three. And is a top trending app on Google Play.

CAFARO: Right. And you know, Zuckerberg has actually made statements about this essentially saying that it seems Alex Jones may have wanted to be banned in order to continue to raise his profile. And obviously, that's happening and he's getting a lot of viewers through Periscope, which is part of the Twitter platform. The man is not a conservative. He is a vile human being in my opinion. He is a vile conspiracy theorist.

KURTZ: Well, there have been a lot of conspiracy theories including that Pizza Gate conspiracy.

CAFARO: Exactly.

KURTZ: One more break and after that, Omarosa tells NBC as you heard earlier, she was complicit in the Trump presidency, which she now denounces as terrible and often horrible. Our panel weighs in on her credibility next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Omarosa is beginning a media blitz for her trash Trump book, Meet The Press this morning, Today Show, and MSNBC tomorrow, I'm sure much else. Guy Benson, Chuck Todd on NBC asked how can you defended Trump so vigorously for all of these years, and now, you're saying all these terrible things? She said well, I had a blind spot when it came to Donald Trump. I wanted to see the best of him. But now, he's a racist and misogynist. Do you find that argument persuasive?

BENSON: No. I don't find almost anything she says persuasive. I think that she is someone who understands her momentary self-interest and pursues it very, very aggressively. On the Apprentice, she was known as the backstabbing, loving, conniving villain. And that is exactly sort of who she is and how she is conducting...

KURTZ: So you're saying that that wasn't done for television purposes?

BENSON: Oh, apparently not. So, I mean, you can question the wisdom of bringing her into the White House, as this administration did. And now, they're getting burned for it. But look, she has contradicted herself numerous times. She claimed that she had no direct knowledge of hearing a tape of the president supposedly saying the N word back in the day. Now, she says she heard it clear as day. I think she's a liar who will say anything.

KURTZ: We played earlier a clip from Meet The Press where she secretly taped John Kelly when she was getting fired. And he said a friendly departure would be best for your reputation. She says that's a threat. Wouldn't any corporate executive say hey, let's have amicable parting?

FERRECHIO: Especially if they are forcing her out. It is not she was resigning and then they said OK, can we keep this quiet for whatever the reasons are behind it. They told her, you're going to leave because he violated some serious terms of employment here. And we want to leave with integrity and your head held high. That's not a threat. But you know, hell hath no fury like a person who feels that they've been wrongly terminated. And I think that's what you're seeing here. I think she is really disgruntled. There is no telling what she is saying is true or verifiable, but she's definitely angry and she's getting a big platform.

KURTZ: I will just say that was a hell hath no fury someone that has been terminated and has a book to sell.

FERRECIO: I agree.

KURTZ: Capri, you know Omarosa, you can talk about that. And so, also, Chuck Todd asked her why she didn't resign after Charlottesville, which the president came a lot of criticism for that in his handling. It was a year ago as it turns out.

CAFARO: Right.

KURTZ: Does she have credibility as an African-American woman -- as an African-American woman to say oh, I only realized since I was booted that he is a racist.

CAFARO: I think this is an issue of a larger -- like Guy said, a larger issue credibility. I have met Omarosa a handful of times. She is from my hometown.

KURTZ: She's from Ohio.

CAFARO: Ohio. And you know, she came from a rough area. And she is a scrapper. Look, that's what my community is. When we have a baseball team called the Scrappers as the mascot, right.

KURTZ: All right.

CAFARO: So here's a person who you know basically scraped her way to the top, via Donald Trump successes, took it all the way to the White House. And now, she is flipping the script, still using Donald Trump as a way to achieve her success for this book by creating this level of animus and entry (ph).

KURTZ: What you think of Sean Spicer's argument that she -- the media are just falling in love with her in this book, despite the fact that she was kind of treated as a sideshow because -- if it's the anti-Trump narrative?

BENSON: Of course, he is right about that. There's no question about that. If she wrote a glowing book, sort of mostly like his, he wouldn't -- she wouldn't get invited for 30 minutes on Meet The Press. She is feeding -- spoon feeding the media precisely what they want to hear about Donald Trump. And they are very happy to gobble it up, they'll put her on television, she will sell a lot of books. Everyone wins except maybe the truth.

FERRECHIO: It will be temporary. They will use her for getting out the anti-Trump sentiment on certain cable networks. And then she will be gone.

KURTZ: It is a cruel business. Capri Cafaro, Susan Ferrechio, and Guy Benson, thanks very much, great discussion this Sunday.

Still to come, Stephen Colbert actually apologizes after screwing up the facts.

And Jonah Goldberg, you will love this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KURTZ: Stephen Colbert made a big blunder in describing Jonah Goldberg of National View in Fox News as a Trump ally. Apparently, he has never read Jonah's pretty fierce presidential critic. The next night, he apologized.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT: I described this guy right here, a conservative columnist, Jonah Goldberg, as one of Trump's allies. And I added that he looked like a guy at a magic convention inviting you back to his hotel room.

(LAUGHTER)

COLBERT: Goldberg got mad about one of those two things. Because he is not actually a Trump ally. He is in fact very staunch never-Trumper. He has been very public about it. And we here at the late show regret many things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: What about the magic convention thing? A little sloppiness over there at the Late Show, but at least Colbert owned up to his mistake.

That's it for this issue of "MediaBuzz." I'm Howard Kurtz. Check out my new podcast "MediaBuzz Meter," today's five most important fascinating, most buzzy stories with guests, Mollie Hemingway, Gillian Turner, Emily Jashinsky. We might corral some other people into that as well. You can subscribe at Apple iTunes, Google Play, FoxNewsPodcast.com.

Check out our Facebook page. We will post my daily columns there. We post a lot of original content. And you will comment, I respond. Let's continue the conversation on Twitter, @HowardKurtz. I never even got a warning letter from Twitter. So I guess my content is kind of approved. We can really get into those some social media issues.

Thanks for watching. We are back here next Sunday morning, 11 Eastern. See you then with the latest buzz.

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